Comments

  • Free Speech and Twitter


    Truth cannot be established, because it has historically not been sufficiently valued, has not been protected, and rewarded, but has been betrayed and actively persecuted. And that is why I am troubling to make truth the centre of my interventions here. The philosophy of freedom without qualification which I rather suspect you are still promoting, is the political philosophy that has produced a society in which lies flow so freely that the truth cannot be discerned.

    America has valued freedom above truth, and is paying the price. Unfortunately, they have also exported their distorted values around the world. And if you cannot see the connection with the topic, I cannot think how to explain it to you any clearer.

    I’m not so sure about that. Posterity tends to work out the truth even after efforts to censor it occurs. The Roman Inquisition did all it could to silence the heliocentric theory but their truth was eventually superseded by heresy.

    That’s why any censorship used in the service of truth is really in the service of dogma. Freedom of speech is the only context in which proper trial and error can occur, and truth can finally work itself out. So if America exports mistrust in the institutions of power then so much the better, in my opinion.
  • In what sense does Santa Claus exist?


    On a close examination, would you assert that Santa alone exists as the sum total of descriptions that we have assigned to him? Such as the the man that delivers presents or exists on the North Pole with reindeer? Is Russell's theory of denoting entities really here at the gist of all Santa's descriptions?

    Assuming that everything exists, and to discover the nature of a thing we must describe what it exists as, I wager there are some extant particulars that we could gather into an aggregate and call that “Santa”. However it would never resemble how we imagined Santa to be.
  • In what sense does Santa Claus exist?


    The language regarding Santa Clause exists but he is unable to manifest beyond it. That’s the difficulty with all abstract concepts and universals. There is no referent. The word refers to other words, or to people who are not Santa. Language exists, certainly, but Santa does not.
  • Free Speech and Twitter
    Twitter has banned Ye for incitement to violence, which is the common death knell for free speech. So much for free speech absolutism.

    https://twitter.com/time/status/1598573430919544832?s=46&t=ZI09DXDb3lbX37sxfJE48g
  • Free Speech and Twitter


    Censoring someone certainly reduces his reach. That’s why it is a double evil because not only is his free speech violated but so is our right to hear it. Either way, the hatred of what Trump says and the efforts to silence him indicates that he also influences people in an opposite direction, towards committing censorship and other violations of basic human rights.

    I agree with what you say about morals. Simple morals and manners ought to be enough to refrain one from being disrespectful, mean, lying, bigotry, encouraging immoral behavior etc.. But we’ve tried developing moral behavior with coercion, censorship, ostracism and the results are nothing to be proud of.
  • Free Speech and Twitter


    It can be said he is fueling those with conspiratorial mindsets, just not causing them.

    It can be, and often is said, that people can “fuel” human activity with their expressions, but I find the analogy to be somewhat false. Personally I do not think Elon’s expressions (nor anyone’s) has the kind of force to manipulate matter and people in such ways, like oxygen fuelling a fire. People will receive the information and run with it however they will, and according to their own will and volition. That’s why he who dispenses such information cannot be blamed for how others act upon it.
  • Free Speech and Twitter


    Well, I’m sold. I can’t wait to see what he exposes.

    The researchers in your study find that “ social media usage alone appears incapable of promoting beliefs in conspiracy theories and misinformation. Rather, individuals must possess a belief system hospitable to conspiratorial information.” So it cannot be said that he is fuelling belief in false information by making such claims, at least until he explicitly asks people to believe such false information.

    People must already possess the mental framework, which we might blame on other factors such as education. As we’ve seen, however, those who declare themselves the authorities on such matters are often not that very good at it, and will censor true information from both those with and without the belief system hospitable to conspiratorial information. Such information ought not to be censored so that those who do not have that mental framework can better compete with those that do.
  • Free Speech and Twitter
    I started to look at Musk’s free speech claims on Twitter and remain sceptical (he won’t allow Alex Jones back, for example). But his new-found interest in free speech and politics promises to be quite interesting.

  • Free Speech and Twitter


    I'd also add that not all Western countries permit openly racist comments to be made. As in the example of Germany, they have very strict laws related to holocaust denying and hate speech. Obviously they are a nation that almost destroyed itself from such speech, and they have an interest in protecting against it recurring.

