American Elephants


Jack Dorsey Has Banned Political Advertising From Twitter by The Elephant's Child

What precisely is “hate speech”? Everybody talks about it, but it seems to boil down to — speech you don’t like. It is mentioned all the time, but what makes it hateful? We have had a fairly new entrant in the judging speech area in the popular name of Twitter. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter has announced that he is going to ban all political ads from the platform. This follows a long discussion about political ads in general and the Twitter workforce apparently wanting to ban all Republican ads. Law and Liberty.org made fairly short work of that.

Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, is basking in accolades for his decision to ban all political ads from his platform. That is Twitter’s call to make, but if Dorsey is going to wrap himself in a populist defense of the common man’s voice, he might conjure a justification whose posture toward that man is less condescending.

Dorsey argued that the reach of political messages “should be earned, not bought.” To what extent anything on Twitter is “earned” through 280 characters of substantive, nuanced political conversation is questionable. Shallow outrage is likelier to “earn” retweets, which is not to say that Twitter—which can encourage concision, a precondition of wit—does not have its place. Regardless, Dorsey’s claim is the populist celebration of social media: Anyone can speak and, with a sufficiently compelling message, reach a limitless audience.

Yet Dorsey’s reason for pulling political ads is that the same everyday people whose voices deserve projection are so easily duped by readily disprovable claims that they must be protected from seeing them in the first place. A people that cannot exercise sufficient discernment to separate propaganda from information has no business governing itself. Why a people Dorsey so characterizes is qualified to participate in his call for “more forward-looking political ad regulation,” which he acknowledges is “very difficult” but which is actually very unconstitutional, is unclear.

The United States of America was founded on the idea of freedom of speech, but the current generation is a little short in the history department, and doesn’t seem to understand the meaning. What Dorsey means by his statement that “political messages should be earned, not bought” is another mystery. How do we have free speech while calling much of the conversation out there “hate speech?” Does calling the winner of the last election and the people who voted for him “Deplorables” count as “hate speech”or do you have to add in her conclusion that God had picked her out to be the president of the United States? Or just the names she called those who voted for the other side?

Free Speech is hard to understand. You are free to disagree, but you don’t get to demand that you not be allowed to say your piece. You are, of course, responsible for what you say, but you don’t get to be banned.

“There is no such thing as government regulated free speech.”

That’s from Barry Brownstein writing at FEE. “Without Free Speech, All Speech Becomes Government Speech.

When I viewed this video, I wondered if it was a hoax. I thought it must be a group of actors trying to make a point about how far restrictions on speech have gone. Unfortunately, the video captures reality in Scotland in 2019.

The video picks up an exchange between a Scottish high school teacher and a student. The class was asked to sign up for a website, and according to the student, the teacher commented on how old fashioned the website was for listing only two sexes. The student, Murray, remarked, “But sir there’s only two genders,” and the teacher insisted they continue the discussion outside the classroom.

Much of the problem is located in our schools, and though this example took place in Scotland, you probably could have found the same conversation on any one of a good many American campuses.

There is a clear reason why the very first Amendment to the Constitution says Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…Too bad the folks in Silicon Valley don’t seem to get it. Or understand why it is needed.



“Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Words Can Never Harm Me!” by The Elephant's Child

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Old time saying or “aphorism”: There are a lot of words to describe those old-time sayings your grandmother had. In our family, when you dropped something breakable and it broke – my aunt always said smartly “You dropped something!” I really have to guard my tongue to keep from saying it, because it always enrages the dropee.  But there are tons of them, many probably regional, or outdated: “A stitch in time saves nine” probably refers to a time when every High School’s Home Ec. classes included some basic sewing. Do they teach Home Ec. any more? I suspect not.

We have, however, become a society that parses every word (particularly of the opposing political party) and condemns anything questionable that is uttered. This is happening at the same time that normal language has become extraordinarily gritty and vulgar. New Lefty congressperson Rashida Tlaib had barely set foot in Congress for the first time when she came out with a vulgarism targeted at the President of the United States. I don’t need to repeat it here, it has been widely circulated, with surprisingly little condemnation.

Condemnation has become the rule for what is currently defined as “Hate Speech,” but vulgarity has become the rule, and as far as I can tell, is never discouraged or condemned. Anything that can be categorized as “Hate Speech”is a different matter entirely. We have a neighborhood website that posts stuff neighbors have to give away, sell, ask for recommendations for services from doctors to waste hauling, and to complain about anything and everything related to our city and community.

Recently someone posted about “Hate Speech” in reference to something that had appeared on her driveway. Eventually a photo of the offending piece appeared, and today an article about the “neo-nazi flyers” appeared in the little local “newspaper” that exists for local advertising, that gets tossed in our driveway. The picture reveals that the “neo-nazi” hate speech turns out to be “Better Dead than Red”, a slogan left over from the Cold War, which is pretty thoroughly outdated.  (Have our younger people ever heard of the Cold War?)

