Free Speech

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Franky
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Free Speech

#1

Post by Franky »

This isn't facepalm but a stab at facepalm by Rowan Atkinson:

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Darq
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Re: More facepalms

#2

Post by Darq »

Franky wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 8:27 pm
While I actually agree with most things he says in this speech, I do have to disagree with "intolerance of intolerance" just being another form of intolerance. That's simply the paradox of tolerance. By infinitely tolerating intolerant ideas, tolerance will eventually be destroyed by the intolerant.

The idea that absolutely everything can and always should be aired and argued forever and always, ignores the fact that propaganda is a thing that works, and that logical debate often loses out to fear and hate. People are flawed, and bad actors don't meet us in good faith rational debate.

To be clear though, I'm not suggesting we censor offensive speech. There is a difference between speech that is merely offensive and speech that is actually harmful. I'm strongly against the censoring of speech that is simply offensive. But we do need to be aware of harmful propaganda, and be willing to combat it where "more speech" doesn't work.
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Re: More facepalms

#3

Post by Galahad »

Darq wrote:To be clear though, I'm not suggesting we censor offensive speech. There is a difference between speech that is merely offensive and speech that is actually harmful. I'm strongly against the censoring of speech that is simply offensive.
I'm treading on the fine line between addressing the argument and addressing the man here, but I find this statement of yours very hard to take seriously when on Twitter you accepted the idea that giving offensive voices a platform is a form of "enablement", whatever the hell that means nowadays. When depriving controversial opinions platforms is, in effect, censorship.

Unless, of course, the ideas in question were those you consider "harmful" rather than "offensive", but that simply brings me to my next point:
Who gets to decide what crosses the line between the two? I think I've posed this question to you before. What can be brushed off with a smirk and roll of the eyes by one person will cause the other to take to the streets, wielding pink vagina hats, blocking traffic and demanding action. What one labels "edgy" another will downright label "Nazism" (which, to digress just slightly, is a term that I can no longer take seriously because the far left now use it to denounce even centrist ideas)

Who's right? Pun intended.

I'd say give both a platform and let the public decide, but don't call the public "misogynistic", "sexist", "homophobic" or whatever when they disagree with an ideal on rational grounds, and then try and censor or de-platform (practically the same thing, if you think about it) their speakers or advocates.
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Re: More facepalms

#4

Post by Darq »

I'm treading on the fine line between addressing the argument and addressing the man here, but I find this statement of yours very hard to take seriously when on Twitter you accepted the idea that giving offensive voices a platform is a form of "enablement", whatever the hell that means nowadays. When depriving controversial opinions platforms is, in effect, censorship.

Unless, of course, the ideas in question were those you consider "harmful" rather than "offensive"
I believe strongly in the protection of free speech. I believe it to be about the most important thing in the world, short only of the right to life itself. From it, all other rights are won. I do not suggest limits on it lightly.

But vanishingly few people believe in absolute free speech. Most people accept limits on things like the display of pornography in public spaces, or slander, or threats. So the conversation is always about where to draw the line. So yes, I am talking about speech that is harmful, not merely offensive.
Who gets to decide what crosses the line between the two? I think I've posed this question to you before. What can be brushed off with a smirk and roll of the eyes by one person will cause the other to take to the streets, wielding pink vagina hats, blocking traffic and demanding action. What one labels "edgy" another will downright label "Nazism" (which, to digress just slightly, is a term that I can no longer take seriously because the far left now use it to denounce even centrist ideas)

Who's right? Pun intended.
You ask this question with the implication of "we can't draw a line between the two", and therefore we should not take action. I reject that. Speech is not always harmless. Speech can sometimes be a performative utterance.

To use a topical example. Say BLF speaks to their constituents, they blame the hardships they suffer on white people. They suggest that white people are stealing from them, taking what's theirs, denying them their rights. They say that all white people without exception are racist, no white people are good, all white people should pay. They say that if they don't act now, white people will ruin everything! They slowly incite fear and hatred of white people, and dehumanise them. And then, predictably, there is an uptick in violence against white people. People get attacked for their race, and lead less pleasurable lives for fear of being attacked. And when policy decisions are being made, it's easier to discriminate, because the dehumanisation makes people less empathetic.

So then I ask. Is this okay? I used a local example and made it a little extreme, but this happens all over the world, most often to people of colour and to LGBT+ people. And the rise in hate crimes and domestic terrorist attacks is the consequence. Where to draw the line is a difficult question indeed, and not one to be taken lightly. But that doesn't mean we can just wring our hands and say that they are tied, when people are getting killed.
I'd say give both a platform and let the public decide, but don't call the public "misogynistic", "sexist", "homophobic" or whatever when they disagree with an ideal on rational grounds, and then try and censor or de-platform (practically the same thing, if you think about it) their speakers or advocates.
And should the public decide that some people don't deserve the right to free speech, or the right to life, on the basis of propaganda?

