One Thing & Another

Delray Beach, FL


Notes From My Journal: The turmoil in Nicaragua continues

K and I are flying back to our second home in Nicaragua this week. Anytime I mention Nicaragua these days, I’m asked to explain what’s going on there. I gave you a brief history of the beginnings of the current problems HERE

But if you are interested in a social/economic analysis, this long-haired Libertarian does a surprisingly good job explaining it.


Today’s Word: farouche (adjective)

Someone who is farouche (fah-ROOSH) is sullen, unsociable, shy. Example from the British novelist Elizabeth Bowen: “Solitary and farouche people don’t have relationships; they are quite unrelatable. If you and I were capable of being altogether house-trained and made jolly, we should be nicer people, but not writers.”

Fun Fact

Doctors that play video games make a third fewer mistakes in laparoscopic surgery than doctors that don’t play videos games at all.

From My “Work-in-Progress” Basket

Political Bias, Rhetoric, and the Thought Police

After The New York Times did several interviews with Mark Zuckerberg, their reporters all seemed to agree that (1) Facebook (like Google) had enormous power, (2) with that power came responsibility, and (3) Facebook had abrogated that responsibility by giving away customer data to the Trump election committee and by allowing the dissemination of “fake news.” Regulating fake news, Zuckerberg seemed to want to say, was not Facebook’s job. In fact, he felt like it was something no one should be doing.

But the liberal media feels that it should be done. If not by Facebook, by the government. They advocate regulating not only fake news but also news that could make certain groups feel “hated.”

This is really astonishing. Or maybe not.

A growing number of my left-leaning friends, family members, and colleagues see freedom of expression as a dangerous thing. They have come to believe that any language that, for example, makes women, gays, or people of color uncomfortable should be censored.

Some believe it should be outlawed and that perpetrators be put in jail. Others believe it should be confronted violently or at the very least silenced through protest and legal controls. The Civil Liberties Union has been alarmingly quiet.

When I was a leftist, I viewed freedom of speech as the foundation of a free society. I no longer confine my political or social views to one team or the other, but I still believe that the restriction of free speech is a very bad thing.

One reason liberal views are swinging in this direction is in reaction to rightist views, which have been moving radically to the extreme. Another reason is that nobody cares about independent thinking anymore. Politics is a team sport. You can only support one team. And you support that team by rooting for every player and defending every play that goes in your favor.

Rhetoric has always been a powerful tool in politics. A certain flair for crude but memorable memes will satisfy the vast majority. But to advance any complicated and/or nuanced issue, one needs to redefine language. To mix and mingle terms.

This has been the case with hate speech. It is now conflated with threats of violence.

What people seem to forget is that hate speech is constitutionally protected, whereas direct threats of violence is not. In the past 70 years, the Supreme Court has ruled on six major hate speech cases. In each case, the right to free expression was supported.

The danger with making hate speech illegal is obvious. It yields to the state not only the power to punish personal speech but to decide what constitutes hate.

In fact, the definition of hate speech has quickly shifted from public discourse that aims to ridicule or diminish minorities to public and private speech that might hurt an individual’s feelings.

But the real reason hate speech should not be illegal is that we should all be free to hate whom we like and speak about it freely. In the words of Justice Samuel Alito, “… the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express ‘the thought that we hate.’”

Worth Quoting

Zig Ziglar on motivation:People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.”