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‘Internet Culture’, Democracy, and Free Speech

Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette

1 I learned recently that LiveLeak shut down last year ― I feel a bit of nostalgia and it's strange not think that it's no longer in existence but it's for the best. Looking back on what was allowed on the internet in the past and how some people have been impacted by the culture ― I have to agree with the censors with much of their work. Aggressive, fringe, and sexualized media makes people prone to becoming aggressive, fringe, and sexualized (principle of imitation §2). Being aggressive, fringe, or sexualized is (generally) horrible ― the free speech absolutist's are just wrong with saying that it is acceptable that these things should be allowed to be promoted. Yes, less rules and less rigidity leads naturally to more variation, ingenuity and discovery ― but this lack of stability causes damage to people just wanting to live out their lives that the scales really should be balanced towards.

2 My intuition is that people would be much more functional if they were not constantly sexualized and traumatized by the media that they consumed. Would be much happier if they didn't have to grapple with seeing videos of people having their heads chopped off also. Children have a special right not to worry about this stuff especially ― the sexualization of children with 1 in 10 of pornography viewers under the age of ten I find tragic; there are much more fun things that they could be doing with their childhood than watching adults having sex with each other (and really ― watching porn is a vice at any age). Anything is better to think about than gore photos and war footage that fully dehumanizes people by bringing attention to the flesh to the greatest extent possible ― that type of material may be too damaging for even those fully matured.

3 For the ones that want to experiment with things and do like challenging their entire value system and do want to come to grips with the horrors of of reality ― there are smaller rooms removed from the general population where these activities and material can be experimented with. Different roles have different responsibilities that sometimes do not mix well. One group can benefit from an activity while another is harmed. I don't think that the increased promotion and coverage of drugs and sexuality ― pushed by trust fund kids and grad students ― that happened in the 1960's and 1970's was independent from the decline of African-American family structure and their communities that occurred at the same time.

4 The internet has changed to being less intellectually stimulating but it was going to trend that way with its gain of popularity ― a victim of its own success! In the past the barrier to entry to use the internet was much higher requiring expensive equipment and technical knowledge. Some topics and words could be talked about and used more freely as the average education, impulse control, and intelligence was high. As the less elite, less intelligent, more sensitive, and more trusting started to use it ― the content that was aggregated for everyone was shifted. It was not possible to bring the new influx of people into the internet ‘up to speed’ to return the web to "how it was" as they were different than the orginal groups. Not very protestant of me to say this ― but maybe the broad population actively wants others to think for them. Maybe they hate their thoughts!

5 This is a change from previous stances due to my increasing and general frustration with liberalism. Until recently I've held the stance that "we should should always challenge each other with everything to get "closer to the truth"" ― closer to some type of universality But it's been my experience that people don't care about universality or a universal society and just believe what benefits their current physiological needs. For politics ― are often more interested about seeing their political enemies or ‘rivals’ suffer on social media than anything else.

6 Maybe most would be better off not having to deal about thinking about the cruel violence of the world or having to defend their entire value system every time they interact with another person: Those spending a huge amount of time on politics on social media could focus instead on their family, town, work ― their community where they would be more happy anyhow. If people were not allowed input on the larger world at all maybe they would acclimate to the lack of control (would treat political changes like changes in the weather). People I've talked to in real life give the impression that don't want to worry about macro issues. When they are forced to care about macro issues most of them suck at it ― maybe they shouldn't be told that they need to.

7 This shift also has to do with my recent effort to socialize more. I've mostly kept to myself in the past ― others my age have always been quiet around me and for a long while I didn't understand why (I thought my interests were too esoteric and that girls thought I was short). I didn't understand why no one wanted to play with me. One of issue I've discovered is that I was desensitised to argumentation, confrontation, verbal conflict ― likely due largely to the type of "free speech" environment that existed online that I grew up on. But I don't think I ever thought of my arguing as wrong, I always thought I was ethically correct for pointing out flaws..

8 I don't regret my time and experience in these communities ― it's been awesome seeing how different commentators and figures in it have matured, have become articulate, and how a few have impacted culture positively. I think it was fate also. But looking back on the content six or seven years ago from these communities (actually a bit older for the ‘new earth creationists’ and atheists/‘sceptic community’ friction ― I've come full circle supporting christian tradcons on most things now which is funny to think about).. I don't know if I should have been so easily able to [join and watch] with how young I was and with how anti-social some parts of the culture were and how scarring some of the material that has floated through it has been. It's been a wild ride but not one that I should have been able to sign up for or that I think was healthy.