Running on Censorship: A California Candidate Seeks to Ride the Anti-Free Speech Wave

It is not easy to unseat an incumbent in Congress, but Will Rollins believes that he has hit on a guaranteed winner to galvanize Democratic support in California’s 41st congressional district. He is pledging to push for greater censorship to stop those “profiting by spreading division based on lies.” Of course, the former assistant U.S. Attorney suggests that he will know who is lying and who should be allowed to speak freely.

Rollins is also running on his role “prosecuting insurrectionists” from January 6. While most of us condemned the riot on that day and supported the prosecution of those who broke into the Capitol, polls show that most Americans do not view what occurred as an actual insurrection or rebellion.

That, however, is a legitimate matter of debate and people of good faith can differ in how they view the crimes committed that day. What is far more serious is the embrace of censorship as a political cause.

Rollins pledged to stop people saying things that “erode our democracy.” His policy platform promises “accountability” for tech platforms that “spread conspiracy theories” and do not yield to demands for censorship. It appears to be a pitch to restore censorship systems on sites like X but also pledges to go after “media outlets.”

He is not alone in such efforts. Democratic members caused a firestorm previously by writing to cable carriers like AT&T to ask why they are still allowing people to watch FOX News. Rollins promises to crackdown on “propaganda networks to protect the public’s right to be informed.” He does not identify which networks would be targeted, but the assumption is that it is not MSNBC. (For full disclosure, I am a legal analyst on Fox News). However, he wants ramped up penalties for anything that he considers “harmful lies and conspiracy theories.”

Of course, one person’s “conspiracy theory” is another person’s news. It is again unlikely that Rollins will be pursuing the Washington Post which recently reaffirmed that it is standing by past false claims made about Lafayette Park, the Hunter Biden laptop, and Russian collusion. Rollins is not likely referencing the false conspiracy theories funded by the Clinton campaign like the Alfa Bank allegations.

As someone who was raised in a liberal, politically active Democratic family in Chicago, I remember when the party championed free speech as a touchstone of the party. Now it is often treated as an existential threat to democracy.

In recent hearings on the government’s censorship programs, Democratic members and pundits attacked witnesses as “Putin lovers” or supporters of “insurrectionists” in opposing censorship.

President Joe Biden is now arguably the most anti-free speech president since John Adams. His administration is unabashedly and unrepentantly pursuing the silencing of those with opposing views. Jen Easterly, who heads the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, extended her agency’s mandate over critical infrastructure to include “our cognitive infrastructure.” That includes combating “malinformation” – described as information “based on fact, but used out of context to mislead, harm, or manipulate.”

Democratic members have warned social media companies that they will not tolerate any backsliding after Elon Musk dismantled the massive censorship system at Twitter.

In one hearing, tech CEOs appeared before the Senate on past censorship. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) pushed back on statements from the witnesses suggesting an effort to protect free speech and reminded them that “the pandemic and misinformation about COVID-19, manipulated media also cause harm” as well as “climate change misinformation policy” and “climate denialism.”

It did not matter that many censored over their views on the efficacy of masks or the necessity of shutting down schools have been vindicated. Even raising the lab theory on the origin of Covid 19 was denounced as a conspiracy theory. Even after the theory was embraced by government agencies as possible or the most likely explanation, science and health reporter for the New York Times, Apoorva Mandavilli,  continued to denounce the theory as “racist.”

The concerning aspect of Rollins’ campaign is that censorship was largely used as a political tactic in Washington to silence critics and opposing views. It is now an actual political campaign. It shows how speech regulation has become popular with the rank-and-file in the party. It now defines the party.

Campaigning for censorship should be a warning sign of the breakdown of democratic values. Limiting free speech is akin to cutting off oxygen to the body politic. It produces atrophy in a system, the breakdown of our political tissues. That is also reflected in a recent poll that shows that 52% of Biden supporters say Republicans are now a threat to American life while 47% of Trump supporters say the same about Democrats. Roughly 40% of both parties believe violence is now justified and roughly a quarter of both parties now question our system of government.

