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There is no true free speech for anyone who's gender critical anymore. The above statement, which I'm sure we've all read countless times by now, assures that anyone writing critically against the gender cult could be targeted for harassment (online and offline), and might end up cancelled and out of a job. All this for speaking their mind, for having the 'wrong thought'.

How did this mantra gain such traction? How can there even be such a thing as a 'wrong thought'? If your speech has consequences, then it's clearly not free. TRAs even use the word 'deplatform' to describe what they're doing against adverseries. They use the excuse that when someone is 'a bigot' they can do whatever is needed to silence this person. However, in these cases, the word 'bigot' is never clearly defined. It's just anyone who disagrees with or criticises them. Therefore JK Rowling is called a bigot for writing clearly and compassionately, without any bigoted ideas whatsoever.

Freedom of speech should be free, meaning that every word, every thought should be permissable. An idea should be met with well thought out criticism, but not dogpiling or harassment. And a thought should be met with another thought, and not mantras.

Maybe TRAs don't like freedom of thought, because they have so few thoughts themselves.

There is no true free speech for anyone who's gender critical anymore. The above statement, which I'm sure we've all read countless times by now, assures that anyone writing critically against the gender cult could be targeted for harassment (online and offline), and might end up cancelled and out of a job. All this for speaking their mind, for having the 'wrong thought'. How did this mantra gain such traction? How can there even be such a thing as a 'wrong thought'? If your speech has consequences, then it's clearly not free. TRAs even use the word 'deplatform' to describe what they're doing against adverseries. They use the excuse that when someone is 'a bigot' they can do whatever is needed to silence this person. However, in these cases, the word 'bigot' is never clearly defined. It's just anyone who disagrees with or criticises them. Therefore JK Rowling is called a bigot for writing clearly and compassionately, without any bigoted ideas whatsoever. Freedom of speech should be free, meaning that every word, every thought should be permissable. An idea should be met with well thought out criticism, but not dogpiling or harassment. And a thought should be met with another thought, and not mantras. Maybe TRAs don't like freedom of thought, because they have so few thoughts themselves.

53 comments

It's the disproportionality. "Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences" needs to be PROPORTIONAL. I write an editorial that is pro-GC? Consequence should be someone writes a response editorial that is anti-GC and some readers dislike me. NOT death threats, harrassment, attempts to have me fired, etc.

A group of radfems march with "transwomen are men" signs? By all means, countermarch with "transwomen are women" signs or "radfems are bigots" or whatever. But again, death threats, harrassment, attempts to have me fired, etc., are well past disproportional.

There seems to be a subset that reads "consequences" as "punishment", which is definitely a definition it gets in colloquial speech, particularly around parenting "if you do X instead of what I want, there will be consequences" where the parent is definitely threatening punishment. But these kids have grown up without nuance to that word, and don't understand it just means "stuff that happens after the action" That's the consequence. They are neutral. The consequences of washing my hair is that my hair is clean, but also wet. The consequences of sleeping late might be that you are better rested, but might also be that you are late for work.

Exactly this.

I have clear memories of when "freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences" first started taking off in online spaces over a decade ago. It meant exactly what you wrote, and I even typed it myself a few times. It never meant to harass the person, contact their job, contact their family and friends, send death and rape threats, etc. It just meant you can expect a response, because "freedom of speech."

It was used a lot in response to commenters who didn't like people debating them in the comments. They would post their opinion, get pushback with comments offering the opposing side's argument, and then act like they were persecuted and claim, "I'm allowed to have an opinion! Freedom of speech!" This led to other commenters pointing out that they can also have an opinion, and that you can't expect "freedom of speech" to mean that you can say something without any kind of pushback. It was most often seen with conservative commenters, I can't lie.

What's funny is that the genderists are doing exactly what the conservative commenters in this situation were doing. They refuse to hear dissent, so they think that any dissenting reply is an attempt to "silence" them. e.g. "You're saying I don't exist!!!" and "My existence will not be debated!!!" Meanwhile, they are actually silencing people's opinions by banning them out of subreddits, communities, pages, and eventually completely off of Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

I have a feeling that some of this relates to the theory that a lot of genderists/TRAs are old school MRAs and conservatives who have learned to troll the left by using "leftist tactics." They're doing a great job, because they've completely destroyed the left and made them look like fools for believing in this anti-science nonsense.

[–] Jem 4 points

Recently a young wokie brought up the freedom from consequences thing to me so I'm glad to see this thread. I knew it didn't really hold up but couldn't think of why in the moment. Good points! I'll keep them in mind.

I’m in the UK, so this may not apply everywhere, I think it gained traction because we stopped teaching people how to think in schools to instead teach them set answers so they got good test results. If these people actually were to think it through they’d realise that freedom of speech only exists where there is also freedom of consequences and this will effect them too, but right now only the people they dislike are being harassed or fired from jobs so it’s fine.

