Where is modern civilization heading?

As a society are we heading in the same direction as the ancient Romans? If so the question becomes.......

Are our leaders fiddling while civilization burns?

While we ponder the question I will post my personal thoughts on this blog. Often I will focus on current events that catch my interest, however I am not and do not pretend to be a news organization. I'm simply a guy with his own thoughts on issues that I believe affect our country and society.

Be forewarned, I have been accused of being a right wing thinker and if that is offensive please move on. Remember, this is my blog and my opinions, and unlike many facets of our already over-governed modern society they are not being forced on anyone.

However, please feel free to leave your comments, good, bad or indifferent, after all this is a free society we live in (at least for now).

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Internet, Does it enhance free speech or allow some to limit it?

Internet censorship
Along with writing the occasional article on my own blog I tend to surf the internet seeking to broaden my political views and to learn how others feel about important issues that affect our daily lives. The Net is a wonderful place to do this because it provides an incredible platform for individuals to share their own beliefs and ideologies, or comment on those of others without fear of reprisal. It also allows for interaction amongst individuals of similar beliefs or different ideologies, akin to a virtual town hall meeting, only without the risk of a brawl breaking out.

Now, anyone who reads my own blog regularly knows that I lean to the Right, but I strive to be nonpartisan. I have long ago come to the conclusion that Left, Right, or Middle every political ideology has it's share of both idiots and leaders of men. It's just a fact of life, just as no particular ideology is entirely correct or completely wrong. So, at the end of the day as long as we maintain an open mind there is always the opportunity to share our beliefs and occasionally make a convert, or become one to an extent ourselves. That is, as long as the opportunity to speak freely exists for all. This is one of the internets greatest strengths, free speech.

Or at least I thought so until recently. So let me tell you about the recent censorship I experienced personally, from a source who appears at least on the surface to stand for free speech and an open exchange of ideas.

Since its inceptions I have made the effort to have my blog syndicated on a number of blog boards and internet aggregators of blog feeds, best described as virtual bulletin boards of blog posts (so to speak). This has proven not only effective in finding readers but has also allowed me the opportunity to follow other bloggers, some whose ideas I share, others who I don't. Occasionally I find a blogger who I either agree or disagree with so strongly that I follow their posts regularly and comment on them when I feel it is warranted.

One such blogger I follow is a gentleman who tends to lean as far to the Left as I do to the Right. However he makes no bones about his bias or his partisanship. His articles tend to bash us "Righties" (his term, not mine) for virtually ever reason under the sun, blame us for any woe that befalls the nation (and some that haven't even occurred yet), and in general rant about everything yet convey nothing of substance. To be fair though, he is a man of conviction, conviction that President Obama is the Messiah and can do no wrong. In any discussion, he ignores the facts and generally falls to the same old tired response as his last line of defence, "we won the election, so live with it".

Naturally, this goes against my grain as I can't abide a closed mind or ignorance, so as a result when I read one of his posts that particularly annoys me I comment. I always attempt to quote facts to support my view when writing my comments, after all, fighting ignorance with more ignorance never wins the battle. I know that he does not appreciate my comments and he has frequently stated as much. I have in turn suggested many times that he could take a lesson from another Democrat, Harry S Truman who said it so well, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen". Now while our nations (Canada and America) prides themselves on free speech, and while everyone is entitled to speak their mind there is no guarantee of a free pass on what they say. After all if an individual cannot defend their own personal beliefs to others through words or actions then maybe the time has come for that individual to re examine those very beliefs. At the very least they should expect and be prepared for some resistance and disagreement from those that have differing views.

So imagine my surprise when a number of my recent comments to some of this aforesaid gentleman's posts were not published on one of the boards we both frequent. When I sent a note to the board administrator questioning the reasoning behind this I received an email providing an explanation that included phrases such as "persistent targeting of every post" and "harassment intentionally attempting to discredit everything he says", the gist of it was that the moderator didn't like or agree with my comments, so he simply decided he was not going to post them. Well first off, I don't see it as persistent targeting of an individual, but more of a counterpoint to persistent ongoing stupidity! As for intentionally attempting to discredit his writings, I won't deny it, that was exactly my intention by providing actual facts to put his ongoing rants to rest.

I of course replied to the moderator defending my position and suggesting that this was not an example of the type of free speech that the board was intended to promote or reflective of the the individual whose namesake it bears, or its motto "debating extreme political views, creating workable solutions"

Here are a few of the comments I included in my reply

"I stick by what I stated earlier, if you are going to censor the board post the rules on commenting and make them clear, don't do it under the table by simply removing comments.

