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Old August 21st, 2014 #1
Sean Gruber
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,465
Sean Gruber
Default All things censorship

In another thread, this question appears

Originally Posted by The Bobster View Post
So turning off the comments wasn't censorship?
The comments section of a media website was turned off and all comments were deleted, but the website asserted (in response to criticism) that this wasn't censorship. How could it assert that?

Because it's libertarian dogma. A libertarian dogma is that speech can be wrongly curtailed only by government order. If a non-government employee, or a government employee who is off duty, craters your face with a two-by-four and shuts you up, that isn't "censorship," according to the dogma, because the force that was unleashed on you was not unleashed by government order. Therefore, it was not directed at your political freedom of speech. If that seems fishy to you, congratulations. You're sane.

Here's what's interesting. Cultural Marxists are now using this libertarian dogma relentlessly. They frequently declare these days that "the market has spoken" whenever they hound a "racist" or a "sexist" or a "cis-ist" out of his job. (See their attack on Brendan Eich.) Avowing themselves to be communists or worse, they nevertheless insta-paraphrase Murray Rothbard and Alissa Rosenbaum ("Ayn Rand"): "We are not censors. Censorship is something only government can do." Many CMs and libertarians seem to be of the same hive.

Libertarians' artificially restricted use of the term "censorship" is anti-reason. It preempts any concept of wrongful private restrictions on speech, leaving a hole in the brain where such a concept would be.

What is a wrongful private restriction on speech? The classic case is a whistleblower. The whistleblower speaks against his employer's permission, and the employer calls in the government to clobber him for breach of contract. Yet the fresh air of the whistleblower's speech uncovers crime or malfeasance. It's necessary to a functional society, and a functional business climate. (If the whistleblower is telling lies, that's wrong and is a matter of libel or slander, which should be prosecuted.) Squelching the whistleblower's speech is wrong but gets a pass because it isn't "censorship."

So when a news site--allegedly devoted to facts, truths--kills a comments section, it punts by citing or referencing the doctrine that only the government can be a censor. It perfumes its hypocrisy. We're supposed to come away feeling that the site did nothing wrong and remains professional, and respectable, and upstanding, even though it deliberately deleted facts and truths.

We could use the word "censorious" instead of "censorship," if people weren't so dumb nowadays. The two words sound too much alike for the average person to tell them apart. If you say of a husher "he's censorious," you can bet your ass Trayviss Moron will retort hotly: "He isn't a censor! Only the government can censor!" and defend said husher to the death.

To repeat, the idea that there can be wrongful restrictions on speech on private property is less and less thinkable to more and more people. So expect media to broadcast more lies (half-truths) and more truth-speakers to be blocked for violation of terms or locked up for trespassing. But don't worry--it isn't censorship!

The solution is to start one's own media, as Alex Linder did with VNN, or failing that, to try to use some term other than "censorious" or "censorship" when shaming the censorious. I like "husher." A shame campaign can be waged against "hushers." Hushers vs. truthers (let's take back the word "truther"). The chief opposition to this campaign, I guarantee you, will be libertarians. Their argument will be, Why be ashamed if you aren't using the law to tell lies? That's a crushable position.
No jews, just right

Less talk, more action

Last edited by Sean Gruber; August 21st, 2014 at 02:08 PM.


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