Shitlib "Law" Enforcement in the 21st Century

Discussion in 'The Pavilion' started by il ragno, Aug 5, 2017.

  1. il ragno Proud American Deplorable

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    I couldn't stop giggling while reading this. Not because any of it is funny in the least (it ain't, by a country mile)....rather, I kept hearing the chortling idiot-voices of one Internet Tuffguy™ after another, snidely baiting me (and others) with how only a spineless coward "hides behind" a pseudonym, and how nobody with any sand in their shorts even wastes time paying attention to anyone who does. (Most of said Internet Tuffguys™ are trapped anyway, having long ago gone to RealName status while trying/hoping to use the Internet for $ of some kind. Hope they didn't demonetize your ass recently, and subtly subtract whatever checks that once might have seasoned your weekly fistful of hate-mail, bro!)

    Perhaps this will all have a Gawker-type happy ending, in which someone who gets Net-doxxed into the Forbidden Zone wins the kind of mammoth judgment in court that shuts down, or permanently alters, the Twitters and Facebooks that are now routinely used as bayonet-points against, let's face it, We the Deplorables. But until then? I'll probably be adding a pseudonym or two, the way some folks stock up on extra bullets.

    PS: don't pick too many nits with Alexander here; I, too, got a good laugh at the idea that there is a zip code - anywhere in this country! - in which not voting for Trump somehow gets you tanyagersh'd. The body of his argument, however, is still plenty valid.


    *********************************************************************************

    AGAINST SIGNAL-BOOSTING AS DOXXING


    BY SCOTT ALEXANDER
    JULY 29, 2017

    A recent spat on Twitter, which I won’t link: some guy using his real name tweeted an offensive joke about how women should make sandwiches at a group of women. A feminist columnist with tens of thousands of followers retweeted with the comment “This is a young man who ostensibly wants a job someday, tweeting at professional women in his field under his own name…RT to help ensure [REAL NAME]’s prospective employers know this when they search for [REAL NAME]’s name”.

    [EDIT: See here for discussion of various complicating factors; my claim isn’t going to be that a completely innocent person was punished, so much as that this entire paradigm of punishment is dangerous]

    What particularly bothered me about this situation was that the columnist involved was a libertarian who writes for Reason, and her supporters were mostly other influential libertarians. And they were all using the old argument that the concept of “free speech” came into existence ex nihilo on December 15, 1791 with the ratification of the First Amendment, and has no meaning or significance outside a purely legal context of delimiting government power.

    I have a friend who grew up gay in a small town in Alabama, where “faggot” was the all-purpose insult and the local church preached hellfire as the proper punishment for homosexuality. He unsurprisingly stayed in the closet throughout his childhood and ended up with various awful psychological problems.

    If you’re a very stupid libertarian strawman, you might ask whether that town had any anti-gay laws on the book – and, upon hearing they didn’t, say that town was “pro-gay”. If you’re not a very stupid libertarian strawman, you hopefully realize that being pro-gay isn’t about boasting how progressive your law code looks, it’s about having a society where it’s possible to be gay. Not having laws against locking up gay people is a necessary precondition, but it’s useless on its own. You only get good results if good laws are matched by good social norms.

    Likewise, the goal of being pro-free-speech isn’t to make a really liberal-sounding law code. It’s to create a society where it’s actually possible to hold dissenting opinions, where ideas really do get judged by merit rather than by who’s powerful enough to shut down whom. Having free speech laws on the books is a necessary precondition, but it’s useless in the absence of social norms that support it. If you win a million First Amendment victories in the Supreme Court, but actively work to undermine the social norms that let people say what they think in real life, you’re anti-free-speech.

    But I’ve discussed this before at more length. What I want to get into here is a point specific to this situation: the guy made this joke under his real name. All the Reason columnist did was retweet it and add some commentary about how she hopes he becomes un-hire-able. This isn’t doxxing. It’s not even divulging a secret; the guy said it on his public Twitter. Is it really so wrong to do what’s basically just signal-boosting his comment?

    A quick philosophical digression: what are we even doing here? My thought is: we’re trying to hash out a social norm. We expect this social norm to be sometimes in our favor and sometimes against us, so we want it to be universalizable and desirable under a veil of ignorance.

    On that note: let him who is without sin throw the first stone. Have any of you ever said or done anything which, if signal-boosted, would be very embarassing and might prevent you from getting a job?

