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Late Great Donald Blake 

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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,566


It's going way out of the bounds of the Thor board, but I thought it would was still and interesting discussion and definitely worth having...

This is Norvell's last response, and I'll reply below.  It's worth noting most o his confusion here is thinking I'm a conservative and doesn't realize I AM on his left.  Anyway, the point isn't to try and dunk on him, but to illustrate the various freedom of speech positions here.



    Quote:
    LGDB: Well one, you're thinking of the 1st Amendment. The freedom of speech as a concept is a more basic philosophical precept, and I hate to tell you actually predates our Constitution.

So who enforces your freedom of speech? God?


    Quote:
    Secondly, classically more entities than just the State have historically abridged the freedom of speech, namely the church and the private sector, i.e. businesses and corporations.


You don't have any right to use the platform of a private business if you violate the terms of use, period. It's a privilege.


    Quote:
    This idea that somehow it's appropriate for us to outsource the abridgment of our rights to private companies, and especially liberals are okay with this, I think is probably not a good thing.


The increasing corporate control of America is a function of right-leaning policy, and statement of intent (not my opinion).


    Quote:
    Thirdly, I DO think Trump should be held to the same standard as everyone else. My point is Trump shouldn't be kicked of social media, because I see know reason why anyone should be kicked off of social media, unless they violate those exceptions that are pretty well observed at this point; direct threats of violence or force, fire in a crowded room, and so on. You could argue the latter is the case, but that's for a court to decide.


Incorrect. There is no applicable legal case that could be brought against Twitter, thus its not for a court to decide. In fact, the courts would overwhelmingly side with Twitter, hence why Trump hasn't brought one.


    Quote:
    Not some unaccountable billionaire. [b]Social media shouldn't be controlled by private companies who are only accountable to themselves and their stockholder, especially if they're going to monopolize the space.


So you're advocating for regulations of free speech and strict regulation of capitalism. You do realize that's what you're doing, right? If not, I got news for you.


    Quote:
    I'm not a Trump supporter, my position isn't informed by some interest or exceptional feeling (one way for another) for the ex president. It's informed by not wanted public discourse itself to be controlled by an oligarchy, instead of a democratic process of some kind.


So, again, you're advocating for more of a far-left (even further than me) approach to private companies. It actually seems like you're advocating for outright government control (the only thing accountable to a democratic process). Welcome, comrade!


    Quote:
    Fourthly, this is not to be confused with small associations like let's say this message board. The reason it's a problem with that kind of moderation on entities like Twitter and Facebook has everything to do with their monopolization of the PUBLIC.


It's public discourse on a private platform. Of course Twitter or Facebook have a right to control it. Just as someone else can start another platform and do the same thing (e.g. ban users, which the so-called free-speech right-wing platforms have already done).


    Quote:
    It doesn't matter that these companies exist as privately owned enterprises.


Um, yeah it does, since its foundational to what we're discussing.


    Quote:
    The fact that they have that much control of the market share means they have the capacity to control the lionshare of what's allowed to be said on line.


A much stronger case could be made against other sectors of the economy, such as energy production or health care.


    Quote:
    And it's an atrocious idea to cede this level of power and influence to any private nondemocratic entity much less a for profit company.


Well, I'm not necessarily disagreeing, but your making a purely ideological point that does not exist in American reality (or most other nation's).



    Quote:
    It would be like if one company owned 90% of the newspapers in the company and then decided what was allowed to be published.


Even that strained analogy has to be terribly skewed so that competing news papers cannot be created by virtue of the conditions of the argument.


    Quote:
    That's all together different than a small private group of people on a chat room or a message board, who want to decide how best to moderate their own group.


I have never visited a discussion forum that was run as a democracy. Ever.


    Quote:
    The veritable agora of political discourse isn't something private entities should have control over. The various fan club message board of the world can police themselves however they like.


Ultimately there is regulation about the content of these forums, either by the overseeing platform or even the Internet Service Provider.


    Quote:
    Fifthly, I didn't personally ban you from the Community Board and as moderators go I'm pretty lenient.


Ironically, I was banned for bickering, IIRC.


    Quote:
    But that doesn't mean I think for a moment Youtube, Twitter, or Facebook should have a comparable kind of moderation.


So privately owned platforms shouldn't have terms of service or content moderation. That seems diametrically opposed to your view that there should be strict regulation of the economy and the private sector (perhaps even moreso than my ideology would allow). Your ideological position has not been fully thought through.


    Quote:
    Sixthly, I don't think THIS moderator want us to have this discussion here.


Thankfully you've opened the window to this discussion, thus inviting me to respond. You're welcome to not respond in turn.




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Late Great Donald Blake 

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,566



Here's my reply, and by the way anyone here is welcome to participate in this discussion.  Freedom of Speech issues here are interesting ones because they general cut across normal political boundaries.


So who enforces your freedom of speech? God?

LGDB: This of course depends on who is the chief threat to freedom of speech at any given time, i.e. where the repression is coming from.  If the government is a threat to the freedom of speech then we (in a functioning government) would enshrine something in your Constitution or legal system saying the government has no legal authority no make laws abridging freedom of speech.  You know like we did.  But what's less obvious and the point I'm making here is that historically the freedom of speech has been imperiled by other sectors, like I said earlier by business especially by way of your employer, by the Church, and by various communities.  An employer might fire you for something you say on Twitter, the church excommunicates, and your community might stigmatize you (or worse.)  And each of these sectors have their own processes and logics, but the point is each of them can become repressive to the degree that the people subsumed in them don't feel free to express themselves.  And to your question who enforces it, it depends on the sector, if your community is repressive it might take the process of cultural reform; if your employer is repressive it might take organizing workers collectively and unionizing to put pressure on them.  But the who is always the people in a functioning democracy.

So if you happen to live in a place where your government won't prosecute you for controversial speech, you still might feel a very credible threat from let's say people in your community. To say under this circumstance you have the freedom of speech is meaningless. I mean I remember a time in this country when you didn't feel free to speak about being openly gay, but it wasn't usually because you were afraid of government reprisal.  You were afraid of what various people in the community might say or do.    The point is freedom speech describes the condition of a community at any given time.  At any given time the community at large can feel comfortable expressing certain potentially controversial thoughts or not, but that condition isn't the kind of thing that's only under threat by the State.




 The increasing corporate control of America is a function of right-leaning policy, and statement of intent (not my opinion).


LGDB:  But of course it's also a thing liberals are complicit in, at least at the level of Congress and other government institutions.  While liberals might have certain kinds of commitment that gestures against corporate power, the liberal party is absolutely in bed with it.  While the Republicans are at the mercy of old money like oil and coal, the Democrats are in the tank for the financial sector and Big Tech.  We can get into this at greater length, but the idea that the right is the only one content to allow powerful private interests to have inordinate influence over public policy is a ludicrous proposition.

Which bring me how this relates... when we allow companies like Twitter, Google, and Facebook to more or less dominate public communication, and then say, sure you're a private business so you can censor people however you like , it is in practice a way of side stepping the first amendment.  In other words, a way to side step that pesky 1st Amendment is to permit the privatization of public broadcasting and public social media, because private companies are obviously hindered by those kinds of Constitutional restraints.   



Incorrect. There is no applicable legal case that could be brought against Twitter, thus its not for a court to decide. In fact, the courts would overwhelmingly side with Twitter, hence why Trump hasn't brought one.


