So I’m an idiot sometimes, and I occasionally waste a large amount of time on social media. A good example of this is a recent row I got into with a “comedian” on Twitter, caping for the state against Count Dankula, or Markus Meechan. I support free speech absolutism, and mostly, this guy pissed me off. I spent probably three hours last night, and one this morning, doing that. I shouldn’t have. I was up late enough last night doing this that I overslept my alarm by an hour and a half.
Anyway, I said I’d stray from SocMed today, so I need to keep that promise, and write articles. I still haven’t profited from this place, and most of my days, I make zero dollars. Thanks, by the way, to the donor, last night – follow @JayRonJanis, would y’all? All that aside, time to earn a paycheck. So why does any of this matter? Well, this discussion lost me ten followers, and to hammer it home for those who still weren’t sure, I laid out in a tweet that I don’t care about numbers if freedom is at stake, saying this:
I’m a free speech absolutist.
Today, I lost ten followers for saying that people who support the state over @CountDankulaTV are statists.
Think someone should be penalized by the state for offending someone? I oppose you. And everyone else should, with me.
— Jeremiah Harding 🌐 (@InsanityIsFree) February 28, 2019
And the discussion which followed seemed too much like a writing prompt for me to resist. So here I am, writing. I’ll be using this post to respond to many of the issues brought up, in detail. There will be banner links on how to support me throughout the piece, as well, so feel free to click tose if you want to help me change zeros to ones.
So – all this started by a discussion over how free the UK is. A guy from there listed things which make the UK unfree, in a thread I was a member of. This was that tweet:
If you really want to know just look to Great Britain:
Free markets: dead
Free speech: dead
Free press: dead
Don’t let this happen over there! Resist the continual efforts to remove your freedoms.
— DogKick (@dog_kick997) February 27, 2019
So, typo aside, his point seems relatively valid. Soundness could be discussed, but it wasn’t, because trust a wannabe comedian to shit the place up. After a long conversation, wherein the “comedian” claimed logic while insulting, strawmanning, gaslighting, and making unfounded assertions while rejecting the burden of proof, it became clear he was unreachable. But that’s not really the point. The point is, after that long convo, I was down ten followers. So this is me pentupling down. Eat it, statists.
Anyway, that tweet above was inspired by that. Want to leave because I support Meechan? Go right ahead. But here’s the dire nature of the situation we face, as adequately outlined by a host of not-new information, much of which was provided in the thread. But you didn’t come to my site to see nothing but Twitter, so here’s a few things of note.
In late 2016, a 13 year old boy was struck and killed by a car while riding his bike – his name was Frankie Murphy. In late 2017, it was decided by the Crown that charges were not to be considered. Last April, Liverpool teenager Chelsea Russell was found guilty of a hate crime for having used her private Instagram account to post a tribute to him. Why? Rap lyrics from a song by Snap Dogg, including the word “nigga”. Here’s another incident…
British comedian Graham Lineham woke up to his kids telling him there was someone at the door. It was the police, after him about a tweet he issued. The “offending” tweet? “Have a look at this again and ask yourself why Parker is banned from various platforms, while Harrop isn’t. Could it be anything to do with…male privilege? Could it have anything to do with men deciding what women are and are not allowed to say?” Linehan had apparently just debated a man who doxxed people he disagreed with, and Linehan just wanted to joke about it. At least that’s what this piece says. I’m not trying to defend Graham, either. He’s the kinda person to block me even though we’ve never interacted, to my knowledge, so he’s certainly not here for rigorous debate, but still – don’t send the fuckin cops afer someone just cause they contend with you.
In a more extreme case, a woman named Kate Scottow was arrested in front of her children. She was then photographed, DNA and fingerprints taken, and forced to remain in a cell with no necessary sanitary equipment, for seven hours. She remains under investigation for an egregious digital crime, and still doesn’t have her phone or laptop back. What did she do, that warrants this level of correction? Wait for it… she used some Twitter accounts to misgender someone, said they were a “fake Lawyer”, and called them “racist, xenophobic and a crook”. So… what did the Crown label this “crime” as? A “toxic, defamatory, campaign of targeted harassment”. And she’s been served a court order saying she can’t misgender her opponent. Her opponent, who seemingly spends most of her time reporting people on Twitter, apparently declined comment. I don’t care who you are – this is some pussy shit. The pigs said “We take all reports of malicious communication seriously.” Yeah? Get a job.
