[extropy-chat] On Gut Feelings

Russell Wallace russell.wallace at gmail.com
Sat Jan 14 16:26:55 UTC 2006

On 1/14/06, Jack Parkinson <isthatyoujack at icqmail.com> wrote:
> In the case of Danila Medvedev: To be sure, I am no apologist for Stalin:
> But - I do believe in free speech. I see no benefits whatsoever in sweeping
> unpalatable political facts - or even unpalatable political fictions and
> delusions - beneath some metaphorical carpet. We are reasonable people (or
> should be) and able to engage/reject a topic with reason and informed
> debate.

This idea of "if you don't want to listen to X, you're against free
speech/unwilling to step outside your cosy box" gets used often enough I
think it's time somebody said something about it.

The fact is, everyone has some point beyond which they'll start filtering
content (whether by calling for moderation, using a killfile, unsubscribing
from a list or whatever method). Yes, everyone including you. Different
people use different criteria for when they start filtering; the idea of
list moderation is to find a set of reasonable consensus criteria that
doesn't restrict interesting or useful discussion while keeping things
within boundaries where the interesting people don't start unsubscribing
from the list en masse.

And frankly, when someone starts praising mass murderers, that's a pretty
damned reasonable criterion for saying enough is enough. Don't give me a
straw man about it being just because I don't agree with Danila's political
views. I don't approve of socialism, but you don't see me saying all
socialists should be banned. I don't believe in flying saucers, but I spoke
up in defense of a Raelian, on condition that he didn't keep spamming the
list trying to convert the rest of us to his religion.

But when you get someone saying Stalin was an okay guy after all, it's
entirely reasonable that people should lose their tempers. If you have
anything interesting or useful to say on the topic, then go ahead and say
it; if, as I suspect is the case, you haven't and nor has anyone else, then
I don't see any point in arguing for it being on the list.

- Russell
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