Where’s Your Hill?

 

When Roy Moore was in the process of being brought down in the Alabama Senate race last December, the standard response from the establishment side of the GOP was, “Look, Moore is a nutcase. This is not a court of law. There is no due process or presumption of innocence. He’s not the hill you want to die on.”

When Alex Jones was purged off of social media the response was, “This is not a government action, but the actions of private individuals. Besides, he’s a nutcase and this is not the hill you want to die on.”

Enter Brett Kavanaugh. As his reputation is destroyed by the minority party suddenly the establishment is appalled. Why? Well, primarily because even though he was nominated to SCOTUS by Donald Trump, Kavanaugh is seen as “one of us,” one of the good chaps whose pedigree of private high schools, Yale and all the right government clerkships and appointments was beyond question.

Is this the hill now? When you surrendered all of that territory before, when you tucked your collective tails between your legs and ran like scalded dogs, now you want to turn and fight? Look what you gave up before. Like the Alabama race, proceedings in the Senate Judiciary Committee are not the equivalent of a court of law. The ideas of due process and presumed innocence you gave away in December are a little hard to reclaim now. When you look at all of the private, non-government entities behind this smear job, how can you rebuke them?

Principles are funny things. If you don’t apply them to the people you dislike then they are unlikely to be of any use when you really need them.

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  1. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):
    Nope. I’m saying that although there would be nothing illegal about it, it is a form of censorship.

    Calling it censorship because I didn’t let you into my private cocktail party is the same level of victimhood as the women who say Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted them when he used a bad pick-up line on them in college.

    • #121
  2. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    blood thirsty neocon (View Comment):

    I, for one, didn’t believe Roy Moore. I believe Kavanaugh. It’s that simple. I get your argument, EJ, but I find it wanting.

    In that case, it’s not his argument that you find wanting. 

    • #122
  3. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Mendel (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):
    Nope. I’m saying that although there would be nothing illegal about it, it is a form of censorship.

    Calling it censorship because I didn’t let you into my private cocktail party is the same level of victimhood as the women who say Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted them when he used a bad pick-up line on them in college.

    Who said anything about victimhood? That’s your addition.

    • #123
  4. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Hammer, The (Ryan M): right… I addressed this in several comments. So why don’t we die on the hill that is Harvey Weinstein? Why not die on the hill that is Al Franken?

    Weinstein (hopefully) will have his day in court. Which is exactly where these kind of things should be litigated. And quite frankly, while I’m no fan of Franken, they decided to stick a fork in him only because there was no chance of losing his seat. The Democrats always keep their eyes on the larger prize.

    • #124
  5. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    What if I just honestly believed the multiple, consistent, and fairly well corroborated allegations against Roy Moore (in addition to thinking him a loon unsuited to the Senate or any other position of responsibility)? I don’t see the “principle” that requires me to have supported him. I think you’re confusing principle with partisanship.

    The issue (or “problem” if you will) is that the left does not draw the line between “principle” and “partisanship.” That is not to necessarily say “we” shouldn’t, and it is not intended as a defense of Moore or Jones.

    But when there is such a noticeable disparity in approaches, and those on the other side of that disparity are relentless, I think it’s necessary to finally find some hill. And let’s be clear, there are some putative conservatives who won’t even defend Kavanaugh’s hill.

     

    I’ve always found that my odds in a fight were better in the long run if I stuck to the high ground.  You don’t always win that way, but you don’t always win anyway.  It’s just playing the odds.  Roy Moore and Alex Jones are not the high ground.

    • #125
  6. JudithannCampbell Inactive
    JudithannCampbell
    @JudithannCampbell

    blood thirsty neocon (View Comment):

    I, for one, didn’t believe Roy Moore. I believe Kavanaugh. It’s that simple. I get your argument, EJ, but I find it wanting.

    What happened to the idea of people being presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? One of the reasons you believe Kavanaugh and not Moore is because Kavanuagh is far smoother than Moore, but really, who cares what any of us believe? Where is the proof? Where is the evidence?  I think we should all step back and think very carefully about trying people for criminal charges in the court of public opinion, based on nothing more than our beliefs and gut feelings.

    • #126
  7. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Mendel (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):
    Nope. I’m saying that although there would be nothing illegal about it, it is a form of censorship.

    Calling it censorship because I didn’t let you into my private cocktail party is the same level of victimhood as the women who say Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted them when he used a bad pick-up line on them in college.

    Who said anything about victimhood? That’s your addition.

