Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Wednesday, 2017.03.29
Water does not overcome because it yields. It overcomes because it is
relentless. It perseveres and does not give up. It is constant. Rock can block
water. Rock can even hold water in a lake for thousands of years. Why can't the
yielding overcome the hard then? Because it cannot move. It cannot work its
magic of being relentless.

Just as water must be able to express its true nature in a relentless way, so
too must we simultaneously and relentlessly express our true natures if we are
to be successful in life. Otherwise, we will find ourselves hemmed in by the
hard walls of reality, and we will never be able to break through.

But how do we acquire such perseverance? We start small. As drops.

		Deng Ming-Dao, "365 Tao - Daily Meditations", #349

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.