Namecheap has a good blog post on inciting violence vs. free speech

Just saw this blog post by where he discusses the problem of inciting violence.

I don’t expect everyone in the world to like me or to accept me. But I also have a right not to be attacked. Someone can make an argument that I’m fucked up and I will accept that they do. But that is not the same as just attacking me, throwing shit at me, and creating an environment of invective, disdain, and malice so strong that it threatens my safety.

I’ve written about this before. There is that prominent feminst from Australia who has said some sharphy critical things about transsexuals and I 100% support her. I would fight (not violently, but figuratively 🙂 ) for her right to say what she says. And I also would have no problem whatsoever if she were, for example, my boss at a company. I would have no problem working with her because I know that she is capable as a human being of having an opinion yet also being a good human being.

I consider it highly damaging not just to her but also to myself when she is attacked. Attacking her does not help me, it harms me. I don’t want people silenced who might criticize me.

There are people who discuss sensitive issues like concepts about race, propensity to violence, IQ, etc. There are “race realists” who feel that honest, open discussions about certain race issues have been stifled for too long. Such discussions – whether they lead to any resolutions or not – while racist, do not incite violence. They do not create an environment of invective, disdain, or malice.

If some people want to claim otherwise, then one has to go no further than to a lot of shit on primetime television, considered as entertainment suitable for the masses, which doles out copious amounts of schadenfreude against various victims they target. Often these victims are actors who have fallen out of grace in some way or another and then end up being openly ridiculed on these sick shows (often the hosts of these shows are these malicious gay-types who seem to really love to dish out heavy amounts of schadenfreude and think it’s all in good humor).

I’ve also seen things like late-night comedy skits which openly mocked Jesus and others, which in terms of schadenfreude and disdain were entirely unacceptable, but there were the audiences promplty laughing at the entertainment being dished out to them.

Years ago I went to this one meeting of this communal group of people where they had this thing called “gestalt-o-rama”. They would sit in a circle and talk about a person in the group and different people would chime in about the person, some of which was positive and some of which might be brutally honest. While brutally honest, it was not intended to be insulting but rather to kind of rip away to the core of things.

It takes a special kind of – I’m not sure what to call it – maybe “cultivation” can be used – to handle this gestalt-o-rama process if you happen to be the object. But it can be a healthy thing. In fact it is without question a healthy thing to be able to handle this. It ties very deeply into Buddha’s teachings about the false view of the self that we attach to. This skill is not only extremely useful, I would say in this modern world of so much online ubiquitous presence it is necessary to have.

I read in the news constantly about how serious violent incidents occur which start with words. Someone says something, someone feels insulted, the situation escalates, and then violence occurs. This teaching is so timely.

The opposite of being able to handle gestalt-o-rama is something like snowflakeness. Snowflakeness is fucked up. It is an unhealthy ability to cope with critique, with contradiction, or opposition. When the establishement tries to canonize snowflakeness as being good it is doing serious damage to society. People need to grow the fuck up.

I wrote in a previous post about how a lot of people in the world are racists. I’ve experienced this. I’ve literally been in the presence of people who thought and expressed openly that white people were not good/bad/stupid/etc. And guess what? I didn’t give a fuck. It didn’t hurt me. In fact, witnessing it being expressed, it kind of evoked some kind of sympathy in me at a certain level and also a certain kind of sadness that whatever it was in this person’s life had occurred to have led to this.

In short, I’m saying that trying to shut people up or shut them down because of how they feel, because of snowflakeness, is totally messed up. It’s always better to let people feel what they feel, and to express it. It’s always better to let ideas be freely expressed, so long as they aren’t direct insults, abuse, or incitements to violence.

Finally, violence is not ok. The idea that there is a “good” violence is ridiculous and also completely out of step with the law. From a legal standpoint assault is assault. It is not considered self-defense to physically assault a person just because they said something upsetting. To even present this idea that it is acceptable is extremely misguided and damaging. But does anyone, at this point, really expect lying mainstream media not to be misguided and damaging?

I will close with a few comments about the statue thing. First of all, I can say that personally I can’t really think of ever having seen a statue that was made less than 200 years ago that I liked. By statue I mean more the monument-type of thing that you see standing in a park or in front of a building. I’m not talking about artistic sculptures which are beautiful. If all statues in all parks were removed tomorrow I honestly think the parks would be better.

I wrote previously about some of the controversy surrounding the bull statue and the defiant girl (or whatever it’s called) statue in New York City. In the end, from a Buddhist point of view, as far as I’m concerned they are just curious agglomorations of mass that people choose to have attachments to (either positive or revulsive). I think any serious Buddhist would probably not care a lot about a piece of metal as this is not as important as human souls and all the creatures around us we should be caring for.

That said, the statues can be seen as part of a process of caring. If they memorialize people who have fallen in battle then they can have meaning to people. If they are signs of reverence to the ancestors of people then they can have meaning. I guess it depends upon what the intention of the statue is. People want to honor people from the past even if they were on the wrong side of a war and lost. It is a sensitive issue. There is the Yasukuni shrine in Japan which among others also enshrines several people classified as war criminals. After watching some World War II documentaries about some of the heinous conduct that occured it’s understandable how some people could be extremely hurt.

Maybe then what is needed are open, honest discussions and reappraisals of the intentions of various statues and monuments, not mindless knee-jerk reactions. If we are going to be a healthy, happy country then we need to grow the fuck up, something I don’t see a lot of maintream media, politicians, and public officials leading us towards unfortunately with their obsessive, neurotic snowflakeness.