Tag: Free Speech

QoTD: Liberals Need to Defend Free Speech—says a Liberal. Should We Care?

 

The problem is that people will inevitably differ about which speech qualifies as racist. The term has become our own scarlet letter, an all-purpose way to prohibit ideas you dislike. So we need to defend the free-speech rights of everyone, even avowed racists. The best response to hateful speech is to raise your own voice against it, not ban it.

–Jonathan Zimmerman, in the WSJ

Ayaan speaks with Dave Rubin about the future of liberalism. Can it be saved and if so, how? They discuss faith, religion, and the pseudo-religion of wokeism. Plus, they explore whether or not we still have a free press.

Dave Rubin is an author, comedian, and TV personality best known for his political commentary. He is the host of The Rubin Report, a top-ranking talk show recognized as one of the most influential spaces for candid conversations about complex issues and current events. Dave is known for his iconoclastic and honest approach to big ideas and his unwavering support for free speech.

Wanted: More Safe Spaces

 

We need more safe spaces. No, not the sterile little cubbies that the snowflakes need to avoid being “triggered,” to avoid facing an unpleasant idea or a challenging thought; we have enough of those already. We call those spaces “universities,” and the country is littered with them. No, we need more places where normal Americans can hear and say what they believe without fear of being fired, of their children being ostracized, of their grades being ruined, and of their families being torn apart.

I’ve lived in a lot of America: Kansas City, Denver, Albuquerque, Memphis, Sarasota, Cleveland, Austin, Tucson, rural Missouri, and rural New York. I’ve lived in urban high-rise apartments and on rolling farms, owned homes in lush Florida suburbs and dusty New Mexico river valleys. I’ve met a few people who think America is a racist hellhole full of injustice and oppression, but vastly more who go to church and go to work and make sense and raise their kids and maybe believe too much of what they see on the evening news. Americans aren’t by and large a “woke” people. We’re a gloriously apolitical bunch, a nation of sensible and pragmatic and decent citizens busy making ends meet in an often challenging economy.

Nick Gillespie is the host of The Reason Interview podcast and editor-at-large at Reason Magazine. He and Bridget discuss the need to create meaning in our lives and why this has driven a lot of American culture insane, how he became a libertarian, Burning Man, his time working for a teen magazine, and why we need a government that does fewer things, but does them well. He shares how attending high school graduations and zoning board meetings radicalized him, the difference between liberals and progressives, how we can build a robust culture by having more arguments, and how he learned almost anything is possible. He and Bridget cover their hope for the future, why Walter Kronkite sucked, the consequences of growing up comfortable, and the truth behind our political parties’ ideologies.

Black Lives Matter

 

It is true that young black men are being killed disproportionately — killed brutally, ruthlessly, and unjustly. And we need to talk about it if we hope to put an end to it.

We have data, and that data has been studied carefully. We know, based on that, that police are not the ones doing the killing. We know, based on that data, that police do not disproportionately kill young black men.

A Machine for Preventing Civil War

 

Scott Alexander, in a 2017 post at Slate Star Codex:

People talk about “liberalism” as if it’s just another word for capitalism, or libertarianism, or vague center-left-Democratic Clintonism. Liberalism is none of these things. Liberalism is a technology for preventing civil war. It was forged in the fires of Hell – the horrors of the endless seventeenth century religious wars. For a hundred years, Europe tore itself apart in some of the most brutal ways imaginable – until finally, from the burning wreckage, we drew forth this amazing piece of alien machinery. A machine that, when tuned just right, let people live together peacefully without doing the “kill people for being Protestant” thing. Popular historical strategies for dealing with differences have included: brutally enforced conformity, brutally efficient genocide, and making sure to keep the alien machine tuned really really carefully.

A Letter to My Woke Friends

 

I don’t buy your narrative that America is a racist country. I think you are ignorant: you have a cramped and impoverished understanding of history, and no sense of proportion. I reject your “white privilege” palaver. I don’t slice and dice my fellow man into little groups based on superficial characteristics, and I won’t claim to know any more about a man based on his skin color than you know about me based on mine.

