Some arguments are too stupid to treat with respect. Today I’ll discuss one:
Again, this seems absurd. If I don’t let you comment on my blog, I’m not censoring you. You’re welcome to comment elsewhere.
This is probably the dumbest argument I see on a regular basis. Censorship is a form of exclusion where distribution of certain content is prevented by those in power. By definition, deleting people’s comments because you don’t like what’s in them is censorship.
That’s why people making this argument never discuss actual definitions. Instead, they always say people can “comment elsewhere” like that means something. It doesn’t. You don’t have to be able to censor somebody everywhere in order to censor them.
A woman in Afghanistan tries to report the news. Men smash her equipment, saying women don’t belong in the news. She cries censorship. Her boss says, “You weren’t censored. You can report community news in rural Wyoming.”
A person who can’t participate in a community is censored from that community. The fact they may be able to work at some other community doesn’t mean the censorship in the first community magically disappears. This argument is the same as claiming a person isn’t exiled because they can “go elsewhere.”
A man working for Fox News tries to run stories supporting Obamacare. After months of his stories being blocked, he cries censorship. Management says, “You weren’t censored. You can go work for MSNBC.”
It’s stupid. It’s intellectually vapid. It borders on insane.
And it all stems from people being too cowardly to accept a word with negative connotations can apply to them at times. To them, censorship is bad so they can’t possibly censors. It doesn’t matter if the word has a clear definition that fits them.
They don’t want to think of themselves that way so they’ll ignore definitions. They’ll ignore logic. They’ll ignore everything. They’ll refuse to think and instead say stupid things just so they can avoid facing a harsh reality: censorship is normal..
Everyone engages in censorship. We all have certain things we don’t tolerate within our social groups. When a person spews vile, racist remarks around me at a bar, I tell them to go away. I censor vile, racist remarks. On this site, I don’t allow foul language. I censor foul langage. So forth and so on.
Censorship is normal. People who refuse to acknowledge they engage in it are deluding themselves so they can feel better about themselves. They do so by setting up a straw man (i.e. censorship only counts if the person has no other venues) so they can avoid addressing the concerns people have.
Everyone knows comments on blogs are moderated. Things like spam and links to pornographic imagery are generally censored from them. That means people aren’t simply saying they were censored when they cry censorship. What they actually mean is, “You censored me because you don’t like what I had to say.”
They may be right; there are biased moderators on the internet. They may be wrong; some moderation is done without any bias. Neither possibility is addressed by misrepresenting their concerns. All anyone does by effectively saying, “I’m not omnipotent so I can’t stop you from talking” is look like an idiot.
It’s a farce. It’s just people playing games with words so they don’t have to look at issues they find uncomfortable.