‘Defend speech, no matter how vile’

Link: Goodbye ACLU, Hello FIRE

The sad part for us is that, unlike in the USA, where, about the law

“When it comes to the law, the law is about as good as it’s ever been. But when it comes to the culture, our argument is that it’s gotten a lot worse and that we don’t have to accept it.”

Greg Lukianoff, FIRE’s president

in Spain the law is about as bad as it’s ever been.

Misinformation About Misinformation – by Bryan Caplan

Yes, there are plenty of other reasonable complaints about the war on “misinformation.” There’s massive hypocrisy: People who attack “misinformation” often peddle it themselves. There’s thinly-veiled authoritarianism: People should only be free to express approved views. There’s the Kafkaesque pettiness of bots labelling a post “misinformation” for soliciting doubts about a controversial article. The list goes on and on.

Still, the fundamental problem with the war on misinformation is that it scapegoats misinformation for the sins of irrationality. If human being were rational, misinformation would be basically harmless. Thomas Jefferson famously said, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Similarly, I say, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have irrationality without misinformation or rationality with misinformation, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Misinformation About Misinformation – by Bryan Caplan

Or add another dilemma: tyranny without misinformation vs liberty with it.

That’s the thing

Free speech isn’t “free speech.” You know, people think of free speech as kind of like a decoration in your life. And it’s not that at all. It’s not the ability to “speak truth to power,” although it is also that. It’s not that; it’s way more than that.

Free speech is how you think. But it’s not thinking. You know, the “Word” that Genesis relies on to create the cosmos—by the way, that’s the image of God in which you’re made, male and female, which gives you that fundamental value that’s at the core of our idea of natural right—it’s not thinking. It’s speaking. And the reason for that is, first of all, you can hardly think. It’s really hard to think. You have to be trained like mad to think. You have to be able to divide yourself internally into a couple of different people, and then you have to let those people have a war in your head.

We’re playing those mind games together
Pushing the barriers planting seeds
Playing the mind guerrilla
Chanting the Mantra peace on earth
We all been playing those mind games forever
Some kinda druid dudes lifting the veil
Doing the mind guerrilla
Some call it magic the search for the grail

And that means you have to develop characters who have opinions in great detail—opinions that might be contrary to your own, and then you have to withstand the tension of letting them have it out. And you only see that thinking in great literature. You see that in Dostoevsky; he’s an absolute master of that.

So keep on playing those mind games together
Faith in the future out of the now
You just can’t beat on those mind guerrillas
Absolute elsewhere in the stones of your mind
Yeah we’re playing those mind games forever
Projecting our images in space and in time

You know, you can think a little bit. But mostly you’re biased, and you have confirmation bias, and you see things the way you see them, and you have massive blind spots, and you’re ignorant as hell. You just can’t think. But you can talk. And the thing is if you talk, other people will correct you. That’s the thing. And that’s thinking. So if you get up and you have something to say—and you say it stupidly, because of course you will, because what do you know?—then other people will tell you where you’re wrong. And then you can learn, and then everybody can think. And so what that also means is that to be free, to speak, even to tell the truth, means you have to be free to be stupid and ignorant and malevolent and bitter. Because that is who you are.

Jordan Peterson, ~ Speech to the Montreal Press Club, April 2018.

John Lennon, ~Mind Games.