Thursday, March 08, 2018

"Progressives" go after free speech as if it were like guns; ban Facebook right before elections?



Reason has pointed out that the “Progressive movement” is now taking aim at the First Amendment as well as the Second, as A Barton Hinkle writes. Indeed, there is an irony in progressives' defending net neutrality -- when the affected speaker isn't a political or tribal enemy.

This article leads to a piece by Jeet Heer on Feb.22, “Ban Facebook Before Elections”.  which tries to expand the Overton Window on regulating social media and user generated content.

It’s frankly very hard to see how a social media site could scrub all possible “political” comments, and I think a “Jonathan Swift modest proposal” like this begs the question of allowing people to self-distribute their content without oversight at all – whole business models are based on that idea, but they keep falling into sustainability questions – especially when critics complain that users don’t get “paid” (the whole “It’s Free” film of Reid Ewing back in 2012).


There’s something else in the way a whole activist generation (largely on the Left) wants to do away with free speech, in conjunction with the ideology of “intersectionality”.  The idea seems to be that a person who belongs to a deep intersectional combination minority (like transgender and black both at the same time) faces possible extermination if others, better off and not minority members and with none of their own skin in the game, are permitted to present ideas like white supremacy as if they could even be credible – the “meta-speech problem”.
  
There’s another “Dangerous” (yup, I mean Milo Yiannopoulos) idea that comes to mind:  make all websites account for how they are funded, publicly.  Maybe that sounds undoable but I could imagine setting up systems to do it.  This links back to the campaign finance reform concern back around 2005 that actually affected my substitute teaching career, as I have detailed here before (July 27, 2007). 

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