LGDB:  You're both right and wrong here.  There IS no legal case for Trump or anyone to sue Twitter for kicking them off.  But you've lost the plot here.  The legal case you absolutely could make are violation of Anti-Trust laws.  There's an absolutely clear precedent of even breaking up companies like Twitter and Facebook or Amazon or Google for just these reasons.  And there are many scholars, legal experts, and political activists that propose just this.  (If anyone's interested look into Matt Stoller's work.   He's really good on this stuff. ) The problem that I have with Twitter banning people isn't in principle their having that control over their own business (though this gets complicated).  The problem I have is the degree to which they've dominated that sector such that if a person is kicked off Twitter they have no where else to go to participate in public conversation at that level.  Even when we're talking about a publicly elected official that a huge part of the American electorate wants to be in the public conversation.  You can say sure they can go to the vastly smaller media entities, but the more fundamental issue here is that the public conversation which in the 21st century is invariably going to take place on line and shouldn't be primarily controlled by private corporate business.



So you're advocating for regulations of free speech and strict regulation of capitalism. You do realize that's what you're doing, right? If not, I got news for you.


LGDB:  Absolutely.   And yes I realize that.  If anything I've got news for YOU... I am unequivocally for strict regulation of capitalism.  I'm for abolishing capitalism ultimately, but in the mean time I'll settle for regulating the holy hell out of it.

As for regulating speech (1) there's a difference between regulating something and abridging it.  When liberals say they want to regulate guns sales, not abridge the second amendment, they have a case a lot of the time.  (2) we regulate speech all the time well in keeping with the 1st Amendment.  We regulate against threats or direct implication there of.  We have obscenity laws (some of which I agree with).  And you can be sued in the civil courts for defamation, slander, libel, etc.  And (3) the bigger issue here is that I do not equate the financial transitions, business decisions, and corporate policy with something like the individual right to free speech.  



So, again, you're advocating for more of a far-left (even further than me) approach to private companies. It actually seems like you're advocating for outright government control (the only thing accountable to a democratic process). Welcome, comrade!

LGDB:   See this is what can sometimes be frustrating about talking to liberals about politics when you're to their left... You can't imagine I might ACTUALLY be to your left so you're treating me being to your left as inadvertent like it's a trap I stepped into.  lol  My theory is that it's because the media sources that they favor and have faith in have systematically excluded any thought that is left of the corporate center or is critical of the professional managerial class or the business interests that bankroll them.  So genuine progressivism, leftism, DemSocs, and socialists all seem to be this imaginary thing that exists in some distance land and isn't "serious."

I AM a socialist.  Btw most people under 35 have positive associations with socialism (whether they should or not isn't my point).  It's not to say young people are by virtue of age correct about things, but at this point in our history, it's kind of silly to just assume you'd never meet one in conversation.  And I AM outright arguing for government control, insofar as it's a democratic government run by people who are or who represent working people.  I am not for a bourgeois government that's controlled by unaccountable corporate interests.

P.S. you're not being a very good comrade lol


It's public discourse on a private platform. Of course Twitter or Facebook have a right to control it. Just as someone else can start another platform and do the same thing (e.g. ban users, which the so-called free-speech right-wing platforms have already done).


LGDB:  But the point is it shouldn't be privately owned.  In estimation it can be a private business if it's heavily regulated by the state.  Or it can be thought of as a public utility.  Some of which are managed but not controlled ultimately by private interests.   Yes, and they CAN TRY to start their own company, but ultimately companies like Twitter and Facebook have become so large they basically are no longer competing in the market.  They control the market.  Or at least have undo influence.  The problem though is this isn't just some private consumer market of optional goods, where we don't really care if there are only 3 cattle companies as long as burger prices stay low.  This market control is the real-estate of public conversation and who governs it ultimately the arbiter of the voices that can and cannot be heard in society.

  Further if there was some competition at that level it would have to be created by some rival massive capitalist endeavor, and that's precisely the problem we find ourselves in: saying they have choices on who to buy from or who to work for doesn't mean anything if all the choices are owned and controlled by people or businesses that all have the same upper 1% wealthy class interest.



Um, yeah it does, since its foundational to what we're discussing.

LGDB:  But my point is that saying that they're a private company does not somehow make them immune from public laws or social arrangements and my position is that we should in some cases change those laws or moreover enforce the laws we already have.   This is the same principle of a private business saying we can pay our employees whatever we like we're a private business.  If that demand were observed we wouldn't have the minimum wage or the weekend or the 40 our work week and so on.   It doesn't matter if a private business wants total autonomy if it has a deleterious affect on its stakeholder, i.e. society.  


A much stronger case could be made against other sectors of the economy, such as energy production or health care.

LGDB:  No, it's virtually the same case to make, you just have to be willing to take the same principles applying them to Big Tech companies that have a monopoly on the public discourse.



Well, I'm not necessarily disagreeing, but your making a purely ideological point that does not exist in American reality (or most other nation's).

LGDB:  Yes, but it's one thing to not have yet enough power to change the system and to acknowledge that, and another thing entirely to argue on its behalf. And the point that things should be changed isn't any more or less ideological than the point that they should remain the same.  There are plenty things that do no exist in American reality, but there's nothing to say they can't.  I imagine that there were people saying this making a very similar argument about slavery in the south in 1820.  To them abolition of slavery must appeared like an absolute impossibility.  Thank people weren't defeated by their prejudices about what could or couldn't happen politically.    The better question is why don't we have certain things within our reality presently?  What I'm saying here specifically is that we shouldn't capitulate to bad policy or corporate capture, because we're told it's not "realistic" by people who are paid to say that and who have every reason not to want the system to change.



Even that strained analogy has to be terribly skewed so that competing news papers cannot be created by virtue of the conditions of the argument.

LGDB:  This is a similar formulation as above.  The reason we have antitrust laws to begin with is BECAUSE when there's enough concentration of wealth and capture of market share it makes the likelihood of emergent competition increasingly unlikely and eventually impossible.  And like I mentioned here earlier, at the current state of things, the only place competition would exist would come from OTHER large corporations.  Competition is in some sense better than complete monopoly.  But the idea that somehow we can have a democratic institution when things that should be public institutions are run by 3 centers of massive concentrated private interests as opposed to 1 is on its face cartoonish.   If for instance all we had were CNN and Fox News, despite the fact that they're competing vehemently, we would all be utterly screwed. I mean I guess it's better if Isengard and Mordor are competing rather than aligned, but it doesn't mean Middle Earth is doing okay.



I have never visited a discussion forum that was run as a democracy. Ever.

LGDB:  Being run as a democracy is different than governed by one.  The military isn't run as a democracy, but the point is that it's accountable to one.


Ultimately there is regulation about the content of these forums, either by the overseeing platform or even the Internet Service Provider.

LGDB:  Yes


Ironically, I was banned for bickering, IIRC.

LGDB:   You don't say.



So privately owned platforms shouldn't have terms of service or content moderation. That seems diametrically opposed to your view that there should be strict regulation of the economy and the private sector (perhaps even moreso than my ideology would allow). Your ideological position has not been fully thought through.


LGDB:  No you just don't understand my ideological position because you either don't understand socialism or you didn't think for a moment I could be one lol  And honestly you don't have to be a socialist whatsoever to agree with most of my points here, but since I am a socialist none of these positions should appear as contradictions to you.  My positions are only in contradiction to ones you assumed I have.  

 My point is that privately owned platform shouldn't be able to regulate speech if they've become sufficiently monopolistic of the public sphere, such that their kicking you off the platform excludes you from the public square.  Especially if you're a democratically elected official, even if you're a democratically elected official I disagree with.  And I don't have a problem with a publicly owned utilities for that matter having terms of service.   My point is if private entities become large enough that they're essentially operating as a public utility then they should no longer have unilateral autonomy over their own terms of service.  The terms of service should be up to government, which is to say democratic control, review, and if someone violates said terms of service that should go through some sort of juridical public process, which implies a right to appeal the decision also publicly.  It absolutely should not be  decided behind close door by billionaires and boards of trustees who are far more concerned with their own private interests than the public good.



