Breaking Down: Collapse

Episode 44 - Censorship

July 20, 2021 Episode 44
Breaking Down: Collapse
Episode 44 - Censorship
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

As governments around the world feel the stress of collapse, they will likely attempt to increase control of their people. One of the ways this is done is through censorship - silencing voices and diminishing free speech. In this episode, Kory and Kellan take a look at the the ways that censorship can accelarate collapse, and the ways that collapse can increase censorship.

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Episode 44 - Edit

Kory: [00:00:00] Alright, Kellan so we record these episodes two weeks in advance usually. And I'm just so curious to know if by the time this episode actually releases, like how many more ocean fires are we going to have by then? 

Kellan: [00:00:26] Yeah. When you say that I almost have to laugh. Not because it's a funny event. I mean, it's a tragic event that occurred. 

Kory: [00:00:33] Which one?

Kellan: [00:00:36] The one that all the memes were about. And I say that I have to laugh because I saw all these memes, you know, the ocean is on fire and there are these boats surrounding it that are spraying water I'm guessing, at the fire and there's one little boat that is like clear outside, just spraying water, not even close to the fire. And I just saw all sorts of really creative, clever, funny memes about that.

Kory: [00:01:01] It's like, it reminds me of that comic where there's a guy sitting around the fire with two kids and he's just in this like wasteland and he's telling his kids, yeah, we destroyed the planet but at least for one small moment in time we created a lot of value for shareholders. And to me it's like, yeah, maybe we destroyed the planet, but at least for one small moment in time, we had a lot of really funny memes about it.

Kellan: [00:01:22] And when you say that kinda makes me feel bad. Put it in a way I'm grateful that people can laugh about just how ridiculous the situation is. Like we really are living in a dystopia in so many ways and these things that keep happening, it's almost like they're out of a scifi movie. They're so bizarre that you kind of have to laugh at it. 

Kory: [00:01:42] You know, it's funny as everything happens, each time something new happens I'm like, I need to be making a list and just anytime something notable happens, write it down. And I never do. And I think about that each time, again, something new happens and I think I'd probably have a list of a hundred long. So I'm going to start making a list. And then at the end of the year, maybe on the podcast, we'll just read that list. like you said, have a good laugh and then maybe a good cry.

 When it comes to, to laughter. I don't think there's any reason to feel bad about that because it's, it's kind of like the EMS, right, who has to make these dark jokes with their coworkers to not go insane, to not just be depressed because of all the terrible, sad things they're seeing. For us, I think for most people it's it's a healthy coping mechanism, as long as it's done respectfully, to be able to poke fun at, at a terrible situation. 

Kellan: [00:02:30] Yeah. It definitely is a coping mechanism. And even in the context of climate change and collapse, you know, one of those memes, I saw that little boat that is making no difference at all spraying water on water, not even close to the ocean fire. I saw one where that was captioned as something like "me trying to stop climate change by no longer using plastic straws." 

And then I can't remember exactly what it was, but the massive boiling fire itself had a caption of like capitalism or commercial greed or something just to illustrate that we're kind of fighting a losing battle. And again, we can either sink into despair about it, or we can poke fun at it, laugh about how crazy the situation is and still do our best to do our part in mitigating it. 

Kory: [00:03:15] Yep. Too true. And so anyway, by the time this airs, I'm sure there'll be a third or a fourth ocean fire. So we have those to look forward to, I guess. 

Kellan: [00:03:24] Yeah. So there've been a couple of these recently. Is this something that happens frequently or do we just have this recency bias? Because coincidentally, a couple of them happen in a row? 

Kory: [00:03:33] I don't think it's super common. And obviously it's happened before, but for like two of them in the same week, I don't think that's super common. 

All right. So today's topic is one that we have referenced in the past. And we had said, we're going to do an episode on this in the future, because it's really important.

And it's one that some people might not immediately see how it ties to collapse, but I think there are a couple of different ways that we've seen that it definitely does. And that is on the topic of censorship. 

Kellan: [00:03:59] Yeah. This one's been on my mind a lot ever since one of our early episodes in which you talked to me about political turmoil and how that's one of the major contributing factors in collapse. And at the time you taught me, I'll see if I can remember it. Right. I think it was called the sacred aura of the center. And it's this idea that so often we give this reverence and this deep level of almost religious respect to our governing institutions. And you taught me quite a bit about that. So if this is new to anybody, I encourage you to go back and listen to that episode. 

