It may be a more popular stance than it appears because, as the USSR émigrés at work say, "it's hard to know what people really think under censorship."

I share your view that censorship via amplifying monopolist's power then hoping to guide it through nth party boycotts is a quack cure worse than the disease. I would defend our view differently, though. I don't think the approach is mistaken primarily because it will reduce leftist power in the long run. I think it's mistaken because promoting one's ideas through censorship is a great evil that has been tried before.

Of course it gets complicated fast, but it doesn't start out so complicated: ideas need to be tested by granting agency then earning trust, not by seizing power then denying agency.

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Thanks for reading and writing! I agree with all that and think your categorial, moral argument against censorship is a necessary viewpoint. But for me, that argument raises the issue of hate speech. I understand people's terror of hate speech and to some degree share in it. So for now I'm bypassing the difficult question of what to do about it, as I'm not an expert in ethics, law, philosophy or the first amendment. Most people aren't. To me it seems expedient to recognize strategic common ground between people who are most concerned about hate speech and leftists who are first-amendment absolutists: any policy of censorship, no matter whom it's first leveled against, can and probably will come for you next.

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For me it has been so frustrating to watch what I consider remedial, settled ideas re-raised as if they were sticky wickets, so you make a good point. Maybe there are not "facts," but there is law and there is historical context. There should be more deference to, or at least curiosity about, actual expertise. This year I'm giving most of the salaryman-nonprofit-bucks I usually give to theatre to Fire instead, hoping to undo some of the damage:


I guess you've probably encountered that or similar already. Saying something doesn't exist legally isn't the same as saying the concept has no value. Personally I think the concept has little value, but the Fire "experts" (maybe? opinionated experts. . .) are just saying public universities, which in the US have a legal obligation to protect free speech, may not use the concept. And I think you're saying something different, that the common ground within reach is such a big shift from the status quo I need to table my absolutist views for now until we can consider maybe shifting a strong consensus to the new ground and regaining our footing there?

Honestly, I like that view and think it's the useful definition of politics. It's also a thing I respect most in others and want to do better: saying things that can be heard.

But my gut feeling is that the story won't play out that way this time. This faction is so overextended, doubling down on promoting their views with shame and shunning, I think it's all going to fold at once. It's a fundamentally shakey edifice, and with one twig removed people will be running for cover while it collapses. The priority should be to strategically save what's good, but frankly that's their problem not mine . . . and I don't hold much hope: I expect nothing left of the successor ideology than a crater.

Others have already moved past anything within their reach to contribute and raised problems with information gatekeeping/organizing I don't know how to democratize away. I don't have any answer to what Tristan Harris is talking about. He's calling for leftist utopian centralized-intervention solutions, the stuff I've been on lifelong mission to fight, but I'm very uneasy countersignalling him.

His stuff's really off-topic from your post, though. I know to be polite these replies should get shorter and shorter and I'm real bad at that! hopefully the webpage nesting sorta hides it. . .

thx for starting the discussion & replying & etc.!

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