Big tech blocking conservative websites is nothing new. But when public schools jump into the game, that’s quite a different story.
It all started decades ago with the advancement of technology and the “innocent” drive of academia to get into the computer era, all the way down through elementary ages. Virtually everyone was for it. But what few could see back then was that secular progressivism and big tech would join up with largely liberal school administrations and teachers and pull a blitzkrieg on American children’s brains.
Today, kids sit in classrooms, libraries or study halls doing simple Google searches for research projects without most ever knowing they are being restricted from certain conservative sites and directed toward progressive sites. And too few parents seem to know or protest, but they should.
With kids going back to school right now, and most media attention and parental debates raging around wearing masks, I’m more concerned about kids’ education and indoctrination.
Do you know what is being filtered (blocked and allowed) among computers at your kids’ school? Do you understand the biases of big tech companies and their search engines and shadow-banning search results? You should, because its what’s being used by school officials to influence and educate your children.
A decade ago, even the liberal New York Times asked students about the Web filters used in their schools, and the newspaper reported that “the question became the single most commented-on Student Opinion question we’ve ever asked.” Many complained popular websites like YouTube were blocked. But underlying those popular student concerns lied the covert culture war of filtering out conservative sites, opinions and education.
Andrew Lampart’s story has become a classic example that is all too commonplace today.
When Andrew was an 18-year-old high school student, he couldn’t figure out why his school’s internet service blocked him from gathering conservative facts for his side of the argument on his school debate team.
Andrew explained to Fox News, “I knew it was important to get facts for both sides of the case.” But when he tried to do an internet search of conservative views, he was prevented at every turn.
After being blocked from websites supporting Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms as stated in the Second Amendment, Andrew soon learned his school’s computers prohibited him from viewing any websites or information that weren’t liberal in nature.
National Rifle Association website – blocked. The Republican Party website – blocked. National Right to Life website – blocked. Pro-traditional marriage websites – blocked. The Vatican website – blocked.
But here’s what wasn’t blocked in his internet search: pro-gun control websites, the Democratic Party website, Planned Parenthood website, Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender website and an Islamic extremist website.
Andrew took his grievance up the chain of command at his Connecticut high school: first to the principal, then the superintendent, then the school board.
After nearly two months of fighting, Andrew’s only official response had come through the superintendent, who wrote a letter about the issue to parents and citizens in their community because news of the liberal bent was spreading like wildfire. She blamed the conservative education prohibition on the school’s internet filtering, which she said is intended to “protect minors from potentially harmful or inappropriate content” like “violence/hate/racism, cults/occult, to name a few.”
She was also puzzled, however: “Many of the liberal sites accessible to the student fell into the ‘not rated’ category, which was unblocked while many of the conservative sites were in the ‘political/advocacy group,’ which is accessible to teachers but not to students.”
Madam Superintendent, there’s no surprise or mystery here. The problem isn’t the software but those programming it. As long as you have liberal-minded architects across the spectrum who only want to steer kids in their own particular secular progressive bias, you can change internet filters all day long and it’s not going to change the educational outcome and students being prohibited from conservative education. Internet website accessibility is no different than choosing textbooks or instructors in classes; if liberals are in control, progressivism is the education.
A high school prohibiting conservative views isn’t shocking to any of us who for decades have watched the increasing dilapidated state of public education. It’s just one more sign that public schools are little more than secular-progressive indoctrination camps.
Andrew was exactly right when he said about his internet education experience, or lack thereof: “This is really borderline indoctrination. Schools are supposed to be fair and balanced toward all ways of thinking. It’s supposed to encourage students to formulate their own opinions. Students aren’t able to do that here at the school because they are only being fed one side of the issue.”
Out of the mouth of babes.
And as far as big tech’s overreaching power, which proliferates the academic systems through the U.S., my wife, Gena, and I couldn’t agree more with Michelle Malkin. She gave this immediate course of action we all must take if we are to reduce the power and tentacles of big-tech Goliaths: “Wean yourselves – not just your kids – off Google. Try the Brave browser, DuckDuckGo search engine, BitChute video hosting service, Minds or MeWe social networking and ProtonMail.”
Truth and true education doesn’t fear alternative views or even falsehoods, though they should be couched in age-appropriateness and venues where options are presented with evidence or the lack thereof. At least, this was the educational belief of America’s founders and those who followed them in the formation of our nation.
Consider the words of one of the greatest American minds and educators and one of the pillars of our republic, Thomas Jefferson, who vehemently fought for the broad education of common Americans. As he founded his University of Virginia, he wrote this about his philosophy and goal of education, on Dec. 26, 1820: “This institution of my native state, the hobby of my old age, will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind, to explore and to expose every subject susceptible of its contemplation.”
The very next day, he further elaborated about what “illimitable freedom of the human mind” encompassed: “This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”
Jefferson was exactly right, too. Whether or not our views define truth and reality, openness and education is about presenting every side of issues regardless of how ignorant or idiotic we believe another’s views are. That is the reason why subjects like intelligent design and religion should be an integral part of every curricula, not shunned from academia.
Roughly 35 years ago, Dr. Allan Bloom wrote these words of warning about a country and education system that was mimicking more fascism than freedom, in his now classic volume, “The Closing of the American Mind“: “True openness is the accompaniment of the desire to know, hence of the awareness of ignorance. To deny the possibility of knowing good and bad is to suppress true openness.”
There is also no doubt about this: When we fear alternative views to the measure that we block and eliminate them from curricula, we have reduced education to nothing more than tyranny and indoctrination.
Again, Dr. Bloom gave this almost prophetic word about what could have been the current affairs of the American public education system: “Freedom of the mind requires not only, or not even specially, the absence of legal constraints but the presence of alternative thoughts. The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities.”
I’ll ask one more time: Do you know what is being filtered (blocked and allowed) among computers at your kid’s school? Do you understand the biases among big-tech companies and their search engines and shadow-banning search results? You should, because its what’s being used by school officials to influence and educate your children.
If somehow you haven’t seen the 2020 blockbuster documentary, “The Social Dilemma,” please watch it as soon as possible, and then sit down and watch it a second time with your kids. It will blow your mind, and possibly save your child’s. (Also, if you haven’t read my column, “Google’s overreach into your kid’s school privacy.” please do.)
This issue brings me back to that profound truth articulated by President Ronald Reagan: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States when men were free.”
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