But there's this idea that as time goes on and as societies become more complex and as governments become more distanced from the people and they use more military force by necessity to enforce their policies, you know, that luster fades and people become a little bit disenfranchised or jaded. They see the corruption that happens and they begin to lose respect for the government and they no longer give the credibility or the legitimacy to their government, which naturally leads to all sorts of problems for society. 

Really when you talk about society as a structure, if people don't give legitimacy to those that are in place to govern them, then they will inevitably collapse. 

Kory: [00:05:14] Yeah. And in this episode, we're going to talk not just about the role, the government plays in censorship, which is a huge one, but also the role that private institutions play in censorship, which is becoming more and more of an issue in modern day as we have this huge advent of social media. 

So I think we all kind of understand what censorship is generally, but I think there was some interesting insights from actually reading one definition. And so this definition says it's the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, et cetera, that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security. 

And while , I think all of those are applicable. I think the one that we'll touch on several times throughout this conversation is that of it being a threat to security. You know, a big part of government is to make sure that their people are safe and secure. And I think that idea of security is so often used as an excuse to begin censoring people, especially people who are speaking out politically against what those who are governing deemed to be appropriate. 

Kellan: [00:06:19] You know, on a personal note, I'm really sensitive to this topic because at some point in elementary school or middle school, we were learning about science and we learned about Galileo. And I still remember this because it impacted me really strongly. But if you don't know anything about Galileo, he's been called the father of observational astronomy, the father of modern physics, the father of the scientific method, the father of modern science, essentially he's played a huge role in science and how we view the world around us today. 

Anyways, at the time as a kid, you know, we learned that Galileo taught that the earth rotates daily and it revolves around the sun, which at the time was revolutionary.

Kory: [00:07:00] Because they thought that everything revolved around the earth. Right? 

Kellan: [00:07:03] Yeah, exactly. And because it was a revolutionary idea. And because it didn't align with the viewpoints of the Catholic church and some of the other astronomers, he was put under trial. In the inquisition forced him to recant and then even after he kind of backed down, he still spent the rest of his life under house arrest. By the way, this is back in the 16 hundreds, so February 26, 1616, he's informed by the Pope that the church has decided his theory of the Earth's motion. Here's the quote was "formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places, the sense of holy scripture ." And then he was ordered to, again, quoting "abstain completely from teaching or defending this doctrine and opinion or from discussing it." 

And as a kid, it's like, what were they thinking? Like, this is just how universe works. Why won't they let him teach this? It seems so ignorant for them to censor him. And I feel like to some degree ever since learning that I've always had my guard up a little bit. Maybe that's part of why I'm so skeptical about everything I hear about at first, because the most powerful institutions can't always distinguish fact from fiction and may often have ulterior motives. 

Kory: [00:08:20] That's a really good example, I think, of censorship in history and there is countless examples of that. Right? And it's, it's interesting because you know, th this freedom of speech is, is a pretty new phenomenon, I think. Throughout history.

It seems like there was always some limit on what people were able to say, especially about government officials. And we see it today as well, right? There are massive portions of the world that are not able to speak freely about their thoughts on political matters, about their political leaders, or about topics of morality and things like that. It always devastates me just to see or hear about trials in the middle east or other countries where, you know, the person will do a dance on Tik TOK and go to prison for that. Or, you know, a country where of a woman can't speak up, that's the man's job. Right. And they get stoned or something for that. And so it's just crazy to think that in today's day and age that's happening. And we, we take that for granted, I think a lot in the West. So having free speech is something that I think is very valuable to have, but I think sometimes we may overestimate how secure that foundation of free speech really is. 

Kellan: [00:09:33] Yeah, totally. And censorship, at least in the way that we're discussing it today, isn't anything new, right? Most of the history of the world, you've got these monarchies, these dictatorships, they control and enforce what can be said, especially about the government. But it's especially interesting in our day and age, because we have the internet. We have this globally reaching vast wealth of information that's freely available in many places. And in the past, I think it was easier in many ways for our government to limit what information gets out for people. And they're able to control the narrative and people continue to have that trust in their government, right? People still look to their king as someone divinely appointed because they don't know any better.

