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RationalBiker

A Criticism of Objectivist Forums

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I ran across this site as advertised by one of the links on our site.

The owner complains about 'censorship' on the forum 4AynRandFans. I posted the following (which ironically was marked as "waiting for moderation" after I pressed the send key).

As a moderator on ObjectivismOnline.net, I deal with this issue from time to time. If there is any ‘collectivist’ thought going on here, it is the assumption that just because a group of people decide they want to have a forum focused on a particular topic, that they are censoring or trying to suppress the speech or thinking of other people.

I always try this analogy to explain what is actually going on;

Much like some stores limit themselves to particular products, so do some forums limit themselves in the scope of discussion. Thus, if you go to a hardware store expecting to buy shoes, it’s not ‘censorship’ for the store owner to refuse to sell you shoes. He’s not trying to suppress shoes, he’s not trying to deny you the right to wear shoes, he just doesn’t sell them himself. And just as on the forum, he may even direct you to a shoe store (which some people will no doubt go to and try to buy a hammer.) Along the same lines, motorcycle clubs are not censoring individuals by refusing to allow them into the club because they drive a Honda Civic. It’s a MOTORCYCLE club.

These forums typically state their purpose and focus succinctly in their forum rules. There are no surprises here, and for those folks that go in and either fail to read those rules, or read them and intentionally ignore them, we typically point them back in that direction with a reminder.

The other thing is, participation on our forum does not limit people from participating on other forums. Many of our members participate on other sites that vary in scope and purpose. With the internet being as big as it is, it simply IMPOSSIBLE for one site owner to censor any individual from talking about or expressing their views. Individuals who want to explore issues that are not allowed on one website can FREELY go to another website with a different focus and air those issues out there.

The choice is quite simple; if you don’t mind adhering to the rules of a particular site or organization, you can join and participate. If you don’t like the rules, no one is forcing you to participate. But it is false and a complete waste of time to make false assertions of censorship when you simply assume the motivation behind the clearly stated rules of participation. I’ve found that people’s gripes with Objectivism (or Objectivists) tends to bias their assumptions toward the negative. A person with a more objective mindset would at least entertain other possible reasons.

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Reminds me of the show where some guys own a bar, and they let ANYONE come in and do practically ANYTHING they want. And the guy who suggests that they lay down some ground-rules is accused of limiting their freedom. They forget, among others, one important thing: PROPERTY RIGHTS!

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Reminds me of the show...

Was that an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia? It's a really odd show, but sometimes very funny.

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Can we make a "No McPoyle rule" for this site?

:D

I don't know what that means, but it reminds of the movie Billy Madison, where the McDoyle family always yell "McDoyle rules!" after they pick on someone, and before they drive off the side of a mountain. I love that movie. Where else do you have a giant penguin walking around stalking the main character?

Edited by EC

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