May 17, 2013

"How Twitter Is Messing With Al-Qaeda's Careful PR Machine."

"Individual jihadis are increasingly taking to social media with their own opinions, sparking disputes within the terrorist organization."

It's a marketplace of ideas. As Justice Holmes famously said:
If you have no doubt of your premises or your power, and want a certain result with all your heart, you naturally express your wishes in law, and sweep away all opposition.... But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas — that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out.
Good luck shopping. 

11 comments:

Mark O said...

Of course, the IRS corruption is additional proof that Obama hates free speech and that elusive marketplace of ideas.

He effectively created a false barrier of entry to the marketplace of election speech.

This would make Nixon jealous.

edutcher said...

That's the problem with fanatics.

One size does not fit all.

EMD said...

Goats!

Sheep!

Goats!

Sheep!

SteveR said...

Welcome to the 21st century

Petunia said...

Hilarious! The most idiotic form of social media disrupting the most idiotic cult of terrorism.

Carl said...

Holmes was full of shit in only the way a true philosophe can be. This is the same kind of thinking that brought us 1000 year of Dark Ages, because the prevailing wisdom was reduced to just this lowest common denominator. If everyone wants to believe it, it must be true and good! You can go from this straight to the existence of God, the infallibility of the Church (any church), the salvation of the elect, and the damnation of the infidels. A more poisonous line of "thinking" has rarely been invented.

You'd think a freaking Supreme Court Justice, the very guy charged with reining in the democratic impulse, would know better. But Holmes was a better pontificator than actual thinker.

The best test of truth is skeptical empiricism: don't believe anything unless it can be subjected to empirical test, and it actually has been. Particularly avoid believing things that are suggested to you primarily because of the number of other people who believe them, or because it would be very nice and make you happy to believe them. Those are just the kinds of beliefs that are most likely to be both false and dangerous.

Furthermore, as even a slight reflection makes obvious, any new nonobvious truth is, almost by definition, a minority view, in the same way, and for roughly the same reason that you can only make money on stocks that you buy when everyone else is selling and sell when everyone else is buying.

Mitchell the Bat said...

The takeaway is that free speech is making the terrorists stronger.

Aren't there rules that forbid active U.S. military personnel from publicly criticizing commanders and command decisions?

I could be wrong about that.

Astro said...

The oddly worded photo caption caught my eye:
A burnt vehicle is removed from the site of an Al Qaeda in Iraq bomb attack in Baghdad on March 29, 2013.
'Al Qaeda in Iraq'?
I don't recall ever before having seen that carefully phrased term for an Al Qaeda affiliate, like a franchise: Toyota USA, Fox 5 Atlanta, Six Flags Over Mid America, Busch Gardens Tampa.

mtrobertsattorney said...

I have never understood this wishful bromide that competition in the market place is the best test of truth. In politics, this is certainly not true. Take Germany in the 1930's.

Now freedom of speech might well be defended on the grounds that it is basic to human dignity--that one should be free to express his beliefs. But it is a weak argument to defend it on the grounds that free speech is necessary because only the market place can discover what is true.

Like so many of Holmes' other remarks, there's no there there.

mtrobertsattorney said...

I have never understood this wishful bromide that competition in the market place is the best test of truth. In politics, this is certainly not true. Take Germany in the 1930's.

Now freedom of speech might well be defended on the grounds that it is basic to human dignity--that one should be free to express his beliefs. But it is a weak argument to defend it on the grounds that free speech is necessary because only the market place can discover what is true.

Like so many of Holmes' other remarks, there's no there there.

EMD said...

'Al Qaeda in Iraq'?

That's actually what they call themselves.