Speech is violence or something…

Via Deny Free Speech Because… from Ukulele Dave I saw that Dave Alexander was commenting on another article here. I was just going to comment on his blog, but when what I wrote grew larger than both the original article and the unique words of the response taken together, I thought it might just be better to post for a change.

First of all, define hate without including actions that you like. Odds are, you can’t. This pretty much guarantees selective enforcement. Do you really want selective enforcement by a government that you hate and accuse of being allied with the people that your article complains about? Before calling for rights to be restricted, recall that you are not in charge, and the ones who are may see whose rights need restrictions differently than you do.

Secondly, violence. What sport isn’t violent? Football? Hockey? Rugby? Boxing? Wresting? Heck, I’ve seen tennis matches and baseball games devolve into fighting words and fisticuffs. I’m sure if you look hard enough you can find a woman’s water Polo game that devolved into a full on braw. Hunting is violent. Police and military action are often violent. Government force is collective violence on behalf of us all.

We accept a certain amount of violence, rather, we cant help but to accept it. Life would be impossible and uninteresting otherwise. Socialists’ hopes aside, there is at minimum a contest in every transaction we do. We’ve been more or less trained not to argue down the price of a loaf of bread, but that doesn’t stop the competitive nature of trade. I heard someone commenting in Walmart recently that a frozen food item that cost less than 5 dollars was slightly cheaper at Harris Teeter and then she put it back. A customer dividing her trade between several vendors to keep the largest amount of her money for the same (or similar) goods. Violence! Well a contest. No blood was shed. That is more along the lines of black friday.

We more or less draw the line as a society at unjustified intentional bodily harm. If following the rules you slam into another player and he breaks a limb or looses a tooth, those are the risks of the game. We try to mitigate them, but it can’t be entirely prevented and still be interesting. I’m sure we could design protective armor the players could barely move in that would make them fairly safe, but evendors the players don’t want that. Occasional accidents are unavailable. 

Whereas, you intentionally kick a player in the kneecap or it even looks like that was your intention, that’s right out. But if you shoot someone invading your home, the facts will be carefully examined but in most cases that is still okay. Intention matters. Justification matters. That the harm is provable also matters. Just calling something violence is never enough of an argument that it should not be allowed. And while there are loons who would outlaw sports, money, self defense, even the concept of property if they could… that would just end up making the world into the gray, uninteresting world of John Lennon’s Imagine. Not only would it not work, but it would be as boring as hell.

While you can argue that speech can cause mental harm, you can never prove it. A harm you can’t prove is one that can be easily faked. Could you imagine a world where the thin claim of mental harm was enough for a law enforcement action? Incitement you can prove. When that relative of a beautific youth who charged a police car after strong arming a convenience store learned the jury didn’t convict the officer who shot him said of the city, “let’s burn this bitch down!” for instance. 

Even then, you’d have to put a lot of effort into proving it met the Brandenburg standard in court. Comparatively some of the people on the speaker’s side have directly called for physical violence and gathered specifically for that purpose. Punching a NAZI is violence, even if they are really NAZIs. And they are rarely really NAZIs. He isn’t obligated to mention this, but his complaint is lacking in believability if he doesn’t.  

Merely stoking the crowd? Not so much incitement. And in that case, it isn’t the speech that is dangerous, because a crowd you can excite already agrees with you or their disagreement is so shallow they might as well. They aren’t likely to change the things they plan to do. You’re not changing minds. And if you’re not lined up like you’re going to invade Dracula’s castle, it isn’t incitement either. Basically it’s just a lot of people confirming they agree with each other. Violence! Odds are if anyone in the crowd starts behaving violently, they have a crowdless history of doing the same.

The speaker claims that a person being hit by a car convicts the entire crowd of violence. The way violence works is the one who caused the act bears they key responsibility. If a crowd beats someone to death, the crowd is at fault. People who know about an illegal action right in front of their eyes and do nothing may have a certain amount of responsibility. If one person stabs another, the people nearby aren’t to blame even if the murder claims it was them who inspired him, so long as they couldn’t reasonably respond. The Boston bombers, for instance, certainly blamed their victims, but the victims aren’t responsible for what was in those guys’ heads . Beyond the one who did it, people who directly prevent the victim from being saved are at fault. People who move out of the way are not. There is a world of difference between a wish and an act. I’m sure any number of people wished they could take all the money in the bank, but few of them became bank robbers.

