« The Pinch: a review | Main | Libertarianism in action »

April 15, 2010

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

CharlieMcMenamin

Oh come on, your general point - the oppressiveness of the media - is surely utterly undercut by the ridiculousness of your central example: Chris Mounsey just got an old fashioned and very well deserved kebabing. The Devil's Kitchen has always been full of vile invective that has continually ratcheted up the level of demonisation of any half way civilised discussion of public life.

He hasn't been taken out behind the bike sheds and beaten up or sent to a Gulag, he's just been called to task for suggesting he'd like to see someone die slowly and painfully. If you give it out you have to take it.

There is a case to make about the oppressiveness of the media but, for God sake's, its not this one....

Paul Evans

While I'm sympathetic to your general argument about how the media act either to promote the prejudices of their proprietors that their advertisers don't mind and / or appoint themselves as arbiters of legitimate opinion, I'd be interested to know if anything would be gained by asking Chris Mounsey about any of his 'policies'?

And the single most important question to ask him is the one about what his excuses are for the constant stream of violent fantasies and pornographic insults that he hurls at everybody (and about which he gets a bit squeamish when they come back in his direction).

I think you're overstating his contribution to a more honest blogosphere as well. Bloggertarian trolls do a good deal to deter people from engaging online in the first place.

Paul Sagar

"Who needs a police state when we have media like this?"

Ah, but as the media isn't controlled by the state, presumably that means that - employing the libertarian moralised conception of freedom whereby one is only free when not interefered with by the state - then this is no restriction on freedom at all!

Oh, the delicious irony.

ortega

"We do not need a censorship of the press. We have a censorship by the press.
It is not we who silence the press. It is the press that silences us. It is not a case of the Commonwealth settling how much the editors shall say; it is a case of the editors settling how much the Commonwealth shall know. If we attack the press, we shall be rebelling, not repressing."
(G.K. Chesterton)

Paul Sagar

p.s. as per your first commenter you are totally wrong to use DK as an example of media oppression.

I mean come on, if you want to be in politics you have to play by the rules of the political game. That means not going around advocating that your opposition bleed to death. Not least because your potential voters will want to know what sort of person you are, and the one of the media's functions is to tell them.

So if you're a nasty shit writing nasty shit, expect the electorate to be told.

John Meredith

"employing the libertarian moralised conception of freedom whereby one is only free when not interefered with by the state "

As opposed to the concept of freedom whereby you are free while being interfered with by the state?

Paul Sagar

No John "tiresome" Meredith, as opposed to the conception of freedom whereby one can be un-interefered with by the state and yet not be considered free - for example because they are so poor and destitute that all they can do is crawl around in the gutter looking for bits of leftover kebab.

But please, don't let me stop you with your favourite pastime of erecting a Straw Man with my name on it and promptly burning it to the ground.

John Meredith

"But please, don't let me stop you with your favourite pastime of erecting a Straw Man with my name on it and promptly burning it to the ground."

Don't get into such a tizzy, I was only pulling your leg. I think you are sweet, but you really have nothing to do with my favourite pastime (for which be thankful and move silently along).

I think your paradigmatic concept of 'libertarian' is a very odd one. I know there are people a bit like that, but, really, you have to go to some remote and rugged parts of the USA to meet them.

Pickledpolitics

What Paul and Charlie (#1) said. I think this is a terrible example of 'media repression'.

Is it not legitimate to ask why should voters take someone seriously who wishes death on his political opponents?

Otherwise, why not have the goons from the BNP or National Front on there regularly inciting violence? They could represent the voices of the 'silent majority'.

John Meredith

"Is it not legitimate to ask why should voters take someone seriously who wishes death on his political opponents?"

Yes it is, but Devil's Kitchen doesn't do that, it uses an immoderate rhetoric for effect and Andrew Neil and all the rest of us know the difference. So this interview is in bad faith, an attempt to limit debate and keep the ideas pool where the political pundits are happy with it, and that poisons political debate in our country, even (especially) when it is being done by the Paxmans and Humphries. That does not mean I hiold a brief for Devils Kitchen or any other Old Etonians, but Chris is right, we should oppose 'media repression' wherever it is, even if we disagree with the voices being repressed. Arguing that 'this is just the rules' is beside the point, rules can be and are changed and to suggest that to attempt that is pointless or indictative or a reprehensible moral faiblesse or lack of backbone is an argument for quietism.

bella gerens

Oh, Sunny, I was sure it was only a matter of time before you popped up equating libertarians with racists because you can apply the word 'violent' to both. I made a bet last night that it would take you less than a day to get round to it - and well done, you! I'm off to collect my winnings.

Guthrum

Ah, but as the media isn't controlled by the state,

paid for by the state via our taxes in the case of the BBC- same thing

Larry Teabag

[the single most important question to ask him is the one about what his excuses are for the constant stream of violent fantasies and pornographic insults that he hurls at everybody]

Er, correct me if I'm wrong Paul, but didn't you used to blog at a place called "Drink Soaked Trotskyist Something Or Others for WAR"?