And yet today we get so much information being leaked, so many opinions, so many facts, so much research being widely shared and distributed. And censorship just has a very different impact in today's world than it has in many civilizations throughout history. 

Speaking of global reach, I know that we have a global audience that listens to this podcast. But we're in the U S and so focusing on the United States, we hear all the time about freedom of speech and the first amendment to the constitution. And if you're not familiar with the first amendment, you know, one summary of it is that it's an amendment to the U S constitution that prohibits any law, limiting freedom, with respect to religion, expression, peaceful assembly, or the right of citizens to petition the government. 

And people throw it around all the time, right? Freedom of speech. Hey, you're limiting my freedom of speech, but the first amendment doesn't say that you can just say whatever you want to whomever you want, whenever you want. Without any consequences. I think much of the original idea behind it was people should be able to speak up if they see issues in their government. But I can't just go make any claim that I want. You know, I, I can't go insult my boss and not expect to be fired. 

Kory: [00:11:31] You can't threaten the president of the United States and not expect to be prosecuted or threatened any person. 

Kellan: [00:11:36] Yeah, exactly. So you can't say stuff that's clearly fraudulent or that's meant to con people.

Kory: [00:11:43] And like if I told people to inject to bleach and that would help protect them against coronavirus, for example, that could be something that would be liable for. So while I'm able to say that it doesn't mean that there wouldn't be any consequences potentially for saying it.

Kellan: [00:11:56] I'm sure that was just a random example. 

Kory: [00:11:59] Yeah, absolutely random. Okay.

Kellan: [00:12:00] Yeah. And I can't go tell you that, Hey, if you invest all this money, you're going to get this return and then just run away with that money without any consequences. ya know there's limits, on things that are obscene or offensive, I think of pornography. And especially in the case of something like child pornography, that's illegal and for good reason. 

No there's defamation. And what you say about another person and the damage that can cause. There's questions about, you know, what's the line between me being a spy, or even if I'm not a spy being an enemy of the state in the way that I speak out against the government versus simply being a dissatisfied citizen who has the right to speak up. 

And so, yeah, we have this first amendment, but over time it has evolved to mean a lot of different things. And there have been all of these groundbreaking court cases that set a certain precedent. And under the law, there's a whole number of, you know, they call these tests that they've come up with to determine whether something should be allowed or shouldn't be allowed under the first amendment. 

So for example, the bad tendency test, essentially, if something has the sole purpose of inciting or causing illegal activity, then that's not protected under the first amendment. The clear and present danger test, which is basically that the government cannot interfere with speech unless the speech presents a clear and present danger that it will lead to evil or illegal acts. There's something that's called the preferred freedoms doctrine. That one pretty much just means that some freedoms are entitled to a greater protection than others. 

But it leads me to a question that I want to ask you, Kory and maybe it's more of a series of questions, but let's say you either own or moderate, some sort of an online platform and you believe strongly in freedom of speech. As people come to the table with what they claim is information. If you absolutely know that something's a lie, do you leave the lie there in the mix, along with the truth? Or do you remove the lie? 

Kory: [00:13:51] I mean, for credibility sake and for not misleading people, you would think remove the lie. 

Kellan: [00:13:56] And how do you determine if it really is a lie or not? 

Kory: [00:13:59] I mean, I guess with any stated fact there should be evidence to back it up. So I guess doing research to find out if that's actually true or required the person who's putting forth that statement to be able to back it up.

Kellan: [00:14:11] So if everybody who comes to your platform is able to cite some form of research, even if it's all conflicting other research, the let them perpetuate what you know is a lie? 

Kory: [00:14:20] You know, we're getting into the weeds a little bit with this, but I think if, if this was a platform in which anyone could come and share their opinion. You know, I think of Reddit, for example, each sub Reddit has a moderator, who, there are rules you have to follow. And, you know, if you make a claim, you have to be able to back it up by research. And then the people can discuss and decide in most cases, if what you're talking about is true, or if it's a bunch of bull, but if something like a newspaper, for example, where my journalists are expected to be teaching people something, then I would hold them to a much higher standard of, of truth.

But you know what truth is can be tricky to actually decide because you can find evidence or an article somewhere that's backing up, whatever you're claiming truth is.

