Along with former ACLU president Nadine Strossen, Carleton professor Amna Khalid, and "Mighty Ira" producer/co-director Nico Perrino, a response to a recent WNYC segment on "free speech absolutism"
Liberals are still suffering from PTSD over Trump's victory over Clinton. Their disdain for people holding differing opinions is almost complete - they consider those people sub-human, incapable of reason, and easily manipulated by the free speech they fear.
I always had huge respect for Nadine Strossen, an old school civil libertarian. I wonder what she honestly thinks has become of her organization, which now advocates for kangaroo courts for college sexual misconduct cases and mandatory vaccination. It is an absolute farce to call it a civil liberties organization now.
Amna Khalid, after noting that Enlightenment scholars were influenced by Mediterranean, Arabic, and North African cultures: "To think about the enlightenment... as something that is Western or white-only is doing such a huge disservice to the rest of the world."
That is, woke critics of Enlightenment ideals are themselves casually practicing Eurocentrism.
The ACLU has done a full 180 on mandatory vaccinations and religious exemptions. Of course they supported conscientious objection when Dubya was in office…… https://www.google.com/amp/s/reason.com/volokh/2021/09/02/aclu-endorses-vaccine-mandates-without-religious-exemptions/%3famp
I used to respect the ACLU twenty years ago, but it is just another corporate tool for woke-washing now. They also don’t consider the 2nd Amendment as a part of the BoR, for all practical purposes.
Remember when Raytheon put on a Beyonce concert to promote Adam Schiff?
Truly despicable -- that human excrement and serial liar is among leading Congress war-mongers and recipient of arm industry donations.
And -- Schiff is now leading the US government’s domestic terrorism legislation drive !!
Congressmen Holding Concert Fundraisers Could See a Beyonce Bump | Politics | US News
The Russia-gate lying team is back in full power -- we are now paying the price for not fully unmasking the scam of the century.
Trump and GOP lunatics were and are VERY bad -- DNC lying warmongering team in infinitely more dangerous.
WHO will be the first current or former Democrat Congresswoman/man or Senator to publicly acknowledge and confirm the scam of the century -- the Russia-gate conspiracy?
Most of the ''debates'' within the media are not debates at all, they are about promoting group think by a media establishment that has been completely taken over by the intelligence agencies ie The Five Eyes. You can turn on Canadian television, Australian television, you're going to see exactly the same debates and talking points.
I don't think we should take 90% of these reporters and talking heads seriously. They function more as propagandists, witting or unwitting, for a much more coordinated counter-intelligence operation.
Plato's parable of the cave comes to mind. These are the shadows of something else. Our focus should be on what's actually casting the shadows.
I would recommend reading the book “The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters” by Frances Stonor Saunders. It's a good case study of how these intel operations work, especially within the world of culture and academia. It demonstrates how a bunch of academics and ''intellectuals'' can easily be manipulated into thinking they are simply partaking in some kind of organic debate when in reality they are simply unwitting tools.
The problem is that many people seem to have a Hollywood-type idea of how these kinds of psyops and intelligence operations work, as if it’s some Fight Club conspiracy where everyone is in on it. In reality, it’s quite the opposite: The reason they work is because most of the people involved believe they are following their own convictions, and because they are so ideologically convinced that they are unable to see the hand guiding events. The whole art of these operations lies in their subtlety, in making everything appear as though it were a completely natural and organic process.
Unfortunately, I think people don’t appreciate the degree to which these operations are run throughout the culture and entertainment world as well. People believe they are just watching a movie, reading a book, or listening to a debate, but in fact, something completely different is taking place.
The media has in fact become weaponized by the intelligence establishment. It is being used in a a manner which for all intents and purposes makes it a weapon of war.
The history of the Congress for Cultural Freedom and the CIA is but one of many cases, most of which we still probably don't even know about.
