On Musk and twitter

Over the last few days, since Elon Musk first bought majority shares and then offered to buy twitter, there has been quite a storm on the Web on the issue. Among the issues raised is what it means to free speech, and then of course, it is seen as one of the ills of capitalism.

On the second issue, we can all agree that extreme economic disparities that exist today in our societies is inimical to democracy. A society where so few are so rich or so many so poor cannot be democratic. Stopping Musk from buying twitter doesn’t help with the issue of distribution of wealth.

The matter gets more interesting on the issue ot free speech. There are voices that say one man should not have the control of such a platform and so forth. That this would lead to restrictions on free speech. From what Musk has proposed such as transparency in algorithms among others, I don’t see how this is going to be a problem. That he will give free reign to right wingers is to me not a big problem. One can always curate what they don’t want to hear.

Still on the matter of an individual owning such a platform, most mainstream media is owned and controlled by a very small number of individuals or corporations that have made it possible for them to manufacture consent. So really, as long as twitter allows anyone with a cellphone to post their bytes, does it matter who owns it?

But maybe I am missing something critical on this matter given I am not a twitter user.

I watched The Closer

By Dave Chapelle and I don’t know what the furore is all about.

Comedians and court jesters say annoying things all the time and so what. There’s nothing in the show to suggest that he is inciting violence against any one group. And I think he is within his rights to support whatever cause or individual he chooses. We might not agree with his choice of words or even his jokes but we can’t stop him from saying it.

Or maybe I am missing something.

final thoughts, for now, on free speech

Here, here, and here are some of the instances i have expressed myself on the question of free speech. I should make it clear in case I had not done so that in talking of freedom of speech, I mean the government shall not hinder the free expression of thought. I would extend this to include institutions of learning. I have read of several claims of students in universities in America demanding safe spaces and universities responding by prohibiting some forms of speech. I am of the opinion this shouldn’t be the case. What we end up with eventually is either the Rushdie affair of the Polish affair, both unfortunate.

In the third link above, I expressed my disagreement with the hate speech act that created the national cohesion commission as both a waste of funds and a means to stifle disagreement or dissent.

In the last post, I agreed with Pink that the humanitarian (term borrowed from J Rauch) challenge to free speech is quite a hard challenge but insist that in the face of reprehensible, offensive speech, more speech is what is required not restrictions.

You or me have no right not to be offended or give offense. Anyone who makes his business to create offense by saying reprehensible things should be ignored.

In the same context, all those attempts by different states in the Uneducated States of America to legislate teaching of creationism in schools should not even be taken seriously. No body has asked their parliament to legislate teaching of algebra, so what is this nonsense about creationism that should be given so much airtime?

This short video represent my final thoughts on the matter and I am open to criticism

on free speech

When I last wrote on this topic which was yesterday, I did ask if the state should limit what we can say or what should be the consequences of saying stupid things. People should say whatever they want to say and only good ideas should survive. The text about killing witches still exists but it has been overtaken by better speech. And I think only criticism will deal with ignorance.

This brings me to a very interesting case where this is tested. Jill has posted this and I will just quote her

“God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong. Every rank and file police officer supports you. Don’t be discouraged by actions of the political class of law enforcement leadership.”

William Kelly

William was until last week a cop. Do you think the police department should have fired him for holding and expressing such opinion? Does suppressing such thinking address racism in the police force or work place generally? How is this different from the Rushdie affair or from the Charlie Hebdo affair? What is society to do with ideas/ speech that is unpleasant?

on free speech

Among the very interesting debates of our times is the one around free speech and whether there should be limitations on what we can say or write. There are countries with laws against blasphemy- laws I call a victimless law-, laws against libel and so on. You can be sued for causing a panic, like shouting fire in a movie theatre or bomb in a plane. Or some such thing. Or you can be de-platformed, fired or hounded out of public life for saying not nice things.

My question is are there topics that should be a no no or should we have unrestricted free speech? Is there any place where this is the case?

Should there be libel suits?

What should governments do about speech that hurt my feelings or our feelings as a group that was previously oppressed (you know with the victimhood Olympics that is on TV currently)?

Tell me what you think.

On free speech

I am sure you can guess where this is going. It has been said that whenever Uncle Sam sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold though it need not be this way. Following tRump’s call to his supporters to stop the steal and their clown show on 6th January, there have been calls, I hear to sue herr Trump and or impeach him if he doesn’t resign. Other very lawyerly people have said Trump did not directly call for an insurrection, In fact, they even argue that he can as well say he called for a peaceful demonstration. Now, demonstrations often get violent, there are provocateurs and all, what should happen if a person/ group called for a peaceful demonstration and it ended in violence, should the free speech rights be abrogated?

What should tech providers do in a scenario like this? Should they be able to do what has happened to Parler (which until yesterday I didn’t know of)?