I think it gained traction because we stopped teaching people how to think in schools to instead teach them set answers so they got good test results.

This is an interesting point. I think you're on to something here.

Agree with this, though I also think that the internet and social media have created a culture where people don't read anymore. They just ingest small 'soundbites' and then move on. Without a high level of literacy and reading comprehension, people's ability to think critically also becomes limited. There's a reason the pre-Enlightenment era was called 'the dark ages', and one of those is because the average person was illiterate. Only the clergy and aristocratic people could read. With the clergy especially, this meant that they held all the powers of interpretation. Their interpretations of scripture became what everyone had to follow. It's almost like how, today, young people will go on Youtube (or IG, TikTok, whatever), and listen to some influencer's opinion on things. They will ingest those opinions on the news, current events, social issues, etc, and then pass it around as if it is truth, instead of going to the sources themselves, reading about these issues extensively, and then making up their own minds. It's like, the search for truth no longer exists because people lack the skills to even know where to look for it, or how to find it. This isn't just young people's faults, but also that of the ones in 'authority' who should have been providing them with those tools, whether it be their parents, their schools, universities, the media, big-tech, the government, etc, etc. All 'authorities' have ennabled this culture of anti-learning and anti-truth. A dumbed-down population is, after all, easier to control.

I don't know if it was ever implemented consciously as a tool, but other than that I agree with you. Thank you for writing this.

[–] Jem 3 points

Interesting take. I'm definitely going to use this.

[–] no- 31 points

It's even more evil considering that, in America, having a job is tied to health care insurance. So, Americans have too much to lose and can't risk getting cancelled.

A lot of people who say 'freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences' actually mean that if you say something they don't like they get to hit you, or worse, as a consequence. Freedom of speech does not cover the freedom to yell 'fire' in a crowded theatre, to threaten people, or to incite violence, so it only covers speech that cannot do harm. Freedom of speech means you are free to say what you want within legal parameters with others also free to speak against you. Anyone who thinks that the consequences of free speech should be anything beyond more speech from the other side does not understand the concept.

Freedom of speech does not cover the freedom ... to threaten people, or to incite violence,

This is one of the problems with the TRA movement though - they've covered all their bases and now claim that reality based speech ("male people are men") is a literal violent threat and an incitement to violence. Which is where I get stuck, because I agree 100% with your comment but that general idea supposes that we're all rational actors engaged in critical thinking. TRAs aren't.

It’s damn near impossible to punish speech as a threat/incitement. We’re they actually to pursue that to its legal end, they’d lose.

[–] bumpyjerboa 6 points Edited

"Legal end" - of course, but as this whole post says you can suppress speech without lawsuits, fines, or prison sentences. I'm 100% ok with someone losing their job for being a Nazi, but when we're equated with Nazis (and as radfems, we quite literally are), what do we do? Shut up or get shut out?

I've honestly been struggling with this a lot lately, I welcome anyone else's thoughts.

Edit: by "this" I mean the fact that women like us can be so readily equated with racists who support genocide and "punished" for fighting for female liberation, and how to contend with that in considerations of free speech. Part of me feels like any good intentions (like trying to keep Nazis out of public life) are ultimately warped to harm women.

[–] DiabolicalPinkBunny 👽💕🐇 20 points

I'm still thinking about this, tbh. And have been, for a long time. Our government (South African) has supplied some handy tips on what parts of speech should be limited: inciting violence, personal threats and threats of a sexual nature. Which, on the surface, seems okay. But then they just fail to stick to their own rules, with some people being let free to incite enough riots that people burned down and looted over 200 malls and just as many banks in a weekend. This would have been a good time to apprehend the ringleader, right? On the other rhand, a woman got sent to prison for using our version of the n-word. So, I don't know.

If your speech has consequences, then it's clearly not free.

I used to be one of those people that said "freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences" but I'm on your side on this now. I used to be fine with it when people were getting fired for saying REALLY RACIST and stupid shit (you all remember the AIDS lady?) But nowadays seeing multiple GC people get fired for mildly bucking against gender ideology (like the teacher and assistant principal from Oregon) makes me rethink even that. That could easily be me. Saying stupid (or unpopular) shit online shouldn't get anyone fired, as long as they're not actually threatening doxxing or stalking someone. And the threat of losing your livelihood is enough to get most people to shut up when they otherwise wouldn't- so no, it wouldn't really be "free" speech.

Look up "Holy Land Hummus" - Palestinian immigrant family built up a food business. The adults weren't that internet saavy, so they were unaware back in 2012 their 14 year old daughter was posting things like "Bring Hitler back" and using the N-word. It's all "edge lord" teenager stuff - which no one really cared enough to report to twitter and get it taken down back then. Somewhere along the way she grew up and realized it was inappropriate. She was working for her family's company in 2020.