Politicians fuel that anger by running on silencing their opponents in the name of disinformation or malinformation. It is of course popular. Rage is often popular. Indeed, it can be addictive. Yet, what remains is release from reason in the blind pursuit of those with opposing views.

Will Rollins is right that this is a popular pitch for an age of rage. However, it is the political version of the Dead Sea Fruits that were irresistible to pick but would turn to ashes in one’s mouth. Silencing others creates an insatiable appetite for combating an ever widening circle of “lies.” Until, that is, when you find yourself encircled by your own truth police.

100 thoughts on “Running on Censorship: A California Candidate Seeks to Ride the Anti-Free Speech Wave”

  1. Government must criminalize those “profiting by spreading division based on lies.” (Will Rollins, D)

    Most believe that the most effective strategy for tyranny is: Divide and conquer.

    That is inaccurate.

    The most effective strategy has always been: Unite and rule.

    First, the government forces every individual to speak as one fascist voice (controlled by Leftists). (Recalcitrants will be dealt with.) Once yoked into a single Voice, the Left can rule with an iron fist. (That is why the Left is so agitated about spreading propaganda in the media, boardrooms, classrooms.)

  2. Prof Turley,

    There is a fundimental problem with this – and many other of your posts.

    NO we can not just conclude everything is legitimate differences of oppinion.

    We expect as an example U attorney’s to follow the ACTUAL law.

    At its core what “the law” is can not be “mere opinion”.

    I understand that we may have disagreements over legal minutia.

    But if there is significant disagreement over whether an act is a crime or not – we can not have a functional society or government if whatever side controls some relevant part of government gets to decide.

    What you describe as legitimate differences of opinion boil down to Do we have the rule of law or not.

    If as you claim these are legitimate differences of opinion – then we do not have the rule of law.

    The entire premise of the rule of law not man is that we are in supermajority agreement to follow what the law says – even if we do not like what it says, and to work to change the law if we do not like it.

    If we give the breadth of latitude to opinion that you allow – we do not have the rule of law anymore.
    And ultimately that means the social contract has failed and we are ungovernable.

    The Core issue is that “Government is FORCE”.
    The constitution, the law, policies, the actions of government are FORCE.

    We are NOT free to use FORCE against others based on differences of opinion.

    You noted that Rollins is a Prosecutor involved in J6 prosecutions.

    That is the use of FORCE. Criminal prosecutions are among the most clear excercises of government FORCE.

    We may not use FORCE based on Rollins opinion.

    And yet you skip over that.

    You get the critical importance of the question “Who Decides” regarding speech.

    If anything it is even more important when the issue is the use of FORCE.

    We have democrats and the left politically weaponizing the law enforcement powers of the government.

    And we have Trump and Republicans promising to do the same in return when they regain power.

    And frankly I am horrified – because I am incredibly sympathetic to that desire.

    Turn about is fair play is NOT a fundimental truth – but it certainly feels good.

    There is the further problem of how do we expect good behavior in the future if there are not consequences for the bad behavior of the past.

    At the same time – an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.

    1. Like the rule of law. Well, ensorship violates the rule of law, specifically, the highest law of the land. The arrogance you display in deciding that you and those like you should get to decide what is or is not a matter of legitimate differences of opinion, etc., is breathtaking. The essence and hallmark of tyranny is the intense desire to control the minds of others, a hallmark you have placed on naked display.

    2. John B. Say, your view seems to be that there should be no flexibility or nuance when it comes to the rule of law. Your views seem to rely on strict literal interpretation AND adherence. Anything else is unacceptable and an invitation for abuse of the law.

      For example let’s look at speed limits for simplicity’s sake. We all know that the law clearly states the speed limit is a limit. Anything else past that limit is literally against the law. Based on your view every single time we exceed the limit even by one MPH we would be in violation of the law and should be punished by it. That is the expectation based on your view. That ideally there should be no room for nuance or flexibility to account for reality and human nature.

