If you’re a leftist who believes in free speech you aren’t homeless
Free speech is a fundamental value of the left.
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Under postmodernism many ideas that were seen as objectively true came to be seen as mere constructions of language. Foucault refers to them as ‘discourses’ that construct knowledge. Consequently, since discourses are believed to create and maintain oppression, they have to be carefully monitored and deconstructed. This is not some obscure academic issue, it is the outlook that is behind calls for laws to outlaw speech which may cause offense.
The Stepford Wives was a movie that came out in 1972 and might not be very well remembered today but which nonetheless contributed a useful metaphor for describing certain aspects of our society. Briefly, the Stepford Wives were the possessed and submissive versions of their original human selves, surreptitiously transformed one by one and reappearing as empty husks of what they had once been.
A decade ago for a brief moment following the 2008 global economic crash, there was a world-wide wave of angry emotion when the unbridled greed of the dominant capitalist elite was suddenly laid bare. Here in the US this engendered a movement called Occupy, which started in Zuccotti Park in the New York City financial district and spread quickly throughout the country.
Occupy, with all its imperfections, was widely viewed as a genuine populist movement. The movement focused on issues of economic inequality and coined the phrase ‘we are the 99%.’ Chris Hedges said at the time in an article on Truthdig that “Occupy articulated the concerns of the majority of citizens.”
Occupy set off a powerful emotional surge that swept across the country and genuinely frightened the elite. The State moved quickly to ensure that Occupy was effectively quashed. Under Obama, the federal government and local police forces joined to dismantle, often brutally, Occupy encampments across the country. No effort was spared in terms of mass arrests, surveillance, and other forms of State powered repression to ensure that Occupy couldn't metastasize into anything lasting or inspire any actual challenges to power.
I appreciate the opportunity to respond to Mark White’s blog in Plebity arguing that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism. I take up some but not all of Mark’s arguments. But Mark’s analysis is off base both conceptually and factually in several places.
Moral grandstanding is an ever-present, seductive force. It may feel impossible to avoid for many of us, but it is necessary to do so if we want to coexist meaningfully with each other. Next time you feel the urge to make a moral proclamation, consider whether you are actually advancing a cause, or yourself.
While medical schools still use some modified version of the Hippocratic Oath, many medical schools, including Harvard, Yale, and the University of Texas are now allowing students to write their own oaths. At the University of Pittsburgh, the graduating class of 2024 wrote an oath of ethics with a social justice bent.
This fake news story begins in Veles, a small city of 40,000 people in Macedonia. Veles became widely known in the Trump election of 2016 as a production center for false information websites. Presumably, there were hundreds of fake news websites developed by some people in Veles that generated income from ads.
Free Speech is a core value of the Left
Genuine support for free speech means it must apply to speech you don’t like
Pro Free Speech Doesn't Mean Absolutist support for all speech
Blasphemy–a notion that crystallizes so many of the issues around free speech
marginalized groups benefit the most from free speech protections
If leftist values have actual moral standing they can and should stand up to scrutiny and questioning
Speech is not physical violence, it’s an alternative to violence
Successful challenges to power build on a foundation of free speech
Free thought depends on free speech: censorship leads to a culture of fear where people learn to hide their real opinions
Free Speech protection for all is inherently anti-authoritarian
Let’s hear the Arguments against free speech