Libertarian History/Philosophy

Wired Thinks Free Speech Has Been Tried and Failed

The ancient authoritarian imperative to restrict speech shows up in a new guise.


John Perry Barlow famously declared that cyberspace, as we used to call it, was, should be, and must remain a realm of absolute intellectual freedom. It is a bitter irony that he died the same month that Wired, which for years celebrated the liberatory power of digital culture, features a terrible and terrifying cover feature deriding "The Golden Age of Free Speech."

The package's polemical point? That free speech has failed us and deserves no particular further respect in this digital, social-networked world.

Wired magazine

From the dark heart of their framing essay, Zeynep Tufekci's "It's the (Democracy-Poisoning) Golden Age of Free Speech":

The most noble old ideas about free speech simply don't compute in the age of social media. John Stuart Mill's notion that a "marketplace of ideas" will elevate the truth is flatly belied by the virality of fake news. And the famous American saying that "the best cure for bad speech is more speech"—a paraphrase of Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis—loses all its meaning when speech is at once mass but also nonpublic. How do you respond to what you cannot see? How can you cure the effects of "bad" speech with more speech when you have no means to target the same audience that received the original message?

Mill's defenses of free expression are more complicated and subtle than the notion that a marketplace of ideas "will elevate the truth." Mill argues as well in On Liberty that grappling with error is all that allows a human mind to remain intellectually active and acute, and that this is desirable in itself.

"Truth gains more even by the errors of one who, with due study and preparation, thinks for himself, than by the true opinions of those who only hold them because they do not suffer themselves to think," Mill wrote. The search for truth has a value larger than merely getting people to believe what's true.

The theory and philosophy of free expression should not be myopically focused on "the truth." Plenty of expression—some might say the most important expression—are creative fictions that do not express facts about reality, empirical or moral. We must also defend tenaciously the ability to think and express even things we do not truly think and feel and believe, for the sake of exploration and play (even though such expression can undoubtedly aggravate and anger people).

But even if you think ending up at the truth is all that matters—if you are willing to admit you believe truth spoken through broken teeth from the hobnailed boot of authority rings as sweetly as truth spoken through sincere belief earned through free investigation—Mill argued that your ability to grasp the truth of what you "believe" is weak indeed if never honed against the best arguments for opposite ideas. Humanity, he wrote, "ought to have a rational assurance that all objections have been satisfactorily answered, and how are they to be answered if that which requires to be answered is not spoken?" (Jonathan Rauch explained along Mill's lines how gay acceptance and rights were in fact furthered by the fact that people are legally allowed to spew idiotic prejudices and false beliefs about homosexuality, in his classic 2013 Atlantic article "The Case for Hate Speech.")

Tufekci doubts the value of free expression when one cannot guarantee that those striving to counter falsehoods can reach "the same audience that received the original message," a difficult or impossible task when that first communication was "nonpublic." This is supposed to be a freshly sinister aspect of the digital age. Yet never in the history of the debate over free expression was any such guarantee possible. Nor was it ever thought necessary by people who supported (or opposed!) free speech. Tufekci writes as if she is unfamiliar with, say, targeted political direct mail, which has long allowed partisans to gin up beliefs that the "other side" might not even have known existed, much less be able to counter tit-for-tat to the exact same audience. It's pure concern-trolling, holding up a phony ideal of free speech then regretfully concluding that since that can't be reached, any actual and real free speech isn't worth worrying about.

Beyond that, Tufekci offers a series of complaints about speech in the modern era. First, that false claims and faked evidence can be distributed worldwide. (She may be interested in some social science evidence downplaying the existential threat of "fake news" on the internet.) Second, that such things, or anything, might be spread by Russian bots or alt-right trolls. Third, that any information someone spreads might not go as far or to the people they hoped it would thanks to perplexing or opaque social network algorithms. Fourth, that speaking on the internet could lead trolls to harass you, either via computer messages or real-world pranking, including potentially fatal "SWATting." (Laws against actually harming people through things like SWATting need not impact speech as speech.) Fifth, that no larger authoritative body is marking what should be perceived as what, with everything just undifferentiated "content."

"Not to put too fine a point on it," Tufekci concludes, "but all of this invalidates much of what we think about free speech—conceptually, legally and ethically."

Only Good Speech is Good

For Tufekci,

freedom of speech is an important democratic value, but it's not the only one. In the liberal tradition, free speech is usually understood as a vehicle—a necessary condition for achieving certain other societal ideals: for creating a knowledgeable public; for engendering healthy, rational, and informed debate; for holding powerful people and institutions accountable; for keeping communities lively and vibrant. What we are seeing now is that when free speech is treated as an end and not a means, it is all too possible to thwart and distort everything it is supposed to deliver.

Is it true that free speech "in the liberal tradition" is merely a vehicle for greater goods, not a good in and of itself? Not really. As well explicated in an essay by Alex Daniel, "Speech Locked Up: John Locke, Liberalism, and the Regulation of Speech," Locke and many Lockeans (such as those who thought a First Amendment to the Constitution was appropriate) believed that "speech was not simply a means to arrive at the truth, but rather it was an absolute right guaranteed to citizens by virtue of their status of autonomous, individual beings living in a free society."

Freedom, blessedly, helps many people live happy, wealthy, fulfilled lives. That is why many people of authoritarian temperament tolerate it. But that sort of "objective" betterment is not the sole reason for liberty. An individual's freedom to choose how to live, what to think, and how to express it is not contingent on a mass of others deciding they are happy with the outcome. It is a matter of an inherent right to be who you are, and to express it. Our culture is suffused with powerful works of art, from 1984 to A Clockwork Orange, that work from a core understanding that something vital and irreducible to our selves and our identities as intelligent human beings is attached to being able to think and express those things we think and feel and believe; that it is a hideous evil to force someone to spout things they don't believe, to suppress who they really are through their view of the world. As human beings, our thoughts and expressions are intimately and ineluctably woven with who we are; squashing or banning or regulating them is as intimately invasive as one can be.

That said, Locke did more than merely huff and puff about rights. He strove as well for arguments that might convince even doubters that laws restricting expression were a bad idea. Notably, Locke argued against statutes barring "religious insult" on the grounds that, as the Oxford political scientist Teresa Bejan writes, "laws against uncivil speech in and around religion were essentially counterproductive."

Locke's argument in essence was, as Bejan put it, that "restrictions on 'offensive' speech encouraged an individual to act as judge in his own case concerning the degree or nature of the offense and then tempted him with the use of the civil sword in punishing the offender. A tolerant society in which different 'persuasions' existed side by side would inevitably be home to many hot tempers, bruised egos, and hurt feelings. Legal limits on religious insult would be impossible to apply impartially and would necessarily invite abuse." (In our secular age, add race/gender concerns to on-the-surface religious ones.)

Tufekci isn't worried about petty things like the human ability to be who we are, think what we think, and express it freely, to forge our identities and worldviews in freely chosen exchanges with fellow free and independent individuals. She's got big tech business practices in her sight:

But we don't have to be resigned to the status quo. Facebook is only 13 years old, Twitter 11, and even Google is but 19. At this moment in the evolution of the auto industry, there were still no seat belts, airbags, emission controls, or mandatory crumple zones. The rules and incentive structures underlying how attention and surveillance work on the internet need to change. But in fairness to Facebook and Google and Twitter, while there's a lot they could do better, the public outcry demanding that they fix all these problems is fundamentally mistaken. There are few solutions to the problems of digital discourse that don't involve huge trade-offs—and those are not choices for Mark Zuckerberg alone to make. These are deeply political decisions. In the 20th century, the US passed laws that outlawed lead in paint and gasoline, that defined how much privacy a landlord needs to give his tenants, and that determined how much a phone company can surveil its customers. We can decide how we want to handle digital surveillance, attention-­channeling, harassment, data collection, and algorithmic decision­making. We just need to start the discussion. Now.

