Posts Tagged ‘Free Speech’

Free Speech Versus Islamist Fellow Travelers

May 6, 2015

Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical weekly, was given the American PEN Freedom of Expression Courage Award. Nice and courageous for PEN to do this. During the attack against Charlie Hebdo in January, 12 victims were killed, including two practicing Muslims (one of these Muslims was the Charlie Hebdo “correcteur“, a supervisory editor; the other was a police officer who had come to the rescue).

The gunmen were killed later, but an accomplice of those two  killed (in the back) a (black) police woman, and then a number of patrons in a Jewish supermarket he held hostage (before being killed by police).

Love Stronger Than Hatred: "Cultural Arrogance of the French Nation?"

Love Stronger Than Hatred: “Cultural Arrogance of the French Nation?”

The PEN gala came two days after two Jihadist gunmen opened fire at a Texas competition to draw cartoons inspired by Islam. Hard core Islam does not tolerate drawing the creatures of Allah, be they beasts, or men. A fortiori, prophets.

Accepting the award, Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief Gerard Biard said that the magazine’s shocking and sometimes (gently) offensive content helped combat extremists angry against free speech. “Fear is the most powerful weapon they have,” he said. “Being here tonight we contribute to disarming them.”

Secularism was not the enemy of religion; it simply said that the state had no religion, Biard persevered. “Being shocked is part of the democratic debate. Being shot is not,” he said.

Honoring Charlie Hebdo bitterly divides the literary community of the USA: 200 members of PEN signed a letter claiming: “there is a critical difference between staunchly supporting expression that violates the acceptable, and enthusiastically rewarding such expression.”

This is hogwash. Show me, literary men of little merit,  just ONE cartoon of Charlie Hebdo which is “not acceptable”. Just ONE. Or are you upset about guys kissing guys? And let’s talk about it. Insulting without explicit example to back it up, is just hate speech.

Those literary buffoons of the vicious type, also accused Charlie Hebdo of “cultural intolerance… All this is complicated by PEN’s seeming blindness to the cultural arrogance of the French nation“.

A really hilarious charge for anybody familiar with French and USA societies (the French are much more tolerant: homosexuality was legal in France, in the Sixteenth Century already, and Senegalese were French citizens, under Louis XIV; moreover, slavery became illegal in the Frankish empire, at the time when the Qur’an, which mandates slavery, was written for the first time! There was never any legal racism in France, whereas racism is still official in the USA: just look at the census bureau’s methodology! Among other “racially” aware tweaks… Some racist ways which are perfectly legal in the USA, to this day, are punishable in France with prison!)

Notice also that francophobia (obvious in their denunciation of “cultural arrogance of the French…”) is not racist, according to those fellow travelers of the most violent form of Islamism.

Satire is more than 5 centuries old in France. Satire is viewed as central to civilization. Some French regimes fell, just because of satire, even centuries ago, before the USA was constituted. Charlie Hebdo is just one of several French satirical publications. They have no equivalent in the USA, as they are too “shocking” for the USA, where the respect for authority (including tax-free superstitions) is highly ingrained.

Humor is central to intelligence formation.

To become more intelligent, we have to envision more of all the possibilities imaginable (within the boundaries set to free speech by the law). This is all what cartoons are about.

The irony is that Charlie Hebdo is fanatically anti-racist. It was made, to be fanatically anti-racist. Biard and Congolese author Alain Mabanckou told the PEN audience that Charlie Hebdo was and always had been “anti-racist”, a reply to the criticism that the magazine portrayed French racial and religious minorities in a stereotypical way. “Charlie Hebdo has fought all forms of racism since its inception,” Biard said.

Jean-Baptiste Thoret, who received the prize with his colleague Briard, told Charlie Rose that Charlie Hebdo is “absolutely not the same” as the Texas contest because the magazine does not specifically target Islam. It is true, that, over the years, Catholicism has been more of a target. Overall, Charlie Hebdo is focused on politics, not religion, so politicians are the first victims of Charlie Hebdo’s harassment.

I am personally of the opinion that the empire of Islam upon vast parts of the world, is the MAIN cause of their poverty and on-going mayhem, just as Christianism was in Europe, in the Middle-Ages. Same problem.

And it has the same solution: just as Christianism was domesticated by civilization, and this is called secularism, Islamism too, has to be domesticated.

Those who claim to refuse to understand secularism is better than Islamism are actually closet racists. What else? They want Muslims to keep on being oppressed, subjugated, victimized, mutilated, humiliated and decerebrated by the ideology of Islamism. And especially the women (whom the Qur’an views legally as a fraction of the worth of men, at best).

Salman Rushdie lived under a fatwa from Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini for a decade for writing the supposedly blasphemous Satanic Verses. This means that Salman Rushdie, for mentioning a part of the Qur’an, was condemned to death, by Ayatollah Khomeini, who ordered all and any Muslim in good standing to go, and kill Mr. Rusdie, so that they could be rewarded by Allah.

My opinion is that this was an International Crime, as Khomeini was then the dictator, the head of state, of Iran. A warrant ought to have written for Khomeini’s arrest.

Mr. Rushdie described those who opposed the PEN’s award to Charlie Hebdo as fellow travelers” of the Islamic extremists who murdered the Charlie Hebdo staff, and argued on Facebook: “I fear some old friendships will break on this wheel.”

Let me repeat slowly: those who claim that there is everything good to be living under an Islamist dictatorship are racist. (Living under Islam is supposed to be living under an Islamist dictatorship , according to the Qur’an itself). The Qur’an is one of the most violent books anywhere: see “Violence in the Holy Qur’an”. I don’t have anything against violence, if and only if, it is fully justified, and the only solution. But ordering to kill ill-defined “unbelievers,” as the Qur’an has it pages after pages, is not acceptable. To me. And that’s true for Catholicism, Protestantism, or Islamism.

It’s not acceptable to Islamists themselves, as it drives them lethally crazy: millions of them spend most of their time wanting to kill each other, and acting on it. That may have been OK in the Middle -Ages, but nowadays, with Weapons of Mass Destruction easy to make, this attitude is not compatible with the continuation of civilization. Thus we cannot afford indifference to it.

We are at war, whether we want it, or not. Those who do not understand this are traitors to civilization, just as those who did not understand the danger of Nazism, and that tolerating Nazism was intolerable, were traitors to civilization, in a very similar vein. And this is not just an accidental analogy: Hitler was a loud supporter of Islamism (the Nazi dictator loudly admired Islam’s violence and war-mongering, while despising the softness of Christianism).

Those who love Islamism, just as those who loved Hitlerism, are not just cowards, but ill-informed, and not very smart.

Patrice Ayme’

Censoring “Electrocoal”, Violating Democracy

November 26, 2014

“Scientific American” Censors “Electrocoal”, Violating Free Speech, the Status of the Internet as Public Utility, And, More Generally, Democracy:

President Obama declared last week that the Internet was a Public Utility. Rightly so. Say you build up a bridge. Does that give you the right to do whatever you want with the bridge when people use it? Not so, especially if the bridge has become a Public Utility.

Any media using the Internet is, to some extent, a Public Utility, because the Internet is a Public Utility.

Expression on the Internet is what Free Speech has become now.

A fundamental democratic right in Athens was that of addressing the Assembly.

There should be a right of free speech answer, especially when a site allows public comments.

More generally, the Internet is in need of laws, with the core aim of enabling Free Speech, and disallowing Hate Speech. Commercial, For-Profit Speech ought to be regulated: commerce is always regulated.

As it is, the Internet is the Wild West, and those with the biggest guns rule. Comments, rankings, private information and access are manipulated all over. Some companies’ business is actually to write fake comments and reviews, while passing for non-profit oriented free speech individuals: this ought to be considered consumer fraud, and the appropriate laws ought to be passed to criminalize the activity.

Scientific American is in the habit of censoring comments: “deciding what material is displayed on our website is our right”. They have censored strict scientific comments from me (without explanation).

A law ought to be passed forbidding public utilities to censor comments without some excellent reason. (Journalists are above the law in the sense that they do not have to reveal their sources, nor can be tried for opinion; so journalism always has a public utility aspect at its root.)

