Ban Free Speech

Economists and academics aren't exactly famous for producing models that approximate reality while attempting to make sense of it (reality, I mean). Comical simplifications that bear no resemblance whatsoever to the real world are fixtures of academic social science research, as are highly tenuous assumptions. In many cases, the initial assumptions adopted prior to devising models are so obviously spurious that it's impossible to take the ensuing analysis any semblance of serious. Believe it o
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8 thoughts on “Ban Free Speech

  1. Great analysis of a poorly summarized problem. I agree with you completely, misinformation creation and sharing is not a market and doesn’t adhere to market based analysis. People who gullibly believe dis and mis information are not concerned about their reputation and will never let facts dissuade them from believing what they want. So it comes down to, people who do know better should be implementing policies that shield the gullible from themselves. It’s why seatbelt laws exist, why consumer protection laws exist, and why truth in lending is now a requirement. If free speech is allowed to manipulate social media into a free for all hellscape on Twitter then what’s to stop future law suits from repealing all of the laws I just mentioned? Mis and disinformation are significant problems that warning labels aren’t going to solve. Bad actors should be banned from peddling their snake oil ideas to those who are not able to distinguish what they are. Further, Congressmen and women should be censured for advocating any of these ideas that have been disproven such as who actually won the 2020 presidential election. If elected representatives can’t be held accountable then why should anyone else be?

  2. Reminds me of something I saw from a former colleague on LinkedIn recently

    Karl Popper on the Paradox of Tolerance: “If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. […] We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance and persecution is criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade as criminal.”

    1. This reminds me of a currently ongoing corporate inclusion policy. The policy is that we should be inclusive of “all”. This includes those who hold exclusionary views of women, minorities, LGBTQ+, etc. The pure audacity of trying to include those who want to exclude others is the definition of stupidity in my opinion. Of course the exclusionaries will win out, they have zero interest in including those who may want to include them. And this is how woke capitalism fails to make any kind of progress. It applies rules that obliterate whatever social progress we are trying to make and then we go back to square one.

  3. Let’s see how going to “war” against Apple works out for him. Donald Trump may have figured out how to milk the MAGA movement for all it’s worth, but that amount still pales in comparison to what Apple or even Tesla bring in. In his attempts to try to keep Twitter afloat, Musk may ending up costing himself far more than the $44B he paid for it. I don’t know what’s less likely: Apple users giving up their iPhones or MAGA supporters buying Teslas.

    Next thing you know, Elon and his old buddy, Peter Thiel, will reunite in their bizarro-libertarian fantasy world to try to get Desantis elected. I’m sure they’ll happily use the levers of government to try to bring down Apple in this war that he has proclaimed in order to “save free speech” which will of course mean their right to dictate what companies can and can’t do. Wouldn’t it be ironic if Donald Trump, the one that paved the way to this bizarro world of alternative facts, ultimately sunk them in their quest to force their version of free speech on corporations?

  4. Regarding the notion that the internet has made us better informed I am reminded of the story of Babel. I’ve not really read the Bible but my impression is that the sheer quantity of voices made communication meaningless.
    Our current inability to reach consensus on what is real, actual, truth is something I believe the internet has facilitated.

  5. I’d like to add that the basic common sense I find on this blog is what makes and keeps me a subscriber. I don’t participate in any social media whatsoever so I’m out of many loops. So grateful for this one.

  6. The Fed and Elon Musk, each in their own ways, fail to grapple with disinformation (ignoring the references to China where the truth is what Xi says it is).
    I’d like to hear more about the historical (and possibly time tested) approaches: the Founding Fathers clearly feared the Monarchy’s ability to control information and speech, and wasn’t there a long time before the literacy of the 1900’s where the population struggled to get any information?

  7. Sir, you have hit an important nail right on its head. to wit:
    “Believe it or not, that isn’t meant as a derisive comment on academics or even the social sciences more generally. Rather, it’s an indictment of the way in which academics are compelled to treat the soft sciences if they (academics) are to have any hope of being published on the way to securing gainful employment as a card-carrying member of the ivory tower club.”

    This couldn’t be said better. When I published my first finance article there were only four outlets. The need to publish “rigorous” (read mathematical) research has created un-accessible damage to policy making and for our collective lives. To accommodate social scientists we modified non-parametric statistics and invented junk science like the so-called “Likert Scale,” devised by Rensis Likert, so we could turn discontinuous human behavior into real “scientific” data and prove lots of really good stuff. If “m honest, I myself, wanting to survive and get to the tower (which I reached when I got a really nice endowed chair in which I spent 11 very comfortable years) was a oft-published participant in this madness.

    In fact, I think this was your best ever post. You friend (I assume) writing from Disgraceland couldn’t have said it better. To me the most maddening thing about the rise of so-called social media was the fact that our own Congress, surely at the behest of their resident lobbyist enablers, passed legislation expressly prohibiting any restraint of absolute free speech on the Internet and World Wide Web. They even stated (I read in the Internet) they wanted this communication medium to be the last frontier, like our own wild, wild west. Probably this was one of the most effective pieces of legislation they ever got paid for.

    Sadly, there are no more adults, only Sam B-Fs fresh out of their mother’s basements, which is why I believe the 21st Century will be our last as “civilized?” humans.

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