Although I regrettably don’t have statistical evidence to offer, and I would gladly like for anyone who disagrees or agrees with this to show me data on this regardless of what it says, I would say that judging from my own anecdotal evidence that the idea that freely speaking your mind is worthless and that it doesn’t result in any change is dangerously wrong. It does seem to have a noticeable impact. I slowly came to this conclusion over a very lengthy period of time and it was only because of repeated evidence that my blog posts were having an impact to my own surprise.
My first piece of evidence began in 2016, I had written the blog post “Why Christianity will Always Fail You” and cited a US Naval Academy professor, Richard Abels, and his work titled “Timeline of the Crusades and Christian Holy War” on the US Naval academy. The page itself had come with the caveat that it wasn’t religious, but simply referencing historical purposes. In my mind, I imagined a huge and monolithic entity such as the Military Industrial Complex would never be negatively impacted by what some random blogger had to say. My views were only 870 people the year prior, I had inculcated the belief that whatever I say was worthless in the grand scheme of human events anyway, and the idea of criticizing any policy or behavior by anyone associated with the US government having any sort of impact seemed laughable to me. The original blog post simply linked Professor Abels material and didn’t quote it. So, I wrote the blog post and cited Professor Abels work under these assumptions about how the world worked. Six months later, when doing a quality check of my blog, I found the US Navy link went into a dead-end. I was perplexed, but I assumed that perhaps the page was going to be replaced or had been time-sensitive. I checked the Academic.edu papers by Dr. Abels and found the same material there and cited that with direct quotes in order to avoid confusing readers. It’s since been cited by many other blogs and I thought nothing of it at the time; apart from perhaps the US Navy having a standard website update.
My next piece of evidence was the general reaction to Ex-Muslim non-profit groups and Ex-Muslim Atheist activists. After seven months of trying to have a productive dialogue, I began articulating my criticisms of their movement and eventually gave-up on them when they didn’t seem interested in actually listening to meaningful criticism. My essay criticisms led to invitations on podcasts to talk more on the issues, even if the result was at best middling and at worst pointless. Nevertheless, it was my free expression and thoroughgoing efforts that caught their attention and brought more attention to my criticisms as a result. Even if the results were perhaps completely counterproductive and only proved to me that I had wasted my time, I’d say that in the most positive of terms that it was a learning experience and I learned not to bother anymore. Perhaps some of them thought that I’d immediately go back to making fixated criticisms, but it might be surprising for some of them to learn that I don’t like wasting my time and I don’t find them to be worth talking to anymore after I’ve experienced firsthand their repeated incompetence and insincerity in actually listening to challenging criticisms. When “debating” they seem to refuse to even accept the very basic kindergarten lesson of letting people finish speaking before they cut in; instead, they usually cut in to take other people’s words out of context. Around the same time span, I criticized Pieter J. Friedrich by examining one of his articles and factchecking them. Within less than a day, he blocked me on Twitter and after I posted a more professional essay on Academic.edu, I could confirm with my own eyes that he read it and he sent me a private message asking how I was affiliated with the RSS (which I am not at all). The inconsistency of his behavior was confusing, but his reaction proved that the Indians in comments on Youtube, Twitter, and Discord who had been harping about how there was nothing they could do to defend themselves from his lies were wrong. All I did was factcheck one of his articles and the effects were immediate. Progressive Leftists had been keen on promoting him after the 2020 Delhi Riots due to an article made by him, but I haven’t heard of any such discussion since then. I can’t know for certain why, but it follows the general trend that I’ve noticed ever since I have spoken out against people’s views and criticized them. This general pattern sometimes continued without me noticing until far late. Among my many blog posts criticizing Islam, the English version link to the Islam Q and A website by a well-respected Islamic Sheikh that answers questions for Muslims about Islam had removed a specific English answer that encouraged imbibing of camel urine; only the Arabic version remained, but it can be translated via Google translate to show the encouragement to drink camel urine in English.
The most shocking one for me had to do with the US representative for my district in the US House of Representatives. I had internalized the idea that, barring actual threats to people’s lives which I would never do, that whatever I complained about to my Congressperson wouldn’t matter because I wasn’t one of the wealthy donors who could buy politicians through donations and Super PACs to gain favor for specific political interests. Under this assumption, I sent a letter filled with my harshest objections and censure which I shared in a blog post online. I was so confident that nothing I said mattered, since I was sure that even if Super PACs had been a non-factor then surely a Congressperson getting thousands (perhaps beyond thirty thousand) emails a day would mean my electronic letter would be part of a sea of letters that would perhaps be skimmed for a few seconds and then tossed away. A person on Discord who I had shared my blog post with in the year 2018 had laughed at my blog post, told me that it would probably be in the spam folder of my district representative’s emails (which increased my ire because it meant that politicians really weren’t listening to people), and that their experience with the political “game” in State government had assured them that my views would look like lunacy and that I should feel ashamed. I was so confident of that he was right and that nothing I did mattered that I went into the .gov website of my district representative and posted my ruthless criticism online, put my address, and signed my name on it for public viewing. Two years later, and the US Coronavirus pandemic has happened and US people have been so ill-prepared that the US collapsing looks like a legitimate possibility which ended-up making my blog post seem more prescient than it probably deserves. Also two years later, my Congressperson announced their retirement and has given no real explanation for why. I can never know their real reason and it would just be empty speculation on my part. Perhaps, I’m noticing patterns where there are none, but like clockwork, this Congressperson eventually followed the general pattern of the others.
To the best of what I can observe and understand, despite my beliefs of just being some random blogger, my Free Speech criticisms had a surprising degree of efficacy and led to either a reaction or a change in behavior. Although, they weren’t always favorable to me as a response, they did indeed have an impact and it genuinely surprised me. Unfortunately, I don’t have statistical data and I wish I did, but to the best of what I can observe, it seemed to make a difference. From my criticisms of Eirikrjs which seemed to result in only a third of his usual fanbase reblogging his content after I posted my criticisms to something more monumental such as a politician announcing retirement and showing a noticeable change in their usual policy proposals and voting patterns. If I had to speculate on what was going on . . . I guess it is because we sort of make these people out to be larger than life in our minds, but they’re just like everyone else. When you hear about some random nobody with a blog criticizing you or using your work to disprove your beliefs, I suppose some deep level of curiosity makes you want to know what they’re saying about you, regardless of what your platform is. This is especially true for those whose job is part of being in the public spotlight or for those whose works are freely available to read online. It is doubtful that all of these results are due to mere coincidence and I know Pieter J. Friedrich has definitely read the entirety of my academic paper criticizing him. All of this having been explained, I can only conclude that your Free Speech really does have the power to change people’s minds and make a difference for the world that you wish to see. My only drawback from this examination, especially upon re-reading my own blog posts to see the pros and cons of my past approaches, has been that I seem to have a tendency to criticize people’s credibility more often than not when they make a bad argument. I began realizing this trend after doing spelling corrections for my posts criticizing Eirikrjs and realized it seemed to be a general trend with my writing. I’ll try to focus more on the argument the other people make and not specifically credibility unless I see people having lied about their credentials or deceived people about them such as Pieter J. Friedrich. I’ll do my best to internalize it as a learning experience in order to improve.