Friday, June 12, 2009

Rant #30: Abuse of the Internet

Just to continue my thoughts on the previous post for one last time ...

As a writer, I do believe in free speech.

However, I do not believe in the abuse of free speech, although I understand that oftentimes, the abuse is in the eyes of the beholder. For instance, my recent rant about gay marriage could be looked upon as free speech abuse by some. So could my rant on ties, or women and swimsuits, for that matter.

Whatever the case, I think we are in a new era of free speech, because the Internet has given some an electronic pulpit from which to spew their hate--and through the Internet, this hate can get to many more people than other hate campaigns could in the past.

It does appear that the Internet is akin to the Wild West now; there do not seem to be any rules, and whatever invisible "rules" there are, are seemingly made to be broken. Anybody can say anything; that is both good and bad, because while the Internet gives a voice to people who previously had none, it also gives a voice, and a certain credence, to those who abuse their privilege and responsibility.

Can rules be set in place to monitor this hate? Probably not. But Internet providers can make their own rules about what is right and what is wrong, and certainly, Nazi-themed hate sites are wrong.

I think it is about time for these providers to step up their efforts to weed out this type of garbage.


  1. I think when you start down the road of limiting free speech, you end up in a very dangerous area. As much as I abhor any hate mongering, I don't think you can pick and choose which hate mongering is "OK" to see posts and which should be shut down. To use your own recent post against gay marriage as an example, this some would find as vitriolic and hateful. You certainly have a right to your feelings and your opinions, despite the fact that someone else might perceive what you wrote as hate-mongering. Should your site be shut down? Should you be sanctioned? For expressing your opinion? To a gay person the things you say may be just as vile as what you and I read on Nazi-hate-mongering websites. Where do you draw the line? Who determines which hate is OK?
    Sorry, like the often-misattributed quote to Voltaire states, "I may not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend your right to say it".

  2. Yes, that is true. It just gets to me that these Nazi sites are up and running. I still think the service provider shares some of the blame, and should not allow such sites to run on their network.

    And yes, if what I said was offensive, then I should be looked at too.

  3. I certainly don't think you should be "looked at" for your post on gay marriage. Although as I stated in my comment on that post, I couldn't disagree with you more, but it's through the power of speech, and people truly expressing what they believe that change occurs.

  4. I didn't think it was inflammatory; it was just my opinion. But people who are looking for things tend to find them. Me, I like the debate, even if we agree to disagree.



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