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Every now and then, a topic arises that I know will represent a division in opinion between myself and our readers. In the interest of good business, I’ll find myself tempted to censor my own opinion, or avoid the topic altogether. But there’s one mantra I’ve lived by in my career that just won’t let me do that.

Being an opinion journalist means being brave enough to be honest about my opinion.

We sign up for brutal honesty when we sign up for this job, and brutal honesty isn’t always fashionable. The truth is that no reactions can be made without an initial action. Discussion is the name of the game in this industry, and that requires information to discuss, and then opinions to be registered, and then reactions to those opinions. Whether those reactions are raucous applause or incensed outrage is no matter. Our job is to provoke engagement, and censoring our thoughts — oftentimes thoughts that we are working through as we talk aloud — is a disservice to the public who give us their time and dollars to watch us facilitate discussion.

The “controversy” over Joe Rogan’s content isn’t just about blatant censorship. It is also about the chilling of speech, which is the chilling of discussion. Recently, Rogan lamented that he couldn’t possibly continue to do his job the way he needs to do it if he’s going to be forced to weigh every single word on every single topic.

“I will quit. If it gets to a point that I can’t do it anymore, where I have to do it in some sort of weird way where I walk on eggshells and mind my p’s and q’s, f–k that!” Rogan said.

I’ve recently been rewatching the fabulous sci-fi, thriller drama “Fringe” and last night’s episode was about a man who developed superpowers of probability. He could calculate the probabilities of every single action within his field of sight and cause a chain reaction tailored to his mood based on his brain’s calculation. He could basically predict the future by running through the millions of probabilities in his mind. It might be a fun skill to have except he kept using it to kill people. The character was definitely not a fun guy. The burden of constantly running all those calculations, all of the time, eventually turned him into more of a machine than a man. He couldn’t maintain a personal conversation with the person who loved him most in the world. He couldn’t relate to the plight of others. He couldn’t even comprehend the idea of relating to the world he was making calculations about. He was a robot.

People like Rogan — and me — cannot afford the mental bandwidth needed to logic out every possible response to every word we utter and then plan our speech according to those possibilities. If we can’t speak from the heart, and our own curiosity, we can’t encourage anyone to respond from the heart. Even the pouncing progressives would agree that being “emotionally honest” about something is a huge part of any meaningful discussion. They’ve been putting feelings over facts for years now. By their own measure, audiences cannot engage their feelings on an issue if they’re not being met with the honest feelings of the personality opining on the issue. Chilling the speech of the speakers chills all speech.

That is the goal, of course. To squash discussion and replace it with pre-formed ideas, given to you by the intellectual elite and their less-intellectual culture minions. You can’t respond to a bad idea you’re not allowed to hear in the first place. They don’t want our responses to their bad ideas.

That’s what makes places like RedState special…and guys like Rogan special. We do want your responses to our ideas. We do want emotion and rage and applause and laughter. We welcome the hate clicks as much as the love clicks. They all pay the same, but even better, they serve a function that we’re all on board with on the non-progressive political spectrum. They foster discussion. In this business, honesty makes for quality content.

Have you ever wondered why the production value of your tv and movies seems to have dropped lately? It’s because the number of calculations executives and their creative partners are required to make these days about possible responses, boycotts, hurt feelings, and social media backlash forces them to think more like machines and less like thinking, feeling human beings. Have you ever read a letter or script written by an AI program? It’s always ridiculous, but in an uncanny valley kind of way. It’s almost like real, but a little off… a little weird. Like Canada.

Chilling speech on the world wide web, particularly in this nation, is effectively dumbing down entertainment quality. Worse than that, it’s making machines out of humans, at a time when we need much more humanity in this world.

Source: This post first appeared on RedState

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