    The idea that some sort of censorship might have or will stop Germany from destroying itself doesn’t really work. Legal philosopher Eric Heinze calls it the “Weimar fallacy”. Weimar Germany had quite significant hate speech laws for the time and Nazis were routinely censored. The propagandist Theo Fritsch, and Streicher and Holtz of Der Sturmer, for instance, were fined and jailed frequently for their anti-Semitic publications. Maybe they weren’t censored enough, or maybe their censorship gave them a platform, but either way hate speech laws proved ineffectual on the one occasion when there was any real argument for it. It didn’t work.

    I would argue it might have even fuelled their desire for vengeance. In a debate with Otto Welles, Hitler himself cites the censorship of the Nazis as one of the reasons for the Enabling Act. In other words, they used their persecution as an excuse to persecute others.

    Chomsky has a good point about Holocaust denial. He notes that in countries where Holocaust denial is a crime, Holocaust denial is taken more seriously, whereas in the US it isn’t.

  • Free Speech and Twitter


    I don’t know anything about Elon’s intentions and am skeptical of his dedication to free speech, but Twitter is interesting in that anyone with an internet connection and an email address can secure the means to publish. So I’m not sure resources are limited in any significant regard. Since resources are not limited, at least on Twitter, publication need not be based upon standards aimed at presenting truth, as determined by Musk or whatever committee of censors.

    Free speech also entails that people have the freedom to seek out information they wish, which might explain better why your voice isn’t heard at the level of Trump’s.

    Mill’s argument was more about refusing censorship rather than elevating discourse. It ought to be refused because no one is infallible, and therefor, no one can know the whole truth; one cannot arrive to the truth of an opinion without comparing it to opposing and contradictory opinions; even if one was correct in opinion, until he compares it to an opposing opinion he knows only dogma; dogma hinders the mental growth of mankind. His arguments apply nicely to the idea that publication on Twitter should be based upon standards aimed at presenting truth.

    The Nazis were better known for Goebbels and the use of the media for propoganda. Why do you prefer the free exercise of propoganda by government actors and supporters over its regulation?

    Why is one poison preferable over the other?

    Goebbels regulated propaganda. Evidence of this was his editorial law, which basically made journalists Nazi party bureaucrats subordinate to him. The only way government actors can retain the monopoly on propaganda is through its regulation. The only way government propaganda can prevail is by silencing dissenting views. That’s why I oppose regulation.
  • Free Speech and Twitter


    Just a point of fact. No matter the political party the aims for censorship are largely similar.
  • Free Speech and Twitter


    Took a little under two hours this time.

    For what?
  • Free Speech and Twitter


    It appears that rather than “extract the good from free speech” you would prefer to extract the good from censorship. I say this because only through censorship can you eliminate the kinds of speech you do not like, and enforce the ones you do. This is far more terrifying than having to read some false or silly opinion, in my mind. You could apply those journalistic standards towards your own speech, like anyone else, and we would all be the better for witnessing “the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error”, as per Mill; but now we are on the path to denying even that.

    I like what Karl Jaspers said of censorship. He knew a little about it, having lived under a Nazi publication ban. “Censorship doesn’t make anything better. Both censorship and freedom will be abused. The question is simply: which abuse is preferable? Where’s the greater prospect? Censorship leads to both the suppression of truth and its distortion, while freedom only leads to its distortion. Suppression is absolute, but distortion can be straightened out by freedom itself.”

    Suppression is absolute, and in that sense the advocate of censorship is an absolutist. Even if we were to legislate truth and enforce truth-telling, we risk placing considerable power of the censor in undeserving hands, “whose objective isn't to seek higher truths and dispense with ignorance, but is for their own personal gain and self-promotion”. We’ve seen this recently with the growing number of state laws criminalizing fake news and “misinformation”, which have invariably been used to stifle dissent and criticism, such as in Egypt and China. With such rules we create an Official Truth, which is far more dangerous to inquiry and higher-truths. At least with free speech we have a chance to compete with such power on an even playing field.
  • The philosophy of anarchy
    It seems to me the argument that states are required in order to govern competing interests ought to apply to states themselves, but I’ve rarely seen it pushed that far.

    States have been operating in relative anarchy since their beginning, and are the only political organizations allowed to do so. At least on paper, though, states have come to adopt “international law” through voluntary consent and agreement rather than through an authority. The monopoly on violence between states is not centralized in one supreme institution.

    By extension, does statism suggest that states, like all political organizations of people, ought to be governed by some authority?
  • The philosophy of anarchy


    And if people violate those mutual obligations, or wish to be violent? What do you do with Viking marauders or pirates? Warlords, criminal gangs, serial killers, rapists? What about would-be conquerers who are raising an army? It happened in the past. Plenty of rulers conquered their way into power.