      What the law is can always be subject to interpretation. Some interpret it based on literal meaning and wording, others base it on inference and nuance to account to realities. Just look at yesterday’s Supreme Court hearing on the Rahimi gun case. Solicitor general Prelogar exposed serious flaws in the Bruen decision in arguments. In Bruen, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority that the Second Amendment is an “unqualified command,” and that accordingly, gun regulations can only meet constitutional requirements when they are “consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.” The ruling built upon the Court’s 2008 ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, in which Justice Antonin Scalia said the Second Amendment’s guarantees only apply fully to “ordinary” or “responsible” law-abiding citizens. The Biden administration contends that Rahimi and other domestic abusers do not fall into the category of responsible law-abiding citizens who are entitled to full gun rights. Prelogar spoke to the justices using their own words, missing no opportunity to argue that “historical tradition” actually favor her argument in the case. Prelogar injected reality and nuance into the argument using the Justice’s one words against their interpretation.

      For example, when Chief Justice John Roberts asked whether “irresponsible” or “dangerous” are too vague or subjective to be persuasive, Prelogar reminded him that she was not using the words in their colloquial sense. Rather, Prelogar argued, “history and tradition” provide a rich context for what the terms mean.

      “Irresponsible” corresponds only to precedent directly related to the specific danger of gun possession, Prelogar explained. She offered that “irresponsible” has historically been used to distinguish a person who may not be legally culpable for reasons of age or mental disability, but in whose hands a firearms would present a particular danger.

      The history and tradition of the word “dangerous” also supports the categorizing of a domestic abuser as such. Prelogar also offered an alternative take on the framework set out by Thomas in Bruen. Throughout her argument, the solicitor general argued that history and tradition are perhaps not the stalwart beacons of freedom the conservative majority has held them up to be.

      Prelogar made a glaring point, aimed at justice Thomas. A look into the nation’s history and tradition, she argued, reveals that the Second Amendment was meant not to apply to entire groups of people, and slaves and Native Americans were excluded. Which proves the point that there can be bans on guns to certain persons or groups. This is very likely to overturn the fifth circuit’s decision and even narrow the Bruen decision or open it to overturn it.

  3. I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of Glenn Beck, one thing is certain, he does his homework.

    Biden’s plan to control EVERY ASPECT of the internet EXPOSED
    The Biden administration’s new plan for “digital equity” is a way to control every aspect of the internet, Glenn argues. The plan, which will affect all internet services and infrastructure, tells the FCC to apply unprecedented government controls to the internet. And just as nefarious, Glenn explains, is the way the government is trying to seize this “total control.” Glenn breaks down this “breathtaking” plan to micromanage the internet and warns that they could be used to put shows like The Glenn Beck Program out of business … all in the name of fighting “digital discrimination.”

  4. There’s a very telling quote from Director of CISA, which is this DHS subagency, Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency.

    It’s a mouthful, but which is devoted to protecting our critical infrastructure. And the director of that subagency, which helped spearhead and was the tip of the spear of the national security state’s efforts to surveil and censor speech directly and by proxy.

    She has said that our most critical infrastructure is our cognitive infrastructure.

    Translation: Mind control is an imperative of the national security apparatus. And it’s going to engage in a whole society effort, to ensure the American mind is controlled.

  5. Jonathan: Another thing your loyal followers won’t learn from your columns is what happened yesterday when DJT testified in his civil fraud trial in NY. I can understand why you didn’t want to cover that. It didn’t go well for the Trumpster.

    Despite all his huffing and puffing on the witness stand DJT couldn’t couldn’t offer any evidence to dispute the overwhelming evidence against him. He spent his time in the witness chair attacking Judge Engoron and the prosecutors who he claimed were “Trump haters”. He had to been reminded many times by Judge Engoron “Please, Mr. Trump, just answer the questions”. In any other trial defense attorneys would spend a lot of timing prepping their client. It was clear from DJT’s rambling and extraneous comments that Chris Kise and Alina Habba decided it was not worth the effort. DJT is uncontrollable–even in a courtroom.

