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The Censors

Ancient Rome had an office called the Censor. Like with the consuls during the age of the Republic, at any given time there were two magistrates that held this office. Their job was, in large part, to supervise public morality -- and their power to do so was unquestioned. The office was both revered and hated.


If a Roman citizen did not act in accordance with the expectations of the Censor, he was empowered to enact a punishment called nota or animadversio censoria ("censorial reproach") by a mark next to their name in the census.


This mark or notoriety punished the “evil-doer” by:

1. public shaming,

2. stripping the violator of certain privileges, and;

3. banning them from the public forum.


Fast forward to the new Roman Empire separated from the old one by two thousand years and seven thousand miles.

The United States does not have an office of public Censor. We do not need it. Instead, we have vested that power into two offices: one held by Mark Zuckerberg and one held by Jack Dorsey.


We have empowered these men without question to censor us in:

1. public shaming,

2. stripping the violator of certain privileges, and;

3. banning them from the twin forums of social media.

It seems the old adage is true that history only repeats itself.


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