Posts Tagged ‘freedom of speech’

Freedom of speech and the intolerant faction

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, for free speech to function everyone must allow it, if one intolerant faction doesn’t, that intolerant faction’s free speech will be allowed, while they smother everyone else’s. Of course the answer is when the vast majority reject any faction, out of hand, that rejects free speech. Sadly that is much easier to accomplish as a thought experiment than in real life. It is free speech however that gave and continues to give, the Enlightenment it’s reach and power. Return to a pre Enlightenment philosophy and we return to the horse and buggy, the Rights of Kings and human slavery. A true educator would keep one truth, above all, in the minds of their students, “Resolution of any question should always be decided upon the merits of the argument, rather than the authority of the speaker, and the best means to do this is free speech.”

Intolerant factions are and will always be the greatest threat to freedom. An intolerant faction is any group of people, no matter how small, that will not tolerate something, in the context of this article, the free speech of those they disagree with. Usually, it is not because they consider their peers so stupid as to fall for a fallacious argument, but because they themselves are peddling a fallacious argument, one that can be easily discredited by reasoned argument, and so, reasoned argument cannot be tolerated. The intolerant faction is always made up of people who are perpetuating a lie, know they are hawking a lie, and so use violence to silence anyone who would call it a lie. Yet, it is tolerance of their violence, in the face of their intolerance of our opinion, that gives them so much power.

The best answer to an intolerant faction is not to tolerate their intolerance. When a group shuts down a speaker at a college campus, the faculty has an obligation to blare that speaker’s words throughout the campus, so everyone must then hear it, to stop shutting down free speech by creating incentives. Lead by example, allow others to speak, then demand the same right for yourself that you gave them. Every time you or I bow to the violence of an intolerant faction, we empower that faction to smother more free speech… until only their intolerant ignorant version of truth can be heard, all other voices are silenced.

The Enlightenment was a watershed moment in the philosophy of Mankind. It allowed humanity to ascend above the narrow mindedness that always accompanies authority. Whenever someone becomes an authority on any subject they have an incentive not to change the paradigm. If it does, someone else becomes the authority, and that is unacceptable to an authority. For this reason humanity’s advancement in every field is hindered by the very people in authority… always has been and always will be. The thinkers that rejected bowing to authority and embraced, truth by reason, were geniuses. They lifted the lot of Man from perpetual toil to the comforts we have today. All of it rests on their shoulders, but they couldn’t have done it under any other religious doctrine than Christianity and Judaism.

It is free speech that empowers the Enlightenment. Without the ability to make a point, there can be no reasoned argument. If any voice is silenced then all voices cannot be heard, that should be common sense, but common sense is as dead as a door nail… killed by an intolerant faction. When someone claims there can be no argument, the authorities have spoken, they are trying to return to a pre Enlightenment philosophy. They are saying the only truth is what they say is truth and no other. Which is the very definition of pre Enlightenment thinking. Such sophistry is used all the time today, to promote global warming they spout, “the vast majority of scientists say…” or in the realm of economics you often hear, “Economists agree that…” both are examples of a return to pre enlightenment thinking, and as such, are by their very definition, unscientific!

Without the advances of the Enlightenment, humanity will revert to its natural state, the same state our ancestors existed in from times before ancient Greece to the industrial revolution. All the new scientific advances, technological marvels and comforts we take for granted, are founded on the pragmatic enlightened mindset. Take away that mindset, smash the foundation if you will, and the structure comes crashing down, in this case our technological civilization. It would be like the movie Idiocracy, people would have the machines, but when those machines broke down they would not be able to fix them, or build new more advanced ones. Eventually all the machines would break down, and horses would become the normal mode of transportation again, as they were for thousands of years, slaves would be needed to pick the cotton and gin it as well, tyranny would rule the land again without recourse, and the lot of Mankind would be set back centuries.

