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10/25/2018 3:23 pm  #11


Re: Liberty and regulation

seigneur wrote:

FZM wrote:

​I don't think they exist in the US. And it is more like a certain level of concern than outrage, though some might be outraged.

It's actually outspoken outrage there, and part of regular political action too https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlhYLP1YFQY

If it's not in law and not discussed in legislature, then the fact that there are political activists preemptively outraged over it is in itself quite outrageous. Such "level of concern" is just nuts.

Those people tend to proudly think of themselves as living in the freest country in the world. And what do they do with their freedom? They label their own government "communist" and campaign against it. Under communism you would not be able to campaign like this, duh, so if your target is communism, your government is not that. If your target is your government, find a more suitable label to describe your grievances. But I guess you have the freedom to do and say whatever nonsense gets in your heads so that's exactly what you do...

​I was looking through some of my boxes of old books last night and found a Portuguese one from the early 40s which contained a concise taxonomy of different political ideas, this kind of thing would fit in with what is described as 'anarchism' there. But, there seem to be some differences between broadly European assumptions about politics and how things are understood in the USA, I can imagine the New State in Portugal ending up placed on the political left by libertarian minded types.    
 

 

10/26/2018 4:20 pm  #12


Re: Liberty and regulation

Doesn't Germany have quite strong limits on free speech for a Western nation?

https://www.politico.eu/article/germany-hate-speech-netzdg-facebook-youtube-google-twitter-free-speech/

I don't think this is a uniquely Anglo-Saxon issue.

Perhaps there's less protest on the continent because Anglo-Saxon nations have tended to have a tradition of less tolerance for invasive government intervention and surveillance in such areas. Mandatory papers or identification has been commonplace on the continent for centuries, yet the idea of a national I.D. card is (or at least was) long seen as anti-British. Britain has been changing, but the idea that off-colour jokes or slightly controversial political and social opinions could get you arrested is contrary to long-held notions of the liberties of Englishmen and the role of the British state (spare me attempts to show this attitude wasn't always consistent - I don't doubt examples can be found. When are humans consistent? It doesn't change the main point). I don't think it's whining to object. On the face of it, there has been a worrying increase in the scope of state censorship of opinion in Britain.

I'm not a classical liberal, and I don't much care if actual racialist tirades and the like are banned. But in Britain hate speech has been far beyond this at times to include off-colour jokes and even political views that are controversial, but far from extremist. Indeed, sometimes it has looked like there is a desire to make even moderate and sensible criticism of considerable parts of left-liberal ideology illegal. How long, for example, would arguments like those Dr. Feser makes against homosexual actions and marriage, be legal to publish? It isn't whinning to object to these sinister developments.

There's also the fact of the misuse of resources. One county police force literally told people to investigate their own burglaries, but many forces have squads dedicated to online hate speech. Then there's the lack of proportionality in the response of the police and justice system. For example, one man threw bacon at a Mosque. He was gaoled, if I recall correctly, for about a year. I'm not necessarily saying what he did should not be an offence, but I would bet that if he'd just punched a random person in the face (assuming he has no record and didn't do lasting damage) he would be unlucky to go to gaol. Peter Hitchens did a column where he compared the year or so sentence, for a first offence, of someone who callously mocked on Twitter a black football player who had had a heart on the pitch, with a heroin addict who was going to prison for the first time after more than two hundred offences, like theft and drug possession. Finally, I recall reading, in the reporting around one of the rape gang cases, that Somerset police had, at one point, been more interested in a racial slur a young abuse victim had made against her abuser than the abuse itself (which they had good evidence for). There is evidence that a disturbing lack of proportionality can accompany the mentality of those who want expansive hate speech prohibitions.

On social media companies, there is a clear pattern of excessive and politically motivated action against conservatives and the right. Twitter, as an illustration, has banned or taken action against conservatives for far less (sometimes even for what shouldn't be actionable at all) than what Louis Farrakhan has said on Twitter, yet Farrakhan not only is not banned, but he still has his blue tick. I'm not sure what it means to say these companies are just enforcing the law. This is, firstly, false, if it means there is no evidence of bias or zeal against the right from these companies. Also, it isn't just British or German conservatives who have been punished, but Americans. And there are, and can be, no hate speech laws in America. Are the companies using British or Canadian or German laws to police the speech of Americans? I doubt the average American would like to hear that.

I'm not adverse to more regulation, or trust-busting, for these companies, but I do think we can all do something by not using them. We don't have to use them. I don't know why anyone would want to use Twitter. I don't use Google. I do have a Facebook account, but I use it minimally, to have means of keeping in touch with old friends, and have long considered getting rid of it. Google is an obvious place to start. Every conservative should use duckduckgo or similar.

Edit: I happened to stumble on this today, which I thought was timely:

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/10/scotland-government-anti-hate-campaign-virtue-signals/

If you read the Scottish government's posters, what will strike you, at least if you've been paying any attention to these issues for the last decade, is how vague and ambiguous it all is. On the one hand, it the posters who refer to people who do things like push transexuals in the street. And who wouldn't think stuff like that should be illegal? But, if you look closely, and read in the context of the identity politics activism and past government actions, it is hard not to think the posters are alluding to a much wider range of behaviours and actions, some that shouldn't be the business of the state.

 

10/27/2018 4:52 am  #13


Re: Liberty and regulation

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

Doesn't Germany have quite strong limits on free speech for a Western nation?

https://www.politico.eu/article/germany-hate-speech-netzdg-facebook-youtube-google-twitter-free-speech/

I don't think this is a uniquely Anglo-Saxon issue.

Aren't Germans still Saxons?

From your link, "The (new hate speech) law also highlights the problems that policymakers, in Berlin and elsewhere, now face when trying to police what can, and cannot, be posted online..." Posted online - the issue in this case is not with the hate speech law. The policymakers are not even supposed to be doing the policing. And it's not the police policing either. It's Twitter, a bunch of internet technicians doing the policing. It is not the problem of the law and not the problem of authority, but a problem of the mindset that thinks they can outsource police authority.

From the link, "The core problem is that companies can play judges." Not really, because you cannot outsource that authority to them. It's within the platform's or network's powers to block a message or an account, but if the content is really and clearly illegal, the idea should be to catch the criminal, and that's a police thing. When a content is flagged illegal, it should go to the police, not stop at the admin of the platform.

Also, people should stop thinking that an internet platform enables their whole life and when their account is banned or even just a message gets deleted, whole life with all its rights is gone. If the content is illegal, police should deal with the criminal. If it's not illegal, police and judge should have the power to have the content reinstated. Similar rules as in journalism and in academia.

From the link, "In response, tech companies say they already have taken several steps, including investing millions of euros in artificial intelligence to track potential illegal material online, to combat the spread of hate speech and extremist propaganda across their networks." Yup, artificial intelligence to combat whatever people get into their heads. And when you manage to do that, it's proof that it's time to replace our legislators, judges, and police force with bots, and that would be a better world, right?

-------
I have heard a few people convicted in Germany for holocaust-denial. Something like "thou shalt not deny the holocaust" is in the laws in other countries too in continental Europe, notably Sweden (another putatively Saxon country) that did not even participate in WWII. And, guess what, in Israel!

Anyway, my point is: Such a law may be there, but people are not getting randomly wholesale jailed as scaremongerers would have it. Moreover, the law was NOT put in place by commies or leftists. When repeatedly challenged in courts (because law against holocaust-denial would seem to infringe freedom of expression), the law in various countries is usually found sound, because freedom of expression does not extend to malicious intent or defence of crimes and criminals, clauses which are normally explicit in the same law.

In commie or leftist or whatever countries, when people are wholesale jailed, it is not because of a specific law, but because the government is totalitarian and totalitarian governments get into terror campaign mode occasionally, with little or no reason. The exact same occurs under rightist dictators, monarchs, and revolutions, democratic or junta or clique type.

For the rightist alarmist perspective, much of this complex reality does not fit the narrative. In the mind of rightist alarmists, leftists would make censorship laws because they oppose freedom of speech. In reality, you can have all the freedom of speech you want, as long as you do not criticise the rulers and their ideology - and that's true of all dictatorships and tyrannies.

