Category: Free Speech (Page 1 of 2)

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:

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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.

 

 

Facebook speech code: No, white men aren’t a “protected class”

Facebook treats everyone equally. Leftists wants whites and men to be at the bottom of the hierarchy.

A new misleading article is going viral on leftist and liberal-leaning social-political websites. ProPublica reports that white men are a protected class on Facebook, and that criticism of white men is considered hate speech.

Sure enough, hateful attacks against white men are considered hate speech and subject to possible deletion–just as a group of liberals have long said they wanted social media to take a harder stand on hate speech. So, too, are attacks on black men, white women, black women, Asian men, Asian women, Hispanic men, Hispanic women, Muslim men, and Muslim women considered hate speech.

Attacks on any such ethnic-gender (or religion) combination group are hate speech. ProPublica’s problem and that of those sharing the article is that they don’t want whites or men to have equal rights.

There’s nothing confusing in Facebook’s position. It’s spelled out in black and white–literally–in the slides:



How did a policy of policing hate speech impartially, without favor, turn into allegations of pro-white bias?

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Freedom of expression is for everyone in a democracy

Following the far-right terrorist attack at the Finsbury Mosque at 00:21 am on Monday, June 19, Tommy Robinson went on Twitter to say how he felt about the attack. Once again he put his foot in it by appearing to suggest that those outside the mosque who were run-over, while not directly responsible for their injuries, were nevertheless tangentially responsible as the mosque had a long history of creating and sheltering extremists and that a reprisal of this sort was just waiting to happen following the recent Islamist attacks in Manchester and on London Bridge.

Predictably, the Twittersphere sounded like the Twitterpocalypse had come, with scores of people slamming him for his tweets. I am not defending what Robinson said in his tweets. Robinson did say in later tweets that he didn’t want this to happen and that he’d been warning about it for years, but the damage had already been done. It made him look worse in many people’s eyes than he did already and confirmed other peoples’ suspicions about him.

Robinson then went in ITV’s Good Morning Britain, ostensibly to defend himself on national TV. However, the “interview” didn’t really turn out the way he might have hoped. What unfolded was extraordinary by any measure, and has caused more controversy than if Robinson had not been invited and just been left with his tweets for company.

He began by saying that there was no such thing as “Islamophobia”. A phobia is an irrational fear, and he said that it wasn’t irrational to fear these things, i.e. Islamist terror. 

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