aka One More Time For The Clueless!
It’s been a while since I’ve made this point, but every now and then some twerp whose comment has been declined for publication, or perhaps redacted via disemvoweling, feels the need to attempt to continue disrupting the discussion by chastising us with the full weight of hir woeful misunderstanding of the doctrine of freedom of speech and what does or does not constitute censorship e.g. with this comment on the same thread as that linked above, a comment that was not published there:
>STOP INTERNET CENSORSHIP IN AUSTRALIA!!
>Censor posts arguing against your foolish sense of ideology
Makes perfect fucking sense.
There has developed a wide belief that freedom of speech means more than freedom from government suppression of dissenting opinion, for some weird reason – that it somehow means that anybody who responds to one’s opinion with their own opinion that one has just proven oneself to be a flaming nong is somehow suppressing free speech instead of contributing more examples of it. How utterly bizarre to insist that freedom of expression should come with a guarantee of freedom from equally freely expressed criticism.
Tangential to the above there arises the oddest misunderstanding of all about free speech in the internet age: the belief that submitting a comment for publication on an internet discussion forum (hosted on privately owned hardware and operating via privately owned software) is somehow equivalent to speaking in a public square. Those who have fallen for this twaddle thus conclude that any forum publisher/editor/moderator who declines to publish a submitted comment is committing an evil oppression of individual rights. For people trumpeting the primacy of their own individual rights to express themselves as they see fit they seem utterly illogically inconsistent on the individual rights of others to host only what they see fit: it’s nearly always the privatise-everything crowd who most vociferously insist on being granted open slather in other people’s forums.
“Free speech” has never meant that individuals or corporations are obliged to provide a forum for speech they find obnoxious on privately owned property.
Newspapers don’t publish every Letter to the Editor, blog-owner/operators are similarly entitled to decline to publish any submitted comment/contribution that fails to meet their standards for publication, whatever those standards might be. Just because we invite people to access our property and participate in forums that we host, this does not mean that we have given up the right to stand up for ourselves and for our other guests by refusing access/participation to contributions that we find disruptive. Our blog is our property: others don’t get to bully us into hosting content we find unacceptable.
Of course others remain totally free to express their disapproval of our stance on their own blog(s) or other private publications, which we will never ever demand that the government shuts down to prevent anyone from criticising us. Indeed, should any government attempt to prevent any critics of ours from publishing their opinions on their own private property, or on the private property of others who find their contributions to be acceptable content, then we would condemn said government vociferously.
So actually, Mr Whiny McTrollyPants, there is absolutely no inconsistency between us declining to publish your vexatious nonsense unredacted and us advocating no government-imposed mandatory censorship of the internet in this blog’s sidebar/banner area.
Thank you for playing.