Posted on- August 06, 2018 at 8:20 P.M.
(Written By Joshua Hill)
Alex Jones is a repulsive disgusting pathetic individual, but everyone should still vehemently oppose the Alex Jones ban.
Hate speech is hateful, conspiracy theories are conspiratorial, but it all falls in the category of protected Free Speech. I understand the businesses that have banned Alex Jones such as Google/Youtube, Facebook, & Apple are private companies, so this is not referring to the legality of this issue, this is referring to the principal. If you truly believe in Free Speech, & you're genuinely principled on the subject then you should vehemently oppose the Banning of Alex Jones. Yes, these tech companies do have the legal right to ban who they disagree with. Although private censorship is still censorship. It's legal, but what's legal is not necessarily what's right. Google/YouTube, Facebook, & Apple may be private businesses that can censor any individual they want. Although at the end of the day they have to admit that they are inherently against then idea of the First Amendment & the idea of Free Speech. These companies should implement a Free Speech policy into their terms of service. Although the best outcome would be to actually treat these platforms as Public Utilities.
If you truly believe in Free Speech & the First Amendment you wouldn't only practice it when it's legal, you would practice it whenever you can & as consistently as you can. Again to reiterate, I'm talking about the principal of Free Speech & not necessarily the legality. The best way to combat people like Alex Jones is to refute his speech with our own speech. If you make an intelligent & correct argument for your position you can sway public opinion to your way of thinking using the Free Marketplace Of Ideas. Censorship is like gasoline to a fire, but speech can put that fire out.
With the exception of direct threats of violence or defamation I am a Free Speech absolutist. Alex Jones should have his platform so that his opposition can refute his terrible positions with intelligent rebuttals & sway public opinion to the correct mindset. If you believe in censoring your opposition then you are essentially admitting you don't believe in your own position. If you truly believe you're correct, then it shouldn't matter what the opposition says because your arguments will rise to the top in the Free Marketplace Of Ideas. Opposing the deplatforming of Alex Jones is the correct position for a number of reasons. More times than not Left-Wing positions are objectively better than anything the Political Right has to offer which makes Free Speech the ultimate recruitment tool for Left-Wing positions. I'm not afraid of my opposition speaking out, I encourage it because I know that when people like myself speak out against the opposition we are recruiting more people to our way of thinking. If you support the banning of any individual then you have to admit you're not in favor of the principle of Free Speech nor do you believe in your own political positions. I personally have had the Free Speech tactic work on me, & I have also used it myself to sway many people around me to support many of the positions I hold. I used to be Conservative on a handful of issues, but hearing both sides of the argument led me straight to the more rational Left-Wing positions. I am now a Left-Wing Progressive Liberal Socialist. I have also been able to use this tactic of Free Speech in the Free Marketplace Of Ideas to sway the people around me to supporting policies such as Single-Payer Medicare-For-All, Tuition-Free Public College & Universities, UBI, A Living Wage, Ending Foreign Wars, Ending the Drug Wars, Campaign Finance Reform, Defending Free Speech, Ending Offshore Trade Agreements, A New New Deal, Etc... Etc...
Let's not pretend as if this banning isn't coming from the Establishment in an attempt to censor any dissenting opinions. Those who are in favor of banning Alex Jones are not considering the larger picture. Once you open the door for the banning of individuals & groups you disagree with, I assure you those you do agree with are the next target. Many on the Political Left look towards honest independent Progressive/Liberal media outlets for their news such as Secular Talk, The Jimmy Dore Show, The Young Turks, Democracy Now, Around The Nation, The Humanist Report, Etc... Etc... What would stop these outlets from being next on the hit list? If you don't think they won't come for your preferred political news outlets next then you need to reassess the situation. For example, just look at how the Establishment Propaganda outlet CNN recently wrote an article lumping in Jimmy Dore with Alex Jones & even pedophiles together in an attempt to get YouTube to deplatform independent media. What was Jimmy guilty of? Jimmy Dore correctly opposed the bombing in Syria. Or you can also look at the mass demonetization on YouTube as an example of The Establishment suppressing dissenting speech. Of course there should be regulations for the First Amendment like no direct threats of violence & clear defamation. Although hate speech, lies, & even incitement shouldn't be those exceptions. How much longer until somebody who holds a reasonable position is deemed to be doing any of these actions?
