8 thoughts on “Self Awareness”

  1. The common phenomenon is that we are all conditioned to believe our opponents are so evil that they are not deserving of the rights we normally would grant automatically to everybody. I have witnessed demonstrations by people from all ends of the political spectrum, demanding that bookstores not only remove certain titles, but be closed completely. (It’s among reasons I’m not an AOH member.) Our local John Birch Society chapters were very big on that back in the 1960s and 1970s.

    A friend just sent me this, which reflects on the question in the video.

    I noted in the Reason article, there were no reports of the bookstore being invaded by antifa; only protested. So, indeed, who are the bad guys?

    (Now for the WhatAboutism; wait for it. . .wait for it. . .)

    1. Supposedly there was a police response yesterday, but I’ve only seen Twitter accounts of it, which elicit the usual, “I’m not really sure what I’m looking at,” reaction. Haven’t seen any follow up from any media outlets.

    2. I cannot lose too much sleep over a group protesting over a book or two. As you say, it happens all the time. And in many cases, when we’re talking about a bookstore or a library, it actually makes sense for that organization to have and exercise discretion on what they choose to carry.

      I would say the bad guys are the ones that are banning entire discussions of particular political topics on their platforms, and attacking other platforms for welcoming people willing to talk about those topics — including denying those fledgling platforms the infrastructure needed to function. Particularly when that suppression is happening in coordination between giant Tech empires.

      The coordinated banning of Alex Jones across several platforms all at once should have sent chills down all our spines. It shouldn’t have happened.

      1. As I was reading the comment section at Reason, though, something had occurred to me that makes this different from all the other incidents Andy B. was referencing.

        When the John Birch Society protests your bookstore or library, you can rest assured that when the night comes, they’ll go home, and leave the bookstore or library alone.

        When Antifa protests your bookstore or library, there’s the justifiable fear that when you close shop for the night, Antifa will come back and burn down the place.

        It’s one thing to protest and make your voice heard to let people know you disapprove of something. It’s another thing entirely when that protest has a history of acting destructively.

        1. “When the John Birch Society protests your bookstore or library, you can rest assured that when the night comes, they’ll go home, and leave the bookstore or library alone.”

          It’s so long ago I can’t begin to remember when it was, but there was a time when one of our local JBS personalities was discovered to have several hundred pounds of “sweating” dynamite concealed in a shed. Gee, wonder what he was planning to do with that?

          Of course the JBS isn’t the same critter it was 40 – 60 years ago; it just has the same DNA.

          1. Speaking of DNA, Roger Stone said that Donald Trump’s father Fred Trump was a financier of the Society and a personal friend of founder Robert Welch.

  2. I’ve been thinking that so-called “Freedom of Speech” doesn’t and shouldn’t apply to fraud. I checked, and Merriam-Webster’s top-level definition of fraud is, “intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right.”

    It seems to me that public lying is always for some self-serving motive, and therefor is always fraud. For example, lying to get votes is “to induce another to part with something of value”, their vote, which has value and could be spent elsewhere.

    Legally speaking, I could see how that would be difficult to enforce, in particular, determining who has standing to claim injury as a result of a public lie, that falls short of being direct personal slander or libel.

    But working that out could provide a path for settling the entire “fake news” problem. As for determination of “what is a lie”, that could be left to a jury, to be convinced what was true, what was a lie, and what was a just penalty for any lie that was told.
    I thought there was a little irony in that Reason article’s self-righteousness about preventing people from hearing opinions, because in my opinion, that is one of the reasons for the magazine’s existence, though arguably a more benign approach than picketing it a bookstore. When I was a member of the Libertarian Party, it was one of the tools of “inundation” to preoccupy us and keep us from encountering any opinions that might challenge dogma. The same went for the countless “libertarian” and “conservative” “Book Clubs”. There was always a prevailing attitude that if you wanted to be a Real Libertarian, you needed to be conversant with every recent opinion in Reason Magazine, Liberty Magazine, and everything ever written by Ludwig von Mises or Fred Hayek.

    When I let my LP memberships lapse, I also let my Reason and Liberty subscriptions expire, and that was roughly 25 years ago. I’ve never missed any of them.

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