Recently, the New York Post released a story about Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden who is currently a contender in the 2020 election for President of the United States. The Post story claims allegedly authentic emails from Hunter Biden’s alleged laptop may prove that actual statements made by Joe Biden are false concerning his knowledge of Hunter Biden’s business activities. These allegedly authentic emails also allegedly show that the actual Joe Biden and his family profited by alleged kickbacks from his son’s business ventures. That could be, in the minds of some voters, a seriously negative thing about Mr. Joe Biden even if the actions of the former Vice President were legal.
There is, of course, considerable controversy about whether the emails are authentic and what was the exact provenance of the laptop that brought them to light. Hence, I use the word “alleged.” We shall see…
…but I am not writing this blog entry to make a point about the legitimacy of the Post’s story per se. It may be false. It may be true. That is not my concern with this blog.
Besides - the legitimacy or veracity of the Post story can be verified or refuted by evidence. After all, if the story is false, all Joe Biden and Hunter Biden must do is show hard evidence (not just denials) that the laptop never belonged to Hunter…easy!
...and they just have to show that the signature on the shop receipt for the laptop is not Hunter’s…shouldn’t be too difficult!
…and all they must do is prove to the public that the emails found on that laptop are all fake…not too hard to show how an IP address was never attached to someone etc – piece of cake!
…oh, and they just have to show it’s merely coincidence that Hunter was on the board of the Ukrainian company being investigated for corruption at the exact moment the Vice President pressured the Ukrainian government to fire that same special prosecutor who was investigating Hunter’s company…should be simple to show that American foreign policy was never altered to benefit a top executive of our government!
…yeah…it should not be difficult to show if it is all untrue. Just lay out the case showing it is false and let’s move on to the next thing.
And that’s the point of a free press and a free exchange of debate in the public square. People should ask tough questions of candidates so I look forward to the evidence the Biden campaign will provide shortly.
Honestly - maybe the emails on the laptop are all false. I don’t really care because I’ve already made up my mind about my vote. I’ve already voted by absentee ballot anyway. No – my concern is censorship.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the big story right now is that immediately after the Post story came out, public evidence shows that Google, Twitter and Facebook intentionally suppressed the story. The tech giants repressed the ability of the public to debate the story. They suppressed the ability of people to express their opinions about it. That’s a fact – that is what happened. It’s irrelevant what the story was about – what is relevant is the actions taken by the social media tech giants. They decided either they did not think the story was legitimate or they didn’t like the story – either way, they suppressed it.
Now – you can argue that the tech giants can decide what they will or will not allow on their own platforms and that is true so far as it goes. You can argue the story was false so it should have been suppressed (in your view) and you can argue the “suppression” was minimal anyway. People are obviously still talking about it – right?
BUT…if public debate and the free flow of information is restricted here – what prevents that restriction from happening in other areas? And who gets to decide what information should be repressed and what should be “allowed?” Why should a tech giant get to decide what everyone can talk about? Once I publish this blog and put a link to it on my Facebook page, why should Facebook get to decide if any of my friends or critics should be allowed to see it? Why should a government agency get to make that call? What is to prevent a government or a tech giant from suppressing opinions about…say…abortion? Or gun control? Or religion?
So – I shared on my Facebook page a story by Tucker Carlson in which he expressed his concern about censorship, making the same point – the truth or falsehood of the story is likely to eventually come to light but the actions of the tech giants to suppress the public from talking about or debating the veracity of the story on social media IS the story – and it IS dangerous to freedom.
That’s my concern.
Yet – in expressing that concern I took a light rebuke from someone because I shared Tucker’s story. The rebuke was, in a nutshell, that since the Post story has been debunked I ought not to continue spreading the story around and I should know better since I’m an educator. No evidence was given that the Post story was debunked – but again, that’s NOT the point. Maybe the Post story has been debunked (please show me that evidence) – but suppressing the questions that story raised, suppressing a robust debate about it is a dangerous threat to free speech.
That’s my point.
For example – I believe firmly the theory of purely naturalistic macro evolution (the undirected molecule to man theory or the “goo to you” theory) has been debunked. I have written books outlining scientific evidence to make this case. I earned a doctorate degree in the study of this evidence. I have participated in public lectures and debates on evolution. And I assure you – there are plenty of folks out there who consider my position “fake news.” But – should I advocate for the position that all pro-evolution books, essays and opinions be suppressed simply because I’ve cried aloud “the pro-evolution position has been debunked?” What if the shoe were on the other foot and people actively suppressed my position? (Oh wait…that is what is happening in academic journals)
Or what about the resurrection of Jesus Christ? I have spent a lifetime writing and speaking about the evidence that Jesus actually, literally, historically rose from the dead. There is evidence and arguments others have put out attempting to counter the arguments I’ve made too, and I think those counter arguments are weak. But I do not believe either the evidence I present, or the counter evidence others describe, should be repressed!
So – Joe Biden – this is for you Mr. Vice President! I encourage you – nay, I applaud and cheer for you - PLEASE lay out the evidence for your case. You should! I do not think, in my opinion, that you should just dodge the question with an off-hand comment about it just being “a smear.” That’s not enough for this voter but, then again, that’s just my opinion. Mr. Joe Biden – if you want to just keep ignoring the questions or poo-pooing the evidence, that’s your right to free speech and that’s exactly what I’m arguing you should be allowed. After all, I’m only one little vote anyway so I can understand if you don’t care what I think (although I suspect a fair number of people agree with me). In the end, people will decide what they think about the evidence from Hunter’s alleged laptop and people ignore the evidence all the time. Every day people ignore the overwhelming evidence that God created the heavens and the earth, and they dismiss the evidence Jesus rose from the dead every day too. But I don’t want you, Mr. Vice President, or anyone else to suppress or restrict the rights of the public to freely discuss evidence on issues like this. Allowing the tech giants to suppress free speech is dangerous. I hope you agree…
Oh wait – Mr. Vice President – I’ve got a great idea! The tech giants overwhelmingly support your campaign as I’m certain you know (that’s public record). I suggest you call Mr. Mark Zuckerberg over at Facebook, Mr. Sundar Pichai over at Google and Mr. Jack Dorsey over at Twitter. Do you have them on speed-dial? Someone in your campaign probably does so I’m sure you can get their cell number. They’ll probably take your call…Just tell them you would appreciate it if they don’t censor this Post story – that would show you’re unafraid of the story AND show the public how much you value free speech. Think about it – openly supporting a story that is potentially negative toward your campaign would be great PR proving you believe firmly in the first amendment.
I’ll wait to hear from your campaign…
In the meantime, dear readers (I don’t honestly think Joe Biden will read this), please consider openly supporting free speech. It’s dangerous – people will disagree with you if you do. In fact, often when people can’t make a cogent argument, they resort to name calling or trying to shout you down. I encourage you not to be intimidated.
Your freedom depends on it.