In 2020 - someone dug it up, and her father's company lost all their contracts, had to shut down their factory, and let go most their employees.

It's the whole "two wrongs don't make a right" and "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" in my opinion.

Maybe a better response to "freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences" is just "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" - but I suppose that would be written off as a conservative attitude, even though I'm liberal/left and atheist.

In 2020 - someone dug it up, and her father's company lost all their contracts, had to shut down their factory, and let go most their employees.

not to mention that this company hired mostly other Arab immigrants. so this Palestinian immigrant who started a local business’s life gets destroyed and dozens of other immigrants are fired and lose their livelihoods and healthcare even though the man literally did nothing wrong, it was his daughter. and this is counted as a win for the progressive left. blocked and reported (which I know is a controversial podcast here) recently did an episode about this insanity and also analyzed the NPR coverage that painted the man as an evil bigot.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" - but I suppose that would be written off as a conservative attitude,

I always associate a more punative attitude as being the more conservative one. I'm curious why you think this would be written off as conservative?

This might be a good example of horseshoe theory...

Because conservatives are the ones taking the role of “free speech warrior” now.

"Eye for an eye" is a biblical term - it's considered a fair punishment from the old testament, but Jesus preaches against it. I read this as "let people walk all over you" which I don't endorse either.

"“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you."

Wow, that poor family :(

It's the whole "two wrongs don't make a right" and "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" in my opinion.

Yes, that's a perfect way to put it!

That woman wasn’t intending to make a “black people have AIDS hurr durr” joke, she was trying to make a social-justicey dark humour reference to the fact that white populations are better protected. The book “So You’ve been Publicly Shamed” has a chapter about her.

The joke was a bad idea in the first place and it was TERRIBLY executed, but she didn’t deserve what happened to her.

She really didn't. A single dumb joke should never lead to someone losing their job, and intention should matter.

Saying stupid (or unpopular) shit online shouldn't get anyone fired, as long as they're not actually threatening doxxing or stalking someone.

I agree with you, but I also think this includes Justine Sacco. Her joke was inapppropriate and stupid, but should've been treated as an inappropriate and stupid joke, and not a reason for anyone to dogpile on or harass her, or make her lose her job. Lindsay Stone is another example of someone making a dumb, insenstive joke and then becoming the victim of an online witch trial. It's telling that these things mostly happen to women.

Yeah, I agree with you about Sacco nowadays. Maybe it's just because I'm older, but now I can't imagine my life being turned upside down like that just because I said something offensive on twitter. I hate that it happened to her, her company should have just said that their employees are allowed to be dumb on their own time and left it at that. And to fire her when she was flying so she'd be bombarded with the messages the second her plane touched down in a foreign country...yeesh, can't imagine the distress that would actually cause.

It's telling that these things mostly happen to women.

Hmm 🤔

[–] sarahsmile 15 points Edited

It only incentivizes what I see as the silent majority withdrawing from public life. Want to scrutinize everything I say? Fine. I won’t speak. I am middle-aged with three kids and a steady job (for now!). I will not engage with these people as I don’t have to. I will dissuade my kids from engaging with these people. At some point, they will stand alone as they continue to alienate reasonable people.

I often wonder how TRAs would react if we came out and said righto then, kewl, now women are going to enact changes in the world such that any man who talks openly about how his embrace of misogynist stereotypes makes him a woman will be hounded out of his job, home, and social circle for holding that opinion. No amount of cozening or apology will be enough to appease us, he needs to be hit with the permacancel stick, and he really should have known better than to speak up besides. ​Society has spoken, and we are its voice: he's on the wrong side of history, and this is how he needs to pay for it.

Would they shrug and remind themselves that just like they always said, freedom of speech isn't freedom from consequence? Or might they, having found themselves on the wrong side of the sword, express disappointment with our sudden insistence that people who hold opinions differing from our own should be humiliated and destroyed in every possible way? It is a mystery.

It's so totalitarian. I blame the internet, and internet access on the phone. It's the best brain-washing device ever invented.

[–] sarahsmile 8 points Edited

It also extends to thought. They legitimately demand that we WANT them in our spaces, celebrate them, etc. Any evidence to the contrary incenses them all the more.

When someone says this phrase - they are a Authoritarian left - meaning - they believe someone powerful should be forcing people to comply with their vision of society.

The response to this is simple.

Freedom of Speech has limits, not consequences, in a society that values free speech. People who make this argument never seem to acknowledge that freedom of speech has limits.

I think misogynists will use any rationale to justify suppressing women's speech. Let's say that we win this battle, and no longer have to worry about being cancelled as racists. Well, the next time, they'll just try to cancel us for being anti-free speech.

"He can say whatever he wants!"

"He can, and I am allowed to respond."

"That's just a facist dogwhistle. You're trying to harrass him out of work!"

"What? I'm just pointing out-"

"STFU, FERF!"

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