Opinion: Laws Banning CRT Represent Government Censorship, Moderating Comments Is Not Censorship

Walter Rhein

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A few days ago I wrote an article about how moderating comments on an article is not an example of censorship. Exactly as I predicted, the article was flooded with comments denouncing censorship in any form.

Today, my article is about how critical race theory (CRT) is being banned in the United States. In my opinion, that constitutes a form of censorship. I also predict that many of the readers who complained it represented censorship to moderate comments will argue that it’s not censorship to ban CRT.

This shows the dishonest level of intellectual discourse that can currently be found in the United States.

I think it’s fair to compare comment moderation to a teacher keeping control of an unruly classroom. If you’re a teacher who is presenting a lesson on basic mathematics, you can’t let students interrupt the class.

Students can’t be allowed to sit in the classroom and scream, “Two plus two equals five!” It’s not an example of censorship for the teacher to tell that student to be quiet. The student still has the right to express his belief. He doesn’t have a right to do so in a way that wastes everyone’s time.

Moderating comments is the same thing. You can think about it like turning down the volume on the radio as you’re driving. That’s not censorship. The radio signal is still available for people to pick it up elsewhere. The person who shuts off the radio is simply sparing other people in the car from having to listen to that content.

If a person breaks into a radio station to broadcast his demo tape, it’s not censorship to make him stop. That person has no right to be there. He didn’t build the radio station. He doesn’t own the frequency.

The same thing is true about comment moderation. You have a right to an opinion. You don’t have any right to scribble your opinion at the bottom of an article that other people want to read. If somebody erases your vandalism, you aren’t being “censored.”

A more accurate example of censorship can be found in proposed bans on critical race theory (CRT). First of all, it’s important to note that critical race theory is not currently being taught in public schools.

Sadly, most Americans don’t even know what CRT is. This shouldn’t come as any surprise. When people post a basic order of operations problem on social media, it leads to widespread confusion. What this tells me is that more teachers need to tell their students to be quiet when they’re being unruly in the classroom.

Sadly, CRT has taken on a meaning other than what the theory stands for. In some unfortunate cases, teachers lose their jobs even though they never taught CRT. Fortunately, voters are largely rejecting groups that champion parental “oversight” in the classroom.

If teachers are losing their jobs over false accusations that they are teaching CRT, then that represents an example of censorship.

One of the problems in the United States of America is that much of the population seems to think that an ignorant opinion has the same value as an accepted academic theory. It’s bizarre that people who don’t understand CRT are so insistent that it must be censored.

It’s even more bizarre when the people who want to censor CRT turn around and try to claim bans on CRT do not represent censorship. I’m certain that you’ll see comments like that in response to this article.

Another example of censorship is banning books from schools. Banning books and banning academic theories from our society represent actions that should truly concern us. These are examples of misuse of government. These are examples of control.

It’s almost comical that some people in our society defend their right to spread ignorant opinions. However, they cheer when educated opinions are banned.

Our government shouldn’t be deployed to silence teachers. Teachers are educated people with valid opinions.

Our government shouldn’t be deployed to silence academics. Academics are educated people with valid opinions.

However, our government should be deployed to silence individuals who spread misinformation and racism or attempt to incite violence.

The political divide in the United States seems to put people into two categories. Some claim it's “censorship” to delete comments, but it’s not “censorship” to ban respected academic theories.

Then there are educated people who value accurate information, know how to work, and respect the opinions of experts.

When I was sitting in a classroom, I preferred listening to the teacher rather than the disruptive class clowns. Today, the class clowns seem to think they have a right to run the show.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI
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