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Thursday 8 December 2016

Orwellian doublethink

Those who have visited these pages from time to time would have come across references to the Prager University, a right of centre think tank reaching out to its audience by an extensive range of short videos. Their videos cover all the hot topics of the day, presented by experts in their field.While they advance the Republican, Liberal, world view, even if you do not agree with their conclusions you will learn from these well researched short presentations.

So why am I selling this today? For some reason my phone under the instructions of Google Now selects articles for me to read. Yes this is the type of 'invasive but helpful' technology that is taking control of our lives, but that's another story
One of today's selections  "Youtube bans another Prager video" piqued my interest. The banned video is titled "I was taught to hate the Jews". I accept that the title is provocative as it clearly refers to a racism. But after watching the video I am bewildered. The content is clearly an argument against racism.  Yes, it may contradict the accepted beliefs of some people.  Yes, it may be an 'inconvenient truth' for many. Yes, it may upset many of Youtube's audience. But is it racist?
What is racist about a person pointing out that he was indoctrinated with a racist view? How can we ever redress racism if we censor those who speak up against it?
How can we ever redress racism if we censor those who speak up against it?
I note that following protests from many Youtube has now re-instated the video, but why was that necessary?
In the same vein why is it necessary to censor some 17 other Prager University videos as 'unacceptable' when they clearly do not present material that breaks moral standards, they do not incite violence or vilification of any group gender, race or religion. All the videos present a point of view supported by reasonable arguments and facts. Indeed more often than not there are references to source material that support the facts. The only basis I can see for the banning is that the Google, Youtube or indeed the specific employees making these decisions happen to find the opinions expressed contrary to their own world view. This however is not how we expect those charged with dissemination of information to behave. Indeed by doing so they are betraying their users. No doubt there will be a consequence for so doing.

We live in a strange world where the very organisations that encourage open free communication believe it is appropriate to censor what information is presented.

The very idea of banning a video for racism when it is clearly about fighting racism is nothing short of Orwellian 'double-think'.

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