• VagabondSpectre
    1.6k
    Yes. So none of this relates to his "hard work" at all. It's an aside, but it riles me this reference to "hard work" to imply some virtue to the top of any heirachy.Isaac

    I italicized "hard work" in to imply ambiguity. I'm not trying to rally behind him, I'm just describing the fact that he is skilled (and dedicated) at what he does, which is why I think he rose through the ranks compared to others (and of course, there are niche institutions that have supported him along the way, but they don't endow him with his persuasive power).

    The question is why, out of the pool of pundits all working hard, did Shapiro rise to fame. The answer to that, I'm claiming, is that his ideas were controversial enough to commodities, and supportive enough of industry to attract funding. Not because lots of people were persuaded by he logic of his arguments.Isaac

    Look at the Youtube videos featuring his "take-downs" of "the libtards". Look at the view numbers, the ratings, and the comments. It's not just his corporate-given ubiquity that makes him successful...

    Corporations rely for their profits on selling us 'stuff'; but we don't need any more 'stuff', no one in their right mind actually wants a plastic watering can that plays God Save the Queen every time your plants need watering (or whatever other throw-away crap they're selling). So what's to be done? You have to turn the consumer base into exactly the kind of un-thinking moron who would. Shapiro, Facebook, the 'green movement'...are all just part of that scheme.

    Its not tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy theory though. I don't think anyone is pulling the strings, it's just the natural consequence of everyone doing their jobs.
    Isaac

    I believe that Shapiro and "god-save-the-Queen" paraphernalia are symptoms of a broader trend, not the disease itself. They may do something to reinforce the trend, but ultimately us plebeians are still to blame. Our nature makes us vulnerable to fear-based group think (and gives us an emotional need for a protector), and our technological dice-rolling has given us more powerful group-think-tools than we've ever had to contend with in the history of our species. We knew there would be unknown risks, and our apparent inability to use social media responsibly and rationally is evidently one of them. Corporations are trying to adapt to change and scale just like the rest of us, we just need to make sure they don't take the whole store in the contemporary shake-up (because given their inexorable motives, we should trust them less than anyone).

    But I still-hold out a lot of hope that grass-roots initiatives still mean something (even if that is very little compared to corporate will), and I think the interests of the people can still recapture influence. Present times might be a bit of a hiccup, but the grass is also more fertile than ever as a result.

    I actually think this is where we differ (as I agree Shapiro's influence is minor). I don't think there are any persuasive element to his rhetoric. His "game" is to act as a rallying post for the sorts of vaguely right-wing positions he espouses and he does this exactly by lending them faux-intellectual rigour. It's this method that I feel so strongly about preventing. Neither you nor I will ever be invited to speak at Berkeley, yet I've no doubt either of us would be able to dismantle Shapiro's reasoning relatively easilyIsaac

    Generally we hope that what's persuasive to us is also truthful, and much of what Shapiro says is a good example of how things can be persuasive but ultimately untruthful or inaccurate. It begs direct redress.

    s this tendency for fame to justify a platform to speak that I'm opposed to, and debating with him doesn't solve that problem because the moment you debate, you've accepted his right to a place at the table. A right denied to you and I.Isaac

    Specifically (if memory serves), and I think this might be a very important point, Shapiro was invited by a conservative student union, not the University itself. He wasn't arbitrarily given platform by a respected institution, paying members of that institution rented a physical platform within it and offered it to him. If Berkeley was playing political favorites, they might simply be boycotted as a thoroughly partisan University (and students who are politically opposed to it would know not to apply and pay to attend).

    1. The other side only ever responds exactly in kind - in this case, as long as your physical response stays below 10, so will theirs.

    2. The other side have a tendency to respond higher than your last action - in this case they're going to move to a 6 (first physical response) in response to your 5. So 5's must be avoided. And we end up with a hangman's paradox.
    Isaac

    The way we respond isn't exactly linear in this respect. Certain kinds of perceived threats can invoke different flight or fight responses in different situations, but when flight is not an apparent option, the greater the perceived threat, the more likely people are to escalate a conflict to a higher level. There's seemingly no escape from the woes of modern political controversy in the contemporary world, and dissatisfaction with political outcomes on both sides are driving everyone to extremes. We can try to game-theory out the appropriate amount of force to use, but ultimately, since the less force, the more room there is for reason and reasonable persuasion, I think the ideal approach is to ourselves minimize our use of force, and to minimize the ways in which the other side can declare us a threat to themselves, which is (same as us) what drives their own use of force.
  • Maw
    1.3k
    I don't deny that he believes in what he says. What I'm trying to say is that how his message propagates isn't really to do with its truth, it's to do with aesthetic appeal and a comforting narrative. If someone's going to deny the Holocaust, for example, you can't do much to shift their denial through reasoned argument most of the time; and how people come to believe it is not through reasoned argument using reliable sources.fdrake

