August 14, 2014

Watch out for the Cyberbullying Meme

By In Blogs, Mitchell Thompson

After the death of Robin Williams, it was discovered that his daughter Zelda Williams was the recipient of online harassment via Twitter. I haven’t really taken the time to look into the harassment, but reportedly, “two anonymous Twitter users posted a gruesome fake autopsy photo that purported to be of her father’s corpse.”  Which of course is quite a disgusting act.

Twitter, and Facebook “(which owns Instagram, where the digitally manipulated photo was reportedly also circulating),” released statements about how they were suspending the account of the two users.  All well and good I suppose.

However, I was curious to read that the word that was used to describe the harassers’ behavior was the Dominant Social Theme phrase “cyberbullying.” Have you heard this word before? Watch out for it in the future. It is going to be used as justification for government-driven internet control and nanny-state interventionism.  Rather than just dismissing the two Twitter users as “trolls,” they are being deemed “cyberbullies.”  My prediction, and fear, is that this phrase will garner actual pseudo-legal use and all who express disagreement with Progressive Orthodoxy (i.e. saying “marriage is defined as one man and one woman) will be accused of cyberbullying.

Indeed, in the very same Daily Dot article linked about, the final paragraph includes the following:

But what about the hundreds of thousands of other women who have been cyber-bullied on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram, who didn’t have the benefit of a famous father or a media platform to speak out against their attackers? Will Twitter’s changes in policy also serve to protect them from cyber-bullying and harassment?

Now, let’s dig deeper into the Daily Dot’s usage of the word cyberbullying.  They quote and link to a “TakePart” article which includes the following sentences:

The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) says that parents have an important role to play in helping to stop cyberbullying. They can “start by talking to kids about the issue and teaching them the rules below that will help prevent cyberbullying from happening to them or someone they know.”

Among the NCPC suggestions: “If someone sends a mean or threatening message, don’t respond. Save it or print it out and show it to an adult.”

It is a bit creepy that the National Crime Prevention Council (which itself has an Orwellian name) is working to deal with “cyberbullying.”  Will online bullying (which, because it is by nature not physical, ultimately amounts to offending people of hurting other people’s feelings) become a crime? Will saying mean things become illegal? And if the “meanness” is subjectively interpreted, who will decide the disallowable content?

On Monday, The Washington Post reported on a new online anti-bullying campaign saying, “The campaign is a joint effort by the Ad Council, a nonprofit that distributes public service announcements….”

[…]

The Post also notes that, “Of particular concern to education advocates is bullying directed against students perceived to be gay or lesbian—such as Tyler Clementi, the 18-year-old who killed himself in 2010 after allegedly being bullied online by his college roommate, who was convicted of invasion of privacy and other charges for using a webcam to film Clementi and another man kissing.”

[…]

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is quoted as saying, “We are all responsible for our children’s safety . . . And no one can afford to be a bystander.”

Whenever you hear some top dog bureaucrat opine that “The Children’s” safety requires action by “all of us,” remember the following translation: “As representative for the almighty State, I am here to inform you that I know how to raise your children better than you do. So you all must tow the line. And if you don’t, you bystander you, you shall be shunned from civil society.  Now don’t hurt the children’s feelings by teaching them right and wrong. Don’t let them face adversaries and trials in their lives, lest you too be convicted of criminal behavior and child abuse.”

Written by Mitchell Thompson

I was born and raised in Northern California where I was homeschooled. I became a Protestant (Calvinistic) seven years ago. I was also, starting in 2006, a Buchananite conservative until I met Ron Paul during the 2008 elections. From then on I read everything I could from the Mises Institute and am now satisfied as a Rothbardian libertarian. I am slowly becoming a more confessional Reformed Baptist. Hoping to get more and more involved on this site. My Twitter handle is @MitchRThompson. Cheers.