Something To Hide…From?

     Who are you?

     I know who I am: a cranky old man with a lot of conservative-libertarian opinions. I don’t trouble to hide myself, or what I think. In fact, I glory in all of it. Yes, I’ve attracted some haters. And yes, at one time there was an attempt to do me harm for saying what I think. (Never fear, he’s all better now.)

     I go by my full and correct name. I always have and I always will. That compels me to stand behind my words. Apparently that’s not an attractive prospect to some:

     Billionaire Elon Musk has revealed part of his plan for Twitter’s future if his bid to become its new owner is successful as expected.

     The revelation came in response to a tweet from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee who said that all users should verify their name and identity.

     “I hope @elonmusk will insist that all Twitter posters use their real names & not be keyboard cowards hiding behind silly little sophomoric screen names. Be man enough or woman enough (if you even know what that is) to stand by what you say! If you can’t own it don’t say it,” the former governor said.

     So far, what’s there to argue about? Governor Huckabee’s opinion isn’t binding on anyone. Elon Musk himself made that clear:

     The tweet caught the attention of Musk who has spoken about authenticating Twitter users in the past.

     “Authentication is important, but so is anonymity for many. A balance must be struck,” he said.

     But other Twitterers were much less happy with the notion:

     When I lived in China, they’d just started all the “real name online” nonsense. A few years later, they now have their Social Credit System. If they don’t like your post, your score goes down, and that could affect your ability to travel or even buy property.
No thank you.
— Seneschall 🇺🇸 (@Seneschall) May 1, 2022

     Anonymity is necessary for a lot of people to be able to exercise free speech. Therefore a platform that does not guarantee anonymity for the speakers cannot truly be a free speech one.
— The Ultimate Life Form 🇺🇦 (@SleeplessMosher) May 1, 2022

     Tired of having to collectively stress about what explosion of hate crimes is happening bc some billionaire with an ego problem unilaterally controls a massive communication platform and skews it because Tucker Carlson or Peter Thiel took him to dinner and made him feel special
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 29, 2022

     Let’s pass over the fallacies in the above tweets and ask the central question:

Why is there so much atrocious behavior on the World Wide Web?

     The slander, vitriol, obscenity, and threats we’ve seen in so-called social media are, if not entirely unknown, at least far rarer (and less dramatic) among persons who must face the world in person. He who must stand behind his words will be held to account for such scurrilities. The typical venom-spewer of Facebook or Twitter is unwilling to do so. That’s consistent with the maxim that the typical bully is also a coward.

     Freedom of expression, a Constitutionally protected right of Americans, is not supposed to guarantee freedom from any and all consequences. He who defames another must expect to be compelled to give evidence: real, verifiable evidence in support of his contentions. That’s the import of all libel and slander law. The awareness of that possibility is part of what keeps us minding out words; the other part is the instruction in courtesy we received at our mothers’ knee.

     But libel and slander run rampant on the Web…nearly always from behind anonymizing monikers the social-media sites generally protect from penetration.

     I’ve always granted more credibility to those willing to put their right names to their statements. I’ve said so repeatedly. The general reaction to the Huckabee / Musk exchange persuades me that most other Americans see things similarly. But watch the reactions from the Left in particular. These are the persons most prone to using slander, vitriol, and threats to intimidate those they dislike. There are a few on the Right as well, but the Left is where we find the highest concentration of such miscreants.

     It strikes me that those inclined toward scurrilous emissions on the Web realize that in a regime where authentication is available to anyone who agrees to it, their personal depravity and inferiority will be too obvious to conceal. “Freedom of speech” is a terribly thin cover for their fear. I expect they know that. That adequately explains their aversion to authentication, even if the user must agree to it.

     To those who insist on remaining anonymous on the Web: Is that because you know yourself to be unable to speak your mind without the use of slander et cetera? Or are you just not a very good shot?

     Take your time; I’ll wait.


Skip to comment form

    • Steve Walton on May 5, 2022 at 8:35 AM

    I use my real name, or not, depending on the venue. There is a real risk involved in this that you do not address, and that is the problem of doxxing (stupid term, there are existing words to use for this). Given how easy it is for networked communication to instigate, gather, and direct murderous mobs it is foolish to tell everyone what your name is and where you live. It’s bad enough that in some areas even the police cannot be trusted with that information.

    The one thing I’ve been pushing, and which I’ve been trying to put in front of Elon’s starry eyes, is requiring and publishing the user’s age. Knowing the age of the person to whom you are talking significantly affects how you engage them. I truly believe that a large percentage of snarky vitriol comes from adolescents 12-16 years old (or “adults” whose emotional maturity is stuck at that level).

    If an 18-year-old kid tells you your wife is a whore you may smack him with the back of your hand. If a senile old fart says the same thing, you’ll chew him out and leave in disgust. If a peer says this you might gift him with grievous physical harm.

    Age matters in human interaction. Placing an authenticated age in the user’s handle line will still allow very nearly complete autonomy but I believe would seriously clean up discourse on the internet.

    I am Steve Walton, 69, and I approve this message.

    1. Given how easy it is for networked communication to instigate, gather, and direct murderous mobs it is foolish to tell everyone what your name is and where you live.

      My name and address have been publicly available for more than twenty years. Nothing has happened on that account. While the low and vicious “doxxing” tactic is to be condemned, the fear of it is overblown for all but public personages with genuinely large profiles.

      IF there’s a substantial risk to going public in all things, it would be to those who work at “woke” companies, or places where SJWs would strive to get them fired. That’s happened to a few people…possibly more than a few. But the countermeasure is not to be intimidated. If enough people would behave as if they’re unafraid of the SJWs, they would cease to be a threat. Remember, bullies are almost always cowards as well.

        • Steve Walton on May 5, 2022 at 9:07 AM

        I should have added to the sentence you quoted “…if you are prone to say things that enrage people”. Nobody has attacked you or burned down your treehouse because you are such a likable, affection, inoffensive little guy! 😉

        1. That got me laughing so hard I hurt myself! 🤣

            • Steve Walton on May 5, 2022 at 11:35 AM

            You’re welcome! And you were gracious enough to ignore my voice recognition system mistake of “affection” for “affectionate”…

    • Lon Spector on May 5, 2022 at 10:42 AM

    But you must know that the minions of Satan have no compunction against

    both character assassination and genuine assassination.

    Given that they receive both their sustainace and directives from the underworld,

    they will do whatever the dark under lord commands them to do.

    You described yourself as a “cranky old man.” Removing yourself from social

    protection (If there is such a thing) is one way of looking at it, but having a wife and

    children is quite another thing.

    Surely the Devil worshiping cabal known as the 1% power eliet which has no qualms

    about genociding millions through their Covd 19 policies and vaccines could crush you

    like the insect they think you are. They are hankering for necular war because they know they will be safe in their ALREADY created underground bunkers.

    Father Satan has commended them to rape and ritualistically sacrafice children.


  1. I started using Diogenes as my Moniker before the reign of Obama.  It started while I was on a forum that insisted all players use a pseudonym.  I chose Diogenes for the cynic, which I am still very much so.  Then I started blogging, and the moniker became a Nom de Plume,,,

    Now, 15 years later, I even ANSWER to the name; have entire groups of friends that know me by Dio. And they sometimes  get confused when my ‘real’ name gets used in passing.

    My moniker “grew on me” and is as much a part of me as the other name, though without the financial attributes.  I don’t collect royalties in that name, and DO have two small books in Amazon: one under each name, but all pay to the one name.

    I see both points as you list them,  and I find it sad that our world ‘forgot’ that a mans word and his name were supposed to be synonymous.

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