    But the seductiveness of white supremacy is precisely through its "aesthetic appeal" or a "comforting narrative", i.e., there is a racial hierarchy and whites are at the top, and if a (typically young) white person is struggling economically (which of course many are), it is arguably more comforting to blame that downward social mobility towards Blacks, or Jews, or Immigrants, etc. than on yourself, or on this abstract notion of Capitalism that many people are frankly unfamiliar with, so it's unsurprising that that's the lens through which Spencer articulates the veracity of white supremacy while at the clear expense of actual reliable science or reasoned arguments, or what have you.

    I've listened to everything Spencer has to say, and it turned out that he just reads crowds (live-stream chat-rooms mostly) in order to maximize his number of cheers and subsequent donations. I've heard him say, and then have to recant, the most absolutely ridiculous shit because he was just reflecting the mass lunacy of the live-chat attached to the event. He may hold run-of-the-mill conservative views or typical far-right views, but his current career and business model is entirely based around maximizing the donations he gets through inlets like Youtube "super-chats" (a built in donation function), PayPal, cryptocurrency, Patreon, Hate-reon (now defunct), StreamLabs, merchandise sales, sales for his white-nationalist publishing house, and any other source of monetization that he still has access to. In short, he is a human crowdfunding algorithm catering to a niche and gullible market segment for the sake of maximizing his personal wealth.

    Demonstrating his own intellectual dishonesty is actually a great way to undermine the influence he has over his followers, and even if he doesn't believe many of the things he says, the things he says still need to be debunked and rebuked (because his followers DO believe it). What makes it a mistake?
    VagabondSpectre

    But this is no different than saying that demonstrating over and over how Trump is a liar, a shit business man, or a hypocrite etc. is a great way to undermine the influence he has over his followers. It's demonstrably untrue. I also don't see why being a white supremacist means you can't simultaneous grift. I mean people like Richard Spencer still want to make a living and if you can squeeze money out of people who would gladly give it to you, you probably would. And it goes without saying that Hitler was masterful at reading and then manipulating crowds while also believing in what he was saying.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.6k
    But this is no different than saying that demonstrating over and over how Trump is a liar, a shit business man, or a hypocrite etc. is a great way to undermine the influence he has over his followers. It's demonstrably untrueMaw

    Trump is a bit of a unique case because he is impossibly low brow, and outright name-calling is the game he excels at. And to be sure, Spencer does have racist and supremacist beliefs, but he is willing to say anything that will help him get attention.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.8k
    Look at the Youtube videos featuring his "take-downs" of "the libtards". Look at the view numbers, the ratings, and the comments. It's not just his corporate-given ubiquity that makes him successful... — VagabondSpectre

    All of which suggests a direct correlation to the sort of politics involved. What's inviting is a take down of these (supposedly) wrong and inaccurate ideas of the left/liberals. This would not seem to be merely "aesthetic" bringing in viewers, but be drawing on a present desire amongst viewers to see the left/liberal understanding of society and its problems taken down.-- i.e. it's part of the white supremacist positions or sympathies already present in our culture.
  • thedeadidea
    98
    I actually think this is where we differ (as I agree Shapiro's influence is minor). I don't think there are any persuasive element to his rhetoric. His "game" is to act as a rallying post for the sorts of vaguely right-wing positions he espouses and he does this exactly by lending them faux-intellectual rigour. It's this method that I feel so strongly about preventing. Neither you nor I will ever be invited to speak at Berkeley, yet I've no doubt either of us would be able to dismantle Shapiro's reasoning relatively easily.Isaac

    This is where marketing comes in, have a look at Ben Shapiro's Channel... "Ben Shapiro Destroy" these kinds of "ask him a question..." so that he can take it down BS are the videos that get millions of views, he is more famous for telling Pierce Morgan that he stood on the graves of the children of Sandyhook than he is affirming anything specific and concrete.

    As sad as it is you would probably get more inroads into writing a little peanut gallery "top ten reasons why ben Shapiro is wrong" about everything or going along to one of his live events and accusing him of being the Right's pet Jew...

    Then take him to task about Israel and Palestine, get him to define how voting for Trump is voting for a free-market with tariffs, increased subsidies, etc

    It isn't about being right or having a substantive point it is a marketing ploy and a niche. I do think some of his arguments though are more polished than given credit for, his movement particularly in abortion politics where he literally gave a live podcast on typical arguments and refutation... He is, in essence, sharpening the claws of his side of the debates reasoning.

