Wagging The Dog

I see in the news that two workers for Canada Post have been suspended for not delivering the mail. They said they disagreed with the journalism found in The Epoch Times and therefore should not have to deliver it.

It is easy to sympathize with them. Why should anyone be required to perform work they find objectionable?

Of course, in such situations you would expect an employee to quit their job, nor refuse to do the assigned task. It isn’t as if they were being asked to do something illegal, immoral or dangerous, just deliver the mail.

These employees though apparently think they should have some say in what people are entitled to read. In effect they are setting themselves up as censors. Do you find that as disturbing as I do?

Then again, maybe they are just reflecting the spirit of the age. I’m trying to get my head around the idea that someone would say they were against censorship and for freedom of speech, and at the same time refuse to deliver this newspaper. Welcome to 1984 – George Orwell would be so proud!

I have read The Epoch Times. It is not a publication I would choose to subscribe to, nor would I trust it to provide unbiased reporting on all topics. It exists to oppose the Communist Chines government. No need here to go into the reasons – you can look it up if you like.

However, I have no problems with them disseminating their message through any legal means, and Canada Post is one of those means. Problems arise when we try and censor ideas we disagree with.

In the war of ideas I side with the first-century Pharisee who was confronted by a rapidly expanding Christian Church: For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.  But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:34-35)

It would be possible to write every day about the twin evils of our current age, censorship and propaganda (called “fake news” by those unfamiliar with four-syllable words). Both should be major societal concerns.

Which is more disturbing? I can’t decide.

As we saw earlier this month in Washington, “fake news” claims can have serious consequences, including loss of life. My hope is that intelligent people won’t be taken in by propaganda, but all too often its practitioners manage to deceive millions.

Censorship though carries other worries. Who decides what speech or message is acceptable and what should be stamped out. Do you want the heads of private companies such as Facebook or Twitter deciding what you can or cannot post? (Short answer is, they are private companies, they can set their own rules – but there is a longer discussion perhaps for another day.)

Do you want government to decide what ideas are “approved” by society? Can we trust our politicians not to be self-serving? (Was that a silly question?)

Do you trust me to make the decision for what you can say or read? Should you? I certainly don’t want to delegate that authority to postal employees.

How about you? What do you think of their actions?

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