Censorship is tricky. Too much of it, and despotism arises. Too little of it, and chaos ensues. How much is the right amount, and how are incels affected by it?
Classics like Brave New World and 1984 have shown what might happen to a society that abuses the power of censorship. Not as many authors however have explored the consequences of no censorship whatsoever – a wild-west scenario. In such a world, death threats could be sent to anyone and everyone, with no repercussions to be had. Military weapon schematics and blueprints for dangerous biochemical pathogens could be leaked, without a crime having been committed. Truth and falsehood would lose their meaning, as no law or taboo would exist to dictate a preference of one over the other.
Finding balance is not easy. The paradox of tolerance states that undesirable and dangerous ideals must be censored; otherwise, the intolerant might overtake society. However, increasing censorship is easy, decreasing it is not. Companies and governments often give in to censorship in the name of fairness, equality, or justice (e.g., the four horsemen of the infocalypse); but, because censorship restrains a person’s autonomy and freedom of speech, it should only be implemented when a majority of those affected agrees to it.
In the case of incels, the community has always had a disdain for censorship. For one, incels have been repeatedly banished from social media over the years. In the case of the incels.co forum, domains have been seized and hosting space revoked, at times for little more than public relations maneuvers. These events have only worked to fuel the desire of incels to retain their culture.
Secondly, incels tend to be realists. Their desire for the truth behind their situation as singles often demands a cold approach to our social dynamics, for the answer is often unpleasant and cannot be easily found in the mainstream narrative. As a result, incels often have little regard for politeness and so-called “politically correct speech”, and instead prefer to be blunt and straightforward. For example, “currycel” is a term sometimes used to refer to users who, at least partly, are involuntary celibate due to their Indian ethnicity. The term is used to mock Indians, but because it is an unambiguous and straightforward way to address a person’s situation in a single word.
As a result of these two points, the vast majority of incels wants to minimize censorship wherever possible, save for necessary rules banning the discussion of previous romantic experiences, bullying of other users, and spam. Outsiders to the community often shun away from terminology they deem offensive; incels on other hand embrace these terms and make them part of their culture.
If the incel community at large desires to maintain an ample range of freedom of speech, then it is those standards that should be reflected in the rules. The incels.co forum attempts to cater to these desires as best as it can, within the bounds of the law. If mainstream communities such as reddit desire to increase the pressure of censorship, then they are in their right to do so; however, it has been often the case that such a road is one-way only.