Some argue offensive words like “whore” or “slut” should be banned from usage—not in a legal sense but as a matter of social acceptability. I believe society need not render more words as so socially unacceptable that their very utterance destroys lives, causing those that speak such words to be shunned or lose their jobs. An example of one such word in existence is “nigger.” The word is so toxic that even words that sound similar (“niggardly”) create Continue Reading, no matter the outrage they cause.
Free speech advocate Fred Phelps, the once leader and founder of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church has died at the age of 84. Phelps, whom the Church allegedly excommunicated last summer, is best remembered for his efforts in spreading his Church’s message that blames homosexuality for the ills of the nation. Notably, his Church is known to picket the funerals of U.S. soldiers killed in action, with signs reading “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” Though his activities have been universally condemned, Phelps pushed the limits of free speech to express himself, revealing disdain many Americans share for certain speech activity.
The following was posted at IPR (Independent Political Report) as a review of Don Grundmann’s website CandleCrusade.org.
Former State Chairman for the California Constitution Party, a 2008 and 2012 Constitution Party presidential candidate, and frequent IPR reader, Don Grundmann operates CandleCrusade.org. It hosts ten pages of documents supporting Grundmann’s controversial thesis that the true agenda of the LGBT movement is the corruption of children, ideally through legalized molestation, to solidify and normalize homosexuality. In IPR discussion, Grundmann often refers to his website as proof for his claims
As a result of Grundmann’s strongly held beliefs, IPR discussions on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) issues are often contentious and usually descend into name-calling, the lowest rung on Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement. In order to foster a higher level of discussion, I volunteered to make a neutral assessment of the content on CandleCrusade.org. Continue Reading
Originally posted at Independent Political Report (IPR)
No visitor retains the right to post on IPR. The owner can manage the site as he pleases. But there is no reason IPR cannot attempt to replicate the free and fair society that its owner, contributors, and followers envision.
IPR currently faces a crisis of conscience. Two years ago, it took the unlibertarian step of banning one good faith commenter. Now, some on the site are calling for the ban of another good faith commenter. This reaction is a symptom of a much larger disease affecting the entire United States. Rather than forgiving unfortunate comments and disputing ideas on the highest levels of Graham’s hierarchy of disagreement, some opt to silence voices completely; the IPR equivalent of a ban. In argument, these tactics do not win. As Thomas Dewey expressed in a 1948 GOP presidential debate, pushing disputed views underground only allows those views to fester unchallenged. Continue Reading
In March of 2008, English computer programmer and essayist Paul Graham wrote a paper discussing the unique dynamic of internet disagreement, entitled “How to Disagree.” Graham discovered that individuals tended to be more disagreeable during internet interactions than during face to face encounters; perhaps the result of a limited mental filter online. In order to promote online civility and worthwhile internet debate, Graham developed a simple hierarchy of disagreement, encouraging users to aim for the top.
Below is a graphical depiction of Graham’s theory as uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.