    In particular, his framing of the biological aspect of it outside of religious premises has been something alot of people have found compelling.
  • fdrake
    2.2k
    But the seductiveness of white supremacy is precisely through its "aesthetic appeal" or a "comforting narrative", i.e., there is a racial hierarchy and whites are at the top, and if a (typically young) white person is struggling economically (which of course many are), it is arguably more comforting to blame that downward social mobility towards Blacks, or Jews, or Immigrants, etc. than on yourself, or on this abstract notion of Capitalism that many people are frankly unfamiliar with, so it's unsurprising that that's the lens through which Spencer articulates the veracity of white supremacy while at the clear expense of actual reliable science or reasoned arguments, or what have you.Maw

    It's definitely a feature of his worldview, not a bug. If the reasons for people turning right were evidence based we'd be in a lot more trouble. You are right that responding to the extreme right is a lot more about minimising their message through actions other than argument; at least in public spaces where argument does not transmit well.
  • Isaac
    714
    I'm just describing the fact that he is skilled (and dedicated) at what he does, which is why I think he rose through the ranks compared to othersVagabondSpectre

    What's missing from your argument here is the mechanism by which this happens. Are you suggesting that there's some system in place which ensures everyone skilled at what they do rises through the ranks? If so, I'd be interested in what this is, if not, then we can agree that some people skilled at what they do rise through the ranks, whilst others equally skilled do not. If this is the case, then the reason Shapiro rose (as opposed to others skilled at what they do) needs to be something else.

    Look at the view numbers, the ratings, and the comments. It's not just his corporate-given ubiquity that makes him successful...VagabondSpectre

    Yeah, I'm not necessarily talking about corporate-given fame. I'm talking about the very general notion of taking the arguments of pundits seriously (debating them, allowing them platforms in academic institutions), purely because they are famous. Whether that fame is corporate sponsored, or by plebiscite, is irrelevant. The point is we do not simply debate ideas on merit. If you were to counter Shapiro's arguments right now, no matter how good your argument is, it will only ever be heard by the four people who might read it here. If one of those people (by some bizzare means) happened to be Shapiro, his counter would be heard by millions. And none of this disparity is because he is more knowledgable, well-educated, better informed than you. It's because his ideas are more popular than yours.

    So, it goes back to my "seat at the table" metaphor. Not everyone is going to get one. It would be a good thing for society if seats at the table were distributed on merit, but one cannot 'argue' that merit with them, it's not amenable to debate, so groups have to be able to say "no" to potential participants on the basis of the person, not the ideas.

    Specifically (if memory serves), and I think this might be a very important point, Shapiro was invited by a conservative student union, not the University itself. He wasn't arbitrarily given platform by a respected institution, paying members of that institution rented a physical platform within it and offered it to him.VagabondSpectre

    Yes, that's my memory too, but it doesn't change the public image, and it's the public image that matters in legitimising his ideas. It's still written up as Shapiro's "talk at Berkeley" and not Shapiro's "talk at a conservatives union (which happened to be in Berkeley)". But really, that's not the only issue. The issue is also one of who 'owns' the table. Remember, if the liberal students had just turned up to the event and rebuffed his ideas, they've already lost the battle they really wanted to fight. The battle they're fighting is "you are not one of the people who deserve a place at the table". To win their battle over who gets a place, they need to prevent him from speaking, just like you and I are already prevented from speaking.

    Of course, you can argue over whose 'table' it really was, and so who had a right to be part of that battle, but that's a different argument to the one supporting someone's right to try and prevent someone from speaking on a platform they feel some ownership of.

    I think the ideal approach is to ourselves minimize our use of force, and to minimize the ways in which the other side can declare us a threat to themselves, which is (same as us) what drives their own use of force.VagabondSpectre

    This, I would agree with to a point. I just think things like barricading lecture theatres is sometimes the minimum amount of force required to prevent someone from abusing a platform you feel some ownership of or connection to.
  • ssu
    1.2k
    If the reasons for people turning right were evidence based we'd be in a lot more trouble.fdrake
    I think that political ideologies aren't based in the end on evidence. They surely want portray themselves as evidence based, that is for sure.

    All successful political movements rely on a "comforting narrative". I'd say the movements are especially successful when they twist something that was considered a sin by the Christian Church into a rightful virtue, something good. Hence with capitalism greed comes to a good thing as you aren't greedy but simply hard working, which then produces the income for the work been done. In a similar way, in socialism envy isn't bad as the whole issue isn't envy, you are just wanting equality and fairness.

    What better way for an ideology to get support than turn sin into a virtue.
  • fdrake
    2.2k
    I think that political ideologies aren't based in the end on evidence. They surely want portray themselves as evidence based, that is for sure.ssu

    Evidence for that?
  • ssu
    1.2k

    Look at any political campaign and the rhetoric used. Sure, the politician states facts, usually try to portray the positive events and trends that have happened as having been the outcome of their policies (if they have been in power). The politicians do in general give a historical viewpoint on just why they and their party should be voted in the next elections. Hence the use of facts, data and historical evidence.

    But that's not all. There is also the part of simply making people feel that this is the correct party to support, that the ordinary reasonable people should vote for this party. And this is part of what Maw referred to a "comforting narrative" (if I understood Maw's point correctly that is). And naturally the other parties are vilified for being against the ordinary people and only working for special interest groups that are far from the 'ordinary people'.
  • fdrake
    2.2k
    But the seductiveness of white supremacy is precisely through its "aesthetic appeal" or a "comforting narrative", i.e., there is a racial hierarchy and whites are at the top, and if a (typically young) white person is struggling economically (which of course many are), it is arguably more comforting to blame that downward social mobility towards Blacks, or Jews, or Immigrants, etc. than on yourself, or on this abstract notion of Capitalism that many people are frankly unfamiliar with, so it's unsurprising that that's the lens through which Spencer articulates the veracity of white supremacy while at the clear expense of actual reliable science or reasoned arguments, or what have you.Maw

    That's exactly what I meant.
  • fdrake
    2.2k
    But that's not all. There is also the part of simply making people feel that this is the correct party to support, that the ordinary reasonable people should vote for this party. And this is part of what Maw referred to a "comforting narrative" (if I understood Maw's point correctly that is). And naturally the other parties are vilified for being against the ordinary people and only working for special interest groups that are far from the 'ordinary people'.ssu

    I think you're missing lots of nuance here, actually. There can be really big differences in severity and relevance of the narrative, especially the scapegoating parts, even if the structural logic is the same. Jeremy Corybn in the UK demonises Trump for being a racist corporate shill, Richard Spencer literally wants all the Jews and degenerates (including progressives and liberals) to die. If Corbyn got his way, Trump would have less power. If Spencer got his way, the biggest genocide in human history would start.

    You can do the same thing for reactionary moralism; apply the same 'all wishes come true' to the worst excesses of 'Me too!', say; the world would hardly change other than people getting more awkward around consent (which might actually have its positives). If the Koch brothers' political machine gets its way, there will be no action towards climate change, reduced power for unions, more inequality, 'incidentally' racist policies that lead to lots of non-white kids in cages...

    Perhaps I'm exaggerating a bit about the Koch brothers, but they really do invest a lot of money to get their dirty propaganda laundered through sponsored academic precision.
  • ssu
    1.2k
    I think you're missing lots of nuance here, actually.fdrake

    Yet Richard Spencer isn't mainstream and he does not portray the conservatives in the US. It's as stupid as saying that the marxist economist Richard Wolff portrays every left leaning liberal in the US. A Jeremy Corbyn (or Bernie Sanders) aren't the extreme of the left wing. Just listen to them what they actually say. Sure, you can find something if go through all of their quotes that can be portrayed as them to be extreme, but in reality either Corbyn or Sanders aren't at all extremists. (Just as one Roger Scruton isn't a dedicated Islamophobist Anti-Semite)

    Perhaps I'm exaggerating a bit about the Koch brothersfdrake
    Perhaps. I will repeat that they (the Koch Brothers) are exactly a similar trope for the left as Soros is for the right. Everybody hates billionaires that give money to political movements (that the people themselves oppose). It's simply a fact.

    But try to understand just why the whole discourse has become in the US so vitriolic. The first reason is the political duopoly of a centrist and a right-wing party that totally dominate the whole political spectrum. It is essential for these two parties in order to dominate the whole spectrum of politics in the US to portray themselves in a bitter crucial struggle between each other. This creates a fundamentally different political environment than anywhere else.

    This also makes very unique political strategies to be prevalent. One typical right wing strategy, most well seen in the strategy of the NRA, is simply to fight every inch of the way without any effort to seek a compromise. Yet this is logical in the current American political environment. It starts from the thought that there will be no compromise in the gun issue: the opposing side, the left, will not in under any circumstances be happy with any kind of consensus. Hence there will be no middle ground to be achieved in the gun control issue to be reached. The anti-gun lobby will not be pleased at some point and let it be. It is a total ban on privately owned firearms and nothing else. Hence the only logical strategy for the pro-gun lobby is fight all the way at anything all the time. So the thinking goes.

