GIVE TIL IT HURTS

The continued existence of this site depends entirely on contributions from its readers. If you're able to, please consider donating or subscribing to CF. Thanks!


  

THANKS!

Free speech: dead as the dodo

The incomparable John Hayward’s latest.

A generation after the supposed triumph of classical liberalism at the “end of history,” free speech exists nowhere on Earth as a matter of principle. Every single tech mogul’s commitment to free speech evaporates when powerful authoritarians demand censorship.

Authoritarian foreign regimes know they only need to threaten blockage of Western social media services to make their management comply with censorship demands. Some push back harder than others, but in the end, they all cave. They can’t afford to lose access to growing markets.

Tech moguls rationalize to themselves that they can still do some good in oppressive countries by complying with some censorship demands – it’s better than being silenced completely. Any way you rationalize it, it’s a power calculation that limits the speech of the powerless.

Domestically, we’ve seen government officials using economic leverage and ideological affinity to limit speech in collusion with their Little Partners in the private sector. The ruling left-wing Party has operatives in tech companies that did much of the dirty work.

The power calculations have shifted a little lately, especially after Musk bought Twitter, but they’re still power calculations, not adamant defenses of free speech as a matter of principle. The variables changed, but the equations remain.

A troubling percentage of the free world’s population evidently believes censorship IS free speech – as though speech were a limited resource that must be allocated by the State with an eye toward “justice” and “equity.” Only by silencing some can others be truly free to speak.

“Hate speech is not free speech!” is a pure power calculation: those with power will decide what constitutes “hate speech.” They invariably rule that disagreement with their ideology and political demands is “hateful” and must be silenced.

How utterly convenient for them.

In America That Was, the very place where such forgetfulness was never supposed to happen, we somehow lost sight of the fact that “offensive” speech is the very embodiment of free speech—that once we’ve allowed TPTB to stifle speech they deem “offensive,” the hourglass has been turned over, the countdown to the inevitable loss of yet another Constitutionally-enumerated right has begun. Thus:

Speech is vital to political organization – in the Internet era, they are nearly synonymous. Twitter mobs have a direct pipeline to real political power via lazy, biased legacy media – provided they agree with the ruling Party. That pipeline is tightly shut against dissidents.

“Disinformation” is also a crude political calculation, not a high-minded and principled commitment to protect the population against fraud. We see examples every single day of disinformation that is tolerated, and boosted, when it comes from members of the ruling Party.

As with hate speech, the powerful decide what constitutes actionable “disinformation,” and they cannot resist the temptation of heavily tilting those scales against dissenters and speakers of forbidden truth. Party apparatchiks are never banned or reprimanded for disinformation.

The “end of history” was actually the triumph of authoritarianism, not classical liberalism – political scientists and commentators were just too giddy over the fall of the Soviet Union to see it. Individual rights, beginning with free speech, have steadily eroded since then.

It’s Doc Zero; reading it all isn’t mandatory, but you’re going to want to nonetheless.

1

1 thought on “Free speech: dead as the dodo

Comments are closed.

Latest Posts

Latest Comments

CF Archives

Categories

Comments policy

NOTE: In order to comment, you must be registered and approved as a CF user. Since so many user-registrations are attempted by spam-bots for their own nefarious purposes, YOUR REGISTRATION MAY BE ERRONEOUSLY DENIED.

If you are in fact a legit hooman bean desirous of registering yourself a CF user name so as to be able to comment only to find yourself caught up as collateral damage in one of my irregularly (un)scheduled sweeps for hinky registration attempts, please shoot me a kite at the email addy over in the right sidebar and let me know so’s I can get ya fixed up manually.

ALSO NOTE: You MUST use a valid, legit email address in order to successfully register, the new anti-spam software I installed last night requires it. My thanks to Barry for all his help sorting this mess out last night.

