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We Support Free Speech In Principle, But…

Yeah, I know… “Important stuff…” The Stockton Ports season ended last night, and my good friend Zack Bayrouty left us with some thoughts that I think are yet another reason why he is The Best.

And now on to Monday…

One of the many, many questions that I have is why is there such a fear of ideas? in recent months we have seen the ACLU decide that in the future they will defend cases not on the basis of free speech, but rather on the basis of whether or not that speech supports the values to which the ACLU clings. Now, we see a Mathematics paper which sought to try an explain WHY a certain thing seems to happen being suppressed because, in the words of one opponent, most “normal” people won’t be smart enough to dispute it like she can (specific quote: [S]he worried that other, presumably less sophisticated, readers “will just see someone wielding the authority of mathematics to support a very controversial, and potentially sexist, set of ideas…”).

In other words, the force of government is being used to prevent any possible discussion of an idea which might deviate from the approved and accepted position. Remember that when the rubber meets the road, “the Department Head had explained that sometimes values such as academic freedom and free speech come into conflict with other values to which Penn State was committed.”

Clearly, those values do not only not include the 1st Amendment at a State Funded (government) University that once defended a Football Coach who covered for a Child Abuser but will not allow for any discussion of an idea that might be thought-provoking or, I suppose, triggering.

Let’s take a look at another of these ideas that we are not allowed to discuss. David Nabhan’s most recent article has hit on a subject near and dear to my own interest – the so-called “Peak Oil” Theory. Way back in the day, we used to have a regularish guest on “On the Road,” who not only espoused the Peak Oil Theory but used it to predict doom and gloom and the end of the world. He would get testy when I would I object, and to this day he has still never answered my three objections to Peak Oil. First, Peak Oil assumes that we explored the entire planet, and we have not. Second, Peak Oil assumes that drilling technology will never improve, and it will. Lastly, Peak Oil assumes that the natural processes by which oil is formed have ceased.

Now, those processes have always been assumed to be the death of millions upon millions of carbon-based life forms, followed by millions of years of compression and heat, leaving behind the viscous fluid we call “oil.” But… what if that is not how crude oil is formed?

Well… here is the land of the free, you really cannot even talk about that concept.

And It’s Rosh Hashana.


Enemies Of The State

A new Poll shows that some 43% of self-identified Republicans believe that “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior.” how you react to that poll says more about your political views than it does the actual poll. The reactions to the news are as predictable as a sunrise, but all of them miss the real point. Sure, the media conducted a poll to find out if people really do hate them as much as they report that the people do. But looked at in context, it provides us with an opportunity to test our values against our actions. Because the myth that we “love’ free speech is as pervasive as the idea that the media is the “enemy of the state.” Read the rest of this entry

The Scarlet X

Montel William recently tweeted that people who do a certain thing on their profile would be unfollowed and blocked by him. The problem is, as it became clear in the following thread, he didn’t actually know what the thing he that was upset about and banning people for actually was. He still doesn’t. In point of fact, neither do I, although both he and I have a vaguely contextually idea.

That is a big part of the problem, when it comes to censorship and/or editorial controlling speech on non-governmental platforms. If we don’t know what we are looking at, how do we look when we start banning and/or editorially controlling the content of speech? Read the rest of this entry

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