We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.

– Frederick Douglass

9 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Stonyground

    Thomas Paine said something very similar:

    “You will do me the justice to remember, that I have always strenuously supported the Right of every Man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.”

  • Very true.

    It is equally true to say that socialism’s enforced monopoly harms the customer, not just the rival suppliers. As socialism promises the state will suppress greedy suppliers of harmful products, maintain standards and eliminate the excess cost to the customer of profit to the capitalist, so the PC promise to suppress prejudiced advocates of hateful ideas, to purge fake news and to eliminate the harmful confusion inflicted on the public by ignorant deniers of science.

    This comparison warns us that the enemies of freedom have mutually-reinforcing beliefs, just as we do. Those who do not believe in the marketplace are already primed not to believe in the marketplace of ideas.

    Worse still, behind the eagerly-credited ideological excuse that the suppressed ‘hate’ speech is ‘hurtful’, even ‘violent’ lies a great PC willingness to harm the hearer in the sense that Frederick Douglass meant. Like any other would-be monopolist, the agenda does not want competition from rival systems of ideas. As a retailer prefers a really big markup, so the revolution’s leaders like to charge the price that suits themselves for the protection (racket) that they provide. Not all who see this truth are thereby turned from the racket.

  • Nullius in Verba

    And the long war against pornography, obscenity, deviancy, and blasphemy isn’t over either. Feminists and moralists still try to shut down and exclude sexualised depictions of the human body. Parents still try to keep their children from learning of practices and beliefs they disapprove of. The authorities are called upon to do something to prevent the preaching of radical Islam in prisons and schools, to prevent it multiplying and ‘taking over’. Films in the UK still have to go through classification, and can still be banned if they are too violent. Adverts can be banned, and taken off air.

    The spirit of Deuteronomy 13 has never gone out of fashion. The new generation have recognised the evil of society censoring dissent from its norms, but as every generation does, has conclude that it is the norms that are evil and need to be destroyed, not the censorship. So it goes.

    “The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.”

  • Lee Moore

    It’s true, but it highlights a point that is less comfortable for free speech enthusiasts.

    Freedom of speech includes freedom to listen. Freedom of speech includes freedom not to speak. Freedom to listen includes freedom not to listen. It’s that last one that is a little uncomfortable.

    While you are free to speak, you are not free to force me to listen. In many contexts, that’s no problem. Books,newspapers, TV, radio, the internet – you don’t want to listen, you dont have to.

    But one area where free speech is much beloved – demos – is more nuanced, For it is a weak demo indeed that does not force the unwilling to listen (not to mention having their occasions interefed with my a marching chanting crowd.) The only time I recall this ever being mentioned in the context of actual demos was in Northern Ireland when various Loyalists wanted to march about in Catholic areas celebrating Good King Billy and banging drums.

    So demos are a problem for the free speech family of liberties. The right to free speech and the right not to be forced to listen have to be reconclied, and it’s not easy to see how to reconcile them, without giving more power to the State than I would wish to give it. The answer, I suspect, lies somewhere in the US 1st Amendment case law distinction between content-neutral restrictions on speech, and non content neutral restrictions. This route also seems to work OK for other things like large public posters.

  • Deep Lurker

    It follows from this that there should be no duty to listen, that annoying as it can be, there is a right to cover ones ears and say “Lalalalala! I can’t HEAR you!”

    Back in the old days when the Left at least pretended to favor free speech, the answer to the Right’s complaints about displays of the lewd or icky was “If you don’t like it, you don’t have to look/listen.” Which is reasonable exactly to the extent that not looking or not listening is a reasonable option. So those who object to an invited speaker talking to an audience who signed up to listen deserve nothing but merciless mocking. But public preachings and protests that one can’t avoid are iffier; there has to be an imperfect balancing between telling the speakers to STFU and allowing them to annoy all the people who don’t want to hear them. That balance is made even more imperfect by those gaming the system to either force unwilling listeners to hear GoodThink or to prevent not-unwilling listeners from hearing BadThink.

    EDIT: It looks like Lee Moore and I raised the same point at the same time.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “there has to be an imperfect balancing between telling the speakers to STFU and allowing them to annoy all the people who don’t want to hear them”

    And do you see what it is you’re doing there?

  • Paul Marks

    This Frederick Douglas person is clearly a “right wing extremist” he is most likely against Gun Control (he was – the KKK and other Social Justice groups were working for Gun Control in the South in his life time, so hat black people could not defend themselves – black people being the “tool of northern industrial capitalists – and Jews”) and may even be a Republican!

    Governor Bilbo of Mississippi (early 20th century) did not like the memory of Frederick Douglas (long dead by then) – as Mr Douglas was an enemy of Social Justice and Progressive Government (he was a tool of northern industrial capitalists – and…. well you know the rest).

    As for Freedom of Speech – it only applies to PROGRESSIVE speech, if speech is not in accord with Social Justice, it is “Hate Speech” and must be punished.

    Virtually every modern Democrat would agree with banning “Hate Speech” – the entire council of San Antonio (the city of the Alamo!) voted that to call the Chinese Virus the Chinese Virus was “Hate Speech”.

    Democrats in the past did not believe in Freedom of Speech either – their KKK Social Justice supporters in the 1870s destroyed every newspaper in the South that stood up for things they did not like – they just burned the offices and smashed up the printing presses.

    Before the Civil War Democrat Southern State GOVERNMENTS did this job – forbidding any newspaper or public meeting that supported ideas they opposed.

    Rothbardian fools please note.

    If you do not believe me Rothbardians – then ask some really old “Rednecks” in Eastern Tennessee or in some back-of-beyond counties of Kentucky.

    These people do not vote the way you think they do – and they NEVER DID.

  • Rich Rostrom

    I note that censorship of the press is often executed by attacking readers – by criminalizing possession of forbidden texts.

  • Lord T

    A lot more than double wrong as a single eloquent speaker can convince hundreds of listeners. It is that multiplier that make a clamp down desirable.

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