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Comments I'm posting elsewhere, in defense of free speech

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May. 17th, 2014 | 11:31 pm

Remember the other part of the no-free-speech side: "You do not have to provide a forum for those you disagree with. There is no principle that says everyone should have an opportunity to present their side. Censorship of opposing views is just what they deserve. If they weren't assholes, no one would criticize or censor them."

What now prevents the New York Times and other organs of the 1%, from suppressing all statements from Occupy, and running only the most negative views* of them? When the 1% buy enough stock in Google, why would Google continue to list sites criticizing the 1%?

Maybe some public respect for the principle of, oh dear, "free speech"?

* altogether, instead of partially as they do now

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ccjohn: Except we only get to speak at all because we all supposedly believe in free speech. They will come after you or me next time. Not one of us has never said anything the mob cannot insist demands action.

You're right on the big point, but it isn't the "mob" that will come after us, at least not soon. First it will be the rich who will give us less and less "free space" in their big newspapers and You-Tube. The will define more and more of the 99%'s positions as "too offensive to be allowed any time."

Later, (and maybe already), who is it that will inform and incite the "mob"? Astro-turfing is easy for those with plenty of money.

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Comments {3}

Greetings Fellow Comstoks!

(no subject)

from: fengi
date: May. 18th, 2014 02:57 pm (UTC)
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Um, no, no one has said the imaginary quote above. That is a strawman argument. The actual arguments for why bigots suffer consequences are not these.

Meanwhile, let's look at the specific context, the incidents which brought you to write this post:
1. A rich man with a history of bigoted business practices is finally caught on tape saying bigoted things about his employees, after which he faces fines he may not have to pay, and will be given large amounts of money for his team - because he signed a legal agreement when he bought the team that it could be taken away for misconduct.
2. A man was promoted to a position in which he is supposed to represent the public face of a business and non-profit devoted to free information, which made it a problem that he gave funded a hate group which sponsored legislation which took away the rights of others and was ruled unconstitutional, and spread disinformation to do so. This group is also opposed to the part of the first amendment which separates church and state.
3. An elected official in charge of police was heard saying racist things about the president and when confronted, doubled down on his racism in ways that indicate he cannot be a good steward.
4. A guy who brought in gun toting lunatics in order to not pay fees for using land that wasn't his turned out to be a huge racist - which is an explicit part of the militia philosophy he follows.
5. A women's study professor rips up a protest sign and is condemned by people on both the left and right, because attacking protesters is wrong. It is clearly something which rarely happens. Some people lie and pretend "the left" support such things.
6. A wealthy man with a tv show almost loses his TV show after he gives an interview expressing his bigotry, because part of the job of being an entertainer is not driving away the audience. He got to use his free speech and others got to use theirs to say "I don't think this man should have a tv show."

Now, had you cited any other type of "censorship" that didn't involve rich white people who are still rich after getting in trouble because free doesn't mean free of consequences, I might by this. And there are plenty - like material being censored by international conglomerates who don't want to piss of the Chinese, or any number of teachers for any number of reasons, or the endless examples of employees being threatened with retaliation if they even talk about unionizing or following basic employment law. If you really gave a shit about these things as a "bemused leftist" you make posts about these incidents and give concrete examples. You'd write about the attempt to punish the Charleston College for having Fun Home on the syllabus. But you are quiet about those things - instead, the subtext of you posts are "leftists, minorities, women, gays are the real oppressors". The posts about free speech occur after some powerful white got into trouble because free speech means people are free to react how they want to what you say.

Free speech does not mean everyone gets to talk everywhere all the time without consequence or universal neutrality. Free does not mean free of judgement or law or reactions, That's both physically, socially, legally and financially impossible. By your standards, editing violates free speech, libel laws violate free speech, being arrested for constantly screaming at other people in a bar violates free speech, anti-harassment laws violate free speech.

Your focus and context, whether you intend or not, ends up defending is the right of the powerful to do whatever they want without those with less power getting to respond. When you start writing as much about a disadvantaged person being silenced, I believe the motive is actual free speech.

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Greetings Fellow Comstoks!

(no subject)

from: fengi
date: May. 18th, 2014 03:32 pm (UTC)
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Media consolidation and the Koch brothers suing critics is not the same as people saying a rich bigot shouldn't be given more money, or HR rules about workplace harassment.

Whether you intend it or not, bringing up media consolidation and free speech when the topic is powerful bigots facing consequences for talking shit comes off as defending is the right of white guys to say whatever they want without those with less power getting to respond. It's like you are saying if someone supports bigots being criticized or punished, they are also supporting NYT silencing people. These aren't the same issue and you know it.

Free speech does not mean everyone gets to talk everywhere all the time without consequence or universal neutrality. Free does not mean free of judgement or law or reactions. That's both physically, socially, legally and financially impossible. By your standards, editing violates free speech, libel laws violate free speech, being arrested for constantly screaming at other people in a bar violates free speech, getting fired for talking about a co-workers breasts violates free speech. Nor is every exercise of moderation fair, but not every alleged unfairness is the same or connected.

When you start writing as much about a disadvantaged person being silenced, I believe the motive is actual free speech.

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bemused_leftist

(no subject)

from: bemused_leftist
date: May. 18th, 2014 08:22 pm (UTC)
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Your replies here are slightly more civil than your previous tone. But they are still full of ad hominem, and structured around ad hominem.

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