If you’ve been in any class dealing with legal issues, journalism or American history in general, it’s likely you’ve heard free speech described as a marketplace. The idea was first brought forth in the 1859 book On Liberty by John Stuart Mill. In brief, it argues that the sharing of ideas is similar to a marketplace, where vendors all compete to try to sway people to purchase their products: The best products sell out, and the bad products soon close up shop. In the same way, John believed that the general public would be able to do the same with ideas—ignoring the bad ones and raising up the good ones.
As it turns out, there’s just such a marketplace set up on YouTube, and its name is Jubilee. The channel seeks to “provoke understanding and create human connection,” and it does so by providing a plethora of platforms to share all sorts of ideas. And based on the multitude of different series the channel has, there’s a whole bunch of ways they accomplish that.
One popular series is called “Middle Ground,” where three people holding one view sit down and discuss with three people who (likely) hold opposing views. These topics cover a wide variety of things, such as the economy, abortion and even polygamy. And whereas “Middle Ground” works to bring differing viewpoints together, “Spectrum” shows how people who hold one viewpoint don’t always completely agree, too. This series forces people who hold the same general viewpoint to rate how strongly they agree or disagree with various questions related to their views.
Just to throw a wrench into all of it, “Odd One Out” combines the two previous series together by turning it into a game. In this game, a group of people who all believe the same thing are tasked with talking with one another to figure out which one of them doesn’t actually belong, such as “6 Meat Eaters vs 1 Secret Vegan.”
The series “Ranking” and “Versus 1” showcase another type of opinion—that is, opinion based purely on personal taste (these series will be more fully explained in our “Content Concerns” section.) Other series, like “Take or Split” and “STACKS,” exist to force people to split an amount of money between themselves, typically decided based on convincing one another on their personal situations.
And to make things a bit more problematic, Jubilee has a series called “Sex Ed,” in which people give their opinions on all sorts of sensual topics that viewers may not be ready to hear.
With the Jubilee marketplace so fully saturated full of opinions, it’s hard to discern which vendors to avoid and which to approach. In fact, the whole place might just be a bit overwhelming. We’ll give you a brief overview of what you can expect on this shopping experience.
Jubilee’s many series provide a platform for viewers to learn other perspectives, and they help reinforce that those with whom you may disagree aren’t automatically “the worst.” The channel generally does a good job at remaining impartial, allowing each perspective its time to shine. Additionally, many of the questions asked by the Jubilee staff are particularly relevant to the specific group of people, helping those outside that group learn basic information about them.
Of course, a channel that focuses on a bunch of people and their beliefs will have a lot of ideas that many will find unsavory or inappropriate for their families. The channel covers various religions and political issues, along with ideas predicated on sex (including asking questions to strippers, polygamists and even nudists). One older series called “Sex Ed” discusses various sensual topics, such as pornography, LGBT topics and more.
In addition, though many of the videos contain civil people discussing their beliefs, others can have belligerent arguments break out—particularly in Jubilee’s “Middle Ground” series.
A couple of series ask participants to rank others in various ways. For instance, “Ranking” forces people to organize themselves on a scale of 1 to 5 based on how likely they fit a predetermined criterion, such as “Strangers Rank Their Intelligence.” “Versus 1” puts one person against a bunch of potential dates, and they’ll occasionally have to choose (at least in part) on physical features. These series can sometimes seem cruel to the ones who don’t score high or aren’t chosen.
People swear, and the swears are not censored. Others talk about experiences with drug use.
Contrary to the biblical doctrine, not everything on the channel Jubilee is worth celebrating. Many expressed views will go against biblical doctrine. Other ideas, like those centered around sex, won’t be ones that you’d want to listen in on, let alone allow your kids to hear. A recent video centers on asking questions to a (censored) naked man and woman who embrace a nudist lifestyle, and another asks strippers to rank themselves by how much money they make. People are sometimes selfish, and others are self-righteous.
Of course, there’s also some kind and selfless people who appear on the channel, too. Christians who know and adhere to biblical values are featured. Many conversations between opposing viewpoints bear fruit and can be encouraging to watch.
But finding those instances requires you to navigate the Jubilee marketplace to begin with, avoiding all the other, negative vendors calling your name.
Though he was born in Kansas, Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics and hermeneutics. His favorite movie is La La Land.