    Before you answer, consider this: the person signal-boosting you has much wider reach than you do. There are now tens of thousands of people in the world who know you only as the guy who said that one embarassing thing one time. For that matter, anyone who Googles you will know you only as the guy who said that one embarassing thing one time. All of your triumphs, all of your defeats, all your loves and fears and follies – none of these exist in the public mind. If you cross a blogger, a columnist, or a Twitter celebrity, all that will exist is that you once retweeted a racist joke on the 26th of March, 2014.

    Never retweeted a racist joke? Someone will find something. Maybe you’ve been a sex worker once – hope you didn’t put your picture up on the Internet, or else Reason columnists will say it’s not “doxxing” to merely “signal-boost” it so that everyone knows. Heck, even watching porn is enough to get people fired some places. Maybe you were stupid enough to admit you were gay or trans under something traceable to your real identity. Maybe you voted for Trump (a firing offense in some places) or against Trump (a firing offense in others). Maybe you committed a crime someone can find on a public crime database, or maybe you said something perfectly innocent which can be twisted into a sinister “dog whistle” out of context.

    My own story – some antipsychiatry crackpot decided to target me, went through a couple of posts I’d written defending the practice of involuntary psych commitment in certain cases, and took a few statements out of context to make it look like I thought we should lock up all mentally ill people and throw away the key. Then he posted it on an antipsychiatry website, asking if anyone could find the address of my workplace so he could send it there to prove that I was unfit to work with the mentally ill. Luckily the moderator contacted me and deleted the post, and it stopped there. And it was never that convincing an effort to begin with. But…

    In a world where an average of 250 resumes are received for each corporate position, how convincing does an effort have to be to ruin somebody’s life? Do you think your dream company is going to spend a long time sorting through each claim and counterclaim to determine that the highly-Google-ranked page about you claiming you’re unfit to work in your industry is mostly unfair? No. They’re just going to cut their risks and move on to the other 249 candidates.

    Here’s an exercise which I encourage you to try. Suppose there’s a Reason columnist who wants to get you fired. They pore over your public statements – Twitter feed, Facebook timeline, any blogs you might have written, anything you’ve said in mixed company that you don’t know if somebody else wrote down waiting for the time they could use it against you. Imagine the most incriminating dossier of your statements, out of context, that they could put together. Imagine what would happen if they were pretty determined, and sent it to your workplace, your church, your parents, et cetera. How much of your life could they destroy?

    And I agree this is weird. It’s bizarre that so many people trust to security by obscurity, when anybody with an axe to grind can destroy their obscurity and reveal them to the world. It’s bizarre that we treat Twitter as a private place, when literally everything that happens there is visible to every human being on Earth. It’s bizarre that we trust to these fragile online identities when any hacker can cut through them, bizarre that we wear such different masks to different friends when they could just talk and compare notes, bizarre that we dare to talk at all when we know every word we say is logged and the future may be less forgiving than the past.

    But don’t let the fact that it’s bizarre make you think it isn’t important. How many of us can say, honestly, that we could bear the Panopticon? If every valley were raised up and every mountain pulled down, so there was nowhere to hide, and we were rendered naked to any eye anywhere in the world, how long could we endure? Wouldn’t we retreat into ourselves, turtle-like, afraid to ever speak at all?

    And who would enjoy this new flattened landscape more than the biggest and most predatory? In the Panopticon, any celebrity with a platform can destroy the lives of any ordinary person, just by mentioning them. It would be paradise for any petty tyrant with a blog, and hell for anybody too poor to tolerate a risk of losing their livelihood.

    I have a pretty big blog. But other people have bigger ones. I’m not confident that the amount of fun I could have destroying the reputations of people I don’t like outweighs the chance of someone else destroying mine. I’m certainly not confident that the aggressive-signal-boosting power would mostly end up in the hands of good people. So I reject the entire tactic. I think it’s morally wrong to try to signal-boost people’s bad behavior – even their semipublic bad behavior – to get them fired. Probably there’s a lot of subtlety here and there have been times in the past I’ve supported cases that seem completely different to me but might seem similar to others. I admit there’s an argument that doxxing is a way of shaming people in order to enforce social norms, and that we need some way to enforce social norms eg the one against offensive jokes – though see my post Be Nice, At Least Until You Can Coordinate Meanness about good and bad ways to do this. But for now I just am very suspicious of the whole enterprise.