If they’re talking about yelling at someone who is not in your clique, calling them terrible things, lying about their motivations and actions, the left does the hell out of that. Have they ever watched a speech by a not at all racist right wing speaker at a university? (I’m not saying it ironically, the American right is not a racist philosophy) Of course not, otherwise they wouldn’t be arguing so hard to restrict speech. Anarchists show up, chant, scream, insult, block the crowd, try to shut off power, and generally speaking, behave like the cast of Lord of the Flies. Not that I’m saying he’d like this (or that he wouldn’t) just that the speakers generally treasure free speech and are compelling, if you’re willing to listen.

Note to the left: Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, various others. These are warnings, not guides.

And as an aside, people wearing tight fitting black cloths that cover their entire bodies and hide their identity are not the opposite of people who wear loose fitting white clothes that cover their entire bodies and hide their identity. Particularly if they enjoy singling out opponents, exposing them, tormenting them, and letting them experience collective(ist) violence. Likewise, people whose collective identity is demonstrated by choosing to relegate their personal identity to their group identity, dressing the same, gathering to force change, who use illegal violence to pressure people into doing what they want, and want to forcefully change the system of government into something more in the communist/socialist spectrum are likewise not the opposite of fascist or NAZIs as that all pretty much describes them to the letter.

Back on subject, what about the people making an argument against a group that changes people’s minds? People who make people hate other people for shallow reasons when they didn’t already? Make a better argument, dumbass. If you can’t make a better argument than a racist troll or what have you, clearly you don’t understand the reasons for your belief that they are wrong. Are you secretly worried you might one day be convinced? Because I sure as heck won’t be.

Anyway, speech is violence. Okaaay. If we’re talking violence in speech, it could only be calling on allies to take away the rights or property of others. I don’t know if the people the author is complaining about are doing that, but the author himself? He sure as heck is. What could be more clear? He literally wants to take someone else’s rights. That is basically the whole thesis. Calling to ban hate speech is calling to use the state’s power to compel, to compel people not to speak. How does the state compel people? They have exactly two means. Reward (paid from other people’s money, obtained via threat of violence) and violence. And personally? I can’t image the state rewarding people for not being a racist jackass. So while it could be argued the author’s speech itself is violence (though I don’t care to make that arguement, and only point it out because of his thesis) it is surely calling for violence and the threat of violence. What else would you call sending armed men to arrest and jail you?

In the end, we aren’t claiming that racist speech has any value. We are simply claiming that it would be impossible to formulate a law which blocks “hate” speech which doesn’t also block the most innocent and valuable of speech so long as the people on the side of enforcement decided they didn’t want it said. 

Basically once an enforcement mechanism against speech exists, any speech can become a witch, and the entire left becomes bored teenaged girls and greedy politicans. The right too, after a few incidents. We’ve all seen the twitter and Facebook anti-abuse mechanisms abused. Imagine if the power of arrest was attached? Even if you could go to court and reverse that decision, ultimately the damage would be done. The speech would be stopped, the website would be 404ed, the paper confiscated. Months or years later, when the speech was no longer valuable, what needed to be said could be said. But at that point, what is the point? 

We aren’t protecting the right of racists to their propaganda. We’re simply protecting our right to call out the crimes of a politician, to argue against restrictive and unnecessary laws, to point out flaws in other’s arguments. We’ve seen calls to arrest people who spoke out against the global warming propagandists. Such a law would be the way. And no one would know who was next. Odds are it wouldn’t happen in many cases. I’m not saying it would be the end of speech as we know it. I’m just saying that when it was abused, it would be far worse than letting a few jackasses vent. Two weeks before the election a message is prevented that damages one or the other critically. 4 years of a politician who’d never come to power if we’d known. Speech is important. Too important to trust to law.

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Mustafa Akyol via The New York Times asks, Does Religion Make People Moral?

Though the writer goes to the trouble of answering his question (it depends) I’ll offer with no. Religion doesn’t make anyone the least bit more moral, rather religion, or more particularly God, the god or gods of that religion, define what moral is. It is left to humans to behave in a moral fashion. Religion itself doesn’t make one any more moral than government health guidelines make people contentious eaters.

Also like government health guidelines, the will of god was recorded by men, so the potential to be wrong, in some cases, completely wrong, is non-zero. I’ve mentioned earlier that moral behavior can almost always be viewed as a) behavior that doesn’t shift your own needs or wants to burden society or b) behavior that relieves the burden of the rest of society. For the most part, religion is recorded from the perspective of the poor. Personally I don’t believe that heaven would lack for rich people. Though it probably lacks for the rich people who are sure they’ll get into heaven.