    Asked why he appointed his sons as trustees of his revocable trust DJT responded: “Well, because they’re good boys”. As pointed out in a previous comment DJT chose his “good boys” because they would go along with the many years of scamming the people of NY! They are now also in legal jeopardy. DJT knows he is going to lose the case before Judge Engoron so he used the opportunity to make speeches that would appeal to his MAGA supporters. That’s the only reason he agreed to testify.

    But what was it we saw on your blog by loyal MAGA supporters who claimed DJT would win all of his civil and criminal cases? Your leader is going down big time before Judge Engoron. He will also lose big time in E. Jean Carroll’s send defamation suit before Judge Kaplan. Sure, DJT will appeal and appeal. But don’t expect the result to change. Stay tuned for the trials in the Fani Willis case and Jack Smith case in DC. You are in for some more bad news!

    1. Dennis – in almost exactly a year, you will be getting bad news. At about 11:00 pm EST, the decision desks of the major networks will announce: “We project Donald J Trump to be the winner of the State of Arizona. Adding its electoral votes to those of the other states Trump has apparently won, we project him to be the next President of the United States.”

    2. Judge Engoron

      What kind of judge posts half-naked pictures of himself on a *high school* alumni newsletter?!

      The man is not well.

  6. The shocking report also included information from Stanford University that revealed the Election Integrity Partnership and staff made “explicit recommendations to social media platforms for specific enforcement measures” at least 75 times in a four-month period leading up to and during the 2020 election.

    Examples of the requests included the following:

    “Hello Google. … We recommend this ad be removed.”
    “Recommended actions: Ban sharing links to the following sites.”
    “This has circulated in pro-Trump conservative groups and sub-communities. … We recommend that you all flag as false, or remove the posts below.”
    “This video narration claims to show evidence of voter fraud in Maryland, but the video itself (footage of an election worker) does not show anything that we interpret as voter fraud. We recommend that this video be removed or labeled.”
    “Hi Twitter team – there are a number of high-profile individuals, including the President, making accusations of voter fraud. … Given the large audiences and Pennsylvania’s swing state status, we’d recommend this content be actioned.”

  7. Jonathan: With all your columns advocating for “free speech” rights some of your loyal supporters on this blog have not yet gotten the memo. One is “guyventner” who says: “I think we need to arrest 10,000’s of Democratic criminals across the government…think Nuremberg Trials”(11/7@9:04am). For “guy” the Dems are not entitled to “free speech” rights. They should be tried as “criminals”.

    But this view is also expressed by Republican politicians. Ryan Zinke, now a House Republican who served in the Trump administration and pushed the “Muslim ban”, is at it again. Zinke has introduced a bill to expel all Palestinians who are lawfully in the US. Apparently Zinke believes Palestinians are a “Fifth Column” in our presence. They don’t deserve the rights of free expression. Zinke’s colleague in the House, Marjorie Taylor Greene, is also all for clamping down on “free speech” rights. She tried unsuccessfully to get Rep. Tlaib censored for expressing views on the Israel/Palestinian conflict.

    So, despite all your claims of “censorship” by the Biden administration and Dems in Congress, the reality is that it is the Republicans who want to censor and clamp down on “free speech rights”. You see that in spades in Florida under Gov. DeSantis. But you wouldn’t know any of that if you only read your columns!

    1. What is your example of censorship in Florida ?

      The near universal exception to “absolute free speech” is pretty much everything involving sex and children.
      That is not some Republican Unique thing. It is close to global, and close to throughout time.
      With few exceptions.

      I would further note that your Florida claim rests on the bizzare notion that educational resources are infinite.

      There are limited hours available to educate our kids. We have less than 180 hours/yr to inculcate the knowledge they will need of Math, of science, of english. All subjects that we are far more poorly educating kids today than 4 decades ago.
      A failure that we are paying for in weaker increases in standard of living.

      I have no problem with Florida or any other state demanding that schools focus on the critical and failing elements of education rather than woke indoctrination.

