Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Naivety of liberals deploring social media or Internet restrictions is dangerous

The internet is like a gun. Firearms can protect or attack. The Internet can inform but also incite. With a restrained electronic highway, racism and antisemitism wouldn’t have spiked the past 12 years in the Western world.

The election of President Obama heartened non-Whites everywhere but also enraged White supremacists. The reign of Trump after that, has so emboldened US hate groups that we now see there, neo-Nazis and White supremacists stronger than ever. All via the Internet and social media propaganda — first and foremost coming from the misleader in chief.

The Sages warn us that the tongue is like a sword. It can convey the loftiest ideas but it can also kill. On Yom Kippur, Jews contemplate and try to move away from sins done by improper speech more than any other sin.

After neo-Nazis stormed the seat of the American Parliament gathered in a joint session, to kill the Vice President and the Speaker of the House at instigation of the US President, social media companies finally fall over each other blocking hate speech. But this worries liberals. They’re wrong.

Understandably, a limit on free speech reminds us of dictators. But not all speech blocking is the same. And the distinctions are easy. Just like we must fear a murder attempt when someone draws a knife and walks up to someone in the street. But the same in an operation theater is not suspect.

This is the central, guiding lesson: Free Speech is not a stand-alone right. Its goodness only exists when it’s joined with Democracy, the idea that everyone counts equally, even when less rich, good-looking, or smart.

That means this crucial lesson: Free Speech is only a right for the mouths of those who support democracy. People who want to talk about looking down on certain groups of people cannot claim a right to Free Speech.

The American Constitution’s Freedom of Speech is only for those who support the Constitution. Terrorists, supremacists get no free rein.

Just like no one should be allowed to stand for office if they are for discrimination of any oppressed group. That is not a limit on democracy. That is democracy not being naive about having enemies.

That simple.

So, it isn’t anti-democratic to stop hate speech. In fact, it protects equality.

Bigger picture:

Western societies have great trouble setting limits on personal liberties. Drunk driving and public smoking are regulated because one endangers others. But someone who wants to hurt themselves is free to do so. Although wearing of helmets or safety belts is also regulated because otherwise, the medical costs become prohibitive. I’m not saying that self-harming should be punished. But, at least, it shouldn’t be seen as ideal and inevitable. But no one faints from lockdown and still thousands of viral transmissions. While they imply that many don’t obey the restriction.

Now, please tell others who are still confused. Thank you.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500th blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To find his earlier blog posts on a certain subject XXX among the over 1200 ones, go to the right-top corner of the Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search . His second active blog is here: * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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