Kellan: [00:15:02] Yeah, it gets extremely tricky. You think about the differences between misinformation and disinformation, you think about what should be taught in our schools. What should we be indoctrinating children with and who gets to decide that. You think about where's the line between defamation and causing harm, and simply saying something that some find offensive. You know, should people be allowed to use a racial slur? Is that illegal? Should it be illegal or is that just freedom of speech? And does it matter which platform they're doing it on? 

And I think this past year or so has perhaps been the most interesting time to view this as an American because you look at the coronavirus pandemic. And I don't know if you remember this, but when COVID first really broke out, it was so hard to know what to believe. Over time. We've been able to kind of dial it in and get to a general consensus. But you had people supposedly from very credible sources saying how much of a difference masks make and others saying that they don't make any difference at all. Some saying that the virus could be spread a certain way and others saying it wasn't spread that way. It's spread a different way. There's all sorts of debate on where it came from. You look at how many different opinions there are on the effectiveness of vaccines.

And if you're the one in charge, if you get to make any sort of policy and you see people spreading information that you feel or believe or you've seen evidence to suggest is false, do you let them continue to spread that information? Particularly if you feel like it's at the expense of the people that you're trying to protect? 

Kory: [00:16:36] Yeah, definitely a tricky situation. And one that I am very grateful that I do not have to make a decision. You know, if I was mark Zuckerberg, making billions, maybe I'd be a little more willing to make that decision, but it's one that on the one hand you feel as an is a noble thing to do to censor someone and say, you cannot be on this platform anymore because you're spreading misinformation that's hurting people. And it's another side to say, well, I'm limiting your free speech. I'm limiting your ability to state what your beliefs are. And thereby I'm basically suppressing your voice. Which is, you know, antithesis of free speech. 

Kellan: [00:17:14] Yeah. And where this gets, especially tricky is when we're not really talking about governments anymore, but private institutions, especially those that, you know, their whole purpose is to increase revenue. We've talked in the past about social media, but we live in a world now where people depend on these big tech companies. You know, Google and Facebook, Twitter, that's where they get their news and their information. That's where they come to an understanding of what's going on in the world.

And these big tech companies have control over how the algorithms work and what information gets funneled to what people to the point that, ya know, the results of an election, for example, can be largely determined by the decisions that a few individuals make. You know, these individuals that run these big tech companies. 

And so what do you do? You look at Google and that's really where people go to get their information. If they wanna ask a question they're going to Google it. Okay. And yet Google is a platform with their terms of service. By using it, you agree to their terms of service. On one hand, they should be able to control whatever they want, it's their platform. But on the other hand, it is so widely used and so heavily relied upon now that they have control over public opinion in virtually any topic that they want. 

Kory: [00:18:26] Yeah. At this point, Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, Instagram. Those are the companies that shape people's narratives, right? It's like you said, it's where people are getting their news. It's where people are communicating with each other. It's where opinions are being expressed. We talked about, well, we did an entire episode on echo chambers and how these companies basically feed back at you what you want to hear so that you stick around on those platforms more. 

When these companies start to sensor the type of information that you are able to put out it further exacerbates those echo chambers. When Donald Trump was removed from Twitter and removed from Facebook, my first sort of natural reaction in the moment was like relief, you know, because it just felt like so many things that he was saying was so inflammatory, just blatant lies in my opinion. Right. And, and so for me, it was a moment of like, all right, finally, we can get some normalcy back on this platform, but then it's like realizing that I was happy that my echo chamber was more complete, that I didn't have to hear these dissenting ideas. 

It's tough, very tough to draw that line of saying people should be able to hear the information and decide for themselves, and On the other side, Holy crap. We've got this influx of conspiracy theory, Q Anon stuff going on and seeing the negative impact that that's having on society. It's just two very difficult sides to, to a complex issue. 

Kellan: [00:19:56] Yeah. And those conspiracy theories and disinformation spreads a lot faster than factual information. So do these tech companies have responsibility to limit that. And if so, who gets to decide again, what is truth and what's not? Do you want mark Zuckerberg and his handful of executives to be the ones who determine which opinions and which research, which information makes its way to you? Do you trust them to be the filters for that? 

