Is there a War of Words in America?

Dave Rubin declared in a recent “Direct Message” segment of his hit YouTube show “The Rubin Report” the “War on Free Speech” has officially begun. I’m putting the video below so you can listen to Dave’s arguments for yourself.

Are we in a society where the War on Free Speech is underway? With riots like that at UC Berkeley over Milo Yiannopolous’s appearance are we truly in a “war” on free speech? I’m going to respectfully disagree with Dave and say there is no “free speech war” unless we choose to make it happen.

Because it’s important to define terms, and Dave knows words mean something, let’s go with the Merriam-Webster definition of “war.”

Definition of war

  1. 1(1):  a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations (2):  a period of such armed conflict (3)state of warb:  the art or science of warfare c(1)obsolete:  weapons and equipment for war (2) archaic:  soldiers armed and equipped for war

  2. 2a:  a state of hostility, conflict, or antagonism b:  a struggle or competition between opposing forces or for a particular end <a class war><a war against disease>

Well, crap. It would seem I’ve trapped myself with this definition,wouldn’t it? After all, isn’t what happened at UC Berkeley and UW Seattle “open and declared armed hostile conflict?” At worst, are we not in a “struggle or competition between opposing forces…for a particular end?”

I would submit that if we’re in a free speech “war” there’s no other nation or state that’s declared hostile conflict over things American citizens have said. That may change when our President twits something out that pisses off a particular nation-state, but right now those who would declare our current turmoil a “free speech war” are abusing the language in the same ways Fox News and other outlets declare a “war” on Christmas with Starbucks cups.

Now the second definition becomes a bit more problematic to refute. It seems there’s a “struggle or competition between opposing forces or for a particular end.” On one side, you have the “social justice warriors” demanding diversity and inclusion for all. The other side, well let’s call them the “anti-pc” crowd. Both have conflicting views on free speech and how it is best utilized. Does that make it a conflict worthy of the term “war?”

My response is “no.” It’s a conflict, but “war” is a strong word. It connotes open and hard conflict between opposing sides. While we’re seeing small skirmishes break out among opposing views, this really isn’t a “war” in the sense of the term. Until there’s an all out battle “declared” by one side or another it’s just a series of decisions whether we self-censor or we risk something by saying what we really mean.

Start with Justine Sacco and her horrendous joke about being safe from AIDS in South Africa because she was white. The Social Justice mobs landed on her in a frenzy. By the time she landed in South Africa she had no job, no hotel room, and no way of getting back absent her own resources.

That was a sort of cultural turning point, I think, for the alleged “war” on free speech. This was the time when an ill-conceived twit could cost you a job. Now people had to set their Facebook settings to “private” so prospective employers wouldn’t find a political opinion someone found offensive. Blog posts were carefully written so as to keep the Internet Hate Machine from coming down on a person.

If there was a war on free speech, it was a bloodless war, and it’s already been fought.

The violence we’re seeing right now is an extension of what happens when one side gets tired of losing battles and pushes back. Conservative and libertarian types are pushing back against the “progressive” groupthink and saying “what you do and say doesn’t matter anymore.” Worse still, they’re using progressive tactics against those who would silence them, and it’s causing the “progressive” movement to come unhinged.

One recent example is MILO’s demands people stop calling him a white nationalist and threatening lawsuits if publishers don’t print a retraction. This is a progressive play, taken straight from about a decade’s worth of their own tactics. Yet when a conservative speaker like MILO uses it, the progressives laugh and call him a “special snowflake” seeking a “safe space.”

None of them understand the plays being called, and they’ve used them for ages. The fact these plays are working on them now doesn’t make it any easier for then to recognize.

No outside force is causing a “war” on free speech. If anyone’s doing it, we’re doing it to ourselves out of fear for losing something important, like a job, income streams, or friends. Until we can reach a climate where everyone can listen again without needing to agree on everything we’re going to continue this silent conflict, potentially for the rest of our days.

That’s why the film is called “Silenced: Our War On Free Speech.”

 

Lessons From Nero’s Spot on The Rubin Report

The Rubin Report is becoming one of my new favorite podcasts.  Dave Rubin is unapologetically advocating for sensible discussions regarding free speech, and has taken to task the “regressive left” with their attempts to silence people through name-calling, labels, ideological politics, and more.  In doing so, Rubin made a commitment that’s laudable for many: he would present all views on an issue, even those he disagreed with and made him uncomfortable.  That takes remarkable integrity, and I applaud Rubin for it.