----

Following points are tangential to the crux of my post, but you mentioned them so I'll address them briefly.

I don't really respect the "but the left just calls everyone Nazis" argument. If a person is spouting white-supremacist talking points (or dog-whistling similar), and displaying Nazi symbolism, I'm going to call them a Nazi. This idea that "the left" as a large political movement is broadly applying that label to everyone who even slightly disagrees with them, is a bit of "anti-SJW" nonsense, and is trying to broadly discredit legitimate complaints. A few edgy people on Tumblr calling someone a Nazi is not "the left".

And the reason centrists are receiving flak is because they often stand between a position advocating genocide and a position advocating not-genocide, and ask for compromise. Or worse, they ask for the people asking to not be genocided, to please be more civil!
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Rakuen Growlithe
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Re: Free Speech

#5

Post by Rakuen Growlithe »

Darq wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 8:44 am
The idea that absolutely everything can and always should be aired and argued forever and always, ignores the fact that propaganda is a thing that works, and that logical debate often loses out to fear and hate.
We had a similar discussion on Telegram but there was a question you never answered, which I think is still relevant. You have an interesting point with the idea of propaganda working and it certainly can. But the thing about propaganda and all beliefs really, is that you feel they are true and not false beliefs. So the question I wanted to know, was how would you tell whether it is your opponent's or your belief that is the result of propaganda and not reasoning? Particularly, if you say certain ideas should not be debated. If one holds an incorrectly belief but is willing to challenge it, then there is the opportunity for it to change. If one holds an incorrect belief that includes a protection that "other beliefs are propaganda and should not be allowed" then there seems to be no mechanism for correction.
Galahad wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 10:56 am
I'd say give both a platform and let the public decide, but don't call the public "misogynistic", "sexist", "homophobic" or whatever when they disagree with an ideal on rational grounds, and then try and censor or de-platform (practically the same thing, if you think about it) their speakers or advocates.
I think labels like "misogynistic", "sexist", "homophobic" and so on are of limited use. I think they are so broad as to be meaningless and rather muddy any discussion. For example, I've seen transphobic attached to people with as diverse views as "trans people deserve equal rights but we should use biological pronouns" to "transpeople do not deserve rights and should be exterminated." To label such a broad range with a single term seems completely unsuitable and risks alienating people who are in broad agreement but differ on certain details.
Darq wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 12:18 pm
You ask this question with the implication of "we can't draw a line between the two", and therefore we should not take action. I reject that. Speech is not always harmless. Speech can sometimes be a performative utterance.

To use a topical example. Say BLF speaks to their constituents, they blame the hardships they suffer on white people. They suggest that white people are stealing from them, taking what's theirs, denying them their rights. They say that all white people without exception are racist, no white people are good, all white people should pay. They say that if they don't act now, white people will ruin everything! They slowly incite fear and hatred of white people, and dehumanise them. And then, predictably, there is an uptick in violence against white people. People get attacked for their race, and lead less pleasurable lives for fear of being attacked. And when policy decisions are being made, it's easier to discriminate, because the dehumanisation makes people less empathetic.

So then I ask. Is this okay? I used a local example and made it a little extreme, but this happens all over the world, most often to people of colour and to LGBT+ people. And the rise in hate crimes and domestic terrorist attacks is the consequence. Where to draw the line is a difficult question indeed, and not one to be taken lightly. But that doesn't mean we can just wring our hands and say that they are tied, when people are getting killed.
Usually this limit is a direct incitement to harm. What I think is missing in this quoted section is the consideration that you are holding the speaker responsible for the action of a third party. That is why direct incitement is usually the line. People can be motivated to do things that were never intended by a speaker and it is not possible to predict ahead of time, what effect speech will have. It is not impossible for discussion on the risks of climate change to lead people to committing eco-terrorism but that is not a reason to ban discussion of the topic which highlights the urgency and need for action. There would be a reason to ban speech that says "you must go bomb this oil refinery."
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Re: Free Speech

#6

Post by Darq »

We had a similar discussion on Telegram but there was a question you never answered, which I think is still relevant. You have an interesting point with the idea of propaganda working and it certainly can. But the thing about propaganda and all beliefs really, is that you feel they are true and not false beliefs. So the question I wanted to know, was how would you tell whether it is your opponent's or your belief that is the result of propaganda and not reasoning? Particularly, if you say certain ideas should not be debated. If one holds an incorrectly belief but is willing to challenge it, then there is the opportunity for it to change. If one holds an incorrect belief that includes a protection that "other beliefs are propaganda and should not be allowed" then there seems to be no mechanism for correction.
So this is honestly a great set of questions. And so far I think my stance limits the harm of not debating certain topics, based on a few things:

First, the only things I tend to think are not up for debate are "Are X people, really deserving of rights?" type debates, typically where X is an immutable attribute of a person, something they cannot change or help. This is a pretty narrow category, but it does affect a lot, I'll admit. However the reason I have this definition is because. 1) It's been discussed literally to death, we've fought wars about this. 2) The potential for harm is extremely high, as we are seeing with the rise in hate-crimes. And 3) I see no potential upside for deciding that people deserve to be treated worse based on their race, sex, gender, sexuality, etc..

Second, even if specific topics are not up for debate, controlled meta-debate over whether or not a topic is open for debate can still have merit. So long as that debate doesn't devolve into the topic itself. Which sadly it seems likely it often would, because a lot of these topics are emotionally driven.

Third, we can, in a limited capacity, be willing to debunk, even if we are not leaving the table open to debate. We can address common talking points to prove them wrong. A lot of racist, homophobic, and transphobic talking points are based on a, sometimes deliberate, misinterpretation of the research. That's what that propaganda spreads, and uses to incite hatred.
Usually this limit is a direct incitement to harm. What I think is missing in this quoted section is the consideration that you are holding the speaker responsible for the action of a third party. That is why direct incitement is usually the line. People can be motivated to do things that were never intended by a speaker and it is not possible to predict ahead of time, what effect speech will have. It is not impossible for discussion on the risks of climate change to lead people to committing eco-terrorism but that is not a reason to ban discussion of the topic which highlights the urgency and need for action. There would be a reason to ban speech that says "you must go bomb this oil refinery."
So this is where I think an interesting disagreement occurs. To what extent can we hold speakers responsible for the actions of their listeners, is a difficult question to answer.

Because we are seeing stocastic terrorism occurring. A group is targeted for violence, they are identified, then they are dehumanised, vilified, and made to be despised and feared. Probabilistically, a "lone wolf" appears and, radicalised by that propaganda, commits an act of violence. The group is terrorised. The speakers of the propaganda and spreaders of the conspiracy theories immediately disavow any actions taken by the lone wolf, despite the fact that their speech influenced the attack, and continues to incite further violence.

To hold them directly responsible would almost always be wrong, unless one could prove intent. But to simply allow them to continue to radicalise people allows the problem to go unchecked.

I also wouldn't put eco-terrorism into the same category as the dehumanisation of and violence towards an identifiable group of people.

----

More digressions:
I've seen transphobic attached to people with as diverse views as "trans people deserve equal rights but we should use biological pronouns" to "transpeople do not deserve rights and should be exterminated." To label such a broad range with a single term seems completely unsuitable and risks alienating people who are in broad agreement but differ on certain details.
Nitpick but, "biological pronouns" aren't a thing... Pronouns are not based in biology, but rather in language. And as misgendering often causes provable distress to trans people, yes deliberately using the wrong pronouns would be transphobic. Even if to a FAR lesser degree than suggesting trans people should be exterminated. Fantastic video on pronouns: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bbINLWtMKI

But you raise an interesting point. We often overload bad words with meanings as diverse as "kinda bad" to "literally the worst thing", and it does trip us up, as it becomes harder to discuss the topic as emotion comes into play when the word "transphobic" is uttered. It's not always intended as an condemnation, but it is frequently taken as one. But that doesn't mean the word is meaningless, just that there is a variable degree associated with it, lots of words are like this. The words are still useful... Unless people are "too sensitive" to being called out as transphobic, ha ha =P
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Re: Free Speech

#7

Post by Splicer-Fox »

Just a counter too a this?
Do you think that all people should or deserve to be free?
Very few of the greatest philosophizers and egalitarians would let their 16 year old daughter leave the house with that 29 year old man, after 24:00 just because she wants to go get booze and weed. (World needs more Dr. Phill)

And im afraid i believe like Karamchand Gandhi, some societies and cultures no longer need to exist.
Its seems if you give them freedom to do what they want, "They do what they want"
Is it not funny how the road to hell is paved with good intentions?

In the modern counties at least we are led by specific generations that step in. (eventually)
And as long as they were raised not to be: selfish, dumb, psychopathic, sociopathic, arrogant or whatever else, we will be fine right?
I mean the 90s and post millennium kids are sane responsible beings that can be trusted to not need draconian governing and management right?
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