What do you do when a widely celebrated global conference — whose only mission statement is to “spread ideas” — refuses to publish an idea because of its political message?
That is the dilemma we are currently facing. The National Journal reported yesterday that Chris Anderson, the curator of all things TED, along with a few other officials, decided he would not post a talk given by venture capitalist and Patriotic Millionaire Nick Hanauer because the speech was “too politically controversial.”
TED, if you didn’t know, is a non-profit foundation that hosts conferences for the world’s most imaginative and influential thinkers to share their findings, observations, and insights with others. Their stated goal is pretty straightforward: “Our mission: Spreading ideas.”
That Chris Anderson is refusing to spread this particular idea demonstrates a clear violation of that mission statement: TED is no longer the neutral arbiter it professed to be.
We’ve had it backward for the last 30 years. Rich businesspeople like me don’t create jobs. Rather they are a consequence of an ecosystemic feedback loop animated by middle-class consumers and when they thrive, businesses grow and hire, and owners profit. That’s why taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all is a great deal for both the middle class and the rich.
The U.S. has the fourth-highest income inequality in the world. Understanding how this atrociously high rate affects American life — from employment and healthcare, to security and education — is of vital importance. Indeed, it’s a national conversation we should all be taking part in. (Not to mention the fact that Hanauer criticizes both Democrats and Republicans in his speech).
How disheartening that a global forum responsible for disseminating so many incredible and inspiring thoughts and ideas throughout the years is now choosing censorship over enlightenment. What a betrayal.
Tell Chris Anderson to release the video on TED by signing this petition. You can also call TED directly at 212. 346. 9333 or send them an email in your support of a open dialogue about income inequality and the myths around our current tax system and “job creation.”