I need to write about what happened with Charlottesville. It's the occasion for me to tidy up this mess in my head.
Censorship for the good. Or the complicated task of defining "good".
You already know that the sense of good and bad are cultural. We cannot make an excel spreadsheet with two columns to enumerate what is globally good or bad. It was not a problem as long as we aren't interconnected. Now, we are and not only for business : our culture are always moving with other's culture but the fundamentals are not really shared between societies. The Law, Constitutions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are trying to put every peoples under a way of thinking things. Since laws are the result of experiences and beliefs, it can not work everywhere. United States of America try to spread the good old occidental point of view everywhere with culture, food, finance or war (non exhaustive list). As one of the leading world power, their influence on the world is massive. But IMO, USA does it the wrong way. What I want to demonstrate is that a fair freedom of speech for all must be a global effort to understand each others, let people come in with their cultural beliefs and experiences to change, step by step, the way we see each other. This is the key. I know I'm dreaming, but this is my blog, I dream if I want to.
WARNING : I don't want to create empathy for white supremacists! They are here, they are more and more because we let this happened by being voluntary blind and deaf because of our WWII trauma, trauma that we, me the first, thought wrongly that it was universal but instead it becomes cultural. We must learn to listen for understanding, not for waiting our turn to speak.
It's a mess, isn't it ?
Context is law
I mean that Rights & Laws are a cultural construction. To be clear : nowadays it's impossible to have one rule for all the people around the world and equity is not having the same law but the same treatment in the same context. We cannot punish a poor man stealing rice and a politician stealing the people, Justice must be here to equalize the balance of power. It's the same for the freedom of speech which is a fundamental right made possible thanks to the democratization of the Internet.
So, for Charlottesville, we have one side who wants to harm people or at least expel them elsewhere with one only reason : hate. And on the other hand, black blocks and socialists who wants to protect these people. The both can use violence but when socialists use it to destroy symbols of hate, white supremacists use it to kill humans. As you can see, same place, same time, different contexts. Imagine now, if it happened between different nation with strong cultural differences. Do you see the mess ?
Lets everyone say what he wants, a way to avoid cultural issues?
Basically, it's the actual system in the USA, a multicultural country. IDK why they have chosen that system but I guess it's because multiculturalism. Maybe they thought that the best way to get a durable peace is to allow anybody speaking as loud as he wants (with the exception of Judeo-Christian taboos) and let someone else saying the opposite as loud as he wants. It's a kind of autoregulation.
But, we are not all equal in resources : maybe I can write in my blog read by two people or I can buy a space in newspaper or cover the city with 4x3 ads or I can modify my algorithm of my very popular search engine to promote my favourite political side...
Well, something made to avoid cultural issues has become an economic war for information. I will write another post about the access of the information. But, do you see what I mean when I say that's a mess ?
Who own our freedom of speech and why is it dangerous?
I'm a bit lazy, so I let you read this article from Buzzfeed who is saying exactly the way I see things. Read it and then, come back, it's not so long, I promise that you'll see how messy it is after that ;).
Ok, and now what?
I tried to tidy up all that stuff, I tried to be brief but I think I will talk about freedom of speech often. Here is my conclusion.
Firstly, I thought that censorship could be a good thing to avoid hateful speech spreading. But, when you start censoring, where do you stop ? Does that mean everybody must be under a state of surveillance to check if they say, or worse, if they think in the allowed way in the country ? It's not compatible with democracy and it affects many other human rights. But in the other hand, words can be as powerful as weapon and harm a lot of people.
I am aware of the Streisand effect : censorship give value to the speech so it spreads faster than ever.
So by default I prefer the second way of seeing things. The fundamental right of freedom of speech is very important for everyone in the world, we, as a society, have to try to protect it in every occasion. As long as this right is intricate with the others (how can I express myself if I'm being tortured, if I do not eat or drink, if I don't know how to write, etc...) we must see the big picture and allow everyone who can speak, speak even if it's disrepectful. We must ignore harmful speech and spread the love ☮️
Photo : Anthony Crider | Creative Commons 2.0 BY | found on Wikipedia