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30 de set de 2013

Freedom of Speech? Freedom of anything?

Well, friends ... From time to time some issues that I consider philosophical populate my mind, and come to trouble me. A long time ago, here in this very blog, I talked about what I thought, in scarce lines, about such free will, which some religions preach ... In the same post I talked about the lack of freedom of our democracy. Following the same line of questioning, and driven by a beautiful video by Pirulla, I was taken by a brain storm that took over my Sunday. Pirulla set the tone, Daniel Fraga came with revolutionary ideas, and I closed with a lot of existential doubts, let's say ... Let's put all this salad here, for public consideration (or not)?

I think we have to start with the video that elicited such a mental exercise ... I want to say a big thanks to Pirulla, because this person is willing to expose himself on the Internet, and provide some educational fun moments for this one writting this now. When the television goes beyond the boundaries of nonsense and brainwashing, channels like his at youtube are the ones I turn to. 

The video features a fictional situation in which a vlogger sends out outside Brazil one last video, denouncing censorship and persecution that he has suffered. In the video, passed some time in 2020, he explains to the younger generations how the internet was free at some point, and how some began to use it to inform the masses. Censorship, according to the narrator, would have started happening after the conviction of Daniel Fraga, a process that involved a video that uttered offenses to the judicial system of our country. In the story, after this event, censorship was extending to that point, when he was forced to leave youtube transmitions, for security matters. Namely censorship won, and now no one could post content on the Internet without going through a detailed analysis.

This video is a work of fiction very well engineered, that explains a future without freedom of expression. And it was driven by a real life episode with another vlogger. Daniel Fraga was sued (or not) by a judge who felt offended by the words spoken by him in a video on youtube. The case is that this young man, Daniel, is admittedly an anarcho capitalist (did I get it right?), and has a news blog that exposes the incongruities of the democratic system. And, together with the blog, he has an youtube channel where he explains his ideas and make his complaints, so quite vehement. I could cite any video of this young man, to illustrate what would be a good, smart, but aggressive, way to put ideas. It may seem rough at first instant. But if you can disregard this initial feeling, and continue watching the videos, you perceive a thinking mind behind it all. I do not know much about Daniel, but from watching him it seems to me that he is someone who did not give up to have a nice life, carved by his very singular ideal.

In the video that caused the controversy, he says he is outraged by the lack of knowledge of a judge who accepted the request of a candidate for mayor, and court ordered the removal of a joke related to this candidate from Facebook. And more. According to the court order, the social network itself would suffer drastic consequences if they do not provide data from all individuals who shared such a joke, so that justice could proceed with the deletion of these images of each computer. Such orders showed rather a certain ignorance in tangent to the internet, and Daniel did not forgive such behavior on the part of magistrate. He uttered offenses who identified this lapse. He continued, as a defender of anarchy, speaking of incompetence of a judicial system linked to the powers of democracy.

So, the heart of his criticism was already on the attempt by a candidate to censor free speech on a popular social network. And that's where we begin our discussion. Say I do something wrong with you. Cause a great loss in your life. How far will your freedom to spread insults about me? Are you offended when someone swears? Feel morally injured? Think the person in question owes you anything in reparation for offenses? These are my questions. Why is it right to dish president Dilma, for example, making jokes and comic strips on social networks, and spreading, and it is not right to do the same with a neighbor? Is your neighbor better than Dilma, as a human being?

My questions have a reason to be. It is normal, and it is healthy that we express our revolt against the excesses of our leaders ... So why should it be considered an offense, the act of anyone cursing me in the street? We have two weights and two measures for things? This is a point ...

In the case of this video, Daniel makes some heavy swearing, denigrating with words the image of our judicial system. Well ... Nothing they do not already own by themselves. Even so, we take into account that there was a mass dissemination of this video. And he was prosecuted, and almost censored so. If this had occurred, there would not only be one vlogger silencing, but also the drawing of an informative web content. In other words, the government was, in a way, deciding what you can or can not see. The curse was heavy? Yes ... But if we want to predict that there is freedom of expression, we have to believe that the proper way to act on it would be freedom of response by the judge.

Some of you may be thinking: he responded with a lawsuit. And then I have to agree with Daniel on many of his other videos and say that this response was somewhat unproportional. After all, behind the lawsuit, there is a whole system of government, which includes the police, with their power to imprison anyone who doesn't do what is asked by the government. If a person curse me in the street, do I have this same apparatus to defend myself?

I thought of a number of other things underlying, after watching many videos from Daniel, in sequence. Even this crazy idea of a life without government instituted. Let's do an exercise in imagination. If there were no government, we'd all be at the mercy of personal judgments of each. Suppose I am a little more nervous than you. Then you see me on the street and call me a spacious fat. Since there are no laws, and what prevails is the free trade (according to Daniel's ideology), I have a gun, cause I can pay for it. And it happens that I did not like being called a spacious fat ... Huh?!? Since there are no laws that restrain me, I shot you in the middle of your brains, cause I'm using my right of reply. Of course this would not go unpunished. Anyone would want to take revenge, and a cycle of crazy killing would begin. And chaos would be installed ...

