Carnes: Censoring speech carries high costs — now and in the future (column) | VailDaily.com

Carnes: Censoring speech carries high costs — now and in the future (column)

Richard Carnes

Alex Jones is little more than an opportunist that makes outrageous yet demonstrably false claims to excite his gullible base into purchasing products his advertisers sell.

Omarosa Manigault Newman is the same, only she does it to sell a book, and so is the current occupant in the White House, and he does it to satisfy a highly insecure ego in a never-ending need for popular adulation.

Three peas of the same society pod.

While I adamantly disagree with the vast majority of what spews from all three of their loud mouths, I strongly support their right to spew away whenever and however they wish.

It's not that I don't care about the damage their patently untrue claims may cause, as the direct consequences are theirs alone to deal with, but the rest of us are forced to deal with the indirect and sometimes unintended consequences, which can be far reaching.

When I call President Donald Trump an (expletive deleted), the editor decides to replace my word with a more politically correct word or simply refuses to print the entire sentence.

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When this occurs, do I yell and scream about my First Amendment right being infringed upon with insane censorship?

Of course not. Although my maturity level is often questioned on this very page, I'm not an insecure man-child in dire need of attention, nor do I need to sell advertising or a book.

Plus, I'm not an idiot (my wife periodically disagrees, but that's not the point here).

Yet in this day and age when reality show stars are sadly our actual reality — at least for the time being — each side of the political coin is stomping and screaming with anger over accusations the other side is censoring free speech, with both claiming denial of their First Amendment rights.

Though both claim ownership of a long support for free speech, it has now been replaced with support for only speech with which they agree. I wish they understood when one side adopts the negative and corrupt methods of the other in retaliation, both are equally unprincipled and immoral.

It's simple, really, as the best way to deal with troubling free speech is more speech, not less, and these online public squares, such as Facebook and Twitter, are private enterprises not obligated to provide platforms for conspiracy-laden ad-seekers like Alex Jones or book sellers like Omarosa.

They are not public utilities (yet) and one should never vote to give the government powers that one wouldn't want used against themselves someday.

So last weekend when Donald Trump tweeted his supposed love for "freedom of the press," one couldn't help but notice his continual attempts to censor any and all whom he believes have criticized him or made accusations he desperately wants to refute, but for some odd reason can never seem to make go away.

From multiple lawsuits over alleged affairs and non-disclosure agreements to a Nixonian "enemies list," the president of the United States now claims social media outlets are biased against him and he will "not let that happen."

While I'm all for free speech that I vehemently disagree with, this federal level of hypocrisy is appalling, for while we can easily ignore buffoons such as Alex Jones and Omarosa, the "Alternative Facts" and "Truth isn't truth" people cannot be, as the costs to all Americans is incalculable.