While reading yet another treatise that glossed over the casual degradation of free expression on the internet, as if it were an afterthought, an incidental byproduct of the supposedly more pressing matters of online “hate” speech and “harassment,” I was struck by the appearance of a trope I’ve seen surface each time I dare to read such reports now.
It’s one of those tropes that is regurgitated so often and so effortlessly as to have winnowed its horrid plume into our consciousness to such a degree that it never occurs to us to call it out as it has mutated into an indelible prima facie that structures and underlies all discussion regarding internet freedom.
From Wired’s article “Reddit’s Future Is the Future of the Internet,” I spotted the trope lingering obliquely within this paragraph:
Reddit was conceived as an open forum, a place where conversation is self-regulated and community-driven, freedom of expression is prized above all, and authorities don’t meddle with—much less censor—content. And sometimes, wonderful things happen. But there’s also a dark side. Trolls and harassment abound, and users revel in despicable topics. At least 46 active subreddits are devoted to white supremacy, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Misogynistic content also abounds.
This Wired piece lazily (and Wired is not alone in this since it is now a pervasive habit across all our culture) accepts, unflinchingly, the premise that hate speech and unpalatable (to the mainstream) views are bad and harmful. This school of unquestioning “analysis” is quite common.
The #1 presupposition is now an article of faith: 1) Unpopular opinions are bad and must be repressed, thus, 2) How do we repress such speech?
All modern cultural dialog leaps to #2 immediately in the realm of such debate. We all know and accept that hate speech is awful and must be stopped, so how do we stop it?
But why don’t we hear any voices which seek to put the brakes before proceeding to #2?
In today’s environment, questioning the integrity of #1 instantly makes you culpable of #1 even though you might not have ever uttered a cruel or harmful thought in a public forum. To merely humor an open examination of the relevance of the allowance of unpopular expression as an inherent practice of an intellectually vibrant society is to thus be guilty of what you are defending.
Such is the solipsistic thinking and paradigm that cultural feel-good socially conscious crusaders present us with. They have been allowed to frame, shape and mold the base assertions of the dialog. It’s time to take the boundaries back and reset them with a clear mind. Before it’s too late.
So I question this.
What is wrong with hate speech?
What is wrong with bigotry, racism and diffuse enmity against collective groups regardless of personal motive? Why must anomie be punished?
Before we tackle fixing this hate problem, why don’t we, collectively, as an allegedly intelligent society, first determine if, in fact, it is a problem to begin with? Alas, analytical thinking is not the strength of Social Justice Warriors and all who would follow their ilk.
Who said everyone must love everyone? What is wrong with hate and disgust?
I’m a *short, *Mexican-American, *olive-skinned, *50-year-old *male. There are countless additional variables I can use to describe myself, but for now, I want to make the point that any of the (*) qualities I listed are prone to make me instinctively unlikable to a vast number of people for no discernible reason.
I realize this and do not care one bit. I do not care if someone expresses such reflective distaste, either. I am old school, bitch! I grew up during a time when we had balls and intestinal fortitude and strength of character that did not wither in the face of any measure of disdain.
You don’t like me because of (*), or multiple (*)’s? So the fuck what. We’re not here to be liked and we’re definitely not here to like everyone.
Can today’s tender children get this through their heads? You are hated, virulently so, by many and for no compelling reason.
Extinguishing the expression of such does not mitigate the hatred. Some things just cannot be helped, and despite all those apps on your phone or what your overprotective and over-empowered mother told you, you cannot control or legislate everything.
Grow up, you little shits.