Freedom of speech

July 31 · 13 mins read

I need to post something for July… so…

I’ve been consuming a few Jordan Peterson videos lately. And this led me to this very very interesting, enlightening, and good quote of his on freedom of speech:

“I regard free speech as a prerequisite to a civilized society, because freedom of speech means that you can have combat with words. That’s what it means. It doesn’t mean that people can happily and gently exchange opinions. It means that we can engage in combat with words, in the battleground of ideas. And the reason that that’s acceptable, and why it’s acceptable that people’s feelings get hurt during that combat, is that the combat of ideas is far preferable to actual combat.”

He is saying that it’s okay for our feelings to get hurt during this combat of words! Good, right? Because the alternative, which is actual combat, might kill you physically, which means you will not have time anymore to change your mind on things! Now, I see why there are some criticisms to these so-called self-help books. I have read only a few self-help books but it seems to me that these books kind of teaches that offending other people through your words is always a bad thing.(?)


Perhaps not always. Perhaps my unconscious is just exaggerating. :smile:

Well, about hurting people with words, it depends on the situation I guess. There are instances where we do not need to hurt people with words (but we did :disappointed:), and there are times where we should (and we did not?). There were times where we’re not supposed to be hurt with words, but we cannot change the past, so… :disappointed: We’re living in a fallen world you know… It’s impossible not to get hurt… :disappointed:

Other quotes on freedom of speech

“Criticizing an idea does not equate to condemning the people who believe it.
I still find this difficult to remember when the idea in question is one I care about. I’m trying. Let’s all try.” — J.B. Rainsberger (from a tweet)

“… tolerance could apply to different things — persons, behaviors, or ideas–and the rules are different for each…
The classical rule of tolerance is this: Tolerate persons in all circumstances, by according them respect and courtesy even when their ideas are false or silly. Tolerate (i.e., allow) behavior that is moral and consistent with the common good. Finally, tolerate (i.e., embrace and believe) ideas that are sound. This is still a good guideline.” — Greg Koukl (from “The Intolerance of Tolerance”)

“… there is a simple rule about vital and free companies, communities, and societies: You never punish bad ideas. Instead, you counter bad ideas with better ideas.” — Robert C. Martin (from “Thought Police”)

“Freedom of expression is not even all good… But we’d rather protect that freedom, rather than get to the point na bawal ka nang mag-reklamo sa Facebook…” — John Hofileña (from a facebook post)

That’s all there is to this post :grin: but…

here’s a few quotes from some videos and texts I’ve consumed where Jordan Peterson is involved in:

You don’t make men safe by making them weak. If fact they are much more dangerous when they’re weak because they will stab you in the back when they get a chance, or take advantage of you when they get the chance.

You make men safe by making them strong and by making sure they are disciplined.

It’s the men that have the most “aggressive” and fearless temperaments that can be the best men but it’s like having a very powerful dog. You better discipline it because otherwise it’s going to be a monster.

Unless you think the way that an evil person thinks then you’re defenseless against them because they will go to places you cannot imagine and then they win.

A harmless man is not a good man. A good man is a very dangerous man who has that under voluntary control.

I’m not sure if that contradicts what Jesus said(?): “Be wise as serpents but harmless like a dove.” I think not, because as Dr. Petersons says, one can be dangerous but disciplined, which means that one still acts as someone who is harmless. Perhaps that statement of Dr. Peterson is just a manifestation of his fears? I don’t really know what Jordan Peterson’s fears are (except one, which is that he fears being a what he calls “happy auschwitz guard”)… but… I mean, we all have our set of fears, and it seems to me that we act, and encourage other people to act, so that those things we fear will never happen, or will never happen again. And I think this is what Jordan Peterson is doing with that statement.

When a hundred people are teasing you then probably they are not wrong.

… You take away the joy of being so heated or irritated by the people who are making fun of you and you just kill it…

from “Sam Harris & Jordan Peterson - Vancouver - 1 (CC: Arabic & Spanish)”

[40:30] My point is that it isn’t reasonable to take a single sentence out of a coherent narrative and say that stands on its own, or it’s rarely reasonable because you have to interpret the words in the sentence and the sentence in the paragraph and the paragraph in the chapter and the chapter in the context of the entire book.

[54:30] … I can’t see how you can interpret the world of facts without an a priori interpretive structure.

… it is the claim of Kant for example that you can’t get directly from the fact to the value because there’s an interpretive framework that mediates between you and the fact.

… I think the nature of the interpretive framework is best understood at least in part as a personality or as a story for that matter.

[01:12:00] What’s bad about hell in addition to the suffering? The actions that put you there. The malevolence that generates that.

It’s not part of the suffering. It’s not the having your hand cut off. It’s the pleasure that’s derived by the person who cut it off. That’s a different thing. The distinction is important.

from “Sam Harris & Jordan Peterson - Vancouver - 2 (CC: Arabic & Spanish)”

[53:30] … you cannot view the world without any a priori structure and that a priori structure has a dogmatic element and so you can’t just say we’ll just get rid of the dogma because you cannot perceive the world without a structure.

from “Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson & Douglas Murray - Dublin”

[20:30] … because I don’t think the abstract rationality in itself has enough flesh on it so to speak which is partly why in the Christian ethic there is an emphasis that the word which is something akin to rationality has to be made flesh, has to be enacted.

[01:24:30] Whenever someone brings a primary orientation to the world that is group centered rather than individual centered I think they’ve already made a catastrophic mistake.

[01:35:30] Just because you’re nice doesn’t mean you’re good…

[01:48:30] Empathy is not an untrammeled moral virtue. It has to be tempered by other virtues.

[01:54:00] Cynical is a move up on naïve but int’s not the last move. The last move is to transcend cynicism. … I’m going to hand out my hand in trust because that’s the best way to elevate both of us. And that is the prerequisite of a sensible discussion.

from “Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson & Douglas Murray - London”

[01:07:30] I don’t know why you expect to be sure about what someone believes. Do you think that anyone of you are capable of articulating what you believe?

[01:20:30] “… We may be in the midst of the discovery that the only thing worse than religion is its absence… Look at the religions people are making up as we speak. I mean, everyday there’s a new dogma… Every new heresy that’s invented; and they’re not as well thought through as past heresies. They don’t always have the bloody repercussions yet. But you can easily foresee a situation in which they do. A new religion is being created… by a new generation who think they are non-ideological, who think they’re very rational, who think they’re past myth, who think they’re past story, who think they’re better than any of their ancestors and have never bothered to even study their ancestors… Dogmatism of any kind has that danger… But the void also has a danger — the void that you can create if you throw out all the stories that help you get to where you are also has this danger, because people come up with these new stories and every day’s news now is about this…” — Douglas Murray

“… and what’s flown in to fill the gaps seems to be something like a new tribalism…” - Jordan Peterson

Religion divides people, but it also unites people…

from “Jordan Peterson: ‘The pursuit of happiness is a pointless goal’” by Tim Lott

Peterson talks a lot about the power of resentment in his writings. We hate those who are better than us (God, Abel) and want to destroy them, then lie to hide from the consequences. “Consult your resentment,” he says. “It is revelatory. Don’t underestimate malevolence and don’t underestimate the utility of your capacity for malevolence. If you’re weak, you should turn yourself into a monster. It’s a funny thing, that ‘monster’ is better than ‘nice’. But it’s not as good as ‘not monstrous’. And that’s the next thing to achieve. But cowering in your basement resenting everyone is the real pathway to darkness.

“You have to notice when you’re feeling homicidal. Let’s say you go to work and someone bullies you. If you notice, you’re fantasising some pretty nasty stuff. That tells you two things. The first is that you’re not as nice as you think. And the corollary of that is, you’re not as useless as you think.”