    Yes, that’s my addition. The whole point of a comment is to add something to the conversation instead of simply repeating the same points ad nauseum, is it not?

    And in this case, my addition was to say that calling it “censorship” when Facebook bans users is a form of weak-sauce victimhood. Facebook spent billions of dollars building up that platform. It’s theirs, and none of us have a natural right to use it. They invite us in – even if in a very open manner – like a big cocktail party. And being disinvited from a cocktail party is not censorship.

    Great, now I’m the one repeating the same points ad nauseum.

    • #127
  8. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Guys, seriously. The right to free speech exists apart from the questions about when and how it is legal to infringe upon it. It is perfectly valid to call the silencing of Alex Jones across social media an infringement on his freedom of speech, even if how it’s done isn’t illegal.

    If EJ Hill gets 12 microphones at his soapbox, but when Jones steps up, 11 of them are removed, his freedom of speech is curtailed. Sure, he has other venues. Everyone has options. But to say he’s not having his free speech infringed upon isn’t quite true.

    All things being equal, he has to jump through more hoops to have his message heard.

    Is that okay because he’s a kook? No.

    Is it legal because Facebook is a private entity? Yes.

    It’s legal to shut him down. Is it right? Is it moral? Or if we truly believe in the principle of free speech, does that mean that we must allow even those we disagree with to speak? Yes, I’m afraid it does.

    • #128
  9. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    What if I just honestly believed the multiple, consistent, and fairly well corroborated allegations against Roy Moore (in addition to thinking him a loon unsuited to the Senate or any other position of responsibility)? I don’t see the “principle” that requires me to have supported him. I think you’re confusing principle with partisanship.

    Yeah, except they’re not really consistent and not really corroborated.  But who cares about the details, because many didn’t like him.  The principle is that we don’t accept uncorroborated, dubious, and old allegations of misconduct revealed at the 11th hour before an election or confirmation vote.

    We especially shouldn’t accept them when the story painted by the hostile mainstream press is that he was a serial abuser of underage women.  Again, even accepting the allegations as true, only one was underage.

    • #129
  10. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Mendel (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Mendel (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):
    Nope. I’m saying that although there would be nothing illegal about it, it is a form of censorship.

    Calling it censorship because I didn’t let you into my private cocktail party is the same level of victimhood as the women who say Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted them when he used a bad pick-up line on them in college.

    Who said anything about victimhood? That’s your addition.

    Yes, that’s my addition. The whole point of a comment is to add something to the conversation instead of simply repeating the same points ad nauseum, is it not?

    And in this case, my addition was to say that calling it “censorship” when Facebook bans users is a form of weak-sauce victimhood.

    I reject your premise.

     

    • #130
  11. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Sash (View Comment):

    He didn’t deny dating teenagers he just said their mother’s said it was okay.

    I’m really glad I didn’t need to choose between Moore and a Democrat. I don’t care much about it. But he’s been creepy long before the women came out.

    Plus, he doesn’t have anything to do with me.

    Kavanaugh, isn’t my first choice off Trump’s list. I have no memory of hearing his name before. But he’s innocent. That gal’s story… it doesn’t add up. I can have my opinions.

    This is another part of the problem.  “Dating teenagers” somehow becomes sexual abuse.

    • #131
  12. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Cato Rand (View Comment):
    I’ve always found that my odds in a fight were better in the long run if I stuck to the high ground. You don’t always win that way, but you don’t always win anyway. It’s just playing the odds. Roy Moore and Alex Jones are not the high ground.

    I think you are a bit confused about which is the high ground and which is the low. 

    • #132
  13. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):
    It’s legal to shut him down. Is it right? Is it moral? Or if we truly believe in the principle of free speech, does that mean that we must allow even those we disagree with to speak? Yes, I’m afraid it does.

    And I agree with this paragraph as written. I think we should allow Alex Jones to speak.

    Where we seem to be talking past each other is the definition of “allow”. He’s already allowed to speak no matter what. But modern communications have become so global and technology-based that it’s no longer enough to simply speak – you need to have your speech amplified by a platform in order to be heard. And there are currently no publicly-owned platforms with the broad reach of TV or the internet in the way that the town square was once a meaningful publicly-owned platform for speech.

    So what we’re really debating isn’t whether or not we should allow Alex Jones to speak, but whether he should be given a platform even if none of the platforms want him. And presumably your answer, Drew, is yes (and mine is “not really”).