    Governments are all guilty of the exact same, I’m afraid. There is no human right they have not violated; they engage in marauding and piracy; they have and will murder people on a mass scale, more so than any warlord, gang, or serial killer, all of whom can be dealt with by any sufficiently armed group of people.

    Governments are also guilty of not protecting their citizens, whether through inadequacy or incompetence. People still murder, rob, rape, burn down forests, and many are sure to be rewarded with a cuishy punishment. Since the government claims and enforces the monopoly on violence, though, their failure adds another burden to the citizen, for he’s already been denied for so long the right and means to protect himself that he’s been left a sheep to the wolves, so to speak.

    I’m not positive a group of anarchists are any better at doling out violence and justice than a government, but it’s difficult to see how they can be any worse.
  • The philosophy of anarchy


    I wonder if the idea of a “large society” would have came into consciousness if at any time anarchism had prevailed, because it assumes a community where there really isn’t one. But after centuries of living under state rule, we’ve all come to conflate the idea of a nation or territory with society on the virtue that we are all obliged to obey the institutions that govern it, and by no other measure. In Common Sense, Paine warns of this tendency to conflate government and society in such a way, but here we are. Now we cannot imagine society without government.

    Like you said, there needs to be some ethical agreement between members of anarchist communities, and to add to that, some organized defense for it to work. That simply isn’t possible on such a grand scale. I agree on that point but in a more cynical way. Centuries of state rule have by now rendered man unable to work with each other to achieve such ends. This is because we have been pacified for far to long to conceive of and work towards these arrangements.
  • The philosophy of anarchy


    Statism also requires that everyone is on the same page in terms of ethical conduct. If anyone violates certain rules, for instance, he can be kidnapped and imprisoned. Anarchism refutes the idea that one tiny subset of the population gets to decide what that ethics is for everyone else and who gets to enforce it over any given territory.

    I’m not so sure it’s utopian, though. A consequence of ending a monopoly on violence is its dispersion, and I’m sure most anarchists are aware of that. Violence will occur; people will try to seize control; and hopefully they will be met with the force of free people.

    Perhaps a better analogy than “social contract” is in order. The arrangement is nothing like a contract or pact or agreement because no one has voluntarily agreed with it, no one can refuse the terms and conditions, and there is no way out of it. Also, no state has originated in such a way. It’s a false analogy, which is a fatal flaw. It’s more analogous to something like a protection racket. It would be interesting if a government really did pull out a social contract one day just to see if everyone was still on board. I’m sure most would sign over their freedoms and livelihoods for a little bit of safety.
  • Joe Biden (+General Biden/Harris Administration)


    The entertainment value alone is enough for me to endorse your theory. I’m into it.
  • Joe Biden (+General Biden/Harris Administration)


    Gotcha. I misread it. Biden is such a dud that removing him would be a political mistake. Perhaps they believe letting a criminal run the country is a greater risk.
  • The philosophy of anarchy


    Coercion carries with it the threat of violence. It is such that if you refuse to conform to a demand you are then subject to force in a way that results in physical assault, theft, abuse, battery, kidnapping, confinement, and so on. it’s true that many governments put less violent impositions between the threat of violence and the violence itself in order to convince one that he should comply, but the threat of violence is always there as a last resort should he not.
  • Joe Biden (+General Biden/Harris Administration)
    Looks like the GOP will be investigating various allegations against the Biden family. No doubt they’ve been taught that such is the way for an opposition party, but maybe this time such investigations will bear some fruit.

    Incoming Chairman of the House Oversight Committee James Comer announces plans to begin an investigation into President Biden and his family's business dealings when they take over the majority in the 118th Congress. Representative Comer says "Republicans have uncovered evidence of federal crimes committed by and to the benefit of members of the president's family," including "conspiracy to defrauding the United States, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, violations of the Corrupt Practices Act, violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, tax evasion, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit money laundering."

    https://www.c-span.org/video/?c5041685/house-gop-plans-investigation-president-biden-familys-business-dealings
  • The philosophy of anarchy


    I can't make any sense of that.

    Of course you can’t.
  • Torture is morally fine.