Great uproar, Police called, many times. Don’t know what the police did, probably nothing, but they could possibly get the perpetrator for littering.The distributor apparently gets a kick out of alarming suburban housewives over nothing at all.

College campuses, however,  seem to be hotbeds for calling things “hate speech”as they reject conservative speakers or anyone who disagrees with their ideas, often by rioting. Note: you may not, in an educational institution set aside and dedicated to education and history, say anything with which the inmates might disagree. This is an alarming situation that needs to be challenged with a hefty dose of common sense, and perhaps a little history.

We do need some common sense here, and to stop trying to deprive a person of a job or livelihood because of something they said. If a comedian says something truly offensive to you, don’t buy a ticket to his or her next performance, but lighten up. Tell the vulgarians to knock it off! Tell them their language is not acceptable.

But let’s not go all overboard. People are only human, and when angered apt to say things they may later regret. You have undoubtedly done that yourself, I certainly have.

We have real disagreements between our political parties, and solutions need to be worked out. Study up. Learn about the issues. Write to your Congressional representatives. Congressional representatives whether in the House or Senate, need to know what their constituents are worried about. They will not know unless they hear from you. And they need to know that they have constituents who don’t like what they are doing. It’s called representative democracy.



The Difficulties With Declaring Independence by The Elephant's Child

All you need to know about Silicon Valley can be summed up by the simple information that they have chosen the Southern Poverty Law Center as their guide to identifying Hate Speech!

Bwa ha ha ha ha-ha ha!

File this under “It takes one to know one!”

Then add this bit:  ” Facebook removed an excerpt from the U.S. Declaration of Independence, claiming that the text violated the social network’s policies.”

As Reason adds: “The social media site has a difficult time telling the difference between white nationalist ravings and the writing of Thomas Jefferson.”

America’s founding document might be too politically incorrect for Facebook, which flagged and removed a post consisting almost entirely of text from the Declaration of Independence. The excerpt, posted by a small community newspaper in Texas, apparently violated the social media site’s policies against hate speech.

Since June 24, the Liberty County Vindicator of Liberty County, Texas, has been sharing daily excerpts from the declaration in the run up to July Fourth. The idea was to encourage historical literacy among the Vindicator‘s readers.

The first nine such posts of the project went up without incident.

“But part 10,” writes Vindicator managing editor Casey Stinnett, “did not appear. Instead, The Vindicator received a notice from Facebook saying that the post ‘goes against our standards on hate speech.'”

The problem is ignorance. Silicon Valley is full of math and physics majors and H-1B immigrants, not history majors. Our own colleges and universities, full of anti-war people left over from Vietnam have turned our education system into far left indoctrination organizations, so there are a lot more courses titled “Studies” in colleges and fewer “The History of.”

Facebook was based on the flawed idea, that it would be emotionally appealing for people to share their family news and doings with friends, which, of course it was. But the downside never occurred to the founders. Users were making public the intimate details of their lives and their children, where they went to school, the general status of the family, the location of the home—which they did, with no thought about the dangers of making such information public. So it is unsurprising that Facebook has turned the bother of identifying “hate speech” over to robots.

The powers that be in Silicon Valley have already been in trouble for allowing the adherents of radical Islam access to the world’s computers, and correctly recognize that to be a problem. They are trying to figure out how to protect themselves. At the same time, the major news media are telling them that the Right Wing are white supremacists, Hitler, Nazis, fascists, etc. etc., so, in their ignorance of history they do not understand politics and assume that they need to banish anyone on the Right—without understanding that making enemies of half the population of the country is probably not a good idea. They probably do not want to come under regulation by the federal government as utilities.

 



Mark Steyn is in Australia Trying to Explain Free Speech to the Aussies. by The Elephant's Child

Mark Steyn was in Australia this week, trying to explain free speech to the Aussies. It’s an interesting panel discussion because it clearly explains the problem that always arises in any discussion of free speech. Everybody is absolutely for free speech, except no one should be allowed to make cruel, unpleasant, wrong, nasty, morally objectionable remarks or other things that might offend.

Shouldn’t there be standards? And there’s the rub.  People are still expected to have manners, be thoughtful, not advocate those things which society says are beyond the pale, and you can object, condemn them for what they said, smack them down or refuse to associate with them, but you cannot make a law against speech that you don’t like. Government has no role in abridging the right of free speech. None.

You can walk away, turn your back, or argue vociferously. If you punch them in the nose, you may get in trouble with the law for battery. But you may not silence them by force of law. Why? The minute you try to protect against one kind of offensive speech, there is no end to the speech your opponents will find unacceptable. It’s a very hard argument for even the Aussies and many Americans to grasp in full.




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