      Regardless, whether you like it or not – children do not have the right to decide their own education, and teachers do not have the right to decide what other peoples children should learn.

      It is not censorship to decide what public schools will teach. It is something that MUST be done. The FACT that Florida has chosen Not to waste educational time with woke indoctrination is rational allocation of scarce resources. Not censorship.

      Your disagreement with the specific way that Florida has allocated educational resources when those resources are not infinite and choices MUST be made – does not make Florida’s actions censorship.

      Or are you arguing that somehow in K-12 education kids must be taught everything about everything ?

      In my perfect world – government would get entirely out of education. And parents would determine who and how their kids are educated.

      To paraphrase Churchill, Parents are the worst people to determine how kids are educated – except all others.

    2. Not the muslim ban nonsense again.

      The US allows approximately 1M legal immigrants into the country per year.
      The specific number does not matter – what is relevant is that there is a limit specified by law.
      If you, democrats, the president does not like that limit – then change the law.

      That is how the rule of law works.

      Within that number that are legally allowed in – we must do something those on the left constantly pretend is unnecescary.

      We must make choices. When I rent apartments – I have more applicants thatn apartments – I must say NO 99 times for every tenant I accept.
      When I have a job available – I must say know scores of times and only get to say yes once.

      With respect to immigration we must make choices – or those choices will get made for us.
      Regardless the US is cound to say NO to people looking to immigrate hundreds of times for each person it says yes to.

      Given that we are REQUIRED to make choices – and to say NO hundreds of times for each time we say yes.

      We can and should and must be selective about who we allow to immigrate.

      Right now with Democrats “open borders” we are getting lots of people who are tied one way or another to drug cartels,
      Either as footsoldiers or as human traffic essentialy enslaved to pay the bill for getting escorted to the country.

      Is that really your idea of how we should make choices.

      I do not have a problem allowing muslims into the country – nor does any republican I know.
      I do have a problem allowing criminals and suspected terrorists.

      My personal view is we should scrap our entire immigration system today, in favor of a system entirely of private sponsorship.
      Families, churches, charities, businesses should all sponsor people who wish to immigrate. How they make their choices is up to them.
      What is important is that the sponsors are actually responsible for the immigrant should things go wrong.

      If you personally want to sponsor a terrorist – I expect you to be held responsible for how that works out.

  8. POLL: Disinformation Seen As Threat Around The World

    The survey by pollster Ipsos of 8,000 people in countries including Austria, the US, Mexico and India, found that 56% of internet users got their news mainly from social media, far more than from TV (44%) or media sites (29%).

    Disinformation was overwhelmingly seen as a concrete threat, with 85% saying they worried about its influence. Eighty-seven per cent said disinformation had already had a major impact on national political life and would play a part in 2024’s elections.

    Vigilance was seen as particularly important during election campaigns. Of those polled, 89% demanded government and regulatory intervention and 91% expected social media platforms to be even more alert when democracy was directly in play.

    According to this survey, absolute free speech is not considered desirable. People are genuinely worried about disinformation and hate speech.

    1. Disinformation started in the Garden of Eden when Eve was tempted with the forbidden fruit by a snake. In fact your writing voice hisses like that of the snake. What is more you kinda look like the snake. The snake’s name was Svelaz


      Now the snake was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He asked the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You shall not eat from any of the trees in the garden’?”
      The woman answered the snake: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden;
      it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, or else you will die.’”
      But the snake said to the woman: “You certainly will not die!
      God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know* good and evil.”
      The woman saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes, and the tree was desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

      Book of Genesis, Chapter 3

    2. So ?

      All you are demonstrating is precisely why Democracy is the worst possible form of government.

      Rights are what can not be taken away from you even if the majority disagrees.

      I would note that historically people have genuinely worried about all kinds of very stupid things.

      Free speech many not be CONSIDERED desireable, but it is a requirement for a high standard of living a workable society and functional self government.

      The past few years should prove to all but the most in the tank left wing nuts the critical importance of free speech and the dangers of censorship.

      Though anyone with a half way decent education – particularly in 20th century history would know that government attempts to police speech have always ended abysmally. Whether that was American attempts to thwart the disemination of womens reproductive health information a century ago, or the failure of the USSR – atleast in part because restrictions on the flow of information deprived everyone – including those in power the information they needed to govern, do business, live reasonably.

      NEVER has censorship successfully done more good than harm.

      Again – if you did not learn that from past history – it is evident in recent history.

      The collusion delusion – was a HOAX. This HOAX handcuffed the country for 4 years. It pitted brother against brother. It created chaos and insecurity and conflict.

      And the core issue ? The truth was censored – burried labeled as misinformation by those with power, while lies were presented as truth.
      The consequence of that censorship – hundreds of millions of people beleived many many things that were false.
      The harm did not come because lies were being spread. The harm was the result of the mostly successful efforts to hide and supress the truth as misinformation.

      Nearly every single thing we were told regarding Covid by those in power has proven to be false.
      Again it is not the lies that are the real problem – it is the massive efforts to censor and supress the truth.

      Almost concurrently with this was the censorship of information regarding the corruption of the Biden’s.
      One of the consequences of censorship has been the abysmal quality of democrat leaders.
      It can not truly be true that the democratic party can not do any better than Joe Biden.
      There were many contenders for the 2020 democrat nomination – while a surprising large number were out of touch left wing nuts,
      even discounting those – it still can not possibly be true that democrats could do no better than Biden.

      But the censorship of the truth about the bidens was not merely instrumental in Biden wining the democratic primary – do you really think that Democrats would have voted for Biden had they known he was in bed with the Chinese and an assortment of russian oligarchs as well as some pretty nasty criminals accross the world ? But having censored to get Biden the democratic nomination it was even more critical to sustain that censorship to win the presidency.

      Again the point is that censorship does NOT stop the flow of disinfomation and misinformation – it stops the flow of the truth.

      Humans are relatively easily deceived. But they are not easily deceived enmass, they are also not easily deceived when everything can be freely expressed. We are not always good at knowing the truth – but we are pretty good at sorting out lies.

      Had the massive efforts at censorship by the left – by our institutions, by our government been less successful. we would not have made such bad choices regarding Covid. We would not have made such bad choices for president – and other elected officials.

      Current data has those countries that most heavily censored covid information and that most rigorously followed the views of the alleged experts – the alleged is very important to note – because there were very REAL experts who spoke out and were silenced, regardless those nations suckered by covide censors had and continue to have 3 times the number of “excess deaths” as those who did not.

      Sorting out all the causes of those CONTINUING excess deaths will take time and effort. But the reality that overall death rates increased MORE in countries with draconian covid policies than those where the REal information was available and followed.
      It may take time to suss out all the negative impacts of the bad policies of the public health crowd.
      The exact impact in lives lost or harmed by delayed medical serives for other problems like cancer or heart disease. the exact impact of vaccine adverse reactions. the exact impact of increased suicides, drug overdoses. violence.

      I would further note that ALL of this was actually predicted by the REAL “experts” who were routinely supressed.
      Not only that but most of the bad policies associated with Covid were KNOWN to be bad policies BEFORE covid struck.

      But this is a common problem with those on the left – a failure to grasp that the unintended consequences of their acts often dwarf any possible positive benefits, and that ignores that the positive benefits rarely materialize.

    3. All you are demonstrating is how poorly education so many people are today.

      If people thought that being smeared in schiff and roasted on a spit was desireable – would that change whether it actually was ?

      I would note – virtually no one wants absolute free speech.
      Nearly everyone wants child pornography to be criminal.

      As to the rest – all you have demonstrated is that many people want restrictions on speech that history already tells us do not work.

  9. OT – 2020 WAS RIGGED!

    “New emails show DHS created Stanford ‘disinfo’ group that censored speech before 2020 election”

    New emails show officials at the Department of Homeland Security created a Stanford University “disinformation” group that censored Americans’ speech before the 2020 election, according to a House Judiciary Committee report exclusively obtained by [Josh Christenson].