The people to whom expression is clearly and always seen as most dangerous are dictators, who to this day from China to Venezuela to Russia try to lock people up for stating the wrong thing. No doubt Tufekci would insist that the sophistical Wired vision of how to manage the way people express themselves online will have nothing to do with squashing political dissent. But there is a reason why the American tradition has paid at least lip service to "no law." Once the principle is punctured, state power and state interests are quickest to fill the space.

Speech Restrictions Are Always Tools of Power

The most casual gloss on the history of First Amendment litigation in America should make it obvious, especially for Trump- and GOP-haters, exactly how dangerous it is to casually toss aside the principle of legal protection for free speech.

Consider, for just a handful of examples, the Supreme Court cases Gitlow v. New York (1925), involving a man arrested for publishing a revolutionary "Left-Wing Manifesto"; Whitney v. California (1927), involving a woman prosecuted for helping found a Communist Labor Party; Stromberg v. California (1931), involving prosecuting people for displaying a red flag; and Near v. Minnesota (1931), involving prosecution for issuing a newspaper the state decided was merely "malicious, scandalous, and defamatory."

The above limn what letting slip the principle of "no law" tends to mean in practice: state power deciding what people can say, how they can use their symbols, how they can criticize the powers that be, and how they can organize to affect politics.

As Bejan points out, "many academics and public intellectuals would rather rely on the inertia of strong institutional commitments to academic freedom, free expression, and civility while critiquing them into oblivion—only to complain, when we find ourselves hoist by our own petards."

It seems that the likes of Wired, though alarmed by a world of Russian bots and alt-right trolls (which one imagines, though they don't spell this out, that they blame for President Trump) manages to perceive the worlds of media and expression as so ineluctably Theirs—their sensitive, progressive, smart, techno-elite but not beholden to Facebook selves—that they can't see the disconnect between "let us manage expression through politics" and "expressive practices we don't like have handed the government over to dangerous people."

The "deeply political decisions" Tufekci wants to control expression can and will be made by people who do not necessarily share Wired's beliefs or sensitivities, and it is dangerous even on its own terms to call for making such decisions politically.

Wired's editors are sadly not pathbreaking pioneers in this illiberalism. I noted the same phenomenon in a forthcoming book review in Reason's April issue (subscribe today!). Noam Cohen, a New York Times reporter who covered the Silicon Valley scene for decades, presents as utterly uncontroversial in his new book The Know It Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball that one of the greatest sins of digital culture is it does not sufficiently squash speech he thinks deserves to be squashed.

That we must rapidly deploy the powers of state violence against people for saying certain things on the internet, or at least to stop them from saying them, is rapidly becoming conventional wisdom in certain circles, and not just stereotypical "hysterical campus Marxist" ones. What has been lost is any belief in inalienable human rights (except, apparently, not to feel aggrieved or offended by things other people think and say or to see political outcomes shaped by the "wrong" information). That loss is real and serious.

As Katherine Mangu-Ward wrote in Reason's January issue, an alarmingly large portion of American political culture would like to see the end of free speech. Reason has long noted this alarming trend toward annihilating free speech as a cultural and political imperative even in the West, from gay rights activists turning rapidly from heretics to heretic hunters, to respectable journalists scoffing at harmful "speech nuts," to Canada acting on the belief that some attempts at persuasion need to be met with violence, to prominent American press kowtowing to violent threats from Islamists.

The Enlightenment skeptics are happy to remind you that John Milton, one of the founding thinkers of free expression in the West, didn't want to extend full political freedom to Catholics. That's true, that's regrettable, and that's irrelevant to the stunning and life-saving sea change he helped generate in attitudes toward expression. The specific circumstances under which Milton did his thinking are quite relevant to Wired's vague calls for restricting, in some unknown way, how people can use the "publishing" abilities of the internet.

As explained by Vincent Blasi in his essay "Milton's Areopagitica and the Modern First Amendment," the key that makes the highly religious Milton and his debate rooted in ecclesiastical pre-emptive censorship still relevant to this modern debate is he recognized more was at stake than just reaching the truth. "The liberal case for free speech has suffered in recent years from misplaced emphasis," Blasi writes:

Contemporary critics have rightly punctured extravagant claims for expressive liberty made in the name of truth and democracy. Some of these critics, flushed with forensic success, have produced their own…schemes for regulating speech anew, this time on the side of the angels. The Areopagitica suggests, however, that one would have to "sequester out" of "this world of evil" to believe that the power to censor will ever be employed other than in a partial and vindictive spirit. It suggests also that political and social enervation—the collective weakening of aspiration, will, and taste for controversy—is the risk most to be feared from the regulation of speech. Those messages of Milton's dated polemic remain timeless.

Pre-Enlightenment, post-Enlightenment, all too many people genuinely believe that it is only OK to say and think OK things, things that "help democracy" or don't lead to "bad outcomes." The nature of what's OK changes; the overarchingly illiberal attitude remains. Wired at least helps clarify the debate by stating outright that free speech is not a good in itself, but sometimes merely a means to a desired end.

NEXT: Trump's Transit Cuts: A Good Idea That Probably Won't Get Anywhere

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  1. “The package’s polemical point? That free speech has failed us and deserves no particular further respect in this digital, social-networked world.”

    Been there. Done that.

    1. Ban Wired or just articles from Zeynep Tufekci.

      *dusts off hands*

      1. Go tufekci yourself, Tufekci.

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          This is what I do…

        2. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

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      2. Indeed. Those wanting free speech restricted should have to try it first.

        1. Come now, we have tried it in New York and we are quite happy with the results. Surely no one here would dare to defend the “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated judge in our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case? See the documentation at:

  2. They tried and failed?

    1. “They tried and died”

      please tip your waitress

      1. Everyone knows that “free speech” is a scandal and should be rescinded. Clearly no one should be allowed to go around publishing “editorials” such as this:

        We need to ramp up the criminalization process and widen it too, so we can jail these people before they cause any more trouble..

      2. I just nerdgasmed so hard, you two.

    2. Well, the socialists tried and failed to use free speech to shift the USA into a lefty utopia.

      Didn’t work but got close.

      1. It is not over yet. The socialists have tried it before and they will tried again. As long as there is freedom they will try, again and again.

        1. Luckily, they got the wind knocked out of them from election 2016. The good shellacking they will get at the polls in 2018 and 2020 should set back their nonsense for hopefully more than 5 years.

          1. If you’re using “Democrats” and “socialists” interchangeably, which you shouldn’t, the socialists will re-take the House of Representatives in 2018, and the presidency in 2020.

            1. Good joke. You have had quite a few good joke statements this month.

              1. All of its statements are jokes.

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  3. “”‘John Stuart Mill’s notion that a “marketplace of ideas” will elevate the truth is flatly belied by the virality of fake news””

    demonstrating he has zero fucking idea what Mill was actually talking about.

    1. Well, if he actually understood the things that he read (if he even read them at all) than he wouldn’t have sold his article.

      Just think, he got paid to write what is objectively incorrect towards a particular authoritarian end. Does that mean that his own article should be blocked from publication since it is quite honestly ‘fake news’?

      Of course not. The baseline assumption is that ‘fake news’ should be the only kind of news. Wag the dog, tail. Much is said between the lines.

