A Defense of Free Speech

Ace of Spades has an excellent article speaking of something that’s been bothering me in the whole reaction to the judicious marksmanship on the part of the Traffic Officer in Texas:

I do wish to not overly attack people I like and genuinely respect; but when I read, for example, Jamie Kirchick, a normally dependable guy and someone I’ve met slightly, and like well enough, spending 700 words of an 800 word column talking up how base he thinks Pam Gellar is in a column allegedly defending her right to free speech, instead of, you know, actually defending her right to free speech, I become despairing, because if this is all the defense the alleged defenders of Free Speech can muster, then we have no right to free speech.

This is about class. This is all about class.

This is about, specifically, the careerist, cowardly, go-along-to-get-along mores of the Upper Middle Class, the class of people whose parents were all college educated, and of course are college educated themselves; the class that dominates our thought-transmitting institutions (because non-college educated people are more of less shut out of this industry).

It is a class which is deathly afraid of social stigma, and lives in class-based fear being grouped with the wrong people, and which is more interested in Career, quite frankly, than in the actual tradecraft of that Career, which is clarity of thought and clarity of expression.

Read the whole thing. It is worth your time. This sort of hit me a bit, because when I think of the things left unsaid for the sake of getting along, I worry I’ve fallen into this trap myself. Sure, I have this blog, but I write under a pseudonym. Why? Because I maintain a career in a large metropolitan run by the Upper Middle Class consensus. Anyone who follows my personal Facebook account knows I seldom bring up political topics, largely for the sake of getting along with friends, coworkers, and some family.

I think the lack of conversation is killing this country. We’ve been reduced to walking on eggshells for fear of upsetting the perpetually offended, and often times you don’t know who they are until you say the wrong thing. This state of affairs benefits the far left, because it’s how they control the culture when most people don’t actually agree with them. If we’ve been reduced to insulting each other on social media, and going on virtual witch hunts for the disbelievers, this lets them win. The polite everyman shuts up to avoid becoming the victim of some SJW witch hunter. If this country started talking again, we might begin to understand we’re not all that different, and we share a lot of the same concerns.

Sometimes I wonder if the issue is that social media turns a lot of people into monsters, because it’s hard to believe the American character has changed all that much in just eight years. Perhaps all that’s happened is the left has figured out how to take over that institution like they’ve taken over all the others. People can get away with saying things online they’d never say to another person having a discussion over a few beers. Five years ago I cut the cord on the TV, and I don’t miss it. Lately I’ve been thinking I should cut the cord on social media. Facebook is a giant waste of time, and Twitter is becoming a 140-character-at-a-time cesspool of groupthink hashtag activism. People used to think TV was destroying the country, but I wonder if social media is actually destroying this country.

Maybe it’s time for me to build a brewery in flyover country and check out from all this ridiculous bullshit.

12 thoughts on “A Defense of Free Speech”

  1. The problem with checking out is that, with apologies to Trotsky, you may not be interested in ridiculous bullshit, but ridiculous bullshit is interested in you.

  2. Yes, social media is a contract with a Devil who wants to destroy your soul.

    I am always amazed that – for some odd reason – people feel the need to put themselves out there, en masse. That’s unique in human civilization – the idea that we really, really need people everywhere to know and to like us.

    I still freely exercise plenty of speech and engage in debate with unknown people, but stick to smaller communities I understand. Ignoring the social injustice experiment on FB and its ilk saves me endless frustration.

    My advice: plan to open that brew shack (as allegorical as those words might be) and keep online activity to smaller forums and the blog communities you know – like this one. Outsiders may peek in from time to time but only people like yourself will stay.

    It’s not an echo chamber unless you also refuse to observe the larger world. Communities are built on shared values, shared history and shared goals. Reducing the big world into a small world is a feature of civilization, not a bug.