I seem to remember that the posts there were every bit as violent as DK's (albeit less imaginitive). So that would make you a colossal hypocrite, wouldn't it? Unless you have some excuse, that is.

Paul Sagar

Heh, in case anybody was unaware of the particular post Neil was quoting from, it was:

"Go fuck yourself, Chris Keates: I hope that the massive black dildo — with which you while away the hours between raping babies and destroying the dreams of the young — ruptures you and you bleed to death out of your disgusting, filthy, piebald cunt."

Delightful!

Google never forgets:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:WOkVEjdojWkJ:www.devilskitchen.me.uk/2010/04/union-says-no.html+devil%27s+kitchen+bleed+to+death&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

So, who wants to really defend DK now that the full extent of his nastiness is out in the open?

Oh, Libertarians do. Surprise surprise. Nasty company, nasty views, etc etc.

John Meredith

"Oh, Libertarians do. Surprise surprise. Nasty company, nasty views, etc etc."

Paul, you really must try to understand that you can defend a person's right to express themselves without actually keeping company with them. And isn't the attempt at guilt by association a little bit infantile?

As it happens, I think the post (which I hadn't read) is very unpleasant, but it is not what Sunny above claims it is. And if people are to be kept out of the debate because they have immoderate and nastily expressed opinions, that will just leave us with, well with the political pap that we have. Who wants that?

alanm crisps

...but back to 1 and 2 (the demonisation of an opinion that might be different to the rest of the party or need more than superficial consideration).

The parties are to blame for this. They jump on each other for that crime and so do the media.

No ever says 'it doesn't matter that you expressed it colourfully, we know what you meant, dear chap.'

CharlieMcmenamin

Defending a person's right to express themselves is not the same as thinking they should be supported if subsequently criticised for those opinions, especially if those opinions are expressed in a way that seems purposefully designed to hurt, intimidate and threaten.

Gaw

Surely Brillo was within his rights to question the credentials of someone who could write the rubbish quoted above? What was surprising, though, was how Mousey [sic] crumpled at the first puff.

His convictions seem remarkably weak - there's surely a philosophically respectable libertarian defense of being an obnoxious twat? Shame he didn't make it, instead making Brillo look like the inquisitorial titan he isn't. And suggesting that he hangs all tough behind the curtain of a blog but isn't really up to the rough and tumble of an open adversarial environment. Isn't that what cowardly bullies do?

RH

Very good post. As is the case with your posts, thought provoking. Some might say you are only stating what is obvious to many. Ortega quote is very interesting.

The government is the biggest source of news for the media and the press finds it very economical to fetch it from there. Its a cosy relationship alright. Media has got into bed with government rather than putting it under scrutiny. We have heard before about the watch dog becoming a lap dog, pet poodle etc etc.


PaulM

This is all very well of course, but I find it odd, ans not a little depressing, that no-one has yet queried why Mr. Neil is wearing a Guards tie? Has he ever served in the Brigade? I think we should be told, the public has a right to know after all.

KB Player

Thanks for the quote, Paul. What is it with libertarians and those pornographic diatribes? It's not as if they're funny. Evidently influenced by Rod Liddle, or vice versa.

I do take Chris's general point that there needs to be a sense of proportion about remarks politicos make, with every off-the-cuff bit of chit-chat being taken into court by prosecution lawyers. Most bloggers had better not be thinking of a serious political career,. You shall know them by their trail of indiscretions, swearing and insults.

john Terry's Mum

"i'm expressing a certain amount anger as a persona on the internet.:

What a strange defence. Mark Rockon's defence of Mounsey is even more idiotic;

"[Mounsey] does not come across like his web persona at all. It is obvious that it is the style of his blogging identity to be confrontational and controversial. It doesn't mean that Chris Mounsey, leader of the Libertarian Party is like that."

"Persona" again.

Can anyone now deny responsibility for the words actions, by simply saying it was simply a persona they were using.

Pickledpolitics

Bella: "Oh, Sunny, I was sure it was only a matter of time before you popped up equating libertarians with racists because you can apply the word 'violent' to both."

I don't think libertarians are 'violent' - and as I said on my own blog I think there are entirely sensible libertarians out there.

As you know, Rumbold, who writes at PP is also a libertarian. He's the sanest and among the nicest guys I know. He certainly does not go around calling for people's deaths.

So my point still stands - though thanks for trying to insinuate I'm playing the race card - that there is a reason why people who write up violent fantasies are excluded from national debates.

I'm now denied the opportunity to link to the post where he wrote about Polly Toynbee which involved sex, and more.

Your husband isn't particularly intelligent. I pointed out over at PP that he didn't even seem to understand libertarianism properly a few years ago. He is just a windbag who provided entertainment.