Alex often does say some pretty terrible things, but I actually haven't seen any examples of Alex using direct threats of violence.
I have heard Alex make the claim that Sandy Hook was an inside job by the Government to take away the guns. Although claiming Sandy Hook was an inside job is no more of a direct threat of violence then claiming 9/11 was an inside job. Alex Jones also said that some of the parents from Sandy Hook were crisis actors, but Alex never called anyone out specifically by name. I don't subscribe to any of those conspiracies myself, but just because I don't subscribe to a specific conspiracy theory doesn't mean I want the people who do to be censored. I would rather refute them in the Free Marketplace Of Ideas.
I've never seen Alex make a clear direct threat of violence. I have however seen lower level hosts on Infowars make thinly veiled threats of violence. For example Harrison Smith using the term "eradicating ticks" when referring to Democratic Socialists such as Bernie Sanders & Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. By all means the police should look into that specifically. It is acceptable to take down specific videos with threats of violence.
However I believe Alex Jones himself is just Savvy enough with his words to avoid actual direct threats of violence (Technology That Wouldn't Be Breaking The Law). Some have pointed to a few Right-Wing Infowar's listeners (Not Alex Jones Himself) making direct threats of violence towards Sandy Hook parents, & those individuals should for sure should be dealt with by the police. Although this should absolutely not be a justification for banning Alex Jones & Info Wars.
At anytime the Establishment could claim that Noam Chomsky's position refuting the false claim that Russia "Hacked Our Election" is inciting War. Or the Establishment may claim Jimmy Dore's position on Syria is a conspiracy theory inciting War (Which CNN Did Actually Kinda Do When They Lumped Jimmy Dore, Alex Jones, & Even Pedophiles All In The Same Category). Incitement is a loose term that can be applied towards any opposing individual or group.
That's why incitement is not a excuse for censorship. Hate speech & incitement should be protected, otherwise what overlord gets to decide what is & isn't acceptable speech? That is why the only exception to the rule should be something such as a direct threats of violence or clear defamation.
Also lies are protected speech, otherwise who gets to decide what is & isn't a lie? For many people, most mainstream religions are lies. Bible literalist claim the Earth is only 6000 years old when we know it to be over 4.5 billion years old.
The Torah, Bible, & Quran is chock full of hate speech against gays, woman, & other minorities. Should we forget about all of the good people do who subscribe to religion while doing good things in the name of their religion? Should we ban certain religions & their followers? If the argument is lies, hate speech, & incitement should be all be banned, then despite the First Amendment's freedom of religion, if any specific religion is proven to be a lie in some way, or has hate speech in it, or incites violence, it & it's followers should be banned. When you apply censorship in this way you can see how dangerous it becomes.
The truth is, Yes, hate speech is protected speech & absolutely should be. It's so easy to protect speech you already agree with & like. It's literally the speech you hate & disagree with that is worth protecting the most.
Hate speech is such a broad term which could mean something as benign as name-calling. Something that offends you might not offend somebody else, & something that offends somebody else might not offend you. At what point who gets to decide what is & isn't acceptable language to put into law?
Laws shouldn't legislate people's hurt feelings or attempt to determine what is true or false, offensive language is & should be protected speech.
It's so easy to defend speech you agree with. Defending lies, incitement, hate speech, & any speech you disagree with is what matters the most. This article is not defending Alex Jones, it is defending his & everybody else's Free Speech. When the Establishment attacked Jimmy Dore, even Alex Jones came to Jimmy's defense. You may say, "Alex Jones only defended Jimmy Dore because it was for the sake of self-preservation in an attempt to fight off his own censorship." & I would reply back saying, "That is completely fine if that is the reason."
I'm doing the same thing. I'm defending Alex Jone's Free Speech against censorship today for mine & others preservation of free speech down the line. In fact it is Jimmy Dore who says it best, "The first amendment is not to protect speech we agree with. The first amendment is there to protect speech we don’t agree with, speech that we hate, that’s why we need protection for it. Speech everyone agrees with doesn’t need protections."