Sunday, September 25, 2022


I'm trying to get upset about this, and somehow I just can't manage it. All I'm getting is: "Ox. Gored. Whose?" Because part of me wants to say: "Is Twitter really all that important?" Well, there is that; but when someone tries to establish such a law, and it gets past the Supremes (hello, 5th Circuit!), I'll be concerned. And oddly, I don't have to rag on Germany to get there, already. This is an interesting observation. Except until after the 14th Amendment was passed, the 1st Amendment didn't apply to the states, at all. And 1st Amendment jurisprudence as we think we know it today was formed knottily (Brandenburg finally overruled that "fire in a crowded theater" nonsense, but tout le Twitter thinks the latter is still good law. Go figure.). And that's a lot of it. First Amendment "law" is more honored in the breach than in the keeping, and most of what "free speech" is, is what we think it is. Which leads me to say this: Germany has a very recent history of the effects of hate speech on Europe and on Germans. The U.S. does not, and in fact has a short but robust history that encourages even hate speech, on the principle (a good or bad one is another matter) that it will be pushed out of "the marketplace of ideas" (a terrible metaphor) by more non-hate speech. Germany, obviously, does not share that view; and with what they think is good reason, too. I gotta say, that's almost a compelling argument.

The logic of the original tweet (expressed explicitly later) is that some other country is going to get ideas from Putin and invade their neighbors. Just because Germany decides to use its police powers to track down internet posters doesn’t mean the rest of us will follow suit. It’s an idiotic slippery slope argument. Germany decided to exterminate the Jews, but nobody tried to copy-cat that. Germany actually got its race and eugenics laws from America, so there can be an argument for not passing bad laws. But that’s a worry I can only have about America, since I can’t do anything about German law.

As Candide said, we have to tend our own garden. I can’t change what Germany is doing, and worrying about it won’t add one hair to my head.
You’re making me think better and better of that whole “shut down the internet” idea. I mean, that shouldn’t be happening to you, but that’s what the internet is, now.

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