The Tyranny of Fear and Censorship

The Tyranny of Fear and Censorship

We must protect free speech online.

In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, The French National Assembly quickly adopted new legislation under its state of emergency to further the Minister of the Interior’s powers to block any website “promoting terrorism or inciting terrorist acts”, without the prerequisite 24-hour delay. This legislation also includes “powers to carry out searches of seized devices and to block websites”. U.S. and European officials are also calling for augmented government surveillance powers. Senator Joe Barton (R-Texas) in particular has suggested that the Federal Communications Commission attempt to shut down the parts of the Internet that are being used by the Islamic State.

Our instinctive reaction to the horror that we witnessed in November is to slap a band-aid solution over the festering wound of terrorism out of our fear that we will be again forced to witness a similar atrocity. Yet it would be another transgression against humanity to listen to the fear and passively relinquish our rights to free speech and access to information online, in a vain attempt to censor terrorists.

We need to tackle problems rather than blocking them from the Internet. France’s anti-terrorism law allows websites to be blocked if they “condone terrorism.” Terrorism is a slippery idea, and this vague definition has elicited censure from the Human Rights Watch. “Harmless” information and ideas versus those that contain the malicious intent of terrorism are inextricable from each other. It would be especially undesirable for a nation’s citizens to have their government make that distinction. The proposition reeks of Big Brother, where online ideas, news, or information that undermines the government’s power can be hidden from the eyes of the public under the excuse of “terrorism”.

Rather than authorizing government censorship, where the public is barred from accessing certain information, and the public has never been aware of the existence of such information in the first place, we should allow the speech to be published online. Then we may condemn them for it if it is illegal. The implications of permitting the government to have power over what the public never even knew existed are chilling. We would also hinder protected free speech. It is unnecessary to tempt a repeat of the McCarthy Era.

If the constituents of the voting population are unaware of current terrorist activities and ideologies, they are also rendered unable to take personal action against terrorism- whether they are voting for representatives that have devised policies to counteract foreign and domestic terrorism, or taking journalistic action themselves. In any case, we are ultimately better off knowing what is out there. It is a more desirable alternative to building a brick shelter all around us so that we can block the entry of terrorist ideas, than being surprised when the shelter is torn down by an attack that we weren’t able to see assembling outside.

While we may not have a definite solution to prevent terrorism, I know that we will not find it in Internet censorship.

Cover Image Credit: www.newyorker.com

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He Changed Everything.

My soul is richer & my heart is fuller 

Sept 2013 I found myself writing to an evangelist Jennifer Beckham looking for more, looking for answers cause at the time I was in a dark place, and stuck no matter what I did. She wrote back! I cried as I read her respond. She sent me scriptures of who god is and what he wants for us. God says we are more than conquers and endurance develops strength and character. She encouraged me that I was on the right track. Not to give up and she would be praying for me. I saw Jennifer Beckham at a conference that year. I don't remember what she specifically talked about but I remember the feeling. The feeling of wanting to burst out crying, I could feel my eyes being filled with tears, and my heart racing but I wouldn't let out the tears. My pride was too big. I wanted to be strong so I did my best to hold it all in, and I did. At this conference they offered the audience who wanted to go up for prayer and dedicate their life to Jesus Christ. Surprisingly I went up, but I went up with other people that were seeking out salvation. I wasn’t sure if I was going up to support the other people or if it was truly for me. I was confused, even though I said the prayer. I became more confused as the days went on and I wasn't feeling a difference in my life. Nothing was changing. I started reading the bible and many books, listening to sermons, and surrounding myself with positive people. I gave my life to Jesus, but I didn't feel like I was set FREE! I continued feeling empty, lost, broken, guilty, and hurt from the past. There were so many days where I just wanted to give up. Almost felt pointless to fight for my life. At this point in my life I didn't know God very much, but I had just a little bit of faith. My faith was a big as a mustard seed and God took care of the rest. Day by day, year by year I started noticing my life changing. I noticed I was changing. I started feeling happy with who I was and where I was in life. I no longer questioned God about the things that happened to me. In my heart I was ok with the wounds, the hardships, and trials from the past because I now understood those wounds and trials. I realized I was SET FREE! not perfect but set free. I started understanding who I was as a child of our heavenly father. Now it’s Jan 2018 and I’m in awe of who I am and where I am in life, all because of Jesus. His so faithful! I think of the favor, the grace, his mercy, his love, his joy and blessing that he gives me even when I’m undeserving of it, it’s overwhelming. He has never left me nor forsake me. I can say Jesus you changed everything and my heart so forever thankful. 

Today, I encourage you like Jennifer Beckham encouraged me. Keep going and don't give up. No matter what your past looks like believe in your heart that you were created for greatness. Don't let your past determine your future, be the change you want in your life. You have it in you. There is so much more to life, don't miss out on it. It's time to take back your happiness, love, joy, freedom and so much more. It's time to take back EVERYTHING the enemy has taken from you. God has made you an overcomer. I speak it right now, that you will be victorious in 2018 and the years to come. Remember, God loves you! 

Psalm 136:26 (AMP) O give thanks to the God of heaven, for his mercy and loving-kindness endures forever!

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Oprah Winfrey Running For President?

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