In Defense of Absolute Freedom of Speech: The Principle of Self Ownership

Oh, my, where to start!

Something that seems so self evident to me appears to be beyond even consideration by the majority of people in today’s society….to the point that people who hold the same convictions as I are presumed not to exist any longer.

That is sad, very sad…

So, please, do let me present to you my reasoning for why ‘Freedom of Speech’ ought to be unfettered and absolute.

If you indulge me, I would like to present several completely different lines of reasoning – all from ‘first principles’, all logical, and all leading to the inevitable conclusion that speech MUST indeed be absolutely unfettered.

First line of reasoning:  from the principle of self-ownership.

Each and every person owns his or her self.

Body, mind and soul.

This is the core principle on which our civilization is built – to reject this core principle is to reject our society, our form of civilization.  And, since this argument is being made for conduct within this civilization, it is ‘core’ – a fundamental and irrevocable ‘starting point’ for our logical journey.

It is immoral and wrong for one person to own another, which is why we have abolished slavery.

With the principle of self ownership comes the responsibility for absolute accountability for one’s actions.

What this means is that an individual is 100% responsible for one’s own actions.

Regardless of what an individual is exposed to, he or she is absolutely responsible for their conduct as a response to it.

This means that no matter how much somebody else may incite you or lies to you, you and you alone are responsible for acting – or not – on that incitement or on those lies.

Yet, our current laws are written so as to put partial blame for ‘incitement’ or ‘lie’ on the speaker, rather than on the ‘actor’.  This is extremely dangerous because it fails to build into our citizens an appropriate sense of self-responsibility, it infantilizes our citizenry – and we must fight against this most vigorously.

For an infantilized citizen is no longer capable of being self-responsible and rejects the self accountability and independence of self-ownership…

In other words, failing to be accountable for one’s actions without blaming others for ‘incitement’ or ‘lies’ (or, indeed, ‘hate speech’) surrenders one’s mind and soul to another:  in violation of the principle of self-ownership.

Which will necessarily mean the end of our civilization, since our civilization, as stated at the beginning of this argument, is founded on self-ownership.

I have presented this argument first because it is the most ‘theoretical’ and principle based, in my never-humble-opinion.  I would welcome you, my dear reader, to try to find flaws in the logic of this reasoning and present them to me for discussion because I really cannot see how this particular line of reasoning could be faulted.

Many of you might accept this particular argument ‘in theory’ – something that might be wonderful to implement in a utopian society, but impossible to implement in a  real-life society of blood-sweat-and-tears humanity.  That is indeed a fair objection, to which my only retort would be that this is what we ought to be aiming, that this ideal ought to be what we strive for – and not start out from the very beginning by lowering the standards to such an extreme low that the very existence of those of us who hold this principled point of view is doubted or denied.

This I lament as even many ‘free speechers’ start out the debate by saying ‘nobody thinks freedom of speech ought to be absolute, so let’s start talking about where to draw the lines’…

NO!!!!

Freedom of speech MUST be absolute and any and all ‘lines’ limiting it MUST BE ERASED!!!  Anything less is an existential threat to our very civilization and the abdication of the principle of self-ownership!!!

*   *   *

There are less theoretical and more practical reasons – yet all principled – for why freedom of speech ought to be absolute.  I shall attempt to present just a few of them (as an exhaustive listing would take a lifetime to compile!) over the next few weeks and hopefully we can engage in a vigorous discussion.

For now, I’d like to start here, from the core principle of self ownership.

Your thoughts?

Dr. Baglow vs Freedom of Speech: September 15, 2014

This is a continuation of a prolonged court, the earlier bits of which are here:  Day 1 part 1 and part 2 , Day 2Day 3 and Day 4 part 1 and part 2 of this trial were covered in March, 2014 (write-ups by me at links).  Day 5 is more or less covered by days 6 and 7.…  Day 6 is here.  Day 7 part 1 is here – sorry about having had to chop this up into short little bits, it seems my original write up was too long for WordPress to format correctly… part 2 is here.

Dr. Baglow’s impression of my coverage of the court hearings, as per Twitter, is here.

Which brings us to the first day of the ‘fall session’ of the trial, where the defense part of this case starts.

Aside – I understand that the court-ordered ‘blogosphere expert’ will be testifying on Thursday..

I showed up in court nice and early – long before the information desk folks (on the 2nd floor of the Elgin St. Courthouse in Ottawa – but facing the main Elgin St. entrance) got the memo about which courtroom this particular civil case will be heard in.   However, as time passed on, I learned that the case will have been heard in Courtroom #20 – the courtroom closest to the main/front entrance (and thus dubbed ‘the smoker’s courtroom’).  Here are the players:

Justice:          Polowin, J.

