October 2015

Best books on Free Speech

by Limbic on October 17, 2015

Here are my picks for the 4 best books on Free Speech (old and new) for anyone new to the topic.

Kindly Inquisitors by Jonathan Rauch


On Liberty by John Stuart Mill


The Tyranny of Silence by Flemming Rose


Freedom From Speech by George Lukianoff



“Eliminationism is the belief that one’s political opponents are “a cancer on the body politic that must be excised—either by separation from the public at large, through censorship or by outright extermination—in order to protect the purity of the nation”.”



Jon Ronson on Social Media Shaming

by Limbic on October 10, 2015

From Jon Ronson’s TED talk “How our real lives can be ruined by our digital ones

Transcript from Jon Ronson on TED Radio hour’s Screen Time part 2:

“I think for other people, it’s because Twitter is basically a mutual approval machine. We surround ourselves with people who feel the same way we do, and we approve each other and that’s a really good feeling. And if somebody gets in the way, we scream them out. And do you know what that’s the opposite of? It’s the opposite of democracy.

It’s – so everybody becomes more conservative and conforms. You know, this is another irony of social media is that on social media we see ourselves as nonconformist. And yet, all of this surveillancing of other people is inevitably creating a more conservative and conformist society because whatever we – you know, we define the boundaries of normality by tearing apart the people outside….

…But the phrase misuse of privilege is becoming a free pass to tear apart pretty much anybody we choose to. And it’s making us lose our capacity for empathy and for distinguishing between serious and unserious transgressions. Maybe there’s two types of people in the world – those people who favor humans over ideology and those people who favor ideology over humans. But right now, the ideologues are winning and they’re creating a stage for constant, artificial high-dramas where everybody’s either a magnificent hero or the sickening villain, even though we know that’s not true about our fellow humans. What’s true is that we are clever and stupid. What’s true is that we’re gray areas. The great thing about social media was how it gave a voice to voiceless people. But we’re now creating a surveillance society where the smartest way to survive is to go back to being voiceless. Let’s not do that. Thank you.”

Here is his TED talk: