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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

XKCD fixed: free speech

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160 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous January 20, 2015 2:08 PM  

the original:

link

Anonymous Donn January 20, 2015 2:12 PM  

Interesting original. We support your right to free speech as long as it agrees with us. F-you if it doesn't. This is why I read Vox thought provoking ideas and people.

Blogger Owen January 20, 2015 2:13 PM  

This stems from the belief that the government is the source of rights, and not God.

Thus, "rights" are always centered on or related to government and not provided to us by our Creator.

Blogger Owen January 20, 2015 2:14 PM  

That is, if the US Constitution didn't exist, I'd still have the rights to free speech, association, religion, bear arms, etc.

Blogger jaericho January 20, 2015 2:16 PM  

No img title=""?

Blogger JG January 20, 2015 2:16 PM  

Got bored with XKCD awhile ago, but the original version of this left a bad taste in my mouth.

Blogger JG January 20, 2015 2:21 PM  

And correct me if I'm wrong, but I took it that the original was in relation to the Brendan Eich / Mozilla debacle. Eich stepped down 4-3-2014, the original strip was 4-18-2014.

Anonymous kh123 January 20, 2015 2:24 PM  

A stick figure stamping on a human face, forever.

Is it any wonder that the pinnacle of progress and equality reverts back to tribalism and caveman drawings.

OpenID malcolmthecynic January 20, 2015 2:26 PM  

To progressives, freedom of speech or expression extends to disruptive behavior but not to certain ideas. I think it is fair to say that for most of us who identify as conservative the acceptable limits would be the exact opposite of this. We would say that no concept should be excluded from free discussion without being given a hearing but that expression in the form of behavior that disrupts other people and prevents them from speaking or hearing should not be tolerated.

(Taken from here: http://whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2015/01/conservatives_free_speech_and.html#comment-297542)

Anonymous A.B. Prosper January 20, 2015 2:30 PM  

There are no rights, power is truth. Its ugly but its at least its honest.based in facts.

And if you want to add in religious ideas, remember God (or Gods for Heathens) are mightier than you.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 20, 2015 2:35 PM  

Got bored with XKCD awhile ago, but the original version of this left a bad taste in my mouth.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but I took it that the original was in relation to the Brendan Eich / Mozilla debacle. Eich stepped down 4-3-2014, the original strip was 4-18-2014.


It all depends on context. I've been involved plenty with folks who screech that their free speech was being violated because they were being moderated on an internet discussion, or something equally inane. Same thing for flag burners and other protesters who go out of their way to offend people.

The original version got an approving nod from me.

And the whole Brandon Eich affair was offensive, sure. But casting it as a case of free speech cheapens it by adding an element of dishonesty to those who are offended.

Blogger S1AL January 20, 2015 2:38 PM  

@JG - if memory serves, it was directed at the duck dynasty fiasco

Anonymous Trimegistus January 20, 2015 2:48 PM  

In other words, blacklists are perfectly okay as long as the Right People get to decide who's on them.

Anonymous Ricky Dont Lose That Number January 20, 2015 2:49 PM  

Is this a comment on how that rabbit thinks things are or is a statement of what he believes? I never have liked that comic.

Anonymous Daniel January 20, 2015 2:59 PM  

And the whole Brandon Eich affair was offensive, sure. But casting it as a case of free speech cheapens it

How exactly does it do that? Because he never actually said anything offensive, it wasn't a free speech issue? Please clarify what you mean.

Blogger Booch Paradise January 20, 2015 3:03 PM  

@Trimegistus
To say that an action doesn't violate free speech isn't the same as saying it's ethical.

@Daniel
To cast it as a free speech issue is to put the right to free speech at odds with personal property rights.

Anonymous Roundtine January 20, 2015 3:06 PM  

Everything you personally do to remove "speech" from your life is fine. Change the channel, boycott, etc. When you proactively seek out to silence others from speaking to anyone, it is against the spirit of free speech.

A codicil is for people who want to end free speech or oppose your rights. Different game, different rules.

Blogger wrf3 January 20, 2015 3:09 PM  

kh123 wrote: Is it any wonder that the pinnacle of progress and equality reverts back to tribalism and caveman drawings.

All of Munroe's comics are like this. He's a physicist (hence this recent comic), not an artist.

Having said that, I don't know where Vox got this version of the comic. The original is here.

Anonymous Daniel January 20, 2015 3:26 PM  

To cast it as a free speech issue is to put the right to free speech at odds with personal property rights.

No, that's a false dichotomy. Just because it was wrong to terminate a corporate leader for his personally held opinions doesn't mean that Firefox wasn't within its property rights to do so. They had a right to hire or fire anyone they want to, for any and every reason or no reason. However, because they fired (or he stepped down, whatever it was) him publically for the cause of his personal political support, they went out of their way to make free speech a part of the campaign. They freely caved to the SJW who wanted him gone on free speech grounds. They identified with the anti-free speechists. They (well within their property rights) set fire to their own fields, and salted them with free speechicide.

It isn't about a conflict of rights. It is about "what is right?" And if you use your property rights to specifically target, isolate, and erode the concept of free speech (as the stick figure does) then when the violence comes, it becomes very hard to distinguish the terrorist from his SJW lackey, and the incentive to do so is gone.

Anonymous Jack Hanson January 20, 2015 3:28 PM  

Except when you bring up "I don't want your faggotry in my face", then you're an intolerant bigot.

One rule for me, another for thee.

Anonymous Bernard Brandt January 20, 2015 3:29 PM  

IMO, the original basically set up current Federal freedom of speech law, and its concluding statement: "They think you're an asshole, and they're showing you the door" is in line with both the law, and the words of the poet: "You can speak your mind/but not on my time."

OTOH, the cartoon which VD posted expresses the current rabbit-think: that if you express yourself in a manner that someone should think to be 'ass-holy', said someone somehow has the right to blow you away, either figuratively or literally.

Of course, this runs contrary to such little things as our inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but what's a fundamental right or three in comparison with the work of a SJW.

Je suis Charlie Martel.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 January 20, 2015 3:36 PM  

Most people tend to forget about the owner of the podium when it comes to freedom of speech issues.

Anonymous MrGreenMan January 20, 2015 3:41 PM  

XKCD is less enjoyable than an involuntary bowel movement. It's like Doonesbury without any drawing skills, either. Yes, Mr. XKCD, yes, the mob is always right, so long as the mob approves of you, of course.

Blogger JCclimber January 20, 2015 3:43 PM  

heh. I like the fixed version better, as it shows the way that they truly think, all the time. Until it blows up in their faces. But remember, leftists reinvent themselves each day, so in their minds there is no discrepancy between what they said a year ago, and their 180 turnabout on free speech in the last week.

Blogger Booch Paradise January 20, 2015 3:45 PM  

@Daniel
I think we're just arguing terms. Nobodies rights were violated in the Brandon Eich affair, but I wouldn't deny that the people who fired him did sin.

Blogger GAHCindy January 20, 2015 3:51 PM  

Thank you. That was making me crazy. :)

Anonymous VD January 20, 2015 3:56 PM  

I tend to doubt most of those who think it was fine for Firefox's board to pressure Reich to resign for his opposition to "gay marriage" genuinely believe it is fine for a company to pressure someone who says "I'm going to the Erasure concert" to resign.

Anonymous Toddy Cat January 20, 2015 3:58 PM  

Nice little comment on XKCD speaking Power to Truth back in April. I quit reading it about that time, for obvious reasons. It's really interesting how this leftie concern for the rights of employers to employ who they like never comes up with regard to the Hollywood blacklists of the 1950's, or with regard to racial and ethnic (or sexual) minorities today. Sorry, Munroe, but "Blacklists for me, but not for thee" isn't really a defensible intellectual position.

Anonymous Myrddin January 20, 2015 4:00 PM  

So Vox, you are saying Yama the Spacefish has a right to post here?

Anonymous VD January 20, 2015 4:06 PM  

So Vox, you are saying Yama the Spacefish has a right to post here?

No, if I was going to say that, I would have said it. What I'm saying is he has the right to express his opinion that my writing is the worst thing since The Eye of Argon without losing his job or being killed for it.

OpenID pancakeloach January 20, 2015 4:06 PM  

How long will a nation that accepts the de facto right of a loudmouthed mob to get people punished with exclusion, firing and blacklisting for speech they uttered while NOT engaged in any sort of connection with their professional lives refrain from codifying their right to ban certain kinds of speech on a de jure level?

Blogger Zaklog the Great January 20, 2015 4:10 PM  

Randall Munroe publishing the original of this cartoon just after the ousting of Brendan pissed me off so much I stopped reading his comic immediately after, even though I had found it very interesting. I'm profoundly disgusted with the leftists who love free speech so much they have to smother it every time it disagrees with them.

Anonymous Myrddin January 20, 2015 4:12 PM  

And you think the original comic was saying he should be killed?

If I recall, you've called his employer, or at least threatened to.

When I read the original in April, I thought it lined up with your thoughts exactly.

Anonymous grey enlightenment January 20, 2015 4:24 PM  

XKCD is one of the few bastions of rationality and objectivity in a world of leftist denialism of unalienable biological truths.

Anonymous kh123 January 20, 2015 4:28 PM  

"When I read the original in April, I thought..."

See, the problem with stickfigures is that it tends to exclude teeth, ankles, and trains as drawing options.

Anonymous kh123 January 20, 2015 4:35 PM  

This is assuming this isn't Andrew.

Blogger Zaklog the Great January 20, 2015 4:36 PM  

Myrddin, I can't tell whether you're honestly confused or just stirring up trouble, but let me try to explain: Firefox pressured Eich out (technically, he was not "fired", but it's a distinction without a difference) for participating in the normal political process on what was an open question. This was perfectly legal, but it was also an attack on the freedom to think differently. In light of Munroe's reaction, it's difficult to understand how, in principle, he can disagree with those who murdered at Charlie Hebdo. He may not like their methods, but their attitude towards the freedoms of those who disagree with them aligns closely with his own.

Anonymous Clark Bianco January 20, 2015 5:00 PM  

@Zaklog: "This was perfectly legal, but it was also an attack on the freedom to think differently."

Except that you do not have this freedom when you work for a private organization. The private organization's policies determine what you may express and not express; this is not censorship as it is privately done. If an employee expresses viewpoints at odds with the private organization's policies, the employee should not expect protection.

Whether you agree with the private organization's policies is irrelevant; you work for them, you agree to them.

"In light of Munroe's reaction, it's difficult to understand how, in principle, he can disagree with those who murdered at Charlie Hebdo."

It's very to easy to understand. Eich expressed a viewpoint at odds with Firefox's policies; thus he was pressured out of the organization, which they have a right to do being a private employer.

The Charlie Hebdo equivalent would be: Eich expresses a viewpoint at odds with that of Google Chrome. Google Chrome sends a hit squad to take out Eich and other Firefox staff for daring to disagree with Google Chrome.

Anonymous VD January 20, 2015 5:01 PM  

If I recall, you've called his employer, or at least threatened to.

He doesn't have an employer. The director of the place he volunteers was very grateful to be informed about his public activities.

Anonymous VD January 20, 2015 5:03 PM  

If an employee expresses viewpoints at odds with the private organization's policies, the employee should not expect protection.

Direct question: do you assert that a private corporation has the right to fire an employee for saying that she had an abortion?

Anonymous Clark Bianco January 20, 2015 5:08 PM  

@VD: " do you assert that a private corporation has the right to fire an employee for saying that she had an abortion?"

Yes. A private corporation has the legal right to fire an employee for any speech they deem unacceptable.

Blogger Derrick Bonsell January 20, 2015 5:11 PM  

Even in this very same comment thread we see people who can't separate "this action violates the concept of freedom of speech" from "this action violates the First Amendment." The First Amendment may not allow the government to tell you that you're not allowed to say something bad about a group, that you're not allowed to speak out against gay marriage.

OTOH, a society that can use the mob to restrict speech and inflict consequences paves the way towards a government that does so. At least this is what the left told us when they didn't have power. Today's left insists that "hate speech" isn't free speech. It's not hard to see left-leaning judges in the future restricting criticism of transsexuality on the grounds that it's harmful. The so-called "Leelah's Law" that the transsexual activists want would give the government the power to determine what is, and isn't "conversion theory." A psychologist using his/her medical opinion to determine if someone should "transition," and telling them to adopt their sex's behaviors could easily fall under that.

Anonymous dh January 20, 2015 5:12 PM  

Direct question: do you assert that a private corporation has the right to fire an employee for saying that she had an abortion?

Well, in the US anyways, there is explicit protection against that scenario. Pregnancy Discrimination Act, explicitly protects employees who have had an abortion or pregnancy.

Blogger Eric January 20, 2015 5:22 PM  

Yes. A private corporation has the legal right to fire an employee for any speech they deem unacceptable.

No they don't. They should, but they don't.

Anonymous joe doakes January 20, 2015 5:24 PM  

Liberals claim to hate the societal shaming in "The Scarlet Letter" but they really don't; they just want different people to wear it.

Anonymous Clark Bianco January 20, 2015 5:35 PM  

@Derrick Bonsell: "Today's left insists that "hate speech" isn't free speech."

And they're wrong. All speech is free speech.

@dh: "Well, in the US anyways, there is explicit protection against that scenario. Pregnancy Discrimination Act, explicitly protects employees who have had an abortion or pregnancy."

That protects a woman for being fired when they need to recover from an abortion. It would not prevent, say, a secretary working for (for example) Personhood USA, Inc, from being fired for saying she had an abortion. The Act would protect the secretary if she went to HR, told them she had an abortion, and needed time to recover, as medical issues are confidential under HIPAA. If the secretary then went and made a mass email to her co-workers that she had an abortion, the Act would not protect her from Personhood USA's speech policies

@Eric: "No they don't. They should, but they don't."

Yes, they do - so long as they meet all other employment laws along the way. If they're not violating EEOC, OSHA, etc, then they can fire for whatever they prefer. I would argue that EEOC violates free speech, but that's not law of the land - and what the law says is and is not free speech is what truly matters, as the legal standard is how we adjudicate things.

But homosexuality is not yet a protected class falling under EEOC. You can fire someone for their views on homosexuality just as easily as you can fire someone for their views on long hair, so long as all other requirements are met. Preferably in an at-will state.

Anonymous A.B. Prosper January 20, 2015 5:39 PM  

Giving too much ability to SJW's or corporations or anyone to influence behavior by cutting off peoples livelihood is a just as much direct attack on free speech as a concept as using the police.

.Now certainly a certain degree of private space/private property is essential but its not absolute and without regulation that neo liberal market state won't lead to more liberty but to more tyranny. The only way to have freedom is to take away power from everybody otherwise you just substitute the tyranny of the dinner plate or paycheck for the gulag and its no better.

Anonymous buzzcut January 20, 2015 5:48 PM  

Bitches Hate Free Speech.

Anonymous Crude January 20, 2015 5:55 PM  

Fuck Charlie.

Charlie's got every right to publish whatever horseshit they want, offensive or not. I think they're wrong to publish much of what they do, but that doesn't matter - free speech extends even to putrid shit like theirs, and it's on western civilization to protect them from asshole zealots with guns.

But no, none of this "Je Suis Charlie" shit, thank you. They're a pack of the worst kind of left-wing asshole atheists, their mission is rotten, and even with bullets in their bodies they're neither saints nor martyrs. They're a pathetic group who got shot up by a dangerous group, along with some cops, including an apparent muslim. It's to our credit that we defend them, and our failure that we couldn't stop this.

Want to really celebrate Charlie's dead? Then do it in their own spirit: laugh at them. Make funny comics about their last moments.

Nothing is sacred, remember? Draw Mohammed fucking their asses in hell while they whimper apologies. Have fun with it. They deserve nothing less, and nothing more.

Blogger Brad Andrews January 20, 2015 5:56 PM  

BB,

"They think you're an asshole, and they're showing you the door" is in line with both the law, and the words of the poet: "You can speak your mind/but not on my time."

He didn't make any such speech on company time. He donated to a cause that was supported by many left wing people at the time, including their (former) darling, Hillary Clinton. It was only deemed "wrong" in retrospect.

I wonder how many who favored this will like it when they get judged in a similar manner for something they did years ago.

It is not a free speech issue in the sense of government control, but it is an issue impinging on those who disagree with this mob from speaking, so that makes it a valid free speech issue.

Anonymous dh January 20, 2015 6:04 PM  

Clark--

“The basic principle of the [PDA] is that women affected by pregnancy and related medical conditions must be treated the same as other applicants and employees on the basis of their ability or inability to work. A woman is therefore protected against such practices as being fired . . . merely because she is pregnant or has had an abortion.” 29 C.F.R. pt. 1604 App. (1986).

Blogger Mekadave January 20, 2015 6:11 PM  

Speaking of Marston, it looks like he's actually posted to his livejournal twice in the last week, including yesterday.

Anonymous Clark Bianco January 20, 2015 6:17 PM  

@dh: Yes, but that refers to specifically to the act of having the abortion or being pregnant at the time, not speech about it. See the enforcement protocol at the EEOC.

So the secretary can have an abortion, and the HR has to not fire her or discriminate against her as long as she is able to perform the major functions of her job. HR has to give her required time off to recover, in accordance with FMLA.

But this does not cover speech. This does not mean she can mass-email co-workers about her abortion. HR can require her to keep silent on the matter.

OpenID cailcorishev January 20, 2015 6:26 PM  

And you think the original comic was saying he should be killed?

The original comic just said that the right to free speech doesn't guarantee immunity from criticism or indifference. Nothing wrong with that. But if he posted it in response to the Eich firing, then he was making a correct point unnecessarily in circumstances where it didn't apply (no one was accusing Mozilla of denying Eich his rights; we were accusing them of being SJW jerkwads).

Blogger LGB January 20, 2015 6:33 PM  

This is my favorite XKCD strip: http://i.imgur.com/ZfVMX.jpg

Seriously though, who would expect anything more out of this clown, his strip is for the I MOTHERBITCHING LOVE MOTHERF*CKING SCIENCE FOR THE AWESOME EPIC WIN crowd whose shallow appreciation of science seems limited to gawping at pictures of starscapes, adoringly retweeting tweets from Neil DeGrasse Tyson and crowing about how they are the only enlightened avatars of Reason in these New Dark Ages, which they express by wearing T-Shirts with irritating slogans like STAND BACK I'M GOING TO SCIENCE, reading and gassing on and on about whatever trendy pop-science books are currently the faddish thing, and carping about how the lesser numbers of women in STEM jobs is due to the malign influence of the Patriarchy, when they're not busy blowing much of their most recent meager GameStop paycheck on the latest anime girl figurine. They are some of the most rabbit-y pinkshirted nerds in all the land politically and it shows in their snarky attempts at "wit" and childish obsessions.

Anonymous karsten January 20, 2015 6:47 PM  

One good XKCD strip:

http://xkcd.com/642/

I'd say that it was the story of my life, except that I'm not sure if my thought-balloon, worst-case-scenario predictions have not, in fact, all been correct, rather than what the comic implies (i.e., that I ever had a chance).

Anonymous Giuseppe January 20, 2015 6:55 PM  

Well... I don't entirely disagree with the VD revised version, with a couple of provissos.
1) Make duelling legal.
2) You can challenge to a duel.
3) the duel has to be fair, (no challenging of old ladies to pistol shots, but you may challenge old ladies at bingo, or whatever is fair) fairly accepted and the loser has to abide by the agreed conditions.

Also...I still have my hypothetical...the local pedophile moves in next door. He knocks on your door and informs you that first chance he gets he will kidnap and rape your toddler. The police are uninterested in your concerns. Is there a possibility this instance of free speech may lead to violence? If yes, are you then agreeing some speech can lead to violence? If not...Umm...I got nothing, except that I hope you're a liar or don't have kids.

Anonymous VD January 20, 2015 6:59 PM  

Speaking of Marston, it looks like he's actually posted to his livejournal twice in the last week, including yesterday.

Yep. It's been reported.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 20, 2015 7:03 PM  

How exactly does it do that? Because he never actually said anything offensive, it wasn't a free speech issue? Please clarify what you mean.

I mean because the government made no attempt to infringe on Eich's right to say what he pleased, it isn't a free speech issue. It also isn't a freedom of association issue, because the government didn't attempt to intervene in Mozilla's decision to oust him, whether or not his Prop. 8 was the true reason or just the excuse.

To add to the lack of it being a freedom issue, the government also did nothing to bail Mozilla out of the hole that they dug for themselves by badly mis-reading what their customers wanted from their executives.

Everything that happened did so without any intervention from the government. Therefore, calling it a free speech issue (or any other type of freedom issue) is sophistic rhetoric and incorrect.

For what its worth, I think what happened to Eich was morally reprehensible. But, sadly, I've come to be little surprised by that in our society anymore. In mean, the Clinton's didn't slink out of the public eye in disgrace, did they?

Blogger SirHamster January 20, 2015 7:13 PM  

Everything that happened did so without any intervention from the government. Therefore, calling it a free speech issue (or any other type of freedom issue) is sophistic rhetoric and incorrect.

If government performed the actions, you'd agree it is a free speech issue?

Why does it become a non-free speech issue when the attacking party is non-governmental?

OpenID pancakeloach January 20, 2015 7:16 PM  

"If yes, are you then agreeing some speech can lead to violence?"

Guiseppe, in your hypothetical, the pedophile has made a specific and credible threat against the safety of a child. No reasonable person thinks that "freedom of speech" is an issue when taking appropriate measures in response to a specific and credible threat to the safety of a child.

No virtue is absolute. I value honesty and truth-telling but if I'm hiding Jews from Nazis in my attic, I'm gonna lie like a rug at the front door when the Nazi patrols come asking about Jews.

Anonymous JRL January 20, 2015 7:18 PM  

Want to really celebrate Charlie's dead? Then do it in their own spirit: laugh at them. Make funny comics about their last moments.

Nothing is sacred, remember? Draw Mohammed fucking their asses in hell while they whimper apologies. Have fun with it. They deserve nothing less, and nothing more.


Well said.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 20, 2015 7:41 PM  

If government performed the actions, you'd agree it is a free speech issue?

Why does it become a non-free speech issue when the attacking party is non-governmental?


Because that's what free speech means. It doesn't mean freedom from societal consequences of what you say, it means freedom from government attempts to infringe upon said speech. If the company you work for takes something you say and uses it against you, that's legally acceptable and therefore isn't a free speech issue. It's called the freedom of association, which is also shorthand for another right guaranteed in the First Amendment, just as 'free speech' is shorthand for an earlier expressed clause in the First Amendment.

You're kidding with that question, right?

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 20, 2015 7:46 PM  

And let me reiterate; what Mozilla did was execrable. And they seem to have paid for it in customer goodwill and uninstalls.

So; again--they were legally within their rights to force Eich out for what he allegedly "said"--although I'm pretty convinced that that was the excuse and justification not really the reason.

Like Eich isn't free from the consequences of saying what he wants to politically in an environment where he should have anticipated the consequences, neither is Mozilla. It all worked out in the end as it should, more or less.

Blogger Eric January 20, 2015 7:46 PM  

But homosexuality is not yet a protected class falling under EEOC. You can fire someone for their views on homosexuality just as easily as you can fire someone for their views on long hair, so long as all other requirements are met. Preferably in an at-will state.

The reality is if you fire someone for their views on homosexuality you're going to lose a big lawsuit (unless, of course, their views are critical of homosexuality, in which case you'll be paraded through the proverbial streets on SJW shoulders). I realize that's not strictly how the law reads, but that's the United States in 2015.

Anonymous Crude January 20, 2015 8:09 PM  

Because that's what free speech means. It doesn't mean freedom from societal consequences of what you say, it means freedom from government attempts to infringe upon said speech.

If someone says they're in favor of free speech, then fervently works on ways to stifle and punish any and all dissenting speech however they can, they're going to hit a point where they're about as in favor of 'free speech' as choose-your-totalitarian. There's a spirit to concepts like that, and trying to turn it into a game where you can completely crush any and all thought-crime but be able to say 'But I didn't do it through ways X, Y and Z' is transparently insincere. It's like those SJWs who insist they're totally in favor of free speech - they just oppose hate speech, which is totally different because they're protecting people which is a good thing.

Anyone who 'supports free speech' in that way should just go ahead and add 'technically' in front of their claims, because they're playing the technicalities game very hard. "Technically, I still support free speech." Subtle, but it says it all.

Blogger Shibes Meadow January 20, 2015 8:12 PM  

My version

OpenID malcolmthecynic January 20, 2015 8:15 PM  

Shibes Meadow,

Excellent! I approve.

Anonymous Daniel January 20, 2015 8:17 PM  

Can't believe that no one has yet mentioned that the stick man is firing a glock.

Blogger TheCitadel January 20, 2015 8:31 PM  

Sodomites should not be protected from any criticism, denial of service, or crackdowns on their perverse activities. 1400 all the way.

Anonymous Donn January 20, 2015 8:34 PM  

Glock - the stickman of guns.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 20, 2015 8:56 PM  

@Crude: I support free speech as defined by the First Amendment to the Constitution. You seem to be describing a situation where free speech means freedom from the social repercussions of what you say. I don't support that at all.

In fact, it's exactly that that has led us to where we are. Spoiled bohemian brats who were indulged or at least tolerated when they should have been properly shamed for their ridiculous beliefs, offensive aesthetic and petty tyranny have led us to where we're having this discussion about what free speech actually means.

Anonymous j January 20, 2015 9:02 PM  

Can't stand xkcd. Every panel reeks of the author's pompous self-regard. Makes sense that it's the favorite webcomic of pseudo-intellectual, leftist hipsters everywhere, though.

Anonymous N.T.A. January 20, 2015 9:09 PM  

Speaking of Marston, it looks like he's actually posted to his livejournal twice in the last week, including yesterday.

Why wouldn't he? Oh wait, right, you all believe Vox is not a poseur. Carry on.

Anonymous Harsh January 20, 2015 9:17 PM  

Oh wait, right, you all believe Vox is not a poseur.

And you believe that using the word "poseur" doesn't make you look like a queer. But to each his own.

Anonymous Crude January 20, 2015 9:27 PM  

I support free speech as defined by the First Amendment to the Constitution. You seem to be describing a situation where free speech means freedom from the social repercussions of what you say.

'I support freedom of speech, but so help me God, if you say something you dislike I'm going to do everything within my power to make sure you're fucking homeless.'? Yeah, no. There's more to freedom of speech than that.

Really, run with the idea. Here, I'll flesh it out for you.

Ahem.

"I support Freedom of Speech, insofar as I'm against obviously using the government as a censor in a direct, instrumental way. However, absolutely everything else is fair game. If I dislike what you say or disagree with you, for whatever reason, I have no problem getting your ass fired, hounding you out of society, utterly shunning you and using every blessed bit of media and social power to destroy you in every way possible. Because supporting free speech has nothing to do with actually valuing dissent whatsoever. It's an arbitrary rule, some technicality and obstacle that I just have to find ways to circumvent, and by God, I've found those ways."

Spoiled bohemian brats who were indulged or at least tolerated when they should have been properly shamed for their ridiculous beliefs, offensive aesthetic and petty tyranny have led us to where we're having this discussion about what free speech actually means.

But let's not for a moment suggest they're opposed to free speech. They merely want to completely and utterly stamp out any and all dissent whatsoever - but so long as they don't directly use the government to do that, they're the pristine picture of civil liberties advocates!

Anonymous Harsh January 20, 2015 9:39 PM  

But let's not for a moment suggest they're opposed to free speech. They merely want to completely and utterly stamp out any and all dissent whatsoever - but so long as they don't directly use the government to do that, they're the pristine picture of civil liberties advocates!

Spot on.

Anonymous Alexander January 20, 2015 9:56 PM  

Crude wins this thread, then he goes back and wins it a second time.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus January 20, 2015 9:56 PM  

cailcorishev: "The original comic just said that the right to free speech doesn't guarantee immunity from criticism or indifference."

And/or "consequences". You are not shielded against criticism or CONSEQUENCES.

Including and not limited to getting yelled at, having your show cancelled, or getting banned from an Internet community.

Including in practice being put out of work, and made an un-person like James Watson, or being sued and punished to the point where the line between the government directly punishing you and private individuals punishing you with the aid of a government system set up for them to do so becomes practically irrelevant.

As Crude January 20, 2015 9:27 PM says, it's about making "freedom of speech" a technicality that the punishers of speech can and have found ways to work around.

Including the Muslim "Gordian knot" solution.

And again, government attitude can play a role, as people who say the right things get protection, whereas for example Ayaan Hirsi Ali had to leave the country because the Dutch would not protect her and therefore getting killed would have been an inevitability. The 1st Amendment, which the Dutch don't have anyway, doesn't mean anybody has to protect you. And if that means you're going to get the Theo van Gogh treatment: tough.

Blogger Mekadave January 20, 2015 10:03 PM  

Oh NTA, you so silly! It's just so precious that you think your attempts at trolling are hip and matter!

Anonymous Point of Clarification January 20, 2015 10:08 PM  

The Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage (SPEECH) Act is a federal statutory law in the United States that makes foreign libel judgments unenforceable in U.S. courts, unless either the legislation applied offers at least as much protection as the U.S. First Amendment (concerning free speech), or the defendant would have been found liable even if the case had been heard under U.S. law.

The act was passed by the 111th United States Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama.


Now, why cannot the principle behind this law be extended to the workplace.

I'll let the LawHead Ilk deal with it.

Anonymous Culture War Draftee January 20, 2015 10:13 PM  

I looked at the original (I sort of remember it floating around). I've got to say that's a pretty powerful statement in favor of ideological segregation from Munroe. If I ran a small business I might want to refuse service or boycott those whose ideology I see as intolerant of other religions, misogynist, or homophobic. Like people who espouse the ideology of Islam.

Thanks Munroe, I had no idea that XKCD was so raciss.

Anonymous Sensei January 20, 2015 10:22 PM  

As a tech-background millennial, I find XKCD to be consistently clever and entertaining. It does what it does very well, but like most comics/comedians, it just should stick to that. Once the guy starts moralizing, he's neither humorous nor accurate.

Anonymous Sensei January 20, 2015 10:25 PM  

As a tech-background millennial, I find XKCD to be consistently clever and entertaining. It does what it does very well, but like most comics/comedians, it just should stick to that. Once the guy starts moralizing, he's neither humorous nor accurate.

Anonymous Harsh January 20, 2015 10:25 PM  

Oh NTA, you so silly! It's just so precious that you think your attempts at trolling are hip and matter!

NTA insists he's a smart guy despite not once demonstrating it.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus January 20, 2015 10:25 PM  

pancakeloach: "How long will a nation that accepts the de facto right of a loudmouthed mob to get people punished with exclusion, firing and blacklisting for speech they uttered while NOT engaged in any sort of connection with their professional lives refrain from codifying their right to ban certain kinds of speech on a de jure level?"

It already is the case the you may technically have a right to say X, but if you do you render yourself defenseless against lawsuits that will destroy your business and put you out of work.

Elite power has been driving this all along, against white opinion. The loudmouthed mob began as primarily a loudmouthed mob of lawyers.

The social justice warrior mob appeared after their professors had indoctrinated them and when the legal environment meant effectively that they could hit and not be hit back.

OpenID pancakeloach January 20, 2015 10:27 PM  

"Crude wins this thread, then he goes back and wins it a second time." +1

It's one thing to say in theory that people should be expected to bear the consequences of their speech, but if you look around you notice that the worst of the "consequences" appear to only ever happen to members of certain groups and never to others, and the legal system appears to be set up in a way that facilitates this outcome. In practice an all-consequences-okay attitude leads to totalitarian thought-enclaves in which dissent is punishable by re-education or expulsion - in other words, a rabbit warren. Or a cult.

It reminds me a bit of this blog post, actually: An Example of Harmful Risk-Aversion

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus January 20, 2015 10:30 PM  

Daniel: "Just because it was wrong to terminate a corporate leader for his personally held opinions doesn't mean that Firefox wasn't within its property rights to do so. They had a right to hire or fire anyone they want to, for any and every reason or no reason."

No they don't. Some people can easily be fired and others not, and the difference gives power to the protected and takes power from the unprotected.

Anonymous Jack Amok January 20, 2015 10:35 PM  

As Crude points out rather well, the people arguing about the technicalities of whether it's the government or a private party trying to limit the speech are missing the point.

There is value in respecting someone's right to say something you disagree with without seeking to impose society-wide sanctions on them. Trying to get someone fired from their job for supporting gay marriage isn't - in a better world at least - any more noble than trying to get them fired for opposing it.

1 - The Truth should be able to stand on it's own without a mob taking brickbats to the people they think are lying

2 - How do you know what the truth is anyway if you refuse to listen to arguments?

3 - One sign of a Lie is that it can't tolerate dissenting opinions because the dissenting opinions are liable to expose the lie.

Blogger Danby January 20, 2015 10:42 PM  

http://xkcd.com/933/
If you've ever been there, this is his best.

Blogger Anthony January 20, 2015 11:17 PM  

Question to ask your lefty friends and acquaintances:

If freedom of speech does not protect you from private consequences, is it acceptable for a private corporation to fire an employee who has contributed to causes which would deny basic human rights to a significant segment of the population, especially if the customers of the corporation would be less likely to buy the corporation's products if they knew that such people were working for the corporation?

(Likely answer will be "yes", especially if you say "such as mozilla.org firing Brendan Eich for contributing to Yes on 8")

Next question:

"So what was bad about the Hollywood Blacklist again?"

Anonymous Crude January 20, 2015 11:33 PM  

Lest I come across as believing that all speech, everywhere should be allowed and no one should ever face any social repercussion at all, let me add something to what I've said.

Yeah, I think 'Free speech' is more than technical compliance - there's a spirit at work with it at as well. You can easily get me to concede that there are difficult cases - no, if I had a son, I wouldn't look happily upon his dating a Cult of Gnu feminist. Call that a social repercussion of a sort, and cases could be multiplied to show how messy things can get. But if the line is drawn at the government alone, with absolute dissent-crushing fine and even encouraged beyond that point, I think something's gone off the rails.

Anonymous Daniel January 21, 2015 12:14 AM  

No they don't. Some people can easily be fired and others not, and the difference gives power to the protected and takes power from the unprotected.

You are dead on, Titus. This is why if Firefox was not an attack on free speech, Eich would have been gone for privately held reasons. Instead there was a big show of anti-freespeechism to "justify" the job loss...almost as if...as if...there was reason to question whether the company had grounds to separate or not.

A sound company doesn't answer a question that doesn't exist. Firefox answered a question with a detailed response...therefore even they had doubts about their proper exercise of property rights. In the warren, when in doubt, let it out!

Saying free speech has "consequences" is a little like saying companies have the right to conduct business poorly to the point of failure. I mean, yeah its true, but so are a lot of obviously bad ideas. A man has the "right" to swallow a handful of tacks, too.

Firefox exposing their property to Netscape-like levels of evaporation in order to make a show of property rights against free speech is terrible stewardship.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus January 21, 2015 12:17 AM  

What has gone off the rails is not a simple principle with a bright line. (Not that it would matter if it was, since the social justice warriors don't care about bright lines, and the professors and lawyers that lead them are experts at making bright lines dull and blurry.)

