The arguments from pain trump the arguments from principle
This was a tour de force, my friend.
I still think that autocracy/monarchy is *in theory* the best system. That's the only way change can happen at speed; it's the only way the whole government can be unified - if the government is literally one person. I just finished reading The Splendid and the Vile, an incredible biography of Churchill's first year as Prime Minister during WWII, and in times of great distress, absolute power is required. But that one person has the unfathomable responsibility of understanding and meeting the needs of every citizen and every sub-culture, a task too big for anyone in the real world.
J.R.R. Tolkien ended The Lord of the Rings with Aragorn as king, and some people have decried this as transgressive or misguided. It is not. Kingship is the ideal government (this is a fantasized world, after all), and Aragorn is the ideal king because he's a healer. He's also friend to elves, dwarves, wizards, and hobbits, from the very great to the very small. In the same way, Jesus will be the ideal ruler in the life to come because he is both human and divine, has suffered, was tempted, died, came back to life. He also created everyone and everything, and has total comprehension, or omniscience as we call it. You couldn't invent a better system if you tried.
👍🏻 who guards the guardians?
I appreciate your thoughtful analysis. A very interesting approach to defending free speech.
What do you think about lies as an exception to the right to free speech? While I'm not across all the details of the current case involving Fox news and the companies providing ballot services, it would seem that deliberate misinformation is damaging to both individuals and democracy.
I agree wholehearted, but as a contrarian at heart I will nonetheless play devil's advocate.
There is a social media platform (technically, two) that is freer than Substack, freer even than 4chan: Hive and its estranged former self Steemit. Hive (which is the only one I'll talk about for the moment) is one of those newfangled web3 social media platforms. The elevator pitch is that it uses the blockchain to pay posters for content, but I am going to get off the elevator into the downwards escalator, because I am about to complain about its flaws.
Because all posts are stored on Hive's blockchain, there is no way for anyone to delete anything. On one hand it means the freest of free speech, since as long as your post is eventually included in a block, nothing short a Late Bronze Era collapse-style event that destroys the Internet itself will ever remove it from existence. (In fact, not even the drama that caused Hive to fork off from Steemit could delete one byte of content.) On the other, it's a total cesspool. During my time as a user, I saw everything from conspiracy theories about the dollar, to conspiracy theories about COVID, to porn to even child porn, all shielded from deletion.
But there is no way to have one without the other. The moment you create an immutable (short a collapse) blockchain that anyone can add to, there is no way to stop anyone from adding to the immutable blockchain. (When a prominent mining pool operator was embedding prayers and Bible verses into the Bitcoin blockchain, I watched with perhaps uncharitable glee as the libertarians immediately yet futilely sought out some means of purging someone else's free speech.)
Of course, there is a difference between a given media channel censoring views (or not) as a brute fact at the government doing the same via law, but there is something to be said for moderation, both as in balance between unequal extremes and also as in someone having the power to, if necessary, press "delete."