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Saturday, February 4, 2023

Compelled Speech

 Compelled speech is even worse than censorship.  Saying you have to say something, sign a loyalty oath, etc... compels hypocrisy, given that some will sign just to go along [social pressure], some will sign out of fear, or simply because they don't even think about it very long. So it becomes impossible to tell who really believes in the content of the utterance. The point is to compel unanimity, social conformity.  

It's easier to object to this when the compelled speech is on the other political spectrum, but you also have to object to it when it is coming from your own side.  

My experience was in a Boy Scout trip; we were sponsored by the church and so the scouting was an extension of that. We had a testimony meeting, and I refused to say anything. It was just an awkward silence for however many seconds it took them to realize I wasn't going to say I believed in something if I didn't. I am not a particularly brave person, but as a kid I somehow knew I had to stick to my guns on this one.  Some of the other kids were saying their testimony was not too strong, but they wanted to believe in it, which was at least honest to some degree. Some actually did believe in it, to varying degrees.  

It is worse than censorship because, if you censor, you assume that people want to say it, but can't. It presumes the possible existence of the censored opinion.  

That reminds me another joke:

How are things in Spain under Franco?  

We can't complain! That is to say, we can't complain.  [no nos podemos quejar]

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