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The First Amendment is Not Enough

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posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 02:16 PM
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The First Amendment is not Enough

The First Amendment stands as the greatest limitation of state or official censorship ever conceived. But for the sake of the very principle for which it stands—free speech—it is not enough. The American government is not the greatest threat to free expression. Not even close.

That honor lies with the public, and there is no law preventing citizens, corporations, and other private entities from engaging in the twin evils of censorship and the denial of liberty. As Orwell noted, even as far back as 1945, “…the chief danger to freedom of thought and speech at this moment is not the direct interference of the MOI or any official body. If publishers and editors exert themselves to keep certain topics out of print, it is not because they are frightened of prosecution but because they are frightened of public opinion.”

Little force beyond the principles of their conscience and sheer will can prohibit the masses from forcing, coercing, or punishing another into various degrees of silence. As history attests, free speech is a principle seldom found in the conscience of the average man, even where it is found in the constitutions that protect his own liberties from government tyranny.

Even in America, where liberty and freedom is given sufficient lip-service, a vast mob will descend on a free speech rally at the encouragement of the press and local officials, such as in Boston in 2017, with the sole intent of silencing the voices trying to speak there— freedom of speech be damned. Activists of all stripes routinely “de-platform”, shout-down and shut-down speakers, whom are often censored for the sake of public safety. With such a prevailing attitude, it is no strange wonder that corporate censorship and mob censorship grows in frequency. When the public gravitates towards censorship, eventually the governments will do the same.

Authoritarians like to remind us of their trite principle “freedom of speech but not freedom from consequences”, which is a round-about way of saying “freedom of speech but censorship”. This sort of newspeak allows our would-be censors to avoid the important task of defending free speech, especially for views they disagree with, but without the cognitive dissonance of holding two conflicting principles at once.

They will remind us it isn’t illegal for a company to censor certain views, or it isn’t illegal for protesters to shout down some speaker or other, and that it is their right to deny one's liberty of speech and thought.

But remember what Bastiat wrote of the law:


It is not because men have made laws, that personality, liberty, and property exist. On the contrary, it is because personality, liberty, and property exist before-hand, that men make laws.

- The Law


An action is not wrong because it is against the law; it is against the law because it is wrong. Liberty, free speech, exist before the concessions and excuse-making of our authoritarian friends, who see no choice but to defend censorship because the laws allow it. Either way, it may not be illegal for a company to censor certain views, but it is wrong. It may not be illegal for protesters to shout down a speaker, but it is wrong.

There are reasons that enlightened men codified free speech in our charters, and those reasons stand with or without your first amendments, constitutions, and any other legislations you choose to dictate your morals. And unless you know what they are, why they are there, and whom they apply to, free speech is doomed.

-LesMis
edit on 5-4-2018 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 02:25 PM
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The amount of citizens that will not put up with the censorship is evidenced by the amount of people who voted for President Trump.



posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 02:27 PM
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a reply to: Plotus




The amount of citizens that will not put up with the censorship is evidenced by the amount of people who voted for President Trump.


It's a big world out there.



posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 02:30 PM
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posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 02:32 PM
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posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 02:38 PM
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posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 02:40 PM
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posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 02:42 PM
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posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 02:50 PM
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Back to the OP... the dynamics of America's freedoms have come into question for so long, patriotism has faded to the point of apathy. And those willing to embrace Patriotism chastised.

Thus things like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution have been attacked and ignored. Look for calamity to fill the vacuum.
edit on 5-4-2018 by Plotus because: because I'm American



posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 02:50 PM
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originally posted by: Plotus
The amount of citizens that will not put up with the censorship is evidenced by the amount of people who voted for President Trump.


Have to remember that lots of folks didn’t vote at all, many anti-government (in a they can’t tell me what to do kind of way, not violent insurrection). So probably lots more than just those that voted for current POTUS.



posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 02:57 PM
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a reply to: Plotus




Back to the OP... the dynamics of America's freedoms have come into question for so long, patriotism has faded to the point of apathy. And those willing to embrace Patriotism chastised.

Thus things like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution have been attacked and ignored. Look for calamity to fill the vacuum.


I suspect a little education in the principles upon which those documents were written would help greatly.



posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 03:00 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

The public censors, the ones who gleefully endanger free expression are indicative of the type of government they crave.



posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 03:04 PM
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Nevermind...not worth the time.
edit on 5-4-2018 by SlapMonkey because: I promised my wife that I would quit debating with undebatable people



posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 03:06 PM
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To the authoritarians it is freedom of speech and suffer the consequences.



posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 03:10 PM
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originally posted by: SlapMonkey


Come on, Slapmonkey, we can have divergent views and still talk about this.
edit on 5-4-2018 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 03:13 PM
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originally posted by: DBCowboy
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

The public censors, the ones who gleefully endanger free expression are indicative of the type of government they crave.


