Sydney Kendall Says

Thinking in public about anything that matters.

Month: May 2007

Part 1: Analysis of “Society Consists of People”

I am finally going to start analyzing Mikko Ellila’s “Society Consists of People” bit by bit, to sort the issues as thoroughly as I can.

The issue of racism is one that is especially prone to make even reasonable and honest people knee-jerk. We all know racist ideas have lead torights violations, and even atrocities,in the past, and still do so in the present in various areas of the world. No people of humane spirit want to let such evils happen in their society.

But does this mean that we have to completely avoid even looking at apparent differences among races? Does observing and mentioning those differences amount to racism? Does it mean that there is an area of inquiry that we must avoid at all costs? And is anyone who fails to avoid it a racist?

To many among the politically correct – and perhaps many who do not usually fall into that category as well – the answer to all the above seems to be “yes”. But it is my conviction that Continue reading

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Race and IQ

The issue of racism has been raised recently in regard to one of Prodos’s ThinkerToThinker bloggers, who is beinginvestigated by Finnish police for material on his blog. I’ve been reading up on certain issues raised in the blog post in question.

Here are three parts of an article by Thomas Sowell regarding race and IQ:

Race and IQ, part 1

Race and IQ, part 2

Race and IQ, part 3

Thomas Sowell has done a lot of excellent work on the topic of blacks and the question of innate inferiority. His “Race and IQ” is a good place to start delving into the subject of race and intelligence.

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More on the Mikko Ellila Case

No time to comment, except to tell you that I plan to follow this case and as part of my self-assignment I mean to examine, paragraph-by-paragraph, both Mikko’s blog post and the charges against him for that post, sorting out the issues contained therein. This will take several blog posts of my own. Plus I’ll be following new developments in Mikko’s story.

For the latest comments at the Prodos blog on the Mikko case, go here.

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More on the Finnish Censorship Case

I was correct to be concerned about the fact that we could not read Mikko Ellilä’s blog article being investigatd by Finnish authorities. (Couldn’t read it because it was written in Finnish.) As it turns out, the post was indeed racist. However, while neither Prodos and I want to be supporters of racist blogging, there is another issue at stake.

Below is the post I made this morning on Prodos’s blog:

There are everal important issues involved in this case. I’ll blog about them when I have enough time to do so.

But at the moment I’ll deal with only a little bit.

Prodos and I are not at all pleased that one of our bloggers has written racist material on his ThinkerToThinker blog. If it were not for the legal action against Mikko Ellilä, I would be urging Prodos to disassociate ThinkerToTHinker from Ellilä. I would not want Prodos to be mistaken as supporting such ideas and would not want him to offer blog space to views we think are hugely unjust, when that space could be filled with material in line with Prodos’s (and my) moral and intellectual convictions.

However, there is another issue that I think is more important, under the circumstances, and that is the freedom to state one’s views openly, and to engage in open debate without having to fear arrest and punishment for those beliefs.

In regard to freedom of speech, it doesn’t matter if one’s beliefs are wrong and/or offensive. Freedom of speech means the freedom to lay out your ideas publicly and have them scrutinized by others.

The ideas that Mikko has put to the world are not new. And Mikko puts forward evidence that, taken by itself, without the fullest known context and in-depth examination, makes sense to a number of people. Already. Without Mikko writing a word.

These are ideas that will exist whether anyone writes about them on the Internet or not. They are ideas that some people talk about amongst themselves. When you suppress such ideas *by law* and fail to address them with rigorous and honest arguments – when you fail to listen to these beliefs and then address them rationally, factually, clearly, honestly, and justly, you only convince the holders of such ideas that you are closed to what they hold to be facts and reason. You convince them that truth is not on your side, so you must use suppression.

Now, anyone who owns any kind of communication media has the right to set the terms. You have the right to refuse to give your financial support to ideas you think are wrong. But a government’s only proper job is to restrain those who initiate force, or deliberately commit fraud, so that free people can go about their non-coercive business.

That business includes expressing prejudiced ideas. That business also includes kicking the c**p out of those ideas when you come across them. And hopefully you will do it intelligently, so that anyone listening or reading will see that perhaps their own prejudices – maybe ones they came up with all on their own – are wrong.

Prejudices can grow in people without any outside encouragement. But if you know that you’ll be prosecuted for stating what others say is a prejudice, you might just keep believing it. And no one will know that there’s a bad idea brewing in your mind that needs addressing.

So when a government starts suppressing prejudiced speech, it is time to stand against that suppression. It is not time to reject Mikko’s blog from ThinkerToThinker, even though Prodos (and I) rejects what Mikko has said in the blog post legally at issue.

No more time at the moment. I’ll deal with the other issues involved later, on “Sydney Kendall Says”.

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The Freedom of Speech Wars

The Egyptian Sandmonkey has posted one more blog entry, clarifying his original goodbye message and offering an idea on what people can do to help fight for freedom of speech in the Middle East. Please read his message here.

But there is another battle about to be engaged a bit closer to home. One of our own at ThinkerToThinker blogs has been told by his local police that he is under investigation for “hate speech”, because he has ”merely… pointed out that Islam is a fascist ideology that advocates killing Jews, atheists, homosexuals etc.” Mikko Ellila has received a letter from the municipal police stating that they want to interrogate him over what he writes in his blog, because it may violate the anti-incitement law.

I cannot report first-hand what his blog has to say, because he writes in Finnish. But if you want to read what Mikko wrote to Prodos about this, please go here. Be forewarned: Prodos reprints his reply to Mikko in full, including the F-word.

Another blog following Mikko’s story is Gates of Vienna.

I am naturally wanting to be careful in Mikko’s case, since I cannot read Finnish and don’t yet have a translation of the articles in question. But given what Prodos and I have seen of anti-vilification type laws so far, it’s very likely that Mikkois not a hate-monger.We have seen that the new thought police of the Free World don’tlimit themselves to prosecuting advocacy of violence and persecution. Continue reading

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Egyptian Sandmonkey Rants No More

Freedom of speech, of the pen, of the press, of the blog. Those of us who have the freedom to express our minds must guard it as the precious treasure it is.

There are so many on this earth whose governments fail to understand their proper job. The only legitimate purpose of government is to protect the right of each human being to his life, liberty, property, and pursuit of happiness. That very broad formulation includes – most importantly and fundamentally – the right to use one’s mind honestly and to express oneself honestlywithout being subject to legal punishment. I said “honestly”, which doesn’t guarantee by any means that the honest mind will always be correct in its content or its judgments. But human beings need to be able to seek the truth, make errors, and self-correct. We need to be able to communicate our ideas with others, to discuss and argue,to trade information,etc., without fear that some Big Brother will forbid and punish us when he doesn’t like what we have to say. In doing so we are able to refine our grasp of reality, weed out our mistakes, and over time improve our understanding of whatever it is we care about. Continue reading

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