And that brings me to the subject of the debate. Mark Meechan, a Scottish citizen threatened with jail time for teaching his girlfriend’s pug to do a Nazi salute for a joke. In return, he’s been slung through the mud, he has no employment prospects, many people think he’s alt-right or a Nazi (even though he was leftist then, and only a centrist libertarian now), he’s been dragged into court where they ignored context, and now he might be jailed for not paying the fine they issued. No appeals, nothing. Comply or die is the modus of the state. So with that, another piece of info you should have is that even if you don’t commit a crime, they want people to snitch.
In addition to reporting hate crime, please report non-crime hate incidents, which can include things like offensive or insulting comments, online, in person or in writing. Hate will not be tolerated in South Yorkshire. Report it and put a stop to it #HateHurtsSY pic.twitter.com/p2xf6OLoQZ
— SouthYorkshirePolice (@syptweet) September 9, 2018
So let’s be clear – speech is under assault in the UK. It’s also under assault other places, I’ll talk about later, if I get an income off this site, but the UK is what sparked this and I ain’t got all night. They want you to metre everything you say against the mere possibility that you might make someone sad. Maybe. Think anything else? Better not say that. “Oi! Got a loicense fa those words?”
Jfc it’s like snitching on a sibling when people ask the state to shut other people up.
— ☭ BERNIE-BETO 2020 💙💙💙 🌹 ☭ (@Texanarchist) February 28, 2019
Excellently put. If all this doesn’t show the grim nature of speech in the UK, a rare thing would. So let’s get into the issues brought up, starting with another joke referring to a common anti-speech trope…
SHOUTING FIRE: this again…
Maybe, but how do you feel about yelling ‘theatre’ in a crowded fire?
— omen (@omensloth) February 28, 2019
First thing I’ll say? Watch Shouting Fire: Stories From The Edge Of Free Speech. Great mini doc. Second? Anyone who seriously asks this needs therapy. When have you been to a movie, and anyone but a dumbass with too bright an unauthorized recording device, or a baby or small child came to disturb it? Seems like a delusion, based in rarity. Most people are there to watch movies. Third? Any business which wanted to could simply have TOS upon entry – whereby only those who accept any liability for damages in the case of undue disruption are allowed. Would prob also save on those who care shit into the seats, and otherwise damage the joint. But just shouting it isn’t even illegal in the US. I could even tell you to do it, with no liability. UK though? Someone could get offended you complained Starfire was black, and get a cop call. Seriously, fuck UK police. But honestly – would you seriosuly panic and start trampling people over someone shouting fire? Let me know if you’re that sort of person. I need people to tag when I make a post about managing anxiety. Anyway, that’s pretty well handled I think. So on to the last four things, all from one user…
A lot of people say they’re free speech absolutists.
What about death threats?
What about false advertising?
What if I lied and told someone that a glass of poison was a drink?
What about incessant harassment?
These violate the NAP in my opinion.
— Jason 😏 Wiese – 👟🚫🐍 (@jasonwiese55) February 28, 2019
So the first thing I want to say – as the recipient of many of these, I get it. I might be an emotionless demon, but let’s be clear, it’s pretty terrible to hear that there are people out there, who claim the authority to make a threat like this proves the world has lost “Talk Shit, Get Shot”. It’s mostly softass wannabes behind keyboards, and I’m a living testament to that – I’m still here, motherfuckers. But please take it under advisement – there are people not as nice as me, who might take your death threat as an excuse to dox you, stalk you, or even come at you IRL.
