Regulation of “Social Media”?

I’m not in favor of state regulation of private businesses. For that matter I’m not in favor of the state. How could I be in favor of the state regulating anything when it is the thing which most needs to be controlled?

However, I’m not sure how I could consider the big “social media” platforms or data controllers “private businesses” anymore.

I’ve never been convinced that a corporation is a private business. They chose to get in bed with the state for special favors. They frequently use government “laws” to stifle competition. And, recently, they sell out their users to the state. They look, feel, and smell state-like to me.

No, this doesn’t mean I want government to “regulate” them. Nor do I want them “taxed”. It just means I don’t trust them. That some of them are agitating to be regulated by the state makes me trust them even less. It’s a dirty move.

So far, I still have the option to not use their “services”, although in many cases it means crippling myself “socially” to some degree. I recently put several social media sites on indefinite suspension for violating my terms of service and scaled back my use of others. I don’t see them as friendly institutions. They aren’t on my side. They collude with my enemy, so doesn’t that make them my enemy?

Yet, as always, I don’t want my enemy subjected to “laws”, even if they’d happily subject me to the same because a more powerful state is always worse than the alternative.

Open This Content

Triggering a Debunker

I’ve had an interest in UFOs since I was a kid. In fact, I know exactly when my interest started: in 1973.

That year– and I know what year it was because I moved a lot as a kid and know where I lived when this happened–  a classmate told me and others that his grandfather had told him of the time he saw pieces of a crashed “flying saucer” when they were brought to the military base he was stationed at in Ft. Worth, Texas, following its crash in New Mexico.

This was my first introduction to the story of the 1947 Roswell UFO crash… even though the kid never mentioned Roswell, but just said: “New Mexico” (I knew of the town of Roswell for other reasons).

Recently, including on Quora just a few days ago, the standard debunking approach has been the claim that after the initial buzz and headlines, the Roswell “crash” was satisfactorily explained and forgotten until the late ’70s or early ’80s, when it was revived and sensationalized to sell books and TV shows.

Back to the Quora “debunking”. An ex-military guy was explaining away the story and dredging up the tale about it not being spoken of again after July 1947, for 30 years or so.

I replied that I knew, first-hand, that this wasn’t true, and told what I knew from 1973.

The guy almost flipped out on me. He said this wasn’t “first-hand knowledge” at all, that I had been fooled by the conspiracy theory like everyone else.

Never mind that I clearly stated that I wasn’t saying the debris was extraterrestrial or anything, just that I knew when I had heard the story and it didn’t match the debunkers’ claims. Maybe it was a weather balloon test dummy mishap Project Mogul balloon. Or not. That wasn’t part of my claim.

My first-hand knowledge is that I heard the story before the story was supposedly revived and sensationalized, so that specific claim can’t be true. That’s all. I have no first-hand knowledge of any other part of the event (or non-event). Yet this one small point triggered him.

I saw in his over-the-top reaction the same reaction I get from statists when I point out the errors in their thinking and claims. Any reality which doesn’t match what they are desperate to believe is met with hostile denial.

Of course, the guy’s Quora profile says he is “ex-military” so he may have an agenda to promote.

Open This Content

Experimental Anarchy

All science is anarchic.

Science follows rules, but not rulers. If there is a ruler controlling it, dictating what the results must be, it’s not science.

Those who want you to think of anarchy as chaos and “everyone doing what they feel like” are denying reality.

Actually, they are lying. It might not be their fault; they have probably been lied to and didn’t question what they were told. But it’s still a lie. And they are perpetuating the lie instead of questioning the assertion and putting it to the test.

Open This Content

Free Speech

I support completely free speech.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to agree with– or like— everything people have to say.

If you own or control a platform and you ban people, rather than just having problems with certain specific things they’ve written or said, I’m not going to trust you.

I’ve lost trust in all the major “social media” platforms and all the data gatekeepers due to their bans, even when they’ve banned someone I despise.

