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It's not unreasonable for a sovereign country to exercise control over legal media in its territory.

It might not be just, or fair, for residents of that country, but it is reasonable.




A government exercising control over the media in its country is a very clear-cut violation of the value of free-speech.

The moral question is whether American companies should help foreign governments shut down free-speech. Just like google in China. And the consensus seems to be "No."


America controls the limits of commercial free speech in countries around the world through its control of Visa and Mastercard. American standards (by which I mean limits) on free speech are exported and controlled by limiting what credit card companies are willing to permit to be sold.


The consensus appears to be no among people with no power to effect those decisions. The consensus among legislators and members of the public who could change the minds of legislators is quite different.


Every country has rules about what you can show on television. Some countries are extremely liberal (Denmark, the Netherlands) others less so.


It’s not all or nothing. While a takedown is bad (and illustrative of some real problems in Saudi.) Netflix having a presence in Saudi let’s them spread their media and worldview into that country/culture. Unilaterally disengaging just gives Saudi people less access to a roughly liberal and western source of culture.

What we (speaking as a fan of western still liberalism and rule of law) in the west need is to be better able to provide a full throated explanation and defense of our principles and value prop. There seems to be a very real movement toward an alternative authoritarian world view based on the promise of prosperity and stability through social control, social control that takes full advantage of the enormous surveillance and monitoring capabilities of modern technology.


Free speech doesn't make sense if you aren't a democracy. Public speech the government officially disagrees with is incitement of rebellion. In a democracy, there isn't this existential threat to the country. Given that you are a dictatorship, regulating speech to avoid insurrection is morally right.

> And the consensus seems to be "No."

Consensus is completely irrelevant when answering a moral question, unless it instrumentally affects the moral calculus.


Hey, let's not overstep and say that dictators are "morally right" to stop free speech. Legally right, perhaps, but come now, Western democracies would laugh at saying decorators keeping peace is "moral". In fact, they'd argue the opposite. That dictators should morally step down and cede power to the people.


You are not in charge of “overstepping.” If dictators don’t stop free speech, a revolution will happen, and the country will go to shit. I have already given the precondition that the country is a dictatorship.

We have the U.S.S.R., Arab Spring, and the French Revolution as fine examples of the country going to shit.

If you’re a dictator and want to transition your country to democracy (I’m not sure why you’d call that morally good, but let’s go with it), you don’t make the first thing you do to allow free speech. Free speech shouldn’t come until after you have elections.


If free speech means 'going to shit', by all means, pour it on.


Ah, the "burn it all down" school of moral philosophy.


In the old days people despised the imprimatur and smuggled banned works in. Today?


Bittorrent.




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