Freedom is a double-edged sword that cannot be spoken of without qualifications. Freedoms have to be both enacted and protected. Both enactment and protection requires a legal or traditional framework, i.e. basically intervention of government or other such authority. Freedom from government intervention would be anarchy, a very illiberal thing.

Last edited by seigneur (10/27/2018 6:02 am)

 

10/27/2018 6:03 am  #14


Re: Liberty and regulation

You don't really talk about the actual laws and cases. I'm no expert, but in Germany, I believe, and other continental countries the issues go far beyond holocaust denial. I believe that criticism of mass immigration is pretty hazardous in Germany, for example. The European courts just declared criticism of Mohammed can be made illegal (after Austria convicted someone for calling him a paedophile - I'm not anti-Islam, but the majority Sunni opinion is Aisha was about 9 at the consumation of their marriage, so saying what this woman did hardly seems to be a prima facie absurd claim):

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/10/free-speech-sharia-european-court-of-human-rights-ruling/

I have already mentioned British incidents that go far beyond actual racialist abuse or something like holocaust denial. So, one can suggest conservatives are exaggerating or invoking an illicit appeal to a slippery slope , but one can't seriously maintain that all they are reacting to is the banning of the most extreme and obvious hate speech, like holocaust denial.

Twitter has demonstrated clear bias against conservatives, and it would be very hard to say this is just enforcing the law. For one, Twitter did nothing to Farrakhan when be called Jews termites, despite undertaking an official review, but has targeted conservatives for far less (even for what shouldn't be actionable). Secondly, Twitter is an American company and has targeted American conservatives, when there is, and, as long as constitutional jurisprudence doesn't change, can't be, hate speech laws in the US. So what law are they enforcing? German law over US citizens, in the US?

I'm not sure of the point in your last two paragraphs. Rightwing, like left-wing, is a term so broad as to be basically meaningless. Those conservatives who argue for free speech aren't channelling General Franco intellectually, but John Stuart Mill. I personally am not a classical liberal, and am not a free speech absolutist. I actually think that the unthinking adoption of classical liberal positions by conservatives is problematic. But, still, that doesn't mean there aren't real threats to expression in many Western countries. The questions are, will we be able to express basic social and cultural conservative principles and positions (or just about anything that differs from left-liberal orthodoxy) without fear of arrest; and will even jokes and the most private speech be policed for political and cultural offence, with criminal penalty? There are reasons to be worried about the answers to both these questions.

 

10/27/2018 6:16 am  #15


Re: Liberty and regulation

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

Twitter has demonstrated clear bias against conservatives, and it would be very hard to say this is just enforcing the law. For one, Twitter did nothing to Farrakhan called Jews termites, despite undertaking an official review, but has targeted conservatives for far less (even for what shouldn't be actionable). Secondly, Twitter is an American company and has targeted American conservatives, when there is, and, as long as constitutional jurisprudence doesn't change, can't be, hate speech laws in the US. So what law are they enforcing? German law over US citizens, in the US?

The issue is that Twitter should not be enforcing any laws at all. As any other company, they should be merely observing and following laws.

You are an admin here, so you should know how banning works. You personally notice something objectionable and you, likely, take action. Or somebody flags a post/poster. In a huge platform like Twitter, they have bots looking for specific content.

I would like to see the evidence that there is a clear bias against conservatives. Possibly the whistleblowing segment of twitterers may have bias, but the bots have no bias. They get false positives randomly.

My idea is this: If the content is really illegal, it should not stop at Twitter, but go over to the police for investigation. If not illegal, police or judge should have the power to reinstate the content and the account. This works in journalism and in academia. Unless you think journalism and academia have anti-conservative bias too and don't really work. If those don't work, then okay, nothing works and the world is lost.

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

I'm not sure of the point in your last two paragraphs. Rightwing, like left-wing, is a term so broad as to be basically meaningless.

That was exactly the point. I would add that it's also meaningless to talk about anti-conservative bias without clear cases at hand.

Last edited by seigneur (10/27/2018 6:17 am)

 

10/27/2018 6:24 am  #16


Re: Liberty and regulation

Well, you ignored most of what I said, but okay. But what laws is Twitter following when it, an American company, enforces hate speech regulations on Americans? Yet again, there are no American hate speech laws, and can't be constitutionally. Are they enforcing German, British, or Canadian laws on Americans? This is especially pertinent, since, again, we're certainly not just talking of obvious bigotry, racialism, and the like.

