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This past couple of weeks, the question circling my mind is this - Did a tree really fall in the forest if you cannot convince every single white person about it?

Proving harm, explaining consequences, sometimes feels that way with people deliberately bent upon misunderstanding. Thank you for this post. 🙌

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The Center for Humane Technology has examined at length the links between online hate speech and physical violence. Sometimes that violence happens to people who don’t even have internet access. “Just block them” is an absurd answer that shows how little they understand of human relations.

I live in Whitefish, Montana, where neo-Nazis terrorized people through online violence and phoned death threats in 2016/2017. The threatened physical invasion never happened, but the damage it caused was very real. It’s an outdated understanding of “harm” to claim that hate speech does not equate to physical damage. It does. Living in fear is a physiological state; it’s not abstract or separate from our physical selves.

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Social media is a strange, wonderful, horrible tool. Where do we go? I have seen a couple of right-wing blogs on Substack but nothing that I would call fascist (lucky me). It begs the question though - should we be participating in a medium that allows fascists to not only spread their word but make money? My inclination is to say "no", but then I think that if we don't engage has the left just gone back to talking to itself and left the uncommitted and uninformed to the right? I don't know if those who see the fascist stuff are also searching around for left wing stuff on Substack. Is there any information on that.

As always you provoke thought. Thanks.

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Dec 23, 2023Liked by Joshua P. Hill

"SUBSTACK BOYS: I HOPE YOU'RE PROUD"

*Points awarded*

That was a solid headline

👏👏👏👏👏

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Dec 23, 2023Liked by Joshua P. Hill

I happen to agree with your thinking here. The question I asked of Hamish, et al. was, “So it’s now ok to shout ‘FIRE’ in a crowded venue?” Sure sounds, to me at least, like that’s what the creators of Substack are advocating.

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Oh wow, I'm so glad you got out relatively unscathed. That footage isn't surprising but it is disturbing and the fact that it's a veteran with different views from their own gives the lie to so much of their message. It seems to me like many of the people/men (because they are clearly a majority in this crowd) want to feel like "soldiers" and describe themselves using the language of the military even as they shower disdain on the government our military exists to protect (whether the military itself is a force for good is a whole other part of the conversation) and the members of the military who join them are frequently those who have not seen combat or didn't do well with the discipline and requirements real soldiers have to follow is more evidence of their insecurity about how "tough" they are and why their version of patriotism requires the violent subjugation of anyone different from them. Especially if they feel their masculinity is threatened. It's bad for all of us that they've been able to continue to recruit using the language of victimhood for themselves oblivious to the irony. There is an endless well of male fragility for them to draw from too easily. We need to do more to teach our boys and men about these dangers and provide more places showing them alternatives to this mentality. Men like you are doing a lot of that work. And it's appreciated because it can be hard to make the time to do that when you're a member of the groups these young men are being taught are less deserving of rights and respect.

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I can't help thinking about how skewed the concept of free speech is right now.

Say anything against the genocide happening in Gaza, and you're anti-semitic. It's how the Labour Party in Britain got rid of Jeremy Corbyn.

In practice, there is so much censorship in media and even who political parties will allow to run for office. If they don't tow the NeoLiberal line, they're out, at least here in Canada.

Hate speech and inciting violence, shouldn't be allowed, but otherwise there should be free speech, in my opinion. We're so far from anything near that.

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Another clear-voiced warning about the danger of giving fascists like the Proud Boys free rein to “spread poison in the blood of our society.” Free Speech will be a distant memory if the radical right succeeds in taking control.

I also left Twitter when Musk bought it for...was it $40B? Twitter was no longer a safe or effective place to discuss America’s (and the world’s) growing fascism problem. Substack is not Twitter. Not even close. Let’s use it to learn how to fight back.

Voting is not enough. The fascists need to discover that they are unwelcome... everywhere!

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I think free speech is a great idea as a limit on government power. It doesn't and shouldn't extend to what speech individuals and their businesses choose to tolerate. If someone chooses to tolerate Nazis, that has nothing to do with free expression, but with their personal view that that's okay.

A simple fix I've read for the tolerance paradox is to change the framing to recognize that tolerance is a mutual social contract. We only need to extend tolerance as far as others extend it to us. A person with an ideology that is intolerant is not agreeing to the same social arrangement as me and therefore does not deserve my tolerance.

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Dec 23, 2023Liked by Joshua P. Hill

✊✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

I found you on Twitter, and I followed you over here. I was always very serious when I said you are leader & your students from your classroom to this classroom are blessed!

WHAT HE SAID 💯💯💯💯

I was getting sick of talking to the wall that is Substacks privileged fash loving shit!

And if they want to burn down their garden with hate, while calling it a fanciful discussion of ideas, they can do it without anyone who is worth a fuck.

PREACH JOSH!

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Dec 23, 2023Liked by Joshua P. Hill

Well said.

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I feel like language and values have been hijacked - not for the first time, not for the last. I theoretically understand that "freedom of speech" has particular resonance (it might even be sort of sacred) in the US due to your history and constitution, but also that it's only a version of your free speech has been used to bring us to this place. Where "free speech" is something that only applies to one side of the aisle - they are cancelled unfairly and we face just consequences. Apparently.

Not being from the US (and not of the political persuasion that has been influenced by the social media version of "free speech") I'm more comfortable with there being restrictions on speech. No I'm not going to ban books or kick down anyone's door, I just think more of a discussion should be had on the benefits and harms of unfettered speech. (I did, in fact, choose this platform because of its stance on free speech - but I now doubt it genuinely applies equally, Despite the pain that it will cause to uproot, it's something I'm also considering).

I heard a podcast episode some time ago (Knowledge Fight following the Texas trial against Alex Jones when they had a bunch of experts on, so mid-2022 - possibly 713 with Becca Lewis?) talking about the scholarship behind free speech, and how it's about more than just the ability to say whatever you like. It's also about social good, creating a good knowledge basis. And I think in our societies of "I've got mine so stuff you", we forget that there are two sides (or are unwilling to hear them). Even that feels optimistic at the moment - we also need to deal with the rise in stochastic terrorism from people's proclamations.

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Damn I'm trying to root against violence and yet when you said the man they cornered, turned around and stabbed their racist asses, I couldn't help but feel a bit of joy, a bit of take that motherfucker

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you mentioned the potential lesson with regard to Proud Boys and fair fights, which seemed obvious: If you make the fight fair, they probably back down. You then mentioned the black guy who evened the fight by using a knife, but gave no further description. My guess is they backed off and he got away. That would be a good outcome, but you didn't report on it. What was it?

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The Proud Boys are Brown Shirts in contemporary attire. It doesn't matter whether they are all het up about Sudetenland or not. I struggled for the past month about the idiotic no moderation of extreme political viewpoints and whether to stay. I decided to stay after writing https://open.substack.com/pub/technocratic/p/does-nazi-political-speech-have-a

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Thank you for saying it like it is.

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