A question which is not Trump related

What is the longest and yet the shortest Thing in the World; the most swift and the most slow; the most
divisible, and the most extended; the least valued, and the most regretted; And without which nothing can possibly be done: Which, in a Word, devours every Thing how minute soever, and yet gives Life and Spirit to every Object or Being, however Great?

Which is it? Are our lives short or is it that most of our lives are not lived but wasted away in pursuit of this or that? Or in escaping from the self?

What to do with the past?

Those of you, who like me, have been paying attention to the demands of students around the world, especially in Yale,  South Africa and UK, for a rewrite of history would welcome the suggestion by this reader of the Economist who wrote

What to do about Confederate monuments? One suggestion as you reported is to add plaques to them explaining their background (“Recast in stone”, February 6th). Statues and monuments are immediately visual experiences, not reflective mental experiences. Remove the sabre from the hand and put into it a lash and from the other hand a chain that leads to a collar around the neck of some poor miserable wretch. Add one or more statues of slaves to every monument to the Confederacy and the viewer will immediately and viscerally understand what the civil war was about and what Confederate soldiers fought for. Instantly those men will be deprived of the patina of nobility and gallantry that they did not earn and do not deserve to have attributed to them.

Bang Bua Thong, Thailand

This way all groups are appeased; those who want the monuments to stand get their wish and those who feel the monuments don’t tell the entire story also get their voice heard.

But I think there’s a problem when students in higher institutions of learning prefer sanitising their environment of every history. I have read of students voting to ban free speech groups on campus!  What’s the world coming to? Are the current generation of students so pampered they can’t read Huckleberry Finn without crying erase the nigger references! What world will they preside over?

Free speech

I am an advocate of free speech and at all times, I would allow dissent on this blog or anywhere else I write or even in comments. I am also open to correction.

But am impatient when it comes to dealing with trope. I think one guy is enough and for that position, I have granted Paarsurrey to be their un-elected representative. There is a fellow called SOM, you must know him. He comments on so many atheist blogs writing almost the same lines. On a recent post where I shared the Platinga interview, he wrote the following comment;

We know from science that we live in a universe governed by laws.

That means our universe is comprehensible, not chaotic.

The Bible is a collection of stories that match a rational, reasoning God with the comprehensible universe he created.

This is unique among the pagan religions who matched their capricious gods with an incomprehensible, chaotic universe.

Consequently, man would have to be a result of the laws of nature.

If God changed the laws of nature, man could not come into being.

It’s like a recipe.

Vanilla cannot be added to a recipe to produce a chocolate or raspberry taste.

Without suffering life as we know it would not exist.

All life, evolution and the development of man are the result of a universe where suffering is an integral part.

As a result, the atheist argument that God cannot exist because of suffering is ridiculous.

It’s like wishing for rescue by the tooth fairy or spaghetti monster.

There are a few things yours truly wants to point and if am wrong, please correct me.

I think in his first statement, there is a silent premise that these laws have a lawgiver. I on the other hand, understand that these laws are our ways of understanding the universe. And that they are part of the universe, not distinct from it, or having an author outside the universe.

The Bible is a collection of stories that match a rational, reasoning God with the comprehensible universe he created.

This statement can be shown to be false in as many instances as one has the time to dig through the bible. No rational being punishes others not responsible in the commission of crimes. For example, the son David had with Uriah’s wife dies because god is angry at David. Where is the rationality here?

This is unique among the pagan religions who matched their capricious gods with an incomprehensible, chaotic universe.

A reading of Greek or Roman mythology will dissuade you from this sort of ignorance. What is true is that the polytheists paid not so much attention to their gods. They participated in the state rituals as was required, but they were not as superstitious as the Christians. Their pantheon of gods consisted of gods that were amenable to man. Take Minnerva for example, there is no where this god is portrayed as a capricious god.

If God changed the laws of nature, man could not come into being

Which god?

Without suffering life as we know it would not exist.

No, you have no way of knowing this. Life as we have known it has been intertwined with suffering. This doesn’t rule out the possibility of a life without suffering. But it will not be life as we know it, that I grant.

As a result, the atheist argument that God cannot exist because of suffering is ridiculous.

You don’t seem to understand the problem of evil. The argument is not ridiculous. In its simplest form, all the proponents of the argument are saying is that the existence of evil in a world governed by an omnibenovelent, omniscient and omnipotent overlord is not consistent. It is for the above reason, theists have written tracts to explain away this problem: others by making god less powerful, others arguing for freewill and yet others arguing for a god who has reasons for letting people suffer till a future date.

It’s like wishing for rescue by the tooth fairy or spaghetti monster.

This would be ridiculous if someone believed in the existence of the tooth fairy as you seem to do unless the implication here is you have come to the conclusion that evidence for the tooth fairy and for your god seem to match.

As I said at the beginning of the post, Paasurrey represents all the lazy believers who either repeat mantra from their Imam or do not offer anything new. Am going to engage with SOM only when I feel he is ready to have a mature discussion.