In Lieu of Censorship

Anybody with even a glimmer of originality always ends up broken down and pushed out of blogging or social media. The only alternative is to avoid any subjects that can prove remotely controversial. Or somehow find a way to burrow into the deepest obscurity.

Internet enthusiasts used to warn against the dangers of governmental censorship of the Internet. Now they are all saying that in their wildest nightmares they couldn’t have anticipated how eagerly and happily users would self-censor until turning the Internet into a place to shop, gossip, and stare at cute kitties. 


20 thoughts on “In Lieu of Censorship”

  1. I may have to stop blogging.

    The day before yesterday, I posted an article titled Satire (I hope) | Let’s repeal America’s Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

    Yesterday, there was a rally in favor of free-speech in Boston. Few appeared, apparently between 40 and up to 200. The police escorted them away because they (the police) were concerned that Antifa and other protesters would appear and become violent. Between 20,000 and 40,000 did, attacking the police with bottles of urine and other “peaceful” stuff. The free-speech advocates were no longer there to be attacked.

    This morning, I was dismayed to learn, from Breitbart, that President Trump had praised the anti-free-speech protesters and the police whom they had attacked.

    When I attempt to write satire, it turns into reality.


        1. We’re seeing a real time equivalance of free speech and naziism being pushed by ‘progressives’ (probably out of ignorance or being manipulated than anything else).

          Freedom of speech has been drastically curtailed in Europe over the last few years, no reason to expect the US to be immune.


          1. It’s beyond frustrating to see the Left allow itself to be boxed into the ridiculous anti-free speech role. What, what can possibly be gained from any of it?


            1. I disagree that some force outside of the Left is boxing it into this role. This is the inherent property of the Left, at least as the Left is defined now in the Western culture: as a feel-good movement, with the primacy of the feelings that should not be offended. Then it logically follows that free speech has to be curtailed to avoid offending those feelings.

              Somehow* great ideas of pacifism and violence-free conflict resolution have been hijacked and taken to the extreme and started to mean the cult of conflict avoidance. That is not even practiced by its professed believers. It is a tool used to bludgeon ideological opponents (or just anyone saying something one slightly disagrees with, see Left policing the speech of the Left a lot.), ultimately to just feel that one is better than others.

              A question to my colleagues in humanities – do they still teach about Voltaire in North American universities? As in “I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it”? If it is taught – how is that explained to the students these days?

              *I should not say “somehow”, because I kind of understand how and why, but this is a long story. And you will not like it, as long as you believe that there is some “pure good capitalism”, that can be distilled and purified from neoliberalism, or globalization, or whatnot…


              1. Leftism has abandoned altogether its former interest in economic justice. Now all that’s left to the Left is screaming down whoever doesn’t parrot the party line du jour.

                The students I see have nothing whatsoever in common with these freaks of nature, I’m happy to say.


              2. There are “party line du jour” and there is common denominator that does not change that quickly. Which is people engaging in Left-wing thinking and activities for the main purpose of feeling good and righteous about themselves. Yes, the Leftism is becoming the realm not of the disenfranchised, but of relatively well-to-do middle classes that are not as directly motivated by economic issues. But one can ask the next question – why masses of middle class people care at all? And the answer is – otherwise their existence within the consumerist society lacks meaning AND they have some free time to think about it. They choose the progressive causes because these causes are good and just AND because they believe themselves to be more enlightened than others, but on some psychological level they are not more enlightened, so they bring all their personal problems, all their unresolved developmental issues, lack of self-awareness, everything down to and including their sociopathic tendencies to the social justice movements…


              3. I never thought of it this way. But it does sound right. I have noticed that many conversations with conservatives do begin with, “You think you are kinder and more compassionate than me.” Since this is always at the beginning of interaction plus I’m very aware that I’m signally lacking in empathy, this must mean they are addressing somebody else, right? They must have met people who think they are more compassionate by virtue of being on the left.

                This is very bleak.


              4. I guess you are talking about similar things when you are calling them “bored customers”… But you seem to see this as a bug, and I am saying it is a feature.


              5. Everybody has dark, mean, nasty drives (hello, grandpa Freud). And not everyone is evolved enough to keep them in check of their own free will. But that’s where the community should step in. If you don’t understand on your own that wiping your nose on the curtains is nasty, then people around you should correct your behavior.


    1. The main threat that is used to silence people is that their jobs will be taken away. So if you don’t work for a salary and don’t mind being ostracized by your peers and becoming a pariah (i.e. certain sociopathic tendencies), you don’t have to worry about censorship. To most people, however, loss of employment and ostracism are very harsh punishments. Especially if one is an academic and knows that there will never be any other job in academia once this one is lost.


  2. Now they are all saying that in their wildest nightmares they couldn’t have anticipated how eagerly and happily users would self-censor until turning the Internet into a place to shop, gossip, and stare at cute kitties.

    You do realize we effectively live in a panopticon, right? Everyone just fights each other by using parts of the panopticon against each other. Yes, it’s all neoliberalism’s fault because we’ve got to brand ourselves with nice corporate personalities suitable for promotional purposes. Or perhaps you theorize some a mass movement of wrenches and kinks thrown into the early childhood development of all these self censoring, self branding personalities. After all, where you first learn to self censor?


    1. The unhinged right-fighters are simply bored consumers. They hound whomever it takes their fancy because it’s fun. And we are all collectively allowing them to hound. Why, I have no idea. Maybe because everybody hopes that the vicious trolls won’t notice them.


      1. Is this a question of lack of effort, or a more systematic thing? Genuine question – how would trying to stop the attacks on people with unconventional ideas look different from anyone freely taking a swing at the ideologically impure? It’s shaming by self-appointed judges either way, with all the pitfalls that kind of setup implies.


        1. I have no problem with judging or shaming bullies. There is a clear moral difference between hounding a human being and writing a post nobody is obligated to read or notice.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.