Plaintiff:        Baglow, John

Lawyer:          Burnet, Peter Francis

Defendant:     Smith, Roger

Self-represented

                 Fournier, Connie

Self-represented

                 Fournier, Mark

Lawyer:            Kulaszka, Barbara

As the ‘players’ arrived on the ‘playing field’, these were my observations:

Barbara Kulaszka (BK) looked her steadfast self:  short hair kissed with just a tiny bit of silver, billowing lawyer’s robes framing her slender frame, she was her true self.

Peter Burnet, (PB) slightly balding and silver, looked distinguished (edit:  a complained-of phrase has been removed here).

Roger Smith looked dashing in his tan slacks, brown shoes, blue blazer, dark (black or charcoal) shirt with a blue-inside-a-gray-striped shirt and blue thin-striped tie, his silver hair dashing, his cheekbones chiseled above his silver, manicured beard/mustache.

Dr. Baglow wore his signature outfit:  black suit, blue shirt (opened collar, as if to stress his ‘blue collar’ sympathies), the ubiquitous riding boots (with delicate and adorable little silver trimmings), silver watch, rings on the ring and pinkie fingers of his left hand, silver hair and tailored silver mustache accentuated by the gun-metal framed spectacles he twirled in his hands more than he wore.

The charismatic Mark Fournier wore a new-looking dark blue suit with a thin gray stripe, black shoes and a cream, open-necked shirt.

Connie Fournier was elegant in form-fitting dark trousers which flattered her shape and a dark violet, v-necked thin-knit pullover (with cute button-sleeve detail) which highlighted her fine, strawberry-blond hair cut into a flattering bob.

To complete the picture, let me just say that the same Court Clerk (from the spring) who did not want to be blogged about (and worried she’d be ‘Twittered’) presided over the case, fussing over the improperly entered ‘stuff’ from the spring and lamenting that it will fall to her to re-enter and correct it all.  The ‘Madam Court Reporter’ was a pretty young woman sporting longish black hair with flattering bangs.  Her trim figure was perfectly framed in a navy blue, long-sleeved knit dress accentuated by a thin brown belt with gold-coloured metal trimmigs.  Her pumps were impeccable!

Also, the CCLA, an intervenor in this case, was not represented by Mr Frankel, but by a competent-looking young woman in a black-and-white striped shirt, black slacks and blazer and bright red flat shoes (which she shed while she sat cross-legged on the spectator bench) – I understand Mr. Frankel will rejoin the case later in this week.

Courtroom #20 differed from most court rooms in that on the right side, it sported a sturdy-looking gray sofa with 4 fluffy-looking pillows.  I can only presume that Dr. Baglow’s past blood-pressure difficulties motivated the court to pick a courtroom with a sofa in it.  Otherwise, Courtroom #20 was much like most of the courtrooms in the Elgin St. Courthouse in Ottawa:  creamy-white walls with the ‘head’ wall (behind the judge) being a wood-panel in the same tan colour as the doors and the wooden-bits of the spectator benches, bearing the Canadian Coat of Arms. (The back wall – not the benches!) The seat bit of the upholstered spectator benches was a muted pink, which clashed rather badly with the crude orange-red of the floor carpeting.

It is difficult to describe the air of expectation one can only experience in the courtroom, with everyone present and waiting for the judge to arrive.  I can only liken it to a cross-section of the feeling which, as a 14-month-old (OK – I’m an Aspie and remember this), you are expecting the vaccine-baring MD to enter the room where your mother is holding you down overlapped with the dread you feel as you are sitting at a desk, awaiting your fist Calculus exam paper to arrive.  Add to this the distinct staccato of high heels in the distance – it is ever present, even if completely unrelated to the judge’s arrival – and you approach the hushed tenseness that awaiting the judge’s arrival in the courtroom accompanies!

As in – no movie could possibly do it justice!!!  No amount of suspense could possibly capture the breathlessness of these moments!!!

At 10:05, Madam Justice Polowin, J., entered.

Her hair was longer and lighter than before – and her (paler than before) face looked puffy and strained.  Yet, her eyes looked as intelligent and as sharp as ever!

The first session of the first morning of a hearing are usually taken up with tedious ‘housekeeping’ or ‘administrative’ matters.  Not so in Madam Justice Polowin’s courtroom today!  We went straight to the start of the defense’s case!!!

The first person to take the stand was Roger Smith (aka Peter O’Donnel).  He explained that even though ‘Roger Smith’ is his legal name, it is not ‘unique’ – both ‘Roger’ and ‘Smith’ being ‘common names’. ‘ Peter O’Donnel’, however was somewhat less unique – and as it was his birth name, he used it extensively  (though not exclusively – he sometimes picked ‘humorous nicnames’) in his online activities.

It is my impression that Roger Smith is a very reluctant defender:  it seems to me that he believes that his only defense lies in his truly held beliefs (and that promoting these is in the public good), but that he also thinks that having to justify his deeply held ‘political beliefs’ in front of a judge is very inappropriate of itself (regardless of the eventual ruling) and subversive of our democracy itself – akin to having to having one’s very thoughts needing to br sanctioned by a court of law….which, obviously, is a violation of the most fundamental freedom – the freedom of thought.  So, it seems to me, he is very reluctant to present his beliefs and convictions to the court – yet, his only defense (it seems to me) lies in him claiming to ‘truly believe’ what he had said/written/posted on the internet.  As in – it seems to me as though Roger Smith believes that it is not his statement of his beliefs, but his convictions themselves, which are on trial here – a form of ‘thought-crime-policing’, if you will.

And, since (in my never-humble-opinion) he thinks ‘thought-crime’ ought not be a ‘crime’ (if you excuse my clumsy expression of the principle), he is having difficulty with the whole matter.

As in, defending his views would be a bit of  a violation of the ‘thought-is-not-a crime’ bit.

At least, that is the impression I have been left with following his testimony and the bit of cross-examination I saw.

The testimony bit of the day merely repeated what had been entered into the record in the past – just the light it had been cast in was ‘slightly’ different.  And by ‘slightly’, I mean ‘a lot’.  As in, the bits that the prosecution entered in as ‘strong’ evidence now seemed rather silly and frivolous…which is not much of a comfort, since in a civil case of libel, ‘malice’ is presumed and needs to be disproved, rather that that whole ‘innocent until proven guilty’ bit of jurisprudence….

Yes, much revolved around SmallDeadAnimals (SDA) and Jay Currie’s blog posts, as well as Free Dominion and the Conservative blogosphere in general…plus Dr. Dawg’s blog –  ‘progressive’ site run by the plaintiff (civil prosecution).

Roger Smith’s background – from Math and Science to an Honours’ BA in Geography in order to become a ‘Climatologist’ (‘Climate Scientist’ in Newspeak), along with the necessary Global Warming/Anthropogenic Climate Change baggage – was discussed, as was the means by which Roger Smith makes his living as well as his online identity  – all this was explored at great length.

Then we got into the relevant bits – the 7 words which are the subject of this lawsuit (and which I therefore fear to mention – on the pain of ‘re-publishing slanderous material’) and the context in which they had been uttered.

It seemed to this court observer that Mr. Smith not only proved (beyond a reasonable doubt- a much more strenuous test that required in a civil lawsuit) that he believed the truthfullness of his statements, but also that stating them in an online forum was ‘in the public interest’.

Actually, this is where things got rather interesting – after the lunch break (1-2 pm), when Roger Smith had finished his testimony and his cross examination by PB commenced!

PB seemed obsessed with the idea that Roger Smith’s view of what constituted ‘appropriate speech’ was ‘beyond the pale’.

Which is rather funny – considering me being in the audience (and the only person there in the courtroom with the express purpose to report to you, my dear readers, on the contents of this hearing)!!!

If you read my blog regularly, you may know that I am a free speech absolutist – because I am an anti-slavery fundamentalist.

Perhaps it is my Asperger’s that informs this bit of me, but, for better or worse, I cannot help but see this issue in black-and-white – with no gray in between.

To me, this is the necessary extension of the principle of self-ownership:  if you own your self, then you and only you are responsible for your reaction and any and all resultant action you may take based on what you hear/read.
In other words, if you can be swayed to bad actions through ‘hate-speech/incitement to violence’ you hear, then you are admitting that the speaker is a de-facto part-owner of you and thus, submitting to their will is a tacit admission/permission of slavery.  And I am 100% against slavery!!!
Self-ownership implies self-responsibility!
A 100% self-ownership (i.e. anti-slavery fundamentalism) implies a 100% self-responsibility, thus making all forms of hate-speech/incitement irrelevant.
Which means that all hate-speech/incitement laws are an admission of and permission for a form of slavery – something I will never accept.
And since I cannot accept any form of slavery, I cannot acknowledge that hate speech/incitement can sway a self-determining, self-owning individual…which makes outlawing it an admission that my core principles are irrelevant…something I cannot accept.
I hope this makes some kind of sense to you – it certainly makes sense to me.
But, that is me – and (thankfully) not the subject of this particular lawsuit.
Anyhow, it seemed to me that PB spent most of his cross-examination time trying to ‘nail’ the ‘bit’ where Roger Smith drew ‘the line’ between ‘permitted speech’ and ‘illegal speech’.

