[ExI] All speech is sacred or why Warcraftification of real life is a solution to various ills

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Sat Dec 10 07:19:57 UTC 2022

In a discussion about the limits of free speech, I advocate an absolute
freedom of speech, where no speech may be subject to violent punishment by
a monopoly of power, while Adrian feels that some speech (such as slander)
should be punished with jail time. Here I present some (not really new)
ideas about how to make the society of completely free speech a viable

On Tue, Dec 6, 2022 at 11:52 AM Adrian Tymes via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

>   If this was the least bit complex, causing people to not bother to shun
> those with this label, what would keep these labels from being completely
> ineffective in practice, thus leaving people effectively free to libel and
> slander without consequence?

### Reputation is generally very important for most people and it strongly
influences how they are able to interact with others. Appending an easily
accessible record of prior judgments by trusted authorities to a person's
identifying profile would be quite influential on his ability to associate
with others, just like a criminal record does today.

It would be great to have an augmented reality app to create labels
floating above all the people you see, just like in Warcraft. You could
customize the labels to show what matters to you, such as reliable measures
of honesty, cooperativeness, specific fields of expertise, political and
religious beliefs, sexual orientation, whatever you think you need to know
about a person before you talk to him. After a while people would be
careful not to earn a bunch of red flags for being vicious and careless
slanderers, or for other non-criminal but still distasteful traits.

> Also, who would get to say that someone had these labels?  What would
> stop, say, Trump or Fox from simply declaring - with no court involved -
> that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were slanderers, with the same impact as
> or more than a court-appointed label?

### Here we get to what matters: It is usually a very bad idea to let a
single entity take over control of an aspect of social organisation. It is
bad to have Vijaya Gadde decide that nobody in the country may hear about
the infamous laptop. It would be bad to have a central labeling authority
in charge of giving people a bad name, like "slanderer" or "racist". There
*must* be freely competing authorities that collate information and make
judgments. To go back to the labeling app above: It must be freely
customizable, to let every user decide which sources of judgments about
other people to trust. Sure, some people would make stupid decisions and
they would end up shunning perfectly nice persons that got in trouble for
e.g. ideological reasons. However, for issues that matter, like choosing
business or personal associations, reasonable people would gravitate
towards impersonal, efficient, reasonable and unbiased judgements of
character, since to do otherwise would expose them to bad actors while
depriving them of association with good people.


> In the example above, I might be called a slanderer - and you might wind
> up dead.

### I don't follow your logic here. Please explain a *plausible* chain of
events and mechanism of things happening.


> Most people would rather have a system where I would  pay fines and/or go
> to jail for making such claims - a much more effective deterrent - and you
> would still be alive, as I would be stopped from broadcasting such claims
> before I could whip up some vigilantes.

### You are comparing two systems:

1) Where saying the wrong thing, be it slander or something else that's
disapproved by authorities, puts you in the crosshairs of a state security
apparatus that can fine you, jail you, put you in a concentration camp or
make you "disappear" (in ascending degree of single-authority control over
2) Where saying the wrong thing, be it slander or insulting the prophet,
might result in reputational damage to you, which in turn could lead to
various repercussions, up to being killed by random crazies

Ok, crazies exist. In reality however the danger to life and liberty comes
not from crazies but from relentless, ambitious, power-hungry, cooperating
psychopaths who organize themselves into the speech-suppressing moloch.

For this reason I say that all speech is sacred. Speech is the thought of
the social brain. What individual neural impulses are to your brain,
conversations are to the social superorganism.

Our brains do not have a separate top-down central authority lording it
over the toiling billions of neurons. The brain is a neural democracy,
where all voices are heard and weighed before consensus or conscious
thought appears - and all the time there are new votes and a new conscious
consensus emerges, literally every few hundred milliseconds of our
conscious life. When your brain stops listening to all its neurons,
consciousness degrades and you become mentally rigid, or you have a seizure
(when a small group of neurons gains control of the whole system). Then
dementia or delirium develops and you die.

By a close analogy, society cannot let a small group of people, be it a
Twitter "moderation team", or the Reichspropagandaleitung (look it up),
take control of its thoughts. Once that happens, we are on a slide towards
authoritarianism, totalitarianism, madness and megadeath.

All speech is sacred!

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