And it is the type of government they will get.



posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 03:21 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

No, we can't. You shout down anyone who says that some limitations on speech are absolutely acceptable in certain situations in civilized society as "authoritarian," and you claim that we are being trite with our realistic approach that all speech is not free from consequences. This is utter silliness, you have made your opinion known many times on other threads on this topic, and I'm not interested anymore in rehashing the relatively pointless discussion.

So I repeat: No, there is no ability to debate this topic with you, and it's disappointing that this is the case.

Best regards, but I'm not interested in participating in this thread any further--there really is no point, and I really did make that promise to my wife.



posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 03:27 PM
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originally posted by: SlapMonkey
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

No, we can't. You shout down anyone who says that some limitations on speech are absolutely acceptable in certain situations in civilized society as "authoritarian," and you claim that we are being trite with our realistic approach that all speech is not free from consequences. This is utter silliness, you have made your opinion known many times on other threads on this topic, and I'm not interested anymore in rehashing the relatively pointless discussion.

So I repeat: No, there is no ability to debate this topic with you, and it's disappointing that this is the case.

Best regards, but I'm not interested in participating in this thread any further--there really is no point, and I really did make that promise to my wife.



Yes authoritarian. You can only get mad at the word, but refuse to say why it is the wrong word. It accurately describes your position, whether you like it or not.

Firing someone for speech is free speech? Utter hogwash!

I don't care what you do. If you have to resort to hissy fits over reasonably debating a topic, then it is probably above your head and below your knees anyways.
edit on 5-4-2018 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 03:30 PM
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Authoritarian chiming in.

Unlimited free speech is a utopian pipe dream and completely unobtainable. The Founding Fathers had it correct with the First Amendment.




edit on 5-4-2018 by AugustusMasonicus because: Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn



posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 03:33 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

My personal belief is that the pretext of censorship of "conservative views" is largely bull#. Nobody has been banned from Twitter for merely espousing conservative political views.

Twitter hasn't shutdown Anne Coulter, Grover Norquist, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin or Dinesh D'souza. Nor have they shutdown the accounts of the fringe-right likes of Mike Cernovich, Paul Joseph Watson and Jack Posobiec.

They didn't ban Milo Yiannopoulos because his "conservative views" are so controversial. In Milo's case, he got banned because he repeatedly led gangs of trolls to wage campaigns of harassment against other Twitter users. Do you think that was unreasonable?

We heard that YouTube (Google) had made changes to deliberately demonetize right-wing channels. Then we find out that no, a broad spectrum of smaller channels were all in the same boat, including the channel of this nutter who just shot up the YouTube HQ and based on her PETA activism and veganism advocacy, she hardly seems to fit the would be mold.

What else? Reddit shutting down #PizzaGate after some crazed believer showed up with a rifle at a DC area pizzeria where families were dining and fired off some rounds into the floor? Or how about closer to home. Not only was ATS quick to shutdown #PizzaGate but if you've ever noticed, the moderation staff doesn't seem overly permissive of Sandy Hook "truthers" intent on harassing the parents of dead kids as "crisis actors" with fictional deceased children.

Is that undue censorship or preserving community standards and the appropriate stewardship of a platform open to the general public?

Could it be that perhaps part of the problem, beyond the manufactured crisis foisted on a demographic that's been trained to believe its members are the "real victims," is that the modern far-right is so lousy with bigots and unhinged assholes that it's impossible for even those on the right (who are constantly searching for confirmation of the victim worldview they've been encouraged to adopt) are duped into thinking that when some person they've only vaguely aware of gets his account shutdown, that because he identifies as part of the right-wing, the move was part of a conspiracy to censor "conservative views?"

Perhaps you could give us some examples of right-wingers being censored merely for espousing right-wing views?

That said, I think free speech on social media is definitely a conversation worth having given its newfound importance in public dialog and that the platforms are privately owned and operated by so few companies. It's definitely far from an ideal situation.

Personally, I'm looking forward to the rise of decentralized social media. I don't think the current paradigm is sustainable, particularly now that people are starting to wake up to the fact that the business model of companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc is basically selling user data and targeted advertising.

edit on 2018-4-5 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)




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