I also applaud Milo Yiannopolous for showing up to discuss anything and everything related to his conservative leanings, why he leads the life of a provocateur, and his unapologetic support of Donald Trump’s Presidential bid.  You listen to Milo for a little bit, and you’ll learn why the self-proclaimed “World’s Most Dangerous Faggot” has such a massive following.  Here’s what I learned from his appearance on the Rubin Report.

  1. Milo values fun and sees the current state of affairs in America as “boring” because of progressive left politics.

One recurring theme that circulated around Milo’s time on the Rubin Report was that he loves his work because it’s “fun.”  He loves seeing Trump’s rise as President because it’s “fun.” One thing Milo despises is “boring,” and that’s where he lays the finger of shame on the left.

His work as a journalist means living a life of “fun” as well.  One of the more entertaining bits on the Rubin Report appearance was when he talked about his creation of a “Feminism or Cancer” poll and a two time cancer survivor said she’d STILL pick cancer over feminism!  That may be an unappealing view for some, but Milo calls it fun, and he’s enjoying his work.  Good on him.

2. Milo values the ability to say whatever you want, whenever you want, without fear of repercussion.  He also practices what he preaches.

There’s some things in Milo’s appearance on the Rubin Report that will shock a few people.  If you get shocked by Milo or offended by Milo then you’ve never really taken the time to “get” Milo.  He takes issue with the current mentality that people cannot say what they want when they want without worrying about losing their jobs or alienating others.

Give the man a chance, and he’ll give you some quotes that will make your day.  One example comes from when he describes a press conference he would hold if he was President Trump’s Press Secretary.

“Daddy doesn’t feel like answering your questions today.  I’m going shopping.  Please leave your comments in the box.”

3. Milo is incredibly persuasive when speaking on just about any issue.

There’s a point in the podcast where Rubin and Milo get into a discussion of an issue Rubin had with a Buzzfeed writer who took issue with Rubin’s label of the “Regressive Left.” Rubin took what would be considered in many circles the “moral high ground” and tried to avoid naming this individual.

Milo would have none of this.  He badgered Rubin into naming the Buzzfeed writer under the rationale of “If someone does something stupid, I want their name and face exposed to the harsh light of scrutiny so people can see just how stupid they are.”  Eventually, Milo got Rubin to name the Buzzfeed writer that aggrieved him, and they discussed the entire issue.  It was clear Rubin didn’t want to go there, but after being called a “cultural librarian” by Milo  all gloves came off and Milo got his way.

4. Milo is willing to say things people are thinking but don’t have the ability to say, and that’s important.

Two points here.  The first is when Milo says the influx of Islamic culture into Europe is a big reason why he’s spending more time in America.  He views the way Islam treats the LGBT community as something he wants no part of, and that means he has to distance himself from places he once called home as a result.  Milo also says this is a bad sign for women too, but people aren’t recognizing it, because as soon as an attack by “radical Islamists” happens the first thing our world leadership and the news media goes to is “This was radical Islam and it wasn’t the view of the regular Muslim.”

The second is his indictment of the LGBT community for going after Christians on randomly “offensive” topics.  Milo takes a large issue with the LGBT community, for example, going after a bakery to find alleged “homophobia” because they’d rather not bake a cake for a wedding, and then grind that into an OFFEND stance that puts people out of business.  He’s not a fan, and sees it as a way of alienating people that would otherwise be allies.

5. Milo is unabashedly conservative and free speech, and sees all of it as the best way to be.

“If you want to be punk, if you want to be cool, you’ve got to be conservative.”

That’s Milo for you.  That’s a guy who says “free speech” means you have to take the piss out of words like “gay,” “faggot,” and other slurs that have been used to denigrate people who just happen to be attracted to others of the same sex.  His take is he wants to see the word “gay” go to mean “stupid” or “idiotic” as it’s been used by straight/cis/heteronormative shitlords for ages.  Milo’s take is that when you get to that point, then you’ve reached a society where “free speech” means something.

He also sees the current state of liberalism/progressive politics as a stifling of everything good in life, anything that’s fun at all, and that’s why it needs to be destroyed.  The same thing goes for conservatives in his book, though, and that’s why he thinks a Trump Presidency will do wonders for this country.  Milo is of a mindset that if and when Trump his the White House, our country will start to reconstruct itself into what it once was.

I can’t say enough good things about Dave Rubin and Milo Yiannopolous, so I’m just going to cut it short and say go look for the Rubin Report on iTunes or YouTube, and follow Milo at @Nero and Dave Rubin at @RubinReport on Twitter.  You’ll be glad you did.