Freedom of Speech

Another pharyngulated blog, 2000 years of deception (hark at that), has brought to my attention a particularly obnoxious type of homeschooling, bigoted, hate-mongering, ignorant and odious individual. The bottom line is that miss God Hates Fags here says that homosexuality should be punishable by death and that with any luck some radical will blow up a “gay-friendly high-school”. She also said she doesn’t actually endorse this. Oh yeah, no sir!

Anyhow, since this is just another run-of-the-mill idiot with nothing to do but to spread tinfoil hat mouth-foaming belliigerence (and, tragically, inculcating it in her homeschooled children) – on itself it’s not big news and not particularly interesting. The only sympathizers clods like that have are other twerps with the same single-digit IQ.

However, being the comments prowler that I am, I sniffed the comments in 2000YOD (well, I’d obviously not look into the godbot’s blog for a balanced view, that despicable hag quickly deleted every comment from non-sycophants) and I ran into this jewel:

Anonymous said…
Flaging her blog is juvenile and close minded.

Hate Speech is still free speech. No matter how vulgar the message.

I’m sorry, all ye unfaithful – this anonymous chap is right. Freedom of speech logically entails freedom of dumb, hateful, poisonous speech. Freedom of speech enables Hitlers and Mussolinis, not just FDR’s and Churchills. If one accepts the right to free speech, one must also allow it for anyone with a dissenting and even disgusting view, and I fully endorse this woman’s right to display her revolting worldview to the world. At least that way more people can be made aware of this vile, sickening individual.

I’m using more expletives than usual precisely because I wish to make an example of my own free speech. See, I don’t think suppressing people’s view is a good long-term strategy for any purpose. It doesn’t even stand to reason even when we ignore the warm, fuzzy feelings liberal concepts like FOS give to us ( I’m not kidding, it’s given me warm fuzzy feelings ever since I heard of it in junior high. )

The thing is – if people have dissenting views, hushing them up won’t make them go away, and in any case, if there’s a personality or an upbringing that makes people susceptible to certain viewpoints, then shutting them up won’t make them change their minds, or change the fact that such viewpoints will survive. People always find a way, and writing about crap like said hag is just one of many methods of propagating disgusting ideas.

So my take on this is that freedom of speech does in fact and should cut both ways: it’s the right of useful, intelligent, modern human beings to express their views and to spread useful and egalitarian ideas and it’s also the right for bible-thumping yokels to dribble about how wonderful a world without people who are different than they are is going to be.

I also think that it’s solely the responsibility of sensible liberals to use that same right to vocalize their contempt, scorn, disdain, disapproval, disavowal and absolute flaming dejection at such putrid ideas.

In the end, it’s the winning ideas that win, not the most vocal ideas, though being overly vocal helps to propogate bullshit. But the end result is that people want power, and the way to power is in reason and in reason alone. If you convince enough people to use their heads and not the opinions of authoritative bigots, they will, in turn, use their heads to produce results better than they could before.

Then the tide will turn.

Speak out hard enough, and the truth will win: not because it’s warm and cuddly, but because it’s concordant with humanity’s biological reality: the truth is the best way to get to results, and only those who get to results get a say in anything.

Eventually, if enough people use their heads, the warm and fuzzy feelings (the truly important part of this whole “life” thing) will follow.

5 Comments »

  1. jeffsdeepthoughts Said:

    While I’m with you on about 90% of this, I think, in fact, it’s a little more complicated than this.
    If we had only one right– the right to free speech– then it would be easier.
    But obviously, it’d be quite silly to suggest that we only have a right to free speech. (I think a coherent argument can be made that we have a number of rights. Or a coherent argument can be made that the whole concept of rights is flawed. But I’m not familiar with a coherent argument around the idea that we have only one right and that right is the right to free speech.)
    There is then, a problem when one right interferes with another right. We end up, I think, needing some sort of hierarchy of rights.

