The dilemma of lies versus Free Speech.

Social media has assumed enormous responsibility when it makes judgements on what is or is not permissible for publication. If everything was black and white, everything would be fine but sadly it is not. The very definition of what is right and wrong is in some theatres is confused. Democracy by definition includes freedom of speech and freedom to express opinion as sacred. Who then should be the arbitrator of thruth vs fiction.

As we see the back of Trump who apparently lied or spoke known untruths over 30,000 times during his presidency. By repeatedly lying he has distorted reality for many of his followers. This is hard for most non followers to understand, however, the evidence is irrefutable. Tyrants always have yes men and enablers to do their bidding and Trump was no exception. It is for those mainly republicans who aided and abetted to the promulgation of lies, more lies, and called them alternative facts, to confess their lies, and be counted. They were not alternative facts they were lies. Twitter and Facebook stepped in to stop the further spreading of lies and further incitements to violence, whilst great tracts of the Republican party stood by, frightened of the ghastly spectre of Donald Trump.

Whilst many applaud the action of the titanic social media, many are bound to ask the question; “Whose responsibility is it to ensure that truth is told and lies suppressed?” Should the social-media moguls have the power vested in them, to dictate not only what is true or false, but to judge which opinions are permissible in our society?

Certain University societies have voiced freely their objections to all sorts of opinion, and issued sanctions accordingly, frequently effectively closing down free speech platforms. Gay actors are now proposing that only they should be chosen to enact or portray gay roles. Surely a denial of what acting is all about! Where will it all end?

Tolerance to different opinions is what democracy is all about, tolerance of religion, race, and mores. Clearly truth underpins tolerance and falsehoods and lies used to undermine it. Trump, Putin, Bolsonaro, Erdogan, Xi, are all serial liars. They speak in extremes of patriots or traitors there seems little in between, Nationalism versus Globalism. Their rhetoric is the antipathy of tolerance.

We all have laws of course, and the independence of the judiciary is very much at the center of democracy, and it is the judiciary who ultimately define the truth, by deciding what is right and what is wrong. It was a great relief to see President Biden being sworn in in front of members of the supreme court of the USA a majority of them appointed by the Republican party Presidents, and all, all stood up for justice in the face of the rebellious Trump. Let us hope that all Americans learn that truth is theirs for the embracing, and despite the near calamities of the recent past, America remains a great democracy underpinned by truth.

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