  3. Those of us that live on the east coast live in a liberal environment. We know how liberals think Funny the reverse does not seem to be true. The new breed of progressives are very totalitarian and confused.

    The underlying themes is white guilt. We Americans are guilty of everything. It is a very self destructive theme. In the 80’s and 70’s it was called blame America first. We see that played out here. The brash Pamela Geller who sees the Islamist as the enemy . And they are, see Sept 11 2001, is trying to emotionally shock the progressive thinking that Islam is just a minority religion and should be catered to.

    It took the major emotional shock of 2001 to change viewpoints and the schools have been busy indoctrination children that diversity and all cultures are good and equal. They are not.

    My son had a teacher in 9 th grade only 2-3 years after 9/11 say that we should be tolerant. He succinctly said that we should never be tolerant to the intolerant.

    Geller practices defiant speech to try to wake people up to the fact that these fundamental Islamists wants to convert or kill us. No quarter.

    Is insulting or mock a religion rude? Yes. Do many atheists do that to the Christian faith ? Yes. I have seen that in comments on this blog.

    However when a group said they will kill us if we dare to insult them , then we must insult them other wise we have accepted that their faith controls our speech and actions.

    My social circle does not change and I refused to be on twitter so I really don’t care if they think I am evil , cruel or mean.

    So many of progressive themes are self destructive and looks toward death. Abortion is death. Gay sex is no children so death to future humans. Global warming which could actually help humans (long growing seasons)is dangerous to the world and we must not use fossil fuels or coal to heat our homes. So otherwise we must freeze.

    The main theme is humans are evil and should die.
    Aces essay was not eye opening to me I have been watching the culture war for quite a while.

    The fear of twitter storms is overplayed Just stand up and say NO!

  4. The snowflakes that rage for trigger warnings and safe space are from the schools. They are indoctrinated and since they need to be accepted they have thrown their lot into this SJW feminist BS.

  5. Hey, if you start that brewery let me know, I’d be willing to work as taste tester for free :-)

    Can’t beat that deal.

  6. I too write from a pseudonym, because a crazy Californian who hated guns contacted my employer, which was a school. Luckily I smoothed things over with them, but I never want to be put in that situation again.

    I think that’s the solution to talking on social media to avoid the backlash. Its the mob mentality, and its a sense that “we need to do something, we need to do what is right, and I need to be a part of this!” and then six months later they realize that was dumb.

    What’s funny is that the leftist outrage machine is turning on itself- see Joss Whedon a few days.

      1. A couple reasons for that. First, the VRWC is learning how to whip up a #TagStorm, and second, their extreme fringe is beginning to eat them from the left. They are learning the lesson of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

  7. Something just occurred to me. Pamela Geller is reviled because what she is doing is obviously offensive to Muslims: she is depicting the Prophet visually, which is forbidden by Muslim tenants. Thus, she is engaging in “hate speech”…

    The problem with this, however, is that it’s very easy to do something offensive to Muslims: just refuse to believe that Mohammed is a prophet, and you are doing something that is worthy of death.

    Thus, because I, as a Mormon, believe Joseph Smith is a prophet, I am offensive to certain Muslims; any Christian, any Jew, any Atheist, is offensive to certain Muslims. Any person who hasn’t given any of this matter any thought, except that they have decided that Mohammed is definitively NOT a prophet (or even just doesn’t care one way or another) is offensive to certain Muslims.

    And it’s even worse: it’s human nature to be deeply offended when someone refuses to believe the way we choose, whether it be politics, religion, sports teams, or even what operating system, editor, or computer language that people prefer.

    While I’m not aware of anyone dying in an argument over Vim vs. Emacs (yet), I seem to recall that people have died arguing over sports teams.

    Hence, any belief we might hold can be considered “hate speech”; any attempt to prevent “hate speech” is going to be censorship, and there’s no way to avoid it.

    I don’t think anyone understands this, though, otherwise defense of Pamela Geller would be much more rigorous.

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