All this takes me to my main point about death threats. Most of em aren’t credible. Credibility of a threat is the primary modus of whether or not it’s aggressive, in my opinion – a small child pointing a finger at you, saying “bang, bang, I’m’a kill you” isn’t a good reason to recolor the walls with his brain. A nervous-looking dude with a piece says something like that? You’d better end it quick, or have some de-escalation jiu-jitsu and a great ground game. Because really, the words aren’t the aggression. The reasonability of intent is. Any other “violent speech” could be treated similarly. Your right to swing your fist ends at someone else blocking your ass. What happens to you after? That’s on you.
This is basically the next two questions. This also isn’t really about words. It’s about contract. If someone agreed to drink something, and you intentionally give them something else, you violate contract, even if it’s not poisonous. The other fraud can also be addressed that way. Don’t violate contract. If you do, expect demands for recuperation, and action up to and including violence. Don’t do someone dirty like that, and you’ll stay clean, for the most part.
This is more difficult to answer, because we live in a society. This society practically thrives on harrassment, from social media’s call-out and cancel culture, to tabloids, to that annoying stalker who won’t stop following you after he found out you like The Who better than The Beatles and also goes to the same gym and coffeeshop as you and oh my god is that him in the bushes?
All joking aside, calling much of the general term “harassment” an NAP violation is sketchy at best, and occasionally just untrue. Harassment is defined as “aggressive pressure or intimidation” – okay. Aggressive by the libertarian definition? Which one? I’ve had many libertarians and statists dispute the one I use, which is “violation of a rightly held boundary”, with quibbles about what violation, rightly held, and boundaries mean. Even libertarians can’t agree on terms. Shit, I thought they were gonna start arguing with my definition of “of”. If not the libertarian one, then what?
And that doesn’t even hit the mainstream. Oxford says it’s “ready or likely to attack or confront; characterized by or resulting from aggression”. What is it to confront? “Meet (someone) face to face with hostile or argumentative intent”, like Oxford says? Or is it another Oxford definition, like “pursuing one’s aims and interests forcefully, sometimes unduly so”. So someone can hit me if I argue with them or really just challenge their beliefs, or status, or something else they value? Why not just jail me, publicly shame me, take my laptop and phone, collect my vital info, fire me from my job, blackball me everywhere else, pin me down, tat a swastika and a hammer and sickle on my forehead, and publicly hang me then?
“But that’s hyperbole!” No it isn’t. It’s the logical conclusion. It’s the freedom you lose when deciding unilaterally what a word means in your mind, when it means so many things to so many other people. Might as well call Brianna Wu and Sarkeesian on me for “harassing” them by being members of the “harassment campaign” known as #Gamergate, even though I violated no rightly held boundaries when I supported it. Loose terms witch-burn. This is a slippery slope I don’t think society wants down.
But what if us libertarians had our utopia? What might harassment look like there? Well, that could be a fuckin book. Same time, I think a fair summary would be this: property owners tell you the rules on their property, and you follow, leave, or shoulder the consequences of doing neither. We aren’t there yet, though. So what do we do now? Well, we realize the common theme of my responses; this isn’t an issue issue of speech. Start from there. Case by case.
Had to throw that link in there, ’cause if we’re talking harassment as aggression, Chanty Morris has a case against me, since she deleted her Twitter after four tweets and an article.
The point of this article is to highlight that the words are never the problem. I hope I’ve elucidated that. I am a free speech absolutist, as I have made repeatedly clear. I’m just not gonna be that guy who says it “isn’t up for debate” or never explains it. As I’ve said, I don’t like dishonest, opaque people.
So here it is. Free speech uber alles. It’s our expression of our freedom to think, and without it, all other freedoms are next on the block. Will there be discomfort? Yes. Will problems arise? Yes. Deal with them as they come, with a cool, rational head, and I think you’ll find… words aren’t the problem – actions are. It’s with that realization you can unlock the rest of the conversation, and see the oppression laid bare in attempts to control speech. I’ll leave you with a Biblical sounding word of warning…
Never let them cut out your tongue, for their blade will always find a new cut to make, and you shall not be able to protest.
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