    And in the end you end up with the vitriolic political environment you have today.
  • fdrake
    2.2k
    Yet Richard Spencer isn't mainstream and he does not portray the conservatives in the US. It's as stupid as saying that the marxist economist Richard Wolff portrays every left leaning liberal in the US.ssu

    Dude. I know that the popular right in the US aren't Nazis. What did I say that gave you the impression that I thought they were?
  • ssu
    1.2k
    Dude. I know that the popular right in the US aren't Nazis. What did I say that gave you the impression that I thought they were?fdrake
    Like um.... this is a thread about Roger Scruton? Why then bring up Richard Spencer?

    Oh I know the answer, it's a topic you discussed with someone else that I didn't read more carefully. My bad. :yikes:
  • fdrake
    2.2k
    Like um.... this is a thread about Roger Scruton? Why then bring up Richard Spencer?ssu

    This is precisely why political discourse is so impossible nowadays, all these bloody centrists exaggerating and underplaying the potential of every side! :P
  • ssu
    1.2k
    I guess that was a compliment of some kind, fdrake.
  • fdrake
    2.2k


    Eh, sort of. I enjoy playing the ironic distancing game about political discourse too. Though I do it while pretending to be a leftist. Sometimes I hope if I say enough left things I'll actually have a political identity.
  • ssu
    1.2k
    Though I do it while pretending to be a leftist.fdrake
    Hannover will be disappointed. At least Maw and Bitter Crank among others are genuine leftists...hopefully!

    I mean Jesus, what will be a Philosophy Forum without genuine differences in the political ideology of the active members?

    Hell with those algorithm driven echo-chambers we have now!
  • Maw
    1.3k
    @ssu consider actually reading the book on the Koch Brothers that I recommended instead of just blithely waving aside accusations on how they propagate their political and economic ideology. I will note that the author of the book Jane Mayer, wrote about how George Soros spent millions on the 2004 election. But I'm fairly tired of how you consider your clear ignorance on the subject matter as equivocal to my engagement with it.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.6k
    What's missing from your argument here is the mechanism by which this happens. Are you suggesting that there's some system in place which ensures everyone skilled at what they do rises through the ranks? If so, I'd be interested in what this is, if not, then we can agree that some people skilled at what they do rise through the ranks, whilst others equally skilled do not. If this is the case, then the reason Shapiro rose (as opposed to others skilled at what they do) needs to be something else.Isaac

    Can't our society be even a teensy bit merit based? What if there is more than one reason for the rise of Shapiro, and among are his quick thinking and rhetorical skills?

    This is an aside that doesn't count for a whole lot in our discussion, but it's not a black and white situation; it's complicated.

    I'm talking about the very general notion of taking the arguments of pundits seriously (debating them, allowing them platforms in academic institutions), purely because they are famous.Isaac

    But which came first, the famous chicken or the famous egg?

    The point is we do not simply debate ideas on merit. If you were to counter Shapiro's arguments right now, no matter how good your argument is, it will only ever be heard by the four people who might read it here. If one of those people (by some bizzare means) happened to be Shapiro, his counter would be heard by millions. And none of this disparity is because he is more knowledgable, well-educated, better informed than you. It's because his ideas are more popular than yours.Isaac

    If I attended a Shapiro event and get in line to ask him a question, my question would be heard by his millions of followers, as would his response. If my question challenges the merit of his political views, then he's going to have to debate their merit.

    Even though I'm not entitled to Shapiro's followers, I'm still able to support pundits of my own, including a few that are willing to debate him (such as Sam Harris).

    Yes, democracy is mostly a popularity contest, but should we lose, we ought not up-end the entire system; we should try to be more popular.

    So, it goes back to my "seat at the table" metaphor. Not everyone is going to get one. It would be a good thing for society if seats at the table were distributed on merit, but one cannot 'argue' that merit with them, it's not amenable to debate, so groups have to be able to say "no" to potential participants on the basis of the person, not the ideas.Isaac

    You're not entitled to any seats at any tables, neither am I, and neither is Shapiro. We're all entitled to scream loudly in the wilderness, passionately on a soap box, financially through political donation, and discretely through our votes. Shapiro happens to have many seats at many tables, and we can ask ourselves why we don't have those same seats, or we could choose our own informal representative, and through mutual support, put them in a seat at one of those tables (that's what Shapiro's followers did).

    Yes, that's my memory too, but it doesn't change the public image, and it's the public image that matters in legitimising his ideas.Isaac

    How can we justify the ethical right to decide for other citizens which political ideas are O.K or not O.K to legitimize?

    Democracy is supposed to be about everyone being entitled to their opinions and their input (through the aforementioned rights, not privileges such as an invitation to speak on a campus), so aren't you kind of throwing democracy out the window by assuming that your own ideas and beliefs are the final and correct politics (or that Shapiro's conservatism should be verboten)?

