by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger
There is nothing more malleable than the mind of a child. Their minds are like sponges, absorbing everything they come in contact with. Previously, we’ve discussed the power of moving images as propaganda, including propaganda aimed at children. Film and video can also be used to educate as illustrated by excellent children’s programs such as Sesame Street. The benefits of this technology in that regard is unquestionable. But what happens when education becomes indoctrination? What happens when the lessons taught are hatred and intolerance? Does this cross the line from education into political propaganda? A recent story raises this very issue and others.
“The Andrew Show” is a crudely produced show viewable on YouTube. It’s not just crude in the sense of production values, although it is that. It is crude in content as well. Subtitled “A Show For White Kids”, the show promotes the White Supremacist views of the Ku Klux Klan. This is no surprise considering the young host of the show is Andrew Pendergraft, the grandson of Thomas Robb. If you don’t know Robb by name, he’s the National Director for the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and Pastor of the Christian Revival Center.
I invite you to look for yourself at some of the videos below and ask yourself should there be additional limits to political free speech?
To save bandwidth, I only embedded a single video here. To see the full playlist of videos, use the “Watch on YouTube” option in at the bottom right side of the embedded player. Videos were still being added to the series as recently as April of this year.
This story also raises other issues. When does propaganda become child abuse? Raising a child to have such socially intolerant racial views is not preparing him for success in the real world where living and working with people of different races and creeds is a given. But is it grounds to interfere with custody? We’ve seen stories before about parents losing custody of their children for giving them Nazi names. The production of this show not only arguably is a disservice to this child, but to any child who watches it. It is, however, political free speech. Free speech comes with consequences and duties and has recognized reasonable exceptions at law such as defamation, incitement, and threats. While these videos are certainly disturbing, they don’t rise to the level of the current exceptions and are clearly protected political free speech. Political free speech is a paramount concern for protection and at the heart of the Founder’s desire to protect the ability of the public to dissent. With the noted exceptions to free speech in general, I don’t think anyone should be stopped from expressing a political view simply because it is unpopular or distasteful. Bad ideas will be sorted out in the marketplace of ideas so long as political free speech is protected and debate encouraged. However, when the issue is children, you are not just shaping the minds of the young, you are shaping the future. A responsible society protects its weakest most vulnerable members and no category of human is more vulnerable than children. Human children are require a huge investment to be shepherded into adulthood compared to most other species.
How far should we go to protect that investment? How far can we reasonably go to protect that investment and protect other valid concerns like liberties and freedoms? Including the right to raise your children as you see fit? Is ill-equipping a child for survival in life as damaging as incitement or a threat?
When do unpopular political views cross the line into being directly damaging to others?
Should society limit political free speech by exception, no matter how heinous or unpopular, when children are involved?
Can such a restriction ever be reasonable?
Keep in mind that anything that can be learned can be unlearned.
What do you think?
Source(s): Huffington Post, YouTube, Wikipedia
The Propaganda Series;
Related articles of interest;
Mythology and the New Feudalism by Mike Spindell
How about Some Government Propaganda for the People Paid for by the People Being Propagandized? by Elaine Magliaro
Is Freedom of the Press Dead? by Lawrence E. Rafferty
~submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger