10 July 2020

Making a point about censorship

From now on, all comments supportive of censorship laws -- that is, laws against advocacy of certain opinions or against certain forms of artistic expression -- are banned from this blog and will be rejected in moderation.  Here's why.

Any person who supports such laws -- and I explicitly include the "hate speech" laws in Europe and Canada which in practice are mostly used to harass people who tell the truth about Islam -- is calling for the use of state force to deny certain others the right to explain or defend their views.  It is therefore entirely appropriate for me to unfairly and high-handedly deny him the chance to explain or defend his views.  If he supports laws that would stop me from expressing whatever views I want, then I will stop him from expressing that support, at least as far as this blog is concerned.  It is merely doing to him what he advocates doing to others.

This includes efforts to split hairs about what is or is not censorship.  If you support or defend any limits on opinion or art whatsoever, I will not allow you to explain or defend your support here, regardless of the reasons for it -- because that's what you advocate doing to the views you disapprove of.  I know this is unfair and unreasonable.  I'm doing it because it's unfair and unreasonable -- to drive home the fact that censorship itself is unfair and unreasonable.

Note that my doing this is still not actually censorship, since anybody who gets a comment rejected here can still say whatever they want elsewhere on the internet, and I neither can nor would punish them for doing so -- whereas censorship laws seek to ban people from expressing disfavored views anywhere and actually punish them if they do so.

I posted in more detail about the issue of censorship here.  Atheist Revolution has a good recent post here (see also comments).


Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Well, it IS your blog, so yeah.


10 July, 2020 02:33  
Blogger Jack said...

Makes sense to me. Someone who is seeking to deprive others of their right to free expression should not expect to retain their own right to free expression for long, especially if they are a member of a hated group (e.g., atheists) the majority would prefer to silence.

10 July, 2020 03:09  
Blogger Mike said...

It's what keeps me busy. Disproving all the BS from the other side.

10 July, 2020 12:41  
Anonymous Sam240 said...

Might I ask for clarification regarding performative speech?

Performative speech doesn't express an opinion, nor is it artistic expression. Swearing to tell the truth at a trial or saying "I do" at a wedding qualify as performative speech because they are actions; the words "I do" changes one's status from single to married.

When an architectural historian says, "You have a nice house. It would be a shame if anything happened to it," it's an opinion, not performative speech.

When a mobster says, "You have a nice house. It would be a shame if anything happened to it," it's performative speech, not an opinion. It's a direct threat. I'd prefer the mobster be stopped before something happens to the house.

P.S.: I think what happened to trigger the Italian Hall disaster qualifies as mass murder, not free expression.

10 July, 2020 13:20  
Anonymous Rancid said...

People who are against all censorship are fundamentally nice and decent people. The thought of real life kiddie porn involving real life kiddies never seems to cross their mind.

11 July, 2020 01:13  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Sixpence: Indeed.

Jack: It never seems to occur to them to imagine themselves as being on the receiving end of their own attitudes.

Mike: That will keep you busy.

11 July, 2020 02:18  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Sam: Don't be ridiculous. With vanishingly rare exceptions, it's always clear what is a threat and what is not. Shouting "fire" in a crowded theater is not an expression of opinion. For any imaginable rule, it's possible to contrive some freak situation where the rule gives an ambiguous result. Doing so does not invalidate the rule.

I never suggested that advocacy of censorship was the only situation in which I would reject comments, of course. Everything else I've previously said on that subject remains valid.

11 July, 2020 02:21  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Rancid: I made it clear that I was talking about expression of opinion and artistic expression. "Real life kiddie porn involving real life kiddies" would be a recording of an actual act of child molestation, which no one is condoning. Nobody has ever suggested that actually assaulting people and recording it is covered by free expression of opinion. The basic meaning of words excludes thinking that.

It is literally not possible for a person to be stupid enough to interpret what I said in the way you claim to have interpreted it. You're insinuating that my position is consistent with tolerating sexual assaults on children. That verges on slander. You're permabanned from ever commenting here again.

11 July, 2020 02:28  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

It's your blog, you can do whatever you want.

11 July, 2020 10:38  
Anonymous NickM said...

Obviously: your gaff, your rules.

But is it a good idea to "no-platform" the "no platformers"?

I have thought on this since reading your very well reasoned post. My answer is: "YES!" Things like the current villification of J K Rowling are so extreme and bizarre that your position is one I fully understand and support.

Anyway, those in favour of censorship can set up their own blogs. I mean it's not against the law no is it ;-)

BTW. I read the open letter in support of JKR and free speech. One of the signatories struck me. I'd never heard of her but there is a Prof Zephyr Rain Teachout. Unfortunately she has tenure at Fordham :-( With that name she should be Head of Meterological Incantations or something at Hogwarts!

Seriously though. Kudos to you Infidel. Free speech is the absolute foundation of liberty. Without free speech it becomes impossible to argue for any other freedoms. This is probably the biggest fight currently out there for that very reason.

12 July, 2020 05:03  
Anonymous NickM said...

Oh, I also agree you Infidel on the whole "shouting FIRE! in a crowd" argument. It has never carried much weight. As to the kiddie porn - well isn't that just the jewel in the crown of the evidence for the prosecution. Just the same as if you videoed yourself stealing cars or burning churches or whatever criminality floats your boat...

12 July, 2020 05:07  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Mary: Oh, I will.

Nick: Thanks. I'm glad people have been speaking up for Rowling, because if the online thugs can intimidate someone in her position, no one else can feel secure speaking out. They already bullied Navratilova into backing down to at least some extent.

I had vaguely heard about Zephyr Teachout before, but that does sound like a Harry Potter character, all right.

If the pro-censorship side has to resort to conflating free speech with kiddie porn or the fire-in-a-crowded-theater thing, it's a safe bet they've got no case, and they know it.

I intend to do more posts on this issue going forward. At least in the US, censorship laws seem pretty unlikely -- but this censorship by mob bullying and denunciation is turning into a serious problem.

12 July, 2020 08:55  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

C in C: You're splitting hairs just for the sake of being tendentious. I made it clear what I'm talking about. Nobody would be legitimately confused.

13 July, 2020 03:18  

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