I support free speech for statists, Nazis, ISIS, racists, everyone. Let them speak… and then use their words against them. Their words are the best argument against their beliefs. Shutting them up helps them hide. It lets them look like victims. Let them speak.

If someone makes a credible threat, then warn the target of the threat, but don’t prevent anyone from speaking. Doing so makes you look weak and dishonest.

Open This Content

We Still Haven’t Learned Voltaire’s Lesson

It’s fascinating how easily people accept something they would otherwise know is wrong when someone they view as an authority figure tells them it’s right.

Voltaire observed, in 1765, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” This truth has led to many of the worst horrors in history.

People still haven’t learned the lesson.

There are hordes of people working full-time — at your expense — to trick you into believing absurdities. My hope is that you’re smarter than they expect.

Unfortunately, many of our fellow humans do fall for the trick. They lack awareness of when their behavior violates others. This lack of awareness enables atrocities, too. No one can be expected to quit doing what they aren’t aware is wrong.

Some of these believe the world owes them an easy life because they are so special and irreplaceable. After all, some authority figure has preached this absurdity to them, and it sounds good.

The sense of entitlement this creates is breathtaking. If you threaten to withhold what they’ve been told they are owed, they’re ready to commit atrocities until you relent. They refuse to accept the reality: no one owes you anything beyond not violating you.

These people expect their rights to be respected, but they refuse to respect the rights of anyone else. They even imagine “rights” that would enslave others. They aren’t aware of how absurd this would be.

The good news is no one needs to stay trapped in the absurdities they once believed. Growth requires rejecting those absurdities so you don’t commit atrocities.

The awareness of the rights of others, and how to respect them, is libertarianism.

I first discovered I was a libertarian about 20 years ago. Before then I hadn’t given it any thought, but at that time I began to examine my values and beliefs. I was willing to discard anything that didn’t stand up to scrutiny.

When I was young and accepting of absurdities, I tried to make excuses as to why it was OK to violate some people’s rights under certain conditions. I eventually came to understand you only deserve as much liberty as you respect in others.

I’m glad the realization came before I participated in any atrocities.

Believing absurd justifications of why it’s OK to do things to other people when you know it wouldn’t be right for them to do the same to you is a dangerous trap. Avoid it.

Open This Content

No One Should Control Others’ Choices

I’m sure there will be a final answer on the racetrack/casino any month now. Right?

Those who support a local racino must see by now how giving government the power — permission from the people — to approve and ration racinos is obviously a terrible idea. Tying anything to the government’s wagon makes certain it won’t be as good as it could be. Nor will it be timely.

Those who oppose the racino should have noticed that if you give control of such things to government it will drag its figurative feet, way beyond anything reasonable people would tolerate.

Allowing government to decide these matters is silly and destructive to society.

Let projects succeed or fail on their own merits, not on the whims of a gang of control-freaks.

If fewer people fell for the lie that it’s OK to use government violence to force others to live as you would prefer, things like this wouldn’t even be an issue.

Those who want a racino — or anything else — could have it. Those who don’t want it wouldn’t have to support it in any way. The catch is they also wouldn’t be able to stop others from peaceably doing what they want.

Is that really so horrible?

I have no power to stop people from wearing orange-checkered polyester leisure suits, nor should I have it. If I believe their clothing choice is any of my concern I am lying to myself. Yes, you could make various arguments about why someone should have this power. The clothing might be a distraction and cause accidents. It might be environmentally harmful to manufacture. Some fragile people might be so offended at the sight they will have a mental breakdown.

Those arguments are no better than the ones made for other things people want to control, individually or through government laws.

Such as that people might gamble too much, or that a racino might attract crime.

You have the right to not gamble and the right to defend against crime (even though government tries to ration this right). What you don’t have is the right to threaten to use the violence of government to force your opinions on others.

Even when politics is normalized to the point it seems this is a legitimate right, it isn’t.

You have no obligation to save people from their bad choices.

You would be wise to worry about your own life and not try to force your choices on other people.

Open This Content