[ExI] intolerant minds, a different flavor

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Fri May 8 04:24:56 UTC 2009

Damien writes:

 > Lee wrote:
 >> Again, behavior is one thing. The mere voicing of
 >> ideas another.
 > The core problem in this dispute seems to be your (and some others')
 > adherence to this claim. Despite the recommendations of Enlightenment
 > philosophes to defend to the death the liberty of everyone to say
 > whatever they please, this proposed dichotomy is just plain wrong.

I have asked for historical examples. Do you have
any? Or could this just be theorizing? And recall
that I am not asking for examples of speech that
have nothing to do with ideas or beliefs.

 > Voicing an idea *is* a behavior, and in some circumstances can be an
 > incendiary and even fatal behavior.

Catherine the Great needed to suppress anti-government
ideas by Pugachev; any number of autocrats in pre-democratic
nations needed to suppress ideas. Can you find any examples
in democratic countries where the suppression of statements
of belief was a good idea? Do you suppose that the Smith
Act http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith_Act or the Sedition Act
were positive moves?

Can belief really be *effectively* suppressed by making
certain pronouncements illegal?

 > Whether one privileges free speech over those risks and consequences is
 > another matter, but we have to start with the recognition of human
 > reality.

So far as I know, your "risks and consequences" are
merely hypothetical. I crave an example.

Look, if there is some danger that some bad idea
(e.g. "let's round up all the right-wingers and
crucify them") really is going to get traction,
how can you possibly think that making such an
utterance illegal will help? It will only draw

For example, suppose that the American government
suddenly made talk of the Moon Hoax illegal.
What would be the effect?

 > People are not dispassionate brains in bottles, even when
 > they're doing science...

Of course they're not. But in Stefano's fine analysis
your argument depends on 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 prohibition".

So this is why you wish the government to silence
dissent on some subjects?


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