    I’ll grant you that in today’s world, speech without an amplifying platform is essentially equivalent to not speaking at all. But that raises the question: do we just want to promote speech, or do we want to promote being heard?

    • #133
  14. blood thirsty neocon Inactive
    blood thirsty neocon
    @bloodthirstyneocon

    JudithannCampbell (View Comment):

    blood thirsty neocon (View Comment):

    I, for one, didn’t believe Roy Moore. I believe Kavanaugh. It’s that simple. I get your argument, EJ, but I find it wanting.

    What happened to the idea of people being presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?

    It’s a criminal justice presumption, not a political one. The public is free to believe whatever they want about government officials and vote accordingly. 

    One of the reasons you believe Kavanaugh and not Moore is because Kavanuagh is far smoother than Moore, but really, who cares what any of us believe?

    No, I believe Kavanaugh, because he categorically denied the allegations, and the allegations lack corroboration. He has dozens of character withnesses that Moore didn’t have.

    Where is the proof? Where is the evidence? I think we should all step back and think very carefully about trying people for criminal charges in the court of public opinion, based on nothing more than our beliefs and gut feelings.

    If you don’t like what the Democrats are doing, then fight back. I’m all for doing whatever is necessary. I asked more than once who was willing to find women to accuse Democrat officials. Everyone said that was wrong, and we shouldn’t do that. Well, you guys need to live with your scruples. Don’t whine about it.

     

    • #134
  15. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    EJHill: Where’s Your Hill?

    As a casualty of an earlier battle…one that could be mistaken for a result of friendly fire but is actually very much just another part of this greater war of “win at all costs” against people like me…I find much of this quite amusing from my seat back here on a little hill called “Mississippi 2014. (Never Forget Mississippi 2014!) Yes, principles are funny things.  

    • #135
  16. Hammer, The (Ryan M) Member
    Hammer, The (Ryan M)
    @RyanM

    JudithannCampbell (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Anyone who says “I have no idea what Alex Jones says about anyone” can not understand what we are arguing about (hint: it’s not free speech) and by their own words, should at least look it up before commenting.

    I am not defending a person, I am defending a principle. A principle that a few people here either do not believe in or do not understand. When I was growing up, the ACLU used to defend the right of the KKK to march in Jewish neighborhoods; everyone understood that the ACLU did not agree with the KKK, but defended their rights anyway. You are old enough to remember this, Gary, I should not have to explain it to you.

    Yeah, defended their rights against the government. Pretty important distinction.

    • #136
  17. JudithannCampbell Inactive
    JudithannCampbell
    @JudithannCampbell

    blood thirsty neocon (View Comment):
    The public is free to believe whatever they want about government officials and vote accordingly. 

    People are free to believe whatever they want about anyone, but that doesn’t make it right. It is wrong to say that one believes that anyone, a government official, anyone, is a sexual predator without any proof or evidence. People who engage in this are encouraging mob hysteria and mob rule.

    If you dislike Roy Moore’s political positions, just say so. No need to smear him or anyone as a sex offender with no proof, based on nothing more than some weird belief you have.

    • #137
  18. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Mendel (View Comment):
    So what we’re really debating isn’t whether or not we should allow Alex Jones to speak, but whether he should be given a platform even if none of the platforms want him. And presumably your answer, Drew, is yes (and mine is “not really”).

    I have no interest in forcing Facebook and Twitter to give him a platform. (I do think that Paypal’s decision to not do business with him is on shaky legal ground according to the Bake the Damn Cake precedent.) 

    All I’m trying to get across is that shutting him out of the platforms — what is essentially our modern public square — is a form of censorship.

    With that understanding, we need to consider whether our own distaste for Alex Jones is a valid enough reason to side with the censors.

    I am under no illusion that the line won’t move in my direction. It is not fallacious to point out how we do seem to be sliding down that slippery slope.

    Do I side with censors who would happily silence me next? Or do I side with free speech — even speech I don’t like? I’m going with free speech.

    • #138
  19. Polyphemus Inactive
    Polyphemus
    @Polyphemus

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Jones is worse than a kook. Doxxing the Sandy Hook people is evil. Promoting Pizzagate is evil–and insane.

    You might as well beg us to defend Michael Moore or Van Jones.

    No sale.

    In the case of Moore, that’s a reasonable position. It was an election and the question was whether or not to support him in some way. Who can blame you for not wanting to?

    Jones’ case was different and, I think, right on the center of EJ’s point. He is even more despicable a person than is Judge Moore, I would say. Your Sandy Hook point nails that. But what happened to him should have worried us very much because it was a free speech issue and clearly fit the pattern of the “first they came for the weirdos and I said nothing” line of argument.