SILLY BUNNY!!!

As IF there ought to be such a thing as ‘illegal speech’!!!!

 

Roger Smith said he drew the line between what ought to be permitted speech and not somewhere between what Ernst Zundel said and what is routinely said online by people whom ‘the progressives’ label as ‘Neo-Nazis’ but who are in reality no such thing.

As in – according to Roger Smith – Ernst Zundel was ‘illegal speech’ while the wrongly villified ‘neo-nazis’ who were not really ‘neo-nazis’ were OK…if you actually listened to what they truly said rather than just buying into their rhetoric.

But, PJ tried very very hard to paint this in the worst light possible – as in, he tried to twist Roger Smith’s words into saying that Ernst Zundel’s crap (and his claims ARE crap) was OK but the Neo-Nazis were not OK.

It seemed to me that Roger Smith, naturally nervous, being on the stand and all, did not really understand where PB was aiming with this ‘twisting’.  But, the judge sure did!  And, she put PB in his place on it, too.

However, this was not the only bit of testimony that PB tried to twist – and I am not entirely certain that the judge (much less Roger Smith, who was justifiably nervous, arguing for his retirement fund and all) quite got the manipulation or not.

Anyhow, that is where I had to leave off – having real-life obligations and all….I do hope to be filled in on the bits I missed and report to you tomorrow!!!

 

 

 

 

THE REPUBLIC OF BILL

C0nc0rdance: Individuality by Robert Ingersoll

Remember, I am posting this before setting off on my holidays:  it may refer to the 4th of July, but, in my never-humble-opinion, this piece is timeless!!!

 

Thunderf00t: Feminism Vs FACTS (Anita Sarkeesian DESTROYED!)

Long, yes, but it is worth it – I’m getting my sons all the video games mentioned in it!

 

Two important videos…

Adam Kokesh is a name all freedom-loving people ought to get familiar with.

Yes, he is absolutely adorable – in the same way that a pitbull puppy is:  there is an awareness of the power within, but it has not awoken to its full extent.  Unlike a pitbull puppy, Adam Kokesh has very intelligent and well-reasoned out arguments to support voluntaryism.   I truly believe he will grow to be remembered as one of the great liberty-minded philosophers of our era, on par with Payne and Jefferson.

And, while the following video ostensibly shows how one ought to behave at a ‘sobriety check point’, it contains a most excellent explanation from first principles of the philosophy of voluntaryism.  It is not too long, but very powerful:

The second video I’d like to share with you is very, very different – yet no less important for maintaining our liberty.

While Adam Kokesh addresses how to fight the oppressive forces from within our society, Stephen Coughlin addresses the most clear and present danger to our liberty from without – but one which is increasingly infiltrating the power-structures within our society.

Stephen Coughlin is one of the very few people who, based on their understanding of Islam and the political factions in the Middle East, accurately predicted the events of the so called ‘Arab Spring’ , including the rise of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the ‘unrest’ in Benghazi – and predictive ability is the most scientific metric of knowledge, understanding and analysis.

It is a long video – about an hour – but it addresses (and explains in understandable terms) the significance of the whole ‘interfaith dialogue’ movement which culminated in the Vatican inter-faith-prayer between Christians, Jews and Muslims….where the Muslim cleric went off-script and called (right inside the Vatican) for the victory of Islam over Jews and Christians.

Yes, the Vatican tried to put a positive spin on it after the fact, but the event was simulcast to the whole of the Muslim world and it is essential that we understand the implications of this ‘off-script’ prayer – something understood (whether agreed to or not, it was understandable and understood) by the worldwide Muslim audience:

 

Bill Whittle on The Narrative: The origins of Political Correctness

Political Correctness, Critical Theory, the Frankfurt School…this blog has covered Cultural Marxism many times (most notably in this awesome,  detailed guest-post by CodeSlinger).

Yet, it seems that there are many people who are still unfamiliar with the history of this cancer on our society.  Therefore, I bring you a quick refresher:

 

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