a conservative heretic commenting on hypocrisy and stupidity in a world with too much of both
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Guest Contributor – EKKS: The Complexity of Free Speech

Today a commentary from guest contributor Ekks (her Twitter handle) who takes issue with a petition to have Twitter remove an account for tweeting offensive messages. I think she correctly identifies the issue. All across Twitter, people demand their right to freedom of expression but when they disagree with or encounter something they find offensive, then they suddenly support selective censorship. Isn’t that the very thing the Twitterverse is demanding the government not be permitted to do?

That’s the problem with free speech; at some point you’re going to bump into speech you really don’t like. How we deal with it will determine the kind of society we will have and just how committed we are to the concept of freedom of speech.


Here’s the petition followed by the response from Ekks.

Shut down the account of so-and-so because… why? 

Because they’re exercising what is left of our (American) amendment rights? 
Please…please…tell me I am missing something else.

While you prepare your silent rebuttal to this in your head, see if you can multitask and continue reading before you throw out some petition to have me removed from Twitter because I am publicly voicing opposition and distaste for your motion.
Let’s make one thing clear.  No, I do not necessarily share the same views as this ‘hateful’ user.  I have not read all of their Tweets, and I certainly do not agree on many of the Tweets that I have read which are filled with racial slurs that favour the black community as the target.  I also do not consider myself a person of Christian faith, therefor I do not necessarily agree with those Tweets, either.  However, I do not feel that they should be “shut down” for exercising their freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and right to a peaceful assembly which are protected by Amendment I.  Of course, there is fine print and deeper regulations within Amendment I.  Feel free to research the fine print and more via search engine.  I have, and yes… tricky, tricky.  Racism, sexism, or various hate speech are often permitted… as is the right to peacefully assemble and voice these opinions.  So, what sense does this petition make?
To me?  It makes no sense.  It makes no sense because of the obvious rights the user has as an American citizen.  Texan, I believe, to be more exact.  ‘The rights of a citizen’ defense speaks for itself, so I will take it to a less law abiding level.  Many petitioners are advocates for equality.  Perhaps advocates for less governmental control when it comes to the rights of individuals (i.e., women’s rights, rights of minorities, rights to privacy, rights to vote for the candidate of their choice, etc.), and I am almost positive would be unhappy if someone told them to to stop Tweeting because it goes against the opinions of others. 
There is a block button.  If you do not like what you see, block it.  Some say ignorance is bliss.  Or, better yet… speak out against it to that person.  Fight your own battles?  Shower the user with love.  Reach out to them.  If they do not accept your hand, well… let them be or try and try again.  This person is not a lawmaker, this person is not dictating what is and isn’t in your life, this person is not forcing you to share the same opinions as you.  Do not be a hypocrite and try and strip this person’s rights when you’re shouting at the same government & various companies for slowly stripping yours.  Instead, walk away and focus on yourself and becoming (or maintaining to be) a better person because of the trash you’re subjecting yourself to reading.
I am sure this user is basking in this attention.  This backlash of opposition is inflating their ego by the second.  This user knows people who didn’t even KNOW of their existence before today are now being subjected to the message the user is Tweeting.  Cause and affect.  Action/reaction.   Bad press is good press.  I am sure they also know that their chances of their account being ‘shut down’ is slim to none.  So please, by all means… carry on with your counter productive encouragement rather than walking the road too often traveled.
Without in-depth research, here’s something to think about.  If you wish to shut this person down for hate and racial slurs, be it 100% of their Tweets or not… you better start shutting down a lot of people.  Shut down the people that call things or people “retarded” so casually.  Remove all the faux public figure accounts that are constantly mocking the actual figure or society for a laugh.  Shut down all the accounts that have no religious affiliation, support same sex marriage, all the users that post porn, all the users that make sexist jokes, all the users that toss out fantasies and fetishes like sadism, murder, or fetish like it’s candy.  Remove all the users that have ever uttered the word ‘hate’ casually or with just as much passion as The KKK. 
Are you thinking, “Oh, but there’s a difference.  This user is constantly going on and on about it and I make jokes or casually something slips out, but that is different.  It is not about blacks, either.”  It isn’t different, actually.  Whether it takes 3384+ Tweets to advocate and inflict hate or intolerance upon someone or just ‘that one word that one time’, it is still the spreading of hate.  “A single grain of rice can tip the scale.  One man may make the difference.”
I am far from perfect.  I have said this and that, joked about him, her, you, them, and myself.  I am human… just like you.  Just like that user.  Am I hypocrite?  Aren’t we all in some fashion?  I dislike when people talk during a program, but the ears better be listening if I have something to say during it.  Am I racist?  I’ve never dated an Asian, by choice… and I am Asian.  Sometimes really natural tight curled hair freaks me out.  So, am I?  Perhaps.  Am I hateful in general at times?  Sure.  With all that being said (and more left unsaid), I am still not going to go all righteous and pretend I’m morally any better (overall) than another American citizen with the same rights, same imperfections… just because we have different views.  If we all felt the same what would we end up feeling?  Love & harmony?  No.  We’d probably feel a lot more emptiness and perhaps even nothing because… well, we’d be like robots.
The petition? Counter-productive & contradicting, to say the least.  The petitioners? Good for them for exercising their rights, too, by peacefully assembling.  However, just stop and think about it all for a moment.
And, if someone finally decides to Tweet back with why I should sign the petition… thank you in advance.  So far, no replies… just the continual passing of the link without rhyme or reason.
“Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?”
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  • Susan

    Thank You!

  • Nevine

    You’re absolutely right.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      Gee. You’ve never told me I’m absolutely right. You’re always correcting my spelling or updating my data.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01770377021985691847 NevineB

      That’s what friends do. Others will insult you, or not say anything. I say it like I see it. And I only correct your typos in discreet personal messages.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01770377021985691847 NevineB

      Actually I have too much respect for you to be any other way.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      You are so smooth, you could be a diplomat. I have a considerable respect for you too as you already know. I count on you to challenge my thinking and my opinions. I’ve given up on expecting chocolate chip cookies any day soon though. :-)