      1. I believe they are a she.

        1. With a name like “Zeynep Tufekci” I couldn’t be sure, and I refuse to look it up.

          1. She identifies as “Tofurki”.

    2. I think it actually takes some talent to refute a deep and timeless quote from Mill with such a shallow complaint of, “yeah, but fake news!”

      Or maybe it’s an acute lack of self-awareness.

  4. It is a bitter irony that he died the same month that Wired, which for years celebrated the liberatory power of digital culture, features a terrible and terrifying cover feature deriding “The Golden Age of Free Speech.”

    I’m sure they were waiting for the word of his death to go to print.

    Tech people increasingly frighten me.

    1. Wired, former home for years of JournoList Spencer Ackerman, was never the beacon of freedom that doherty seems to think it was. There’s nothing ironic about them printing this piece.

      1. The link to your evidence is broken.

        1. Aww, poor Huey. Memory loss getting worse? Here you go.

          “In one instance, Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent urged his colleagues to deflect attention from Obama’s relationship with Wright by changing the subject. Pick one of Obama’s conservative critics, Ackerman wrote, “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares ? and call them racists.”

    2. Tech people increasingly frighten me

      Tech people worship at the altar of BigTech conglomerates like Google, Twitter, and Facebook that increasingly act like pseudo-government entities who espouse progressive talking points. It’s not surprising that they promote an anarcho-tyrannic view of human society that these corporations represent.

      1. Read anything by Scott Adams and you will see a vision of an authoritarian utopia where all decisions are made by robots, or by engineers with Asperger’s.

  5. I am betting that if Trump decided to silence Wired and ban publication, they’d be back on board with free speech quickly.

    Scratch a Progressive and you’ll ALWAYS find a Fascist.

    1. Nope, they’d be on board with their speech.

    2. I mean, think about it. Trump already HAS made veiled threats against the media, and yet this horseshit continues to proliferate from that very same media.

      1. Trump has not made as much of a threat against as the democrats did during B Clinton’s time when they demanded that the FCC make all radio have the majority of their broadcast made form local content. This was in an attempt to stop Rush’s daily broadcast at that time. Nor as bad as was done under Obama when a FNC reporter had his phone tapped and his computer taken so they could search it. But then they hit the wall and had to stop what they were doing.

      2. Which demonstrates just how dangerous he is.

    3. Donald Trump railing on about “fake news” is totally different than Wired railing on about “fake news.”

      1. And the press has to be super vigilant to nor normalize Trump…but normalizing the Kim dynasty in North Korea? That’s no biggie.

        Jeez, our First Amendment deserves way better than the shitty media we have.

        1. One could say that at least some of the press for the last week or so has been a shill for North Korea. The could not heap enough praise on the country. They even used Ivanka Trump’s name as praise of Kim’s little sister but when they use Ivanka’s name when talking about Trump is is a curse word.

  6. No one 250 years ago could have foreseen a time when someone, somewhere, could hear something bad, and none of the right people would know that and be able to correct it.

    His was especially disastrous in 2016, when the American people lost The Most Important Election Ever.

    That’s why the first amendment just doesn’t, well, work.

    1. I like that this guy seems to think HE would be the one deciding who gets to speak.

      If the “far right”, as critics like to claim, own all of the media — then wouldn’t the far right determine what can and cannot be said?

      I sure as hell wouldn’t want that. But I bet this clown double wouldn’t want that.

      1. Who is stopping the freedom of speech at colleges and university? It sure is not the conservatives!

  7. Doesn’t matter how much the left pretends to support the ideas of enlightenment, eventually they will turn on it and be indistinguishable from the right. As a left leaning tech mag, it was only a matter of time before Wired bit the hand that fed it.

    The Nolan Chart is bullshit. It’s just touchy feely authoritarianism on the left and tough love populist authoritarianism on the right, and an ever shrinking corner for libertarians up at the top.

    1. Its why the left-right spectrum seems to work the best.

      Left extreme is anarchy and socialism. Center somewhere is Libertarianism. Right in the extreme is monarchy and oligarchy. Authoritarianism and fascism can apply to both sides. The best is in the middle somewhere with maximum social liberty under a small government that is partly conservative. As you go farther to the extremes you get less and less of a good thing.

      1. Left extreme is anarchy and socialism

        Huh. Those two don’t seem to mix. I’ve never quite understood how people manage to force those two together so often.

        1. You see, young BUCS, state control of all means of production is exactly the same as no state at all.

          1. The center is best. Outward to get less freedoms. At the far left you have the least social freedoms. This is why anarchy should be left off.

            The left-right spectrum should probably be called state political spectrum as all the other political positions except anarchy require a state.

        2. There was a notion in some socialist circles that the state would fade away and through a concept called “mutual aid” a cooperative society without coercion would be formed. All you needed to do was take out the capitalist influences out of society, and this kind of utopia would bloom. The absence of the state and coercive institutions was the ‘anarchy’ part.

          1. Isn’t that basically Marxism minus the revolution?

          2. So, I’ve seen that. But they never seem to end up advocating for it. Perhaps they view that the all consuming authoritarian state is needed to remove Capitalism, but that will then concede its power to anarchy.

            Which is a pretty far fetched dream. I don’t have an issue with communes or socialism as a concept. People should be free to go out and try it. But they always seem to be incredible authoritarians when I meet them in real life.

            1. Emma Goldman kind of did. She did travel to the Soviet Union to extol the virtues of Soviet life, and then quickly became horrified at the reality and renounced the Soviets.

              But they always seem to be incredible authoritarians when I meet them in real life.

              That’s because when their vision extends beyond the tiny commune of volunteers, they discover that humans are messy, irrational creatures and in large numbers are hard to wrangle and see the purity of their vision. So some coercion starts to slip back into it… you know, just in the beginning to help get people on board.

          3. Yes, of course it was always ignored that if such a thing was true that it would have already arrived organically. But Marx was kind of an idiot, so it’s understandable from that perspective.

        3. Some people leave anarchy off that spectrum because there is a total lack of government.

          If you do, Communism would be the extreme left with socialism more to the right. These have nearly zero social freedoms, are revolutionary, and not conservative at all.

          Key point is that this spectrum is center out with the more social freedom moving right from the extreme left and less social conservatism as you move left from extreme right.

        4. They do in the na?ve belief that socialism is a natural outcome when you tear down the state. It’s nonsense, but they generally do believe that we would already be living in voluntary socialist utopia if it weren’t for corporations and their pet politicians.

      2. I’ll give you credit for at least having a consistent definition for left/right spectrum. It’s still pretty different from how most people use the terms, though, which is why I often give you shit about it.
        And I agree with others saying that you don’t quite get the anarchism part. Different flavors of anarchism have very different conceptions about how things work. Some are definitely left, many are extreme communists in essence. Then there are an-caps and even some extremely conservative anarchists (which actually makes a lot more sense than it seems at first glance).

      3. Nah, the spectrum is nonsense. The political beliefs of the two major parties (and thus the poles on the spectrum) change wildly nearly every decade. But if the spectrum DID mean anything, far-left would be communism and far-right would be anarchism.

    2. It’s why the left-right spectrum, which is what people who don’t think much tend to collapse the Nolan chart into, doesn’t make sense at all. If your spectrum goes all the way from authoritarianism on one end to authoritarianism on the other, splitting the difference will never, ever get you something that isn’t authoritarian.

      If you must have a political spectrum, use the vertical axis of the Nolan chart: one side becoming increasingly authoritarian, the other increasingly libertarian.

      1. I personally wish we’d break things down further. Different dimensions of many different issues. I’m sure you could correlate that down in many ways to the Nolan chart, but I think too much detail is lost in small dimensional political association.

        But, then again, the reason we have the left/right divide is that it’s simple and 2 groups is the minimum you need to have Us versus Them.

        1. Yeah, that’s the thing. If you’re trying to map the actual belief systems of real people as they are, you’re going to end up with less of a point on a line and more of a 4-dimensional blob.

          That’s why i’m a panarchist. I don’t give a fuck what you want to do, just leave me out of it.

          1. Also, I imagine you feel really cool when you say “Panarchist” out loud and people ask you to clarify what that is.

            1. Why? Anarchist of any flavor is still no government.

              No property rights and the tribe with the biggest army wins.

              1. You’re making some weird assumptions there, Hobbes.

                1. Please enlighten me. What is your version of anarchy, Godwin?

                  1. See, if you had any idea what was going on, you’d have called him “Rousseau”.

              2. 1. A tribe with an army is a government.
                2. You still have private property rights without government.

        2. The thing is, as a libertarian if you want things to be broken down differently than it’s sort of on you to do so. If you find a better way, and use it to good effect, it will be adopted. Right?

        3. Try a chart with these three axes–


          You get a much better picture this way.

      2. Libertarian is not the opposite of Authoritarian. Anarchy is or at least non Authoritarian is the opposite of authoritarian.

        Libertarians would be centrist. A little rule of law, democracy, and as much freedom as possible under such a system.

        Furthermore, the left is not in favor of increased freedoms and Liberty.

        1. Anarchy is the far end of the libertarian half of my theoretical construct, yes. But libertarianism isn’t a single point anywhere on the line – it’s a tendency towards increased individual liberty. “Left” and “Right” are just flavors of state, and the less important the state is, the less those flavors matter.

          1. That’s why I tend to say Libertarianism is somewhere in the center. As you know, Libertarians have some wiggle room on how much government is “small” and “limited”.

            1. Well, you obviously have a very different view of the political spectrum than I do. To me, libertarianism is minarchist. Very small state. Law courts, police, defence force. That’s it.

              That’s not centrist. Not even close.

  8. What has freedom ever done for us?

    1. All freedom has ever done is keep us in chains. We need a prison to truly set us free. Well, that’s enough Sartre for now.

      1. I try to tee up some Python, and you give me Sartre. I’m starting to sour on you, Buc-Bucs.

        1. All I ever do is hurt people. This is probably why my family won’t talk to me anymore.

          1. That, and the millstone that is your Internet history.

            1. And his single-handed effort to keep print pornography in business.

              1. I like having a simple and ecologically sound method to mark which images I’ve cranked it to already.

              2. “Hell yeah i still buy print smut. When the power goes out, who’s going to hold all the cards?”

                1. You won’t be holding cards because you will have a smut publication in one hand and something in the other hand.

                  1. Hell yeah. Another smut publication.

  9. I am not surprised the same rhetoric used to promote regulation of markets is now used to promote regulation of speech. If you can’t win against your competitors on the market, what do you do? You lobby for restrictions against your competitors.

    1. It’s a classic market failure, you see.

    2. “I am not surprised the same rhetoric used to promote regulation of markets is now used to promote regulation of speech.”

      True, and usually done under the explicit umbrella of safety. Do you want people to be hurt? No? Then obey the regulations designed to keep us all safe. Who can speak out against that? Speech? Sure, different thing, same shit.

  10. Its funny how this guy talks about Russian Bots and altright trolls as if they dont really exist when 90% of Reason posters fall into those two groups. Stop living in denial Reason these groups exist and theyre the reason Dalhmia articles have the most comments.

    1. Democracy can’t survive Russian trollz! Real 1A now, comrades!

    2. Her articles have the most derisive comments. Not the greatest quantity of comments. That is because Shikha is a tiresome, one-note hack, and her line is “support unrestricted immigration without qualification, or you are a racist and a bigot.” That is the entirety of her worldview.

      She crapped on Bobby Jindal for not being Indian enough.

      She says the same thing over and over. I got tired of her years ago. With her, Retard Suave, and Richman, H&R is unreadable some days. I had hoped that Mango would at least shitcan Retard, but no.

      1. I wouldn’t be surprised if immigration articles have the most on average. Either that or taxes.

        1. Ones that involve some kind of sexy-time panic do pretty well.

      2. Look Reason this is the altright troll you dont want to believe exist.

        1. Social Justice Power activate! Form of: super netcop.

          Trigger Warning has been here for years. You? Not so much.

          1. >Ive been here for years therefore its ok if im altright


            1. The only communist and by extension Russian here is you.

          2. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

        2. There’s no alt to my rightness!

        3. ‘Altright’
          What do you actually mean by that? Not a leftist? You seem to be using it as meaning ‘someone I don’t like.’

    3. In this comment, Joirep calls Dumbfuck Hihnsano an altright troll.

    4. Dalhmia gets a shit ton of posts because she is the most detached from reality writer at Reason. I have my handful of breaking points with libertarian orthodoxy, one of which is immigration. She espouses such an outrageous set of ideas about how she wants it to work, basically totally open borders… And then complete ignores that in her own scenario the real world outcomes would be absolutely horrific for the population of any first world country. Freedom would suffer, average incomes would suffer, the social strife from the rabid ethnic conflicts that would inevitably ensue would be mind boggling, and of course the “host” nations culture would be vastly changed if not outright destroyed.

      She either doesn’t accept that all of those painfully obvious outcomes would in fact happen… Or she does and doesn’t care? I think that most True Believes in open borders somehow just don’t think it through to its obvious conclusion. They don’t think about what an America with 200 million zero vetting immigrants would REALLY look like 20 years down the line.

      If she does accept reality, she surely doesn’t accept how anybody could conceivably be against such a shit show. You can believe in the principles of freedom of movement all you want, I get the underlying concept. But the real world impacts from enacting that vision on a 1st world country are so horrible, WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MINDS THINKS IT IS A WORTHWHILE TRADEOFF??? Pragmatism over principle on this one for me.

      1. Not caring about the consequences of a “pure” implementation of libertarian philosophy is a common habit among libertarians.

        So even if we take your characterization of Dalhmia as accurate, it hardly makes her unique.

  11. Wired and Ars Technica are both appallingly authoritarian publications. AT seems to attract a particularly illiberal brand of technophile. I never thought Wired was worth reading, though. Too simple.

    1. If you mention anything remotely off the lefty narrative on Ars, you get banned.

      They have banned about 50 versions of my handle on Ars.

      1. That’s just normal weeding. You belong here in the shit with us at Reason.

        1. I gotta see how the lefties think on the interwebs and certain Reason writers don’t post here every day.

      2. I have been banned by Wired, just because I compared climate change to a religion.

      3. I talked about The Road to Serfdom, got accused of being another Aspie Randroid, downvoted about 200 votes, and banned before I could defend myself (Ayn Rand was a shitty writer. Interesting ideas. Shitty writing). So, I feel you. The global warming threads approach Inquisition-level fervor.

        1. I think it was Julian Simon was, reportedly, when talking to a class about global warming asked if there is anything he could say that dissuade them from assuming its truth. When the class said no, he got up and said “Well, I’m not dressed for church, so I should leave”.

          I have plenty of enviros who loathe my description of the entire charade as a terrible pseudo-religion. It ceased being a pseudo-science a while ago.

          1. I like getting them to say it’s all man made. Then I ask them to explain how man created the ice age.

            1. That is the type of comment that gets you banned super quick.

              1. Yep. Nothing like inconvenient facts to make leftists spitting mad.

                1. I like it when they call me a climate change denier. I say the climate has changed much over millions of years, and that change is the only thing that is certain. The concept that climate is roughly static in a way that supports life is the lie.

                  1. Nice! Gets the lefties to foam at the mouth every time, I bet.

                    1. “”Nice! Gets the lefties to foam at the mouth every time, I bet.””

                      Every friggin time. They start name calling and guilt by association.

                2. They also get a little pissy when I say we should be good stewards of the earth and try not to affect the change in a way that extinguishes life, but income redistribution doesn’t achieve that goal. If it’s really as bad as they say and if we were serious about it, then we should stop using electricity, and plastic goods right now. Not tomorrow, or next week, but now.

                  Ends up, they are not that serious about prevent climate change as they believe it to be.

        2. Upvotes/Downvotes immediately make a forum near worthless for discussion if the rating is used to order the posts. That is, most upvotes/least downvotes at the top. All it does is lead to the most average posts bubbling to the top.

          1. Ars is funny. They downvote to “hide” the comment.

            For those who care, start up 20 new sock accounts under different IP addresses and upvote the non-lefty comments. The lefties don’t understand how it happens.

        3. As a life long tech careerist, I stay away from tech-oriented publications.

      4. If you mention anything remotely off the lefty narrative on Ars, you get banned.

        They have banned about 50 versions of my handle on Ars.

        It doesn’t even have to be off-narrative. Point out the wrong inconsistency between depiction and narrative, facts quoted vs. facts presented, or even just typos and they’ll drop the ban hammer on you.

        50 versions sounds like you weren’t even really trying.

      5. It must be really embarrassing to admit that you’ve gone through so much trouble to be somewhere that you’re clearly not wanted. How many handles have you burned through on H&R now?

        1. As I indicated, it’s not necessarily or clearly a ‘not wanted’ scenario. There are, presumably, bots doing a portion of the filtering who don’t want in any sense of the word and don’t care if your “Did you mean to say billion or million?” was malicious or not. Especially if, next refresh, the mistake is corrected and some time later your ban is lifted.

        2. Unlike you, I will stick with this one.

          Clearly Reason is pretty lax on most trolls and socks. Its the not banning people who speak their mind that attracted me here.

          I pester Ars because I noticed they actively had lefty commenters try and get non-lefty commenters kicked off. If you don’t pay their subscription they kick you off easily too.

          I just like to remind all the tools on there that they babble in a bubble that has no basis in reality. The tools took a tech site into a lefty bastion of logic fail. Shame.

        3. It must be really embarrassing to admit that you’ve gone through so much trouble to be somewhere that you’re clearly not wanted.

          Ask Tony and PB about that assumption.

      6. Yeah, I got banned after they published a quick succession of pieces about the Podesta spearphishing, Fancy Bear, etc. My comments were along the lines of: Even if they had any compelling evidence Russia influenced our election any more than we influence other elections worldwide (and any more than we allow Israel to influence our elections), that doesn’t say Hillary wasn’t just defeated because she was a lousy, corrupt candidate who ran a lousy, corrupt campaign.

        THAT’s simply not allowed. Hillary lost because of SEXISM and RUSSIA hurr durr hurr!!!

        1. Did the author come onto to the comments to tell everyone how they were banning you? Its virtue signalling in all its glory.

          Conde Nast acquired Ars Technica in 2008 and it went downhill from there. I found out from a source that Conde Nast is a sinking ship with blood in the water.

        2. That didn’t happen to me, as far as I could tell. I just couldn’t comment anymore, after I got downvoted all the way to the Earth’s core. What a bunch of spineless jellyfish.

          1. If you want to experience an “echo chamber” and I mean “hermetically sealed echo chamber” try the The Guardian comments section…

            1. I won’t even register there. Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown. The entitlement you can’t even cut through with a chainsaw. People should have their weight regulated by the government and it’s racist oppression to require dole and council-housing recipients to get jobs. Mommies should get three years of fully-paid maternity leave just for choosing to breed and school cafeterias should only serve halal meat and no GMOs. OMFG, make it stop.

              1. People should have their weight regulated by the government

                Unless the fat hogs vote for leftists, then it’s “healthy at any size, bigot!!”

              2. school cafeterias should only serve halal meat and no GMOs.

                Personally, I think schools should only offer pork products if they’re going to be feeding schoolkids breakfast and lunch. Students are Muslim or their parents are Muslim? Tough shit, feed your own damn kids and you won’t have to worry about delicious, nutritious bacon becoming their daily food staple.

    2. Ars also has given up on commenting discourse if you counter their climate change narrative, iArmy narrative, and other lefty nonsense.

    3. They are the people Hayek warned us about.

    4. Technocrats are virtually by definition autocrats, so this doesn’t surprise me.

      1. True. Mention that scientists should have to secure funding based on merit rather than be guaranteed millions in federal grants and those people lose their shit.

        Funny that all those wealthy lefty benefactors would not give scientists money for bullshit inconclusive lefty theories and they know it. They require indifferent taxpayer funds for their nonsense.

  12. At the risk of being banned again by Reason – I have to agree completely. Allow me to add that people often believe things not because they are true but because they are false. Why?? Because they are a-holes and they like annoying the intelligentsia and the ‘elites’. Thus banning their speech won’t help but will only make them double down. As France is about to discover with its new press bans. They will only seek out ‘fake news’ with increased fervor and meanwhile spark witch hunts and eventually wars.

    Free speech has been making great progress in the US as has been pointed out many times on these pages. The big exception (other than my repeated banning here of course) is the rise of BDS bans – which are now being used to cancel a Lorde concert. Of course, they will fail. Ironically it will be the socialists bearing the cross of free speech – upon which they will later be crucified. Fun times ahead.

    1. Lorde needs no censorship. Her shittiness will weed her out in time. That is why we need the marketplace of ideas.
      With choices, only the last few dickheads on earth would care about going to a Lorde concert.

      1. I thought she was alright here:

  13. Fifth, that no larger authoritative body is marking what should be perceived as what, with everything just undifferentiated “content.”

    Obviously we need a Ministry of Truth to sort these things out.

    But seriously, sends a chill down my spine without how authoritarian of a statement that is.

  14. Tufekci doubts the value of free expression when one cannot guarantee that those striving to counter falsehoods can reach “the same audience that received the original message,” a difficult or impossible task when that first communication was “nonpublic.”

    perhaps the irony here… is that the left dominates the mainstream media

    and the main reason they are so bloody furious at the counter-arguments they receive in places like YouTube, Twitter, and other marginal areas of speech-making, is that their dominance of the media *still doesn’t stamp out disagreement*

    never does it occur to them that the reason their arguments are not universally received is because they are weak arguments in the first place

    “but they’re *true*!!” they’ll howl. “Polling shows this!” (uses mendacious headline stats)

    what frustrates them is that their bad arguments fail despite near-hegemony of the media outlets. so they rush off demanding the authority to stamp out ALL counter-speech.

    1. I read that quote, and it rings so familiar with everything the left does.

      Progs are obsessed with the idea that if only you let them educate you, if only you were forced to listen to them, you’d see the light and want to pursue their agenda, because they know so much more than you do. They are degreed and refined, unlike that rabble that just go around the Internet reading and believing whatever it is they want.

      The soda taxes in NYC and Seattle: progs convinced that forcing people who consume “unhealthy” food to pay extra towards “educational” programs will stamp out “undesirable” food choices. Forced indoctrination will convince people to drink water! Forcing restaurants to include calorie counts on menus will change diets, because the only reason those ignorant knuckle-draggers are eating cheeseburgers is they don’t know any better! Fines for throwing recyclables in the trash will “educate” people in the one true path of environmentalism! Reducing road lanes and parking options will “educate” people about the benefits of public transit, not create congestion and discourage commerce. “Education” will make people love illegals, take in refugees, and build transgender bathrooms in every school in America!