    – Josh Christenson

    1. This is not new – though it is most definitely true.

      This is a distinct problem from the DIRECT involvement by various government agencies in censoring social media.

      Towards the end of the Obama administration Obama setup government grants to private entities for the purpose of censoring the internet.

      This started long before 2020. It is proof that much is done inside of government – often right in the open and at the same time completely outside the awareness of those alegedly running the government. Much left wing nut unconstitutional malfeasance took place While Trump was president. It was not stopped because neither Trump nor his appointees were aware of it, or because we have made getting rif of bad acts of government damn near impossible.

      Regardless, it is an established point of constitutional law, that government can not do through the back door what it can not do through the front.

      Government may not engage in censorship.
      Government may not use private actors to do what it can not do directly – government can not fund private groups that work to accomplish censorship.

  10. Mr. Will Rollings is no Masuer!

    Freedom is not to be tilted about to suit the clouded notion of what is fact to fit the viewers conceit of truth. Fact is separate for truth, as an example we know for fact the Sun exists (fact), we accept that the Sun is x miles away for Earth, but the determinative factor as to the distance is subjective to acceptance of the scientific conclusion that light travels at x miles per second which we assume to be truth. The old colloquial statement “truth be told” assumes that the teller is being what (?)’ factual’ but may be stretching or modifying fact to obtain their truth; I swear to tell the truth the whole truth, but it’s my truth. Truth is a slippery word often used to conflate or diminish an occurrence to the viewers or tellers’ truth regardless of facts. “Fact of the Matter” is another colloquial example of obfuscation, whose facts are being used and are the facts acquired for their truths?

    I’ll part by quoting Alfred Whitehead “Dialogues”: ‘there are no whole truths; all truths are half-truths. It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil.”

    God help us All!

    1. Continuing L.J. Cohen “The Diversity of Meaning”: distinction of theories of meaning, (De facto) give meaning to words, how it’s actually used, (De jure) terms of how it should be used claiming that actual usage may be incorrect.

      Briefly using Jacques Derrida’s theory of difference in short, in communications there is no transcendent meaning (words), only an infinite deferral of meanings.

      1. Words are symbols used to communicate. One of the problems with what you are arguing is that it explicitly seeks to thwart communications.

        The ultimate objective is to efficiently and accurately transmit facts, ideas, feelings from one person to another.

        “Breifly” anything that impedes the efficient and accurate communication is error.

    2. In math and science We have the smallest number of possible “truths” that we can manage that are our fundimental assumptions – postulates, axioms. These are the things that we claim as certain but can not prove. We prove many other things based on those.
      If the axioms are true, then the things that logically follow from those axioms are also true.

      Physics and life introduce probability. Some things can not be explicitly derived from axioms, are not axioms themselves but have varying degrees of probability that they are true.

      Many of these things are interdependent.

      The net result of this is that while there are many many things that we can not say with absolute certainty are true – we can say with very high degrees of probabilty that they are true.

      Separately there are infinitely more things that we can say with either absolute certainty or very high probability are FALSE.

      The absence of absolute truth does NOT make everything into an opinion. Nor does it make all things that aspire to be truth equal.

      We know for example that as government spending as a percent of GDP rises the rate of increase in standard of living decreases.
      Is that absolute Truth – no. But if you are betting that an increase in government spending will positively impact standard of living the odds of your being correct are very close to zero.

      There are many many many things we can not prove for certain, that we STILL can KNOW are very near certain.

      The absence of absolute truth is not the absence of truth.

  11. Below Estovir mentioned the incident yesterday in which a Jewish man died after being pushed to the ground by a Palestinian supporter and hitting his head; either that or the Palestinian supporter hit him over the head with his megaphone.

    NBC headline on the incident: “Man dies after hitting his head during Israel and Palestinian rallies in California, officials say.”

    That level of bias is pretty embarrassing, even by the lamestream media’s low standards.

