Tag Archives: Free Speech

When you stand up for Alex Jones, this is what happens

You look like an idiot.

I say that not because Alex Jones is an ass and you are defending him. That just makes you a jerk, potentially. I say that not because I am an enemy of free speech, or I think free speech only applies to me and not to the likes of Alex Jones. No. I say that because you actually do look like an idiot because you are standing up for a principle you do not understand, and you are probably doing it with incomplete information but an attitude of righteousness.

You are complaining about censorship, and this isn’t really censorship. A dress code in a private school, a rule against talking loud in a theater, that sort of thing, is not censorship, and a company like Facebook saying you can’t act like Alex Jones, say the kinds of things he says, on their platform, is not censorship either.

There is actually a sort of third party liability here that you appear to be ignorant of, being an idiot and all. If I own a strip mall and somebody gets mugged out in front of a store, that is recorded. If someone gets raped in one of the stores, that gets recorded. If it turns out one of the stores is selling crack, that gets recorded. After a while, in most civilized cities or counties, my strip mall can get condemned as a hazard, taken away from me, torn down, and the land sold off. That sort of thing happens. When some deplorable disciple of Alex Jones goes into a school and kills a bunch of teaches and kids because of a conversation on Facebook … well, probably nothing happens because we are not really set up to deal with that sort of thing. But this would be the sort of thing any social networking platform would prefer to avoid, and can legally and ethically avoid, by getting rid of very bad actors on the platform, and Alex Jones is a bad actor of the lowest order.

The simple fact of the matter is this. In American society, and American law, we define free speech and censorship pretty clearly. There may be edge cases, but this is not one of them. Private corporations like Facebook, YouTube and the others who have tossed him off have the legal right to ban anyone. Period. This is something you do not know.

You come in my house without permission, no matter what you want to say, I’ll throw you out. Not censorship. You get drunk in a bar and start saying things to the server that threaten him or her, the bouncer throws you out. Not censorship. You start acting out in a school and saying things that shock and distract the students, guess what. Not censorship. If you yell fire in a movie theater, there better damn well be a fire, or anything that goes wrong because of what you did is your fault. A civil suit against you on behalf of the victims crushed by the crowd is not censorship.

Here’s the thing. It does not matter that you do not know this. This is probably not your speciality. There is probably some other thing you are good at, like noodling, or driving an Uber or something.

But when you present yourself as a hand-wringing, concerned citizen who is stepping up to the plate to preserve liberty for all, it just does not impress. It is even worse when you TOTALLY don’t understand what you are talking about, like the Internet denizen who noted, “The bad part of this is that if corporate sponsors can cut one person, they can cut others.” What?

As an aside, your coming to the aid of Alex Jones, inappropriate, could be considered not as stupid but as deplorable. When Ted Cruz came to Alex Jones’ defense, as a US Senator and all, he certainly knew that this was not censorship, but he acted like it was anyway. So, it is quite possible that someone will accidentally think you are not an idiot and, instead, think you are a deplorable. Or maybe the other way around. Either way, not good for your rep.

Consider thinking your position. I’d suggest that you rethink your position, but you would have had to have thought it out to begin with, and that is something you did not do.