[Marxism] LENIN'S TOMB: This isn't really about free speech, is it? - Letter to Apostate Windbag

David P Á david at miradoiro.com
Thu Jan 15 07:31:39 MST 2015

On 15/01/2015 15:04, Lenin's Tomb wrote:
> Well, David, this just reminds me of the psychoanalytic truism that
ignorance is an active rather than a passive state.  In other words,
your failure to comprehend what is a really straightforward line of
argument is something you have to take responsibility for.

Psychoanalysis is all nonsense. That aside, communication isn't unilateral.

> You initially suggested I had claimed that Leigh was restricting
someone’s freedom to express an opinion.  Neither of the two paragraphs
you quote in support of this contention actually support it.  And
because you’re not finding support for the interpretation that you’re
looking for, you claim that the text lacks ‘clarity’.

No. I claim the text lacks clarity because it lacks clarity. More
specifically, when you claim Leigh's concern isn't with freedom of
expression, my inference here is that you are claiming that Leigh's not
supporting freedom of expression, which I'd say follows fairly
straightforwardly from the argument. There's no opposition to freedom of
expression in the whole article by Leigh and hence all I could deduce is
that you were conflating criticism of certain expression with lack of
concern for freedom of expression. If that's not what you were doing,
I'm still uncertain how you can assert Leigh's article isn't about
freedom of expression. Freudian fairytales aside, I'd be curious to
understand this better.

> In fact, even though you quote only the bookends of the piece, the
line of argument that they do support is easy to follow, viz. that the
concern with ‘free speech’ expressed by Leigh Phillips is both abstract
and racialised, and is used to defend positions which do not have to do
with free speech.

I don't understand how a concern with freedom of rexpression can be
racialised, or anything but abstract. Freedom of expression is of itself
an abstract notion, which can be made concrete only when referring to
specific instances of it. In any case, I don't see how an abstract or
racialised concerned for freedom of expression, whatever that entails,
can be defending positions which which do not have to do with freedom of
expression. This seems tautologically impossible to me.

> Now, how difficult is that to follow?  Take your time.  You can phone
a friend if you want.

Difficult enough that I find myself as lost as I was. I find it less
than likely that phoning a friend will resolve the issue, but perhaps
the author might.

Incidentally, I'll point out that I generally find your work useful and
valuable. I'm not looking for things to disagree on gratuitously.


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