    1. In Catholic theology, there is the teaching that sins can be acts of commission or acts of omission.

      I always find it instructive, and tell family and friends as such, that the Left picks and chooses their hysterics for the day, all the while omitting truly evil events. The murder of an elderly Jew expressing his defense of Israel is horrific but worse, at a Pro-Israel rally where the murderer is an anti-Semite.

      The Left’s sins of omission when decrying evil are only rivaled by their sins of commission that include, but are not limited to, declaring war on innocents like the unborn, children bodily mutilation, heterosexual families, and now apparently anti-semitism.

      No wonder the Left created their own religion of Woke Inc, where they can be judge, jury and executioner. The Left is a sure sign that evil reigns in our world

    2. What occured was horrible, it was criminal. It was a hate crime.

      But we should be careful about escalating it to murder.
      Unless the perpitrator intended to kill this man – it is not murder.
      If as was the case the perpitrator was reckless – intending harm but not death – then it is manslaughter, or agrevated asault.

  12. Here’s an interesting issue that Turley should be addressing.

    “US Republican senators ask tech firms about content moderation in Israel-Hamas war”

    Republican senators are asking social media companies moderation of content regarding he war and demanding they refuse to post content from Hamas. Misinformation.

    “The senators also asked how the companies were complying with sanctions programs that require the blocking of interests of Hamas and how they were preventing their platforms from being used to provide material support to Hamas.”

    of course they can censor if they can categorize it as “material support”.

    Based on Turleys criticisms of social media blocking misinformation, and false claims this would seem like a conundrum for free speech rights. Should social media block misinformation about the Israel-Hamas war or let all the information thru and let readers decide? Maybe Turley should write about this, it’s more interesting.

    1. In answer to your question.

      First this question was resolved almost 200 years ago.

      But it is not surprising that those who hate western thought, know nothing about western thought.

      Which really has multiple parts.
      What CAN social media do ? And the answer to that is constrained by its contracts with its users it can do whatever it wants.
      Given that Social Media came into being on the promise of free speech, SM companies are arguably bound by their past promises.

      What SHOULD social media do is far easier.
      Social media should permit all expression that is legal (in the US).
      That standard is pretty trivial:

      Child pornography is criminal in all contexts. It can not be possessed, or distributed – not even privately.
      It can not be produced, it can not even be faked legally.

      Pornography, and other adult content is legally restricted to adult only forums.

      Speech that constitutes a credible clear and immediate threat of violence – the destruction of property, and or injury or death.
      The supreme court has already correctly ruled that standard to be near impossible to meet on social media.

      Speech that violates copyrights is prohibited.

      That is pretty much the extents of legitimate restrictions on speech.

      There is no, and never has been a good reason to bar information that is wrong, allegedly misinformation.

      And history – recent and distance past teaches us that much of what is called “misinformation” turns out to be truth.

      “If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”
      ― John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

    2. Svelaz,

      With respect to Republicans seeking to restrict information favoring Hamas – I join you in condemning that.
      Though Republicans have no power to actually do so, and have not ACTUALLY consequentially engaged in censorship for almost 70 years.
      Though the MacCarthy era has its share of Democrats.

      Trump frequently ranted and raved insisting that various things should be censored.
      But he never actually did anything.

      Conversely those on the left – even during the Trump administration were actively censoring anything they disagreed with – including Trump.
      And that continues through today.

      I have cited the parable of the sheep and the goats many times here – because it is very instructive.

      Who is the racist – the man who shouts racial epitaphs, but hires whoever is qualified for the job regardless of race, or the man who condems the racism in the speech of others, but only hires people exactly like him ?

      Elsewhere Christs notes that you tell good trees from bad trees by their fruit.

      I care about what people say. But I care far more about what they do.

    3. No conundrum at all. Republicans are engaged in free speech.

      Turley is not criticisng Social media for what they say, but for what they are doing.

      Speech BTW is NOT material support. However if SM platforms are being used as a communications media to direct terrorist attacks – that is material support, that is also not protected free speech.

      Logic has never been your forte

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