Thursday, April 15, 2010

Free Speech, Censorship and Reality

Fred Phelps is scum. I mean, I (hope) I personally don't know anyone who feels it is morally or socially acceptable to picket the funerals of dead soldiers or murder victims.

He's scum and the church he runs has so little to do with any rational understanding of the teachings of Christ as to make it unrecognizable.

But he's also a great example. Yes, he's a great example of crazy run amok and how it can infect the people around it but he's also a great example of how very, very wrong the far right is about their claims of censorship. Fred Phelps is allowed to go on doing what he does, teaching his children and his grandchildren his hateful ways and showing his ass (metaphorically) to the whole universe.

His idiocy is protected so all those people whining about the Fairness Doctrine and claiming that they're being censored need to shut the fuck up.

I've been thinking on this issue based on something that happened on one of my favorite websites a while ago. Long, really long, crazy long story short; one of the groups on the site had some really crappy mods and they didn't do their jobs at all. All sorts of racist, hateful, violent things were posted and let stand. Eventually the people who own the site decided, in the best interests of the site and the rest of the community, to shut the group down.

I will admit to some amount of private rejoicing. There's only so much misinformation I can take and they were a font of it.

Then some people were banned for continued asshattery and they started screaming that their right to free speech had been violated, essentially they repeated the word "censorship," a lot inaccuratly and to no purpose. I'm not going to go over their side of the story because, for the most part it's bullshit. You can just Goggle the name of the site + censorship and you'll find it.

Here's what irritates me about the claim. THERE IS NO FREEDOM OF SPEECH ON THE INTERNET. None. You don't have it. Neither do I. None of us do. We have the freedom to follow the TOS of whatever website you're on, the freedom to get your own damned server and make your own rules or the freedom to not act like an ass in public.

Let me repeat that as it's important. Don't act like an ass in public. As pretty much everything you post or have ever posted on the internet is avalible to the public. If you say things that are racist, sexist or just plain ignorant try very hard not to waste everyone's time pretending to be surprised when someone points out that what you said was racist, sexist or ignorant.

You don't have freedom of speech on the internet and you don't have the freedom to speak without consequences. And that's what the people I'm talking about, and a host of other people, are looking for.

They want to say whatever they want, no matter how false or stupid or mean-spirited the things they say are and then they want to go on their merry way with no consequences. they want to say racist things but they don't want to be called racists and they don't want to hear that the things they said are racist. They just want to say them. It's so very, very childish. I'm tired of it.

“Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. education and free discussion are the antidotes of both.” Thomas Jefferson

We really need to stop making excuses for bigots and call them on their shit.

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