"This is not free speech, it is the worse form of censorship, hiding under the cover of darkness."

"Free speech has no grey area, you either have it or you don't. In the case of your board apparently it does not exist"

"Quite frankly, just remove the ability from the board to post comments, at least then your contributors and readers would know where you stand in allowing a free and open discussion about the ideas that are presented. Or are you afraid that might cause people to seek places where they are allowed to speak freely without Big Brother censoring them."

"If by this point you have determined you are not happy with what I am saying to you, feel free to censor me permanently by kicking me off the board. However before you do, ask yourself what doing so will say about your own view of free speech and liberty."

As you may have noted by now, I have made no mention of the blog board I am referring to, frankly at this point I have chosen not to in the hope that the administrator will see the error of his ways. It will be interesting to see if he in fact allows this article to appear on his board or if he will simply step up his censorship efforts by blocking it's posting. Maybe he will even take me up on my offer and kick me off completely, who knows.

I am curious to know how many other bloggers would be comfortable posting on a board that will simply censor comments that they feel are not appropriate on any given day, or ones where someone feels they were slighted. As for the blogger whose posts I was commenting on, I suspect he was one of those kids who regularly ran to the Principal to whine that he other kids were not playing fair, not giving him a turn at bat,  and were just being mean to him. I mean really, complain to a board moderator that someone is commenting on our posts and you do not appreciate it.

An interesting side note, I once attempted to comment on the actual blog of the gentleman in question, he wouldn't post my comment either. Funny though, he has commented numerous times on my blog Dwindling Empire and I have never censored him or anyone else for that matter. I guess there still is a place on the Internet for free speech, right here on Dwindling Empire, my little free corner of the world. So please feel free to comment on this post or any other, whether you agree or not.


  1. Interesting article, as a strong believer of free speech on the internet I for one would like to see you "out" the board you are referring to. Maybe if their support drops off they will see the error of their ways. As Edward Burke stated

    "In order for evil to flourish, all that is required is for good men to do nothing."

    So Frustrated Joe, don't be one of the good guys that does nothing. Tell us who it is.

  2. https://www.eff.org/issues/cda230/issue/defamation

  3. Well, so far two comments on this one, one which seems to support my view, the other one that doesn't. The latter I suspect comes from the very gentleman I allude to in the article, so I will take it with a grain of salt. However he does raise a point, it is not my wish to be perceived as committing defamation against anyone, and that is the main reason I am not "outing" anyone in this article.

    I am simply writing of a personal experience and addressing an example of internet censorship, something many of us find distasteful and I have as they say "changed the names to protect the innocent" (or otherwise). However, it appears I have someones attention, maybe the individual will re-evaluate his own view of free speech when he realizes the irony in the fact I published his comment whereas I have been denied the same privilege.

  4. Tenuous ground - - -

  5. "Defamation—also called calumny, vilification, traducement, slander (for transitory statements), and libel (for written, broadcast, or otherwise published words)"

    There are several ways a person must go about proving that libel has taken place. For example, in the United States, first, the person must prove that the statement was false. Second, the person must prove that the statement caused harm. Third, the person must prove that the statement was made without adequate research into the truthfulness of the statement.

    Using the above definition it would seem I have nothing to worry about, based on your articles that I have commented on I appear to be well within the safe zone legally (and morally).

    Why not just bedazzle me with facts that support your Left leanings, show me the error of my ways , rather than look to silence me through intimidation, or is that the method the Left is most comfortable with.

  6. So is it to be assumed then that you have won your argument about "Freedom Of Speech"on that "Board" you have been talking about?

  7. I not assume I have ever won anything, things will play out as they will. I don't view it as an argument, but rather as a difference of opinion over the definition of free speech. There is no grey area in free speech, if you limit it to even the smallest extent it is no longer free.

    Frankly, no board is that important in my life that I would "hold my tongue" on issues that I feel strongly about because individuals that spew hatred and intolerance feel slighted by my comments. The fact is if said individuals have thin skin, they would be best served to keep their uninformed opinions to themselves, that way they will never be challenged. If you know of the board I speak of and have read my comments you know that at no time have I done anything other than provide facts to disprove the rhetoric that was being spewed.

  8. Do not these selfsame "individuals who have thin skin" have proprietary inaleniable rights as constitution say to speak whereof on their minds the same as any other do?

    So therefore what will be the better intrest served if these shall be refrain from speaking out?