The answer is education, our children must be inculcated with the knowledge that there is truth, and the way to truth is by reasoned argument based on empirical evidence, not and never, by some snake oil salesman peddling some magical remedy that heals everything. They must understand that authority has something to say, but cannot ever be taken as the final say, reasoned argument must always and everywhere take place, else we become stilted and cease growing, because while authority has valuable knowledge, they are bound to the current paradigm… and growth always leads to paradigm shift. We may never get to the perfect truth of human existence, but as long as we sharpen our understanding of it through the honing reasoned argument imparts, based on empirical evidence, with all voices getting a chance to be heard… we can get pretty close.

Sincerely,

John Pepin

Censorship by Another Name…

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, the election of Donald Trump has triggered a backlash by the new class, further limiting free speech for political ends. In a move that has no hint of coordination, Google, Twitter and Facebook, on the same day, announced they are going to cut off ad feeds to fake news sites and make it easier to report “hate” speech. While these sound good on the surface they have the potential to be abused. Especially since the definition of satire and fake news is subject to interpretation as is hate speech. The new York Times has been caught many times fabricating stories from whole cloth, since it has reported fake news, does that make the NYT a fake news site? Progressives have a long and colored history of calling any speech they disagree with, hate speech, so does that mean all content now has to go through a progressive filter, else the person posting it will be banned from expressing his or her views? The policy is a slippery slope who’s bottom is total censorship of individual speech by a cabal of political zealots. Is that really a place where we want to go?

I have written about the rise of fake and satire “news” sites on the Internet. They have the pernicious effect of both discrediting those who fall victim and of muddying the waters of political debate with falsehoods. They are usually created by progressives, intended to fool conservatives into posting true sounding but fake news articles, with the intent to discredit conservatism as hysterical. While that was the intention the election of Trump has rattled the progressive new class into thinking these fake news sites might have backfired on them. One thing progressives loathe is their dirty tricks biting them in the derriere. While I would love to drive fake news sites from the Internet, a better way would be through disseminating information of who are fake news sites, so the people themselves can avoid them. That would accomplish the stated goal without encroaching on free speech.

The term hate speech is as liquid as water. The problem of online harassment is real and pernicious. It diminishes people’s willingness to share their political views for fear of harassment and attacks. Sadly, what the new class calls hate speech however, is any speech that disagrees with their world view. I have been banned from Facebook on several occasions because a progressive disliked my opinion. Although I never personally attacked anyone nor engaged in harassment, I was subjected to constant harassment, not knowing what I would say that would get me banned fro several days from Facebook. Once I was even banned three days for saying, “God bless you,” to a progressive! Until I figured out who was using Facebook to alienate me from my freedom of speech the harassment was unending. Once I discovered where the attacks were coming from, I unfriended everyone who was a friend to him, and the harassment immediately stopped.

My experience is not unique. Progressives have since Teddy Roosevelt engaged in censorship. Gramski, Marcuse, Alinsky and the lot of progressive philosophers argued that the only thing put before the people must be progressive propaganda. All other information has to be hidden from the people, and those with a different opinion destroyed personally, lest we discover the truth. That is one of the tenets of cultural Marxism. These new rules will make it far easier for them to shut up conservatives and libertarians under the flag of stopping hate speech. How many conservative news outlets will be considered by the new class to be fake news sites and what will be the criteria? Certainly publishing fake news stories cannot be the sole criteria, else the NYT will come under that moniker, and that cannot be allowed by the new class, so will sites be banned from receiving ad revenue because they are alternative media, like The Blaze, Drudge Report, Breitbart, etc… even though they don’t post fake news? I bet they will and the censorship will only grow over time, sliding down that slippery slope further, and the further we slide down that slope the faster the slide will become.

