The left and free speech

I’ve come across this article in the Business Insider, of all places, written by a guy named Anthony Fisher, who according to his bio I wouldn’t say is a crazy leftist.

What was, thus, surprising, was this:

A true commitment to free speech requires defending the right to express the most vile, transgressive, and unpopular ideas. And the truest demonstration of that commitment is to hold one’s own political tribe to account when it fails to walk the walk on the principle.

I agree with the definition, and I agree with the part I emphasized. I just think this isn’t very useful – because I don’t really see any meaningful threats to free speech from any actors on the political right. But – I duly respect Anthony for that – in contrast to many “critics” of the right, he at least tries to substantiate his criticism:

Some of these include the Trump administration order to two universities to amend their jointly run Middle East studies programs to include more positive depictions of Christianity and Judaism…

… and this is where I got suspicious. This would be an outrageous affront to independence of science in general or freedom of research at universities – oh wait, that’s a German thing. You don’t have that, not even on paper. So, what did the administration “order”? Luckily, Anthony has provided this link:

the department asserted that the universities’ Middle East program violated the standards of a federal program that awards funding

Well… I’m totally against the state having fuck-all influence on academics or science in general, but there you are: This is not a “free speech” question. It’s a funding question.

I’m not gonna open the deep, ugly, slimy bucket of university financing today, but I’m pretty sure the government just said “hey, if you use this Arabic Grievance Studies program to sow hate against Israel, look for money elsewhere”.

Now, this is a very difficult topic with a ninja-star’s bastard child with a morning star – bladed mess of options, but the anglophone higher education system is just too fucked for me to opine on it – essentially, imho, the government shouldn’t finance specific courses that do ideology. Because, as the Israel-hating Grievance Studies to-be cheeseburger salesmen will sooner or later find out, that’s essentially useless. But we’ve, as you might now easily see when you think of a counter-argument, long left the playing field of “free speech”. Just go down a little further along the slippery slope: Would you expect a (sane) government to subsidize degrees in “Toppling of Government Studies”? No? Really? Because, irl, most do.

Back to freedom of speech – this not being a freedom of speech issue. Next example:

or the dozens of state bans that forbid public institutions (such as colleges) from boycotting Israel, and the Texas state policy that actually compels speech from government employees – namely, a pledge that they won’t boycott Israel

See – the problem with politics having control over vasts amounts of money gathered by means of aggravated robbery (“taxation”) is: everything becomes political.  And just like that we’re back to funding – this is a “who pays the piper calls the tune” question – and, by the way, the English idiom is much nicer than the German one (Whose bread I eat, their song I sing”) – the anglophone (traditionally more free-market) version makes it sound as if that was somehow “okay”. The German – well, we have a different “eat” for humans and animals, and the latter is used… making the pipers essentially rats.

Back to topic: So, how is “not boycotting Israel” a free speech question? Let’s test this out:

I’ll boycott Israel now.

Alright, five seconds have passed, and the Israeli stock market index TA-100 has moved fuck-all.  Thus, my free speech doesn’t actually boycott Israel, does it?

(Hint: No, it doesn’t).

See – I just don’t see the conflict with freedom of speech here. Sure, this opens up another really, really deep bucket full of shit concerning the governments (or any) employers’ rights whom to choose as an employee, but that’s not a free speech issue, either. Especially when talking about a country with essentially zero anti-random-firing laws.

I’ve worked as a German state employee (yep; you get paid here by the state to do your PhD, as opposed to piling up a six-figure debt), for which I had to swear an oath (like one person in the US who obviously wants to boycott Israel while working for a government that supplies exactly that nation with weapons worth billions; remember that when someone mentions bigots) – on the constitution of the federal state of [you wouldn’t know where that is anyway]. I didn’t know that when going to the (vastly overpaid) administrator’s (nicely furbished 40 years ago) office, thus I was rather unprepared… “Does that require me to have actually read that thing? I’m not even from [said state]”? – “Nah, there’s nothing surprising in there. Can we just get this over with?”

So, after these two excellent examples having nothing to do with free speech, it did anger me that in the introductory bullets, the article said:

In an interview with Insider, Adam Carolla did concede that he was unaware of many of the threats to free speech that come from conservatives and directly from the government.