It's a matter of heritage, culture and ethos. Different communities are inclined to accept different levels of freedom of speech as appropriate.

The Western world, which is essentially whites, has been way over at the "free" end of the spectrum, while still not favoring an absolute and theoretically pure freedom.

Our preferences don't hold sway any more. Instead, the dominant influence on the construction of our culture, including our laws, comes from people who favor very strong controls on speech -- in their own favor of course.

Anonymous Crude January 21, 2015 12:26 AM  

Our preferences don't hold sway any more. Instead, the dominant influence on the construction of our culture, including our laws, comes from people who favor very strong controls on speech -- in their own favor of course.

Or in the favor of muslims, which is hilarious in its own way.

It's also a matter of courage. There is no shortage of people who strongly disagree with SJWs. There is a shortage of people willing to say as much, especially when push comes to shove. Billy Crystal so much as says 'Yeah, I'm not a big fan of seeing two guys going at it sexually on TV' and the responses are furious, calling him a homophobe. So he pusses out immediately.

He didn't change his mind. He didn't 'misspeak'. He's just a coward. But he's a coward who thinks the same things he did after his apology - he'll just be more careful from now on.

Blogger SirHamster January 21, 2015 12:51 AM  

Because that's what free speech means. It doesn't mean freedom from societal consequences of what you say, it means freedom from government attempts to infringe upon said speech.

Consequences like getting murdered by enraged mobs, eh?

Free speech doesn't just mean free from government interference. You'll also note that the government infringes upon things like libel/slander/copyright infringement.

Blogger frigger611 January 21, 2015 1:00 AM  

I'm 50 now, and when I was very young (dad was a Marine) and in college in the early 1980s, I was always instructed that the noble idea of "free speech" meant that only that the government was barred from censoring or silencing speech or expression - but that did not absolve one of private and social repercussions. "Censorship" was a sin only possible for government entities, not private citizens. (See Rand, exhaustively).

And it made sense to me back then.

But in our modern, thoroughly enlightened progressive culture, there is a blurring of the lines. Everywhere. Here's the problem, at least in part:

http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL30533.pdf

The new governmental "qausi" entities are ubiquitous. "GSEs" or government sponsored enterprises, mean that the federal government has inserted itself into places where it does not belong.

So there is not much distinction anymore between the federal government, and the SJWs who do their bidding, all the while the SJWs are claiming that they fit the exacting definition of "private and concerned citizens." Bullshit.

Eich was forced out, his ability to make an income destroyed over a political opinion that he rendered YEARS ago. This is not the America I know. (For those of you who cannot see a difference between this and the Hollywood blacklist, please see the unmarked graves of roughly 100 million, put there by atheist communists and socialists, whose hearts were at least in the right place).

"Marriage" is a concept that for 99.99% of humanity over 99.99% of our civilized history has meant a union between a man and a woman in order that the paternity of progeny be known. (How else can you be sure of paternity 10,000 years ago when everyone in the tribe was the same in appearance as everyone else, and the magic of Maury Povich was eons beyond your grasp - other than to make a huge public proclamation [wedding] that Og and Oggette were to be joined?)

So Eich agreed and supported this very common and seemingly innocuous, common sense idea, (that the majority of mankind has always supported and understood, and to this day, does the same, if measured worldwide).

And then someone decided that his personal politics DO matter, and that he must suffer for the sin of voting/believing the wrong way.

I think because it crosses the line of the sanctity of the vote (where politics is forever tied) it's a BFD.

Liberals need some serious re-education (and history tends to show that it is an us-or-them kind of deal).

Anonymous rho January 21, 2015 2:24 AM  

VD baited Clark with a direct question. Which he answered succinctly.

They're both wrong, of course. Eich could have been valuable to Mozilla. He could also have been detrimental to Mozilla. Nobody knows for sure, because it was a proxy fight.

Blogger IM2L844 January 21, 2015 2:33 AM  

Liberals need some serious re-education

But it's trendy. People aren't interested in the roots of Zionism, Nazism and Communism - ideologies that are well known for defending tolerance, diversity of thought and individual rights.

It's like watching a foot shooting tournament.

Anonymous Jack Amok January 21, 2015 2:56 AM  

Call that a social repercussion of a sort, and cases could be multiplied to show how messy things can get. But if the line is drawn at the government alone, with absolute dissent-crushing fine and even encouraged beyond that point, I think something's gone off the rails.

To me, the critical quesiton is whether you are actively soliciting the rest of society to assist in your condemnation of the speech or not. Deciding to shun someone for advocating something you think is evil is one thing. Raising a mob to drive him out of his house or business is another.

It might be the only solution, especially if he has already raised a mob of his own. But it is inherently dangerous. Mobs easily spin out of control. The ideal we strive for should avoid them.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus January 21, 2015 3:28 AM  

Re: Daniel January 21, 2015 12:14 AM: thanks for turning my rather basic thought into a complete, intelligent thought.

With which I agree of course.

Blogger Markku January 21, 2015 4:15 AM  

In case someone didn't quite get it, the fixed version is reductio ad absurdum. Charlie Hebdo employees were not killed by the government. Hence, according to the very principles laid out in the original strip, it could not possibly have been a free speech issue.

Now, that should make you go, hmm, maybe those principles were somewhat misleading if it leads to this conclusion.

Anonymous Eric the Red January 21, 2015 5:10 AM  

That's rich... leftists (including trolls on this blog) sanctifying a company's so-called right to fire someone over violating the rancid values that those same leftists insinuated into the company in the first place. True free speech is not just about what the government can or cannot do to you with respect to what you say. Instead it includes the limits to what others ostensibly have the right to do to you as well, whether in the public or private sphere. So in Eich's case, as soon as FIrefox forced him out the door for his freedom to air his political viewpoints in a venue distinctly separate from the organization, then Eich should have sued their ass for everything he could get. In a truly free society, he would win, because not only was Firefox punishing his right to free speech, but it was also preemptively restricting others in the company who might want to do the same.

God Damn All Leftists!

Anonymous Eric the Red January 21, 2015 5:30 AM  

Leftists have cleverly and stealthily politicized every aspect of life, including speech describing it. Then they disingenuously claim that as long as it's not the government, anyone can be punished for any viewpoint that's not part of their groupthink.

It's the actions while on the job that a company has the right to condone or punish, not the political speech of someone while outside the organization's venue. And for speech within that venue, if the intent is to prevent someone from supposedly offending someone else, then that simply amounts to vague, politicized prior restraint. It also assumes there is no responsibility on the part of individual employees to control their own butt-hurt feelings, as if the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune can always be laid at the doorstep of some out-group scapegoat, in most cases today white Christian males.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler January 21, 2015 5:45 AM  

Satire is a form of war. These people deserved what they got.

There is no such thing as "Freedom of Speech" and there shouldn't be. No one is free to blaspheme.

But then, criticize the Holocaust or just question it, and you are arrested and put in jail. Criticize Mohammed and satirize him, and that is free speech. I like how this is classified.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus January 21, 2015 6:17 AM  

Markku: "Charlie Hebdo employees were not killed by the government. Hence, according to the very principles laid out in the original strip, it could not possibly have been a free speech issue."

Right.

xkcd tacitly defines "Free speech" as "what the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees you". That's nothing, anywhere that isn't America.

And even in America, the understanding of the 1st Amendment is an austere one: no penumbras and emanations here! As Crude explained so beautifully, "free speech" understood in this way becomes a detail, a formality that exists to be worked around and that has to a large degree been vitiated.

And if you're not part of the "Western" elite and you don't have legions of lawyers shutting people up the high-class way, you can always go "full Muslim" and silence the scoffers that way. That's not a violation of anyone's free speech rights either.

The suspicion arises that not only doesn't the principle work but the xkcd are comfortable with restrictions on speech, as long as the right people are being silenced.

Blogger Bies Podkrakowski January 21, 2015 6:23 AM  

Giuseppe
Return to dueling would be good. But I prefer blade weapons. Shooting is over too fast, dueling is much more dramatic and longer. Especially sabers. Saber can leave nasty and impressive scars, amputate ears and cleave noses but is less dangerous to life than rapiers and other straight-bladed weapons. At least this was the case before modern medicine, but still - small punctures aren’t too impressive. In my opinion it is better for the other guy to walk wearing scars proclaiming your skill. Also after looking into mirror each morning he could learn something from this experience and became a better man.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler January 21, 2015 6:39 AM  

Here is the true definition of speech and who controls it:

Hebdo Free Speech to blaspheme Mohammed Hate speech just if you criticize Israel or the Jews

Anonymous map January 21, 2015 7:04 AM  

Claiming that firefox's property rights trump free speech does not hold water. Firefox has no property rights, outside of legal fictions created for convenience (booking profits or holding liable.)

Firefox is not a person. It does not think or act. It has managers who think and act. Those managers cannot use Firefox assets to stifle rights that people have.

That's why you have an incorporation doctrine.