But, if moral behavior is behavior that benefits society at large in some way, it is also behavior where what you get back is less clear than what you give. What I’m saying is it’s easy to not see the value in moral behavior, because the level of social function won’t change with just your behavior. When it starts getting better or worse, it’s difficult to connect it with your actions. One of the basic conservative arguments for me is that society works as it is, and we know various times in the past where society worked and the values of the time. Most societies barely work or even fail. Be careful about change because you don’t know which parts are absolutely needed. This is particularly true when what you want to adopt is mainly a behavior found in non-functioning societies.

The value of having a functional society is actually very high, but for any individual, it becomes pretty easy to self-justify that with nearly everyone doing their part, I can just look out for me and mine’s interests. This corruptive notion is fairly viral.  If you see that your neighbor isn’t doing something that you’re putting a lot of effort, the pressure for you to do it also lessens. The belief that both the rewards and punishments for moral behavior are in the hereafter are generally fairly effective.. provided the person in question believes it. But, they aren’t a panacea; humans have a remarkable ability to follow the letter of the rules while absolutely ignoring the intent. Sometimes, they don’t even follow the letter, but justify it with all the other “good” things they’re doing. Usually, good discerned merely though self-evaluation.

In the case of the people the author complains about and many others, there is not that hope/fear of what awaits them in the afterlife. Certainly, a fair number of the religious hardliners could be expected to have faith in all the precepts of their religion. But, the catch is, people who feel they’re doing a lot of good for God can sometimes come to the false conclusion that they’re owed a certain number of bad things. I’m doing so much, that God would want me to have this reward. This is certainly bad, but it is God’s will. It is certainly bad, but it will lead to this good. There are variations. It even works for secular atheists. Wonder why so many of the people caught up in sex scandals lately are big-time virtue signalers?

Religion doesn’t make people moral, but religion does offer moral guidance. For the most part, God doesn’t force you to follow his will on Earth. To a certain extent, what awaits you in heaven is your own affair. That said, moral behavior has an important place among humans. After all, what happens in heaven is not for us to know, but in not all that long, our children and grandchildren will have to live in the world that we’ve created. The green movement likes to put forward the notion of a garbage planet future filled with famine and death if we aren’t careful. Honestly, the targets of their wraith are generally wrong, but the idea itself isn’t unthinkable.

A moral people would not destroy the world, but morality isn’t all that valued. In so much as the physical world can become polluted, so can the social world. More than actual trash, bad ideas have caused far more starvation in the course of the 20th century. This garbage is collecting, often spread by those who think they’re virtuous… and thus owed a few bad deeds for the greater good. People should behave morally. Religion won’t make that less likely, but in so much as people don’t value a moral society, neither can it make them moreso. Religion can’t by itself make your moral, it can only offer guidance. But honestly, people who completely ignore that guidance are likely to walk straight into hell in both the here, and the hereafter.

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Liberals will be the death of us all

From the Ace of Spades article I Believe the Children Are Our Future, and the Future Must be Stopped we learn that NBC, in their infinite wisdom, think it best to parrot the voice of people who’d commit suicide with the whole species.

Read the article, and, if you like, the linked article. I’ll wait.

Humans kill termites, termites produce methane, a more potent greenhouse gas. QED.

The Earth isn’t a being, it’s a big, slightly moist rock with some gas bound to it by gravity. That things can live in that thin pocket of gas or that thin blanket of water, the Earth doesn’t care. If the Earth was at hot as Mercury or as cold as Pluto, it literally wouldn’t care. If it was as warm as when the dinosaurs were around or there was an ice age like the dawn of human history, it especially wouldn’t care. Pretty much the only thing which could arguably be considered bad for the Earth (as an object) is falling into the Sun or similar body, or perhaps smacking into another planet. It still wouldn’t care, as it’s still just a slightly moist hunk of rock without intellect or feelings, but it would no longer be a thing someone in the universe could pick out in a police lineup, it would just be part of another thing.

Even if we had a nuclear war that wiped everything out, it wouldn’t be bad for the Earth, it would just be bad for life. In so much as life is important, I’d like to point that that Humans too, are living things. Humans are probably a thousand years away from being able to do anything, even with all of us together, that would in any meaningful way be considered bad for the Earth (as an object.)

