Current example of how far free speech

For someone with such strong views on things, my history as an admin has been for a relatively soft touch, letting things slide rather than banning and deleting. We have banned and deleted but not happily, quite rarely and as a result of discussion.

The central issue is that this is a libertarian site and that includes those of a more politically left stance [Voice of Reason] and those of a more politically right [Julia and I], to mention three. I believe the commenters censor in a self-actualizing way. If a view’s too extreme, people come in, as happened with Mike’s rant on the RNLI and whoever.

It was the RNLI which tipped commenters over the edge and as a sailor, I know why – there is something deep inside the English about them – their history, their constantly being at hand. We still are a seafaring nation.

Yet I’m sorry but the way it’s run at the top is similar, minus government largesse. The top people still draw large salaries – in 2014, the CE drew ​£143,583. To me, that is outrageous. What does he have to actually do but administer? As a former head of a school, I’m not talking out of my proverbial here. We were just as at risk as the CE of the RNLI. To my mind, no public body headship is worth more than the Prime Minister’s or air traffic controller’s salary:

Salaries will then range from £46,461 to £51,781, plus shift pay of £5,543. Senior controllers with substantial experience can potentially earn over £100,000 (inclusive of shift pay) at the larger centres of Swanwick and Heathrow.

Even if I think salaries should be no more than £100,000 in today’s economic climate, it’s another thing proposing a cap on them. In a public utility, yes but in private? However this is digressing from the other point – that of Mike’s right to call the RNLI chief scum.

The libertarian principle

Would we allow a mother to murder her child? Are we OK with the ISIS “scum” getting help and support from here, are we happy we’ve these people coming back and drawing benefits? We’re in a shaky area here.

Is libertarianism also licence, licentiousness? Can OoL become a swearbloggery such as Devil’s Kitchen in its heyday? Are there limits to free speech or are there not? Where are those limits?

The approach at OoL so far is that the commenters largely censor bloggers – if there is a massive reaction anti, then that is usually noted by the author. I myself caused a split when I wrote a post which sent those hating Christianity away. And it wasn’t even about that topic, it was about the crap which is written about it – different other thing. As it turns out, I blog very rarely on religious themes so the issue was in those people, not in me.

The bottom line though is at what point should we step in and remove what someone’s written, other than for clear copyright or defamation? I told Voice of Reason one day that he was welcome to come in and post his own view. He did and he’s always welcome. So are you. Why don’t you have your say via a post?

From an admin’s point of view, this always puzzles me – someone disagrees with a view but won’t come in and post his own. Send your text to the email and we’ll put it under your name, as a guestblogger. Post enough and you have your own authorship rights.

I’m not going to sit on the fence with Mike – I think he’s wrong using “scum” for the RNLI chief. However, believing that and censoring him are two different things. If I dared go in and touch his text, he has a prima facie case against me, methinks. Where is this famed freedom of speech? Chris Snowden and Dick Puddlecote believed I censored text. I do nothing of the kind, nor do I determine when something goes up, though in the early days, we were flooded and agreed to space them out at that time.

However, I draw the line at the MCB using OoL to push their views. And what of Julia? Her view? You do see the bind we’ve created for ourselves here.

By the way, the teething troubles of the new host now have been sorted we think. If you can get in and are still having issues, please email or leave a comment. We need to know if you are being restricted reading or commenting.

7 comments for “Current example of how far free speech

  1. July 23, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Bruce Charlton just now at my place:

    But I think bloggers are insufficiently attentive to the bear garden of their comments sections – which frequently come to dominate the posts – it is one of the reasons why I read so few blogs.

    • July 23, 2015 at 11:52 am

      Hey, as long as there’s a sign up reading ‘Warning! Bears!’, isn’t that all you need for a libertarian site? 🙂

  2. July 23, 2015 at 11:08 am


    As I was perhaps the target of the complaint, perhaps I could be afforded ‘Right of Reply’ as it were. When I wrote of the ‘the scum who run the RSPCA, the RNLI, along with the Oxfam Vultures’, I was definitely not commenting upon the Charity per se; I was writing of those who use the Charities as the means of a damn good living.

    As a former Merchant Navy Officer myself, I have always regarded the RNLI, with its access to volunteer crews right around our coastlines, who clamour to man the lifeboats, as a shining example of Man’s ability to be, literally, better by example. As far as I am aware, most crews are all volunteers, with only a few full-time coxswains on the payroll; the niggle with the Administration side of things is the huge cash amounts drained out of the funds provided by ordinary people to pay the inflated salaries of the Chief executives, accountants and other featherbedded clowns who have probably never ever seen the downside of a massive wave heading straight for them.

    As for my language, I tend to shoot from the hip, and if anyone who reads this blog knew me personally, I have remained the same for many, many years. Perhaps I should have generated clarity in my comments by specifying that I was writing and commenting upon the higher echelons of the Charity Industry, but, I do believe that my choice of grammatical terminology, if subject to scrutiny, would be found to be accurate! As with a comment on a previous post regarding the flag of the Confederacy, my reply would simply be, ‘You know what I mean, so why expound or expand?’

    • July 23, 2015 at 11:54 am

      Fully agree with Mike – once a charity (no matter how worthy) gets too big, that’s when I start withholding my donations.

      And as I said iover on the other thread, learning that the RNLI was paying for (and staffing) ‘be careful of water’ lessons to African kids, well, that’s when I stopped chucking spare change in the little lifeboat shaped tin…

    • July 23, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      perhaps I could be afforded ‘Right of Reply’ as it were

      More than that. Until such time as all the authors, in meeting, decide otherwise, we are free to comment as we wish. My view on this individual post or that is irrelevant because it is that people are free to comment.

      All I see coming out of this is that you provoked a damned good discussion on the RNLI and in my book, that’s healthy. It needed to be had and talked out.

      Slightly altering Voltaire:

      I might not always agree with what you have to say on this or that, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.

  3. July 24, 2015 at 4:38 am

    I have a ‘Bouncer’ in the Tavern who is all muscle and guile. My only rule is ‘do not piss on the carpet’. It is a pub, after all and we cannot expect couth behaviour all the time. The rule may be interpreted any way a person pleases, and he/she sees the result pretty quickly.

  4. Voice of Reason
    July 24, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    James – thanks for the welcome.

    In all honesty, I am not sure how ‘left’ I am. Some who know me have described me as a socialist, others as a Nazi.

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