Thursday, 16 June 2016

Against J.M. Cole

Comment here on his recent article on the massacre at that gay nightclub in Orlando. I expect it to be removed at some point, whether by an editorial janitor or by J.M. himself.


Is there anything in evidence from the details of this horrible crime that indicates it could have been prevented or deterred by legislative restrictions on freedom of speech?

There just isn't, is there?

And yet you want the government to introduce such restrictions in Taiwan anyway.

In any society there are only two basic ways of interacting with other people to try to secure our values. One is reason, persuasion and cooperation, and the other is violence, whether personal violence or the institutional threat of violence contained in the law. Reasoning with and trying to persuade other people who disagree with us or even hate us can be very hard. But that doesn't make it acceptable to resort to violence.

" In my book, freedom of speech ends at the mark where its continuation fosters the selected targeting of others based on their gender, skin color, religion, or sexual orientation."

Which is really just an admission that you were never a proponent of freedom of speech to begin with. The criteria you state for restricting the right to free speech are arbitrary and as such, any new "hate speech" legislation based on these criteria could eventually be extended to include more and more additional criteria, for example a set of political views or principles, such that specific criticism of political campaigns or protests, democratic mechanisms or human rights legislation would become illegal. If that were to occur then we would be living in the very mirror image of the society that we take pride in distinguishing ourselves from.

"... we will all be partly responsible for the ensuing massacres."

No we will not. Nobody in Taiwan has any responsibility for what happened in Orlando. Collective guilt is a denial of individual responsibility, and a cloak to hide and excuse the real perpetrators of such crimes, which in this case is an apparently IS-affiliated homophobic fanatic. The last thing we need from those in the media is the disservice of moral confusion and emotional panic.



  1. Journalists perpetually profit off the misfortunes of others. You know this. Cut JMC some slack: he has to print something on a rag to get his daily bread.

    And if nothing else, if you persist in criticizing him, he'll just use his rag to smear you personally. That is what he does; that is what they do. They have to generate misfortunes if they cannot find them; they have to print something.

  2. I don't object to journalists "profiting off the misfortunes of others". If there is bad news I want them to tell me about it and actually investigate when they can.

    What I object to is the implications they draw from such events and the interpretation they give to them.

  3. You and I are thinking alike, actually. There are many ways to profit, not just money. The "implications they draw" profit a particular agenda. Money is only reward here, and in both ways, they are happy to serve.


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