The social media bias against conservatives is relatively obvious to those who have been paying attention. As I said, just look and Farrakhan and the lack of response to strongly anti-Semitic comments from him compared to action against conservatives for far less. I don't have the evidence at hand,  but I'm sure it will be easy enough to find. I take it you didn't hear the stuff leaked from Google itself in the last few months, like its 2016 get out to vote funding that targeted Democratic voters, or the post-election expressions of sympathy and woe for the result from management and the company apparatus?

Edit: He's one source, which talks of some of the issues of bias, like shadow banning:

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/columnists/adriana_cohen/2018/09/social_media_must_end_anti_conservative_bias

Here's another source, and not a conservative outlet:

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2018/09/04/social_medias_opaque_response_to_conservative-bias_charges_137975.html

As with the BBC and other mainstream media outlets, it isn't always easy to prove bias to a determined objector. It can always be objected that these are rare occurrences (which magically always seem to go the same way) or that it's all subjective. But any unbiased, informed, and alert person who pays enough attention can't help but see the bias soon enough.

 

10/27/2018 6:45 am  #17


Re: Liberty and regulation

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

Well, you ignored most of what I said, but okay. But what laws is Twitter following when it, an American company, enforces hate speech regulations on Americans?

And you ignored what I said. I question whether Twitter is enforcing any hate speech regulations at all, rather than going by fits and starts of admins and whistleblowers, and wholesale false positives by bots, all of which are subjective (or at best "artificially intelligent"), perhaps remotely based on their own terms and conditions, hardly on any law.

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

Yet again, there are no American hate speech laws, and can't be constitutionally. Are they enforcing German, British, or Canadian laws on Americans?

I question whether they are enforcing any laws at all. In my view, they are just weakly reacting to outbursts of complaints.

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

The social media bias against conservatives is relatively obvious to those who have been paying attention. As I said, just look and Farrakhan and the lack of response to strongly anti-Semitic comments from him compared to action against conservatives for far less. I don't have the evidence at hand,  but I'm sure it will be easy enough to find.

It's about as good as this: Trump suggests Twitter is biased against him, provides no evidence

I think it would take some specific conscious tweak so that bots would not touch Trump's messages, and Twitter has likely done that. Twitter is biased in favour of Trump.

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

I take it you didn't hear the stuff leaked from Google itself in the last few months, like its 2016 get out to vote funding that targeted Democratic voters, or the post-election expressions of sympathy and woe for the result from management and the company apparatus?

Yes, I noticed it. But that would be Google, not Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Google had a funny tweaked search result for "miserable failure" at one point too, but still W got to be the president. And Trump is president now. And Google is under pressure to be fair and equal in their judgement.

Last edited by seigneur (10/27/2018 6:48 am)

 

10/27/2018 6:57 am  #18


Re: Liberty and regulation

You ignored the links I posted. I would perhaps allow that you replied after I added them, except your replies include quotes with changes I made after I added the links at the bottom of my post. The final quote of mine you responded to I added to the body of my quote after I added the links at the bottom.

Also, the point about Farrakhan is nothing like what you link to about Trump. Farrakhan has called Jews termites on Twitter, and has spewed other such nonsense. Those on the right, take Milo Yiannopoulos (whom I'm no fan of), have been banned for less. And, it isn't a matter of bots. Human beings look into these issues. Twitter undertook a review of Farrakhan's post and then decided to take no action.

Google has a lot of power, and there's reason to think they have misused occasionally and may misuse it ever more so. What should be done about that is a good question, but I don't think it is trivial question, which can be flippantly dismissed. As I said, given Google's actions, I would advise conservatives choose a different search engine and browser. This is easy enough to do.

In the end there are two issues here. One is what should and shouldn't be banned. The other is whether these rules are carried out without bias. I think, on both counts, there's reason not to trust Facebook, Twitter, etc. There is both the fact many of these outlets have basic rules that unfairly target conservatives (for example, the most respectfully expressed and restrained conservative views on homosexuaity or abortion or mass immigration are at risk in a way that is not the case for major left-liberal social and cultural views) and that the humans who undertake much of the arbitration often don't enforce the rules even as neutrally as strict interpretation would allow.