Two modern problems with free speech: Number one - speech has become concentrated into very few platforms. Many newspapers have died and most people communicate on FaceBook, Twitter, and internet blogs. This gives Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey the undeserved power of being the modern arbiters of speech. Number two - Technology has made it easy to suppress speech. Years ago when school systems were talking about “sanitizing Mark Twain” it would have been wrong but also very difficult to do. Changing all the hard copy books is almost impossible. Today books exist in digital form which makes to easy to delete or “sanitize” anything with the flip of a delete key.
Ultimately, all of this boils down, to me, anyway, that,”The people are too stupid to make up their own minds.” I mean, I can read something and determine,”This is bullshit,” on my own. Or I can read something and come to the conclusion that maybe I should check this out a little more. I don’t doubt that people’s preconceived notions determines their reaction to what they’re reading/listening to/whatever, but is that really any different now than it was twenty or fifty years ago, pre-internet? All this kind of stuff makes me think of is how people reacted to the Devil’s Music Rock and Roll sixty years ago or how television was gonna melt children’s brains in the seventies or how heavy metal supposedly made its listeners kill their parents in the eighties or whatever. It’s old people freaking out about something new, except now, younger people are freaking out, too. This is the natural result of people who’ve grown up “liking” or “sad-faced emoji-ing” or blocking anything they don’t like. Their entire world view has been determined by an algorithm.
All of this also implies that people have no values; that if they’re exposed to some sort of gawd-awful worldview, they’ll succumb to it, which is just asinine. I remember reading an article about white supremacists in Rolling Stone like 30+ years ago, when I was 14, and one of the things mentioned in the article was a band called Skrewdriver. So I went and picked up a Skrewdriver album from my local independent record store, put it on the turntable and gave it a listen; not because I leaned Nazi, but just because I love music and was curious. First of all, the music was gawd-awful, just from a musician’s point of view (I’ve been a writing music since I was twelve). Secondly, I didn’t become a Nazi, even though I’d (gasp!) listened to that album.
I’m actually listening to “Reign in Blood” by Slayer right now, one of the most important and influential albums of all time, in any genre. Been listening to it my whole life, yet somehow, I’m still not a devil-worshipper. Imagine that…
Oh hell, the anti-free speechers invoking "the arc of history". The cry of totalitarians right beside the glorious "will of the people".
I have long been a supporter of FIRE. I don't fear they will become woke ala the ACLU because of their founders and leadership. I just pray they're all in good health!
Matt, thanks so much for sharing this wonderful defense of classic liberal values and philosophy.
None of these people is a liberal; they are illiberal authoritarians. The division is no longer between D and R, nor left and right, nor liberal and conservative. It is between authoritarians and libertarians. You are doing a public service by providing the evidence.
Free speech is worth fighting for for those on both sides of the political aisle. From Bill Maher to Matt Taibbi to Tucker Carlson to Ben Shapiro, we should hope that all media figures fight vigorously for free speech.
"Free speech absolutism" is itself a straw man. What is absolute is that political views, unpopular phrasing, profanity and racist language are absolutely protected. Words tending to cause immediate physical risk - yelling "fire" in a full movie house, for example, is not protected. It is not hard, but Prog seek to make it so.
thanks for sharing. great convo.
its amazing how intolerant the dems/left have become. i appreciate i am brushing w/ too broad a stroke, but all of the censorship today is pushed most strongly by democratic elected officials and their sycophants in the media & their boosters/campaign funders in big tech. this has been recently diagnosed and documented by glenn greenwald.
there definitively are censorship advocates on the right - anyone with 2 braincells that was sentient 20 yrs ago remembers how the gop & their lap dogs in the media (bill o'reilly among other neocons) shouted down anyone who questioned the bush/cheyne 'war on terror' as being a terrorist sympathizer.
it is infuriating and depressing that once principled institutions (ACLU) have been so effectively co-opted. i feel as though there is a silent majority who are anti censorship, but that faction can be so easily divided across any other 'political' topic that the message cannot coalesce. combine it with the power of big tech & big media to attack anyone who deviates from the orthodoxy (see fish cleaner/HCQ, horse dewormer or nicki minaj media cycles) and people are fearful of speaking out or unable to gain access to the biggest stage to push their ideas.
Is this available somewhere besides YouTube?