Information plays a key role in human behaviour on an individual and societal level, as it can inform any decision that is being made, from the trivial to the important.

The invention of the press was a key milestone for the flow of information with the dramatic reduction of the effort needed for a copy of a document to be produced.

The next milestones were the invention of the radio and the television, which allowed for the live transmission of information in the more direct forms of sound and moving image through long distances. While all the above technologies made information accessible to larger groups of people, they all share a one-way direction of information: from the publisher or broadcasting station to the people.

The advent of the internet era signified the ability of the people, the audience, to not only receive but also to broadcast their own ideas and information. From the mid-nineties, the internet has been giving the user a sense of independence and empowerment, as anyone could circulate information that in many cases would not be circulated by the larger news outlets. The proliferation of broadband internet connection evened the playing field even more, as it gave internet users the capability to broadcast visual and sound material that competes with material produced by large media outlets to millions of people. YouTube has served as a platform that gave all kinds of users the ability to broadcast their material freely, regardless of content, including gun related material. And it can be argued that gun vloggers played a very important role in introducing the younger generations to modern gun culture and in pushing back attempts on further regulating firearm ownership. The transition of the internet user base to a larger audience pulled larger outlets into the internet era and while this has increased the volume of information circulating online, it has also imported restrictive politics and rules, whose effects previously plagued the mainstream and whose absence  contributed to internet appeal. The recent update to YouTube rules, that will undoubtedly affect negatively most gun related channels, is an example of the attempt of media outlets to sanitize the internet according to their perception of what the people want and don’t want to see (or what echoes within the closed chamber of the media world). Since entities such as Google and YouTube have a virtual monopoly in their respective fields, and since these entities do not de-platform all but certain viewpoints, it is a matter of great debate on the ethical implications of such actions.

In response to YouTube’s new rules, gun channels have posted videos with protests and many migrated to … irregular sites. InRangeTV, a channel co-owned by Karl Kasadra with frequent appearances by Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons, migrated to Pornhub. Needless to say their Facebook page is one of the funniest things on the internet right now, as the rate of puns and jokes has gone cyclic.

It is true, though, that the whole situation is anything but funny. I was never a fan of conspiracies, but it is a common occurrence nowadays for certain opinions to be stifled regularly and with impunity, while others are promoted. And don’t get me wrong, I am anything but a typical conservative; the internet meme that says that “I would like gay couples to be able to defend their children and their marijuana crops with guns” resonates perfectly with me. What I have a problem with it a sick collectivism, the idea that everyone must lose rights for the greater good. From guns to speech and even to the ability to enjoy a tasty steak. And I wonder how stifling individualism would be beneficial  to the greater good. If the individual is considered an entity worthy of respect, what you will get is a society of happy individuals. In collectivist ideologies you become a  member of a mass of people subjected to the whim of what is considered at the time the “greater good”

I will remind you that at certain times in history the “greater good” for your “collective” was the extermination of your neighbor.

Featured Image Courtesy of InRangeTV via Pornhub.

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