Great. But there's a reason why we demand higher standards of people who are supposed to represent us in public office.

blanco

The guy got hammered, and rightly so. Neil makes the most important point: if you want the party you lead to be taken seriously, don't be such a horrible vile bastard on your publicly-readable blog.

I almost felt sorry for him, because he clearly was on the back foot the whole time and ended up regretting, withdrawing and apologising for what he said about Chis Keane. Then I read what he wrote (thanks Google Cache), and realised the guy finally got what he deserved: total and utter humiliation.

Politics is for real, not for bloggertarian idiots.

FlyingRodent

Well sure, Andrew Neil acted in a ridiculous manner and clearly wouldn't have the stones to try that on a major political figure. He blatantly treated DK differently and took it upon himself to rubbish LPUK at an apolitical level.

That said, it's not like his points were wrong - LPUK is a two men and a dog party: DK does publish mental, sweary screeds wishing violent death on his political foes. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not good PR, is it?

And let's be frank - if I was in LPUK, I'd be delighted to keep the conversation personal, rather than political. I can think of nothing more damaging to the libertarian cause than letting the public know what libertarians actually believe, at anything other than the lightest and fluffiest "Freedom Iz Nice" level.

I mean, the British public has voted for one form of statism or another for what, a century or so? What do we think they'd make of a movement that takes seasteading seriously? I propose that public response would be a bit like it would if LPUK distributed millions of copies of BioShock as their election manifesto vision for the future.

John Terry's Mum

Why does Mounsey mention the colour of the dildo?

Does the fact that dildo is black, make it more unpleasant/threatening/offensive than disdoes of other hues?

Larry Teabag

Does the fact that dildo is black, make it more unpleasant/threatening/offensive than disdoes of other hues?

It makes it funnier.

Honestly, there's a lot po-facedness going on here. Read this:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/sep/17/comment.charliebrooker

Neil

"It makes it funnier."

Wrong. Mulatto is the funniest dildo colour, *simply because it exists*. Black means you're cribbing your lines from (oh dear) a Guy Ritchie movie.

bella gerens

Sunny, actually, you insinuated very clearly that there is a link between libertarians, incitement to violence, and the BNP/National Front. It won me £5, incidentally. I wasn't accusing you of playing the race card, I was accusing you of making a false equivalence.

A while back I seem to recall you said he was ugly, and now you say DK/Chris M. isn't particularly intelligent - presumably because he declined to take advice on how to be a libertarian from, well, you.

But never mind your methods of debate. Your point is that people who produce outrages like Chris M. shouldn't hope to go into politics, because 'the people' demand and deserve a higher standard of debate etc etc. Well, probably. 'The people' do enjoy their pious outrage. *shrug*

The only thing I'm sorry about is that he won't be blogging the violent fantasies any more. I really liked them.

John Terry's Mum

"The only thing I'm sorry about is that he won't be blogging the violent fantasies any more. I really liked them."

Surely he can whisper them to you in bed every night?

Paul Sagar

Once again, The Flying Rodent leaps straight onto the money/head-of-nail/select prefered metaphor.

Shuggy

See, you could have made a perfectly reasonable point about the meeja narrowing political discourse and there you go spoiling it with this wild overstatement. For example,

"What’s going on here is a severe form of repression"

Not merely repression but *severe* repression? With this you stretch the concept to the point where it is devoid of meaning.

Even with your basic point, a little context might have been helpful. You might think that a free press is over-rated for the reasons you say. Fair enough. But then again you might want to have a look at what's going on in Russia and Italy and conclude that despite its flaws, it ain't such a bad thing after all.

DBX

You need to have the blogosphere shove the MSM into the trash can in which it belongs. Certainly that's what the public would like to see at this point, I think. Look at the US. Newspaper market share is down somewhat, but TV and commercial radio market share is WAY down. I'd argue that this shows that market share is shifting according to the vacuousness of the medium; TV, the worst offender, is losing the most and newspapers are losing quite a bit too though not as badly.

What's up in market share? The non vacuous media, public radio and blogs. People aren't stupid, and they see when discourse is being dumbed down. And it's on blogs and on public radio stations where news is actually explored and analyzed. The people who don't see it are the overpaid hacks on TV.

A problem in the UK is that the closest counterpart to US national and local public radio stations, Radio 4, is rather closer to the rest of the MSM in content than, say, Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul or WBEZ in Chicago -- so tuning into news and information radio in Britain gets you many of the same "gotcha" questions, the mindless concentration on image and polls. But you've got to start somewhere, and for a literary culture like the UK, where better than with the written word on the Internet? We need bloggers to build their own reporting operations and break real stories about real people and real policy that the MSM outlets miss.

The comments to this entry are closed.

blogs I like

Why S&M?

Blog powered by Typepad