changeling times

trials and tribulations of eclectic chicken

So long and thanks for all the fash.. January 19, 2015

Filed under: politics,thinks — eclectic chicken @ 12:09 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

I used to belong to a group on Facebook which I felt comfortable in. It’s about exposing the idiocy of a certain right wing group and it has a set of moderators who usually make good moderation calls. As a passionate and pig headed researcher I like to think over time I’ve added more to the group than I take if this offends anyone.

Today I belong to a group which does not believe in free speech because they use a filter to block specific words.

End of.

No ifs or buts… if you use a filter to block words I don’t care what words you choose, or on what basis – it simply means you have removed the right to free speech.

As it happens the ‘banned’ words aren’t old favourites for banning like cunt or tranny or poof or even paki (given the content of the group you’d think paki may have been the word to tip the balance).

The words in question are cretin, retard and mong (they seem to have forgotten spastic, spacca, joey, thicky, idiot, mentalist etc etc).
They’ve not even switched the filter on because someone with a learning difficulty or disabilty was directly insulted with one of these words. It was switched on because someone took offence on behalf of someone…or because they are the parent and/or carer…or ‘know’ someone who they think wears one of those hats.

Now…. I don’t much believe in words hurting like actual physical stuff like being punched in the face but I will readily admit that instances of my being verbally assaulted are thin and far between but I am a woman and I have been all my life and I don’t take the use of ‘cunt’ personally as I’ve seen some women do. (admittedly mostly on the internet where as any fule knos we are all a little bit madder than in real life and usually as an inverse weapon of ‘taking offence’).
The only conclusion I can come to is, and it’s fairly obvious, that the only people whose sensitivities the groups moderators care about are those individuals who have links to the mentally disabled community.

That, to use left wing parlance, ‘isn’t fair’ (or should I say ‘equal’)
What they need to do is start taking other peoples’ sensitivities into consideration, the physically disabled, people of different ethnicities, those who are non-heteronormative…. women (because for some reason we are still seen as a minority and treated like infants)…. but, personally, I don’t agree with this salami slicing of society by means of minority grouping.

Let’s add any word to the filter that ANYONE finds offensive. Obviously foreign words….the truth….facts….anyone who disagrees oh…hold on that’s what the right wing group we oppose do on their page.

It’s a rotten old slippery slope once you start ‘banning’ things.

I don’t see what the more popular ‘left’ do when they ban things as being any different than what the less popular ‘right’ do when they ban things.

The only difference is content and social majority.

The action is the same…removal of free speech…which, in my book, is on the road to fascism.

But what’s the alternative?… we can’t let people say whatever they like on the internet (well we can…but I know I’m in an even smaller minority in standing up for that).

The alternative is to let people say what they like and when someone near by becomes offended they can fuck off… hold on. If someone is offended they can say…”you just offended me”. The person unknowingly offering the offence will apologise (hopefully) and amend their behaviour in future (perhaps)… a wonderful exchange of human thoughts and emotions. Two strangers on the internet learning a little more about each other.

If person A, who gave offence yesterday, comes back today and re-offers the offence to person B it’s a sign that they are a bit of a twat and don’t take other peoples feelings into as much consideration as some people would like. At which point one would hope other human beings around will read that sign and perhaps join in saying ‘oy twatface…that really is a bit offensive’..etc

If this tooing and froing and learning process continues I would hope Admin would come along and either say “If you say that again you naughty person A I will have to ban you from my group because you seriously breached the rules of group acceptable behaviour…why don’t you fuck off and join a group where people aren’t so sensitive”….or they might say “Man up” to person B “we’re here to bash the fash…don’t let a few words you don’t like get you down…. if you’re that sensitive try sitting in a corner with your head wrapped in cotton wool”.

This is why freedom of speech is a tricky biscuit and why being human is so interesting.

And the point is: that although the internet is a free place once you are under someone’s moderation you play by their rules.

But, sadly, I know I am out of step with the group that turned on the filter…. Because they switched on the filter? Nah…not just that… I think I’m in a minority on there anyway. I don’t want Britain First banned from Facebook like a lot of people on there seem to; but nor do I want to keep reading the opinions of people who don’t seem to realise that their ideology is just as offensive at times as those they are attacking… they just happen to be standing further up the hump of moral high ground. It’s the lack of awareness and realisation I find offensive… not them having the moral high ground.

I dislike stupidity and I loathe fascism because it tends to repress the sort of freedoms that sort out stupidity eventually.

I like fascists to be on Facebook and the wider internet saying whatever they like so we can see and hear who they are  – I want to find out why they feel and think so differently from the way I do. We can oppose their ideas with arguments based on facts and evidence because facts and evidence should always trump lies and nonsense for that moral high ground.

That’s why I’m writing this to try and explain that speech has to be free even if you don’t like what someone is saying.

Switching on that filter… is a step in the wrong direction for a group that believes in the truth and just as I don’t want to hang out with a load of people who use words like paki and mong as insults in everyday conversation neither do I want to hang out with people who want to control the words I use and see my use of them above as just as offensive as shouting them at someone in the street.

As some geezer once said “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”.


11 Responses to “So long and thanks for all the fash..”

  1. UnicycleBloke Says:

    George Orwell is quoted as having written that if freedom means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear. Good post.

  2. Stuart Sorensen Says:

    As a supporter of that same group I’m surprised by this post. I understand your point, of course and the reasoning behind it. But then I would – I’m not one for being offended as a rule. I think taking offence generally just cheapens discourse and is used, as you say, to attempt to stifle opposing argument, especially on the internet.

