Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Sunday, 2017.05.28
Inductive logic is much more difficult - but can produce new truths.

		Robert Heinlein, "Time Enough For Love"

2008.06.11

Dear New York Times, Go Out Of Business Already

In the New York Times: Unlike Others, U.S. Defends Freedom to Offend in Speech

Damn straight, Gray Lady…er…Lady of Deathly Pallor. And also unlike others, we’re the stronger, freer nation.

“A couple of years ago, a Canadian magazine published an article arguing that the rise of Islam threatened Western values. The article’s tone was mocking and biting, but it said nothing that conservative magazines and blogs in the United States do not say every day without fear of legal reprisal.”

Just the conservatives? The setting on Adam Liptak’s nanny firewall is clearly blocking the hate dripping and oozing from such sites as HuffPo, Daily KOS and even Barack Obama’s official web site. In either case, such things are not said “without fear or legal reprisal”, rather they are said under the protection of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Some prominent legal scholars say the United States should reconsider its position on hate speech.

“It is not clear to me that the Europeans are mistaken,” Jeremy Waldron, a legal philosopher, wrote in The New York Review of Books last month, “when they say that a liberal democracy must take affirmative responsibility for protecting the atmosphere of mutual respect against certain forms of vicious attack.”

Yes, visibility from the ever elevating Ivory Tower must be a challenge these days, Professor. “Affirmative responsibility?” What the hell is that? Makes as much sense as “negative responsibility.” Is this how legal philosophers talk amongst themselves whilst sipping brandy and smoking Virginia Slims on the balcony?

Professor Waldron was reviewing “Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment” by Anthony Lewis, the former New York Times columnist. Mr. Lewis has been critical of efforts to use the law to limit hate speech.

But even Mr. Lewis, a liberal, wrote in his book that he was inclined to relax some of the most stringent First Amendment protections “in an age when words have inspired acts of mass murder and terrorism.” In particular, he called for a re-examination of the Supreme Court’s insistence that there is only one justification for making incitement a criminal offense: the likelihood of imminent violence.

The map is not the territory, guys. The word is not the thing. If an artist can understand this, maybe you professorial philosophy types should switch to smoking pipes.

Laws that attempt to eliminate words which supposedly “inspired acts of mass murder and terrorism” are unenforceable and subject the vast majority of the population to the tyranny of the select few who “define” such words. It’s what’s happening in Canada.

The State jargon of despots such as Hussein, Stalin, Hitler and Mao was the politically correct language of their respective States and times. You won’t eliminate mass murder and terrorism by controlling speech. It’s more probable you will help pave the way toward the next set of global atrocities.

Harvey A. Silverglate, a civil liberties lawyer in Cambridge, Mass., disagreed. “When times are tough,” he said, “there seems to be a tendency to say there is too much freedom.”

“Free speech matters because it works,” Mr. Silverglate continued. Scrutiny and debate are more effective ways of combating hate speech than censorship, he said, and all the more so in the post-Sept. 11 era.

“The world didn’t suffer because too many people read ‘Mein Kampf,’ ” Mr. Silverglate said.

Indeed.

2008.06.01

Crossroads

I’m in the midst of the consulting gig from hell and just finished my fourth straight week commuting between Denver and New York City. Barely enough time to keep up on personal business, let alone blog. But there has been time to think about where I’m at and where I’m going. As time permits, I’ll post pictures I’ve taken along the way.

An intersection that needs no introduction…

…and perhaps one that does. Grand Central Station…

Pausing to spend time in these spaces, I wonder how many hello’s and goodbyes have happened here? How many hopes and dreams either ended or began at these intersections of human experience?

2008.03.28

Anti-American Bias At Al Jazeera English? No!

Holy reeling stunning revolations, Batman (H/T LGF):

“Former ‘Nightline’ reporter Dave Marash has quit Al-Jazeera English, saying Thursday his exit was due in part to an anti-American bias at a network that is little seen in this country.”

And this is interesting:

“Marash said he felt that attitude more from British administrators than Arabs at the Qatar-based network.”

I guess there are a few Brits who just can’t get over the whole 1776 thing. Or perhaps it’s that their own country is sunk so deep in the multicultural tar pit it’s beyond their ability to muster any hope, so they might as well shift their anti-sentiments to a country that at least has some hope for survival in the 21st century. There once was a time when the sun never set on the British Empire. Looks to be a day on the horizon when the sun may never rise on the British Empire.

In other news:

Job Opening: Al Jazeera seeks self-loathing, English speaking (American citizen preferred) TV personality. Actual personality not required. Prior experience as anti-American tool and Useful Idiot preferred.

2008.03.17

Life B.T. (Before Television)

When the younger generation asks us elders, “What did you do before there was television to keep entertained?”, it’s a difficult question to answer. Not hard difficult, but embarrassingly difficult:

We had the The Swing Wing:

“It’s a what?” It’s a Swing Wing! Because “Self-induced Whiplasher” just wouldn’t sell as well, you know.

But that’s not all! We also had Clackers! What fun! What hilarity when those things busted into pieces and flew in all directions. More thrilling than lawn darts! And they say only video games cause brain damage.

[Edit History]

2008.03.17

James Lileks elaborates.


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