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions and the car that travels that road is fueled by good sounding rhetoric. While I agree that fake news sites should be eliminated the means must not grind away our freedoms. No one should have the power to stop another from expressing their opinion, especially using such terms as hate speech, vilification of the speaker or personal destruction for their opinion. I disagree with everything progressives stand for, but I would fight to the death to defend their right to say it, sadly progressive’s first goal is to separate me from my freedom of speech. These new rules will be used to quiet conservatives and libertarians, they will not, nor are they intended to stop personal harassment but to give progressives another tool to harass anyone they want to shut up. Stepping on that slippery slope can only lead to a loss of more freedom.

Sincerely,

John Pepin

Ideal Government

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, ideal government would be invisible to those “governed.” Imagine bringing up your children in a place where politics doesn’t matter because the government is limited the way the founders intended? Under such a system you and I would go about our lives not having to interact with government at all. No bribes, no political favor, no licenses, no taxes, very limited legal code, well, you get the picture. If we lived in that way, with only the most limited amount of government possible to provide for common defense, and standards to facilitate commerce, our interactions with government would be few and far between. Moreover the ability of a faction to seize control of government and drive their agenda down our throats would be eliminated. Prosperity would be the norm and the wealth gap would naturally contract under such a system, but then again, that is exactly why it would never be allowed, and anything like it is so hated and vilified by the elite.

Under such a system, where government is strictly limited to national defense, protecting the property rights of the people and providing standards, (not regulations), to facilitate commerce, people would have little need to engage government. Most people wouldn’t even know where the town clerk’s office was because there would be no need. But that is exactly the rub, isn’t it? If that were the case, government officials would not be able to make such large amounts of money, their ability to enrich themselves through crony capitalism, graft, bribes, and outright theft would be eliminated, if we didn’t need government permission for everything.

Every time you have to go to the town clerk’s office to get the government’s authorization to engage in some activity, the role of government is enlarged and power of government is enhanced, with a commensurate increase in the status and wealth of those in government. The cronies of government officials would have to work for their wealth instead of having it bestowed to them. Regulations create the conditions where some people, those with the right connections, can become immensely rich while those without the connections must stay in the station they were born into, regardless of their abilities and virtues.

The ability of potential despots to seize power would be eliminated. If government is limited so it is not allowed to monitor it’s citizens, pass reams of laws and regulations that empower the state over the individual, control the people with military power, seize the property of individuals, or practice arbitrary power, a would be oppressor could not oppress. There is not one case in human history where a power given to government has not been abused, no matter how much the people agreed when that power was given, that power has always been abused. That is because giving power to government is stepping out onto a slippery slope.

Without the friction that regulations, licenses, fees, taxes, and political favor create, the economy of a nation would operate at maximum efficiency. Without the elite controlling who can get ahead by rewarding their friends with favors, the ability of people to become uber rich would be lessened, and the wages of the bottom rung of the economic ladder would be increased… such that the gap would naturally become narrowed. The resulting rise in demand for labor would drive up the wages for that labor. The supply demand curve would swing to the advantage of workers, instead of management, because rapid economic expansion that such a system would encourage would keep the demand for labor high.

The power and prerogative of the elite would be limited as well. Which of course would be unacceptable to them. Those who wield power are always loathe to relinquish that power. They take, they never give, that is why the natural progression of every government, political system and republic that has ever been constituted, has been eventual tyranny. The elite convince us that if only they had a little bit more power… oh, the good they would do for us. Conversely they claim that any small taking of their power would result in calamity. Anyone trying to limit the power and role of government therefore becomes a de facto enemy of the state.

The goal of limited government is not a pipe dream, it has been achieved in the past, it is the limiting of government absent violence and revolution, that eludes humanity. People vote with their feet whenever they are allowed to. No one flees to Cuba, people flee from Cuba to the US, Canada and Europe. No one is migrating to North Korea, people risk their lives escaping that tyranny. Venezuela doesn’t have a problem with people from other South American nations rushing their border, people are trying to get out. Yet the elite in the media, government and academia fill the airwaves with propaganda that if only we could become like North Korea, Venezuela, or Cuba, life would be a utopia.