And yes, Daniel, chaos would really be installed. Because we are humans: imperfect, corrupt, spacious and with no sense of the collective. Everyone, including you and me. From time to time it is good that there is a deeper voice, a cry of reason, to halt the excesses of imperfect minds. And here's why I'm a little afraid of this idea of anarchy. I do not trust humans. I do not believe in their goodness. Just for that.

While thinking this way, many ideas from the vlogger kept hammering in my head. He's right on many points. The government set is formed by the same men unreliable and flawed. And then you give power to that corrupt being ... Good luck with that! It's my opinion. Power corrupts, because there is the possibility of corruption of the human mind. And a great tool of power is the manipulation of the masses. How to prevent millions of people from kicking you out of the president chair, forcibly, at the first sign of discontent, but through the manipulation of ideas? An important vehicle for this is the mass dissemination of news. Meaning you report good things, even if you have to lie, mostly for a long time, in a very accessible way, until the heads are fed by these lies and convinced ... Along with this, you create a system of many obligations, and some rights to make they work for you. And in working to achieve what they think they need, there's no time to question anything. And behold, here we have the basis for any system of populist government.

And behold why, suddenly, judges are offended so easily with small simple vloggs. The problem is not the number of words spoken, and yes, the ideas promoted by this video. And when we have the attempted manipulation of ideas through mass media (censorship is part of it), one can not speak in freedom ...

And it is precisely here that lies my concern. There is much talk about freedom of expression. But it really exists? There is much talk in equal rights ... But I suffered bulying in school my whole life, and could not sue anyone for it. But the judge could render such afetr one single word proffered about his character. Is this really equality??? For me, our Constitution is starting to look like the Bible. In one paragraph says something, and in the other, contradicts itself ... Thus it is difficult to know the rules of the game. Thus it is difficult to play. We can say that we no longer want to participate??? No ... Because, if you do not want to participate, then you would have to move. I can not stop paying taxes ... Because I'll go to jail if I do. In other words, I am not free to choose where to invest my money! My money? Just because I worked to earn it? I don't think so ...

I want to tell you something that happened yesterday. One man fell on my street, in front of my building, for being drunk. Hit his head and hurt it. Some neighbors saw the incident, and were kind enough to call the fire department. I showed up at the moment. I sat down and started talking to the man. I wonder if he had a home to which he could be taken ... He cried, said he came from Bahia (we're in São Paulo), he was a bricklayer, was not a bum, but the alcohol was the bane of his life. He said he worked near here, said the name of the boss. But apparently he has no home. Then, some time later, firefighters arrived. They were kind, and collected the man of the street. They said that, in that situation, it was a good thing he was bleeding, for that was the excuse that they need to act. Otherwise, they could not help the man. It would be a job to the municipal ambulance service, the one I've tried calling at different times, that I never see coming to the rescue. Anyway ... Then I asked where he was being taken. I told them that São Paulo Hospital (3 blocks away) was not the best option, because there isn't a good social service there. And the man showed willingness to change his life. He needed not only a band-aid for the head, but rather some orientation to stop drinking. The firefighter agreed with me. He said he would take him to one other hospital, in other neighbourhood, where the case would be better handled. I thanked him. And I regretted it, because one day there was a good social service in São Paulo Hospital. To that the firefighter replied: now they prefer to spend our money with the 'Bolsa Familia' (this is kinda of an extra salary to the poor people, with no work involved).

I have not found a single citizen in favor of this benefit in years of its existence ... A friend of mine, more radical, said I should go ask people from the northeast (where there is more families receiving the benefit). But is it possible that something so controversial is deployed to the chagrin of much of the population? Yeah ... My outrage is such that I can not put my thoughts in order to try to make some sense to you. It's all so wrong. But would be that just a mirror of who we are? The human being is so rough? And then, in this case, we have to see these things happenning, and we can not express our outrage? Will I be sued for speaking out against the 'Bolsa Familia'?

Much has to change, starting with human minds. Freedom is something fantastic. But there can be only when there is an intellectual enlightenment which alone governs behavior, without the need for coercion. And if there is a need, then there is no freedom. Where there is coercion, fear rules.

Unlike Daniel Fraga, I don't have all this faith in humanity. I do not see how things can be completely fair. Natural selection would be justice? The strongest prevail? because that's what anarchy would bring. Bandits, strong in his conviction of killing without being corroded by remorse, prevail over people with conscience. Thieves, unscrupulous, willing to steal without feeling remorse to be taking something from someone, prevail over people less willing to commit the same atrocities. If there is no punishment, there is no fear. If there is no fear in some cases, there is no hindrance. Daniel, is your faith in humanity such that you would be willing to live in a society without rules, to have the pleasure of contemplating freedom? I prefer to be alive in the cage ...

Anyway ... All these questions made ​​me think that there is no freedom in the way we live. What we need to define is how much we are willing to compromise. In the specific case raised by the suggested videos, I think we can shake this cage and threaten to overthrow it, lest we have a tarp over it.


PS: The judge who wanted to sue Daniel Fraga, withdrew the complaint after the alleged misrepresentation of his intentions before the mass that receive information from the internet. He said his intention was never to provoke censure. Oh, yeah ...

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