Nothing proliferates speech quite like a debate about a white man’s inalienable right to it.

The fact that you imply that race has something to do with an enumerated right doesn’t bode well for the rest of your tome. But let’s see where this goes.

Ever since a bit of lighting equipment was set on fire at UC Berkeley, causing the cancellation of a planned rally by Breitbart editor and professional crypto-fascist troll Milo Yiannopoulos, we’ve seen endless handwringing and finger-wagging defending his right to free speech and chastising of the evil, violent protesters. Interestingly enough, there wasn’t anywhere near this much speech surrounding the attempted murder of an anti-fascist protester at the University of Washington by one of Milo’s supporters. Apparently, a right-winger trying to shoot someone to death matters less than an anarchist smashing a Starbucks window, but I digress.

Don’t digress. Join the Republicans for blaming the media. Why is it that THEY focused in on Milo, rather than a gunshot fired?

Were the violent actors at the Berkeley protests even students, or Black Bloc agitators from outside? Why do all accounts of the protest ignore the many months of peaceful work, operating entirely through speech, that had been dedicated to pushing back against the hate Yiannopoulos was spreading?

I find this interesting. I had never heard of Milo until three or four months ago. So, logically enough, I watched three or four of his event on YouTube. Very entertaining and smart fellow; I don’t find him hateful in the least. There is nothing wrong, in fact it is laudable, to smack people in the face with their own illogic, using data in the process of doing so; and if you can do it in an entertaining fashion, all the better.

Is “hate” now defined as “somebody that makes me feel bad about myself” outside of if they were factual or not in the process? That seems to not bode well for personal development.

Why have so few talked in detail about Milo’s specific acts of hate, from sexual harassing a blogger and supporting the abuse of Gamergate, to using derogatory slurs and anti-Semitic symbols, playing a role in the rise of hate crimes against Jewish people?

Hm. Two issues here. The first is that Milo, in my research, does indeed engage in pointless provocation on social media. On that we agree. Where we don’t agree is that a speaker is responsible for the illegal behavior of another. Nobody has responsibility for an action but the actor, UNLESS the provacateur was engaging in an (illegal) encouragment of the action, which Milo does not do.

We could even go more broadly and ask where these noble defenders of liberty — from eggs on Twitter to carefully manicured beards at The Guardian — were when it emerged that US Customs and Border Patrol were searching the phones of certain people of color to see if they had criticized Trump on social media?

Full stop. Are you trying to draw a line from Milo to the behavior of the Border Patrol? What sort of conspiracy are you suggesting? That the Border Patrol is taking its cues from Milo?

Do explain. Otherwise, this is simply an exercise in sophistry.

because they do not involve the rights of a photogenic right wing man, a “provocateur” that allows certain liberals to morally posture about how superior they are because they “tolerate” him.

Yet, at the end of the day, he has rights. Just as you do.

But more should be said on what a right to free speech is, and is not, made of, and why so many nominal liberals (and leftists) routinely allow themselves to be seduced into defending the rights of fascists while ignoring the speech rights of the less powerful.

(Shakes my head). Arguing that rights should be restricted to some but not all is illiberal. You risk becoming the demon you abhor, here.

A common refrain is this: A right to free speech is not a right to a platform.

Quite right. But Milo did have the right to the platform. He was the invited speaker of an organization authorized by the campus charter.

And leaving aside these edge cases, what of the thousands of other rejectees who’ve written on more prosaic topics? Are they being censored by the Times’ editorial board?

Clearly not; the Times, in your example, is the one who authorizes the platform. They decide who gets to use the platform as they with. Just as the Campus Republicans, in the case of Milo, were authorized to offer the platform to Milo.

To speak to so vast an audience is a privilege, not a right.

That is factually incorrect. The right to SPEAK is guaranteed by Amendment One; I can set up my milk crate, step on to it, and say what I wish. The right to a PLATFORM owned by another is the privilege. IOW, if the megaphone is owned privately, it;s the owner who decides who speaks through it.

But forget about it entirely when a raving bigot shows up, feeling cornered by an abstract principle into insisting that he or she be given not only space to speak, but the largest possible platform and audience for it.

This is factually correct as written, but incorrectly implies that Milo is (a) a bigot, and (b) WAS, IN FACT, GIVEN a platform to speak, legally. And was prevented from using it.

The larger issue is why liberals keep letting themselves get suckered into this argument again and again.

Well, having debated with liberals for the better part of three decades, “not too bright” comes to mind, but I digress.

What liberalism’s fetish for abstraction does, however, is leave it woefully unprepared for rights conflicts, which are inevitable in a complex society.

OMG! Here, after all these rather useless words of prose, you hit the nail on the head! Liberals, in my experience, do not wish to process this. They don’t want to recognize that the conflict between the Christian baker and the gay couple is not a conflict between bigotry and freedom, but is in fact a conflict between the free exercise of religion and the freedom to marry.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve tried to explain this. In one ear, out the other. Any suggestion that the baker is something OTHER than an unreasoning bigot is dismissed out of hand.

Yet instead we debate the right of an already rich man to use his exalted platform to take away the speech rights of others.

Shit. We’re back to the nonsense again.

Yiannopoulos was not “offending” anyone; he was painting a target on the backs of Berkeley students, encouraging their classmates to harass them and incite the state itself into abusing them.

In the three-four full lectures of Milo’s I have watched, I have never seen him do this. Can you provide a link to a video?

For Trump, his army of trolls, and his ideological lieutenants like Yiannopoulos and Richard Spencer, words are playthings used to win a moment’s battle, to elicit a reaction, and to hide as much as to reveal. It is their actions that speak true.

Ah. So, now we’re drawing a line between Trump and Spencer.

You’ve just lost credibility. Few things could be more absurd.

(snip)

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Data Driven Econophile. Muslim, USA born. Been “woke” 2x: 1st, when I realized the world isn’t fair; 2nd, when I realized the “woke” people are full of shit.

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