SO. THE British government wants to pressure America to take down some American-hosted Jihad materials on the interwebs. I read it on Slashdot. I read Slashdot for tech news but unfortunately they post political articles like this, which attract a lot of retarded comments from Americans. This comes in response to the fact that a British MP was stabbed recently by an Islamic woman.
There is a comment from somebody who helpfully suggests that instead of targeting hate-inciting material, we instead make stabbing illegal. We’re a bit ahead of you there, but somehow it didn’t magically unstab the MP. It’s all about the free speech thing that americans love so much. Oh no it’s a violation of the first amendment! zzzz. Well, whatever. Sooner or later you have to face up to the fact that people are impressionable and like everything else in REAL LIFE, freedom of speech is a finely grained optimisation problem, not a boolean switch.
The problem isn’t simply that she stabbed someone, the problem is she was a deluded fuckwit. She wasn’t born a deluded fuckwit, she turned into one because of indoctrination which set the stage for a successful appeal-to-emotion to do something completely unacceptable. She didn’t do it thinking “woo I’m such a rebel, stabbing people, I know it’s wrong”, she did it thinking it was perfectly justified and rational, because humans are woefully bad at rationality and hers was massively skewed by the influence of other people.
To most people, a crazy Islamic cleric ranting about westerners is a pointless stream of drivel. To the remaining few people, whom it is important to mention form a significantly sized group, it’s an emotive battlecry. What reason is there to keep these things online? Free speech? Free speech isn’t a reason in and by itself to defend deliberate indoctrination of impressionable young people to do violent things. Free speech is a convenient phrase with deeper connotations, none of which is applicable here.
She worked from a set of infallble premises to come to the conclusion that it was okay to stab the MP. It could have been fairly trivially sorted out if she had been willing to question her premises. But she was young and impressionable and had probably had them drilled into her from a young age by people she at the time deemed unquestionable authority. As she grew up she likely didn’t continue to regard these people as unquestionable authority, but somehow, the things she learnt from them remained unquestionable. Which, interestingly, parallels proponents of the free speech argument.
It’s all very well to say that you are mature enough to decide for yourself what’s harmful but there are plenty of people who will forego use of their intellect if something appeals to their emotion. The only real reason America has proved resistant to islamic influence is because the more gullible/stupid members of your population have already been indoctrinated; by social factors (i.e. religion) and national factors (state enforced patriotism). We don’t really have any such routine in the UK, nor do we push xenophobia in quite the same way, so there is an increased danger someone will be a receptive blank slate to Islamic extremism.
Although having said all that, telling other countries what to do is rather American and I don’t really support it. On the other hand, the last government totally lacked any balls in dealing with America, so maybe it’s not such a bad attitude.