      Hell hath no fury like a prog after you hear their bullshit and you’re still on the “nope” track. It’s inconceivable to them that you can be “educated” and still not interested in playing their game.

      1. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

        ? C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

      2. “” if only you let them educate you, if only you were forced to listen to them, you’d see the light””

        And if you don’t, well – too bad! they’ll just make you comply at the point of some federal-gun.

        its always the same thing: “we need more power to control you for your own good.”

        Its not simply greed for power’s sake! No, no. they have good intentions. Really! Also, polls show that they’re always right.

    2. “perhaps the irony here… is that the left dominates the mainstream media”

      The article is about the Internet and how it differs from mainstream media. You might find it interesting.

  15. The dark cloud of fascism is forever descending upon Republicans but always turns out to be composed of liberals, leftists and Democrats (but I repeat myself).

  16. As hideous as Wired’s thesis is, at least it’s not the lame argument of the But Brigade: “I’m all for free speech, but …”

    1. “As hideous as Wired’s thesis is,”

      But speech on the Internet is not free, but filtered by outfits like Facebook, Google, ISPs, and the various governments they cooperate with.

  17. Where shall we begin with our censorship?

    1. Should we censor rap or country?
      How about the internet or TV?

      I’ll bet a government worker can figure it out.

    2. Rose McGowan and the #MeToo hags seem like a decent start. Or, really, anybody that starts to sound like this.

    3. “Where shall we begin with our censorship?”

      Filtering is censoring.

  18. Tufekci no doubt expects to be one of the commissars of The Ministry Of Truth.

  19. No intelligence required to make a little money being a commentator.

    “Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?
    ?.For who knows not that truth is strong, next to the Almighty; she needs no
    policies, nor stratagems, nor licensings to make her victorious”.
    ?.”For this is not the liberty which we can hope, that no grievance ever should
    arise in the Commonwealth: that let no man in this world expect; but when
    complaints are freely heard, deeply considered and speedily referred, then is
    the utmost bound of civil liberty attained that wise men look for.”
    ?Her confuting is the best and surest suppressing.”

  20. Both CNN and WaPo are undermining the free press. CNN’s latest commercial shows a banana peel and intones, “Someone will get hurt.” Thus, an implicit call for government intervention. WaPo is pushing regulation of the press to prevent Russian meddling.

    Not exactly surprising, of course, to see established media outlets pushing for the censorship of the less powerful. This is standard in any industry. If the dems take over in the midterms then it will be harder to oppose this.

    1. All of them support some kind of licensing scheme where only people approved by the government are allowed to speak or be a part of the media.

    2. THE WASHINGTON POST on Thursday night promoted the claims of a new, shadowy organization that smears dozens of U.S. news sites that are critical of U.S. foreign policy as being “routine peddlers of Russian propaganda.” The article by reporter Craig Timberg ? headlined “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say” ? cites a report by an anonymous website calling itself PropOrNot, which claims that millions of Americans have been deceived this year in a massive Russian “misinformation campaign.”

      Jesus fucking christ. Glenn Greenwald– the last decent journalist alive?

      1. shadowy organization
        “Russian propaganda
        anonymous website
        “misinformation campaign.”

        And they call out other peoples’ conspiracy theories.

      2. I read that Greenwald piece. PropOrNot was basically a junior-high-level slam book to which the MSM bafflingly gave instant credibility. Basically any press outlet, blog, radio show, etc. that had said anything remotely critical of Hillary over the life of her campaign wound up on their blacklist as being not merely Russia-tolerant, but being an actual tool of the Russian state. It was some next-level McCarthyist glurge.

        While the MSM has backed off relying solely on PropOrNot, they still do say completely baseless shit about anybody who isn’t one of them. RT, for example, will be forever unclean according to outlets like NYT and WaPo, because it is Russian-government funded. The English-language RT has pretty decent news and evidence-based commentary from time to time, and its critiques seem freer than those of the U.S.-based MSM. RT must pay, though, because they spent most of 2015-2016 ridiculing the bald-faced corruption, entitlement, and deck-stacking of the Dem campaign. So no media conglomerate in the U.S. is allowed to mention “RT” without prepending it with “Russian propaganda outlet” or “Russian state-owned media property”.

        1. I don’t have any problem with criticism of RT, or pointing out that’s funded by the Russian government. Any media outlet that gets funding from a state entity should be held under a spotlight because of it. And yes, that includes PBS and NPR.

          What’s interesting is RT has come under scrutiny from American media outlets as being an arm of the russian government, while literally– at the same time– calling for media outlets that are basically arms of the domestic government.

          Those on the left have become very right wing in this regard. They believe to battle propaganda, you need more state-funded propaganda.

          They really are convinced that they’ll always be in charge.

          1. I think my problem with the critique is not so much that U.S. media is so eager to point out that RT is state media so much as the emphasis on “it’s RUSSIAN state media.” The aim–and they’re scarily successful at it now–is that Russia must be made into a bogeyman to justify authoritarian next steps. And yes, one of those next steps the left has called for, because their irony meter apparently melted down already, is a U.S. state-owned media. Other steps appear to be tracking who pays for political ads so the state can presumably ban ads paid for by the “wrong” people. Or filtering out social media traffic from “wrongthink” sources at the host level.

  21. The assumption behind all of this sort of nonsense is that the speaker knows the truth and conveniently anyone with whom the speaker disagrees is speaking lies. In an environment of free speech, everyone gets a say in what is the “truth” and the process of collective wisdom and trial and error determine what is true insofar as there is a definitive answer to the question. In an environment of restricted speech, whoever has the power of the gun determines what is “true” with everyone else expected to fall in line reality or wisdom be damned.

    Whenever some half-wit like this guy demands speech be restricted, they are just saying “I want the government to put a gun to the head of anyone who disagrees with me and tell them to shut up or else”. That is really all there is to it. Despite their protestations otherwise, it is never about truth or wisdom or anything except “shut up if you don’t agree with everything I say.” It is pathetic. And if it wasn’t so dangerous would be funny.

    1. what is the “truth” and the process of collective wisdom and trial and error determine what is true insofar as there is a definitive answer to the question.

      I think what Wired (and so many other media outlets are arguing) is that there is a “market failure” in speech, and the wrong ideas are winning out.

      In an environment of restricted speech, whoever has the power of the gun determines what is “true” with everyone else expected to fall in line reality or wisdom be damned.

      No no, it will be a five member commission appointed by the executive– and they’ll be above politics.

  22. The theory and philosophy of free expression should not be myopically focused on “the truth.”

    It isn’t anyway. You can tell that much of modern society, or at least some aspects of it, believe whole heartedly in post-modernism and reject things like the scientific method or empiricism. They are not interested in the ‘The Truth’ they are interested in creating ‘A Truth’ via the audacity of the ‘Big Lie’.

    This is the reason why free speech must be quashed and limited year after year. It’s because it enables some appreciable portion of the populace to go with some other truth rather than ‘The State’s Truth’. It doesn’t even really matter what truth those people find, the point is that they didn’t go with ‘The State’s Truth’.

    And yes, you can doubt ‘The State’s Truth’ but without Free Speech and the notions that go along with it it becomes impossible to refute the big lie and puts the burden on individuals to either believe or not believe based upon a truth-free narrative. It’s understood that most will accept the truth-free narrative as good enough to base a belief upon, but that way lies madness.

    1. I think it was Orwell who said that the point of totalitarian governments telling lies is not to get their people to believe the lies. To the contrary, the people not believing the lies is the entire point. Totalitarian governments tell lies and force their people to repeat those lies as a way of humiliating them and forcing the people to affirm their submission to the government. The bigger and more outrageous the lie, the more humiliating it is for people to have to tell it and the better for the government.

