Free Speech Under Attack

Blowhard, Esq. writes:

Do people care about free speech? Did they ever really? A recent spate of stories has me wondering.

INB4 some lawyer or lawyer wannabe notes that three of these stories don’t involve state action, therefore the First Amendment isn’t implicated. True, but doesn’t the idea of free speech encompass more than a legal regime, isn’t it a cultural ideal too? Isn’t there something — dare I say? — un-American about firing someone for writing a memo, the point of which was to open up discussion about controversial ideas?

Maybe not, maybe my “cultural ideal” argument is woefully naive. It’s clear people are only too happy to abridge speech when the ideas being attacked are politically unpopular.

  • The SJW mob on Twitter enjoys smearing books before having read them: “In a tweet that would be retweeted nearly 500 times, Sinyard asked people to spread the word about The Black Witch by sharing her review — a clarion call for YA Twitter, which regularly identifies and denounces books for being problematic (an all-purpose umbrella term for describing texts that engage improperly with race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and other marginalizations). Led by a group of influential authors who pull no punches when it comes to calling out their colleagues’ work, and amplified by tens of thousands of teen and young-adult followers for whom online activism is second nature, the campaigns to keep offensive books off shelves are a regular feature in a community that’s as passionate about social justice as it is about reading. And while not every callout escalates into a full-scale dragging, in the case of The Black Witch — a book by a newcomer with a minimal presence online — the backlash was immediate and intense.”
  • Similarly, Ta-Nehisi Coates — one of the indisputably great intellectuals of our age, whose writing the critic A.O. Scott called “essential, like water or air” — musters his searing rhetorical power to denounce a TV show that doesn’t even exist yet. Yes, sure, I realize that Coates is free to criticize a TV show and he’s not asking that anything be banned, but his argument essentially seems to be, “This show shouldn’t exist because it is made by white people and the premise offends me.” There seems to be a swelling chorus of black writers who object to the mere idea of white people creating works about black people.
  • The fact that Ernst Zundel was hounded and harassed by three major governments for decades, including basically two years of torture by one of them, is pretty much all you need to know about the state free speech in the West.
  • Finally, here’s the complete Google memo that’s been in the news, along with a response from four scientists who say he got the science right. I wonder how many of the people attacking James Damore consider themselves members of the “reality-based community” who also fucking love science.

About Blowhard, Esq.

Amateur, dilettante, wannabe.
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5 Responses to Free Speech Under Attack

  1. amac78 says:

    >Finally, here’s the complete Google memo that’s been in the news…

    Your link goes to a webpage at Gizmodo, whose editors altered the formatting of Damore’s document and stripped out over 30 hyperlinks, 11 footnotes, two tables, and a figure. Incompetent or malicious, who can say. A faithful version of “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” is at (html and PDF).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JV says:

    Where I work, blasting ANY political diatribe out to the whole company would get you fired. That was his main offense, in my view. The fact that his opinions were somewhat controversial only makes his choice less wise. And I agree with some of the points he makes. But come on, making broad generalizations (excuse the pun) about “women in general” is just dumb. What did he (and us) expect. All he really needed to do to make his point was mention that women make up 18% of computer science graduates and 20% of Google’s engineers, which means Google is doing about as well as a large company can.

    Liked by 1 person

    • peterike says:

      I don’t think he “blasted” out the memo. I think it was posted on a discussion board. Or perhaps we should say “discussion” board.

      Most large organizations prohibit mass emailing and limit the “all-employees” addresses to a very few select persons. Maybe Google’s different, but most companies that size you wouldn’t be able to blast to everyone even if you wanted to.

      In any case, at first I thought he was naive as well, but more and more I think this is all very well planned. He was lawyered up before he even posted it. Whether he’s out to shake down Google for cash, or he really wants to make a point, or he just wants to throw sand in their gears, I say good for him either way.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. peterike says:

    Freedom of speech? C’mon, that’s not who we are.

    Liked by 1 person

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