The problem of "fighting words" may be resolvable only in a social context.
That would only be true if you believe that moral values are relative to a culture or subculture - e.g., in some cultures it is alright to kill and eat people from a different tribe and in others it is not. Does the fact that some cultures choose to treat values as subjective make them so?
Or, is Rand right, that there exist objective, and therefore universal moral values? We know what side Rand made clear.... Marotta? Not so much. He wants to measure value by the standards of social context. The social construction of morality is a strong component of progressivism.
The issue in his post is where can words violate individual rights? Because if one's rights aren't being violated, then there is no moral justification for the use of force in defense or retaliation. If words can never constitute the initiation of force or a collerary, then there is no rights violation. Fraud can consist of words, but they are words engineered to deprive someone of their property - they are in fact part of the act of taking of property in a way that violates the individuals capacity to choose. The charge would not be about hurting a person with bad words. If a two party team were engaged in stealing, where one of them used words to distract the owner of some property while the other snuck it away, they would both be guilty - of theft. Those are the only cases I can imagine where words could be mistaken as properly criminal, but in fact are just part of the overall scheme to take property from an owner without the owner's permission.
The "Fighting words" docctrine established at the Supreme Court in Chaplinsky v. New Hampshireare in 1942 was simply a bad decision. It made the claim that some words are so hateful that they are the equivalent of force. Bull shit. Had one asked any of those justices if they'd rather be hit in the legs with a baseball bat, or even a vigorously wielded willow branch insteaad of the worst of hateful words they could think of, what do think they would have answered (if they were honest)? That decision was like some of the other really bad decisions made by the Supreme Court Justices of the time and we can hope that later courts will do more than just narrow that prescedent, but overturn it all together. The proper cure for words that are extreme insults (and untrue) is in the civil courts under defamation statutes.
The problem is not that other people, third parties, will be incited to act. The problem is that the speaker is stating intentions.
Marotta seems to be comfortable with government going after people who have 'bad' intentions. I have said again and again, the man is NOT an Objectivist. Going after people because they have what an elite decide are 'bad intentions' is the end goal of political correctness - to criminalize 'bad' thought.
In what way was The Taggart Tunnel not a gas chamber?
Only Marotta might believe that Ayn Rand was advocating the excution of people for their bad beliefs. The tunnel was a literay device that showed how bad choices by different people led to bad outcomes. NOWHERE was there an implication that Galt, or Dagney, or anyone else was choosing to kill these people because of their beliefs.
Now, literally, in the novel - and it was only a novel, which too many mistake for a manifesto - Galt's agenda was only to leave, to withdraw, to take no actions. As he said, punning on both the secret to his motor and to his strike, the secret is to do nothing. But as a result of the Atlas Shrugged movies many within Objectivist social media, such as Galt's Gulch Online, bring alt right ideas about killing people back first because those looters and moochers are threats to economic freedom, and therefore threats to political freedom, and therefore threats to life.
Too many things wrong with that statement to address them all. But, there is one of the meme de jours of today's progressives: That hidden under the surface of the Political Right a dangerous domestic terrorist that will start killing blacks and the poor. They paint a picture of people on the Right with murder on their minds, using any incident (real, imagined, or staged). Then they smear that picture over all of the opposing political party - it's a way of inflaming their base, demonizing their opposition, and encouraging emotionalism in place of thinking.
For years, Marotta has been offering his sense of being superior to Rand and Objectivism and just disguising each tidbit.... as he did above. Obama showed contempt for the fly-over parts of the nation, Hillary had contempt for anyone who didn't support her, and one day, we may well see Marotta be more forthright about his contempt for Rand, Objectivism and Objectivists.
The Internet of Things and two-way televisions in the home may be a good thing. The government could at least track people who say violent things to see if they are planning violent actions. After all, by Objectivist political theory, the government's only responsibility is to protect the rights of its citizens.
Here is Marotta advocating a fulltime policing of all the people all of the time - with zero probable cause - and just because it might uncover a person saying something that government mind-readers could construe as intent to do crime, and then they could use that to intervene with force. Again, this flows from the idea of an elite who feel justified in imposing political correctness. And Marotta really thinks that this coincides with Objectivism?
Progressivism - with its political correctness - should be listed as a mental/emotional disorder.
Once again I'll say that progressivism - with its political correctness - is more than an ideology, more than a political movement. It is also a mind-set and can become a part of the believer's sense of identity and can, under certain circumstances, lead from there to what should be listed as a mental/emotional disorder.
This is because of the way it will inevitably lead to repeatedly choosing to support beliefs that contradict reality in some way, instead of rejecting a belief that abandons that sense of a politically correct personal identity. And when the person repeatedly chooses the virtue-signalling, the standing on a moral highground without good reason, the sense of moral righteousness, the excuse to vent an irrational rage, the sense of safety of being the part of the 'acceptable pack', and for some, a felt-need to feel superior... when those are the choices a person makes - again and again - what follows is an ever-increasing distance from reality and a corresponding need for defense-mechanims (rationalization, denial, projection, emotionalism, etc.) and they live in their angry, superior, utopian, tribe-shared mental world. This is a process of repeatedly abusing their consciousness. It is that repeated failure to exercise consciousness properly that is the root cause of the disorder. By the way, that disorder, it is often characterized by lots of floating abstractions.
(Edited by Steve Wolfer on 8/18, 8:32pm)