Censorship vs. Rewilding
Seriously, topics like this bore the shit out of me and I shouldn’t even have to write about this. But because it happens so frequently, I thought I should. The other day some asshole posted a few comments on my blog calling me a hypocrite (among other things) for watching television. I deleted their comments. A little later they started posting comments about how I had “censored” them.
Most people have the idea that the entire internet serves as public space. That anywhere people can leave comments, you can assume that space as public. I disagree. In the real world, we have designated public spaces, like public squares, for people to hand out information and exchange ideas. Whether you want to spiritually “save” people from a kind of damnation or persuade them to vote in a particular way on a ballot, you have the public square to serve as the platform for exchanging ideas. These public spaces provide a place for discourse; a neutral space (no ones home turf) for a neutral conversation.
Online, people can have absolute anonymity. Absolute anonymity mean no accountability. This means you can get away with saying anything. Or as Gabriel’s greater internet fuckwad theory puts it, “Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total Fuckwad”.Â This means that most conversations online can’t have neutrality, because the neutrality in public spaces stems in part from an individuals accountability. You can’t say whatever you want in a real public space without having to face the consequences of the public. On the internet, you can. You don’t have to look into someone else’s eyes, with your own, when you call them a poseur hipster douche, for example. In the real world, you might get your ass kicked for saying something like that. But on the internet, not so. This makes the internet inherently flawed for any real conversations.
Some people, in the real world, go door to door to try and have conversations. Of course, usually these people didn’t come to your door looking to have an honest open conversation, but to convert you to their ways of thought. Deleting an assholes comment on my blog works the same way as me shutting my front door on a Greenpeace canvasser or religious nut. Now, some people invite these people in to have a conversation in their home. But never does the home reflect a public space because at any moment, the home owner could ask or force the other party to leave. Did they censor the other party? No. If they had kicked them out of a public space, yes. In America, that would look like “censorship”.
Similarly, you could say that my blog serves not to have an open conversation, but to educate people about rewilding. In some sense, it doesn’t go back and forth.Â I write blogs, people read them. A conversation about something I wrote has huge limits because I posted it on my home turf. A difference exists between me and a door to door canvasser or missionary. I don’t go around trying to get people to read my blog or change anyone’s mind. If people read my blog, they probably want to or they wouldn’t read it. They found it because they searched for something. If they didn’t mean to find a rewilding blog, they will move on. If they feel intrigued they will keep reading.
I did not set up my website to serve as a public space to give anonymous fuckwads an audience. I set it up to serve as my online “home.” Now, this does not mean that I delete every harsh comment, but rather I have the discretion to do so. If someone hasn’t done the work of reading my position on a topic and posts an anonymous comment with an aggressive harsh tone that includes insults, of course I won’t allow it. If they try to argue with me in a combative asshole way, I will delete their ugly remarks like I would paint over vandalism on my home. It just makes the whole site look ugly. After all, they call this kind of commenter a “troll” for a reason. Censorship? I don’t think so.
If someone posts a comment, in a non-combative tone of curiosity and they have clearly done a lot of reading on rewilding and my take on it, I will allow it. Sometimes I won’t comment back, as I don’t have time to or I just don’t feel like taking the work load of responding. But I will let it stand as an opposing statement for others to read as they read my site. I filter the comments like this: will it add to the conversation in a positive way or will it simply spiral into internet trash talk?
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand this. Which kind of stabs at the heart of the problem. I think it has more to do with white, privileged people (usually males) who have the American entitlement mentality; “I have rights, I can do what I want.” The idea that you could walk into someones home (or web page, or ancestral land) and start insulting them and pissing and missionizing all over the place, without any consequences seems completely absurd. And yet, time and again these people (usually self-identified as anarchists) do this. Respect other people’s (and other-than-human’s) boundaries! Or don’t. Actually yeah, I have a way better idea. Go into a grizzly bears home and tell them how they should stop eating meat. Tell them that when they force another animal into their stomach they align themselves with those in power. Argue with them. Yell at them. Call them names. Do it. No seriously you should totally go practice “free” (by your definition consequence-less) speech in the wild. It will totally work out for you.
Concepts like “free speech” and “censorship” do not exist in the wild, which means they work as an element of a domesticated culture; only slaves would have the need to bargain for something like “free speech”. You first have to have someone censor you in order for you to want “free speech”. Those in power let their slaves think they can say what they want (of course they still must do everything those in power say). Give them a little more psychological “freedom” and they will feel less likely to revolt. Of course, “free speech” works as an illusion anyway. It doesn’t really exist. If those in power feel that your words may damage them in any meaningful way, they will censor you and shut you down and defame you. We see this especially with animal and environmental activists, and it only seems to get worse in this respect.
So save your insane trolling bullshit about censorship, free speech, or your so-called critiques and send them to Green Anarchy magazine or some other smelly humanure bucket, cause they won’t make it through my filter here.
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