|I believe in the|
We keep wanting higher authorities to make the tough decisions for us.
The behemoths of the Internet have shunned Alex Jones, the worm-tongued, often shirtless conspiracy theorist and paranoia monger who hosts a show called “Infowars.” The debate over this cartel-like decision is much larger than Jones now, and it’s taking place mostly on the right.
While I have no love for Jones, the reasons offered by YouTube, Apple, and other platforms for dropping his show leave a bit to be desired. The ostensible rationale for exiling Jones, who famously accused the victims of the Sandy Hook mass shooting of being “crisis actors,” is that he spews “hate speech.”
Hence the debate on the right. Much of the Left has already made peace with the idea that some voices it doesn’t like — on campus, on the Internet, in the mainstream media — should be silenced. The well-founded fear on the right is that Jones could be just the beginning.
Dropping Jones isn’t the problem. Using hate speech as the excuse is — because the definition of hate speech is often simply any speech the Left hates. That these private corporations seemed to coordinate with one another offers a glimpse of a future in which Big Internet silences dissident voices from the right.
Both supporters and critics of the decision understand that concern. Some argue that Jones is a fairly unique case. As Alex Griswold of the Washington Free Beacon sardonically put it:
First they came for Infowars, and I didn’t say anything because I didn’t like Infowars. Then they never came for me because I never accused grieving parents of murdered children of being crisis actors.
Griswold’s colleague, Sonny Bunch, writing for the Washington Post, sees it differently:
I can’t support banning [Jones] from ostensibly content-neutral platforms, and those who refuse to see this as the first step toward a more aggressive campaign of de-platforming conservatives are being obtuse. The math here is simple: There is a growing belief that speech can be considered violence, that racist speech is by definition violence, and that conservative thought is inherently racist. I don’t need a whiteboard or lizard people to connect the dots.
Meanwhile, my National Review colleague David French, a prominent First Amendment lawyer, recently argued in the New York Times that the solution is to give up the amorphous concept of “hate speech” and instead rely on the standards and norms of the First Amendment itself: Bar anybody who regularly engages in libelous or slanderous speech.
I like this proposal quite a bit. It would still be an editorial standard. YouTube, Facebook, et al. would still have to use their own judgment, but this standard is more transparent, empirical, and objective: Is this person lying with malign intent?
But I have an additional suggestion: Stop pushing all of the decisions upward. These problems start with us.
In Crisis of Responsibility, author David Bahnsen argues that too many Americans want someone else to make the hard decisions for them. The financial calamity of 2008 had many culprits, but one constituency that got off comparatively scot-free were the Americans who took out loans they couldn’t afford and then walked away from their debts. Because the stigma against deadbeats has diminished — or vanished — we get more deadbeats.
The banks gave bad loans because the government took too much responsibility for the irresponsibility of both creditor and lender alike. At every level from the ground up, people made bad decisions or watched people make bad decisions and said nothing.
The same thing is at work in the realms of journalism, politics, and infotainment. Viewers (i.e., citizens) are all too eager to indulge dumb, nasty, cruel, or nutty demagogues because they find such fare entertaining or psychologically comforting. Editors and television producers, hungry for clicks and eyeballs, are only too happy to invite people into their pages or onto their sets if they might bring those eyeballs and clicks with them.
Politically, we live in a popular-front moment, where no one on “our side” is worth criticizing too much, if at all, and everyone on “their side” is evil. This has as much to do with ratings and page views as it does with ideology. Moths chase light, but the incentive for politicians, producers, and pundits is to follow the heat.
I’m still torn over how people such as Mark Zuckerberg should deal with slanderous carnival barkers like Alex Jones. But I’m convinced a lot of people are to blame for the problem reaching Zuckerberg’s desk in the first place.
Luckily, I have enough willpower to control the driving ambition that rages within me.
When you had the votes, we did things your way. Now, we have the votes and you will be doing things our way. This lesson in political reality from Lyndon B. Johnson
"Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible." - Justice Janice Rogers Brown
|Lawyers, Guns |
And yep. I've met David French, and he's a reasonable fellow.
"Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible."
-- Justice Janice Rogers Brown
"The United States government is the largest criminal enterprise on earth."
We set a time bomb when we accepted the notion of 'hate speech' how ever well intended. The end was predictable by beginning with a false principle. Now we have an expanding undefined concept strangling our liberty and threatening further liberties.
I'm sorry, I'm thinking about the cats again...
|quarter MOA visionary|
I they can ban one then they can (and will) ban them all (Conservatives).
Not trying to be a conspiracy theorist but I predicted this path was coming.
Just wait until 2020 this could get really intense.
They are gunning for Hannity and Rush.
Eeewwww, don't touch it!
Here, poke at it with this stick.
Bingo. Eventually this will move from internet platforms (facebook, youtube, etc) to internet providers (Comcast, whatever). "Hate speech" won't be banned from certain platforms, it will be banned at the provider level. It won't be banning Alex Jones from Facebook it will be banning Alex Jones from the internet.
This is just the first step.
|10mm is The|
Boom of Doom
The road to despotism is walked one step at a time. But we are going at a gallop.
The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People again must learn to work, instead of living on public assistance. ~ Cicero 55 BC
The Dhimocrats love America like ticks love a hound.
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