    Lord Byron wrote of his political philosophy:

    I wish men to be free
    As much from mobs as kings; from you as me

    I stand with Byron. But I worry there’s a big strain of libertarians today who don’t. Who wish men were free from kings, but not from mobs. Who wish men were free from others, but definitely not from them.

    All I can say to that is – it’s a package deal, people. Either promote good social norms, or be destroyed by the bad ones when the tide turns against you. That’s the only choice on offer.
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  2. Man Against Time Black Hole Melchizedek

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    The truth about the First Amendment is that, standing alone, or even standing along with the rest of the Bill of Rights, it really doesn't provide the average individual with all that much, it never has, and a very persuasive argument could be made that it's extremely overrated. Even the modern day laymen's conception of what the Amendment provides, or specifically what "free speech" entails, comes from relatively recent legal innovations courtesy of the same bench that decides to re-liberate us from our own Constitution every couple decades. So-called libertarians therefore should not get too attached to the current interpretation, particularly since its position is about to collapse to the well-connected progressive-socialist forces besieging it, and because this notion that the current conception contains objective validity and goes all the way back to the Founders who possessed the same legal concept is utterly fallacious, almost heretical and a sort of fools gold of the moment. I get it that most people possess this concept probably because of the general way the issue is represented in elementary or high school civics classes, which then gets reinforced and goes unchallenged in the 'mass-stream,' but why would that be when it's a "stupid concept?" Gotta keep dumbing down the 'Kwa for one, and two, leading almost all Americans to believe that our First Amendment rights-"freedom of speech" concept has persisted almost wholly unchanged in pristine form since 1791 serves to disarm the vigilance and ongoing care needed to substantively maintain the freedom as it disabuses people of the notion that certain basic constitutional liberties realistically can change (and/or do change, and/or change frequently historically speaking). Ironically, this is the exact sort of process that certain Founding Fathers warned about, which is why I suggested the notion was 'heretical,' at least in terms of its fallaciousness and potential consequences.

    Back to our current "freedom of speech" rights concept for a moment. The concept as we know it today evolved from the jurisprudence of genuine liberals, and I intend to convey the original and accurate meaning of that term. Certainly a few could be described as left-of-center liberals, and one or two perhaps even "progressive" in the original meaning of that term, but liberals they all were. Liberals of this type, and of this caliber, ones truly connected to an authentic "Atlantic" liberal tradition, have mostly gone extinct, and exist in name only today. Only the 'uniform' has been preserved on the modern Left, which has been done primarily for deceitful strategic reasons, so we can infer malicious intent as well. Call it the LINO phenomenon, which is perfectly fitting as the first syllable sums up the operation adequately. American "liberals" are the equivalent to European Social Democrats in almost every respect, but must lie about and deny their political affiliation due to the determination that socialism is mostly discredited in America, particularly in light of geopolitical events of the past few decades. The same principle applies to cultural Marxists who each practice reciting the phrase "I don't have a Marxist bone in my body!" ten times in the mirror each morning because they must perfect the appearance of honesty and sound convincing when voicing this particular evasion as the rejoinder exploits political taxonomy's lack of definition and semantics in the trademark style of the Marxist thoroughbred.

