The Internet must be free 2

The young today are immersed in a virtual world in which coarseness, nastiness, decadence, perversion, superficiality, egoism and nihilism are the norm.  They are instilled with moral relativism’s only guide, “If it feels good, do it,” and then their feelings are twisted in the worst possible way, through vile entertainment, so that what feels good is cultural poison.  The result is that we are breeding barbarians wholly incapable of sustaining a healthy constitutional republic.

According to Selwyn Duke in his latest editorial, this is the future the Internet is creating. It appears as if Duke misses the point of a free uncensored Internet completely, as well as falling into the very generation gap he cites in his own piece.

Let’s break Duke’s piece down point by point. He opens by discussing modern media’s remarkable ability to disseminate information and cause change, which he says is making ‘civilization very unstable.’ He says that in the past, the only way to rapidly change the human condition was through war. It may have been the fastest way, but it certainly wasn’t the only one or the most effective. He says that now the Internet has overtaken war as the fastest way to change society; in his eyes for the worse. He now reaches the crux of his argument with this point: the Internet is a channel for the instantaneous broadcast of lies and disinformation. Vapid hyperbole aside, this argument is false. Duke forgets that we have been improving our ability to spread ideas for hundreds of years. He forgets the printing press, an invention which enabled people to spread ideas and facilitated the Reformation, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment. He forgets the entire history of the media.

But most of all, he forgets that the Internet can also broadcast truth at the same rate it can broadcast lies. What about the people Tweeting from Iran during the student uprising, a time in which the only way to describe the situation on the bloody streets of Tehran was through the very medium Duke claims is corrupting our youth? What about online news? And the role the Internet now plays in bringing down Obama while the mainstream ‘old media’ are trying to protect him? Duke is a blogger; it’s ironic how much he benefits from the very medium he accuses of ‘breeding barbarians.’

This flawed idea of civilizational destabilization continues with his next point that modern media-induced rapid change is widening the generation gap. And he’s right, it is. The spirit of the age is indeed changing, from one based on oppressive Christian values to free secular ones. Twenty years ago the idea of an atheist conservative would have been absurd. Just look at us now. And does new media affect consumers? Yes, it does, but I sincerely hope we as a race are mature enough to choose our entertainment for ourselves. That’s part of the beauty of the Internet: if I want porn, I can get porn. If I want news, I can get news. New media, and especially the Internet, have something for everyone. If you don’t like some of it, don’t view it. Nobody is forcing you to.

When someone from the far side of the generation gap writes an article against the freedom of the Internet, they almost invariably cite the anonymity-induced vitriol and profanity that appears in chat rooms, message boards, and comments sections. Duke follows this trend, in the article’s style of extreme exaggeration and worst-case scenario extrapolation: an uncensored Internet message board ‘destroys every wall of propriety that should exist among the family of man.’ He claims that our youth are becoming corrupted by these chat conversations and comments threads because they ‘normalize vice.’ Find me an example of someone truly ‘corrupted’ by the Internet. Some blame the Internet for their transgressions simply to shirk personal responsibility. I find the idea that a kid reading an angry blog comment or chat in an anonymous chat room – or even the word fuck – is going to be forever perverted quite comical.

The claim that the Internet will make perversions appear far more commonly is false as well. Duke is wrong, sexuality is determined at birth. A pervert will become a pervert regardless of whether or not he has access to the Internet (I use the word ‘pervert’ loosely here, as I’m sure that Duke considers anything other than sex between a married man and woman for the purpose of procreation perverted).

Duke has a fundamental misunderstanding of a free Internet. He only sees the smut, which to him must be removed. He overlooks the power of such an instantaneous and open medium of communication. One can find truth just as easily as one can find lies on the Internet. It is with freedom of speech and the spread of ideas that civilization progresses; the Internet provides both as no medium ever has before. It is imperative that it remain free.

– Matthew Slipper  June 25, 2010

Posted under Commentary, media by on Friday, June 25, 2010

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In praise of profiling 3

“Profiling” is stereotyping. For some reason it’s the preferred synonym.

Let’s for the moment call it stereotyping. We all stereotype all the time. We judge people as soon as we meet them by their appearance, what they say and how they say it, the first impression they make. Later, if we get to know them, we may revise our first judgment. Stereotyping is a very useful short-cut. We may like the idea of suspending judgment until all or many facts are in, but we haven’t the time. We don’t live like that.

Instant judgment may involve liking or disliking this or that “type” of person. Taking an instant dislike to someone is not the same as wishing him to be discriminated against legally or socially. Only collectivists think that way. Individualists, though certainly and necessarily capable of stereotyping, will always be aware that no generalization about  class, race,  gender, style, accent, origins, descent or anything else used to categorize people, however broadly true, can be assumed to characterize any single individual in that group.

When it comes to the adherents of a particular ideology, however, there is a difference. They are identifying themselves with a group. If a member of that group wears a badge, in dress, for instance, or a pin in the lapel, he is asking to be identified with that set of ideas, that movement, those aims.

