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Comment Re:It benefits content creators over freeloaders. (Score 1) 147

Are you insane? Are you suggesting that most people would approve of the uncontrolled distribution of pharmaceuticals on a mass scale?

Of *course* we shouldn't allow that! Not only is it tremendously dangerous to allow just anyone with a 3D printer in their garage to sell drugs, it also would bankrupt the pharmaceutical companies. That might not sound so bad, given their reputation for greed and heartlessness, but they are also known as "the place that new drugs come from." They could stand to be taken down a peg, but we need at least some of them to survive.

In short, it would be MUCH, MUCH worse to allow free distribution of Soliris than it is to allow copyright infringement of movies.

Comment Re:Sure it can work (Score 0) 418

Companies that have enacted longer term maternity and paternity leave have reported that they have had little to no disruption in the work force.

Perhaps, but this is a sample with selection bias. The only companies that would be voluntarily try such a policy are those that have reason to think it would be good for their business, or at least neutral.

What were the sizes of these companies? I can see how giving paid time off for one or two out of hundreds or thousands of employees might not be disruptive, but what if you only have five employees at your business? There is no way around the fact that losing one of them for several months is going to seriously affect business, especially when you have to keep paying them *and* can't replace them with a permanent employee.

For the record, I am strongly in favor of increased parental leave. I just don't think it's as simple as some would suggest.

Comment Re:First They Came For The Racists.... (Score 1) 581

Because I might hurt the feelings of the pedophiles?
No. Here is where I draw the line. I will never self-censor to protect the feelings of people who are sexually attracted to young children. I pity them, I wish them the best in their attempts to fight their urges, but I will NOT care about their *feelings.*

Comment Re:Free speech has no meaning (Score 1) 581

A fair argument, I'll grant you.

Lolicon is an interesting case because it doesn't have a non-consenting party, but that does not automatically mean that it harms no one. It serves no purpose other than to enflame desires that can and must never be acted upon.

Lolicon could be considered "obscene," according to the terms established by the U.S. Supreme Court, specifically in that it depicts sexual behavior that is illegal and that it "lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."

Whether you agree with the necessity of obscenity laws or not, they do exist. It is not a bold claim to suggest that they be applied in this case, and thus the burden of proof you refer to returns to those who would argue either that lolicon is not obscene or that obscenity laws ought to be abolished entirely.

Comment Re:Free speech has no meaning (Score 1) 581

I've heard of some of those studies. I can't comment on their specifics not having read them, so let's just accept their conclusions for the sake of argument. What then? Is it true of all harmful impulses, or it it specific to pornography? How does it affect pedophiles vs. those with a sexual response to violence? The same? Different? What about people who fantasize about violence in a non-sexual way? Are people in a fat-shaming community more or less likely to fat-shame a person to their face than before they joined the community?

Just because the idea sounds sensible on its face doesn't mean that it is true, or that the truth might not be the exact opposite in some cases. Bold claims require strong evidence, and it doesn't seem like there is enough evidence for this hypothesis to justify making policy decisions based upon it.

Comment Re:Obligations (Score 1) 581

Some of the very same "very smart people" who wrote the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights were responsible for the Alien and Sedition acts of 1798. One of the effects of those acts was to restrict speech that was critical of the federal government.

There has never been a NON-moving goalpost when it comes to free speech, not in America or anywhere else. If it were so simple, there would never be any debate about the subject. "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" is a high ideal, but it is not written in any legal document in any nation (it was invented by a biographer of Voltaire as an explanation of Voltaire's views on free speech).

The most dangerous lie in all of politics is "the answer is simple." It discourages deep thought and thorough research, and makes compromise impossible. The truth is, everything about governance is extremely complicated as it involves the weighing of hundreds or thousands of priorities.

Unless free speech is worth preserving at literally any cost (and I daresay there is a line that even you would not cross, e.g. the extinction of the human race), then a line must be drawn *somewhere.* The debate over where to draw that line is ongoing and important.

Comment Re:North Korea is Best Korea (Score 1) 581

Assuming free speech should be banned to control what people can talk about within the public eye is more dangerous.

You say that as though it's a universally agreed-upon truth. It's not. That's why we have these discussions to begin with.

How do we determine what's most harmful? Public opinion poll? Scientific study?

Comment Re:First They Came For The Racists.... (Score 1) 581

Congratulations, you totally missed the point of the original speech.

I don't think I did, and I sincerely believe that trying to apply it to the Reddit situation at all is disrespectful to its meaning.

When the speaker said "First, they came for the socialists", they meant something very specific by "came for." The Nazis were rounding people up, putting them in camps, stealing their property, and killing them. As they go down the list of types of people that "they came for," there is no confusion about what was going on. Everyone knew that it was bad, but they were unmotivated to act to stop it because they hoped they would be spared if they kept their mouths shut. The only way it could have been stopped was through the collective actions of people who were not yet targets, but they did not act.

What is happening at Reddit is not remotely similar to what happened in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. Not only are people not being harmed by those in power, they aren't even being silenced. I don't care if Reddit shuts down racist subreddits, but it's not because I'm not a racist. It's because there is nothing Reddit could ever possibly do that would harm me in any way. They have no power to make the world worse. They CAN, however, make it a little bit better by removing this particular platform for people to threaten, harass, and intimidate people because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or body type.

In whose reckoning or opinion?

In REDDIT's opinion. It's their site. They make the rules. Because not all viewpoints are valid, they are within their rights to make their own determination about which viewpoints should be represented on their site.

I'm not advocating shutting down groups because of their viewpoints, I'm advocating shutting them down for their specific actions. Threatening someone isn't just speech, it is an action. Encouraging someone to commit suicide is an action. Promoting violence is an action.

Comment Re:First They Came For The Racists.... (Score 1) 581

One more comment, to specifically address your 1960s socialists example:

I am not arguing that popular opinion cannot veer dangerously into censorship of dissenting political ideas. It can, and it has, many, many times in human history.

What I AM arguing is that shutting down racist subreddits is not moving us closer to that scenario. There is a big difference between dissenting political speech and truly hateful speech. Everyone can see the difference, but hateful speakers like to make a false equivalence between the two, and they can use that argument to convince well-intentioned people that shutting down one is the same as shutting down the other.

Comment Re:First They Came For The Racists.... (Score 1) 581

There's "mainstream viewpoints," and then there's viewpoints that are unambiguously in favor of hating people and/or deliberately bringing them harm. There are reddit groups that exists solely to express hatred for a given race, sex, sexual orientation, or body type. I'm not talking about "we think homosexuality is a sin," or "we believe that culture is too permissive of unhealthy lifestyles." I'm talking about "[type of person] is garbage, and we want to hurt them, shame them, and ultimately exterminate them."

There is no slippery slope connection between that type of viewpoint and the universe of unpopular but legitimately held viewpoints out there. If we ever reach the point where the majority of Americans support the extermination of a particular race, it won't be because we stopped enabling racist speech.

Comment Re:First They Came For The Racists.... (Score 1) 581

First they came for the racists and we all celebrated because we were not racists and racists suck.
Then they came for the pedophiles and we all celebrated because pedophiles hurt children, and seriously what the f*** is wrong with you?
Then they tried to come for the socialists and we said "WTF, dude?! That's a valid political viewpoint that isn't explicitly about hate and harming others!"

And then the rest of the speech kind of fall apart because seriously, not all viewpoints are equally valid.

A sine curve goes off to infinity, or at least the end of the blackboard. -- Prof. Steiner