Category: Free Speech (Page 1 of 3)

The conservative case for why Sarah Jeong isn’t racist

After Sarah Jeong was hired by The New York Times, the alt-right attacked her by surfacing controversial years-old tweets and calling for her firing. The mainstream right, while not involved in direct racism against her, did advance the narrative that Jeong’s tweets were “racist” and put pressure on the Times.

”#CancelWhitePeople!”

”Dumbass fucking white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants,” the shared tweets said.

’Just think what SJWs would do if a white person said that about black people!!!’ the cliched response goes.

Well, excuse me for being a dumbass fucking white person* sharing his opinion online, but calling Jeong “racist” and calling for her to be fired is an overreaction and isn’t even defensible from a laissez faire conservative perspective. (*Although (((I))) am not actually a fucking white person, according to the alt-right…)

Over the past few years, conservatives have wielded the torch of “free speech” against “political correctness.” It was supposedly one of the reasons Donald Trump won the electoral college vote. He was the only one fearless enough to say that Hispanics are not qualified to judge cases impartially and that “#WhiteGenocide” is happening.

Easily-offended right-wing SJWs tweeting angry attacks at Jeong after her tweets went viral.

Alt-right took Jeong tweets out of context

Trump, you see, expressed actually racist thoughts. Jeong, by contrast, was mostly responding to racism directed at her (directly as an individual and indirectly as a member of a targeted ethnicity) and other minority groups.

The idea of “#WhiteGenocide” is illustrative. It is, as I have written, “the idea that diversity is bad because it increases the population of minority ethnic groups in the United States and thus decreases the percentage of whites.” According to the alt-right narrative, America is a white country and should remain that way. Any change of demographics, due to immigration, intermarriage, or group differences in birth rates, is considered “genocide,” because it, in some small way, changes the demographic characteristics of the country. Demographic change in the country, where the percentage of white children born is now less than half of all children, was a factor in Trump’s election.

Thus, when Jeong tweeted to “@RepDanMode,” a racist account that has since been suspended,

.@RepDanMode White people have stopped breeding. You’ll all go extinct soon. This was my plan all along. 😈

complete with a devil emoji, she was mocking the racist idea of “#WhiteGenocide.”

The idea that she individually—or minorities as a group—could have some kind of conspiratorial plan to decrease the fertility rate of members of the white ethnic group is hilariously stupid. Jeong was responding to something racist Mr. “Mode” said and treating it with the contempt it deserved. If anyone thinks she seriously has a plan to stop white people from breeding, they need to learn what sarcasm is.

See the difference? Arguing for banning immigration on the grounds of race is racist. Arguing against the racist idea that immigration should be banned isn’t racist. Using hyperbolic sarcasm to respond to racism is not the same thing as racism.

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Facebook banning Alex Jones was the right thing to do

I wrote in April how Facebook has no obligation to post lies and bullshit. Free speech doesn’t mean forcing companies to help broadcast defamation, and Facebook has a real problem with defamatory news. Has Facebook taken the seriousness of its problem to heart?

Alt-right conspiracy nut Alex Jones was suspended from his personal Facebook account for thirty days for violating community standards. The suspension comes shortly after YouTube pulled four of Infowars’ videos for being false and full of conspiracy theories.

The alt-right will be quick to whine that they are victims. Trendy members of the ordinary right will talk about how “ideas should compete in the free marketplace of ideas.” Jones, however, isn’t sharing ideas or competing to make an argument or report news. He’s lying and slandering people. (And YouTube and Facebook aren’t the government; they are media platforms.)

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Free speech ≠ forced speech; Facebook can and should control its own platform

Conservatives are playing victim once again and whining about yet another instance of some supposed anti-“conservative” bias by a company. Now it’s Facebook apparently limiting the reach of “Diamond and Silk” on Facebook’s own network. It is important to put “conservative” in quote marks here. Diamond and Silk are a pair of Trump surrogates, named Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, who speak at Trump campaign rallies, sell Trump merchandise, appear on racist white supremacist radio shows, and make pro-Trump videos. Like many of the pro-Trump social media genre, they don’t talk about conservative policies or appear to have any considered beliefs. They can hardly be called conservatives.

I quote a brief excerpt just to illustrate:

<

blockquote>”This week’s bowl of stupid goes to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Both of these here two morons exhibiting moronic behavior. Now, this one right here, Chuck Schumer done shut down the government because he is trying to tie DACA to the government spending bill. Now we gotta fund the government. Now what he want to do is he want to not fund the government and he want to fight for these DACA [inaudible] that’s illegal aliens that’s in our country and not fight for the American People.