    It's still written up as Shapiro's "talk at Berkeley" and not Shapiro's "talk at a conservatives union (which happened to be in Berkeley)". But really, that's not the only issue. The issue is also one of who 'owns' the table. Remember, if the liberal students had just turned up to the event and rebuffed his ideas, they've already lost the battle they really wanted to fight. The battle they're fighting is "you are not one of the people who deserve a place at the table". To win their battle over who gets a place, they need to prevent him from speaking, just like you and I are already prevented from speaking.Isaac

    So the issue isn't just that we need to seize the property of our political enemies (because they use it to spread propaganda), it's also that we need to have them banished from the political arena and revoke their right to a political opinion?

    This is how they would respond, and allowing that rebuke to go unaddressed helps to validate their caricatures of the left. If the liberal students turned up to rebuff his ideas (rather than disrupt, shut-down, silence, intimidate, and ignore) then they would not have given him the attention that has propelled him to his current level of fame, and they might have even dissuaded a few of his followers....

    And of course, entering into a debate with him also means hearing his ideas, which apparently are too harmful to be heard (we run the risk of being persuaded by him!). But if his ideas aren't actually good ideas, or if our ideas are better, what the heck are we afraid of?

    someone's right to try and prevent someone from speaking on a platformIsaac

    "The right to try and prevent someone from speaking". I missed that one in civics class...

    someone's right to try and prevent someone from speaking on a platform they feel some ownership of.Isaac

    There's really no feelings involved in property ownership, except maybe in some edge dispute cases (like squatters rights and such). Berkeley owned the venue (IIRC) and they legally rented it to the conservative student union. Trespassing without permission with the intention of disrupting a private event may result in both criminal and civil suits (criminal for the crimes, civil to sue for damages resulting from torts).

    Do the students own Berkeley?

    This, I would agree with to a point. I just think things like barricading lecture theatres is sometimes the minimum amount of force required to prevent someone from abusing a platform you feel some ownership of or connection to.Isaac

    I can't express just how complacent I find this position to be. From feelings to force is the story of all mankind; it encapsulates all human behavior. But in the modern world, we've created relatively sophisticated systems (moral, ethical, political, legal, rational, scientific, empirical, metaphysical, theological, secular, etc, etc, etc...) that help us navigate safely and consistently from feelings to force. We have laws protecting individual rights (such as property rights) because if we allow ourselves to act fast and loosely according to our felt connections, we're not guaranteed to behave any better than an angry mob, and we just wind up creating more problems for ourselves and everyone else. If student groups really did start to claim ownership of their universities, then many of them would promptly go out of business and liquidate their assets, because if they aren't allowed to control their own property, then they have no way of controlling their own financial and physical security.

    For some reason many people here seem to think that a bit of force against right wing pundits is a callback to the American civil-rights movements of the 60's (it's not; the 60's civil rights movements were marked by dignity, not rebellious violence). In my view, it's a callback to Russia, circa 1905. Dissatisfaction with the capital-having bourgeois elites was Lenin et al.'s call to arms, and as much as I want to see economic reform and wealth redistribution, Shapiro and Berkeley have little and nothing to do with it.

    As I said before, I urge you to seek reform before revolution, if only because we might not survive the latter.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.6k
    All of which suggests a direct correlation to the sort of politics involved. What's inviting is a take down of these (supposedly) wrong and inaccurate ideas of the left/liberals. This would not seem to be merely "aesthetic" bringing in viewers, but be drawing on a present desire amongst viewers to see the left/liberal understanding of society and its problems taken down.-- i.e. it's part of the white supremacist positions or sympathies already present in our culture.TheWillowOfDarkness

    Maybe, but I contend it's also an unfortunate ramification of progressive excess.

    For example, when you make the argument that all white people/men are by definition "racist/sexist" because statistically they tend to benefit from a system that disproportionately distributes benefits and burdens in their favor, there's this large swath of the population (mostly young white men) who feel unfairly generalized by it, and as a result they tend to want to see such an argument rebuked (and if that rebuke can be severe, then they get emotional catharsis to boot).

    Alleging that wanting to see your argument "destroyed" is evidence of supremacist tendencies only makes sense because your argument hinges on the premise of a supremacist system operating as the dominant causal factor determining all social outcomes in the first place.

    It's a Kafka trap, where my denial will be evidence of my guilt. You've got to do better than that.

    Opposing the left is not tantamount to white supremacy.
  • pomophobe
    41
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bO1agIlLlhg

    Whiteness is the most violent fucking system to ever breath!

    And where exactly does such an idea lead to in practice? The articulate members of the PC Left will surely make excuses for these excessive statements. Conservative thinkers are in the same situation. Some of their fans surely say things that are just as brutal and irrational. It's also not surprising that white men often resent anti-white talk and favor 'representatives' who object to this talk.

