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Thread: Free Speech Is Killing Us

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    Free Speech Is Killing Us

    The New York Times in its glory, this gem penned by a New Yorker employee, who argues for commonsense speech control.

    It opens:
    There has never been a bright line between word and deed.
    Sticks and stones and assault rifles could hurt us, but the internet was surely only a force for progress.

    No one believes that anymore. Not after the social-media-fueled campaigns of Narendra Modi and Rodrigo Duterte and Donald Trump; not after the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Va.; not after the massacres in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and a Walmart in a majority-Hispanic part of El Paso. The Christchurch gunman, like so many of his ilk, had spent years on social media trying to advance the cause of white power. But these posts, he eventually decided, were not enough; now it was “time to make a real life effort post.” He murdered 52 people.

    Having spent the past few years embedding as a reporter with the trolls and bigots and propagandists who are experts at converting fanatical memes into national policy, I no longer have any doubt that the brutality that germinates on the internet can leap into the world of flesh and blood.
    Don't worry. There's no mention of James Hodgkinson or Ismaaiyl Brinsley in this op-ed.

    “What exactly do you have in mind? Thought police?” He [a stranger] told me that he was a leftist, but he considered his opinion about free speech to be a matter of settled bipartisan consensus. . . .

    Using “free speech” as a cop-out is just as intellectually dishonest and just as morally bankrupt. . . .

    I am not calling for repealing the First Amendment, or even for banning speech I find offensive on private platforms. What I’m arguing against is paralysis. We can protect unpopular speech from government interference while also admitting that unchecked speech can expose us to real risks. And we can take steps to mitigate those risks.
    Repealing the First Amendment is a straw man argument, of course, but the clue is the word "paralysis." Do something. Earlier the writer, who self-identifies as Andrew, compares his quandary to efforts at tightening gun control.

    Libel, incitement of violence and child pornography are all forms of speech. Yet we censor all of them, and no one calls it the death knell of the Enlightenment.
    Here's approximately the bottom half Andrew's piece:
    The Constitution prevents the government from using sticks, but it says nothing about carrots.

    Congress could fund, for example, a national campaign to promote news literacy, or it could invest heavily in library programming. It could build a robust public media in the mold of the BBC. It could rethink Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — the rule that essentially allows Facebook and YouTube to get away with (glorification of) murder. If Congress wanted to get really ambitious, it could fund a rival to compete with Facebook or Google, the way the Postal Service competes with FedEx and U.P.S.

    Or the private sector could pitch in on its own. Tomorrow, by fiat, Mark Zuckerberg could make Facebook slightly less profitable and enormously less immoral: He could hire thousands more content moderators and pay them fairly. Or he could replace Sheryl Sandberg with Susan Benesch, a human rights lawyer and an expert on how speech can lead to violence. Social media companies have shown how quickly they can act when under pressure. After every high-profile eruption of violence — Charlottesville, Christchurch and the like — tech companies have scrambled to ban inflammatory accounts, take down graphic videos, even rewrite their terms of service. Some of the most egregious actors, such as Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos, have been permanently barred from all major platforms.

    “We need to protect the rights of speakers,” John A. Powell, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, told me, “but what about protecting everyone else?” Mr. Powell was the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and he represented the Ku Klux Klan in federal court. “Racists should have rights,” he explained. “I also know, being black and having black relatives, what it means to have a cross burned on your lawn. It makes no sense for the law to be concerned about one and ignore the other.”

    Mr. Powell, in other words, is a free-speech advocate but not a free-speech absolutist. Shortly before his tenure as legal director, he said, “when women complained about sexual harassment in the workplace, the A.C.L.U.’s response would be, ‘Sorry, nothing we can do. Harassment is speech.’ That looks ridiculous to us now, as it should.” He thinks that some aspects of our current First Amendment jurisprudence — blanket protections of hate speech, for example — will also seem ridiculous in retrospect. “It’s simpler to think only about the First Amendment and to ignore, say, the 14th Amendment, which guarantees full citizenship and equal protection to all Americans, including those who are harmed by hate speech,” he said. “It’s simpler, but it’s also wrong.”
    For a while I thought the NYT had put aside their hope of becoming Pravda, or rather, the government-sponsored arbiter of "news literacy." But it's creeping in again.

    And just in time. Here's De Blasio's NYC, who I'm sure is a firm, avowed supporter of the First Amendment:

    New York City bans term 'illegal alien,' institutes fines up to $250K
    The Hill.
    New York City has banned the term “illegal alien” when it is used "with intent to demean, humiliate or harass a person” and instituted fines up to $250,000 for the offense.

    The city’s Commission on Human Rights released new guidelines last week to define discrimination on the basis of perceived or actual immigration status or national origin in public accommodations, employment or housing.
    . . .The Department of Homeland Security defines "alien" as "any person not a citizen or national of the United States."

    President Trump came under fire in July when he told four nonwhite progressive congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

    The group of freshmen Democrats — Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) — are all U.S. citizens and only Omar was born in another country.

    Many on social media began pointing to federal guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that identifies the phrase "Go back to where you came from" as language that could violate anti-discrimination laws in the wake of Trump’s attacks.

    The federal agency, which enforces the government's employment discrimination laws, states that “ethnic slurs and other verbal or physical conduct because of nationality are illegal if they are severe or pervasive and create an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment, interfere with work performance, or negatively affect job opportunities.”

    "Examples of potentially unlawful conduct include insults, taunting, or ethnic epithets, such as making fun of a person's foreign accent or comments like, 'Go back to where you came from,' whether made by supervisors or by co-workers,” it adds.
    If our Constitution is to be a "living document," and not a contract between "We, the People" and the government we permit (as I think it is), this sort of thing is the result.

    I'll be so bold as to suggest a name for Andrew's government department of "new literacy": The Ministry of Truth.
    • "The Constitution is not suspended in times of crisis." — AG William Barr.
    • "We hold these truths to be self evident. All men and women created by the, you know, you know, the thing." —Joe Biden, explaining the Creator.
    • "The way I see it, there's always, c'mon, there's always money. It's there." —Elizabeth Warren, explaining socialism.
    • “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.... We really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.” —Saikat Chakrabarti, then AOC's Chief of Staff.
    • "We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them." —CNN's Don Lemon, showing how to stop demonizing people.
    • "I was not elected to do small things or shy away from big problems.” —Donald Trump.


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  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newman View Post
    The New York Times in its glory, this gem penned by a New Yorker employee, who argues for commonsense speech control.

    It opens:

    Don't worry. There's no mention of James Hodgkinson or Ismaaiyl Brinsley in this op-ed.


    Repealing the First Amendment is a straw man argument, of course, but the clue is the word "paralysis." Do something. Earlier the writer, who self-identifies as Andrew, compares his quandary to efforts at tightening gun control.


    Here's approximately the bottom half Andrew's piece:

    For a while I thought the NYT had put aside their hope of becoming Pravda, or rather, the government-sponsored arbiter of "news literacy." But it's creeping in again.

    And just in time. Here's De Blasio's NYC, who I'm sure is a firm, avowed supporter of the First Amendment:

    New York City bans term 'illegal alien,' institutes fines up to $250K
    The Hill.

    If our Constitution is to be a "living document," and not a contract between "We, the People" and the government we permit (as I think it is), this sort of thing is the result.

    I'll be so bold as to suggest a name for Andrew's government department of "new literacy": The Ministry of Truth.
    This happens every time leftists can win on their own merits, they have to rig the game in their favor.
    "What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer."

    link

    Time will tell.

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