Kory: [00:20:21] And the answer to that is no, not at all. Right. We talk on this podcast all the time about the ultra wealthy and how they make their money and what they do with their money and the decisions that they make. And yeah, it's like, do I want a handful of those people deciding not just mine, but all the people's around me sort of view of the world and that's terrifying. 

Kellan: [00:20:43] So going back to what you said about Donald Trump, there's this question of was Donald Trump's censorship, an issue of his rights to free speech, and really there's no free speech, right on any particular platform. I can't demand that my opinion be published in a particular newspaper. They can publish me if they want. And so, like we said, these tech companies, they have their terms of service. They've decided on what control they have and they get to choose whether they want to suspend somebody from their platform or not.

And you might say, well, we don't have a right to incite violence, but there's a lot of people who would say he wasn't inciting violence. And even if he was, you know, as Americans don't we believe the American revolution was justified? So if you're one of these people that truly believes, " Hey, the election was stolen from us. We have this responsibility to rise up and take back what was stolen from us." I mean, the founding fathers of this nation, weren't they speaking out against their government in a way that we wouldn't allow now under free speech under the first amendment. 

So I'm in no way trying to defend Donald Trump, but you can see how, depending on what perspective you come to the table with, you're going to have a very different view on whether it was okay for him to be censored or not. 

Kory: [00:22:00] And I think, and this isn't necessarily to speak to the moral choice to censor or not, but I think the effect of censoring Donald Trump on those platforms was the exact opposite of what they wanted. Because people like me, for example, who weren't believing what Donald Trump was saying, nothing changed for me, except for that he wasn't on the platforms I was using anymore. Right. But for those who did listen to Donald Trump, who cared about Donald Trump, who believed Donald Trump, that was just, you know, the spark that they needed to light the fire of " we're right. You know, this is scaring the tech companies so bad or scaring the government so bad that they have to sensor Donald Trump. So that he doesn't get his information out anymore," you know? And then they had a right at that point to be upset over his censorship and in a way that almost gave him more of a voice, it gave his followers a reason to feel more justified in their anger. 

Kellan: [00:22:53] Yeah. And unfortunately, I think we're not always great at putting ourselves in other people's shoes and trying to see other viewpoints. Let's say you absolutely despise Trump, but you're a big supporter of Joe Biden. You can imagine how you would feel if it was right-leaning individuals who ran these tech companies, who for whatever reason, banned Joe Biden from their platform.

And again, none of this is meant to even be political. I frankly don't know whether, what the tech companies did was something I feel okay with or not. But the idea that anybody and even somebody who was the acting president of the United States could be basically snuffed into silence is alarming. 

And going back to these tech companies, they don't really have any transparency or accountability. There's not really a paper trail that anyone can investigate and follow to see how they've influenced public opinion. There's some evidence out there that, you know, Facebook wants to push a "go vote" campaign to only certain states. They can do that without really anybody ever knowing. And yet that can sway the public by millions of votes. 

A more extreme example is outside of the United States, you look at China. And there's so good at censoring so much information, that some people refer to it as the great firewall of China. 

They have very tight control of what their people see and hear, what information gets to them and in, so doing, they really control their people's opinions. 

Kory: [00:24:18] You know, I saw today a thing about podcasting. Someone posed the question in a forum I'm in about podcasting. Hey, if I, switched to being a non explicit podcast to having explicit material, has anyone else noticed a change in, in the success of their podcast and people were saying, yeah, I noticed that when I went explicit, I stopped bleeping out the swear words and things. I was getting less downloads and they said, just so you know, China and India, they don't allow explicitly tagged podcasts to even be downloaded in the country. They're not viewed in the indices. 

And it's crazy to think that just like that, you know, 3 billion people are censored from content that we could be sharing, for example, just because we marked something as explicit. And all of this in speaking about the tech companies just goes to show how shaky of a ground we're starting to become when it comes to our ability to both give and receive free information. 

 Access to information is being stimmied as well by new business models, for example, in newspapers. You know, if I want to read something from the New York times, I might get my couple of free articles and then I have to pay for it. And the same goes with all these other paywalled sources of information. And that's a little bit scary too, because it's like, yeah, if I'm not paying for each one of these individual sources, I can't get a well-rounded on things. 

And while that's not a new concept, you've always had to pay to get the newspaper delivered to your house, for example. On the internet, it is relatively new. And the fact there's so much information available on the internet and it seems like the good quality information has to be paid for. It just goes to show that people following the path of least resistance or cheapest resistance are going to be getting information that may not be as reliable. 