Every human being yearns to be free, prosperous and moral. That is why people vote with their feet, fleeing despotism to places that are only marginally more free. Despite that reality, anyone who seeks to limit the power of the elite are enemies of the state, and are treated harshly while those who seek to unshackle the power of government are hailed as heroes… like Che Guevara. We could achieve near universal prosperity, if only the friction to the economy was removed, by limiting the ability of government officials to decide who gets what. Limited government creates the conditions where a despot cannot amass the governmental might he or she would need to usurp power, by eradicating arbitrary power itself. Yes, limited government would be a boon to humanity, that boon would come at cost to the elite however, and as such, will be fought at every turn, but the gain by winning the battle, even engaging in it… ideal government, is well worth the effort.

Sincerely,

John Pepin

Shall Not Be Infringed

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, guns are the most regulated tools in the United States, despite the clear prohibition against gun regulation in the United States Constitution. The Second Amendment of the US Constitution states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Those who oppose limits on government, limits that are the very reason for our Constitution in the first place, spuriously argue the Second Amendment is to give government the right to keep and bear arms, which of course is absurd on the face of it and is based on perverting the meaning of the word “militia,” and ignoring the phrase, “being necessary to the security of a free State.” They bolster their argument by claiming guns are dangerous, and as dangerous tools they must be regulated, for the safety of us all. But, is that really why guns are so regulated, or are these just distractions to the real purpose of gun control? I would posit that the real reason the political, cultural and social elite seek gun control is for a far more insidious agenda.

Of course regulation is the very definition of an infringement. Regulation and laws are there to keep people from doing something, or having something, the elite have decided are bad. In infringing on an action, product or thought, the argument is always that it is for the greater good. In the case of laws against murder, the reason for them is that if a person’s life is taken, that person has been denied his or her fundamental individual Right to exist. In the case of laws against theft, the rational is that people have the Right to their possessions, and taking something from someone denies them the enjoyment of that possession. Right law protects individuals – not society. In all cases law that is in keeping with Our Constitution are there to protect our person, property or liberty. Gun control however is different, gun laws are there to deny us the ability to defend our lives, to protect our property and to make it possible to remove our liberty, the exact opposite of right law.

The rabid gun control advocate demands all people, especially law abiding citizens give up guns so the fearful man or woman can feel safer. In that the crux of their argument is “guns are dangerous and therefore they must be regulated, the Constitution can go to Hell.” But in making such arguments they forget that all the Rights enumerated in the Constitution are dangerous. The Right to free speech is very dangerous, far more dangerous than the Right to keep and bear arms. The most an armed lunatic can kill is a hundred, maybe a few more, but the damage an armed terrorist can visit on humanity is limited by the response of law abiding armed citizens as well as law enforcement. The damage a pamphleteer can do to the well ordering of society is exponentially worse. Hitler wrote Mein Kampf which in large part abetted the slaughter of sixty million human beings and the rewriting of the world’s map. Marx and Engels penned The Communist Manifesto which to date has justified the extermination of well over one hundred million innocent people! Clearly, if safety is what the gun control advocate wants, freedom of speech is far more dangerous then the Right to keep and bear arms, and so must be outlawed.

If we examine the results of gun control laws, both in the united States and elsewhere, a clear pattern emerges. In the cities with the greatest infringement on the Right to keep and bear arms, violence of all kinds is out of control, especially gun violence. In those places where guns are the least regulated, there is the least violence, especially gun violence. Furthermore, where guns are outlawed most of the violence is stranger on stranger violence, and where guns are legally protected, almost all the violence is between people who know each other, in other words, crimes of passion. In countries where guns have been outlawed, like Australia, gun violence has skyrocketed. So the argument that gun laws keep people safe is obviously untrue.