    However I can understand why the admins might have thought it necessary. It wouldn’t have been my choice but hey ho – who cares what I might think?

    What surprises me about your post is the use of the slippery slope argument which in this case seems like a ‘reducto ad absurdum’ argument. This seems to me to have been a decision that I wouldn’t have made but which the group admins had a right to make and which in no way mitigates against the overall purpose of the group itself.

    I wonder if maybe you’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    • UnicycleBloke Says:

      I already left another antifascist group because they forgot what it was that brought a lot of disparate people together to stand in the streets of Rochester. The last straw was someone wittering on about all the people further to the right on the political spectrum than him. He wanted to know how he could filter out just those people in the group who smelled too much like Tories and Ukippers. It was basically degenerating into a lot of unproductive whining that reminded me of The Life of Brian and the PFJ.

      I agree that it is a slippery slope, unless they are very careful indeed. The moderators may have thought long and hard about it, and it may go against their personal beliefs, but they have crossed the Rubicon. Today it is three words. Tomorrow some other words or even circumlocutions may be suspect. Then some people will find themselves not quite antifascist enough, or their opinions will be worth less because they have not “suffered”, or some such hogwash. The Left is very good at this sort of divisive and self-defeating stupidity. Ultimately the ideas which inform their right-on liberalism reveal their true authoritarian nature.

      I suppose the ban does not, strictly speaking, undermine the purpose of the group, but it feels like a very bad move to me. I guess it depends whether you think individual liberty, individuality and personal responsibility are more important than group “rights”, enforced conformity and infantilisation. I know what I prefer. The daft thing is, the new liberals claim to want the former, and maybe they really believe this. But they always seem to go for the latter.

      • Stuart Sorensen Says:

        Not sure it’s such a simple dichotomy as your final paragraph suggests Unicyclebloke but ho hum. Wouldn’t do if we all held the same opinions all the time, would it?

    • Ordinarily and initially, Stuart, I would have swallowed the principle. I was happy to do so for the greater good and did apologise to the admin for kicking off and questioning their decision…. after some tooing and froing and with the fact that I was teetering on the edge of a Facebook ‘rest’ I decided throwing the baby out was worth it to make a point about the meaning of free speech.

      A lot of my blog above isn’t a personal dig it’s a more generalised ramble. They have banned three little words and don’t intend to do more… being told it’s ‘only’ three little words doesn’t help me…. once you add three to nothing, it becomes more than nothing and even if you change your mind and switch off the filter or remain at just three words you are still the sort of people who see the banning of words as an acceptable solution.

      Filtering isn’t even an effective solution and that was clear within a few hours of the filter going up ‘m0ron’ and ‘re tard’ had already been used as ways of getting round the block.

      There are also the bigger pictures… of the process of acceptance and fascism. The process of a groups acceptance is slowed down by banning things in their favour, not speeded up. Because neither side learn how to deal with the giving and taking of offence plus there’s often a backlash of people who have had their perceived liberties curtailed.

      And fascism?….it’s popular to see the likes of Britain First as fascists but not to look at the underlying principles of what ‘makes’ them fascists. In my book, the fact that they heavily sensor and control their online presence is a big sign…. yanno…. the banning of words and also the dehumanisation of a social grouping – in BFs case its Muslims…. on the ‘left’ it’s racists. Some of the outpourings of venom about BF supporters is as abhorant as what gets said about muslims. Why is one beyond the pale and the other not? The underlying action is the same.

      I think thee and me may come from a similar point of issues of liberty, and I hope you hang around and shoot the breeze ocassionally, though now my blog will fill the gap facebook leaves, the content may become somewhat more eclectic (fittingly)….

  3. Dawn Thorpe Says:

    In this blog entry, you not only show your ignorance, but either your lack of any ability to comprehend reality or your willingness to lie. They are better off without you.

    • Thanks for the comment and taking the trouble to bring a little ray of sunshine all the way over to my blog.

    • UnicycleBloke Says:

      Seriously, Dawn, that is one of the least well informed comments ever. Eclectic Chicken is a close friend of mine, and I know precisely how much time and effort she has put into pursuing and exposing Britain First. Far more than you, I shouldn’t wonder. EBF has benefited greatly from her personal dedication, ingenuity and willingness to share information. But, you see, she is rather a libertarian, and is equally, if not more, passionate about individual freedom.

      The truth is that Britain isn’t very good at right wing fascism. We basically loathe fascists and laugh at them, from Hitler, Mussolini and Mosley to Griffin and Golding. Their brand of politics is a thorn in the side, but never really a serious threat. It makes me proud to be British. This is not to say we shouldn’t oppose them. We’re good at that. The Chicken is very good at that.

      On the other hand, the threat to our personal liberty posed by the faux-liberalism of the Left is a much more significant problem, largely because we seem oblivious to it, or complicit with it. Political correctness is basically a form of authoritarian control. And it is insidious and pervasive in our society. It seems to some an overreaction to complain about a ban on three little words, but there is an important principle at stake, as well as a serious case of hypocrisy. As a natural liberal, I have always been uncomfortable with the authoritarian undertones of much of what the Left says. The most interesting book I’ve read on this recently is “The Politics of the Forked Tongue” by Aidan Rankin. I think he’s mostly right on the money. You might like to read it, though to be honest I rather doubt it.

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