Anonymous map January 21, 2015 7:17 AM  

There is one additional matter that people here are forgetting. It is not that we are losing rights to free speech in the abstract. What we are losing are our traditional liberties that we thought we had as US citizens.

OpenID cailcorishev January 21, 2015 7:23 AM  

As Crude January 20, 2015 9:27 PM says, it's about making "freedom of speech" a technicality that the punishers of speech can and have found ways to work around.

Right. The thing about the first comic is that SJWs normally wouldn't like it. Most of the time, they like to claim an expansive view of "free speech," because as leftists they think it's still 1969 and they're Speaking Power To The Man. In that case, they don't want any limit on speech.

The point of the second comic, to me, is that when the speech goes against a protected group (or themselves), they suddenly switch to a restrictive view of "free speech" as in Munroe's version, and go even further to try to stifle it -- if Muslim, with death; if SJW, with speech codes and ruining people's lives.

So their love for freedom of speech was purely mercenary. That quote they love to repeat, "I hate what you say but I'll fight to the death for your right to say it" or whatever, is total bullshit. Not only will leftists NOT fight to protect speech with which they disagree; they'll pick up a pitchfork and help put a stop to it.

Blogger Tommy Hass January 21, 2015 7:34 AM  

First Amendment =/= Free Speech.

Blogger Tommy Hass January 21, 2015 7:36 AM  

"So their love for freedom of speech was purely mercenary. That quote they love to repeat, "I hate what you say but I'll fight to the death for your right to say it" or whatever, is total bullshit. Not only will leftists NOT fight to protect speech with which they disagree; they'll pick up a pitchfork and help put a stop to it."

Depends. The ACLU, I hear, is ACTUALLY committed to it. The "The Soviet Union doesn't need free speech, the already have socialism" cunt isn't.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 21, 2015 7:45 AM  

'I support freedom of speech, but so help me God, if you say something you dislike I'm going to do everything within my power to make sure you're fucking homeless.'? Yeah, no. There's more to freedom of speech than that.

Eich isn't homeless. And as I said, I strongly suspect that his speech was merely the rationalization of something that was going to happen anyway, but they wanted some cover from their stock owners displeasure so they whipped up some trumped up justification and that's what we got.

So you "win the thread" twice by employing cheap sophistry and a risible false binary? I think not.

Really, run with the idea. Here, I'll flesh it out for you.

Rarely have I seen someone so directly admit up front that they're literally going to attack a strawman. But knock yourself out.

Ahem.

"I support Freedom of Speech, insofar as I'm against obviously using the government as a censor in a direct, instrumental way. However, absolutely everything else is fair game. If I dislike what you say or disagree with you, for whatever reason, I have no problem getting your ass fired, hounding you out of society, utterly shunning you and using every blessed bit of media and social power to destroy you in every way possible. Because supporting free speech has nothing to do with actually valuing dissent whatsoever. It's an arbitrary rule, some technicality and obstacle that I just have to find ways to circumvent, and by God, I've found those ways."

None of which happened. And if Eich hadn't capitulated; if he'd forced them to actually fire him, he could have sued their pants off. He played right into their game and therefore recused himself from any rights that he actually has. Probably because he figured that he didn't need the money or the headache.

But let's not for a moment suggest they're opposed to free speech. They merely want to completely and utterly stamp out any and all dissent whatsoever - but so long as they don't directly use the government to do that, they're the pristine picture of civil liberties advocates!

More strawmen. I said (and think) nothing of the kind.

Anonymous Toby Temple January 21, 2015 8:00 AM  

So are you guys(some of you) saying that you can say to your boss to "go fuck yourself" and he should not able to fire you for saying those words to him due to freedom of speech?

Blogger Tommy Hass January 21, 2015 8:39 AM  

That is a bad example. Being offensive to your boss is not a political opinion. Less autism please.

I agree that firing someone for being pro real marriage is against Free Speech as a virtue. One doesn't need to imprison people to make them shut up. Going after their bread is a sign that you oppose Freedom of Speech. It is an attitude, not only a law.

Blogger Booch Paradise January 21, 2015 8:46 AM  

In case someone didn't quite get it, the fixed version is reductio ad absurdum. Charlie Hebdo employees were not killed by the government. Hence, according to the very principles laid out in the original strip, it could not possibly have been a free speech issue.

Now, that should make you go, hmm, maybe those principles were somewhat misleading if it leads to this conclusion.


I'm not sure that the best interpretation of the original is that if you say things that people don't like, it is now ok for them to commit acts that would otherwise be criminal against you. I would invert that, and say that they are saying anything done to you that wouldn't be a crime otherwise, does not become a crime because the motivation is something you said. That is how I read the message of the original, and I'd still agree with it.

Anonymous Crude January 21, 2015 8:50 AM  

Eich isn't homeless.

But if they can threaten him with that, totally fair, right?

I'm not interested in your suspicions that amount to 'he was fired for totally different reasons'. Speculate as you please.

So you "win the thread" twice by employing cheap sophistry and a risible false binary?

I'm raising no binaries. In fact, I pointed out that treating this as a binary is a bad idea. This goes beyond being a letter of the law issue, and treating it as much is a mistake.

You say I'm using a strawman? Okay, just tell me this - what part of that statement do you disagree with, and why? Details, please.

Anonymous Toby Temple January 21, 2015 8:50 AM  

That is a bad example. Being offensive to your boss is not a political opinion.

When was freedom of speech just about expressing of your political opinion?

Less autism please.

You don't know what you are talking about.

Blogger Markku January 21, 2015 8:53 AM  

I'm not sure that the best interpretation of the original is that if you say things that people don't like, it is now ok for them to commit acts that would otherwise be criminal against you.

Of course that's not the INTENT. But that's the conclusion that the principle, according to which the original argues its point, leads to. So, the fixed version makes - sarcastically - the point that it isn't quite an adequate principle to summarize the whole issue. This is the whole point of reductio ad absurdum.

Blogger Markku January 21, 2015 9:07 AM  

So, the revised principle should be that yes, IF the argument made by the imagined antagonist is a First Amendment argument in specific, then yes, neither the Charlie Hebdo massacre nor the Mozilla case were free speech violations in that very restricted sense.

But, that's not the entirety of the issue. There is free speech in the restricted First Amendment sense, and there is also the general moral intuition that ADVISED the First Amendment. If we're talking about the latter, then the argument in the comic becomes a red herring. And if we aren't, then what do you make of the Charlie Hebdo massacre?

Blogger Booch Paradise January 21, 2015 9:25 AM  

Of course that's not the INTENT. But that's the conclusion that the principle, according to which the original argues its point, leads to.

Well, even if you take it to that level of strict interpretation, I still think it's wrong. Killing Charlie Hebdo wasn't criminal because it was a violation of his right to free speech, it was a violation of his right to life.

Blogger Markku January 21, 2015 9:28 AM  

Again, that is the point. If the issue is a moral one, then why bring up First Amendment? You can't have it both ways.

( I don't mean you in specific, I mean, that is the sarcastic point of the fixed version)

OpenID pancakeloach January 21, 2015 9:59 AM  

Toby Temple, the examples we're raising as freedom of speech issues aren't a guy saying to his boss, "Go f-k yourself" - it's more like, a guy who's always been perfectly well-behaved at work went down to the bar, had a few beers, and complained about his job to the bartender. And then the next day he gets fired because somebody sitting in a dark corner overheard and called his boss.

Do you agree that there is a difference there between losing your income over something you said at work while on the clock and something you said on your own time in an unrelated venue?

Blogger Booch Paradise January 21, 2015 10:05 AM  

Well, I guess that I don't see that big a difference between the First Amendment sense and the moral intuition sense. The basic understanding is that sometimes a persons behavior causes them to forfeit rights that they normally have. In our society we've given the government something of a monopoly on being the only entity that is actually allowed to execute that necessary denial of rights. So the argument would be that anything said could not be a moral justification of denial of other rights, such as the right to freedom or the right to life. So if someone does violate some ones right to freedom, or life, or property, etc, being motivated by something that a person said, the freedom of speech moral principle merely states that they failed to find a valid justification for acts that are immoral by default anyway.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 21, 2015 10:29 AM  

I'm not interested in your suspicions that amount to 'he was fired for totally different reasons'. Speculate as you please.

Which are immaterial to my point; I merely note them as a matter of interest. In any case, I'm not interested in your speculative scenarios, which you have presented no evidence that any have actually occured, either. The Eich situation happened because Eich let it. As I said, he wasn't fired. He could have weathered the criticism and forced them to fire him, and then attempt to sue the pants off of Mozilla.

In any case, true to my belief in letter natural consequences follow; Mozilla suffered a lot more from the PR than Eich did.

You say I'm using a strawman? Okay, just tell me this - what part of that statement do you disagree with, and why? Details, please.

I never said that any of these people were advocates of civil liberties. I merely said that they were exercising civil liberties that they do, in fact, have, according to the law. They're not advocates of any civil liberties at all, and I never suggested any such thing.