The beginning of the episode, we brought up the whole idea of government and how that sacred aura of the center fades over time. And I really do think that censorship is one of those things that can rapidly disenfranchise people. When entire groups of people, especially based on their political beliefs, are starting to become censored. They feel this sense of disillusionment with the government, discontent, and they feel cheated. And I think again, that that's a lot of how the Trump supporters felt. 

We've talked about tech companies censoring, but in the last decade or so there's also been a few cases of government censorship, as well. You know, you've got Julian Assange who grew up sort of as this hacker in Australia who felt that information should be transparent and free for all to. See he eventually created WikiLeaks which leaked some pretty sensitive information within the U S government. One for example, was a video of us soldiers killing people out of a helicopter, many of them civilians, and the government tried to cover that up. 

You know, and a few of those were journalists for, for Reuters and Reuters came out and said, you know, we want that video. We want to be able to know what happened and the U S would not give it to them until it was leaked by Julian Assange. and while we're not going to get into all the details of what's happened there, you know, he has lived the last decade of his life in embassies, basically trying to flee extradition so that he's not jailed and that ultimately failed. He is jailed now. And there's been all these calls on both sides for him to be freed. It was a big hope that Donald Trump would actually pardon him. In the end he didn't, and it just begs the question, you know, where is the line between free speech between censorship and between what's considered national security and a breach of that. 

When it comes to Edward Snowden, you know, this is a big example of that as well with the whole question, or maybe excuse of security, it's all about keeping the nation secure. There's all of this information that can't be known and with Snowden he revealed that our rights to privacy were being invaded. If you haven't seen the movie Snowden, I highly recommend it. You know, Snowden himself said that it's actually very accurate to what actually happened. And it's just crazy to watch as it's revealed to him, through his work, all the different ways in which average us citizens were being spied on and how disturbing that was to him and disturbing to me, the viewer watching the show and kind of how violated it makes you feel. And it was showing how, you know, leaders in the NSA were lying straight up to Congress about what the NSA was doing.

But then they were saying, you know, within the NSA it's okay, because we're doing this for national security, we're doing this so that there's no dirty bombs going off and things like that. But they're doing what exactly? They're listening to me, they're watching me through my laptop camera, they're having access to my location data, they can read my text messages and my emails, many of which may be very private. 

Anyway. So Edward Snowden comes out and whistle blows on that and same story because it's a question of national security he has to flee to Russia where he remains again to this day in exile, basically. 

And you know, for me growing up when this all happened, I remember thinking, so what, like, yeah, the intelligence services have to do this in order to keep us safe. I don't care if they track me on my cell phone or like, why do they need to know what I'm doing? They're never going to care what I'm doing. I have nothing to hide. Right. But I I've definitely since changed my mind as privacy has become a much bigger issue. But Snowden in, in the show, it shows how he's making the case and a very good one that maybe I'm okay with that, but not everybody is and it should be every single person's right to know what's happening and they should have a say in whether or not it continues. And that was his purpose with coming out with that information. 

A friend of mine really loves this country. You know, he, he is very pro American. He also happens to be very pro privacy and in a way he is resentful of the government because of the types of things that Snowden revealed. So people like that who have so much passion for freedoms and for their rights to watch those be violated, can turn very quickly into the situations that we've described, especially in the political turmoil episode about dramatically increasing levels of disenfranchisement that can spell real trouble for governments in the future. 

Kellan: [00:30:39] Yeah, it's interesting because here we've talked about censorship as an indirect cause of collapse, right? It plays a major factor in people becoming disenfranchised and the stability of a nation or a society starting to erode and crumble as people lose that trust in their government. But at the same time, as I did research on this it's been interesting to see that throughout history, when tensions get at their highest, you know and when the nation for example, is in conflict and at war with other nations, that's when the government starts to censor the most. And there's fear of espionage, there's fear of dissension and the government. It feels so much more of a need to keep things in control. And so not only is this a major cause and collapse, it also is a major factor in the way that collapse will play out. 

As everything becomes less stable, as things start to fall apart, there's more issues there's more turmoil, ya know people are struggling to survive, there's mass migration, whatever the case is and however things really play out it's as things become less and less stable that the government has to do more and more to try and maintain that stability and try and keep control. 

