Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Blogger "disappears" Dennis Mangan

When a political dissenter vanishes in a banana republic dictatorship, the slang term for it is that he was "disappeared."

We haven't yet reached the point in the United States where individuals who speak in ways that threaten the status quo are themselves disappeared. But their outlet and archived work can be wiped out just like … Dennis Mangan's, courtesy of Blogger.

While it's still barely possible that Mangan's being yanked off the blogosphere was a technical problem that will be resolved, after three days it seems unlikely. Dennis, who had no prior knowledge that his blog would be shut down, at latest report says he has received no explanation or contact from Blogger.

Dennis deals with controversial subjects: human biodiversity, "Climategate," intelligence differences, alternative medicine, alternative personal finance, and more. That's part of what makes his work interesting and stimulating. I disagree with his atheism, I don't like the sexual manipulation "Game" that he defends, and there are other areas where our outlooks differ. But his postings are not rants; they offer rational arguments. He doesn't deal in personal attacks (although he enthusiastically defends himself against what he considers to be such). Dennis doesn't use vulgar language. Above all, whether you think as he does or not, he's a bright and articulate blogger.

In other words, while much that he says goes against the politically correct received wisdom, he is not remotely "offensive" in any sane meaning of the term.

Blogger lists various reasons why it can scupper a blog on its site, including this:
Blogger strongly believes in freedom of speech. We believe that having a variety of perspectives is an important part of what makes blogs such an exciting and diverse medium. With that said, there are certain types of content that are not allowed on Blogger. While Blogger values and safeguards political and social commentary, material that promotes hatred toward groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity is not allowed on Blogger.
That sounds acceptable, except that in today's soft-totalitarian environment, "hatred" means any expression that the Left deems unacceptable. So subjects like human biodiversity, even when discussed in scientific terms, are branded "hate" by the P.C. Inquisition. We've reached a point in cultural Marxization where the government doesn't have to shut down free speech; any private organization with the power will do the job itself. Even individuals will censor their own expression, lest they be found guilty of "hate speech" in the minds of some designated victim group.

It could be argued that Blogger is a business with the right to set its own terms. But under anti-discrimination laws, no business can legally refuse service to anyone because it doesn't like or respect them. Telephone, wireless, and cable services, most power companies, pharmacies, and any number of other organizations are under private ownership; should they have the right to refuse transactions and destroy intellectual property without explanation?

Blogger is a carrier. It is protected by legal language six ways from Sunday against liability. It is no more responsible for what someone writes and transmits through it than the phone company is responsible for what you say in a phone conversation. (I believe even threatening and harassing calls are dealt with by law enforcement, not the company.) If you object to the content of a billboard, you take it up with the advertiser, not the company that owns the billboard. Et cetera.

Liberty doesn't die in a sudden, dramatic coup. It's a series of tiny incremental steps, many of which affect a few people at a time, so the majority doesn't know or care. But they eventually coalesce in the Megastate that determines what you may write, read, or speak.

Incidentally, if one day you should be suddenly informed that Reflecting Light "has been removed," it won't be because I've removed it, unless I tell you so in advance.



JeanetteVictoria said...

And yet Blogger has no problems with people posting defamation and libel and telling the victims of such libel to go F-themselves.

Just check out this man (a known felon who was arrested and convicted for filing *false* police report) defames individuals, churches and people such as Robert Spencer and Pam Gellar

Shrewsbury said...

I'm always amazed at the insensate reflex of liberals, of those who call themselves "progressive," to quash all non-liberal opinion, to shut people up, to ban their books, to shut down their websites. I assume it's because at some level the "progressive" knows he's full of baloney. Truth is threatening to the liberal in a way it is not to the conservative, who merely attempts to come to civilized terms with reality, whereas the liberal has entirely fictive constructions to preserve.

Rick Darby said...

Since I wrote this post, in some haste, I've been thinking about what if any content Blogger could legitimately refuse to carry.

I've run across blogs with very disturbing content from time to time. One had a link to a video of jihadists beheading a man — I couldn't watch it, and can't imagine anyone would want to. But the link was prefaced by a frank description and emphatic warning, and you could argue that it served as a valid counter-jihad argument.

It's easy to say that "how to" sites describing violent methods should be purged. I would be tempted to say that. But then the gun control advocates could claim that even sites dedicated to effective and responsible use of handguns should be banned, which of course I'd oppose.

Jeanette Victoria, if what you say is true, I still don't think Blogger is the problem. There are legal remedies for libel (not that it would be worth the trouble and expense in most cases of one on-line site). But traditionally the law has held that actions for libel are after the fact; you can't prevent publication of something you claim is libelous.

There are cases so extreme that in good conscience even an impartial carrier might intervene — if only by notifying law enforcement about threats of physical harm. But "material that promotes hatred toward groups" (groups, mind you, not individuals) is such a broad and subjective category that Blogger should not be concerned with it.

And it certainly should not shut down a site and perhaps erase the work of years with no advance warning or explanation.


I agree. Anyone who feels secure in their beliefs isn't threatened by contrary arguments, at least not enough to call for them to be suppressed. And almost invariably it's "progressives" who insist that some lines of discussion are out of bounds.

JeanetteVictoria said...

I agree no site should be shut down without warning whatsoever. It's just that Google/Blogger is so arbitrary as to what they censor.

Suing someone for libel, especially a person who is already on the government dole, is simply too expensive for the average person. And so a defamation blogger can wreak havoc on a person's life and livelihood but Google only cares about "opinions" that offend their liberal sensitivities.

Zimri said...

It is entirely disgusting what they did to Mr Mangan and I thank you for raising a stink.

yih said...

I don't know why Blogger shut down Mangan, but this isn't the first time I've seen this happen. The first was ''the paeloconservitve blog'' which was much like Vanishing American but the author drifted more and more into blatant antisemitism.
The only other examples I've seen were two that were written by troops 'in theater' in Iraq (and were providing their views 'unfiltered' shall we say) and Blogger was responding to the DOD telling them to shut those down.
From what I've seen, Blogger even allows outright pornography to be posted so what their problem is I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Mangan's appears to be back up.

May said...

Yes it is back up and I am so glad.