Anonymous Toby Temple January 21, 2015 10:29 AM  

pancakeloach,

If you haven't notice, there is no venue on my original comment.

The idea is pissing off someone who you worked for.

So your question is irrelevant.

Remember that people here have started comparing the Charlie Hebdo incident with Brendan Eich's separation with Mozilla as both an issue regarding free speech. Then some of them went on to claim that an organization or a boss can fire a member/employee for what he/she said.

Blogger Booch Paradise January 21, 2015 10:39 AM  

Ok, upon further reflection I'll concede the point. My view is that a violation of free speech is a violation of another right that society believes to be justified based on speech.

And the principle "The right to free speech means the government can't arrest you for what you say." does not fully encapsulate that, though I do think that the missing parts are strongly implied. So you could also make a fixed version that has the government seizing property or out right killing someone over their speech, and because they are not arrested it's not a violation of their stated principle, and it would be equally correct.

Anonymous Crude January 21, 2015 10:53 AM  

In any case, I'm not interested in your speculative scenarios, which you have presented no evidence that any have actually occured, either.

Yeah, because they're explicit hypotheticals. What, your reply is 'Is it acceptable to hound someone into literal homelessness because of their political views? Not sure! Let's wait until it happens before we think this over.'?

The Eich situation happened because Eich let it. As I said, he wasn't fired. He could have weathered the criticism and forced them to fire him, and then attempt to sue the pants off of Mozilla.

I'm not denying Eich fucked up in his handling of the situation, but trying to place the blame entirely on Eich is inane. Yeah, there were no people trying to suppress his speech, make an example of him or anything like that. No threats on THAT front - it's all Eich's fault because he didn't fight back against social forces that were calling for his head.

It's not persuasive.

In any case, true to my belief in letter natural consequences follow; Mozilla suffered a lot more from the PR than Eich did.

Based on what evidence? And what does it matter, granting it's true for the sake of argument? Would your views change if they didn't?

I never said that any of these people were advocates of civil liberties. I merely said that they were exercising civil liberties that they do, in fact, have, according to the law.

As I keep saying - there's more to this than the law. Free speech is supposed to be an asset, something to value in and of itself. It's not supposed to be little more than a rule in a large-scale Monopoly game and hey, if you can suppress all speech you dislike without a SCOTUS judge slapping your wrist, all is well as far as free speech is concerned.

If your attitude towards speech is 'If I crush all speech I dislike via harassing any dissenters into literal homelessness, so long as I don't explicitly use the government - or hell, so long as a SCOTUS majority sides with me - free speech is still around and I haven't suppressed it', to hell with it. Free speech isn't valued on that mentality.

Blogger Zaklog the Great January 21, 2015 11:01 AM  

Toby Temple, your example of speech getting you fired is not remotely the same as the Brendan Eich case because telling your boss to go f--- himself is direct insubordination and likely to affect your performance of your job. That is, it is directly related to your performance of your job. Unless you are a spokesman or in some sort of planning position for a LGBTSTFU organization, believing that marriage is an institution of one man and one woman is in no way directly related to your job nor likely to affect your performance.

I will reiterate what I have said before, legally, Firefox had every right to do what they did, but morally, it is a reprehensible attack on free speech.

Anonymous Toby Temple January 21, 2015 11:02 AM  

That is the question, isn't it, Crude?

The effect of the Eich debacle on the rest of the employees of Mozilla. A stifling effect on the free speech of those whose political views are the same as Eich.

The same is true for the Charlie Hebdo incident. It has a stifling effect on those who criticize Islam.

Blogger Markku January 21, 2015 11:05 AM  

It has a stifling effect on those who criticize Islam.

Well, I just heard that Charlie Hebdo just published their first issue after the massacre. It mocked Mohammed. It was sold out in a matter of hours. I think this was in radio news, if my memory serves me right.

So, at least the immediate effect seems to have been to encourage free speech, not stifle.

Anonymous Toby Temple January 21, 2015 11:13 AM  

Zaklog,

Since there is already 2 commenters here who insist that my question has a condition that its in the work place despite the lack of such condition, then let me rephrase it for you:

Should your boss not be able to fire you for saying "go fuck yourself" to his face at work or during office hours? Will your answer change if you did it outside of work and out side office hours?

Blogger Zaklog the Great January 21, 2015 11:17 AM  

Toby, re-read my comment. Did I specify a place?

Anonymous Toby Temple January 21, 2015 11:19 AM  

You read it again. You said " himself is direct insubordination and likely to affect your performance of your job.".

Does that happen outside of work or outside of office hours?

OpenID pancakeloach January 21, 2015 11:21 AM  

Well, thank you for the clarification, Toby. As a point of order, please consider that what your originally typed did indeed include a venue - the personal delivery of insubordinate defiance by an employee to an employer. If you meant "anything that an employee says, anywhere, under any conditions, that pisses off his boss is grounds for termination," that's quite different than your original statement.

Anonymous Toby Temple January 21, 2015 11:29 AM  

No, it didn't. I admit I was not clear earlier. But you should have asked for a clarification instead of rushing head first.

Anonymous Jack Amok January 21, 2015 11:49 AM  

Toby:

Should your boss not be able to fire you for saying "go fuck yourself" to his face at work or during office hours? Will your answer change if you did it outside of work and out side office hours?

I think the key distinction is your boss is reacting as an individual. Sure, and individual with some social authority, but still as an individual.

I believe the real question is if you express an opinion some random member of the community doesn't like, is it acceptible for them to recruit a mob to boycott the business you work for and pressure your boss to fire you?

OpenID pancakeloach January 21, 2015 11:59 AM  

Ah, now Toby Temple, you are expecting me to magically divine what you REALLY meant to say using my superhuman telepathic powers, rather than modestly assuming you were a competent communicator and had expressed what you truly meant?

I find that rather unfair, good chap. How was I to know that it was only your writing that was fuzzy, and not your thinking?

Anonymous Toby Temple January 21, 2015 12:01 PM  

I find that rather unfair, good chap. How was I to know that it was only your writing that was fuzzy, and not your thinking?

You ask for a clarification.

How many times must that be spelled out for you?

Blogger frigger611 January 21, 2015 12:25 PM  

If your attitude towards speech is 'If I crush all speech I dislike via harassing any dissenters into literal homelessness, so long as I don't explicitly use the government - or hell, so long as a SCOTUS majority sides with me - free speech is still around and I haven't suppressed it', to hell with it. Free speech isn't valued on that mentality. - Crude

Nicely done, Crude, I like this.

And Eric the Red sums up the zeitgeist perfectly, I think:

Leftists have cleverly and stealthily politicized every aspect of life, including speech describing it. Then they disingenuously claim that as long as it's not the government, anyone can be punished for any viewpoint that's not part of their groupthink.

Some fine opinions, indeed, worth repeating. I think in the past we took our culture of tolerance for granted - now that Leftists have proven that this is our weak point, perhaps the culture's old values (real tolerance for disagreeable speech and ideas) should be restored?

Or else, it all goes to hell.

Good thread.

Anonymous Toby Temple January 21, 2015 12:51 PM  

That is the essence of free speech or freedom of expression. So things like harassment and mob pressure should not be tools that can legally be used against dissenting opinions.



OpenID ymarsakar January 21, 2015 12:52 PM  

It's like the English language doesn't have the right words to describe the philosophical differences here. Or it's been corrupted to the point where people use the same words but are talking about incompatible concepts.

The difference between a villain and a person that fights for righteousness, is that the rules of the villain when applied to the villain, is something the villain automatically knows is bad. The defender of righteousness is perfectly fine with being adjudicated under his own rules, however. That's the central mystery found in the SJWhore and Leftist agencies. The actual rules they enforce can only be enforced on their enemies, because when enforced against the Left, they know it will be a problem and prevent them from winning. People can call this hypocrisy or backlists being for A and not B, but it's a different thing than god given rights, government given entitlements, or anything in between.

The issue with the latter, born or grow rights that is obtained by living and growing up, has to be protected by one's own hands or family. Somebody has to protect it for you to exercise it, since mind control and slavery can make it go away. So when the Founding Fathers started talking about how the government can't take away your natural rights, I don't think they were talking about reality itself, but about what government's rightful rules ought to be for itself. The government can indeed take away your rights, if only by killing, enslaving, or doing a lobotomy on you and your family. That is a physical thing that unless a miracle or a person's power stops, runs its own course.

As for government privileges and entitlements, that is seen in the great body of the law itself and how it is enforced/adjudicated. However, the more someone's rights are protected by the government, the more dependent that person is on government. That means their natural rights are getting forfeited or seized already. Even if the gov protects free speech, life, or property with their laws, that is very different from a person protecting his own free speech with a cannon or God protecting you. This slides things into a forfeit. The moment it is forfeited, it is gone. It's not a slippery slope, it's a straight down fall.

Once an external power seizes the ownership of rights and the duty of protecting them with power, the people have little choice but to suffer what they must. If it turns out that government or lawyers or judges decide that you don't have the ability to say or do something because of X, Y, or Z like CEOs or Christian churchs, no piece of paper is going to change that. The deed was given away and forfeited already.

