The idea started at the University of California at Berkeley. The idea that I’m talking about is software developers building an “Online Hate Index” for social media companies like Facebook and Twitter. Thus, “hate speech” could be removed without any sort of human involvement, according to Campus Reform.
The “idea,” according to an article in the University of California alumni magazine, sounds profoundly innocent. I mean who wouldn’t want to control hate speech, right? We all have been on Facebook or Twitter threads that have turned into examples of human cesspools of the unregenerate heart.
However, while this course of action may seem innocent, it has the potential to be very dangerous and censor more than just “hate speech.” The problem with this idea, along with many others in human history which want to control what we say, think or do, is that it doesn’t recognize the condition of the heart. While this idea may have good intentions, good intentions often lead to human suffering and carnage. The problem with any program like this one, that aims to prevent “hate speech,” is that it is developed by humans themselves and will ultimately fail because of the condition of the heart that is unchanged by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
History tends to repeat itself, and we are doomed to repeat it if we do not remember our past. To those who have studied the past and know about pre-World War II Germany, this type of “list making” has an eerie resemblance to pre-Hitlerism and the efforts of the Reichstag to control society. It was this “list making” that eventually led to the ability of Hitler to carry out the extermination of more than six million Jews (and tens of thousands of others such as political prisoners). While this new “hate speech” control program may seem like a far reach from what Hitler did, everything has to start somewhere. Just as the Reichstag had good intentions of helping German society, all it took was for one madman to pervert a good intention and make it into an evil one.
How will they define “hate speech,” who will be those who are considered the “haters” and added to the “Online Hate Index?” Simply, like in any dictatorship over freedoms, it will be the people that oppose the popular opinion or the opinion of the reigning regime. So in other words, those who speak the truth, mostly the first on the list of censorship will be you and other Christians. Knowing the message of Christianity is an offense to those who are perishing, the gospel will be censored and marginalized. Today, Christians are already dealing with censorship for having an unpopular opinion in the public square and on social media. This new tool will only add to that hardship and difficulty in spreading the truth about Christ and the Gospel message.
There are more far-reaching and profound implications of such a censoring tool and an “Online Hate Index.” Social control tools like this program could be used to ultimately punish Christians for their biblical worldview. Once one is placed on the “hate speech list” one could be subjected to all kinds of unforeseen consequences. If these lists are made public or employers are granted access to these lists, the people on these lists could inadvertently find themselves unemployed, shamed publicly or worse. In today’s social activist charged world those finding themselves on such hate speech lists could easily be ostracized from society. If you can control what people say or able to say, you can control the masses at large.