Quote note (#164)

The conclusion to a fascinating, data-rich post on support for free speech:

The consistent free speech position gets stronger as you get more liberal, and, as you get more intelligent. But it is interesting that the position where you won’t allow a racist to speak but you will allow a Muslim cleric to speak gets more frequent among liberals and the very intelligent. This, I believe, explains some of the rumblings and equivocation about free speech absolutism. These are a minority, but they are vocal. In contrast, though there are hardcore civil libertarians on the Right, it is almost certainly true that many conservatives who support the right to blaspheme Islam are less willing to stand up for the right to blaspheme the flag of the United States (e.g., allow someone to defecate on it, for example). […] Tne major caveat that needs to placed here is that traditionally the elites of this country have been more defensive about free speech than the populace as a whole. That’s probably because the elites are worried more about power plays by their rivals. Ultimately politically oriented free speech is important for those with ambition and aspirations.

May 5, 2015admin 14 Comments »
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14 Responses to this entry

  • Quote note (#164) | Neoreactive Says:

    […] Quote note (#164) […]

    Posted on May 5th, 2015 at 3:20 pm Reply | Quote
  • Brett Stevens Says:

    People should acknowledge that freedom, rights and democracy are part of the same nonsense: the idea that you can create an absolute rule granting an ability, while not granting it to those who would work against the idea itself. Where do I vote to end democracy? I’m for free speech for everyone, except those against free speech.


    Posted on May 5th, 2015 at 4:20 pm Reply | Quote
  • scientism Says:

    I sketched out a theory of free speech on Twitter recently that goes something like this:

    1. Every culture, by definition, holds up certain values and ostracises those who don’t conform to them. Free speech, as an ideal, is absurd and contradictory.

    2. Free speech, held up as an ideal, actually serves the purpose of creating a permanent version of Mao’s ‘hundred flowers’ campaign. Mao encouraged political experimentation and then, having drawn dissidents out into the open, crushed them. In the US, the predominant political culture has a sort of esoteric-exoteric split. The esoteric element – the values and norms of the elite – can only be learned by attending the right institutions and is subject to ever-shifting fashions that make it hard to keep up with. The exoteric element is a series of cynical and absurd ‘rights’ used to draw out and systematically humiliated those outside elite circles. Thus, the dissident, enamoured of his right to free speech, makes a lot of noise, but, since he doesn’t understand the (esoteric) values and norms of the elite, he inevitably makes a fool of himself in the eyes of the elite and the media. He is then marginalised based on credentialism: he is a crank, a crackpot, a fraud, a fringe element. All of these terms essentially mean ‘outsider’. The evidence for this is that he does not understand those esoteric values and norms that the Harvard graduate understands (and, of course, nobody can make it through Harvard unless they conform).

    3. Free speech, as a standing invitation to humiliate oneself before one’s betters, renders dissent impotent. People think they can win the ‘voice’ game and they’re constantly being fed the illusion that it works (because the Left falsely presents itself as a grassroots, voice-based movement), so they pursue that strategy over others. This means that effective strategies – hiding capabilities and biding time – are effectively closed off by the standing illusion of voice. Even if you see through it, you’ll have a hard time convincing others to follow you, because they all think they just have to vocalise their dissent to get what they want. Every organisation that gets sufficiently large is eventually undermined by people who want it to be more vocal because they see groups as merely choruses of dissenting voice.

    4. Because the esoteric values and norms of the elite are a moving target, they also use this mechanism to purge older members from time to time. We’re seeing a particularly vicious case of this now with older Leftists who don’t understand the new, convoluted norms of politically correct speech and are humiliating themselves by insisting that the old norms still matter.


    Mai La Dreapta Reply:

    This is good stuff.

    #3 is the hard one. It’s very tempting, so very tempting, to try to use Voice to accomplish things, even when the futility and anti-productivity of such campaigns has been demonstrated again and again.


    Kgaard Reply:

    Yes this is outstanding.

    The elite have things pretty well figured out: If freedom and equality are in direct conflict with each other, the only way for the elite to keep maximal freedom in a democracy is to push the narrative that they favor of maximal equality — and then to viciously enforce that narrative.

    Narratives are cheap. in dollar terms, it costs the elites very little to cast themselves as champions of equality.

    The payback comes in freedom — freedom FROM the proletariat. The mob allows capitalism and wealth accumulation by the 1% in return for lip service about equality and a few ritual sacrifices of elites who step over the rhetorical line.

    This may sound like a tacky truce, but Harari makes an interesting point: Cognitive dissonance — the ability to hold two completely conflicting points of view — is CENTRAL to civilization. Culture can’t exist without it. The typical American’s ability to support both freedom and equality is an example of this. Doesn’t make sense but somehow the elites know how to keep the ruse going, more or less.

    So yeah, strategically the thing to do if you don’t believe in equality is keep your mouth shut. Anything else is unwise and works against the interests of capital.


    Posted on May 5th, 2015 at 5:41 pm Reply | Quote
  • forkinhell Says:

    Intelligence works around free speech or lack thereof, not through it. Whether that means bring on the gulags, I’m not so sure.


    Posted on May 5th, 2015 at 6:00 pm Reply | Quote
  • Simon Fortescue Says:

    Free speech is definitely a good landscape on which to observe the absurdities that arise from universalists trying to rationalise upholding such an impossible ideal, especially when so many dispersed and incoherent strains are given proximity. e.g. muslims want to defend their right to censor those who blaspheme against their prophet and universalists, with censorship, want to instead defend everybody else’s right to censor us.


    SVErshov Reply:

    free speech can be paired with such an exellent exit tool as expulsion


    Posted on May 5th, 2015 at 10:59 pm Reply | Quote
  • GC Says:

    I’d be very sceptical of any study claiming that liberals favour free speech – especially ones coming from a colleges that are notorious for shutting down non-cathedral POV. Either that or there’s a very large disconnect between people’s professed beliefs and their actual beliefs.

    I’d also take the IQ proxy used here with a grain of salt. IIRC there are different types of intelligence and liberals tend to focus on “verbal” variety because that’s the one they score highest at. Consider the occupations where liberals tend to dominate i.e. lawyers, entertainment, media. All require high verbal skill. Also note that they’re the ones where little or no math or objectivity are required.


    Posted on May 6th, 2015 at 11:53 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alan J. Perrick Says:


    Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.

    The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.

    Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

    What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

    How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?

    And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?

    But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

    They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.


    admin Reply:

    This is the last time I let this kind of mindless slogan chanting through. It sounds like some kind of football game, and drastically lowers the tone.


    forkinhell Reply:

    The Referee’s a #@!!?! (sorry, just joking – swept up by the crowd 😉 )


    Hurlock Reply:

    Your idiocy-tolerance levels never cease to amaze me.


    Posted on May 7th, 2015 at 5:33 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alan J. Perrick Says:



    Posted on May 7th, 2015 at 5:33 pm Reply | Quote

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