Now, if you want to admit to the existence of God instead of trying to make the hunk of rock we live on into a pseudo-god to which you attribute your own will, we can do things which God (or if you prefer, gods, etc.) would like or dislike theoretically. But then, if we assume that pretty much any of the gods we admit to worshiping are the right one, they all pretty much put man on a pedestal. At the very least, higher than most of the animals. And, as far as it goes, my argument is that moral law means law from the God, a god, the gods. You can’t argue that being childless is moral because I can’t think of any gods that demand people not have kids. It’s usually the opposite. You might claim that it’s ethical, as ethics come from man.. but I’ve read some of the things Ethicists say and frankly arguing anything from the standpoint of ethics is a bit problematic.

So there we have it. “Science proves kids are bad for Earth. Morality suggests we stop having them.” is bullshit. People who put moral equivalency between releasing a murderer on the streets and childbirth idiots of the first order. Let’s be honest. The only hope that any of the life on this planet has on continuing more than the next billion or so years is man and the descendants of man. Elk aren’t going to ram the Earth into higher orbit as the sun expands. Nor will a bear push it. Gazelle won’t jump to mars to avoid the coming inferno. No matter how deep groundhogs burrow, there is no resisting the coming storm. If life or the Earth are to survive what otherwise can’t be survived, it’s going to be mankind, or beings that mankind gives birth to.

Now that that’s cleared up, I think I’ll have some coffee. I wonder if I should modify my coffee maker to run on coal or diesel?

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Only 3 years to save the world.

World has three years to prevent dangerous climate change, warn experts

Yeah, I’m not an expert, but well, just about everything in that article is an exageration, including the punctuation. But, well, if we must do something by 2020, might as well buy that SUV that you’ve always wanted, because outside of an asteroid strike or nuclear war, the chances our energy usage will drop is pretty much zero. Rather, it will be a terrible sign if it drops much, because energy usage is a good indicator for prosperity. Prosperity, you know, that thing that if you have enough of most people tend to think socialism sounds stupid.

Let me put it a different way. The only way we’ll be using significantly less energy in 3 or even 10 years is if the average outcome for the world’s population drops. People can die and thus use less energy, or you can make them use less energy and a significant number will die who wouldn’t have otherwise. All based on predictions they’ve made before, that have already passed without coming true. In the next 10,000 years, there might be a vast inland sea where some of the states are once again, but in the next hundred, your beachfront property is more in danger from erosion, hurricanes, and environmentalist lawmakers than rising seas.

The thing that gets me and compelled my reply is

Any delay would pose a threat to human prosperity.

Can you believe it? People who evidently have no understanding of economics have the nerve to say that. A minor change will do nothing. A larger change would be chaotic – both good and bad changes. You think a market can’t prosper in the event that some places get moister, some drier, some hotter, others colder? That is stupid. Compared to human lifespan, these changes would be glacial. Billions of humans would make decisions based on the facts on the ground. And in the end people would find a way to profit however it turns out. About the only thing too stupid to adjust to this noise are government experts.

But wanna know what IS a threat to human prosperity? An imposed plan by the government to try and reduce people’s energy consumption on a massive scale. Energy is a force multiplier of human effort. If we use less, we make less. Well, technology eventually allows us to make more with the same energy. This brings luxury to the masses. The article is basically arguing that we should willingly give up prosperity to protect our prosperity. That isn’t how it works. But, well, I did start off saying everything is an exageration. Perhaps I was wrong. Some of it is just straight up false. I won’t say they’re lies. It’s quite possible they just don’t know any better.

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Cause and Effect..

From my morning news browse I noticed this article from which I’d like to quote this bit:

“It has been widely reported that there has been more money spent on this House race than any other in American history, and the bulk of those dollars are not coming from the state of Georgia,” the moderator said to Ossoff. “Is that wrong? What are your thoughts on that?”

Ossoff responded by saying “it’s a major problem” and that “there’s far too much money in politics.”

Well, you see, Ossoff’s response is simply not true. There is not too much money in anything, because people use money in accordance with their desire. We often complain that we’re paid “too little” or that the cost of a good or service is “too much.” With what wages we get we divide up our income among all known potential purchases, buy the things that are priced lower or the same as we’re willing to pay, and don’t buy the things which cost too much. Which is to say, that while there is a lot of money in politics, it isn’t too much from the standpoint of the people putting money in politics. And while I see politicians such as Ossoff complaining about it in public, it isn’t as though they turn any of it down.