    It seems to me that the only reasonable limitations we might put on free speech are when free speech interferes with a more fundamental right.
    To be a bit more precise:
    I (and you) have a right to not be trampled by a mob. I think most of us would agree that this right is more important than our right to free speech. One of the ways we see this is that we’d rather have our right to free speech violated than our right not to be trampled be violated.
    (If saying “I have a right not to be trampled” seems to specific and bizarre,. there are a variety of other ways to formulate this right that are more consistent with our every day understandings. For example “We have a right not to be hurt or killed through others’ malice or incompetence.”)
    This is, of course, why somebody can’t yell “fire” in a crowded movie theatre when no fire is present. The right to not be trampled trumps the right to free speech.

    It might turn out that the right to free speech is pretty high on the hierarchy. There might be very few things that trump it. But I think it’s worth having this discussion, as a society. I think the following sorts of examples are at least worthy of debate, because I think other potential rights might be equally important.

    Does a student have the right to where a shirt which will cause disruption in the school. (We all have a right to an education.)

    Does anybody have the right to broadcast slogans (bumper stickers, things said out loud, etc.) that might cause violence– either because people oppose the message or are motivated by it?

    Do parents have the right to shield their children from obscenities, lewd pictures, information that is not age-appropriate, etc?

    Do people have the right to feel safe in their homes? If so, how does this interface with rights to free speech? Do racist groups have the right to parade in front of other’s homes? Does it matter if most of those homes are populated by ethnic minorities?

    Do I have the right for it simply to be quiet, for a while? Do I have the right to not be exposed to others literal or symbolic speech, not so much because of the content of the speech but simply because sound can be a form of pollution and it can be difficult to escape it?

    It might be that we decide that free speech trumps most of these. But I think it’s worth having the debate in these terms. I think every idea has the right to be aired in an appropriate forum. There should be nothing “off limits” for debate. That’s how we decide that many ideas are foolish. That’s how we show we’re not afraid of other idealogies.

    But I’m not sure that hate speech doesn’t violate other more fundamental rights; I’m not sure that hate speech, in many contexts, deserves the protection we offer to other speech.

  2. רגשות מחושבים Said:

    I don’t know much about trackbacks, but it might be useful to leave one at her place. It usually contains a line and a half of the text around which you link to her site, and if you make sure this line and a half read innocent maybe she won’t immediately delete it and maybe some will follow the link here. You will practice your right to free speach, and maybe some of her less devoted sycophants will even gain from this exposure (assuming she’s beyond listening to anything that is not her rant).

  3. freidenker85 Said:

    Trackbacking includes linking to her blog, and I think she’s enjoyed enough attention. If this was anything apart from some backwater prude with some anal ire, I’d do whatever I can to give her the attention (read mockery) she deserves.

    Unfortunately, since this is a backwater blog, too, I don’t have any influence. I get a few dozen entries every day. Even if it was a few dozen other people, anything I write would be all but forgotten by the end of the day.

  4. רגשות מחושבים Said:

    You linked there anyway.
    Oh, never mind, you’re probably right about her blog.
    About your blog being a backwater blog – I like your war cry in the “about” that even though very few know you etc. . I’m encouraged by such spirit, so please don’t take the numbers as a reason to do or not do anything here!

  5. freidenker85 Said:

    Well, to be precise, I linked to a blog that linked to her blog, mainly because I was interested in people hearing the criticism along with the blubbered rant.

    Oh, and I don’t think I’m that much of a hero. I’ve come to realize that writing a personal diary has little future in it for me. Since I’m more interested in how things work rather than in what happens in every day lives, I will always have a reason to write here and there’s much on my mind that simply begs to be put in writing. Blogging about interesting topics is utterly fun even if no one actually looks into it. I wish more people would join in to enhance a debate about them, but even if they don’t, it’s still fun to encapsulate interesting information and ideas I come across.

    Thanks again for your comments!


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