Take the example of Free Speech in the street: it is a right of democracy. Yet it can be curtailed by the police if, and only if, it “disrupts the peace”, or violates other laws. In practice, the police rarely intervenes (in democracy, it would have to justify its intervention!)

Scientific American censors, and others, such as Facebook, have argued that their website is their own property, they can do what they want. Well, not really. The problem is that they are in position of monopoly (or more exactly, oligarchy). Then, to empower their oligarchy, they use, and need to use, a Public Utility. That means they are financed by the citizenry in general. Moreover, they got a fiduciary duty: informing and debating in a non grossly misleading, non injurious way.

I related that The Economist censored me for quoting the Qur’an (no, I did not join the Jihad; my aim was to show that, at face value, the Qur’an calls for violent acts, and, thus, the need for Imams to inform believers that this is all allegorical, and outlawing interpretations that are stricto sensu).

In an article on fuel cell cars, the SA Master allowed dozens of comments from (taxpayer financed) Elon Musk’s minions, calling fuel cell cars “fool cars”. That was not censored. I replied in kind.

Scientific American censored me for calling electric cars, ELECTROCOAL. So doing, I claim that Scientific American violated the notion of PUBLIC UTILITY.

Scientific American sent me the following email:

“This comment has been deleted. Scientific American reserves the right to delete comments and revoke commenting privileges without notice. A subscription does not exempt you from our rules, and deciding what material is displayed on our website is our right, not censorship. You can create your own website for your own opinions and views, to share with the world. Scientific American does not owe anyone a platform – anyone may create a website of their own.

This comment is off-topic. Further violations will result in the loss of your commenting privileges, so please review our guidelines carefully. This help desk will not provide another warning.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/page/sa-community-guidelines/

Regards,

SA Webmaster”

[Notice the contradictions and the weasel words, Big Brother speech: censorship desk is called “help desk”, and “further violations…no other warning”.] “Webmaster” is an interesting Freudian slip: in a free society, the Internet should have laws, not “masters”.

Calling Tesla Electric Cars “electrocoal” is an allusion to the fact that electric cars in the USA are loaded with electricity that is half produced in coal thermal plants. So their global efficiency is that of a coal burning installation (more on this in another essay).

The Masters at Scientific American don’t like “electrocoal”. So they censor it, and call me a “violator”. And threaten to unilaterally cancel a contract with me, while still taking my money. No law prevents them to indulge in all these abuses of power.

Just as no law prevents Uber, an Internet based car-rental company, to use the private information it gathers on its clients, tracking them, selling the data.

Uber has apologized. But there should be a law, and employees, and owners, who have violated that law ought to go to jail. Yes, shareholders ought to be punished, as those who owned shares in companies that make money from slaves, ought to be punished; believe or not, those are still around!

Laws are not censorship, they are the common rules which apply equally. Private censorship, though, while using the Public Utility of the Internet, is a violation of said equality, which is the essence of democracy. Violation of democracy ought to be unlawful, just as the equally vaguely defined “hate speech”, or “genocide” are unlawful.

The problem is the same as when plutocrats use publicly financed research to increase their wealth or power (thus scientific publishing ought to be open source, and subsidies from the likes of NASA to private enterprises subject to serious examination… same as subsidies to big banks).

The ultimate reason for democracy, is not fairness, but intelligence. That makes even dictators long for democracy. Democracy allows the group to reach higher intelligence than any other society. The Internet is a tool to further the debate of ideas (ideas which do not violate the law, including hate speech, that is).

Violating the free debate of ideas ought to be left to dictators, and other “Masters”. It ought to be illegal in democracy.

The right of reply ought to be enshrined in democracy. The manipulations of commentary, and censorship for profit or bullies’ sake, or for perverting the minds of the public or children (see Islamism) ought to be illegal, even if done under the cover of higher morality, or hypocrisy.

Internet policing will not solve all the problems of vicious thinking, but it will allow to threaten to address the most egregious of them.

Patrice Ayme’


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Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

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Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

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in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

Defending Scientism

SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

Where The Eagles Fly . . . . Art Science Poetry Music & Ideas

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

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Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

Defending Scientism