  9. I think that in every situation the perception of what is factual and what is not is defined entirely by a person's perspectives and that what is a fact to one individual may be a fiction to another and I think that is human nature and nothing will ever change it.

    I have discovered in times past that when I have tried to "provide facts" to disprove someone else's viewpoint, all I end up doing in the end many times is lend substance to the viewpoint that I am contesting so I gave up on that practice a long time ago.

    That is why my blog deals entirely in "opinions" and that is why the "opinions" dealt with on my blog are exclusively my own unless otherwise identified.

    Being able to express one's own "Opinions" is one of the real beauties of the concept of Free Speech.

  10. I would think that if you have found in the past that "providing facts" lends substance to a viewpoint that contests your own, this might be an indication it is time to re-examine your own perspective on things.

    What you have just admitted to me and yourself is that your viewpoint tends to be unsupportable with any facts. However , it appears that you have also come to the conclusion that the simplest solution is simply to ignore the facts.

    How sad

  11. Regardless of what we might put down on paper in writing, those who read are always going to formulate their own set of "facts" in the end.

    Like everybody, my viewpoints are supported by the facts that I choose to employ - - - and these facts are always going to be different than the facts employed by those who oppose my viewpoints because that is how things are in real life.

    What I do is present my opinions and let the readers come to their own conclusions. In this manner the so-called "facts" are rarely confused because the consumer of my content is always going to formulate their own version of "facts" any way and I think, therefore, that it is somewhat unbalanced to be obsessed with the concept of "fact."

    I like for my readers to think for themselves. I believe my readers are more than capable of coming to their own conclusions about things.

    One man's fact is another man's fiction.

    Apparently the majority of American voters decided this time around that most of what was being touted to them from the right wing of politics was more fiction than fact and the "fact" is that they solidly rejected all this as fiction - - - and Obama was elected again.

    and that, my friend, is a "fact!"

  12. "My friend" we could debate this all day, all week, or the rest of our lives, however if that is your wish you need to have a better definition of the word "fact".

    "A fact (derived from the Latin factum) is something that has really occurred or is actually the case. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability, that is whether it can be proven to correspond to experience. Standard reference works are often used to check facts. Scientific facts are verified by repeatable experiments."

    Unfortunately my friend very little if anything you write could pass the above test, facts don't change based on who utilizes them, a fact is proven or its not a fact. But it does not surprise me that you feel the facts can be manipulated or interpreted based on your particular wants or needs at the moment. After all, the Left is continuously attempting to reinterpret your Constitution based on fitting their wants at any particular moment.

    As to why American voters chose as they did that is anyone's guess, however once again you voice an ill informed opinion and try to pass it off as fact. How about this, why don't you find the statistics or study that supports your claim on the reason behind Obama' s narrow victory and maybe by presenting them to me you will have a loyal ally. Again, the ball on this one is in your court, or maybe you would just prefer to rant some more.

  13. How about this, why don't you find the statistics or study that supports your claim on the reason behind Obama' s narrow victory and maybe by presenting them to me you will have a loyal ally.

    It has been my experience that unless I choose a resource for "facts" that are clearly written from the right wing perspective, the resource will more often than not be called "Leftist Propaganda" so it is futile to try the approach you are suggesting here and I am certain that this cuts both ways.

    That is why I contend that facts are what people tend to make out of them and why one man's fact is another man's fiction.

    The rightist presents what he believes to be "facts" to me from his right wing sources and I call them right wing propaganda.

    I present what I believe to be "facts" from my Left-leaning sources and the right leaner calls them "Liberal Propaganda."

    This is the way it works.

    So what then, is the reasonable middle ground - - - or is there any?

    1. maybe you would just prefer to rant some more.

      By the way - - - Ranting is a legitimate form of blogging!

      And that is a - - - fact!

  14. The one fact that neither side can debate is a $16 Trillion debt with no plan as to how to repay it.
    The other fact that neither side can debate is an ongoing deficit.

    So the bottom line is simple math leads a sensible person to the conclusion that sooner or later the money will simply run out, no money, no entitlement programs. You can sit back and make every argument in the world but that does not change one fact, no one, or no government can continue to spend more money than they take in without eventually facing bankruptcy.


Here at Dwindling Empire we welcome your comments. Although we ask that you refrain from profanity, sexist, racist, or comments of a sexual nature.

However you can poke fun at Frustrated Joe all you want, but we warn you if your going to disagree with him try to do so with some facts, this will garner you a lot more respect from everyone.
Greatly Appreciated