Archive for April 23rd, 2010

First Amendment Symposium, Part V: Why The First Amendment is STILL Overrated

Exhibit A for why there should be abridgements on some speech: To prevent people like Josh from quoting himself in his own epigraph.

As for the substance of Josh’s arguments, there seem to be three core premises that form the basis of his attack: 1) Government suppression of speech is uniquely coercive and widespread; 2) as a result of its unique ability to coerce, government suppression of speech is categorically bad; 3) certain words in the text of the First Amendment, like “speech” and “abridging,” have no consensus definition, granting certain leeway when it comes to dealing with many issues surrounding the First Amendment.

Let’s start with #1: The effects of government suppression of speech are uniquely coercive and widespread. Josh defends this premise by contrasting government suppression with much more benign forms of “suppression”: “Social norms and reputation matter a lot in affecting what people say and don’t say; the government is just one factor that affects speech, but the difference with the government is that its restrictions’ effects are more widespread.” The other factors that Josh names—social norms and reputations—are hardly elements of “suppression” at all; they basically amount to peer pressure. Of course government regulation is going to appear more coercive and significant than these opponents—it usually is more coercive and significant. Continue reading

Survivor Survival Guide: Going Down in Flames

“He’s a good old country boy.” –JT on Russell

“Giving Russell the idol could blow up in my face. He could never have been in trouble. He could be the leader of the girls. Do I believe it? Not for a second.” –JT

“Do you believe what Sandra told you, or do you believe the obvious truth?” –JT

People are villains for a reason. Don’t trust ‘em.” –JT

My respect for JT was at an all-time high four weeks into this season, when he teamed with Tom and Colby to blindside Cirie and eliminate one of the game’s biggest strategic threats. It seemed as if JT, Tom, and Colby would seize control of the Heroes tribe. One week later, I was bewildered when JT went back on what he did a week earlier and voted off Tom. See, look what I wrote then:

“I’m really perplexed by JT’s decision, mainly because he forfeited so much of his power in moving from the guy who saved one alliance to the guy who almost wrecked the one he’s with now. He just made it a lot harder for himself to win the game.”

Well, that’s got nothing on how JT has managed to screw himself and his tribe these last two weeks. He and the Heroes got played not once, but twice—first by Russell, and later more damningly by Parvati.

JT gave Russell the Heroes’ immunity idol last week so Russell could save himself from the presumed female alliance at the Villains camp, voting Parvati out in the process. Russell, of course, needed no such saving, kept the idol, and voted off Courtney instead. Continue reading