Monday, July 17, 2017

New York Times Makes "Scientific Case" for Outlawing Free Speech

In between assorted claims that President Trump is a threat to Freedom of the Press, the New York Times decided to publish a case for abolishing Freedom of Speech.
Once again the media shows that it represents the greatest threat to the First Amendment.
The editorial, "When Is Speech Violence?" is a microcosm of today's leftist insanity. There are the spurious appeals to science and claims of victimhood wrapped around a hot take that inverts reality while providing ammunition to the worst intersectional extremists on the left.
Words can have a powerful effect on your nervous system. Certain types of adversity, even those involving no physical contact, can make you sick, alter your brain — even kill neurons — and shorten your life.
Your body’s immune system includes little proteins called proinflammatory cytokines that cause inflammation when you’re physically injured. Under certain conditions, however, these cytokines themselves can cause physical illness. What are those conditions? One of them is chronic stress.
Your body also contains little packets of genetic material that sit on the ends of your chromosomes. They’re called telomeres. Each time your cells divide, their telomeres get a little shorter, and when they become too short, you die. This is normal aging. But guess what else shrinks your telomeres? Chronic stress.
If words can cause stress, and if prolonged stress can cause physical harm, then it seems that speech — at least certain types of speech — can be a form of violence.
Here's your safe space argument wrapped in pseudoscience.
The First Amendment doesn't have a "stress" clause. And this is exactly why it exists. Totalitarian movements can always find plausible seeming excuses for censorship. That's why the First Amendment bans them from even attempting the exercise.
And once you begin arguing that any speech that causes "chronic stress" can be outlawed, you are adding a heckler's veto in which speech has to meet the lowest common denominator of the most easily disturbed. The metric is no longer what you said or intended to say, but how your random leftist safe space creature feels traumatized by it.
"This question has taken on some urgency in the past few years, as professed defenders of social justice have clashed with professed defenders of free speech on college campuses. Student advocates have protested vigorously, even violently, against invited speakers whose views they consider not just offensive but harmful — hence the desire to silence, not debate, the speaker. “Trigger warnings” are based on a similar principle: that discussions of certain topics will trigger, or reproduce, past trauma — as opposed to merely challenging or discomfiting the student. The same goes for “microaggressions.”
And where exactly does that end"?

What if Barrett's column also triggers trauma in free speech supporters? Should she be censored? If the new speech metric is trauma, rather than open freedom, who gets to do the censoring?
The scientific findings I described above provide empirical guidance for which kinds of controversial speech should and shouldn’t be acceptable on campus and in civil society.
Except she isn't offering scientific findings. All she does is claim that stress is bad for you. That may be the case, but stress is also subjective. It doesn't provide any kind of guidance for banning speech. Different people would have different tolerances for stress. So in will come the second leg of the pseudo-scientific argument with studies showing that some oppressed groups have lower stress treshhold and voila, goodbye First Amendment.
And if you reject that, well you must hate science.
This is the sick, sad and ugly joke that the left has become.
Barrett gives examples of speakers she believes are acceptable, vs those that aren't. But those aren't scientific measures. They're personal and subjective standards. Someone else's standards will differ in one way or another. That's the problem with a totalitarian state. It needs a dictator to decide. A free society need merely not police people. A police state must have watchers and censors.
"By all means, we should have open conversations and vigorous debate about controversial or offensive topics. But we must also halt speech that bullies and torments. From the perspective of our brain cells, the latter is literally a form of violence."
Barrett literally has no idea what she's talking about.
Our brain cells don't have a perspective. Much of life is stressful. That isn't an excuse for banning it. Perceptions of speech and stress responses differ widely. Speech is not violence. Censorship is. No one is forced to listen to speech. But censorship ultimately requires violence.

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