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Monday, April 29, 2019

The Connection Between Free Speech, Violence, and Echo Chambers

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Gotta get this off my mind, and I figured it'd make for good article material.

There was another tragedy the previous weekend. At least two, actually. One was a Saturday shooting at a Poway, California Chabad Jewish synagogue. The other was a Sunday shooting “near” a Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland during a cookout. As someone who attends a Chabad and has hosted a cookout, both of these are painful reminders of how dangerous the world is right now. Great empathy.

Of course, one has to ponder how society got to the point where this is a regular thing.

I've read the Poway shooter's manifesto. A lot of it is gibberish and awful reading material, so I won't hyperlink away from KoopaTV (fantastic reading material) to that garbage writing. I'm also not hyperlinking to it because he hopes people who read it will emulate him, and we don't want that. The guy very clearly hates Jewish people, spends a lot of time on the /pol/ imageboard (presumably 8chan's version), and is apparently inspired by a non-me Ludwig. (Some Beethoven dude.) He also dislikes President Donald John Trump. Scary stuff.

I just wanted to express the correlation between these heinous acts of violence and the relatively recent anti-free speech movement occurring both on and off the Internet. My fundamental thesis is that having more free and open discussions will reduce people's ideology-based murders. It won't go down to zero—some people are just bad people or thoughtless thugs—but I have a philosophy that only works if the majority of people are good or at least lawful neutral.

More and more mainstream Internet communities are forbidding free expression. Many content-based sites are eliminating the comments section altogether. That's worrying. The Internet is for acquiring and then discussing knowledge. When you can acquire knowledge (or FAKE NEWS conspiracies masquerading as accurate) but you can't discuss it with sane and reasonable folks, then it's pretty one-sided.

For all intents and purposes, echo chambers—which is where you find free speech areas nowadays—doesn't fulfill free speech's purpose of public debate.

It's really rare that you'll find a place like KoopaTV that actually tries to not be an echo chamber and actively does outreach to all kinds of people with all kinds of beliefs. 

However, if a place we're doing outreach to decides to ban us, or is just completely pointless because they're not engaging with us at all, then we'll stop. I don't want to waste my time doing something that has no chance of return.

Places are banning free speech because social justice hates dissent and dissent comes from people speaking their minds. Free speech gets banned, and those mainstream places (Twitter) actually are (leftist) echo chambers in their own right. Without being able to freely express their ideas, some people feel they have to vent out their feelings through violence towards other people—especially scapegoats that they see as the cause of their ills.

As a gaming site, we advocate people vent out their frustration by playing videogames. Settle it in Smash, not “Minecraft (like the Poway shooter euphemistically suggested, actually meaning real life).

I'm not suggesting that free discussions will go ahead and change people's views so everyone ends up being a non-violent moderate. Some people will have their far-from-centre viewpoints strengthened upon having to defend them. That's fine. As long as they're satisfied with just speech.

...Yet there are people who really won't be satisfied with just debating things. Maybe they'll want to force an action beyond talk. That's how the War of Northern Aggression escalated, and that's how the FAKE NEWS Russia investigation happened where Democrats wouldn't accept the results of President Donald John Trump's election. Having a long conversation with these kinds of people at least makes it pretty easy to identify that they'll become those kinds of people...and then something can preventatively be done about them, I suppose.

I'm pretty convinced that all of those awful people aren't born awful. They got to learn how to be awful. The right dialogue and discussion on important topics, enabled by freedom of speech, may prevent someone from going down an awful path. For example, I said earlier in this article that my philosophies are based on the notion that most humans are good.

This was my first encounter with a real human:

Super Mario Bros. 3 Ludwig Von Koopa boss fight head stomp violence
Artist rendition of Ludwig Von Koopa's first encounter with a human.
Credit not provided because the artist got Ludwig's hair wrong. And that weird aspect ratio.

Clearly, I could've very justifiably gone down a path that I'm sure a lot of people have gone down: Their first encounter (whether physical or conspiratorial) with someone outside of their identity group went poorly, so they're going to just assume bad things about that whole group. But then I was tasked with writing a propaganda site to humans that makes Koopas look good, so I had to be a lot more positive. In the process of interacting with lots and lots of humans (you), I learned that y'all aren't universally awful. Most of you are just boring people but with a good heart pursuing your self-interests that usually aren't at odds with my own.

Those types don't kill others.

As an example of why basing your hate off negative identity-based experiences makes little sense: Which identity should I begrudge because of Mario? All humans? All Mushroom Kingdomers? All plumbers? All mustache-bearers? White males? Fans of the colour red? Dudes with funny accents? People who wear hats? There's so many possibilities and confounding variables that it's better to just treat people as individuals and not NPCs.

In summary, getting to know more people will probably make you realise that “all people in this group are ____” isn't accurate thinking. In fact, ridding your thought process entirely of identity groups is the best way to go. Allowing free speech will prevent fringe people from being cast into the shadows—where they don't go away, but in fact become resentful, bitter, and potentially violent.

We want people to be safe when expressing themselves at a place of worship, cookout, job, Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament, or wherever. And we want people to be able to express themselves.


Ludwig would say he's free to discuss whatever subversive stuff you want, but he actually finds most of that stuff dreadfully dull and boring and these echo chambers are a repetitive place where identity politics is all people talk about. Sad. KoopaTV puts free speech to more creative pursuits, which is why you should frequently visit and participate on this site. Not only does KoopaTV allow you to comment freely—with the best and worst comment(s) featured in the monthly newsletter—but you can also write coherent and interesting guest posts about whatever topic you want. Good deal for you.


This would be why you'd need to be safe during a Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament.
Political candidates having outreach is also good for getting votes.

2 comments :

  1. I try to follow people from a variety of different viewpoints on Twitter to avoid echo chambers.

    Doing so has also helped me to see more than ever that any group can have a great deal of variety in it, even if people who subscribe to identity politics don't want to accept it (and do their best to silence people who belong to "their" groups yet say things they don't want to hear).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know I wrote that,
      "For all intents and purposes, echo chambers—which is where you find free speech areas nowadays—doesn't fulfill free speech's purpose of public debate."
      but the civil warring within identity group factions is totally real. That's the whole Libertarian Party!

      Delete

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