Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Free Speech

Here is the deal: the people most vocal about free speech don’t actually care about free
speech. They care about speech being easily monetizable. That’s at the core of their complaints.
They shouldn’t be banned from using patreon or paypal no matter what they say. They feel that
they should be allowed to say things in a way that riles people up enough to get them to stay
engaged, without risk of any negative consequences. While this isn’t an inherently right or
wrong position, that is what the position actually is.

Most people who talk about “free speech” have never had an honest blue collar or even
white collar job where they provided value other than generating positive or negative emotions
by virtue of their words and public actions. They exist in a weird limbo-like state where if they
“lose” and all their ways to monetize talking are destroyed (this never happens and will never
happen) then they will have no skills, since their main skill is talking about an ever-impending
but never occurring obliteration as a call to action, and if they get what they say they want,
which is the ability to say whatever they want without being kicked from services that make
monetization easy, then they will have nothing to talk about anymore. As such, the most
successful of the “free speech” advocates are usually those who know how to look like they’re
doing a ton and pushing the boundaries while not actually ever doing anything or being a threat
to any real structure of power, the people who make penalties for certain types of speech.

That aside, the funniest thing is that censorship isn’t an actual thing that’s really possible
with the advent of the internet and file sharing. All somebody has to do in order to bypass all
forms of censorship is to figure out how to host torrents of text or video files saying what they
want to say, and keep their audience updated via any number of forms: email, rss, social media,
private website, public website, physical newsletter, billboard, radio ad, tv ad, youtube video, or
any platform. Of course, the most efficient manner of keeping people updated depends on the
individual seeding original content and what their content is, but it’s not hard to pretty much post
whatever you want for free. It’s just slightly harder to monetize, which is why the people who
constantly make “free speech” an issue don’t do it, in addition to most of them not being creative
enough or smart enough to figure out how to publish content outside of currently popular

A more cliche sounding but fairly straightforward free speech option for publishing
written works such as articles or updates, which could hypothetically be used in concert with
seeding torrents or used as a standalone option: is bitcoin’s blockchain. When the creator of
bitcoin sent his first transaction over bitcoin’s network, he encoded a message, the title of a
newspaper, in the transaction data. This message is visible by anybody who knows how to
decode it. The message is irrelevant. What is important is that sending messages through bitcoin
transactions is entirely possible. Furthermore, all somebody would need to do would be design
some sort of software that would be a text editor along with a bitcoin wallet with two addresses.
The editor could support markdown or really any form of formatting. The user would then
deposit bitcoin into one address or the other, and then the software could determine how many
transactions would be required to transmit all the written (or any sort) data in the transaction
details (the amount of characters that can be sent per transaction is fairly small) and then send
that many transactions back and forth from the two addresses on the bitcoin network. The cost to
post each article (or even link to torrent) would scale with the amount of information being
transmitted. Then, using the same software, there could be some central address that certain
small amounts could be deposited with transaction messages indicating the desire to be listed in
a list of all the people publishing or be taken off the list of people publishing. Then, users coulduse the same software to browse announced or private content feeds and even send donations to feeds they found useful or enjoyed.

Impossible to censor social networks with media hosting via torrent could be built with
the system I’ve just described, but chances are they won’t ever be built. Why? Because, as stated earlier, people don’t actually care about free speech but rather easy to monetize speech. In
addition, the more stuff posted, the more money it would cost for the person posting it, even
though the fees would probably be less than paying for cheap hosting of a blog. This incentive
structure would reward people who have things of value to say or share, so this incentive
structure is not conducive to the majority of people who make anything on the internet. Once
again, free speech is not something "free speech" people actually care about, but rather easy to monetize speech.