    We should, in fact, defend Michal Moore or Van Jones were they to be subject to being unfairly censored – by the government at least (recognizing that it was not the government in Jones’ case). 

    • #139
  20. blood thirsty neocon Inactive
    blood thirsty neocon
    @bloodthirstyneocon

    JudithannCampbell (View Comment):

    blood thirsty neocon (View Comment):
    The public is free to believe whatever they want about government officials and vote accordingly.

    People are free to believe whatever they want about anyone, but that doesn’t make it right. It is wrong to say that one believes that anyone, a government official, anyone, is a sexual predator without any proof or evidence. People who engage in this are encouraging mob hysteria and mob rule.

    If you dislike Roy Moore’s political positions, just say so. No need to smear him or anyone as a sex offender with no proof, based on nothing more than some weird belief you have.

    No, Moore was not the hill to die on. He didn’t even bother to deny accusations properly, as Hannity pointed out. Let’s forget about him and really take the gloves off. C’mon, it’ll be fun.

     

     

     

     

    • #140
  21. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    blood thirsty neocon (View Comment):

    JudithannCampbell (View Comment):

    blood thirsty neocon (View Comment):
    The public is free to believe whatever they want about government officials and vote accordingly.

    People are free to believe whatever they want about anyone, but that doesn’t make it right. It is wrong to say that one believes that anyone, a government official, anyone, is a sexual predator without any proof or evidence. People who engage in this are encouraging mob hysteria and mob rule.

    If you dislike Roy Moore’s political positions, just say so. No need to smear him or anyone as a sex offender with no proof, based on nothing more than some weird belief you have.

    No, Moore was not the hill to die on. He didn’t even bother to deny accusations properly, as Hannity pointed out. Let’s forget about him and really take the gloves off. C’mon, it’ll be fun.

    If you’ve lost Hannity . . .

    • #141
  22. JudithannCampbell Inactive
    JudithannCampbell
    @JudithannCampbell

    blood thirsty neocon (View Comment):
    No, Moore was not the hill to die on. He didn’t even bother to deny accusations properly, as Hannity pointed out. Let’s forget about him

    I like Sean Hannity, really I do, but I am not prepared to make him judge, jury and executioner. Women who have been assaulted need to bring criminal charges through the criminal justice system. We as a culture cannot accept women who can not or will not press charges, but want to destroy men years or decades later with horrific and impossible to prove stories. You are a guy, aren’t you? And yet, you are acting as though this is all some kind of fun game. I hope your support of feminist ideas never comes back to bite you.

    • #142
  23. Duane Oyen Member
    Duane Oyen
    @DuaneOyen

    Actually, this is pretty easy.  Alex Jones is a slimy idiot, yet the actions against him- which were not as far as we know illegal- revealed the character of his foes.  Therefore, we should push for sanctions against their actions.  To start with, boycott Google and Twitter, push for Facebook change along the lines of the Microsoft Windows-IE separation (that is, require that FB members be equally accessible to competing social networks).

    The GoP seems to deserve Roy Moore- when these kinds of morons stop being nominated, we will be far better off; when will people learn to stop nominating Angle, Akin, et al?  That was a no-win situation.  If one supported Moore, it was only with the plan of denying Jones a victory and kicking Moore out of the Senate right away.  A complete no-win situation.

    Kavanaugh is obvious- confirm him, now.  Period.

    • #143
  24. JudithannCampbell Inactive
    JudithannCampbell
    @JudithannCampbell

    @bloodthirstyneocon: it occurs to me that I have no idea whether you are a man or a woman: if you are a man, you are being silly. If you are a woman, and you consider destroying men’s lives to be some kind of enjoyable spectator sport, that is really evil.

    • #144
  25. Could Be Anyone Member
    Could Be Anyone
    @CouldBeAnyone

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):
    Do I side with censors who would happily silence me next? Or do I side with free speech — even speech I don’t like? I’m going with free speech.

    You agreed to the CoC of this site when you became a member and the CoC places restrictions on what can be typed here. You have already sided with the “censors”. You just disagree about how much should happen and are making an exaggerated contrast between free speech and current censorship.

    Even then the example you linked was for state government action in one state and not private entities, which is what the Jones example entails. Social Media is not a public forum. Many in the public may participate in it it but that does not make it a public forum. Town halls, congressional sessions and the like are public forums. That is where the public discusses issues on public property, meant for everyone to attend and speak at. 

