[Update Nov. 9: I’ve been working on a post about free speech and its limits since forever. 2009? Anyway. There’s hardly any point now, since the limits we so desperately needed — not that I know how to implement them — we didn’t figure out in time. Freedom of lying has given us the actual Cheeto-topped Dogpile as Head Bully, so anything about free speech is even more theoretical than it was before. Oh well. I guess it’ll keep me busy and off the streets. For a while.
Where was I? Why communism fell.]
It’s called a lethal inability to question your own dogma.
One of the bracing side effects of a Chatbot running for Prez is that people are realizing infinite blather is bad for the health of democracy. Unfortunately, it’s paired with refusing to see any workable solutions.
In this otherwise good article about how bad, fake, and gossipy reporting is undermining democracy itself, there’s this gem:
The cure for fake journalism is an overwhelming dose of good journalism.
This is in the same article, by the same author, pointing out that the number of journalists is now about half what it was in 2000 and headed lower.
The fact that there is nowhere for the onslaught of good journalism to come from is ignored. The dogma that the solution to all problems with free speech is always more free speech may not be questioned. Hell, it can’t even be articulated.
There’s another massive unspoken problem. How long has gossip and bullshit been with us? Since the dawn of time? People love the stuff. Human have been following it in herds since our vocabulary consisted of inflected grunts. The field of logic and its offshoots, rules of evidence and the scientific method, are nothing but earnest attempts to hold off the furious pleasure of jumping to conclusions.
And the well-meaning gent at the New York Times thinks that merely showing people lots of sensible work will keep them from mainlining crap. That’s a bit like assuming sermons will keep teenagers from having sex. It’s never worked before, and it won’t start working now.
But free speech dogma must not be questioned, even though it drags the whole democracy down with it.