And if that group, motivated by those ideas and aims, has declared itself your enemy, and has attacked you violently, you would be very foolish not to take particular precautions for your safety whenever a person obviously belonging to that group approaches you. He may have no thought of harming you. But you’d be an idiot not to beware of him.

In connection with these thoughts, here is a fresh look at “racial profiling”.

In an article that we think shows much common sense, Selwyn Duke makes the case for it.

Some extracts:

The critics of Arizona’s new immigration law complain that it will lead to “racial profiling.” In response, the law’s defenders point out that the legislation specifically forbids the practice.

Both groups are wrong.

They accept two false suppositions. The first is that the practice in question is immoral.

The second is that “racial profiling” actually exists.

Generally speaking, it does not — that is, not in the sense of a phenomenon widespread enough to warrant continual media attention. In reality, there are only two kinds of profiling: good profiling and bad profiling. Let’s discuss the difference.

Profiling is simply a method by which law enforcement can determine the probability that an individual has committed a crime or has criminal intent. Now, when making this assessment, many different factors are considered. Some have to do with age, sex, dress, behavior, the car being driven, whether or not a person is “out of place” (e.g., a well-dressed fellow in a BMW cruising a drug-plagued neighborhood), and, yes, some have to do with race. But whatever the criteria, good profiling chooses them in accordance with sound criminological science. And as soon as we subordinate that standard to anything, such as political or social concerns, we have rendered it bad profiling.

We also render it unfair. That is, contrary to the notion that using racial factors in profiling is discriminatory, in the negative sense of the word, it is actually the refusal to consider them that is so.

I’ll explain. I’m a member of one of the most profiled groups in the country: males. Law enforcement views us much more suspiciously than females because we commit an inordinate amount of crime. And we aren’t the only ones, as youths also attract a jaundiced eye for the same reason. Now, if considering race when profiling is “racism,” isn’t considering sex and age “sexism” and “ageism”?

The truth is that none of these things are any kind of ism. And is it just to discriminate among higher-crime-incidence groups — scrutinizing some more closely but not others — based on whether they are in or out of favor politically and socially?

This is where the capital-D discrimination lies. If you’re male or a teen, you’re fair game. But, for instance, when the matter is Muslims, the double standards fly. When seeking to identify terrorists, the people who have no problem placing the probing eye on males warn that Muslims mustn’t receive extra scrutiny. But why? As far as the terrorist threat facing the West goes, “Muslim” is a more consistent part of the terrorist profile than is “male,” as there have been more female suicide bombers than non-Muslim ones.

Some may say we must be especially sensitive with regard to race (yes, I realize “Islamic” isn’t a race), but this is silly for two reasons. First, it is a hang-up; it is suicidal to sacrifice blood on the altar of political correctness. Second, there is no blanket refusal to consider racial factors when profiling. For example, part of the profile for serial killers and methamphetamine dealers is “Caucasian.”

Likewise, given that more than 90 percent of the illegals in Arizona hail from Mexico and Latin America, isn’t “Hispanic” part of the relevant profile here? Mind you, the operative word is “part.” To say “This person appears to be of Mexican descent, so he must be illegal” is no different than assuming that every white person deals meth — it would be bad profiling.

As Dr. Walter Williams once wrote:

What about using race or ethnicity as proxies for some unobserved characteristic? Some racial and ethnic groups have a higher incidence of mortality from various diseases than the national average. In 1998, mortality rates for cardiovascular diseases were approximately 30 percent higher among black adults than among white adults. Cervical cancer rates were almost five times higher among Vietnamese women in the United States than among white women. The Pima Indians of Arizona have the highest known diabetes rates in the world. Prostate cancer is nearly twice as common among black men as white men.

After Dr. Williams discusses how the prevalence of certain diseases correlates with race, he asks, “Would one condemn a medical practitioner for advising greater screening and monitoring of black males for cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer, or greater screening and monitoring for cervical cancer among Vietnamese American females, and the same for diabetes among Pima Indians?”

Unfortunately, when the matter is the social disease of crime, we not only condemn such a practice, we fire the good diagnosticians. For example, in an older article about former attorney general John Ashcroft’s investigation of 13 cities for “racial profiling” (thank you, George Bush), ABC reports on efforts to eradicate the practice and writes, “police officials who defended profiling have been removed from their posts.” Translation: Our security has been placed in the hands of PC lackeys.

Whether the crime is violating borders, bodies or buildings, whether it’s committed in Arizona or Anytown USA, good profiling is not just part of law enforcement.

It’s the heart of law enforcement.

What do you think the legal standard of “reasonable suspicion” is? What should the police be suspicious of? Only males, teens, and whites in certain situations?

The bigots are not those who support good profiling, which scrutinizes all groups in accordance with sound criminological science. It is the Times Square bombing-analyst hopers (such as Contessa Brewer) who play pin the tale on the honkey …

America, we need to end our hang-up with race — before it ends us.

Posted under Commentary, Defense, immigration, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Terrorism by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, May 25, 2010

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