Really, high-brow stuff. Intellect on level with the president of the United States. If this is what American Senators (Ted Cruz) are spending official time asking Mark Zuckerberg about during Congressional testimony, we must fear for our republic.

Editors need to control what they publish in their papers, and platforms need to control what they publish and broadcast just the same. Facebook is a private company with its own network and its own algorithms, and somehow people think that they should have full control over someone else’s platform. One week ago, an extreme lunatic shot up the YouTube offices because she was upset that her ad revenue declined after an algorithm change. Ben Shapiro is moaning that Facebook’s apparent algorithm changes to improve the quality of its feed are supposedly impacting him and other low-quality viral conservative pages.

“Toleration implies the existence of a distinctive procedure for testing ideas… It has nothing to do with a cacophony of screaming fakers marketing political nostrums in the public square.” – Barrington Moore

What these entitled outrage-mongers forget is that it’s Facebook’s network in the first place! How did they think their websites were getting so much traffic? Facebook created an algorithm in the first place that favored low-quality clickbait bullshit. They benefited from it and molded their websites and their social presences to leverage it. Now they talk about Facebook trying to “control” what we read; Facebook already was controlling what was showing up in our feeds. The 2016 election showed just how destructive this kind of viral garbage, partisan hackery, and outright lies and conspiracy theories can be to the quality of our public discourse.

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State of the Union highlights: Trump’s unpatriotic appropriation of the flag

Donald Trump attacked free speech in his first State of the Union address (and second speech to Congress) on January 30. As usual, he tried to claim the mantle of patriotism by referencing acts and words of others whose values he himself doesn’t appear to share.

In one case, he returned to one of his greatest hits tracks: the national anthem and attacking those NFL players who have been taking a knee to protest.

Preston’s [referring to a 12-year-old boy, Preston Sharp, who put flags in front of veterans’ graves] reverence for those who have served our nation…

It is worth noting here, that reverence for veterans is not something Trump shares with Preston. Trump has diminished the sacrifices of veterans, referring to John McCain as a “loser” for having served something larger than himself, and saying of prisoners of war, “I like people who weren’t captured.”

Trump doesn’t understand why anyone would be an official, because he doesn’t understand serving the public

…reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem.

Context and subtext are inseparable from meaning. That’s why Trump can say, “It’s big enough. Believe me,” and people know what he’s meaning without him saying it directly. Communication would be an impossible task if people didn’t include context and subtext in their analysis of meaning. (And, indeed, Trump’s speechwriters and supporters do so, too, even if they feign otherwise when it suits them.)

In this case, the context is clear. Trump has been attacking Colin Kaepernick and other football players who have been taking a knee to protest, both in support of #BlackLivesMatter and, later, in protest to Trump’s attacks on free speech. Trump lashed out and called for the firing of any player who takes a knee. He has also issued words of support for criminalizing burning the flag with punishments up to loss of citizenship.

In this case, by proclaiming “stand[ing] for the national anthem” as something “we” do, he is saying anyone who does otherwise is deviantly violating the rules and norms of our society. In fact, the vast majority of people already do stand, and it wouldn’t even be an issue in the NFL anymore if Trump hadn’t made it an issue (the number of players kneeling in solidarity increased hugely after his attacks), and anyone who kneels isn’t actually disrespecting veterans or causing any material harm. (The only potential harm they might be causing is offending—or annoying—people who are offended by words and speech, and Trump says he is against political correctness.)

Trump doesn’t have to say he’s specifically attacking those who protest, nor does he need to issue the threat, which he has already made clear in the past, any more than a triad collector needs to spell out what happens if you don’t pay your protection fee.

Of course the Republicans gave Trump a standing ovation for this bit of low brow refuge-seeking.

Even divorcing the words from all context, they are empty drivel not worthy of applause, much less ovation. Any president and any politician and the vast majority spectators do the ceremonial standing at the sound of the anthem. It doesn’t require any sacrifice. It doesn’t help the soldiers injured in Iraq and those still serving in Afghanistan and elsewhere. At best it is a symbolic gesture, and at worst, as in Trump’s State of the Union, it is a manipulative appropriation of a symbol of patriotism used to prop up a man who values the flag only for what political value it might bring him.

Feature photo by Shealah Craighead, official White House photographer. Public domain.

Time’s Up for Feminist fads, it’s time for #NotMe

 

I gave myself a well-earned few days off, turned 30, and then decided to see how the world has changed on Twitter. To my dismay, within 5 minutes of Golden Globes, I realised, that the intersectional feminist movement had made me want to be more of a misogynist every second I scrolled.

 

The Golden Globes predictably fuelled a pretty pathetic fire and like moths to a flame, any narrow-minded female ‘feminist’ followed idiotically, without research, free thought, or caution. You play with fire, you get burnt. I shudder to think the endgame when this fad will soon tire out, innocent men will get accused, lives will be ruined and the reputation of strong women will once again be tarnished by misandrists and one track liberal lefties.

 

As “times up” sprawled on the red carpet, and celebrities draped in black to show their solidarity against sexual harassment (the dresses were the best thing about the whole night if I’m absolutely honest, the fashion designer in me leap out in joy seeing my favourite colour finally be worn, and my eyes were able to rest from horrendous pink fluff and green disasters they usually waltz around in) what’s not to love? Well, quite a lot actually. Let me elaborate.

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4 words that should be banned in 2018

This month, it was reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had decided to “ban” seven words like “fetus” and “transgender” for fear they might offend the fragile minds of conservatives, keeping the CDC in line with universities affraid that words will offend liberals and “vulnerable” people.

I would like to jump into this word-banning game as Editor and Publisher of Bombs + Dollars, and I have the power, too, at least on my small corner of the internet. The following are words (in some cases, “words”) that I will never allow to be published at B+D going forward. Tongue-in-cheek, of course; the real problem with the following words is not that they are offensive, but that they just don’t make for good and clear writing.

Bodies, when used in place of “people”

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Review: The Battle of Ideas 2017, London

Briskly walking through the huge entrance of the Barbican centre, the echo of my boots fills the gigantic hallways. A huge banner welcomed it guests to the conference; “Battle of Ideas” in huge bold letters, friendly staff standing under a banner which states where certain “battle grounds” are around the centre. Anyway, I finally found “The Pit”; where the first of three debates I would go to see had started, and I found myself in the debate, which essentially reflects my life lately, named “Women vs Feminism”.

I got to my seat to see the highlight of 5 willing women duking on the panel consisting of Hungarian political scientist Eszter Kovats; head of personal investing at Legal and General and founder of the 30 percent club Helen Morrissy; education editor of Spiked Online and author of “Women vs Feminism: Why We All Need Liberating From the Gender War”, Joanna Williams; author of the book “XX Factor: How the Rise of Working Women Has Created a Far Less Equal WorldAlison Wolf and was chaired by the co-founder of the Institute of Ideas Sally Millard. I looked around and absorbed comments from each side of the fence; a middle-aged male’s opinion on females within the engineering career sector, and why they’re declining, a young man’s view on what constitutes as a real feminist problem, with issues like ‘manspreading’ being deemed as a real problem, when in different countries, females are being subjected to child marriage and female genital mutilation and can there really be compared? (this comment I clapped a little harder, the sting signifying my solidarity with such an obvious, but overlooked comment); and a middle-aged woman who works for an abortion charity’s thoughts on how the new intersectional feminists are singling out men as the enemy when that clearly isn’t the case and what is this doing to our younger generation of males.

Sitting among such proficient people who share that same opinion comforted me, and reinforced my beliefs that the new wave feminism is ruining our chance for true equality, until of course, when a cocky oldie stood up with a typical “this is not a question, more of a comment”. There’s always one wan**r who makes you question the concept of egalitarianism. 

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All you need to read about the Google Manifesto

Google’s Diversity Problem – WSJ Editorial.

No, the Google manifesto isn’t sexist or anti-diversity. It’s science. – Debra Soh, Globe and Mail, Canada.

The Google Memo: Four Scientists Respond – Jussim, Miller, Schmitt, Soh, in Quillette Magazine.

Google Firing Employee Over Diversity Discussion Is Frighteningly Authoritarian – Maitra, The Federalist.

Google’s War Over the Sexes – Douthat, NYT.

In Defense of the Google Manifesto – Mali, Areo Magazine.

Google’s sexist memo has provided the alt-right with a new martyr – Jones, Guardian.

The Most Common Error in Coverage of the Google Memo – Friedersdorf, Atlantic.

A Googler’s memo shows there is work to be done – FT View Editorial

Googler fired for diversity memo had legit points on gender – Cathy Young, USAToday

It isn’t anti-diversity and it’s not a tirade – Toby Young, Spectator UK

Lena Dunham and Google Demonstrate Why Our Free Speech Culture Is Slipping Away – French, NRO.

Google Can’t Seem to Tolerate Diversity – Ou, Bloomberg.

Hey Mashable, why am I listed as Alt-Right?

So, unsurprisingly, Mashable came out with this dross.

Bizarrely, my semi-viral tweet was listed in the blog post.

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The Sophoclean irony of Google memo

 

By yours truly, in The Federalist. Read the whole piece here.

 

 

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