The new class elite who seek to take guns from the hands of law abiding citizens, argue that since the Right was prefaced by the term Well regulated Militia, it was meant to apply to the government and not to individuals. Even a perfunctory examination of this argument shows it to be absurd. That the founders would place a Right in the Bill of Rights that gives government a Right, that has already been granted elsewhere is clearly spurious, that they would place a government Right among Rights specifically designated for individuals to protect us from tyranny, shows it to be sophistry of the most diabolical kind. The Bill of Rights was specifically designed, under great debate, to protect the people from a despotic government. Certainly not to empower government to become despotic! Madison himself said, Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. At the time the Bill of Rights was written militia meant all able bodied men. Like I said, even a cursory glance at the spurious claim that the Second Amendment is to give government the sole power to keep and bear arms is absurd.

The Bill of Rights was added to our Constitution as a secondary bulwark against government becoming despotic. Madison initially objected, arguing what need a of a Bill of Rights, since the Constitution forbade government from doing anything it is not specifically allowed to do under the Constitution. Going further he reasoned, if the Bill of Rights forbade the regulation of jumping jacks, could it then therefore regulate tiddlywinks? He eventually came on board with the Federalists who called for a Bill of Rights and wrote them himself. But as we now see, our government has become so extra constitutional, even the “parchment barriers” of our Bill of Rights can be ignored by a government intent on ignoring them. Now that our Constitution, and even our Bill of Rights means nothing, tyranny cannot be far away. That my friends is why we need to add a Fourth Branch… but that is another article for another time.

Sincerely,

John Pepin

Basic Human Rights vs Sophist Social Justice

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, when new “freedoms,” that are outgrowths of social “justice” are proposed, they inevitably require government to destroy actual basic Human Rights, this is pernicious in that it destroys genuine liberty, and replaces it with the autonomy of a slave to the State, but it is also insidious in that it works in the dark, claiming one thing while doing another, and always results in great human suffering. What is lacking in the World’s societies to stop it, is a fundamental understanding of, what is an actual basic Human Right, and what is nothing but sophistry and spurious logic, used to install tyranny and oppression.

The basic Human Rights are:

Freedom of Religion. It is a basic Right to see the World and creation through the eyes God gave us, as such, it is a ‘thought’ liberty. If someone has an understanding of the World and it’s workings then who am I, or you, to use force to change their opinion? The only limits on this freedom, is where someone’s, claimed religion, forces them to do violence, to the Human Rights of another. In this case, as in almost all cases, the individual Human Right trumps the rights of society, or religion… to compel the individual.

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press. This is another ‘thought’ liberty. Thought liberties are sacrosanct in that they are based in our personal thoughts and feelings. Thought liberties are also strong protectors of society and civilization from oppression and would be tyrants. Freedom of speech and of the press is merely a light that shines on society. The mold that is political corruption is stymied by light and always grows best in the dark.

Freedom of self defense and of gun ownership. The Right of self defense is so fundamental, it transcends, and is far more ancient than, human law. The right to life is the foundation upon which all other Rights are built. What good is the Right to speak if you can be killed? The dead are notoriously silent on the issue. This ultimate Right must be backed with teeth. In this case the individual Right to keep and bear arms must be protected.

Freedom of private property and security in that property. There has never been an example in human history, where the farms have been seized by government, and production has not gone down. Starvation has always followed the incursion of private property ownership, in any and every society and civilization that has engaged in it.

Freedom of security in our persons. What good is security in our private property if we cannot venture beyond our own gate? The streets must be safe for the comings and goings of society. We people must be safe from random searches and seizures.

Freedom of commerce. The protection of this Right makes the difference between prosperity and poverty. In every case in human history, the protection of this Right has led to great societal and individual wealth and the derision of it, with re-distributional practices, has inevitably led to general poverty for all… except the Elite.

Any siren call for social justice that requires, in it’s very premise, that one of these basic Rights be undermined… is a sophist fraud being perpetrated on you and I. Never forget that what has been done to another, by your government, can be done to you, and with far less backlash, once it has been done before. Rights are different than social rights. Rights are based on the fundamental natural law and social justice is based on someone’s hubris, greed and jealousy.

Sincerely,

John Pepin