[ExI] intolerant minds, a different flavor

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Tue May 5 10:33:55 UTC 2009

On Tue, May 5, 2009 at 9:13 AM, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> Good point. In other words, the burden of proof seems
> to fall on those who would ban speech. What historical
> examples are there where "it's a damned good thing that
> people were prohibited from saying X"?
> I appeal, of course, to our shared values.

Even without that last qualification, one has to wonder whether in the
long term such prohibitions worked in average so well for their
partisans themselves...

> I also think that in the back of the minds of those
> who call for prohibitions on free speech lurks
> exactly the same kind of elitism. "You never know,"
> I can almost hear them saying, "how such memes may
> spread when picked up by the ignorant masses, and
> what woeful effects will result".
> I am---by the way---thereby raising the question
> of just how much elitism by people on this list
> or people in western societies who are well educated
> is justified.

Indeed. In fact, the argument requires are three distinct claims:
- "we know better (what is right/true/correct/better to believe in any event";
- "to let those with different opinions speak, and/or to let other
people form their own view on it would be too dangerous";
- "the danger can effectively be avoided by the attempt of enforcing a

Unless evidence to one's satisfaction can be offered on all three of
them, limitations to free speech do not seem such a good idea.

Moreover, as I am preaching that all discussions should be kept as
much as possible on-topic, I should submit that the transhumanist
discourse is itself exposed to a few risks of formal and informal
censorship in a number of contexts, while it is very hard to see
where, when and why it would ever profit from free-speech limitations.

Stefano Vaj

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