    This mostly explains why our prevailing freedom of speech legal concept is under threat, has been consistently chipped away at, and can be expected to go on the chopping block the moment the progressive-socialist left possesses the power and opportunity to do so. They already have the will and the intent, which are the only other two ingredients that truly matter in this affair. They have already expressed a willingness and preference to place legal restrictions on so-called "hate speech" and more. The justification that will always be provided is that the "constitutional liberties in question are old/archaic and need updating." After all, as "Everyday" Joe Rogan points out, the Constitution was written by a bunch of dudes in powdered wigs "with feathers" back in "ancient times" hundreds of years ago and "that's just crazy," so we need to really just "change all that shit," "toss it all out" and "write a new one." Additionally, progressive-socialists possess the compulsion to revise and "update" everything, regardless if the public policy norm is suitable as is, or even if it is traditionally considered fundamental or essential, because they are all in fact revolutionaries, and are all brainwashed with a corruption of a psychological secular Judaism with all of its attendant notions of human perfectibility, ambitions to create a paradise on earth, and susceptibility to false messiahs. The last thing I want to point out about this before I nod off is that the key philosophical turn-off of our 1st Amendment Free Speech rights to the prog-socs human pox is that it's a grant of positive liberty. Again, makes perfect sense, as maximizing positive liberties within an enlightened republican framework is the sine qua non of genuine liberals. Contrariwise, the focus of the prog-socs pox is on negative liberties to the extent they focus on any liberty at all. I'll give one example that illustrates this tendency quite well. Evidently the prog-socs are tepid on the positive liberty aspect of the 1st Amd. that provides freedom of speech and the "marketplace of ideas" per Holmes' formulation. The underlying notions makes the prog-socs uncomfortable. For one, prog-socs don't like "marketplaces" of anything as the concept conjures up the thought of capitalism which they despise, and marketplaces involve "competition" which provides a virile aspect, the one aspect that they avoid in all of their personal activities. The notion of free speech and the free exchange of ideas in the ideal atmosphere envisioned by the liberal tradition is the creation of Western Civilization, worse, the men of Western Civilization, it involves "courage" and "convictions" and stuff like that, it's mixing too much testosterone, creativity, and independence with brains. Why bother with all of that when you can live in a socialist utopia where everyone's thoughts are controlled? I should add that prog-socs are not entirely opposed to debate and idea exchange, they just don't like the "free" part. They prefer regimes of spirited disputation within closed systems of shared values. Also known as "Talmudic." Anyway, so I said the prog-socs were "tepid" on all of that, they've always been pretty "hot" on the Establishment Clause. This is one that they've distorted into a "negative liberty" that they use to primarily police against mostly harmless and insignificant Christian displays or really anything to do with Christianity. All this stuff is A-OK and here-to-stay with our progressive-socialists.. At least so long as there are Christians in the country, at least. For in the future American paradise as it is intended when the full scope of progressive-socialist social engineering is completed, the land will be the Utopia States of America, where every citizen is a Jewish Nigga.
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  3. Man Against Time Black Hole Melchizedek

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    Oh, the other thing I meant to say was that "conservatives" or right-wingers could solve this problem legislatively very easily, in fact, they could just do the same thing that the left did to prohibit racial discrimination in hiring and on the job site. The only reason it won't happen is because conservatives almost never pass legislation to change the social contract in their favor. In fact, it's more likely for them to sponsor left-wing initiatives, like out of some form of victor's guilt, when they're at the apex of their political power. It would be as simple as a legislative package prohibiting viewpoint discrimination in the work place and providing the victim with a cause of action against the employer unless they can show doing so was part of a "bona fide occupational requirement." Almost overnight, employers everywhere would stop firing everyone who made an offensive joke on social media ten years ago, and left-wing zealots would suddenly find it to be pointless to contact the employers of "offensive individuals" as a part of their doxing routine. Of course, this will cause an initial brain-fart of sorts to libertariantards. "But wait, a private business should be able to fire someone if they want to..." Except this isn't true, and they haven't been able to since the 60's when suddenly employers no longer had the First Amendment right to hire only white people if they wanted. And the truth is, when an employer fires someone because they said something that offends a certain breed of left-wing zealot, they are practicing just another form of unfair discrimination that is completely unrelated to occupational requirements or aptitude. If racial and gender and religious and age and so on discrimination are all illegal for this reason, then viewpoint discrimination should be prohibited as well. The only reason it's not is because left-wing nuts get off on this form of discrimination; it gives them power over others who disagree with them. When Communists were getting canned in Hollywood not too long ago, they were all crying that it was anudda shoah.
  4. LastChanceArmada Forum Veteran

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    Anyone else having a hard time following this article? I made it through the first couple of paragraphs but this here gave me a headache:

    If you’re a very stupid libertarian strawman, you might ask whether that town had any anti-gay laws on the book – and, upon hearing they didn’t, say that town was “pro-gay”. If you’re not a very stupid libertarian strawman, you hopefully realize that being pro-gay isn’t about boasting how progressive your law code looks, it’s about having a society where it’s possible to be gay. Not having laws against locking up gay people is a necessary precondition, but it’s useless on its own. You only get good results if good laws are matched by good social norms.
  5. LastChanceArmada Forum Veteran

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    OK, I took a breather and re-read the article.

    Basically, the Internet has reached a point where it's no longer a bastion of anonymity, but rather a really, really big version of a small town that you conceivably can never, ever run away from if you say the "wrong things". You should basically just never say anything even remotely controversial under your real name, EVER. The only social media I do under my real name is my LinkedIn profile.

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