Friday, 2 April 2010

J.Michael Cole

The hateful J. Michael Cole published this editorial on wednesday this week. I'll take him to task but I doubt the Timid Times will publish. The profound wrongness of this man is revealed in his very first sentence:
"There is not an ounce of doubt that in any respectable society, freedom of expression ends at the shore of hate speech or incitement of violence."
That quote contains two disfigurements of thought - the first is the severance of doubt and respectability from any one person who might make such doubts or regard a society with hate speech laws as respectable. Such a society just is respectable. There simply are no doubts about this. J.Michael Cole is not guilty of error here - this disfigurement of thought is done on purpose; it is a thuggish rhetorical device serving to corner the (mal)educated reader's mind into a dark alley from which alternative avenues are lost from sight. The second error is the little cul-de-sac itself - "hate speech" is simply another anti-conceptual instrument of the left by which political power may be permitted to encroach upon the freedom of the individual to think and speak for herself. "Hate speech" is an anti-concept because it abstracts any number of utterances away from their original contexts and misintegrates them according to what is merely incidental and non-essential. A society with hate speech laws is a not a society which can be respectfully regarded as in any way "free". A society with hate speech laws is well on the way toward the time when political power is totalitarian in span.

His article is a long road for me, only because it is strewn with so many bullshit potholes. I'll fill you in on one more - from that same opening paragraph:
"While freedom of expression is a precious resource that, even to this day, is still denied to far too many people around the world, the liberties that it confers upon people should not be exploited in a manner that undermines the very foundations of freedom."
Freedom of expression is not a resource - it is neither finite nor "renewable" - it is a vital condition of life in any human society. But let's be clear what we are dealing with here - what does the absence of freedom of speech mean? It means the presence - usually under threat - of brute violence. If you criticize X,Y and Z we are going to fuck you up. And it is always a "we" against a "you". The many against the individual.

As for that "undermining the foundations of freedom" line? That is Cole's introduction to a news item about an online group apparently calling for the assassination of President Ma. Government is the foundation of freedom according to Cole. I say the foundation of political freedom is the minds of seperate individuals all trying to think of more efficient ways of using scarce resources. That is what makes freedom possible - the fact that is necessary in order to survive over time on the basis of limited resources. The murder of President Ma would not in itself do much for the cause of freedom in Taiwan. People who say such things may be right to complain about Ma's government and its' cooperation with those evil fuckers in Beijing, but the threat to Taiwan's democratic mechanism, although it would lead further toward totalitarian political power, is not the only or even the most serious threat. I regard Taiwan's system of mal-education as an even more powerful if perhaps less proximate cause of the slide toward totalitarian political power.

The cause of freedom in Taiwan is not served by this hateful creature J.Michael Cole.

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