    Another theme: some posters implied above that they could easily OWN or DESTROY Shapiro. That may be correct. But here we all are in the dark like anonymous rats. I'm not a big fan of Shapiro (or of Peterson), but it occurs to me how much more difficult it must be to actually wear one's ideas in public. It's a big deal these days. It almost has to be a career. Any sufficiently exciting opinions are going to offend or scare employers.

    This reminds me of my last theme.
    The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors”, and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment”. It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

    The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers.

    The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation.
    — Marx

    The PC Left seems to envision a new, global human being that is beyond race, gender, and sexuality. To do this, however, it needs to obsess over race, gender, and sexuality...until utopia arrives.
  • Isaac
    714
    Can't our society be even a teensy bit merit based?VagabondSpectre

    How? What would the mechanism be by which this would be brought about? Is there some gatekeeper somewhere that I'm unaware of ensuring that YouTube videos, Facebook news, campus tours and online opinion columns are all written only by those with some actual intellectual merit? As far as I know, all these platforms (including academic publishing) are run by companies whose objective is to maximise profits for their shareholders. It's not some crazy conspiracy, it's written in black and white on their aims and objectives statement. It's actually a legal obligation. So how would merit become a factor? Nowhere is it written that all publications must also be somehow meritous. It is only necessary that they increase profits.

    But which came first, the famous chicken or the famous egg?VagabondSpectre

    I don't think I understand what you mean by this I'm afraid.

    If I attended a Shapiro event and get in line to ask him a question, my question would be heard by his millions of followers, as would his response. If my question challenges the merit of his political views, then he's going to have to debate their merit.VagabondSpectre

    Not at all. First there's the 'if' at the beginning, but let's say you jump whatever hurdles are required to get that lucky break. Your question would be heard by hundreds of followers. Whether it is heard by millions of followers is determined entirely by whoever has access to the largest publishing platform. It can be edited out of any video, or transcript. Described in unfavourable terms in any commentary or write-up. It's not difficult to make an insightful and penetrating question sound dumb and easily answered when you control the medium through which that question is going to be reported.

    Yes, democracy is mostly a popularity contest, but should we lose, we ought not up-end the entire system; we should try to be more popular.VagabondSpectre

    Why?

    You're not entitled to any seats at any tables, neither am I, and neither is Shapiro. We're all entitled to scream loudly in the wilderness, passionately on a soap box, financially through political donation, and discretely through our votes. Shapiro happens to have many seats at many tables,VagabondSpectre

    You see, when I talk about entitlement to be heard, you play the nihilist and say "no one has a right to anything", when I use the argument that we're entitled to use whatever tactics we see fit, you play the noble and say "there is a moral right as to what tactics one should avoid". Which is it? Are we arguing about what should be (in which case your counter with regards to a 'place at the table' should be a normative one, not a descriptive one), or are we arguing about what actually is (in which case we actually can use whatever tactics are legal)?

    we could choose our own informal representative, and through mutual support, put them in a seat at one of those tables (that's what Shapiro's followers did).VagabondSpectre

    No, we couldn't. Not if the representative in question represents an unpopular or non-commercialisable view, because the mechanisms by which Shapiro became popular require those two things. What we're talking about about here is the situation where a person (or small group of people) believe a view to be right, in a moral sense, but neither popular, nor commercial. Should they then just give up, or what other means do you think they have to bring about what they think is right?

    Is trying to bring about what you think is right an entitlement only of those whose views are popular or commercial enough to have a public figure they can put their support behind? If not, what recourse do these people have?

    How can we justify the ethical right to decide for other citizens which political ideas are O.K or not O.K to legitimize?VagabondSpectre

    Everyone is deciding "for other citizens" here. If the university allows the lecture to go ahead, they are deciding for the other members of that community that his ideas are OK to legitimise by association with their university. If protesters were to have successfully blocked him from speaking, they would have decided for the other members of that community that his ideas were not OK to legitimise by association with their university. Either way someone is deciding what ideas get legitimised or not, and it's not on the basis of merit. It's whoever has the most power.

    Democracy is supposed to be about everyone being entitled to their opinions and their input (through the aforementioned rights, not privileges such as an invitation to speak on a campus), so aren't you kind of throwing democracy out the window by assuming that your own ideas and beliefs are the final and correct politics (or that Shapiro's conservatism should be verboten)?VagabondSpectre

    I think it's a big push to say that 'democracy' is somehow about the rights people currently have to speak. Those rights are an entirely pragmatic matter, and not part of a broad concept like democracy. Recently, in Ireland, the issues were discussed using citizen's assemblies, a system instigated by the government containing randomly selected members of the community who were then entitled to a 'place at the table'. Other democratic governments have chosen not to do this. So one's right to be heard does not seem to be linked to democracy as a concept. The means one has at one's disposal will vary.

