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Thoughts on Proposals Related to Free Speech

YYW
Posts: 36,252
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12/10/2015 8:58:14 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
There are some who believe that to "preserve free speech" what is necessary to do is to pass laws which restrict the right to free expression of others. So, banning hate speech is a common proposal (i.e. laws against Holocaust deniers, or laws against calling people racial pejoratives, or laws against "sexist" speech).

Obvious idiocy of this notion aside (that you do not protect free speech by restricting expression--the two are just plainly logically opposed), there is a secondary level of idiocy that is just the death knell to such proposals.

The sounding question of that death knell is this: the issue of who decides what speech is defamatory, or racist, or sexist, or---most egregious of all---simply politically incorrect. The answer is obvious: the government.

So, the proposal (postmodern theorists of various kinds are especially bad for this) necessarily is going to empower the government to fine people or to throw them in jail (like they do in Canada, and the UK, and France, and all kinds of other places in the world except the United States to some extent) for words that come out of their mouth that reflect political ideas.

And anyone who has even a modicum of knowledge about how government power works, with respect to the regulation of speech (historically in all western countries) is that free speech, expression, assembly or what have you only exists to the extent that you're a privileged person in the society.

So me, a white upper middle class male... I have the most right to free speech of any other kind of person out there. A black community organizer protesting police brutality... well they can just get shot by the police, or arrested and thrown in jail on some unrelated charge because they said stuff and did stuff that threatened other people's political power.

But a guy like me? I can say virtually whatever I want, and not risk going to jail... at least, because the other people who rule the country (white guys) do not want the government to be powerful enough to come after me, because if they can come after me, then the government can also come after them.

I might not get tenured if I published a particularly critical paper (assuming it even got published, which would be unlikely) of US foreign policy (something like my comments on that complete piece of garbage the Heritage Foundation published related to Russia) if my criticisms fell outside the scope of what was doctrinally permissible... but I'm not going to go to jail.

If a Mexican immigrant to the US (read: lawful green card holder, at least) started organizing people in Texas to protest NAFTA, or some Polynesian refugee living in California started talking about the Trans-Pacific partnership... they would be deported probably within a week of their doing that. Or, of course, if a Black person protested (who was not one of those bitchy, sheltered college kids at Mizzou, for example), police brutality in New York by organizing in the same way that the Black Panthers did long ago, that guy would almost surely find himself in Rikers (i.e. jail).

There are a lot on the left who think that anti-hate speech and anti-defamation laws are a good thing. They are just completely wrong, in every cognizable sense, and there is no world in which they are right, for reasons that should be intuitively obvious to anyone who bothered to think about them for more than, like, thirty seconds.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
Posts: 36,252
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12/10/2015 9:03:34 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
This is sort of an extension of my prolific criticisms of the concept of "micro-aggressions," because that field of research is what is going to lay the foundation for laws that are going to be used to silence political dissent in the future by people in power against people who are not privileged.

This is why, to the extent that any person actively endorses or participates in the linguistic orthodoxy of political correctness, what you are actively engaged in is laying the foundation for the erosion of First Amendment Rights. This is entirely foreseeable, by, like, anyone with an active brain, and therefore puts you on the hook for that outcome.

Read: if you silence people based on political correctness, then you are a bad person who hates democracy.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
Posts: 36,252
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12/10/2015 9:15:32 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
And I really tire of postmodern liberals making vacuous proposals about this kind of thing, or wannabe intellectuals writing equally vacuous papers on the same.
Tsar of DDO
BlackFlags
Posts: 904
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12/10/2015 10:37:17 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/10/2015 9:15:32 PM, YYW wrote:
And I really tire of postmodern liberals making vacuous proposals about this kind of thing, or wannabe intellectuals writing equally vacuous papers on the same.

I always have to stop and pause for a moment when liberals use this word. It fills me with such joy.

Postmodern liberals have always been a problem, and there have always been those out there to criticize them. My favorite example is George Orwell, who got sick of the liberal elite in Britain sucking Stalin's dick and glorifying communism during WW2, that he wrote the book Animal Farm.
YYW
Posts: 36,252
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12/11/2015 2:31:08 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/10/2015 10:37:17 PM, BlackFlags wrote:
At 12/10/2015 9:15:32 PM, YYW wrote:
And I really tire of postmodern liberals making vacuous proposals about this kind of thing, or wannabe intellectuals writing equally vacuous papers on the same.

I always have to stop and pause for a moment when liberals use this word. It fills me with such joy.

Postmodern liberals have always been a problem, and there have always been those out there to criticize them. My favorite example is George Orwell, who got sick of the liberal elite in Britain sucking Stalin's dick and glorifying communism during WW2, that he wrote the book Animal Farm.

Orwell was an excellent example of a guy who could hold a mirror up to elites and show them how hideous they really are.

What's really interesting is the *missing* preface to 1984, and its scathing critique of the UK.
Tsar of DDO