Thankfully you've opened the window to this discussion, thus inviting me to respond. You're welcome to not respond in turn.

LGDB:  Oh that's okay, man.  I just decided to avail myself of this public board that literally you or anyone else can look at, and where it's actually an appropriate space to have the discussion.


cheers,
---the late great Donald Blake



Posted with Google Chrome 96.0.4664.110 on Windows 10
FreeKyle


Member Since: Thu Nov 11, 2021



    Quote:
    You don't have any right to use the platform of a private business if you violate the terms of use, period. It's a privilege.

A rather simpleton argument. It's a lot more easy to apply when a user is engaging in violent rhetoric and vulgarity, and there's a plethora of alternative platforms; but not so easy when applying against elected government officials (where violations are subjective), and there's a monopoly. Twitter doesn't consistently apply its own terms of use, and it makes subjective decisions about misinformation with no watchman. They now have the appearance as an extension of the DNC.

What would Norvell say if everyone flocked to GETTR and GETTR started muzzling Pelosi, Biden, and AOC?

My personal experience is that democrats, once a supposed vanguard of free speech, are no longer that. I don't last too long in the WaPo forums because the moderators won't even let me sneeze. Compared to Fox News, I see liberals get away with all kinds of things.


    Quote:
    Incorrect. There is no applicable legal case that could be brought against Twitter, thus its not for a court to decide. In fact, the courts would overwhelmingly side with Twitter, hence why Trump hasn't brought one.


There might not be an applicable legal case but this is a double-edged sword. Democrats never seem to understand that things always circle back in the reverse. What works for them at the moment will one day be in republican hands. That's why it's better not to escalate and democrats keep crossing this line through action or discussion (e.g., nuclear option, packing courts, eliminating the filibuster, and social media censorship).



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Prefer to stay private.


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008


Well, there are two parts of the conversation.

First is the legal, or more specifically constitutional question.

Some people think that is a social media company kicks you off, it is First Amendment violation.  These people are stupid.  If one is reading this, I am sorry to be blunt, but I am sick of pretending adults should not be embarrassed for thinking this.

Private companies have the right to do this.  Don't believe me?

Try going to a bar and calling the waitress a "dumb ****" and then claim First Amendment rights when they throw  you out.  Go to a TV station and demand a TV show, because of your First Amendment rights.

The government forcing someone to print, publish, or broadcast something is also a First Amendment violation.  The people who want the government to step in and force it are the ones really against the First Amendment.

To, hopefully th vast majority, of people who know that, I apologize.  But regardless of political affiliation, we all aware of the pains of having to spell out the basics for people who don't get it, and might wander in.

For we adults, the question is, does having the right, make it right?  The real question here is about the social concept of Free Speech, and the contract that defines it.

I, like most people, find NAMBLA extremely gross (had to pick an extreme), but as long as they only talk and do not practice they have the right.

However, if someone told them not to discuss it in their restaurant or cut off all ties for it, no one would think it was wrong.

If someone did the same because someone was just a Republican or Democrat, most Americans would agree the person telling teh person to leave was the asshole.

Think of it as the invisible hand of the free market of ideas.

To answer this, look at the roughly one year ago Twitter bans in the conservative sphere.  I believe there are three tiers, and they are an example of most of the issues.

1) Donald Trump himself.  Donald Trump agreed to the TOS, and violated them.  However, does that mean the punishment was fair.

For stuff like doxing or direct threats, I absolutely believe ti should be a zero tolerance policy. However, I don't think he did that.

He definitely deserved to be suspended, but as far as I know, and I could be wrong, this was an unprecedented jump in punishment.  If that was the case, and did not give warning of the change or apply it evenly, they are in teh wrong.


2) They actual people who plotted crimes or some type of act that society deems wrong.  This is important, because we are becoming an increasingly extreme country, and I am sadly expecting more form both sides.

And to be clear... I am referring only to those who perpetually discussing illegal activity, not just extreme takes or opinions.

This is the one most people agree with, and I only partially do.  I agree there is a moral high ground and justification. But there is another element.

Is it a good idea to have any group that might be plotting something or discussing something be kicked out of a place they can be watched, so they can scatter someplace else?

There is a whole complicated element about whether that is an invasion of privacy, since it walks a complicated line... because it was literally published for the world to see, but is that enough.  And quite frankly I don;t want to get into it right now, and I am not sure I have the answer off hand.

3)  The mass suspension or deletion of seemingly conservative pages.  While I do think it is hilarious that Rand Paul whined about his dad getting blocked, despite the two spending their whole political careers defending the rights of businesses to do what ever... this was wrong.

HOWEVER, I don't think it was just to censor conservatives as many think.  Yes, many pages had this problem that were seemingly very innocent, but many people who had done more stayed.

It seems to me they panicked, and did this poorly.  Blocking, though maybe not deleting, many just because they liked something not disturbing, but by somebody who did do something. 

So, while not an attempt to censor, and most were just temporarily blocked r suspended, with full abilities... still wrong.

So there you have it kids, anyone who thinks it was a violation of their rights is just wrong.  However, anyone who is against the actions, I am more or less on your side.  If I ever ad a Twitter or Facebook account, I would even join you in a boycott... another form of speech!

And remember kids, most Terms of Service are vague by design, and not for your benefit.










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bd2999 

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008


Not sure this is OK unless the other poster can respond. Indications were he could not.

Just my two cents though.

That said those posting to social media signed an agreement. If somebody is in violation they should be kicked off upon repeat. For that matter they were created by companies. If they were government owned it would be more complicated to me. Also potentially infighting violence is illegal

There is alot in the original thread to impact but I find I agree with Norvell on some points.

Even freedom of speech on a philosophical level or academic level is not absolute or mean what some want it to. Having taught for years myself not every students opinion is right. Nor free from consequence.

I am not hitting point by point.





Look Raist bunnies...
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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,239


TLDR version: capitalism gradually causes all the soft power to be gradually accumulated by corporations. This soft power allows them to squelch free speech and most other rights without technically making them illegal.

Are you familiar with the Iron Law of Oligarchy?





Posted with Mozilla Firefox 95.0 on Windows 10
Prefer to stay private


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008





    Quote:
    My personal experience is that democrats, once a supposed vanguard of free speech, are no longer that. I don't last too long in the WaPo forums because the moderators won't even let me sneeze. Compared to Fox News, I see liberals get away with all kinds of things.


Didn't liberals used to be the ones that were always talking about being the victim?



Conservatives are such vanguards of Free Speech that they automatically call any Republican... even those with near if not perfect voting records.... RINOs for criticizing Trump.

Or the attempts to prevent teaching of America's past with race, the recent book banning in schools as well as local libraries. And that is actually affecting the government.

And before you type anything... no, I do not think the majority of modern Americans, or even just Republicans are racist. The point is the banning. I have read a few on the list, and at least one I disagree with a lot of, but that is not the point. It is not presented as fact, but source based opinion.

In Oklahoma, a Republican introduced a bill to ban books. It even includes a heft bounty. This one is so insane it deserves a link...

https://thehill.com/changing-america/respect/diversity-inclusion/587517-oklahoma-lawmaker-introduces-book-banning-bill

Social Media banning and what have you is something I think is wrong, and am very much apposed to the practice of, but what was proposed in Oklahoma is disturbing.

You see, you are currently representing the current problem in America. Everyone is acting like the problems we have are just he other side of the aisle. These are problems with the way our society is, that just take different flavors regionally or politically.

The country's ego is so pout of whack that we ignore what our side does, or even justify it, and make the other side out to be monsters.

There is a very accurate saying "All that takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

Though now everybody thinks every single issue is that evil. Everything is the downfall of society, so no matter what you do is justified.

And that is not a left or right mindset, it is a 21st century American one.




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atrimus


Location: Saint Louis, MO
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 2,489


… You come into my house and start talking shit, you will get summarily kicked out. Feel free to talk as much shit as you want out on the curb.

That’s layman for: Privately own social media companies don’t owe a platform to anyone unwilling to follow their rules.



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FreeKyle


Member Since: Thu Nov 11, 2021


I have no problem with liberal propaganda books being banned in schools or public libraries which are government funded. They should be burned like firewood. If you want them to be available in book stores or Amazon, then I’ll support you (although I’ll still make fun of those books).

How arrogant of you to think a government funded organization should carry your propaganda and that it’s removing your “right”.


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Late Great Donald Blake 

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,566


As far as I'm concerned he can be reinstated to this board if he'd like to be.  I told him that on the Thor board.(Which is still posted there and you can verify.)  I see no reason why his being banned should be permanent.  He got it for "bickering."    But as far as I'm aware it wasn't a permanent banning, and it's not one if I have anything to say about it.  It's not a capital offense.  My feeling is if you think it's important that he respond to this, (and I certainly think that that would be fair) then we should unban him (if that's what he wants.) 

Also, if you'll remember ironically he posted this explicitly "under the wire" so that I wouldn't be able to respond.  But as I said, seeing  as how there is a place where anyone can discuss this subject (namely here on the COMMUNITY BOARD and not the THOR BOARD ) I posted it here.    

This started in the Thor board, where the moderator (rightly) said it doesn't belong, but this IS where it belongs.  It never should have been posted there.  This is the only appropriate place for it.

Most importantly, the issue of freedom of speech is more important that Norvel or my personal conversation, and the subject broadly is something (yourself included) that would benefit more from just my and his (or any two people's) takes.   Which is why I posted it here.  He's already an anonymous poster who posted on a public forum, so this isn't protected information.  If you feel raw about him not being unable to post here (but you don't think he should be unbanned) perhaps you could have him send you a private message and you could post his reply.


That said those posting to social media signed an agreement. If somebody is in violation they should be kicked off upon repeat. For that matter they were created by companies. If they were government owned it would be more complicated to me. Also potentially infighting violence is illegal.


LGDB:  I agree with the IF, THEN statement.  If they signed and agreement, then they can be kicked off.  My contention is that if the platform is sufficiently large, then the larger threat to the freedom of speech in a social sense is the private company that monopolies public spaces.   I don't think anyone would argue that Twitter doesn't have their own terms and conditions.  The larger political issue here isn't did Twitter act in accordance with their own contractual arrangement; it's is their control (and other similar entities) over public discourse a legitimate in the first place.  



Even freedom of speech on a philosophical level or academic level is not absolute or mean what some want it to. Having taught for years myself not every students opinion is right. Nor free from consequence.


LGDB:  Yes.  As I mention in my reply.  We've ALWAYS regulated speech.  Speech regulation is by no means my contention.  My contention is who should be the regulators.  And while freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom of consequences, that of course doesn't make every "consequence" legitimate either.  And those who dole out consequences can also be acting illegitimately or unfairly, and should ALSO be responsible ethically and legally for the consequences they deliver.  My argument is that the people who should decide on the consequences should be the people that constitute the democracy, and we shouldn't arrange our society such that the people who are deciding consequences are unaccountable billionaires.  If the people in this country want to decide that Trump is no longer able to appear in the public discourse then that can be decided via a juridical process that's sanctioned officially. transparently, and democratically.

cheers,
---the late great Donald Blake   









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Late Great Donald Blake 

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,566


If we enforce antitrust laws then this wouldn't be an issue to begin with. The internet, and especially SOCIAL MEDIA shouldn't be privately owned or privately controlled anymore than the military or roads should be.


cheers,
---the late great Donald Blake


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Late Great Donald Blake 

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,566


Specifically realistic about how parts of the liberal cultural are laundering what would otherwise be seen as profound corporate overreach and the obscene privatization of public institutions (or the private replacement of public institutions,) by Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Google, etc. because it's being used primarily (as of yet) against their political enemies like Trump and antivaxxers and so on.




TLDR version: capitalism gradually causes all the soft power to be gradually accumulated by corporations. This soft power allows them to squelch free speech and most other rights without technically making them illegal.


LGDB:  Yes basically.  I'm on the fence about whether capitalism itself would need to be overcome entirely before fighting for reformist measures in the mean time like breaking up massive monopolist companies.  I don't think those have to be a one or the other sort of thing though.  And I think it's a silly position to say until the revolution there's nothing worth trying to change.  In fact, I think quite the opposite.  Not that you're saying this, I just mention it because I think it's a naturally emerging question.



Are you familiar with the Iron Law of Oligarchy?

LGDB:  Yes, but there's a few things to mention here.  One is that a tendency doesn't equal inevitability, so even if organizations have a tendency to centralize power (as capital has a tendency towards concentration) or a tendency to form insular rulership classes  it doesn't mean that a political situation can't exist that resists this tendency.  We don't want to go so far as to say well there's always a temptation for government officials to become corrupted, let's then not have government officials, what say you?

And secondly, the person that coined this term and developed this theory was Robert Michels (I had to look up his name on Wikipedia), a man who literally joined the Italian fascists, and he would have plenty of reasons to want to delegitimize the attempt of democratically composed socialist government.  

But I will say, if we're just taking this at face value, we absolutely should be concerned with the possibility of distinct class formations emerging out of even a post revolutionary situation.  


cheers,
---the late great Donald Blake





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Late Great Donald Blake 

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,566


I have no problem with liberal propaganda books being banned in schools or public libraries which are government funded. They should be burned like firewood. If you want them to be available in book stores or Amazon, then I’ll support you (although I’ll still make fun of those books).

LGDB: I think you mean you want ALL propaganda books banned from schools, right? lol

cheers,
---the late great Donald Blake



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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,239



In capitalism, the first winners of the
capitalist race work to shut the door to the top behind them,
favoring their families and golfing buddies, creating monopolies and
oligopolies gradually funneling all the money and soft power to
themselves, and allowing them to bribe politicians to acquire
indirect hard power. They then become feudal lords in all but name.



In communism, those bureaucrats in
charge of distributing the wealth favor their families and golfing
buddies. They then require ever more amounts of policing power to
enforce this disparity, resulting in a constant seesaw where the
goods given to the people get ever smaller, requiring ever more
policing power to prevent a rebellion from resulting, resulting in
even less money getting distributed to the people, requiring even
more money be given to the policing needed to prevent rebellion,
until the country is just a feudal system in which the Feudal Lords
are called bureaucrats.


Ultimately the core problem isn't
capitalism or communism, but tribalism. That is to say, the natural
tendency of human beings to favor their families and friends over the
good of the nation. Fighting against this tendency requires a massive
amount of both careful systemic design, and vigilance.






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Late Great Donald Blake 

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,566


In communism, those bureaucrats in
charge of distributing the wealth favor their families and golfing
buddies. They then require ever more amounts of policing power to
enforce this disparity, resulting in a constant seesaw where the
goods given to the people get ever smaller, requiring ever more
policing power to prevent a rebellion from resulting, resulting in
even less money getting distributed to the people, requiring even
more money be given to the policing needed to prevent rebellion,
until the country is just a feudal system in which the Feudal Lords
are called bureaucrats.


LGDB: well communism by definition is a classless society, so if only government bureaucrats control the means of production that's a sharp class difference and thus not communism.  But besides the semantics if the idea is regardless of the situation things will always get worse or decay or there's always entropy, I'm not really sure that that's more than a quietism, politics will only get worse regardless of what we try.  I'm not sure how useful the political pessimism really is.


And more importantly there's a pretty strong differentiation right up top:  with communism, people are trying to achieve a classless society where no one class privately owns the levers of power.  And they might fail even most of the time, but capitalism just accepts as a positive good the unequal, private control of society.  So based on my values I don't see them as equivalent systems.

And I think tribalism is bad sure, but that's also a bit vague.   What is the answer?  Just surrendering to tribalism?  Accept that no politics can overcome tribalism?  That's not a problem for communism, it's a problem for any political project.

Also, could you respond to the idea that the Iron Law of Oligarchy was coined by a literal fascist?  I don't think that's something we wanna gloss over.


cheers,
--- the late great Donald Blake



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Trent Trueheart


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 1,178



    Quote:
    If we enforce antitrust laws then this wouldn't be an issue to begin with. The internet, and especially SOCIAL MEDIA shouldn't be privately owned or privately controlled anymore than the military or roads should be.



    Quote:

    cheers,
    ---the late great Donald Blake


The internet should be a public utility. I agree with that.

But social media? I don't know. I mean, maybe there is an argument that once a platform hits a certain number of users it could be considered, but where is that line? Like, if a new social media site popped up tomorrow, do you think that shouldn't be privately owned/controlled?

Even if you did come up some number, how can we know if those users are unique? Theoretically, if you said a social media platform couldn't be privately controlled once they reached a certain number of users, anyone could create a bunch of accounts to push the platform over that number. You could have a situation where half the accounts, maybe more, were only created to hit a goal. Would that make it necessary to remove private control?

And if we say it's not about the number of users, but rather how much influence the platform has, how do we judge that? Or should we even judge that? 15 years ago, Myspace was a pretty big deal, but now no one cares about it. Will Facebook or Twitter still be around in 10 years or will people move on to something else?

That said, I do get your point. Banning people from a large public discourse will cause them to seek out their own echo chambers which will only make them more extreme in their beliefs. In theory, hearing discourse from both sides should help to keep people in check so they don't become too extreme in their beliefs. However, even without banning people from these platforms, they tend to seek out echo chambers anyway. You really can't make people honestly listen to both sides or prevent people from becoming extreme in their beliefs.


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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,239



    Quote:
    In communism, those bureaucrats in
    charge of distributing the wealth favor their families and golfing
    buddies. They then require ever more amounts of policing power to
    enforce this disparity, resulting in a constant seesaw where the
    goods given to the people get ever smaller, requiring ever more
    policing power to prevent a rebellion from resulting, resulting in
    even less money getting distributed to the people, requiring even
    more money be given to the policing needed to prevent rebellion,
    until the country is just a feudal system in which the Feudal Lords
    are called bureaucrats.


    LGDB: well communism by definition is a classless society, so if only government bureaucrats control the means of production that's a sharp class difference and thus not communism.  But besides the semantics if the idea is regardless of the situation things will always get worse or decay or there's always entropy, I'm not really sure that that's more than a quietism, politics will only get worse regardless of what we try.  I'm not sure how useful the political pessimism really is.
The abstract idea of communism is very different from those structures needed to implement it in practice. This degree of non-profit based societal behavior has proven so alien to human nature that only an authoritarian bureaucracy has been able to implement it. Authoritarian bureaucracies quickly fall prey to the human tendency to favor ones family and friends over society, leading to the results already discussed. Consequently, the abstraction idea of communism has proven about as relevant as saying we should all do good stuff and not do bad stuff.



    Quote:
    And more importantly there's a pretty strong differentiation right up top:  with communism, people are trying to achieve a classless society where no one class privately owns the levers of power.  And they might fail even most of the time, but capitalism just accepts as a positive good the unequal, private control of society.  So based on my values I don't see them as equivalent systems.
Which people? Most regular people are trying to help their families and friends and find some time to relax in comfort and safety. Most people in power are going to be careerists with a vested interest in increasing their power, and shutting the door behind them for competitors. Communism really requires that the majority of people be saints. All systems that require the majority of people to be saints are utopian and doomed to end in de facto feudalism.


    Quote:
    And I think tribalism is bad sure, but that's also a bit vague.   What is the answer?  Just surrendering to tribalism?  Accept that no politics can overcome tribalism?  That's not a problem for communism, it's a problem for any political project.
The Scandinavians seem to be doing a pretty good job. Their system is too complex to be summed up in a message post, but they have notably used a mix of capitalist and socialist design. Social democracy, in other words.


    Quote:
    Also, could you respond to the idea that the Iron Law of Oligarchy was coined by a literal fascist?  I don't think that's something we wanna gloss over.

 He made many insightful observations about the human tendency towards neofeudalism, but then decided to become part of the problem instead of working towards a solution.








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atrimus


Location: Saint Louis, MO
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 2,489



    Quote:
    If we enforce antitrust laws then this wouldn't be an issue to begin with. The internet, and especially SOCIAL MEDIA shouldn't be privately owned or privately controlled anymore than the military or roads should be.



    Quote:


    cheers,
    ---the late great Donald Blake


Is the internet privately owned?

Regardless, Twitter (and other social media platforms) doesn’t serve the same purpose as roads or the military. It’s not funded by taxes, nor is it essential for survival. Twitter is no more a public service than any other company-owned website that offers (and polices) a forum for its users.

I’m not sure how antitrust laws would come into play here either, as there’s no single monopoly in the market. Twitter competes with Facebook/Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, Tumblr, Snapchat and others, all of which have their own moderation in place. As far as I can tell, none of these platforms have engaged in any anticompetitive practices that prevents the “MTGs” of the world from starting their own social media site.





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atrimus


Location: Saint Louis, MO
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 2,489



    Quote:

      Quote:
      If we enforce antitrust laws then this wouldn't be an issue to begin with. The internet, and especially SOCIAL MEDIA shouldn't be privately owned or privately controlled anymore than the military or roads should be.

      Quote:

        Quote:

        cheers,
        ---the late great Donald Blake



    Quote:
    The internet should be a public utility. I agree with that.



    Quote:
    But social media? I don't know. I mean, maybe there is an argument that once a platform hits a certain number of users it could be considered, but where is that line? Like, if a new social media site popped up tomorrow, do you think that shouldn't be privately owned/controlled?



    Quote:
    Even if you did come up some number, how can we know if those users are unique? Theoretically, if you said a social media platform couldn't be privately controlled once they reached a certain number of users, anyone could create a bunch of accounts to push the platform over that number. You could have a situation where half the accounts, maybe more, were only created to hit a goal. Would that make it necessary to remove private control?



    Quote:
    And if we say it's not about the number of users, but rather how much influence the platform has, how do we judge that? Or should we even judge that? 15 years ago, Myspace was a pretty big deal, but now no one cares about it. Will Facebook or Twitter still be around in 10 years or will people move on to something else?



    Quote:
    That said, I do get your point. Banning people from a large public discourse will cause them to seek out their own echo chambers which will only make them more extreme in their beliefs. In theory, hearing discourse from both sides should help to keep people in check so they don't become too extreme in their beliefs. However, even without banning people from these platforms, they tend to seek out echo chambers anyway. You really can't make people honestly listen to both sides or prevent people from becoming extreme in their beliefs.


I dunno. Seems to me that these echo chambers existed irrespective of the major social media platforms. If anything, a lot of those echo chambers gained more widespread exposure by bring their extreme views to the major platforms. Also, it’s worth mentioning that Facebook (not sure about Twitter) was (and maybe still is) lax in policing mis/disinformation on their platform. And until Jan 6, Twitter even let Trump spread boldfaced lies under the privilege afforded to world leaders.





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Late Great Donald Blake 

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,566



Regardless, Twitter (and other social media platforms) doesn’t serve the same purpose as roads or the military. It’s not funded by taxes, nor is it essential for survival. Twitter is no more a public service than any other company-owned website that offers (and polices) a forum for its users.

LGDB: All do respect this appears to me naïve. Essential for survival isn't a meaningful standard here. The freedoms that our First Amendment and similar free speech provisions in other countries are meant to protect also aren't essential for survival. And further, we don't fund it with taxes because it's not a public institution. But I'm arguing it should be, in which case either we would fund by our taxes like any federal department or more likely as a public utility would be run by various private companies and heavily regulated and overseen by the government. And it of course doesn't serve the same purpose as the military or physical infrastructure. But I would argue it provides an equally public service, which is to say public political/social communication. This is the 21st century Twitter and platforms like it have absolutely replaces the printed word as the location for which society communicates with itself. Moreover, Twitter and Facebook are vital to the success of small businesses, and not having access to them puts one's business at a markedly significant disadvantage, so the stakes aren't merely and ability to speak. But the point is that very clearly social media is a matter of a social infrastructure. In the same we it's understood that anyone be able to use the roads (unless a court of laws has dictated that they can't be trusted to do that) because to be denied that ability would seriously retard their livelihood, i.e. that the roads should be public to all, social media shouldn't be any different.

And a further argument for why entities like Twitter and Facebook can't be looked coherently as merely private companies is that their very business model is primarily about collecting our meta data and selling it to other companies. We're not customers of these companies, if we want to so much as participate in the modern public square of society, the price of admission is that our private information be collected without our permission and sold without our getting any cut of those profits. There is no company that offers the same access to the public conversation on line that we can choose that isn't essentially making money from harvesting our private information. Our information is the value that's being extracted from us, and it seems like a poor idea that we shouldn't have a public say in the rules by which people are allowed to participate.

Now we can choose to privatize that infrastructure or make it public or some combination of the two, but thinking of social media as merely a set of private enterprises like a burger chain or a retail joint is wrong headed.

If you're a capitalist you might want that infrastructure to be constituted by a multitude of businesses competing with on another, letting market forces maximize freedom and competition, giving new businesses a chance t enter into the market and try their luck. The point is that's a situation where (ideally) no one entity can by fiat decide who can participate, and information, various voice, inconvenient truths and so on can't be shut out. Conversely if you're a socialist or a leftist of some kind you think that this kinds of infrastructure should just patently be democratically controlled for a number of reasons, but chiefly because the consequence of its misuse, abuse, and mismanagement are basically shared by the public. But what no one should want, what no one should be defending is that a handful of massively powerful private conglomerates should be controlling the central location where public communication takes place.






I’m not sure how antitrust laws would come into play here either, as there’s no single monopoly in the market. Twitter competes with Facebook/Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, Tumblr, Snapchat and others, all of which have their own moderation in place. As far as I can tell, none of these platforms have engaged in any anticompetitive practices that prevents the “MTGs” of the world from starting their own social media site.

LGDB: So here's the problem. Anti-trust violations aren't just when a single company is the exclusive actor in a given market, as with a literal monopoly. If a company gets sufficiently large they can have undo influence on the market and prevent genuine competition, they usually run afoul of anti-trust violation. (And they're often not prosecuted for political reasons, or they are and the fines are just their cost of doing business.) So for instance critics of Amazon on antitrust grounds will point out that while Amazon is obviously not the sole internet delivery service, they are so much larger than even the combined preponderance of the competitors they dominate the industry: they more or less set pricing, and they decide what business's products efficiently make it to market and so on.

Btw, another aside here, in many cases the reason companies like Amazon aren't taken to court by the federal government is because there's somewhat of a Washington consensus that so long as prices remain relatively low it's not worth the trouble of rocking the boat. But like many Washington based consensus this is let's say based on limited brain power and doesn't care much for how people in the country are affected. There are other reasons to worry about virtual monopolies than merely price increases for consumers. There's also how this affects labor power, collective wages, and the genuine competitiveness in the relevant market, not to mention the various other market's that Amazon's business affects. Anyway I digress.


Further, and here's the more important thing, antitrust violations also occur when large business's collude or conspire with one another to effect market outcomes. And they often do this when they realize that they have shared interests. Let's call them class interests. And that's another important point, which even if you don't have a literal monopoly, as I've mentioned before it's not a much better situation to have social media policy more or less dictated by 2 or 3 private firms owned by billionaires and massively wealthy financial interests.   It's important to keep in mind how the interests of the public at large and the interests of literally a few dozen people at the commanding heights of a trillion dollar industry aren't just not aligned but often diametrically opposed.  The pubic needs the larger social media landscape to be a place of free and open exchange and for it to be responsive to the society it serves.  The owners and shareholder of companies like Twitter, don't need that.  They need something else.



cheers,
---the late great Donald Blake



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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,239


The danger inherent in such industries "policing" disinformation is greater than the danger of the misinformation itself. Such industries have a vested interest in considering leftwing economic views to be disinformation, for example.




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Late Great Donald Blake 

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,566


But social media? I don't know. I mean, maybe there is an argument that once a platform hits a certain number of users it could be considered, but where is that line? Like, if a new social media site popped up tomorrow, do you think that shouldn't be privately owned/controlled?

Even if you did come up some number, how can we know if those users are unique? Theoretically, if you said a social media platform couldn't be privately controlled once they reached a certain number of users, anyone could create a bunch of accounts to push the platform over that number. You could have a situation where half the accounts, maybe more, were only created to hit a goal. Would that make it necessary to remove private control?

LGDB: I don't these details are in principle that hard to evaluate. Can you set a number of followers probably not. But that's not really how antitrust works anyway. There are numbers of ways to evaluate whether a company has undue influence on a market that limits or stultifies competition or gives itself unfair advantage. And obviously it's a thing like any other that would have to be settled in court. Laws by their nature are often set arbitrarily, but in principle these difficulties (e.g. how big is too big, what counts as undo influence) aren't any different that exist with ANY KIND of business. Btw, I'm not introducing some novel suggestion here. This is already a popular sentiment among antitrust activists. I mean hell, Facebook has literally been sued by the federal government for antitrust violations: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/investing/update-facebook-antitrust-lawsuit/ We can of course disagree about the politics of this, but I just want to make it clear I'm not introducing some foreign concept to the larger conversation.  

Now Twitter specifically isn't to my knowledge every been accused of technical antitrust or monopoly, Facebook dwarfs it in terms of market share.  But a few things, my larger argument concerns how concentrated private interests dominate the social media space, there is no public option so to speak.  Also, if the market and the politic climate allows for monopolization the next big company will fill that vacuum, so if Facebook were to go defunct (and a lot of signs do point to a sort of decline there) a company like Twitter is primed to take their place.  

There's also a question of whether Twitter and Facebook are actually in competition in the first place.   They're both online social media companies.   But they certainly seem to function different and are used differently: while Facebook is a platform that allows you to communicate with friends and family, Twitter is more conducive to large form public conversations, especially for the communication of politicians, dignitaries, and influencers and the public at large. 
So while Twitter or Tik Tok or whomever aren't monopolies themselves, the problem remains that the space/industry/infrastructure is still dominated by concentrate private wealth and while they might be competing with each other at some level, they're also aligned in their interests that sets them apart from the public's interests.  





And if we say it's not about the number of users, but rather how much influence the platform has, how do we judge that? Or should we even judge that? 15 years ago, Myspace was a pretty big deal, but now no one cares about it. Will Facebook or Twitter still be around in 10 years or will people move on to something else?

LGDB: I appreciate what you're suggesting here, but I think if we consider it generally or in a legal context, whether or not a monopoly will in a decade or two go away on its own isn't a reasonable standard for whether or not that monopoly ought to be broken up.   I think ultimately antitrust violations are against the law (whether we have the political will often to enforce them or not) and you don't just let big companies violate the law in perpetuity in the hopes that the market won't continue to support their law breaking.  Secondly, the deleterious affects of monopolization exist and we should do something about them because in many cases people suffer under them or because of them, not passively hope they go away when some OTHER monopoly replaces like them like the Romans conquering Greece  And thirdly, it's not as if we know as a fact that these monopolies are going to go away after a decade or two just because that happened in some earlier case.


cheers,
---the late great Donald Blake




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Late Great Donald Blake 

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,566


not to mention these companies have in many cases censored various accounts supportive of the Palestinian cause as antisemitic hate speech. The idea that these companies can be expected to police for anything but their own economic interests, as opposed to political principles we've no reasons to expect they believe in much less would place over their bottom line is pretty laughable. As a matter of fact whenever someone says a private company should get to police itself, that's usually a dog whistle for "they should get to do whatever they want, because I think they'll do what I happen to want them to do."


cheers,
---the late great Donald Blake


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Late Great Donald Blake 

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,566


The abstract idea of communism is very different from those structures needed to implement it in practice. This degree of non-profit based societal behavior has proven so alien to human nature that only an authoritarian bureaucracy has been able to implement it. Authoritarian bureaucracies quickly fall prey to the human tendency to favor ones family and friends over society, leading to the results already discussed. Consequently, the abstraction idea of communism has proven about as relevant as saying we should all do good stuff and not do bad stuff.


LGDB:  We agree about the abstract notion of communism or anything for that matter being not much use by itself.  And you're preaching to the choir about it differing from its material form.  But of course the point is about having working principles and a standard that you're applying.  Critics of socialism often misconstrue the direction socialist want to head, their north star, with their more materially grounded political projects.   I'm not comparing my abstraction to your realism.   We simply disagree about the nature of political reality here.  Ultimately politics is about building institutions that can represent the people and channelize the people's will.  For instance I'm a socialist that believes strongly in the democratic aspects of the history of socialism.  I think authoritarian bureaucracies are of course a problem (and a sign of failure), insofar as they form their own private class within the larger government and then subvert the people's will to their own private interests.  We have to understand that danger like we understand any political danger, i.e. set up institutions populated by working people that incentivize people who work in the system differently, and primarily mobilize people such that they're directly involved in political processes at the highest level.  We can look at some concrete examples, but insofar as we're only talking in the most general of terms, I think you and I just have an ideological difference.  But to reiterate I think the problem you're articulating is real but special pleading if only applied to socialism.  The problem of corruption or bureaucratic capture is a problem for ALL political projects, not just socialism.  And I would worry that you pessimism risks becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.  Just another reason not to try to reform or revolutionize a broken system.  




Which people? Most regular people are trying to help their families and friends and find some time to relax in comfort and safety. Most people in power are going to be careerists with a vested interest in increasing their power, and shutting the door behind them for competitors. Communism really requires that the majority of people be saints. All systems that require the majority of people to be saints are utopian and doomed to end in de facto feudalism.


LGDB: Communists lol  Yes and I think the division you're talking about as there are people doing political work and other people who are not involved in political work is an unnecessary distinction.  And one ultimately a populist socialism works to break down; not something it accepts as a law of society.  But I don't think whatsoever that the redistribution of the means of production requires that people be saintly anymore that the privatization of the means of production.  Organizing ourselves in such a way that the value produced by the community is redirected to the community doesn't require somehow more magical angel people that a system where we direct the vast majority of value produced into a small minority of oligarchic hands.  I think the idea that communism is utopian is basically a strawman propagated by people who have every reason to want it to fail.  It's not anymore utopian than the idea that somehow the board game Monopoly will create a material equilibrium and maximize all of our freedom.




The Scandinavians seem to be doing a pretty good job. Their system is too complex to be summed up in a message post, but they have notably used a mix of capitalist and socialist design. Social democracy, in other words.


LGDB:  Yeah absolutely.  I, unlike many socialist on line, don't really go out of my way to criticize social democracy or the Scandinavian system.  I think they've arranged a far better system for themselves they we Americans have, but ultimately it's insufficient to a more equitable possibility.  In other words in Scandinavian countries you're looking a market system that is heavily regulated by government intervention, and they've a much more robust social welfare system.  All much better things.  That being said their orientation with the global South is less than stellar and much of their prosperity their critics argue still rely on a larger system of imperialist global capitalism.  I could stand to no more about the details honestly.  But for me it comes down to the fact that they still do have the unjust privatization of the means of production and the foundational exploitation of the labor of their workers.  The treat their people FAR better than we do in the United States no question.  And I would absolutely love to get to a place that was even half as humane as the Nordic countries if we're being realistic.  But ultimately it's still a system whose essence is a kind of capitalist exploitation.  So for instance if all the Nordic workers had a revolution had took back the factories, companies, farms and so on from their bosses and owners, I would unequivocally and full-throatedly support that and them.




He made many insightful observations about the human tendency towards neofeudalism, but then decided to become part of the problem instead of working towards a solution.


LGDB:  Yes.  But I would go onto argue that the logic of political pessimism has its own fascist tendencies, and classically pessimism is the kind of thing absolutely fostered and propagated by the ruling class.   This is a bit of a longer argument but basically it boils down to the fact that if one thinks power cannot be justified, that power cannot be managed by a equitable society, or channelized through a system of democratically constituted justice, then one's only recourse is to ensure they're on the right side of power and domination.  And in order to be on the right side of domination one often has to utterly capitulate to it and serve as its mouth piece.  And if you have an abiding belief that people are inherently barbarous, wanton, collectively insane of a necessity, the you may be wont to see fascists arrangements as our only recourse.   So with guys like Michel, it's very likely not a fluke that they joined the brown shirts.  It may be that their ideology had that trajectory all along.  


cheers,
---the late great Donald Blake



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FreeKyle


Member Since: Thu Nov 11, 2021


I promise you. In your lifetime, you will see this in the reverse, in republican hands. Remember you said this.


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FreeKyle


Member Since: Thu Nov 11, 2021


Very well put. Social media is too big to be privately controlled however they see fit. It’s the same thing with internet - congress decided that Verizon must share (net neutrality) all the fiber optics it laid down, even though it was their idea, manpower, and cost.

What if Ford had a monopoly and decided it wouldn’t sell to republicans? These democrats saying that private companies can do whatever they want are slimy and unethical. Which exactly matches my scientific prediction: that democrats are unethical, and that this will continue to be observable in nature.


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Prefer to stay private


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008



    Quote:
    If we enforce antitrust laws then this wouldn't be an issue to begin with. The internet, and especially SOCIAL MEDIA shouldn't be privately owned or privately controlled anymore than the military or roads should be.


While it is a very bad comparison of enforcing antitrust to the military or roads, since they are funded by the government and what you suggest is allowing more competition in the private sector... I agree.

It is just that the second half makes it sound like you want to nationalize it, and the first foster private competition.

A better example would have been when Henry Ford successfully sued broke the patent issues that kept him form manufacturing cars. Since they are actually related, and one of the more well known and significant monopoly defeating cases. But that is neither here nor there.