 

10/27/2018 7:38 am  #19


Re: Liberty and regulation

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

Also, the point about Farrakhan is nothing like what you link to about Trump. Farrakhan has called Jews termites on Twitter, and has spewed other such nonsense. Those on the right, take Milo Yiannopoulos (whom I'm no fan of), have been banned for less. And, it isn't a matter of bots. Human beings look into these issues.

I am no fan of Milo Yiannopoulos either. He has had some conservative following, but he is patently not a conservative himself. For what I can tell, he could be an impostor, a liberal posing as conservative. So that could be actually an instance of a liberal getting banned.

Otherwise, have you been counting bans against liberals on Twitter, so that all would be fair and balanced?

In my own experience, there have been a few photos and videos, views of random trees and houses taken by myself, that I have not been able to upload because of "copyrighted content". The block did not occur after uploading, but upon uploading, i.e. false positive by an automated bot. When this occurs multiple times to a non-entity like me, I can perhaps be permitted to deduce that bots are overeager.

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

In the end there are two issues here. One is what should and shouldn't be banned. The other is whether these rules are carried out without bias. I think, on both counts, there's reason not to trust Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Oh, there are more issues. I think there is an overeagerness to enforce hate speech laws, but the overeagerness is on the part of European lawmakers (and perhaps US public opinion), not on the part of companies like Twitter. The overeagerness is thoroughly misguided. First, the companies are not law enforcement. Therefore, when pressured into taking law-enforcement-like action, they are absolutely bound to do it wrong, because they would do as little as possible with as little cost as possible, or for as much monetary profit as possible.

In my view, the danger is not in what Twitter, FB, etc. are doing, but in that legislators have come to think that they can pressure public platforms into regulating public content - just the content. The target should be the people who generate such illegal content, and that's a police matter, not up to the companies. So the focus should be on how police could enforce the laws, not how the companies could do it. If the law cannot be sensibly enforced by the police, perhaps it's not a sensible law in the first place.

In this discussion, I do not think it is fruitful in trying to find out what laws specifically Twitter is enforcing here (they should not be enforcing any laws in the first place). Also, it is not fruitful to blanket-condemn hate speech laws. Spewing hate in public is objectionable and can reasonably be subject to law enforcement as an offence, or a crime if it led to a bigger riot. However, law enforcement is reasonably police, not a business or a public platform.

When a delition or ban occurs on Twitter, that's directly suppression of freedom of expression in every instance. However, it is an extremely limited instance. On the one hand, not all speech is free, never was, and on the other, Twitter specifically does not give you free speech. If it did, then everybody without a Twitter account would have no free speech. Since Twitter is not a giver of free speech, it also does not take it away in any drastic sense.

Things become more dire when legislators define certain permitted/banned expressions and then tell companies to watch out for those expressions. That's misplacing the authority law enforcement.

 

10/27/2018 7:48 am  #20


Re: Liberty and regulation

Personally, I think Twitter is useless and wouldn't care at all about it, except left-liberal media, including those with important social influence, often take it as representative of the community.

That said, it is still biased (it may well be the worst of all the major social media outlets, plus Google, for bias), and you didn't respond to those links. The actions under discussion are obviously not just photos not being posted. If you have evidence of many liberals, even any, having action taken against them for something akin to what conservatives have (i e., when not actually harassing people, inciting violence, or posting truly racialist or similar content), please post it. The idea Twitter et al. are just politically neutral organisations trying to keep the peace on their platforms is certainly not the whole truth.

I agree that platforms shouldn't be pressured into playing police, but Facebook and Twitter, at least, haven't just been passive in this, but have embraced the role. They have said as much.

Twitter et al. are private companies, but they're also very powerful platforms. Whether they should be regulated is a real question. Obviously, to a  pure classical liberal they probably shouldn't, but I'm not a classical liberal. Still, as noted, I think we can do our bit by ceasing to use many of the more well-known outlets. I have never used Twitter and don't use Google, and severely limit my use of Facebook.

 

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