What happens in free society when the opportunity for the expression of ideas in the marketplace of ideas is restricted? More importantly, what happens when the expression of your ideas is restricted?
iVoteAmerica believes in the pure right of free speech for all people, not just in America, but globally. In the American marketplace of ideas, this becomes a fundamental issue of personal liberty and our rights under the First Amendment.
Today, a handful of companies provide America citizens with Internet platforms for not only political ideas but also for science. myriad arts, theologies of all sorts (even atheism), and tens of thousands of other expressions by people all over the world. People can learn how to clean carpet, change the oil on the car, build a birdhouse, paint kitchen cabinets, train their dog, and learn new languages. These platforms provide us with limitless communication and tremendously useful information.
Unfortunately, we are going to see and hear opinions with which we do not agree. That’s the price of we pay for freedom of speech, and it’s a small token for access to ideas in an open marketplace.
With the advent of the Internet, once called the “Information Super Highway” and the “World Wide Web” (www), companies like Microsoft. Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook came into existence. I am glad they did, and I applaud their founders and investors for these innovative business models that allow us to exchange idea and information at the speed of a mouse click.
Of late, and I believe primarily as a result of an adversarial political climate and factions of extremism, battlelines for these arguments appeared. In time, the providers developed policies designed to control the most egregious expressions of extremism and to limit access of minors to the offensive material posted online. Parents appreciate this, and of course, have the right to control what ideas and expressions their child sees and at what age.
Now things have changed.
A LITTLE HISTORY ABOUT THE PRAGERU CONTROVERSY
YouTube provides a platform for the expression of ideas through the creation and placement of videos by organizations and individuals.
YouTube has decided to exercise its right to “restrict” content it deems inappropriate for young people, including the content from Prager University (“PragerU”). To date, YouTube has labeled more than 40 PragerU videos as videos in “restricted mode,” making it difficult for young people to access the content.
THE PROBLEM POSED: RESTRICTION OF CENSORSHIP?
To protect young children from various forms of inappropriate and objectionable messages, some families enable “restricted mode” to block potentially harmful content, such as nudity, vulgar language, and extreme forms of bigotry and racism, to name a few. While iVoteAmerica applauds YouTube for sensible restrictions, YouTube appears to be expanding its powers of restriction to include some of PragerU’s conservative educational videos. We believe YouTube’s real motive is to throttle legitimate political and historical messaging with which it does not agree.
PragerU has filed suit against YouTube, LLC, owned by Google. This expensive and time-consuming effort for PragerU is a modern-day David vs. Goliath story. Our unsolicited motivation for supporting PragerU is the fear that YouTube’s position will become a watershed, eventuating into wholesale restriction of any idea it arbitrarily deems inappropriate. The restriction of historical narratives, political ideas, beliefs, and arguments are dangerous to all free people, and this position can metastasize, cascading into all forms of online social media, shutting off debate, and choking the free-flow of information.
One is forced to ask, is this a valid restriction or a form of censorship, hiding under the blanket of content restriction? I am led to believe this is an opinion-driven, worldview censorship imposed on PragerU by someone or, an organization whose views are fundamentally different.
SOME TRUTH ABOUT CONTENT SCREENING
A casual scan of the content of YouTube will demonstrate it is riddled with countless videos involving questionable and perhaps dangerous content, actions, and acidic speech. In some of these cases, YouTube applies no restriction. Furthermore, and even more revealing, the PragerU content, while opinionated, is polite, well-researched and tastefully presented with a focus on facts, rather than emotions.
There is not a single video on the restricted list I would not allow my children or grandchildren to view. The PragerU videos contain no obscenities, shouting, racial prejudice, middle finger gestures, teen fist fights, smoking, drinking, drug abuse messages, nudity or personal attacks on anyone. So why the restrictions? We believe the restrictions are driven purely by a leftist political agenda.
No one knows who makes the decisions behind YouTube’s secret curtain. The company offers little support for customer recourse following their application of restrictions to content.
Let me offer a final bit of truth. PragerU videos are viewed by more than one billion times. Despite YouTube’s objections, there must be something about their content people want to see and hear.
iVoteAmerica stands in support of PragerU, and today, I ask you to join us — not because you are a conservative or because you give accent to every view represented by PragerU but because the freedom and liberty we enjoy is founded on the free-flow of ideas in an open marketplace. Today’s marketplace for the exchange of ideas is social media.
Below you will find a link to the restricted videos posted on YouTube by PragerU. Watch a few of them. See if you are repulsed or even mildly offended. Then, click on any of the buttons, sign the PragerU petition, which already has about 450,000 signors. If you can, donate.
Donald Teel, CEO
Founder & Editor
iVoteAmerica – The Next Generation of Conservatives
Disclaimer: iVoteAmerica is not affiliated with PragerU, and neither I or any of our personnel have been solicited or paid by anyone for our support. We are supporting free speech in an open marketplace of ideas, including speech and expression through social media networks.
Link: See all the PragerU restricted videos here.