Bambi is happy to read this text by one of our big and lucid brains in this country, Dr. Mathieu Bock-Côté. Bambi’s faithful readers know that she has the utmost respect for him… and perhaps now more than ever. Not only he has a brain. He has a spine when it is the time to defend democracy.
Without further ado, here is his thoughtful article published today in the Journal de Montréal (https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2021/03/03/le-risque-antidemocratique-des-reseaux-sociaux).
How can Bambi not agree with Dr. Bock-Côté when she spent her life reading all opinions and media (even in a country torn by civil war when it was much easier to choose to hate others for their different opinions… or bombs)?
Same for her youth in Québec. Collectively, her friends do not share the same political opinions about Québec (the second referendum and its aftermath). Her own opinion changes also, etc.
So, why are we falling into the trap of narrow-mindedness, censorship, intolerance, and even totalitarianism?
All different opinions/voices matter in life… It is called democracy.
Plus, we learn from others. We challenge our thoughts.
Yes, we learn from those whom we do not agree with.
We also learn from those we agree with on this or that topic.
We learn, period… and we can de-learn and re-learn. It is called critical thinking.
We even learn from enemies, so-called enemies (of a country or a cause)… or so-called racists.
Perhaps this is why Bambi likes to take the time to check the primary source of information. She reads what this or that person is saying, and not only what she is reading about this or that person.
All this being said, here is a quick translation Dr. Bock-Côté’s article:
“Donald Trump wanted, in recent days, to start his comeback. We don’t know if he really plans to show up in 2024: that would be surprising. We know, however, that he wants to exist politically.
The man is energetic, of course, but he struggles to renew himself and mentally locks himself in the myth of electoral fraud. His speech was laborious. Trump is making the same mistake he made in his 2020 campaign: he is stepping forward, but not carrying an agenda that could, beyond a few slogans, sketch a vision for the future for the United States.
Whatever people think of him, he remains a central figure in American politics. He still dominates the Republican Party. He even embodies, for the moment, the main opposition to Joe Biden.
This raises the question of his presence on Twitter.
A few weeks ago, Trump lost access to his Twitter account. He was banned for life. In other words, knowing the role that social networks play in contemporary politics, he was kicked out of public space. A little too quickly, several applauded.
But it is more than a man, as troubled as he is, who has been driven out: it is a whole political movement that is targeted through him.
Because Trump, let us not forget, gathered around his name more than 74 million voters last November.
And even though many Republicans are tired of him, he remains the spokesperson for a large part of the American people, who cannot be confused with the fanatic weirdos who stormed the Capitol on January 6.
But the essential is elsewhere.
Is it really up to social networks, these supranational digital empires of our time, to decide who has the right to access public space? Do they really have to master the public debate?
Can they sort between legitimate opponents and those who are not? Are they entitled to ban from the city, according to the ancient laws of ostracism, a whole political stream of democratic debate?
And who will be the next to suffer the same fate, and in which countries? Because they will come.
This is not about loving Donald Trump, but about remembering that in a democracy, no one has the right to muzzle or dissolve someone they don’t like.
Above all, social networks show a terrible arbitrariness in their definition of what is acceptable and what is not.
If they see hate speech in a tough or even subtle critique of diversity ideology (I’m not talking about Trump, here, who is less muscular than garish, and especially not subtle!), They don’t see it in those who hate to hate him the wicked white man, turned into the scapegoat of our time. Against them, hatred is allowed.
One thing is for sure, this takeover of the public debate by Twitter and the like is far bigger than we would like to say.
There it is, the real coup against democracy.”