How we give up the fundamental right to free speech—in 32 cartoons by the brilliant Tim Urban.
I love the analogy to the dead king and his tyrannical successor. How long before any criticism of the senile imbecile who rules over us is criminalized? The author writes "The king’s open challenge to the free speech tradition was a pivotal moment of truth in Hypothetica. Would the guards and citizens stand up for that tradition or give in to the king?"
We already know the answer to that. The FBI is all in on censorship and oppression. Would our local cops join in or stand with us? If this trend continues it won't be long before the Second Amendment is put to the test. And yes, liberty is worth fighting and dying for.
Our government is corrupt. Our populace is stupid and intellectually lazy, in general. There is a cabal with essentially unlimited money which seemingly controls and has controlled our government for a very long time. These are enormous problems, with no obvious solutions.
So my own solution for a very long time has been to speak what I think I know as clearly as I can, and more often than I can rationally justify. And my reasoning is simple: if everyone is silenced by fear, then speaking up, and hopefully saying either what people were thinking silently, or saying something new they find they agree with, is always potentially a positive and useful thing.
I'm not going to type the stories out this morning, but I have seen GroupThink in action many times. People become idiots in groups, when everyone is looking to someone else to speak up, make a decision, and/or do something. Be the one who acts. Be the one who decides. No one is going to save you if you are not willing to save yourself.
I think the author does a fantastic job of laying out the case for exactly why censorship is so harmful, not only for the individual that is censored but for all other individuals, even if their inner selves perfectly align with their outer selves (for the time being).
An argument has been made that most Americans instinctively know that free speech, both politically and culturally enforced, is a Good Thing™, but because we've gotten used to that being so well centered within the Overton window for so long that, ironically, free speech itself has allowed the fringes to drag the free speech Overton window along. People /know/ free speech is a Good Thing™, but are unable to defend it in the marketplace of ideas. Why? What possible argument could be "winning" against free speech?
The author mentions but doesn't expand on what I think is the crux of the issue (I'm referring to just what is in this post, the full book may, which I've just purchased and hope it does), which are the "carve outs" in speech. Listed here: plagiarism, blackmail, libel, slander, incitement, perjury, true threats, false advertising, etc. The average person, if truly pressed, could probably muster a reasonable defense of free speech, but could they muster a reasonable defense of why say, libel, shouldn't be protected but hate speech should be? After all, they're both "harmful". As mentioned, the relevant part of the First Amendment is ten words, none of them mentioning exclusions for safety. These exclusions exist mostly as judicial opinions, often far lengthier, nuanced, and narrow than their headline names would suggest. It would be hard, almost impossible, for the average lay person to make the case that "false advertising" shouldn't be protected but "misinformation" should be. Isn't "false advertising" just corporate "misinformation"?
The trick would be King Mustaches are doing is, of course, to expand those "safety" exclusions as much as possible so that as much speech as possible falls into the restricted bucket. What we need more of then aren't robust arguments in favor of free speech, but robust arguments against safety exclusions, built on a principled easily articulable framework that can be applied generally rather than narrow carve outs (libel, slander, perjury, etc.). Such a framework may even need to reconsider some of the existing carve outs and if they're truly necessary (a dash of the fringe ideology on the opposite end of the spectrum to help drag the Overton window back over).
Will there be a shift toward, “People with penises are women”? Or does this otherwise brilliant description ever have a breaking point?
And now add AI as the new king mustache. Elan Musk is one powerful spark fighting for free speech with a dramatic change by purchasing twitter and now forming Truth AI.
Brilliant! One need not read the commentary to understand his message. And what a powerful message it is. He shows how the opinion distribution moves with time for social issues. But only in one direction. I wonder if there are examples where it moves first one way and then another.
Maybe global warming will be such an example. It was counter-intuitive in the 70's as the temperatures had declined slighlty for 30 years, but became mainstream in the late 80's, and we are now seeing people come to their senses as all the apocalyptic predictions are failing.
Barbara Demerick has a book about North Korea 'Nothing to Envy'. There is woman who was a doctor in North Korea who escaped and she relates that when Kim Jong 2 died she remembers being surprised because she didn't think he could die (something along those lines). Intelligent enough to be a doctor but mentally captured enough to disregard what is probably common sense. Just a real life example of what Urban was displaying. Good book too.
Well put, Tim. Now add another cartoon that says out loud that the woke mob is completely against free speech, and that cancel culture silences debate.
Wow...this article hit me right in the feels. Tim explicates so many reasons that I write under a pseudonym. It is not the government I am (primarily) concerned with; It is the melted minds at work and, sadly, close relatives.
Feel bad for me? Great. Then give me a pity subscribe, and you can read about the new racist thing- Dungeons & Dragons.
Great piece. "Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland" Read the book or watch talks with the author. Ordinary, middle class policeman transformed into killers simply because they didn't want to be different.
We are never that far from tyranny. If you let it happen.
Can a Pulitzer be awarded for an entity’s collective work? The Free Press should be.
The first part of this piece reminded me of Havel’s “The Power of the Powerless.” A repressive regime’s position is actually quite tenuous and relies on self censorship to survive.
As more people speak out, the power of the regime lessens because people see that it is OK to speak the truth. You know you are living under such a regime when it is scary to speak your mind.
It is up to a brave few to be first and to be willing to say “No, I will not place your sign in my window.” If enough did it all at once, the power of the self censorship regime would evaporate.
Wow - this is incredible. I felt my brain smiling as I read and will now go share this with a million people. THANK YOU Tim, Bari, and co!
Ambient political conditioning is the water we swim in.
The liberal speaks to us in angry tones of compassion. They are frustrated that reality is doggedly, refusing to conform to their predictions and prescriptions.
Our liberal educational system is to the nation as the wooden horse was to the Trojans.
Something very strange has happened to the liberal .
Well this was incredible. As a visual person this was super helpful! 🙏🏼 I feel like this should be mandatory teaching material to be shown to every kid in every highschool and college across America.
Berenson V Biden reveals the thought police in action. King Moustache is in the White House and the NY Times, WaPo, CNN, MSNBC, FBI, CIA, NSA, Facebook and others like it that way. They brand anything outside their warped and twisted thought bubble as morally reprehensible.
War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Women have penises. Joe Biden knows How many grand children he has.