Diversity and inclusion? You can keep it. Diversity of views is lovely. Diversity of race, sexual orientation, color, and other trivial details of anatomy and preference is a crock. Every man is an identity group of one, so keep your woke bigotry. You obsess about it all you like, but I’m not interested.

Why Speak Up? Why Bother?

 

In the most recent Federalist Hour podcast, Tales from the Frontlines of the Woke Revolution, hostess Evita Duffy interviews Jason Hill, a DePaul University professor of Philosophy. Professor Hill has come under fire for stating the obvious truth in an unambiguous way, when he said that it was wrong and unfair to women to have male athletes competing against female athletes.

He’s right, and he’s unapologetic about it. That’s enough both to earn him the scorn of the Woke left and to make him a target for their speech suppression and cancelation efforts. I applaud the Professor for standing firm and exhibiting the spine almost wholly lacking in the invertebrate halls of academia. I know little of what he thinks on any other topic or issue, but am completely with him on his criticism of transgenderism (which I think to be absurd nonsense), and more importantly on his defense of both western civilization and free speech.

Giving the JPod Its Due (or, Horton Gaslights a Who)

 

Despite occasional comments of mine that might suggest otherwise, I’ve always thought John Podhoretz a decent and good-hearted man, obviously bright and articulate (if prone to outrageous and sometimes comic hyperbole).

John made a point in the March 9 Commentary podcast that I thought was perspicacious and worth repeating. I give him full credit for the observation, and nothing I say here adds anything of substance to what he said in the podcast. I’m repeating it mostly for the benefit of those who won’t hear the podcast, and also because I want to reaffirm his observations with my own experience.

The Bad Side of History

 

I’ve never cared for the phrase the wrong side of history, perhaps because it is so often invoked by progressives to justify the grinding away of traditions and values of which I approve and that I think we will miss. When invoked as a defense of as-yet unrealized ambitions, it’s presumptuous: who really knows, after all, how history will judge the latest transformative social experiment?

Speculating about future history’s take on our times is always a high-risk endeavor. Just ask Martin Luther King Jr. or Theodor Geisel, if you doubt that. Or Andrew Cuomo, for that matter.

Free Speech Lives! Parler is Back Online.

 

Parler is back! Seems a bit buggy, but free speech always was. At the moment I can get it on Chrome using my phone, but not on the laptop.

I’ve occasionally toyed with the response I might give when someone is upset that I’m on Parler. I imagine some statement of dismay from a friend or co-worker, something like, “You mean you’re on that website that has extremists, that internet playground for conspiracy theorists?” I lean towards a response along the lines of, “Yes, I’ve been on Facebook for some time.”

The Freedom Seed Vault

 

By Subiet – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=92970583

On the cold and inhospitable little Norwegian island of Spitsbergen is an oddly photogenic structure, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. This austere yet visually striking underground storage facility is intended to secure the world’s agricultural future in the event that some barely imaginable catastrophe threatens it.

I don’t worry much about mass extinctions, v I certainly don’t worry about climate change. And I live way up north, in one of those growth zones where only fence posts, cows, and a few lichens really thrive, so I’m accustomed to plants that scoff at adversity and power on through.

TurleyVision 1999: Impeachment as a Madisonian Device

 

My dear spouse occasionally forwards me the legal theories of Jonathan Turley, who currently argues Trump’s impeachment trial is unconstitutional now that Trump is a former official. Curious as to what Turley had to say about impeachment before Trump, I did some digging and struck a mother lode: Turley’s 146-page 1999 Duke Law Journal article, Senate Trials and Factional Disputes: Impeachment As A Madisonian Device. Turley’s reasons for publishing such a masterwork in 1999 may not have been dispassionate, since he had recently testified at Bill Clinton’s impeachment, but since Trump’s presidency wasn’t even a gleam in the old GOP elephant’s eye back then, Turley’s thoughts on impeachment in 1999 should at least be free of any bias for or against Trump. Those with the patience to read — or at least skim — Impeachment As A Madisonian Device will be rewarded with plenty of information on impeachment’s constitutional function and history that’s interesting in its own right, and a perspective in which the non-juridical, political nature of impeachment transcends mere raw exercise of power.