    Social media organizations have a right to freedom of association and they can use it as they see fit and it does not at all conflict with the freedom of speech in the first amendment. If you don’t like it I would suggest you consider their competitors or start your own alternative.

    • #145
  26. Hammer, The (Ryan M) Member
    Hammer, The (Ryan M)
    @RyanM

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Mendel (View Comment):
    So what we’re really debating isn’t whether or not we should allow Alex Jones to speak, but whether he should be given a platform even if none of the platforms want him. And presumably your answer, Drew, is yes (and mine is “not really”).

    I have no interest in forcing Facebook and Twitter to give him a platform. (I do think that Paypal’s decision to not do business with him is on shaky legal ground according to the Bake the Damn Cake precedent.)

    All I’m trying to get across is that shutting him out of the platforms — what is essentially our modern public square — is a form of censorship.

    With that understanding, we need to consider whether our own distaste for Alex Jones is a valid enough reason to side with the censors.

    I am under no illusion that the line won’t move in my direction. It is not fallacious to point out how we do seem to be sliding down that slippery slope.

    Do I side with censors who would happily silence me next? Or do I side with free speech — even speech I don’t like? I’m going with free speech.

    Literally nobody has argued that it is not a form of censorship. EJ was criticizing those of us not willing to choose that as “a hill to die on.” You’re moving the goal posts, a bit.

    • #146
  27. Hammer, The (Ryan M) Member
    Hammer, The (Ryan M)
    @RyanM

    JudithannCampbell (View Comment):

    blood thirsty neocon (View Comment):
    No, Moore was not the hill to die on. He didn’t even bother to deny accusations properly, as Hannity pointed out. Let’s forget about him

    I like Sean Hannity, really I do, but I am not prepared to make him judge, jury and executioner. Women who have been assaulted need to bring criminal charges through the criminal justice system. We as a culture cannot accept women who can not or will not press charges, but want to destroy men years or decades later with horrific and impossible to prove stories. You are a guy, aren’t you? And yet, you are acting as though this is all some kind of fun game. I hope your support of feminist ideas never comes back to bite you.

    That was not the only reason people did not vote for Moore. If that one allegation was the only reason, I might agree. But it wasn’t. 

    • #147
  28. Hammer, The (Ryan M) Member
    Hammer, The (Ryan M)
    @RyanM

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    Sash (View Comment):

    He didn’t deny dating teenagers he just said their mother’s said it was okay.

    I’m really glad I didn’t need to choose between Moore and a Democrat. I don’t care much about it. But he’s been creepy long before the women came out.

    Plus, he doesn’t have anything to do with me.

    Kavanaugh, isn’t my first choice off Trump’s list. I have no memory of hearing his name before. But he’s innocent. That gal’s story… it doesn’t add up. I can have my opinions.

    This is another part of the problem. “Dating teenagers” somehow becomes sexual abuse.

    Sort of depends on your age, no? And theirs… 

    also, if you find it creepy and gross, I won’t blame you. A lot of factors go into voting, and those are legitimate factors. We need to nominate better people, plain and simple.

    • #148
  29. JudithannCampbell Inactive
    JudithannCampbell
    @JudithannCampbell

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):

    JudithannCampbell (View Comment):

    blood thirsty neocon (View Comment):
    No, Moore was not the hill to die on. He didn’t even bother to deny accusations properly, as Hannity pointed out. Let’s forget about him

    I like Sean Hannity, really I do, but I am not prepared to make him judge, jury and executioner. Women who have been assaulted need to bring criminal charges through the criminal justice system. We as a culture cannot accept women who can not or will not press charges, but want to destroy men years or decades later with horrific and impossible to prove stories. You are a guy, aren’t you? And yet, you are acting as though this is all some kind of fun game. I hope your support of feminist ideas never comes back to bite you.

    That was not the only reason people did not vote for Moore. If that one allegation was the only reason, I might agree. But it wasn’t.

    Like I said, if you dislike his political positions, fine, just say so, but to smear someone as a sex offender or remain silent while others do so because you don’t like his political positions is despicable.

    • #149
  30. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    EJHill: Principles are funny things. If you don’t apply them to the people you dislike then they are unlikely to be of any use when you really need them.

    I adhered to my principles when I refused to vote for Roy Moore. He is a cartoon of a far-right whacko. He would have been the Maxine Waters of the GOP. 

    What conceivable principle did I violate?

     

     

    • #150
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