      1. Once you kill things like empiricism society descends back to where our betters wish it had stayed: a feudal society of wise and beneficent rulers and unthinking peasants that unquestioningly support them.

        It’s my main takeaway since the only rational reason I can think of to attack the enlightenment and it’s values is to destroy the end results of those ideas.

        Certainly it was a simpler society, and it seems some people prefer a simple life unburdened by autonomy.

      2. I think it was Orwell who said that the point of totalitarian governments telling lies is not to get their people to believe the lies. To the contrary, the people not believing the lies is the entire point. Totalitarian governments tell lies and force their people to repeat those lies as a way of humiliating them and forcing the people to affirm their submission to the government

        You’re probably thinking of Theodore Dalrymple, who said this in comparing communist societies and political correctness.

    2. They are not interested in the ‘The Truth’

      Oh for fuck sake, there is no ‘The Truth’. At best, there is ‘What we believe to be The Truth given current evidence’. Even the scientific method allows for someone to prove you wrong.

      1. You misunderstand. I mean that they are uninterested in the search for any truth. They are interested in control under the guise of ‘Truth’.

        I put quotation marks around truth because that is what they call it, but that isn’t what it actually is.

  23. Consider, for just a handful of examples, the Supreme Court cases Gitlow v. New York (1925), involving a man arrested for publishing a revolutionary “Left-Wing Manifesto”; Whitney v. California (1927), involving a woman prosecuted for helping found a Communist Labor Party; Stromberg v. California (1931), involving prosecuting people for displaying a red flag; and Near v. Minnesota (1931), involving prosecution for issuing a newspaper the state decided was merely “malicious, scandalous, and defamatory.”

    There is an irony here in these examples–that each is being used to defend the idea of free expression even though the philosophy espoused by all sought to quash free expression in favor of approved revolutionary speech.

    Our commitment to free speech is so total that we support and defend those whose sole purpose is our own destruction. This is why imbeciles and wannabe tyrants opine freely about destroying free expression, why they are gaining traction.

    Because we are committed to never defending the idea that freedom of expression is a value greater than itself in cases where the expression is about destroying expression.

    We should never have allowed leftist thought to be anything more that the ravings of idiots, the endless butt of the joke that is their ideology.

    We failed.

    And now we must fight, again, that the Tree of Liberty survive.

    Should we fail, darkness will fall.

    1. I support free speech without any exceptions… Mainly because I know we have truth and logic on our side. I think the left knows they don’t, which is why they do want to censor speech.

      But some other issues, it is just suicidal to take the high road when it means your utter destruction.

    2. We should never have allowed […]

      I’m curious what mechanism you (think you) have that would enable you to disallow thought that wasn’t itself a violation of Freedom of Speech.

  24. as BuzzFeed’s Sheera Frenkel noted, “a lot of reporters passed on this story.”

    If Buzzfeed passes on the story, you better knuckle the fuck up before you go to print.

  25. One other thing this moron seems to have missed while reading Mill is his warning about assumption of infallibility. Clearly this dipshit is concerned that she knows the actual truth and might not be able to correct people who don’t.

    It’s really fucking frustrating when people read the words and clearly fail to understand them.

  26. Worst system going. Except for all the others.

    Free speech is alive and well. It’s Wired that’s dead.

    1. They’re the Rolling Stone of tech-oriented publications.

  27. Who edited Doherty? This post is a atypically coherent.

  28. I could rant about how stupid this is, but instead I’ll post H.L. Mencken quotes:

    It would surprise no impartial observer if the motto “In God we trust” were one day expunged from the coins of the republic by the Junkers at Washington, and the far more appropriate word, “verboten,” substituted. Nor would it astound any save the most romantic if, at the same time, the goddess of liberty were taken off the silver dollars to make room for a bas-relief of a policeman in a spiked helmet.

    How does so much [false news] get into the American newspapers, even the good ones? Is it because journalists, as a class, are habitual liars, and prefer what is not true to what is true? I don’t think it is. Rather, it is because journalists are, in the main, extremely stupid, sentimental and credulous fellows — because nothing is easier than to fool them — because the majority of them lack the sharp intelligence that the proper discharge of their duties demands.

    The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are.

    1. “the majority of them lack the sharp intelligence that the proper discharge of their duties demands.”

      I like it! LOL

  29. “We can decide how we want to handle digital surveillance, attention-?channeling, harassment, data collection, and algorithmic decision?making. We just need to start the discussion. Now.”

    We did, almost 230 years ago, and we decided. Maybe you just weren’t paying attention in school.

    1. JFC, that whole paragraph.

      But in fairness to Facebook and Google and Twitter, while there’s a lot they could do better, the public outcry demanding that they fix all these problems is fundamentally mistaken. There are few solutions to the problems of digital discourse that don’t involve huge trade-offs?and those are not choices for Mark Zuckerberg alone to make. These are deeply political decisions.

      “public outcry” = a minority of progsbutthurt about losing an election they assumed was in the bag (ironically, based on their own lies) blamed social media.

      “political decisions” = it’s time to have the State force leftist expression and purge all other ideas, at gunpoint.

  30. If people are so fucking dumb that they can’t be trusted to be exposed to wrong ideas, then we are fucked anyway, so we might as well say whatever we want.

  31. i’m just happy that they didn’t let Soave respond to the piece.

    “To be sure, Tufekci makes many valid points. But would we really want a world in which Wired could be potentially censored by someone like Fascist Trump? Makes you think.”

  32. It’s so goddammed simple:

    If you don’t allow free speech, who chooses the censors?

    Fucking moron.

  33. I also like the argument that if speech is restricted, then all that is left is violence. Especially when the public discourse is so polarized as it is now, it’s really important to let people fight it out in the arena of speech rather than actually coming to blows in the streets, or worse.
    There is a segment of the extreme left that clearly would prefer violence to speech. Some on the far/alt-right too, but they are mostly just mirror versions of the extreme leftists.

    1. Restricting speech *requires* violence. Government itself is predicated upon a monopoly on violence.

      1. Yes, yes, I am quite aware that all government action requires violence. And I have all kinds of ideas on that subject. I’m talking about violence among parties that are not government.

    2. If the left ever gets their way, and it comes to violence… They’re going to regret it quickly. The left is a bunch of pussies for the most part. The right is where most military veterans, police, rednecks, middle class gettin’ shit handled people, and generally non effeminate men are found. The left has fat blue haired chicks, gay dudes (not all of whom are wimps, but lets be honest…), and a bunch of other useless pussies. Black dudes are probably the only strong Democrat cohort that isn’t a bunch of pussies, but they mostly don’t have any real training in combat.

      How many guns do right leaners own versus left? 2 to 1? 5 to 1? It’s a hell of a lot more whatever the exact number is.

      The left is fucked if/when it comes to blows. I’m amazed they don’t understand this.

  34. Anyone who’s worried about fake news has never heard gossip, whether office, small town, or at Thanksgiving.

  35. the USA is NOT a democracy

    Republic, Republic, REPUBLIC!
    Much more than just a Democracy.. We The People in our U.S. Constitution; the most basic fact of civics, that these united States of America are a republic, a form of government guaranteed by We The People to each of the States in Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution.
    I’m talking about most of our presidents, members of Congress, university professors, journalists and others who should know better. Like most adults trained in government schools, they believe that Abe Lincoln was our greatest president, a preposterous ‘fact’ of propaganda on which Washington D.C. has relied for 150 years. In this previous blog article, we offered six books and one website that put that destructive lie to rest once and for all.