Impeachment As A Madisonian Device extensively surveys the constitutional history of impeachment. Its thesis is that the impeachment process, declared first in the House, then passed to the Senate for trial, culminates in

Should Political Speech be a “Civil Right?”

 

It is time to look at expanding anti-discrimination laws to protect political expression.

Conservative media these days are replete with examples of people on the right being intimated, shunned, deplatformed, fired and worse for expressions of support for former President Trump. “No, anyone who supported the president, voted for him or worked for his administration now has to be hunted down and purged,” New York Post columnist Miranda Devine opined recently.

“They’re losing their jobs, having their insurance canceled, their book contracts and recording deals torn up. They are being banned from flying or banking or speaking on social media.

Join Jim and Greg as as they discuss leftist riots in at least three American cities Thursday night. Will the Democrats finally admit this is a problem since these people claim to hate Biden too? They also sigh as President Biden not only rejoins the World Health Organization but does so without one demand for accountability or reform. And they react to MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace and former Obama official Ben Rhodes discussing how to “detox” speech they don’t like and even bar Republicans from stating opinions if they don’t accept the left’s version of the truth.

Kurt Schlichter, Senior Columnist at Townhall.com and conservative commentator, joins Carol Roth to discuss the current state of free speech, corporatism and deplatforming vis-à-vis America’s political divide. Kurt pulls no punches as he shares the newly named “Schlichter principle” and how it applies to freedom and how things could possibly change- for better or worse.

Plus, a “Now You Know” on how to make the best steak ever.

Silicon Valley vs. Free Speech

 

Suddenly, free speech is in serious trouble.

Six years ago, CEO Jack Dorsey could proclaim “Twitter stands for freedom of expression. We stand for speaking truth to power.“ Last week, Dorsey and other big tech titans unleashed a massive speech suppression initiative, based on the notion that not only President Trump, but also anyone who supported him, including conservatives and Republicans en masse, must be silenced in the interest of public safety.

The silencing was comprehensive and ruthless. Recently increased censorship in social media had all been directed to the right. Then Facebook and Twitter joined in a permanent ban of the president. It was necessary to silence the President of the United States, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, because his claims of voter fraud were false and it would be dangerous to allow him to keep making them.

Our Political Moment, in Summary

 

I feel compelled to say something about President Trump and recent events, but realize that I would merely be repeating things I’ve said in my few most recent posts. So I will briefly summarize, and then move on to other things in 2021.

1. The President did not meet any legal definition of incitement.

Parler, Web Hosts, and Masterpiece Cakes

 

Parler lost its rented server space with Amazon Web Services.  Parler also found its phone apps booted off the Apple and Google app stores.  This is not the “destruction” of Parler – not unless Parler was on such shaky ground that it cannot be rebuilt.  This is certainly hamstringing it, but if this is a “death sentence”, then it is one that is easily overcome with cold hard cash (would that the Reaper were so easily fended off on more fleshly concerns).  We need perspective here, and an honest reckoning of what happened, how, and why.  We also need to yet again yank the plank from our own eye, for it was just a short while ago that we were adamantly defending another business for refusing paying clientele: I speak of none other than Masterpiece Cakes.

First, let’s get the technical stuff out of the way – understanding how Parler was built, and how it planned to make money for its creators (let’s not fool ourselves into thinking it was all charity work) is key to understanding its demise.  Web sites have to be located on computers.  You can make a website on your laptop and share it with the rest of the internet if you want.  Users just would need to know the numerical address in either IPV4 or IPV6 to find it.  If you want to make it easier to find then you would have to register a domain name, and then map that domain name to your server address.  Now suppose your little website got really popular because its topic was fun and lovable – let’s say, for the sake of argument, that your website was all about your pet bird.  If you had just a residential internet connection, after a point your neighbors would start to complain that traffic to your laptop was killing their own connections.  Plus, your laptop has limited processing power to keep serving page views out – and your addition of a little bird forum doubled traffic to the point where your laptop’s cooling fan failed from overuse.  How do you fix these issues?