Shabcast 32 (Chatting about free speech with Daniel)
Helloesville, my little chickadees, have a 32nd Shabcast. Why not?
I’m joined by the ubiquitous Daniel Harper to talk about freedom of speech, its limits, its abuses, what it means to different people, etc.
This episode comes in at a comparatively brief 2hrs 20mins.
May 14, 2017 @ 9:39 am
Thank you gentlemen for a wide-ranging and nuisanced discussion. I was talking about some of these issues with the missus yesterday. I am not a free speech absolutist – I wasn’t particularly perturbed that rape-advocate Roosh V didn’t make to Australia (my home). However, trying to prevent the likes of Milo or Ann Coulter from speaking at universities strikes me as a counter-productive. These people’s sole real talent is provoking a response. And in responding, you are giving them what they want.
I am oddly reminded of the IRA in the 80s. The UK government attempted to prevent giving Northern Irish sectarians “the oxygen of publicity” by banning them from the UK media. It didn’t really work. As you both note, the ideas of these right wing trolls are… lame. And they shouldn’t be given the oxygen of censorship.
And I completely agree that Coulter and Yiannopoulos have massive media platforms that negate the notion that they being “silenced”. There’s a messy discussion going on here about 18C (google it) and Andrew Bolt (the man who would be Sean Hannity) but enough of that for now.
Anyway I have to watch Dr Who with my son now (“Daddy, which is worse: a zombie or capitalism?”).
May 14, 2017 @ 11:17 am
“Daddy, which is worse: a zombie or capitalism?”
What if… the zombie WAS capitalism all along???!?
May 14, 2017 @ 12:20 pm
…Or did I just blow your mind!!!
May 14, 2017 @ 12:15 pm
Yeah, seeking to ban the likes of Coulter or Yiannopoulos from speaking on campus allows them to play the victim which is ultimately what they want, eliciting sympathy from neutral parties who may want to side with ‘the little guy’. Sort of like the publishing imprints that serve the right where they un-ironically claim they will at last be allowed to ‘speak the truth to power’ as part of a multi billion dollar conglomerate.
Exposing the Right & their You-tube revenue motivated shenanigans would be a worthwhile endeavor.
May 14, 2017 @ 2:36 pm
I find that freedom of speech functions under exactly the same principle as freedom of weird sex and anti-prohibition ism: government can not legitimately outlaw any activity to which everyone involved consents (providing there aren’t any things like large power differentials capable of invalidating consent). If someone is communicating ideas to people who choose to read their pamphlets or come to their rallies, that’s mutually consenting activity. All the normal exceptions involve some lack of consent, shouting “fire”, people aren’t consenting to be deceived, shouting “lynch that guy” and you’ve involved him in the situation etc.
(Lack of consent from someone doesn’t automatically mean it should be banned of course, shouting “racist” at someone being a huge racist shouldn’t be illegal even though they probably aren’t a consenting listener, it just means banning it wouldn’t violate absolute free speech, there are other reasons not to ban things. Like not having a very good reason.)
May 14, 2017 @ 5:39 pm
This was an excellent discussion. Thanks
May 18, 2017 @ 2:29 pm
Excellent discussion, of course.
And for Daniel’s plans, I can’t say more than fucking go for it! I have myself been wrestling with the thought of starting to write my own thing, mainly as training at putting my thoughts down on paper so I can be good at it by the time I try my hand at a project with a more well-defined goal. I find that there is precious little left-wing materialist analysis of the present day in my first language on the internet, at least outside minor marxist enclaves that are absolutely terrible at attracting new people.
But anyway, my main reason for wanting to comment was this: I’d like some reading recommendations on Lenin. I have a four-hour train ride to fill tomorrow night.
(I’ll also gladly accept newer good, analytical materialist reads, but anything unlikely to be found at a reasonably lagre nonfiction library will have to be saved for later)