Showing posts with label freedom of expression. Show all posts
Showing posts with label freedom of expression. Show all posts

Monday, February 4, 2019

Grand Canyon University Should Let Ben Shapiro Speak

Last Friday, I received an Email from the school news regarding the school's decision to cancel an upcoming speaking engagement by Ben Shapiro. The rationale for canceling his appointment is to focus on opportunities that bring people together. It's not quite clear what they mean. The email goes on to list all of school's philanthropic causes and mentions campus diversity in passing, but never gives a substantial concrete reason for uninviting Ben Shapiro. The statement makes it clear that he was invited to address a specific student club, not the entire student body, so the reason why they think he should be bringing people together is beyond me. I'm not too familiar with Ben Shapiro. All I know is that he is a prominent conservative figure associated with the online anti-SJW movement and is often featured in click bait compilation videos dedicated to destroying libtards with facts and logic. While I recognize that as a private christian university, they have the right to not invite or ban any speaker they want, they should be considerate of their students' desire to listen to and discuss new ideas and opinions regardless of their popularity. Besides, we can only grow intellectually, and spiritually, by challenging old dogmas with ideas and information we have not yet considered. I attend GCU online and live on the other side of the country, so this recent turn of events is not personally relevant to me; however, for those student who live on campus or in the Phoenix metro area, the school should seriously consider their mission statement, which last time I checked, was about preparing students to become 'global citizens', critical thinkers, 'effective communicators, and responsible leaders. You can't do any of that living in your own echo chamber. Do the right thing; let the man speak.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

U.S. District Judge Rules Twitter is a Public Forum Setting New Precedent for Free Speech and Censorship

Sources: Duke Chronicle, Cornell Law Dictionary

Last year, several twitter critics of the sitting President sued Trump for blocking them and won. U.S. District judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, of the Southern district of New York, ruled that Trump had violated the plaintiffs' first amendment rights by excluding them from voicing their opinion on a 'public forum.'

We hold that portions of the @realDonaldTrump account—the 'interactive space' where Twitter users may directly engage with the content of the President’s tweets—are properly analyzed under the 'public forum' doctrines set forth by the Supreme Court, that such space is a designated public forum, and that the blocking of the plaintiffs based on their political speech constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the First Amendment.

This ruling should have wider implications than preventing Trump from blocking prominent twitter critics like Dr. Eugene Gu, who filed the lawsuit. Besides, Trump isn't the only politician that uses twitter to communicate with his constituents. Almost every representative, senator, justice and bureaucrat uses twitter to get their message out. In this sense, the 'private' social media platform could be considered a designated public forum for political discourse, and therefore should be open to all viewpoints. Unfortunately, there is no legal definition for online public forums. The Supreme Court outlined 3 types of public forums in the 1983 case of Perry Education Association v. Perry Local Educators' Association and all of them are defined in terms of physical space and restrict government officials from discriminating against certain viewpoints rather than public corporations like Twitter and Facebook. This could be a major problem when it comes to twitter itself banning or suspending certain users for unpopular political opinions or selectively enforcing their nebulous terms of service. Twitter's discriminatory actions keep people form engaging with their elected representatives all the same as being directly blocked by their elected representatives; the only difference is that the censorship is done by a corporation rather than a government agency or official. However, as I pointed out in a previous post, corporations are established by governments for the benefit of the public, and have no right to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, national origin, religion or any other protected class. It's only logical to add political affiliation and viewpoint, especially given the pertinence of twitter and other big social media platforms in our day and age.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Corporations Have No Right To Discriminate

Corporations are the greatest threat to freedom of speech. This is a very succinct video from the Ghettoman. I've been following his work since December when he joined Steemit (he has since left) and he doesn't seem to have taken off yet, so I do whatever I can to promote him and his work. The issue at stake here is whether corporations, specifically social media companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter have a right to discriminate on the basis of political views, that is, to treat political views differently by, for instance, enforcing terms of service selectively and defining political views they disagree with as hate speech, which isn't a legal term. I say they don't based on previous civil rights legislation prohibiting discrimination on other protected bases, like religion, and the fact that these conglomerates have a virtual monopoly on online political content, which is where the vast majority of people congregate nowadays. Furthermore, as the Ghettoman points out, corporations are charted by the state for the benefit of the public, which includes everyone on the political spectrum. And as I pointed out earlier they have a virtual monopoly on online political content making their bias against certain political views no different from censorship in practice. Social media platforms should therefore be considered public forums.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Iberville Parish Bans The Thought Crime of Flag Desecration And Contempt