… while, what actually happened, was this:

To his credit, Carolla essentially pleaded ignorance on the topic and expressed his support for the right to boycott: „I’m pro-Israel just because I’m sane. But if you want to protest Israel, you certainly have the right in my world – otherwise I’d be a hypocrite.“

Why that upset me? (1) None of these “threats” is actually a threat to free speech; it’s not even a sad try at limiting free speech, it has rather nothing to do with free speech at all. (2) None of that came from “conservatives”. Both are directly ascribable to some kind of pro-Israel lobby. Now – sure, in these modern times, the political left is veering to being worse Anti-Semites than Hitler, but that doesn’t really say anything about the political right.

What Carolla (a comedian I’ve never heard of and the maker of a movie I’m probably never gonna watch, but a free-speech advocate) did right is: Stand up for freedom of speech. Oh, and not being a hypocritewhich surely places him on the far, far right. 

Most importantly, though, and he forgot to point out (or the evil fake news author suppressed) that his quote doesn’t show his support for your right to boycott Israel at all. It shows his support to voice your opinion (“protest”). As – well – a freedom of speech advocate would do.

The article isn’t finished here and goes on and on and on forever, and I’ll skip most of it, but I’d like to take the opportunity to point out some other grotesque misunderstanding of even centrist leftists concerning free speech:

Peterson is engaged in two lawsuits against university officials who called him mean names.

See – that’s Jordan Peterson, btw – “calling him mean names” isn’t exactly a fair framing of the facts, because it makes you think of insults, while we’re in the domain of defamation, libel and slander here.

Now, all four are painted by the left in general and this author as being fruits of the same evil tree, but they’re not.

Yes, you might say there’s only a semantic difference between “Jordan Peterson is an idiot” and “I think Jordan Peterson is an idiot”, and, as to insults, I think both shouldn’t harm him much, because who’s an idiot or not is rooted quite deeply in the eye of the beholder (of that opinion) – who might just as well be an idiot himself.

That changes if you make real-world, provable allegations such as “Harvey Weinstein serial-rapes women”, “Hillary Clinton and Prince Andrew like are friends with a Pedophile” or, in this case, “Jordan Peterson is a Nazi”.

See – that kind of accusation is really, really bad for your reputation, and it’s not just one’s opinion; it’s a statement of fact. You can’t disprove you’re an idiot, so, if we want to uphold the rule of law, I’m innocent until proven guilty of violating anyone by saying he’s an idiot – he can’t prove he’s not an idiot, it’s always just an opinion.

On the other hand, saying “Harvey Weinstein serial-rapes women” is not an opinion, an opinion would be “I think Harvey Weinstein serial-rapes women”, which, of course, should be protected as free speech. Random and libelous (read “damaging”) false statements of fact should, in contrast, not be protected by free speech. It’s not your (uninformed) opinion. You’re just a lying whore falsely accusing a fat ugly rich Hollywood producer (imho ;).

And this is where it gets difficult: We can hardly put the burden of proof on the randomly slandered politician; there are just too many accusations to go with. On the other hand, putting the burden of proof on the “wrongdoer” (the one saying things) grotesquely contradicts elementary principles of western law. Plus, putting “imho” behind a statement is just silly, no?

Who am I to solve that?

Well, I’m an almighty Shitlord off the internet, whom the global regents are very busy on trying to finding ways to censor because they are all a bunch of stupid pedophile serial Nazi communist raping cunts.

Thus – luckily, I don’t have to solve that. Unlike the author. Accusing Jordan Peterson or anyone on the “right” of using the laws they are very outspoken against – which they don’t; character assassination is a bad thing – as is being an idiot, so both should be called out and people should be locked away for it (don’t get this wrong: I’m really advocating for deporting idiots to Suriname, with my deepest apologies to the certainly decent people of that country) — you can’t accuse a critic of a law to use it to the extent that will annoy it’s proponents to the max (or deportation to Suriname). Peterson wants to see that law gone. Vote for it to go away if you think he’s abusing it. He’ll smile, happily. Because he’ll have won.

So, dear author: Why don’t you criticize your “own political tribe to account when it fails to walk the walk on the principle”? Saying a law is bad is a matter of freedom of opinion. Having a law against that is restricting freedom of opinion. Oh, are you at an intellectual dead end? Break down that wall. (Hint: It’s to your right)

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