It isn’t that there is too much money in politics, as saying there is too much money in anything is just denigrating people’s preferences, then perhaps there is something else. If people are putting money “into politics,” it must be that they see value in what they’re putting in. Isn’t it that politics itself has so much power that people want to put in money to bend that power to their own set of preferences?  I mean, even if I write a thousand dollars worth of content (judged on being paid for it) on the subject of the evils of Obamacare or how great it is, wouldn’t doing something else and spending a thousand dollars getting a senator who shares my views elected be a better use of time?

Certainly the kind of people who’d want someone like Ossoff in office have made their millions elsewhere (I meant in fields other than politics, but “not in Georgia” is also correct) and spent it in a way that is most likely to accomplish what they desire. Because obviously, it doesn’t matter if the people like or hate something so long as the politicians like or hate something. And that, friends, is the problem. It isn’t that there is too much money in politics, it is that there is too much power in politics, and thus people find it a sound use for their money.

But, on the subject of people looking at things the wrong way, let me offer this as well.

Trump wants to gut a key division of the Department of Energy designed to accelerate the development of clean energy like solar and wind power.

No, he doesn’t want to gut a key division of the Department of Energy designed to accelerate the development of clean energy, he wants to gut a division designed to accelerate the deployment of clean energy. Which is to say, even if the technology is not ready, even if the technology will never be ready, they want it to be everywhere. But the justification has been more feeling than reason. Let me say this. You don’t have to entice people to make or save money. The way they’ve been accelerating the deployment of so called clean energy (because they never count the pollution contributed by manufacturing) is by making it cheaper. Not though the availability of some new technology that improves the transmission or storage of energy, but by taking our money, pulling out a little for themselves, and then giving it back to us. Look, we’re doing a good deed by giving you money that you earned and might have spent on something else. Aren’t we awesome.

People tend to look at things in a way that benefits their worldview. Not (usually) in the progressive, “everybody has their own set of facts!” way. But still, they tend to filter out the down side. For instance, the down side of money in politics is that politicians have an incentive to become even more powerful. Ultimately this is what corruption is so rampant in world politics… because the more direct the influence, the more valuable. I never claimed money in politics was a good thing, I just argued that there isn’t “too much.” Most of the incentives in politics is toward gathering power anyway. The down side of doing away with tax incentives for green energy is the people who think that it’s a good thing will be unhappy… well, okay, there isn’t really a down side there, unless any of them were voting for Trump. I can’t see that as likely.

Well, anyway, when someone is making an argument before the masses, they’re going to tend to do so in a fashion that aligns with their own interests. Ossoff’s response, which was basically, it’s a pity, but everyone is doing it so I can’t possibly stop it without doing it too! The cries of people with a vested interest in green energy about how terrible it would be for everyone if their gravy train dried up. My interests are in economic efficiency. But well, the difference is, I’ll tell you that up front.


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“We know the cause of gangs is not immigration because there are plenty of non-immigrants who are in gangs.”

Tucker Rips Open-Borders Activist: ‘You’re Impervious to Facts’

No one said that immigration was the cause of gangs, we’re only saying that a lot of gang members in this country illegally immigrated here. We’d like to prevent that, as our society already has enough thieves and murderers. Rather One is already too many. One of the consequences of being flippant about illegal immigration is that we gain a bunch of criminals that wouldn’t have been here otherwise. Generally preventing people we don’t want for whatever reason from being here is the reason we have immigration laws in the first place.

and of course

“…resist the rhetoric of criminalization coming down from Washington.”

Uh.. illegal immigration is already a crime. We aren’t criminalizing it. That was done long ago. Because we have a right to determine who will be allowed to join our society. Many of the nations we have a problem with illegal immigration from have rougher immigration laws than we do.

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Snoops and Bill Nye

There is an article here covering the question “Does Dolph Lundgren have multiple scientific degrees” due to a meme comparing Bill Nye’s background and finding it wanting.

Comparing Nye and Lundgren is also problematic. The meme appears to insinuate that Nye is not qualified to host a television show since his educational background does not match or exceed Dolph Lundgren’s.

That isn’t the problematic part, nor is it about his qualifications to host a show. Rather, it is about his qualifications to talk about scientific issues outside the context of his show. He is no more than a layman on issues he’s been invited to talk about by the media. Ultimately if his show has good science is down to his writers and advisors. If what he says while being interviewed by CNN is good science, he isn’t qualified to judge, but by using him, who is no more than a science enthusiast they make it as though he was an authority.

I seem to recall the left is angry because we no longer trust experts. The left also wheels out a mechanical engineer who hasn’t worked in his field in years as an expert. You wonder why experts aren’t trusted? This is why.

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