If the government shouldn't take people's rights away, what about the people forfeiting those rights by exchanging it away?

When the Left gets power, they aren't just going to give it up later on. They also aren't going to use that power to protect the people beneath them. This situation could only have been avoided if people took up the duty of enforcing and protecting their own rights. Once an external power gets in on it, I don't think they are free or independent any more. This end result we see, that was rather inevitable on this path.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 21, 2015 12:54 PM  

@Crude: That's not my attitude at all. I have little interest in crushing anyone's speech. You've apparently reached the conclusion that because I don't think that the government should officially prosecute bullies that I'm in favor of bullying, so to speak. That's not true at all. I just don't want the government involved. What needs to happen is that people need to be trained in how to deal with bullies, and society as a whole needs to reinstate social repercussions for attempting to do so.

Anonymous Eric the Red January 21, 2015 1:08 PM  

Leftists have cleverly and stealthily politicized every aspect of life, and every societal organization, including speech describing it. They have ensured that there is effectively no private sphere remaining. Then they disingenuously claim that as long as it's not initiated by government, anyone can be punished for any viewpoint that's not part of their groupthink.

It's the actions while on the job related to delivery of the product that a company has the right to condone or punish, not the political speech of someone while outside the organization's venue. And for speech within that venue, if the intent is to prevent someone from supposedly offending someone else, then that simply amounts to vague, politicized prior restraint. It also assumes that individual employees are like two-year-old children who have no responsibility to control their own precious snowflake feelings, as if the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune can always be laid at the doorstep of some out-group scapegoat, in most cases today white Christian males.

OpenID pancakeloach January 21, 2015 1:13 PM  

I believe the real question is if you express an opinion some random member of the community doesn't like, is it acceptible for them to recruit a mob to boycott the business you work for and pressure your boss to fire you?

I think that this is the pertinent issue. Joshua Dyal does bring up a valuable counterpoint in that the operation of the free market DID indeed "punish" Mozilla (however effectively or ineffectively) for the Eich affair, but the principle of terminating someone's employment with the excuse of "a mob is insisting that we do this because they don't like his opinions on some issue unrelated to our business" is extremely deleterious to a pluralistic society - and it is ONLY in a pluralistic society that Eich can be fired for badthink at the behest of the SJW crowd and still hope to find different employers elsewhere.

If society is made up of only rabbit warrens in which any departure from acceptable thought is met with expulsion, then no freedom of thought exists - which is the motivating principle for freedom of speech as a civil good and not just a limitation on government power. At least that is how I see it.

And that applies equally if the rabbit warren in question is a SJW hivemind or my personal fiefdom.

Anonymous Crude January 21, 2015 3:16 PM  

That's not my attitude at all. I have little interest in crushing anyone's speech.

I didn't say you did. I said you're saying that that's entirely fair game and consistent with a respect for free speech, or even with failing to suppress it. That goes beyond technical legal adherence. I will be the first to admit that it becomes tough to draw a definitive line on, but it's more than strict legal adherence, that much is obvious.

I just don't want the government involved.

Neither do I, as much as possible. And step one of that is not pretending that some legalistic, technical adherence to the letter of the law re: speech cashes out to 'supporting free speech'.

Anonymous Alexander January 21, 2015 3:33 PM  

I think the (big) problem is the lack of Freedom of Association.

The left denies it exists, and so what you get is this double-game being played with freedom of speech. Whereas if we all stated upfront that everyone has the right to associate and disassociate as they please, people would be more deliberate in what they said and did because the sword could cut both ways.

Whereas what we've got instead is government interference. Sure, you *say* you're not using government to oppress speech... but yes, you are. Because you know full well that you are attacking you opponents in a way that if they retaliated, you would call in the strong arm of the law - you pressure Eich to lose his job over a political donation against gay marriage, but you can bet the fed would get involved if it went the other way... you know, in the name of 'protecting speech'.

In Tom Kratman's caliphate, he points out that the president's ability to pardon can be twisted into the power of execution, by simply making it known that killing group X will, when the conviction comes, be pardoned. That's what we have right now, where the left can attack freedom of speech 'outside' of the government and so claim that it still supports the constitution, whereas if the right does the same thing they'll be hammered, officially.

So first we have to reestablish the right of association. The would be tyrants will be a lot less eager to attack you when the system explicitly recognizes their victim the fundamental right to retaliate in kind.

Anonymous map January 21, 2015 3:48 PM  

Crude,

Great point. But just remember: Firefox is not the personal property of the Board of Directors or the Managers. Therefore, there is no property right issue involved that allows Eich to be fired for his opinions. This is an abuse of power on the part of the manager and probably is not legal.

No corporation is some "exception zone" when it comes to rights.

Anonymous Crude January 21, 2015 4:29 PM  

map,

Maybe, maybe not. Outside of my area of expertise, and I admit, my faith in rational understandings of 'legal' has been taking a beating over the years, especially in cases where judicial input is the deciding factor. 'Legal' hinges on the opinions of judges, and SJWs will openly tell judges to ignore the law and interpret things the way they desire.

But what you're telling me can be cashed out in more rational, principled terms anyway.

Blogger James Dixon January 21, 2015 6:37 PM  

> Therefore, there is no property right issue involved that allows Eich to be fired for his opinions.

Eich wasn't fired for his opinions. He was fired for donating money to a political campaign. A political campaign which succeeded with the support of the majority of California voters.

An act which is almost certainly against California labor law if Eich had wanted to push the matter, I might add. Of course, to push the matter he would have had to refuse to resign and make them fire him.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus January 21, 2015 10:16 PM  

Alexander: "I think the (big) problem is the lack of Freedom of Association."

That may not be the big problem but it's certainly a big problem.

"Sure, you *say* you're not using government to oppress speech... but yes, you are. Because you know full well that you are attacking you opponents in a way that if they retaliated, you would call in the strong arm of the law..."

Exactly.

And where does this come from? In part from footnote four of Carolene Products, 1938, which though the dominating influence of America has become widely influential in creating "protected classes" of people, and, silently, unprotected classes of people such as the abominable straight, white, Christian male. The protected people are "discrete and insular minorities" such as Jews, presumed to be helpless in the political system and thus in need of specially intense, protective judicial scrutiny of anything touching on their interests, while as for the unprotected, think of a hockey puck...

When you read the text of the footnote, with its disingenuous, mealy-mouthed, testing-the-waters character, teasing away at ideas that it "is unnecessary to consider now," and you know the gigantic machinery of constitutional twisting via levels of scrutiny and racial and other biases backed by government force that has grown from it, I think it should drive a lesson home: fight everything. There is no victory for the intellectual armies of the enemy that is so small, symbolic and seemingly merely hypothetical that it is not dangerous.

Anonymous Discard January 22, 2015 6:26 AM  

Regarding the matter of whether or not Brendan Eich was actually made homeless, I would point out that if even a rich and powerful man can lose his job for political opinions expressed on his own time and his own property, what chance has a poor man, the sort that would actually be made homeless if he lost his job?

Anonymous Discard January 22, 2015 6:28 AM  

Can a company fire you for union organizing? Why not, Progs?

Who, whom.

Anonymous Discard January 22, 2015 6:32 AM  

Behind the private enforcement of Leftist orthodoxy is the threat of lawsuits over a "hostile workplace". The courts, i.e. the government, have a direct hand in suppressing free speech.

Anonymous Discard January 22, 2015 7:00 AM  

Years ago, Hillsdale College refused to tell the government just how many Blacks, women, etc they had attending. The court said "if any of your students get Federally backed loans, you are on our tit and must comply with our rules".
…..In short, any institution that gets any government money, even indirectly, is an arm of the government. Most "private" abrogation of free speech is therefore government sponsored.

Anonymous Discard January 22, 2015 2:52 PM  

At the very least, government encouraged. They have deliberately created a "hostile workplace" for dissenters from multi-cult orthodoxy.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus January 23, 2015 4:00 AM  

Discard: "They have deliberately created a "hostile workplace" for dissenters from multi-cult orthodoxy."

That they have. The concept of a "hostile workplace" is pure who / whom in practice. (In other words, it's all about who's dishing it out and who's taking it.)

Anonymous Scythian Arrows March 02, 2015 5:06 PM  

http://voxday.blogspot.ca/2015/01/xkcd-fixed-free-speech.html#c5235295967296172649

"Eich wasn't fired for his opinions. He was fired for donating money to a political campaign."

I have yet to see anyone fired from their jobs for either holding pro-Cathedral views, or for publicly donating money to pro-Cathedral causes and candidates. Until I do, I will continue to consider Eich's "resignation" a political hit job to force out ideological enemies.

Anonymous Anonymous March 06, 2015 1:37 AM  

Why do you have anonymous comments enabled if you don't appreciate that some people will be afraid to speak other than anonymously, perhaps for fear of the gun sketched above?

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