Comments appear entirely at the whim of the guy who pays the bills for this site and may be deleted, ridiculed, maliciously edited for purposes of mockery, or otherwise pissed over as he in his capricious fancy sees fit. The CF comments section is pretty free-form and rough and tumble; tolerance level for rowdiness and misbehavior is fairly high here, but is NOT without limit.

Management is under no obligation whatever to allow the comments section to be taken over and ruined by trolls, Leftists, and/or other oxygen thieves, and will take any measures deemed necessary to prevent such. Conduct yourself with the merest modicum of decorum, courtesy, and respect and you'll be fine. Pick pointless squabbles with other commenters, fling provocative personal insults, issue threats, or annoy the host (me) and...you won't.

Should you find yourself sanctioned after running afoul of the CF comments policy as stated and feel you have been wronged, please download and complete the Butthurt Report form below in quadruplicate; retain one copy for your personal records and send the others to the email address posted in the right sidebar.

Please refrain from whining, sniveling, and/or bursting into tears and waving your chubby fists around in frustrated rage, lest you suffer an aneurysm or stroke unnecessarily. Your completed form will be reviewed and your complaint addressed whenever management feels like getting around to it. Thank you.

Ye Aulde CF Blogrolle–now with RSS feeds! (where available)

"Mike Hendrix is, without a doubt, the greatest one-legged blogger in the world." ‐Henry Chinaski

Subscribe to CF!

Support options

Shameless begging

If you enjoy the site, please consider donating:

Become a CF member!

Correspondence

Email addy: mike-at-this-url dot etc
All e-mails assumed to be legitimate fodder for publication, scorn, ridicule, or other public mockery unless specified as private by the sender

Allied territory

Alternatives to shitlib social media: A few people worth following on Gab:

Fuck you

Kill one for mommy today! Click to embiggen

Notable Quotes

"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards."
Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

Claire's Cabal—The Freedom Forums

FREEDOM!!!

"There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters."
Daniel Webster

“When I was young I was depressed all the time. But suicide no longer seemed a possibility in my life. At my age there was very little left to kill.”
Charles Bukowski

“A slave is one who waits for someone to come and free him.”
Ezra Pound

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”
Frank Zappa

“The right of a nation to kill a tyrant in case of necessity can no more be doubted than to hang a robber, or kill a flea.”
John Adams

"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves."
Bertrand de Jouvenel

"It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged."
GK Chesterton

"I predict that the Bush administration will be seen by freedom-wishing Americans a generation or two hence as the hinge on the cell door locking up our freedom. When my children are my age, they will not be free in any recognizably traditional American meaning of the word. I’d tell them to emigrate, but there’s nowhere left to go. I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free."
Donald Surber

"The only way to live free is to live unobserved."
Etienne de la Boiete

"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid."
Dwight D. Eisenhower

"To put it simply, the Left is the stupid and the insane, led by the evil. You can’t persuade the stupid or the insane and you had damn well better fight the evil."
Skeptic

"There is no better way to stamp your power on people than through the dead hand of bureaucracy. You cannot reason with paperwork."
David Black, from Turn Left For Gibraltar

"If the laws of God and men, are therefore of no effect, when the magistracy is left at liberty to break them; and if the lusts of those who are too strong for the tribunals of justice, cannot be otherwise restrained than by sedition, tumults and war, those seditions, tumults and wars, are justified by the laws of God and man."
John Adams

"The limits of tyranny are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
Frederick Douglass

"Give me the media and I will make of any nation a herd of swine."
Joseph Goebbels

“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.”
Ronald Reagan

"Ain't no misunderstanding this war. They want to rule us and aim to do it. We aim not to allow it. All there is to it."
NC Reed, from Parno's Peril

"I just want a government that fits in the box it originally came in."
Bill Whittle

Best of the best

Finest hosting service

Image swiped from The Last Refuge

2016 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

RSS feed

RSS - entries - Entries
RSS - entries - Comments

Boycott the New York Times -- Read the Real News at Larwyn's Linx

Copyright © 2024