Source: WAFB

Last week, the Iberville Parish Council unanimously passed an ordinance that prohibits residents from 'desecrating' or 'casting contempt on any American, Louisiana or Iberville Parish flag', and it doesn't just preclude flag burning. The ordinance also makes it illegal to put any "word, mark, design or advertisement of any nature" on the flags (there goes campaign season). The penalty for this thought crime is $1,000 fine and a 6-month jail sentence. Under such a law, even people who genuinely respect the banner could be turned into criminals. 4thth of July advertisements could get a lot of business owners in trouble with the sheriff. Stars and strips bikinis? Who knows? That could be seen as defilement. What about all of the pro-cop simps with their #bluelivesmatter flag? Is changing the color scheme of the national banner and adding a blue streak through the middle not desecration? Why not? Of course, what constitutes 'contempt' and 'desecration' is completely subjective. In contrast, what constitutes an injustice is objective; we can quantify the damage done. 'Disrespecting' a piece of colored cloth with a certain pattern is not a violation of anyone's person, liberty or property in itself; it does not belong in the same category as say vandalism or shop lifting, and therefore doesn't warrant state violence.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat errors from the past. This is even more true of people who wish to legislate away offenses, imagined or real, against their feelings and beliefs. The old adage 'you do not have a right to not be offended' is the appropriate response. In my earliest posts on the subject of anti-desecration laws (see In the U.S., Like in China, There Is No Freedom, No Protesting, And No Due Process as well as Political Superstitions (part1)), I had likened it to anti-blasphemy laws the likes of which you would find in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and the rest of the muslim world. But upon rethinking the matter I now see that it's much more akin to statutes against 'Hate Speech' the left would like to shove down our throats. The whole 'don't disrespect the banner and anthem' shtick is not so much a religion as it is the rightist version of political correctness.

Side Note: I should concede that there is some validity to this anti-desecration ordinance. Certain acts of destroying a flag, like burning it in public, should be illegal, but for public safety concerns, not to punish wrongthink. Passing a specific law that makes it illegal to burn flags, or really anything, on public property, without say the fire chief's permission would be useful for cracking down on antifa and wouldn't set a precedent for censoring other forms of political speech.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Montreal Police Ticket Man For Singing In His Car


Anytime I think about my own country slipping into despotism, I look to the North and realize how much worse it could be. Taoufik Moalla (however you pronounce that) was given the equivalent of a $149 traffic ticket for singing 90's pop hit 'Everybody Dance Now' in his car. According to Montreal Police, his voice, not his music mind you, was too loud so they decided to fine him for 'screaming in a public place.' However, Moalla had his windows rolled up and he wasn't yelling.
If Moalla fails to pay the ticket he could eventually be arrested; think about that: a man could go to jail for singing in his car.

Friday, August 25, 2017

A Guide To Leftist NewSpeak

In a recent Econtalk podcast, Russ Roberts and his guest, linguist John McWhorter, discussed the evolution of the English language. As I am sure we are all aware by now, the meaning of words change over time. For instance, gay use to be synonymous with happy and silly use to be synonmous with blessed. A particularly interesting concept that was brought up during the discussion is the idea that some words do not have a meaning but rather a function; these are pragmatics. The word 'shit' for instance can be a noun, a verb, an adverb, an adjective or an interjection depending on the context it's used in, and it doesn't always refer to excrement. The same is true of the word fuck. There are a plethora of pragmatics in the politisphere. On the left side of the specturm, the most common pragmatics are 'nazi', 'facist', and 'racist'. Now these terms do have dictionary definitions, but nobody on the left bothers to look them up, so for the most part they have functions rather than meanings. These pejoratives are meant to end dialogues. They indicate, to other leftists, that a person's political opinions (usually a straight white male) are so repulsive as to be unworthy of serious debate, and their application isn't limited to people who admire Hitler and advocate for a white ethno-state. Nazis and facists run the gamet from white nationalists like Richard Spencer to rank-and-file Republicans to libertarians and free market advocates. In otherwords, these are catch all terms for anyone who disagrees with a leftists. The idea is that the connotations and imagery these terms invoke will be associated with the person who disagrees with them. So when leftists say they want to ban 'hate speech' from nazis, what they mean to say is that they want to ban dissent to leftwing dogma. For example, being against illegal immigration and amnesty is racist apparently, even if your concerns relate to national security and not demographic changes. To think deporting illegal aliens is categorically the same as mass murdering jews is asinine to a normal person with a functioning brain, but not if your native tongue is leftist newspeak. The same is true of people who are critical of our overgenerous welfare state. It must be because they hate black people and minorities, it can't possibly have anything to do with the fact that our social programs have added more to the national debt than all of our wars combined or the fact that it creates a disincentive to work. Nope, it's because of racism. Its hate speech, let's ban it. Against adding millions of Syrian refugees to the government dole? Your rationale doesn't matter, it's racist hate speech. There are a plentitude of other examples I won't include here.

According to the left, all white people are racist, but the term is only ever used against white people who aren't self-flagellating. Even if you don't use racial slurs and treat everyone with kindness you're still a racist cuz muh privilege. This should give you a general understanding of the sort of mind games these people play.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Minnesota Bans Political T-Shirts In Polling Places No Matter How Ambiguous The Message

Source: Pacific Legal Foundation

Minnesota Statute 211B.11 prohibits voters from wearing any 'political badge, political button, or other political insignia' within 100 feet of a polling place. The law was meant to deter people from campaigning in polling places, but its scope is so broad that it even prohibits shirts that aren't inscribed with a particular candidate, but that express a philosophical idea such as freedom of speech. Essentially any apparel that could possibly be interpreted as a political message is banned from polling places. If a statute prohibits more activities than it was intended to it should either be scrapped altogether or amendment to make the language clearer. The color red could be interpreted as the political insignia of the Republican Party, but it would be absurd to prohibit voters from wearing red to polling places. For this reason, the Pacific Legal Foundation has asked the Supreme Court to review this statute and hopefully overturn the decision of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals who upheld the restriction.