    1. Nobody means “pure, absolute democracy” when they say “democracy”. They mean people get to vote for representatives in government.

      1. I still always call it a Republic, and will often correct people who say Democracy. Maybe for regular people in casual conversation it is okay, but journalists should NEVER call us a democracy, because it’s incorrect. Nor should anybody else in any serious situation.

        1. Amen

  36. Only Good Speech is Good
    Joseph Stalin agrees.

    1. But still has you shot.

  37. Everyone needs to realize that globally, the US is a complete outlier with our First Amendment. No other nation on the planet explicitly recognizes a pre-existent natural right to freedom of expression and many, Americans and non-Americans, devoutly wish we be brought to heal for this outrage…. which brings us to the Second Amendment.

  38. knocking down the building block of Freedom, Liberty and the US Constitution

    is evil

  39. Excellent article. Reason doing its job.

    Wired (and worse, Ars Technica) is a sickening example of the New Left. Their agenda is clearly spelled out in almost every article. The “culture” articles are really political screeds. Anti-market, pro-regulation. Reactionary in the extreme, as if their view has a God-given right to prevail and how dare anyone differ; the same mentality that has been on florid display since Clinton’s election defeat.

    But they’re not a fringe publication. They are the propaganda wing of the modern college faculty; they are the Ministry of Truth, and they’ll pay lip service to freedom of speech right up until they nationalise the last printing press. Or until they turn the last network into a public utility under the guise of Net Neutrality.

    1. Wired (and worse, Ars Technica) is a sickening example of the New Left.

      Their bobbleheads tend to migrate over here whenever a Net Neutrality article is published.

  40. Gresham’s Law: bad speech drives out the good.

    1. Speech isn’t allegorical to money, as the value of its content is not concealed upon use.

      1. analogous, even. How do you know the value of its content? These algorithms are not public knowledge.

    2. “Gresham’s Law: bad speech drives out the good.”

      If that were true, you pathetic piece of shit, you’d be the only one posting here.

      1. It’s not true. Gresham’s law is about money.

  41. Big Brother Now!

    1. Read the fucking article Now!

  42. Alright, these people must be reading Jonah Goldberg’s book on how Liberalism is fascism and thinking, ‘ya know, I’m gonna do what I can to prove him right.’

  43. I certainly don’t agree with Tufekci that new technology justifies censorship, but at the same time don’t think you’ve really rebutted her argument.

    Social media really has presented new problems that old aphorisms like “more speech solves bad speech” don’t apply to. Even targeted direct mail was never anywhere near as targeted as Facebook ads — it was basically based on very vague information such as magazine subscriptions and political donor lists. It was also far more expensive per pair of eyes engaged, and had to compete with many other more compelling and more public information sources such as radio, TV, and newspapers. Sure, there were some recluses out in the woods who trusted the Ron Paul Survival Report as gospel and would never think of reading the NYT or watching CNN, but they were the exception. Whereas there are many people now who live much of their lives on Facebook and Twitter.

    1. Is it true that free speech “in the liberal tradition” is merely a vehicle for greater goods, not a good in and of itself? Not really.

      The “liberal tradition” does not begin and end with dogmatic Lockean idealism. Utilitarianism, consequentialism, and empiricism were equal partners in the Enlightenment. What does a natural rights aficionado like you do when the statist you’re arguing with just says they don’t believe in natural rights and don’t give a rat’s ass about Locke’s feebly-reasoned opinions? Without the consequentialist libertarian approach, which you spit on at every opportunity, you’re up a creek without a paddle.

      The bottom line? Restriction on a disliked form of speech (hate speech, fake news, microaggression, etc) will be quickly marshalled by the restrictor (govt or corporate) to suppress other speech as well. The Tufekcis of the world have to decide whether that risk (hardly a risk but a certainty) is worth taking in order to clamp down on “fake news”.

  44. 1. All news is fake news. As someone who has often been working at the scene of airplane crashes, floods, earthquakes, riots, automobile crashes, and other disasters, I assure you the press never finds the truth. Media today is in such a rush to report that taking the time to find facts is impossible due to the competitive nature of media. If reports and photos aren’t posted within minutes or hours they become obsolete and worthless. Historically, the news media has been even worse. We seem to forget that Yellow Journalism was created by media titans like Pulitzer and Hearst, who build media empires based on fake news.

    2. The claim that there is no way to rebut false news and reach the same audience has always been true. In 1895 Hearst once instructed one of his reporters in Cuba “”Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.” The war came, partly as a result of Hearst’s fake news. It seems to me that the author in Wired simply does not like the speech she hears today. Apparently she is as naive about political speech, since not being able to rebut a false statement is exactly how politics often works. There is no media today, including Wired, that does not fit into the past definition of Yellow Journalism.

  45. As pointed out by others, obviously the “establishment” doesn’t like free speech because their arguments can’t stand up to competing thoughts and ideas. They know this, so censorship is the only path to salvation. They have been freaking out ever since they lost control of the narrative. I’d say it’s mostly the left, but the right establishment has also lost a lot of power and control, see President Trump.

    There are many bits of information finally working their way into the consciousness that are HERESY to both sides of the establishment, and they literally don’t know what to do other than shut it all down. The left is the most delusional and their ideology is counter to facts/logic, so has the most to lose the easiest, but the mainstream right has much to lose as well as they believe in plenty of “big lies” themselves… And even orthodox libertarians frankly need to have some of their incorrect notions corrected a bit by some inconvenient facts.

    All of this is for the best. Even painful transitions, truths that hurt, still deserve to come out. Building upon lies is no way to operate a society.

  46. People wonder why I fucking have no use for Millennials, wouldn’t surprise me if the author is Millennial. I never met a more sour, puritan, and control freak bunch, there isn’t a freedom they don’t hate. Fuck them, I wish I could go back and abort all of them.

    1. They are the new Puritans.

      Prohibition, for example, began with seemingly “benign” intentions. Alcoholism was rampant, especially amongst men, and the groups that actually spearheaded prohibition were an alliance of Protestants and women’s groups. They openly wanted to control others’ access to alcohol for varied reasons, but it always led back to some political end.

      The “New Left”, for lack of a better term, are in fact, the new Puritans, not the Christian Right. While both have authoritarian impulses, the modern left is now attacking a core pillar of open, free society and wrapping it in a benign, “it’s good for everyone” package. Just like prohibition.

  47. Wired Magazine and the author of the piece should receive countless articles on just how contemptible their piece is in regard to an open, free society and the U.S. Constitution.

  48. Their authoritarian overtones are condescendingly painted as benign, roundly ignoring the fact that their “litmus test” of sorts for acceptable speech is completely arbitrary.

  49. Tufekci and the entire staff of Conde’ Nast are welcome to take a one-way trip to Turkey, where their anti-free speech ideas will be warmly embraced.

  50. This is far too long and well written a response to an article that doesn’t merit much more than a roll of the eyes were it not written by someone with some level of influence.

    “Hey guys, let’s let the government regulate speech and public debate!”

    I faintly wish I were subscribed to Wired just so I could unsubscribe over this vile propaganda piece

    1. “Hey guys, let’s let the government regulate speech and public debate!”

      The government and private outfits are already regulating speech on the Internet. Surveillance is another thing they do.

  51. At this time, I will use my freedom of speech to invite Tufekci to go fuck itself with a sandpaper dildo.


    1. Will it be wet/dry sandpaper so they can use lube???

  52. I am all for enabling Tufekci to ban speech as long as she is willing to allow me to be the one who chooses which and who’s speech gets banned.

  53. If we can’t express our disagreements with words, we shall express them with woodchippers.

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