Posts Tagged ‘Free Speech’
How should we respond to a bigoted post on social media?
Facebook: My Facebook “friends” include liberals, conservatives, libertarians, etc. Many post political views that warrant exchanges. Often hatreds erupt, and underlying this is free speech’s relation to “hate speech.” The former covers the legality of speech, the latter relates to ethics.
(This post is not primarily about Facebook protocol, but here I’ll mention I rarely block or unfriend anyone, making exceptions for pornbots, solicitors, and the rare tool. I try to welcome, respect, and engage with those whose views clash with mine, and hope the feeling is mutual.)
The Milo Effect: Recently I wrote an article at The Express Tribune Blogs on Milo Yiannopoulos where I defended our right to express our hatreds, and made clear this does not condone bigotry:
“Let’s face it, most of us hate something or someone. Whether it’s broccoli, rush hour traffic, Trump, conservatives, liberals, terrorists, dictators, bigots, or anti-free speech fascists. I claim my right to excoriate that which I hate, and you should too.”
Free vs. Hate Speech: The Milo brouhaha highlights the current dialectic regarding speech. In Bangladesh, speech inaccurately deemed “hateful” can get a blogger murdered. Thus we debate “hate speech” in the marketplace of ideas. Example: Vida Rz’s joke.
The Joke: Unlike SJWs, who shut down and ban speech, the Alt-SJWs seem to double down on bigotry. I tried to engage, to see if Vida and her friends would consider the context of Charlie Hebdo or Raif Badawi, I mentioned that my grandfather was born in Iran (we’re Mizrahi), and to support Iranians’ rights should mean something.
Did Raif Badawi get 1,000 lashes so Vida Rz could use “free speech” to call Muslims goatfuckers? I told Vida and company:
“Bizarre, folks. As if Raif Badawi and dissidents in Evin prison fought for the right for free speech so dingbats like you can make bigoted unoriginal jokes. Fair enough, it’s the marketplace of ideas. If you want to fight bigotry, it’s quite simple, don’t be a bigot back, don’t play the SJW perpetual game of Tag, You’re Racist.”
The result? A few people supported me, but mostly I got called a “pussy” and an “SJW.” Vida proclaimed her right to hate Muslims b/c “they” wanted her dead. She didn’t quantify. (I linked to the post, but it has since been deleted)
Final word: We’ll stand by the Westboro Baptist Church’s constitutional right to say “God hates fags,” but we’ll use the same right to condemn bigotry. We reject the Neo-PC SJW authoritarianism party line and don’t need the self-imposed censorship of “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings.” Why? Because we recognize that only free speech can destroy bad ideas, and you can’t do that from a safe space.
On April 5, 2016, Andrew Solomon, president of PEN America, sent a letter to over 4,000 members asking for comments regarding a call to boycott “two Israeli writers who are taking part in this year’s PEN World Voices Festival.”
Solomon noted PEN’s position, “put forth in 2007…is opposed to cultural boycotts.” World Voices Festival Director Jakab Orsos and Chairman Colm Toibin reiterated this by responding that “PEN and PWVF must always fall on the side of maximum protections for free expressions.” Who would suggest otherwise?
Ethan and Omar: Two PEN members of the Adalah – NY: New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel. Not surprisingly, many signatories supported religious chauvinism when they protested last year’s award given by PEN to Charlie Hebdo.
E & O make two mistakes. The first concerns their view of Israel-Palestine, but this should be open to debate; the second, though, is their egregious “Campaign.” Boycotts, when just, have merit; when misguided they become soft censorship. Outside of, say, inciting violence (The murder of Ahmadi Asad Shah in the U.K. relates to how Khatme Nabuwwat instructs followers to kill Ahmadiyya), all speech must be allowed. But fascists by nature need censorship to promote their ideas and suppress opposition, for their ideas cannot disseminate otherwise. (They claim they would support Israeli writers, but not under Israeli sponsorship, which is equivocation.)
That Ethan and Omar wish to boycott the only state in the Middle East where Jews can live free from prejudice, women have equal rights, and homosexuals live openly, suggests duplicity. How can they explain that Israel had 200,000 Arab citizens in 1948 and the present day population is 1.8 million while the Arab states’ Jewish populations have, without exception, dwindled? In Saudi Arabia and Yemen there are no remaining Jews. At the same time these two “fascist lites” ignore Palestinian government responsibility for the miserable situation of the Palestinian people: corruption, refusal to renounce violence, and call for the destruction of Israel. When you ascribe moral inferiority to Israel, without applying your standard to yourself or other nations, you are not only anti-Semitic but a hypocrite.
The error of E & O’s position on Israel is reflected by their subversively fascist view of speech. To E & O, I quote the biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s (who wrote under the pseudonym S. G. Tallentyre) interpretation of Voltaire’s ideal: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Thus we will listen to your views and attempt to counter with superior arguments. You should allow others the same opportunity.
Free Speech: The right to speak without censorship or restraint except for libel, slander, or inciting violence. Also, to speak w/o government interference.
Expanding Limits: The present cultural climate of “Psychotic PC” has extended limits on speech to include the criticism of ideas or political views. Hyper-sensitivity to “racism/Islamophobia/homophobia/sexism” has created Neo-McCarthyites aka Social Justice Warriors who believe “My bigotry is justified, yours ain’t.” These fascists must be stopped. To inhibit free speech, as Melissa Chen notes above, is to repress the means that destroys evil ideas.
The Significance: Donald Trump and Zakir Naik may speak without censorship or restraint, and we will respond with better ideas. Those who bolster their counterargument with a demand that we limit speech are not only regressive, but lack the strength of their convictions. They are insecure in their ability to debate.
Progress: Superior ideas win without the need of force of censorship. From ancient days through the Age of Englightenment and beyond, bad ideas needed protection to survive: Patriarchy, Kleptocratic Regimes/Communism, fundamental Christianity, and slavery were replaced with women’s rights, socio-capitalistic democracy, secularism, and Emancipation.
Three books that incite misogyny/homophobia/and religious supremacism: If the trilogy of holy books from Judaism/Christianity/Islam went under the same scrutiny that the Radical PC supporters and Social Justice Warriors demand, these would be the first three books to go.
Moderation: When religions moderate for the benefit of all, it is because of free speech. As philosophies, religions have much to offer, as ultimate truths they are flimsy. Only free speech can transform ideology in a progressive manner, and thus to want a tolerant and benevolent world is to champion speech.
My two latest at The Express Tribune Blogs, my suggested title “Free Speech: Ban All or None” was switched for the anodyne “May Peace Win” (March 3, 2015): “Most Muslims can ignore and shrug off blasphemy. Murder is far more offensive. In the future, non-Muslims, including the growing number of former Muslims, will criticize Islam. Muslims can either respond with calls for violence or peace.”
Next, Mayor Bill Blasio made Eid a holiday for NYC public schools (March 11, 2015): “ …whether an entire country should satisfy less than two per cent of the population is a decision that should be decided democratically.”