Missing the point on free speech and retaliation

You have the right to free speech, but that speech may have consequences. While that attitude is legal, is it right? On some level, yes. But in our current political climate that has been poisoned by “cancel culture,” the answer is “no” more often than not. That is the point that Jason Richwine made at Quillette. Unfortunately some folks do not get it. See this comment made when a friend shared the article on Facebook:

Nearly all speech has consequences. Most of us learn that by age five. Sorry that the writer didn’t. 1A only allows us to speak without the government’s permission. It rarely provides a shield to the response to that speech.

But that misses the point, which is that society would be much better off if we could have a robust public debate without fear that someone will go complain to our employer and try to get us fired, or destroy our business or wreck our social life.

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Twitter creates an impossible standard

When you cannot win an argument, you complain to the administrators to censor your opponent. That is what we are seeing on Twitter regarding “sensitive media.” Twitter automatically hides any media with “graphic violence,” including “medical procedures.” I assume this is the logic used to hide a photo of an aborted baby I posted, one year after I posted it. The policy is dated March 2019, so was the new standard applied retroactively?

Twitter threatened to mark my account as “sensitive” if I continued to post sensitive media without marking it as sensitive. Almost all media I post is not “sensitive” by any objective standard. It is important to show the brutal reality of abortion but I do not want ALL of my photos marked as “sensitive,” because they are not. So like it or not, I am looking at self-censorship to avoid worse censorship from Twitter.

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Either the standard applies or it does not.

Either personal morality and fidelity to one’s spouse matters or it does not. If you argue that someone’s private life is not relevant to his ability to serve, you cannot suddenly change your mind and hold someone from the other political party to the a higher standard. Either the standard exists or it does not, and if it exists it applies universally. The standard does not change based on partisan convenience.

In the 1990’s and into the 2000’s, conservatives spoke out often about how personal moral character was a qualification for public office. That started to change in 2015, and many conservatives outright abandoned that standard when Donald Trump became the Republican Party nominee for President. Some even made self-righteous arguments about “forgiveness” or made ludicrous comparisons to King David in order to justify supporting Trump.

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Dealing with a flood of hate comments

After hosting the most recent version of this blog on Google’s Blogspot for seven years, I decided to move to WordPress in 2017. I did this for three reasons: WordPress has a better comment system than Blogspot, I could import my archives, and I wanted something that would be mobile-friendly. For the most part, I have been very happy with WordPress over the last two years.

For the most part. One particularly nasty troll has been posting hate messages in comments for months, sometimes as many as ten hate messages per day. I have repeatedly told him his comments are not welcome, and that his comments will not be approved on the blog. I have shut down comments completely to stop the flood of hate, but that is the only option WordPress allows for shutting down nasty trolls. The lack of the ability to fully ban trolls is by far the biggest drawback to WordPress. If not for this troll and his hundreds of hate comments, I would be perfectly happy with this platform.

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A few points about slavery in the Bible

1. Slavery was one way of paying a debt. That exists today in garnishment of wages, for things like monetary debt and child support. People who do not pay child support can go to jail. If you are going to categorically condemn slavery in Scripture, then you need to condemn this also.

2. The Bible explicitly condemns man-stealing, which is punishable by death. Chattel slavery in these United States was based on man-stealing. Furthermore, slavery here was much closer to the enslavement of the Hebrews, which God ended by force.

3. Slavery predated the nation of Israel, and the laws about it in the Old Testament were regulations on an existing practice to ensure good treatment of slaves.

4. Everywhere Christianity spread and took over saw the eventual abolition of slavery, and that movement was led by Christians.

5. In a nation drowning in the blood of 50 million unborn babies, the idea that we are somehow more righteous than ancient Israel is laughable. We are more comparable to the pagan Canaanites who were driven out for their abominable practice of child sacrifice.

Am I racist against myself?

So I was called a “racist” in the comments for my letter to the editor because I used the word “thugs” to describe Antifa. So who exactly am I racist against? Myself? Because any time you see “Antifa” they are almost entirely white people, and this includes the black-clad masked thugs intimidating people at the Bloomington Farmer’s Market and taking over city streets and blocking traffic for a protest march. Claiming this is a racial issue is absurd on its face.

Not only was the factual basis for the comment completely factually wrong, the comment quoted an article about how words like thugs are used as a justification for “occupation-style policing.” The obvious problem with this is that is not one single person in Monroe County who has spoken out more against police militarization and aggressive use of force than I have.

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