The big problem with internet businesses is that they did most of their growth as a industry under the Clinton and Bush administration. Both of whom were fairly corporate friendly in the long run.

Of course there are far more reasons Big Tech should be broken up, but this is the one we are talking about.

As I previously stated, the government cannot force anyone to say or publish anything, that is called compelled speech. It is a First Amendment violation.

However, the monolithic nature organizations like Twitter and Facebook could mean that enforcing anti-trust laws is preserving their Free Speech from outside influence.

You may recall, I talked about the difference between legal and societal free speech, how something can be legal but suppressed by views of individuals.

I am all for boycotts of Twitter an Facebook, since these changes are legal, but I do not agree with them. This could render that unnecessary. Break it apart and everyone can have their own set standards, determine d be personal philosophy, or the market.

Then... the rest of Big Tech can have a similar treatment.


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I agree that Big Tech as a whole need to be broken up, and that the decisions made by Twitter for mass banning were wrong.

However, you should remember, it was largely conservatives that have advocated for companies to have more sway, and less oversight from the government.

Rand Paul... who rightfully complained about his father's Facebook page being blocked... has been one of the biggest proponents of the government having no say in private business. He even advocated for companies to be able to discriminate... because the market would ultimately go against them.

Your point about Democrats decisions coming against them in the future is a fair one, but you seem to be overlooking that this moment is caused by Republicans not having foresight.

Democrats probably will be screwed by these decisions Republicans are getting screwed because of their advocacy for big business, and anti-regulation. Anti-trust is just a severe form of regulation... the thing Republicans kept saying was the road to Stalinism.

They are also the ones that pushed for Citizens United, which allows businesses to be viewed as people, so they could give unlimited donations, under the guise of speech.

Are you more loyal to your party, or beliefs on what parts of human nature cause the problem?

Because if it is the latter, I think your "prediction" is only half done.


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Late Great Donald Blake 

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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,566


While it is a very bad comparison of enforcing antitrust to the military or roads, since they are funded by the government and what you suggest is allowing more competition in the private sector... I agree.


LGDB: Yeah that's fair, I was sort of making to two distinct points here, but it was confusing to compress them into one sentence. One is that we should enforce antitrust laws to prevent any given sector in the market from being captured by specific actors. In addition, I would argue that social media generally should be thought of as a public utility. If we did that, antitrust laws need not come into it, because it's not a market that then would be dominated by one private monopoly with zero democratic control or oversight. Yet another way to formulate this is if Twitter or Facebook are going to act as monopolies (virtual or more literal, natural or not) then they need to be subsumed under the public utility model so they can be subjected to democratic controls, or they need to be broken up by beefing up our antitrust laws and enforcing them ardently.



It is just that the second half makes it sound like you want to nationalize it, and the first foster private competition.


LGDB: Yeah, I added confusing by combining these. I might more clearly phrase it, if we're going to have social media be a privatized space, we should certainly enforce antitrust laws (and expand them) such that private billionaires and such aren't ultimately and unaccountably permitted to decide who gets access. I would prefer it be nationalized, and I think a practical approach given the system we have the public utility model would be sufficient here; so either state-owned and managed or heavily stipulated by the state, i.e. price controls, heavily regulated, insurance of universal or nearly universal accessibility, and so on.


The big problem with internet businesses is that they did most of their growth as a industry under the Clinton and Bush administration. Both of whom were fairly corporate friendly in the long run.

LGDB: yeah but I'd argue one, in sheerly economic terms this growth hasn't been even somewhat equitable. And more to the point, while that's clearly in the company's interest it isn't in society best interest.





As I previously stated, the government cannot force anyone to say or publish anything, that is called compelled speech. It is a First Amendment violation.

LGDB: Okay, so this is key: these media company's are platforms, not publishers... especially according to them. The fact that they're platforms and not publishers is why they're protected under Section 230 of the Communications Decency act. It's what among other things gives them protections from being sued for things like defamation and slander and so on, which a publisher would be liable for.  They're not responsible for the content that their users share.  Basically you can go either way with it here, platform or publisher, their are arguments for both, but their protection by Section 230 is basically mutually exclusive from the the beneficial implications of publication. In other words, legally speaking, their being "forced" to platform someone isn't akin to a publishing house being compelled to publish something.


However, the monolithic nature organizations like Twitter and Facebook could mean that enforcing anti-trust laws is preserving their Free Speech from outside influence

LGDB: no I think that antitrust has virtually nothing to do with what who they do or don't platform. It's concerned with their monopolization or undue influence on the market. Twitter or Facebook could both be platforming everyone under the sun, but could still run afoul of antitrust laws. The reason they're relevant here is because of general access. If there were dozens of Twitters out there, then no one company would have the capacity to completely deny someone from reasonable access to social media. And it's interesting to wonder if even under a competitive market, if people could still be excluded from social media in a way that was unfair censorship or even unconstitutional. But I think for most practical purposes the two wouldn't be as consistently at odds or in principle a jeopardy to the social condition of freedom of speech.  You can imagine just as easily that if their were only one book publisher in the entire country who was unilaterally decided who could or couldn't publish, the concern for the freedom of speech would be glaringly present, even that publisher couldn't be Constitutionally forced to publish something.  This situation would be such that this publisher would be immediately attract the attention of antitrust enforcement.  That publisher's unilateral control over who is able to publish would be a ready-made flagrant and demonstrable example of the consequences of not breaking up such a monopoly.


You may recall, I talked about the difference between legal and societal free speech, how something can be legal but suppressed by views of individuals.


LGDB: Yeah and I think this is an important distinction to make. But in this case, I think the more immediate distinction is between platforming and publishing. Again, they keeping in mind the context, that these companies can't in a consistent legal framework argue that the can't be made to platform people like Trump because they're publishers, but they can't be sued for what they publish because they're only platformers.




I am all for boycotts of Twitter an Facebook, since these changes are legal, but I do not agree with them. This could render that unnecessary. Break it apart and everyone can have their own set standards, determine d be personal philosophy, or the market.


LGDB: I'm not sure what's you're saying here. I think perhaps I'm getting lost in what "it" and "them" refers to in a few places. Can you explain this to me?


cheers,
---the late great Donald Blake








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Late Great Donald Blake 

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,566


They are also the ones that pushed for Citizens United, which allows businesses to be viewed as people, so they could give unlimited donations, under the guise of speech.


LGDB: This is just a minor correction but I thought worth bring up: it wasn't Citizens United that did this specifically (though Citizens does presuppose it.) Unless I'm mistaken you're thinking of the 1886 decision Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific rail road, which first applied the Equal Protection clause of the 14th amendment to a corporation (as it would a person) in a headnote, which was subsequently interpreted ​as part of the SCOTUS verdict generally (apparently) numerous times.

Citizens United--as well as its precursor in the 70's, "the Belloti decision"--equates the campaign donations of various entities including businesses as forms of speech and therefore would be protected under the First Amendment.


cheers,
---the late great Donald Blake


P.S. I only vaguely remember hearing about this and had to look all this up lol



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It is true that Santa Clara County v. Union Pacific was the first
to equate a corporation with being a person, but it was specifically for
the point of taxes.

The campaign finance issue specifically related to the
granting of certain rights.  The reason why it was decided that
corporations could give unlimited amount was because spending money is
speech, and speech cannot be limited by the government.  If memory
serves.

So, you are right I was not fully clear, and I did combine
the two, but it is Citizens Untied that has more direct impact on this,
not only because of the subject matter but in terms of the "karmic"
nature. 

Good recall though, and you are right that it is part of a larger systemic problem in the country, but again Citizen's United is the more connected to this example.



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