    Trail and error proves the merits and demerits of any moral principle. Slavery isn’t inherently wrong—it could have been used in a charitable way as to avoid the outright murder of one’s enemies—but it has proven itself wrong according a variety of human measures applied over a sufficient period of trial and error.
  • The philosophy of anarchy


    Well, saying “it can” also implies that “it cannot”. The point is, again, that the authority has to justify it.
  • The philosophy of anarchy


    Go on then.

    It’s the authority that has to justify it. All I know is that if I see a father stop his child from running into a busy street I’m not going to question that authority. I will question the authority of an official, though.
  • The philosophy of anarchy


    An authority must be legitimate. For instance it can be justly reasoned that a father is the legitimate authority of his child. A politician is the legitimate authority over swaths of people because those people voted him in. They believe a feudal remnant such as a voting contest is the legitimate means to select authority, and that authorities need to be selected in perpetuity. So be it; but these little games and the fact that they play them legitimizes the contestants and especially the winners as authorities. What isn’t legitimate, but criminal, is that these politicians claim authority even over those who do not vote, who do not want to participate in their charades, and who have not voluntarily agreed to participate in their hierarchy.

    Laws are legitimate and criminal for the same reason. People have bestowed politicians with the legitimate authority to make them. The man scribbling rules has no such legitimate authority.
  • Donald Trump (All General Trump Conversations Here)


    The Mueller investigation began when AG Rosenstein buckled under Democrat and media pressure after Comey’s firing.
  • Donald Trump (All General Trump Conversations Here)


    I refuse to believe everyone in the media didn’t know what “collusion” meant, and therefor what they were reporting on was true.

    Again, the Muelller report states that “collusion” is synonymous with “conspiracy”. But because the word is irrelevant to law they went with “conspiracy”. That’s the extent of the matter. They had to do that because the acting attorney general told them to investigate whether members of the Trump campaign—and perhaps Trump himself—had committed crimes by “ colluding with Russia government officials ”, which you yourself admit is not a crime. So not only was the DOJ starting a criminal investigation of the Trump campaign based on something that isn’t a crime, but they used the rubric set forth by the media, not law, to set it in motion.
  • Donald Trump (All General Trump Conversations Here)


    “Collusion” is synonymous with “conspiracy”, as explained in the Mueller report. No one from the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russians to influence the election, according to the Mueller report. There simply wasn’t any evidence for it. And despite there being no evidence, despite there being no collusion, I can’t recall any journalists coming to anywhere near the same conclusions. It was the biggest nothingburger.
  • Donald Trump (All General Trump Conversations Here)


    I wish I could call them errors. “Russian collusion” and the multi-million dollar investigations, the red scare, the lives and careers and reputations ruined by it was premised on the fake political dirt of the opposition party. One could go so far as to argue the years of this kind of reporting helped usher in the present threat of nuclear war. This is the greatest media disaster in modern history and some outlets received Pulitzer Prizes because of it. No correction, no apology, nothing.



    If my memory serves, I seem to recall that you believed Trump didn’t condemn white supremacy and neo-Nazis after Charlottesville.
  • Can we choose our thoughts? If not, does this rule out free will?


    If the agent determines all of his actions then yes he has free will.
  • Can we choose our thoughts? If not, does this rule out free will?


    Can the agent choose not to avoid those actions? If he cannot, is he acting freely?

    Yes.
  • Donald Trump (All General Trump Conversations Here)


    You hold the same standards for news as you do politicians? No wonder fake news works so well.
  • Donald Trump (All General Trump Conversations Here)


    Journalist Sharyl Attkisson has a great compendium of media mistakes, lies, and propaganda in the Trump era.

    https://sharylattkisson.com/2022/03/50-media-mistakes-in-the-trump-era-the-definitive-list/
  • Can we choose our thoughts? If not, does this rule out free will?


    But you are not isolated from your environment. You cannot think freely without breathing oxygen and you cannot walk freely without having a ground to walk on. So why is that slip on a banana peel not your free act?

    I’ve already argued that the actions we take while slipping on a banana peel are myriad, but invariably have to do with avoiding slipping. The moment a slipping action occurs, everything from our inner ear, our brain, our flesh and bone, move to avoid the act of falling and injury. Slipping, falling, colliding with the ground, and breaking one’s arm are not the “free acts” of the agent because those are the actions he is trying to avoid.

    I’m not sure why one has to be isolated from his environment for this to be the case.
  • Can we choose our thoughts? If not, does this rule out free will?


    nothing pops into the head, as if from nowhere. I think; and whatever contents could be said to be found in that act are freely generated by me and no one or nothing else.