People will talk
The Evening Standard reports upon the latest attempts by Her Majesty's Government to push forward censorship of the printed press:
The head of the inquiry into press regulation piled pressure on David Cameron to implement his findings today, saying they were “not bonkers”.
I'm amazed at how easy a sell this has been to some people. Free speech seems to me to be the most important and obvious way of opposing totalitarianism and the abuse of power. An instinct to communicate discomfort and pain is ignored by our human bodies at considerable risk. Why are some so keen to quell it further in the collective organism represented by the United Kingdom?
In an excellent piece on the subject, Brendan O'Neill argues it is a failure of the left which has brought us to this terrible moment in the history of the UK:
If you get into an argument about press regulation this week, as the Privy Council unilaterally decides on the fate of the British press, I guarantee you this: it will be the Lefties among your acquaintances who will most vociferously champion state intrusion into the press, while the voices criticising such intrusion are far more likely to come from your Right-leaning mates.
His central observation is painfully accurate, the so-called "lefties" have been rallied to the cause with startling effectiveness. They hate so passionately it's difficult to get a reasoned response regarding key issues and most have huge difficulties answering direct and simple questions.
Instead you get an emotional reaction which is often almost entirely unrelated to the topic:
— Nick Margerrison (@NickMargerrison) October 9, 2013
The above response is a good example, he decided to take offence at my casual use of the word "mental" to describe a behaviour I thought showed a lack of clear thought. In an attempt to correct the situation he sent a tweet designed to offend me and left it there. If you click on the tweet it will reveal more of the conversation but what's interesting to notice is how often obvious questions are unanswered.
How can you 'balance the views' of all 80 million people in the UK?
How and why do you "balance media ownership"?
What experience in the media and regulation of free speech do you have?
You have twice demanded a "balance of views". I ask only for an example in practice. @SteveGrieves @sterssz— Nick Margerrison (@NickMargerrison) October 9, 2013
When sitting an exam or attending a job interview, failing to respond to a question suggests you are unprepared and lack the information requested. I am convinced people such as the above tweeter are arguing a cause with limited information and without being fully informed by those who they argue on behalf of.
This would make sense given that the cause they advance necessarily comes from people who are keen to limit access to information. Arguments against letting someone speak are always directed at controlling the thoughts of those listening on the basis they cannot be trusted. I strongly suspect the people at the very top of this push to censor the papers think even those who support them are not entitled to a full explanation.
Free speech is founded upon faith in the goodness of people. Those who reject it, even slightly, reveal how malevolent their world view is.— Nick Margerrison (@NickMargerrison) October 10, 2013
Total visibility implies a level of trust in the people of the world which few would advocate. For example, publishing all your thoughts and personal details online for the world to see would be a firm statement that said you believed no one wanted to do you ill, not now and not ever. Such a person would be hopelessly naïve but likely quite loveable. Their kind's polar opposite, someone who aspires to total invisibility, can be seen as alike to the character of Gollum in The Lord Of The Rings and likely has characteristics similar to his deeply unpleasant psyche.
At the moment politicians, both left and right, now demand the occasional use of a magic ring to protect the privacy of public figures who they're mates with. The consequences will play out over the next decade: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24710506
It's worth noting that the so-called "Porn Filters" which EE insists on putting on my mobile phone have so far only prevented me from reading a left wing feminist blog. They don't care if you're left or right, they just care about their agenda.