Re: Censorship

Patrick Shawn Miller (psm2@CORNELL.EDU)
Tue, 14 Mar 1995 17:07:59 -0500

On Sun, 12 Mar 1995, Danny Yee wrote:

> A position commonly held, but not really a tenable one, at least not
> with a broad definition of censorship. Are people entitled to voice
> their opinions in every newsgroup in USENET, including ones where it
> is completely irrelevant? If Robert Johnson dumped so much material
> to anthro-l that it became unusuable for most of the participants,
> would that be defensible in the name of "free speech"?

> You don't have a right to send unwanted email to people. If Hugh
> decides that he doesn't want Robert Johnson sending messages to
> anthro-l, then any mail Robert sends to anthro-l becomes unwanted.
> He would still be free to send mail privately (or via a list of his
> own) to those people on the list who wished to receive his messages,
> of course, which is why what Robert Thornton is advocating is *not*
> censorship, but comparable to requesting an unwanted interloper
> in a gathering to leave.

No matter how you gloss it, it is a matter of free speech. Anthro-L has
in the past has been established as a forum for free speech. Albeit,
that it is a forum for free speech with regard to anthropology. As such,
if you kick the very objectionable RJ off the List it is an infringement
of free speech and that is an indisputable fact. His postings are of
some relevance to anthropologists, in most cases he serves as a good
bad example. Personally, I would rather have him on the
list so that I may keep some sort of tabs on him. Point out his flaws and his
extremism, as has been done by many.

> Yes, this makes Hugh a dictator over anthro-l. So what? If he fails
> to heed the wishes of most anthro-l participants, we'll all leave and
> start news lists, and he'll be left as a tyrant over an empty list.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely ;),(said jokingly to Hugh)

Patrick S. Miller