Kory: [00:31:52] Yeah. I think it's a sign of a sort of dying empire, right. An empire that is trying so hardly to, to continue to cling to power that not only do they exert more energy holding power outside of their own country to remain an empire, but within the country as well they clamp down. 

Kellan: [00:32:09] By the way, that's kind of a feedback loop, right. As they clamp down even more that's when people lose even more trust and the government has to have them clamp down even more. 

Kory: [00:32:18] Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And you know, we see this a bit today in an interesting increase in presidents classifying certain groups as domestic terrorists. You know, Donald Trump classified Antifa as a terrorist organization, even though Antifa technically isn't an organization, it's more of a idea. You know, if someone said I am anti-fascist, does that suddenly mean that I'm a part of Antifa and I'm a terrorist? But it feels like the freedoms are slowly being narrowed down further and further, you know, just recently president Biden and his white house came out with the white house's views on domestic terrorism. And they, once again, a new classification came out and said that "anarchist violent extremists who violently oppose all forms of capitalism, corporate, globalization, and governing institutions, which they perceive as harmful to society." You know, part of that language was people who oppose all forms of capitalism. So basically saying if you're anti-capitalist, you could be involved in terrorism. Now they did go so far as to say " mere advocacy of political or social positions, political activism, use of strong rhetoric or generalized philosophic embrace a violent tactics, may not constitute violent extremism and may be constitutionally protected." So they put in that caveat that maybe it's constitutionally protected, but there's a lot of gray area there. I think mostly they're saying once the violence starts, that's when you become a terrorist, which makes sense. But it seems like the lines being drawn further and further to now say, you know, if, if you're anti-capitalist and you throw in some violence, you're now a domestic terrorist, that's scary. 

Kellan: [00:33:55] And there's no way to know exactly how far this will go. Obviously it's already playing a part in how people feel about our government, but, you know, speaking of tech companies where we talked about that before I got a notification from LinkedIn, and it said something like "here's a job you might be interested in, or that you could be a good fit for." And it was for an FBI agent and I kind of chuckled to myself wondering, you know, if I were to apply for a job like that, and they do all of their very robust background checks, they would definitely discover this podcast. 

And I feel like on this podcast, we've made it clear that we love America. And maybe I'm speaking for both of us here, but I feel very grateful to live here. And yet I feel like we've been open about what we see as flaws in this country. I personally don't feel like we've incited any violence or spoken out in a way that's inappropriate to any degree. We're just sharing research and what we've seen and what we're learning. And yet I almost guarantee that this podcast alone would disqualify me from a government position like that. 

And as things become less and less stable, it's interesting just to wonder, would this podcast ever get censored? Is the fact that we're talking about societal collapse something that feels like enough of a thread that somebody along the line, whether that's the government or whether that's certain tech companies, you know, might feel like we don't want people to hear this.

Kory: [00:35:19] Yeah. You know, at this point in time, I couldn't see that happening, you know, right now, but who knows in one year, five years, 10 years, what the situation is going to be, as things continually get worse, like you said, could they look at this podcast and say, this is something that's going to cause mass hysteria or, you know, they bring up flaws of capitalism and how they blame capitalism, partly for the situation that we're in and that's creating violence, you know, I don't know.

We never have, we never will incite violence of any sort, but we've seen that the government and platforms have been able to silence people and that there's nothing they can do about it. It wouldn't have to be that the government says you're arrested for talking about this on your podcast, but it could be that pressure is applied to Buzzsprout, which is our podcast host to say that we are going against their terms of service and suddenly we're, we're quiet. Right? We're silenced. And I'm not saying that I think that that's what's going to happen, but I don't think I'd be at all that surprised if the future that we're headed into as collapse continues, turns into that amount of control, trying to be kept by the government. 

Yeah. And in many parts of the world, I don't think people would feel comfortable having these conversations in a public way like this. So I feel very fortunate that we do enjoy the freedom of speech that we enjoy. But I'm also grateful that we've taken this on as a topic because both in a direct way and an indirect way, this feels like an important factor in the broader conversation around collapse and where we're going as a society.


(Cont.) Episode 44 - Censorship
(Cont.) Episode 44 - Censorship