I am happy to report that this website, at just six days old, has already been viewed by over 1,200 unique viewers, is showing healthy signs of steady engagement on social media, and has been praised extensively by practically everyone who volunteered their feedback so far.
Not too shabby for a fledgling project with a shoestring budget that, in terms of promotion and ‘getting out there’, relied primarily on the grassroots support of civil society entities like Repubblika, Occupy Justice Malta, and the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation. In other words, this is a project that was not shoved down your throat because someone threw enough money at it, but a project that was pushed forward by people who believe in its intrinsic value.
While I am very glad about the overall response to this website, there is of course a downside to it, much like anything else in life. Not all attention is positive and productive, and when it comes to a new project like this one, it is often the case that people are still more or less free to project their ideals and their perspectives onto it because the identity of the project is not, at least in their eyes, established.
In an attempt to tackle this head-on from now, I want to make one of this website’s key policies crystal clear: your right to swing your fist ends where someone else’s face begins.
Intolerant opinions on this website will not be tolerated, and I refuse to engage with anyone whose views clearly infringe on the rights of others. Karl Popper, the philosopher who wrote ‘The Open Society and its Enemies‘, had argued that a society that tolerates intolerant ideas will inevitably end up consumed by those intolerant ideas, making a tolerant society impossible.
In poorer words, a society that allows and encourages the existence of bigots, racists, and other assorted scum of that kind on the basis that free speech is sacred and everyone should be allowed to speak their mind is one that is destined to be ruled by bigots, racists, and other assorted scum.
Freedom of speech does not mean you are free to be a nightmare for other persons who are different to you. Freedom of speech does not mean you are free to spout ignorant, incorrect, and downright false narratives because it’s the narrative that really tickles your ivories. Freedom of speech does not mean that others should subject themselves to your hateful rhetoric because you want them to engage with you and will otherwise cry like a newborn that just got slapped on the ass for the first time if they don’t.
Freedom of speech means that you are free to speak truth to power even if that makes power uncomfortable. Freedom of speech means that an artist who seeks to prick at their audience’s conscience has the right to say something that may potentially be offensive or crude but is fundamentally not hateful or inciting actual violence. Freedom of speech is the right to mock, to speak uncouthly, to punch up, not down.
The assorted scum division tends to wrap itself up in the flag of free speech, weaponising it by perverting it beyond recognition and howling about cancel culture whenever one of their own inevitably folds under the weight of their own iniquity.
This will not be tolerated here.
Comments which are hateful and intolerant towards others will not be accepted. Repeat offenders will be banned from commenting on both the website and any related posts on social media. Anyone whose commentary veers close to the border but does not go over it (as some of the smarter scummies usually do to avoid being called out immediately) and repeatedly shows that they are not willing to engage in genuine debate will also be banned.
To be clear, I will happily spend every day of the rest of my life fighting for a freer, better world in which freedom of speech is sacred and defended at all costs. What I absolutely will not accept is hatred masquerading as ‘an opinion’. Hatred is not an opinion – it’s a reflection of a vile character who spends their time obsessing about other people’s demand for their basic rights and goes about doing whatever they can to deny those rights to them.
Don’t bother bringing any of that around here. Nobody wants it, nobody asked for it, and nobody needs it.