    If some democratic government believes that a random selection of community representatives have a 'right' to be heard, but people who just happen to be famous did not get an invite, then it seems a perfectly legitimate aspect of democracy to give certain people platforms to speak and deny platforms to others.

    This is how they would respondVagabondSpectre

    I'm not really interested in how 'they' would respond. I don't think it is right to constrain one's tactics by trying to second-guess what one's opponents will make of it. They will spin absolutely anything we do into a negative. It's pointless trying to limit their ability to do that, especially if doing so limits our own methods.

    they would not have given him the attention that has propelled him to his current level of fame,VagabondSpectre

    I thought you said it was his hard work and popularity?

    There's really no feelings involved in property ownership, except maybe in some edge dispute cases (like squatters rights and such). Berkeley owned the venue (IIRC) and they legally rented it to the conservative student union. Trespassing without permission with the intention of disrupting a private event may result in both criminal and civil suits (criminal for the crimes, civil to sue for damages resulting from torts).VagabondSpectre

    As I said, I don't really care much for law in this respect. I don't agree with property ownership on the basis of land purchase and I don't believe that ownership of land confers any rights over the community who occupy it. So...

    Do the students own Berkeley?VagabondSpectre

    ...yes.


    in the modern world, we've created relatively sophisticated systems (moral, ethical, political, legal, rational, scientific, empirical, metaphysical, theological, secular, etc, etc, etc...) that help us navigate safely and consistently from feelings to force.VagabondSpectre

    This is too much to get into here. Suffice to say I disagree that the institutions you list are a means to safely and consistently navigate from feelings to force. The history of modern civilisation has been an almost unbroken fight for power on the basis of force.

    We have laws protecting individual rights (such as property rights) because if we allow ourselves to act fast and loosely according to our felt connections, we're not guaranteed to behave any better than an angry mob, and we just wind up creating more problems for ourselves and everyone else.VagabondSpectre

    Look to your history books. If you can detail me a single instance of a law protecting property coming about after a community-wide discussion about the anarchistic ramifications if we don't, I'd be fascinated to see it. All I've found so far is laws put in place by wealthy landowners in order to apply the force of the army to back up their claim to land.

    If student groups really did start to claim ownership of their universities, then many of them would promptly go out of business and liquidate their assets, because if they aren't allowed to control their own property, then they have no way of controlling their own financial and physical security.VagabondSpectre

    Have you any evidence to back this up. I could point to the many successful community run enterprises and worker-owned companies in opposition.

    As I said before, I urge you to seek reform before revolution, if only because we might not survive the latter.VagabondSpectre

    Well, the latter is coming. To quote one of my favourite passages from Stephen Emmott when asked what he would do in response to the current global situation he replied "teach my son how to use a gun".
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.6k
    You see, when I talk about entitlement to be heard, you play the nihilist and say "no one has a right to anything", when I use the argument that we're entitled to use whatever tactics we see fit, you play the noble and say "there is a moral right as to what tactics one should avoid". Which is it? Are we arguing about what should be (in which case your counter with regards to a 'place at the table' should be a normative one, not a descriptive one), or are we arguing about what actually is (in which case we actually can use whatever tactics are legal)?Isaac

    You're equivocating "the right to be heard" with "the privilege to speak at Berkely", and you're also equivocating "not having the right to speak at Berkeley" with "not having any rights at all". You're trying to justify the use of force as political speech, but you're consistently equivocating in your attempt to do so. You complained that you have never been invited to Berkeley and used that as evidence showing you have no right to be heard.. I have tried to be very specific, and I certainly didn't state "no one has a right to anything"... "We don't have a right to any seats to any tables" means just what it says. Private tables are private platforms, and access to governmental seats are decided through votes, not passion.

    Specifically, you're using your undefined notion of what should be to justify your argument that the use of whatever tactics are justifiable, and I'm saying that legally, democratically, pragmatically, and morally, your tactics are wrong.

    No, we couldn't. Not if the representative in question represents an unpopular or non-commercialisable view, because the mechanisms by which Shapiro became popular require those two things. What we're talking about about here is the situation where a person (or small group of people) believe a view to be right, in a moral sense, but neither popular, nor commercial. Should they then just give up, or what other means do you think they have to bring about what they think is right?Isaac

    You are saying that in order to be popular, first, you need to be popular, which makes no sense.

    Why is your view non-commercializable or unpopular?

    Is trying to bring about what you think is right an entitlement only of those whose views are popular or commercial enough to have a public figure they can put their support behind? If not, what recourse do these people have?Isaac

    If the alt-right is commercial enough to have public figures, then you can have figures too. The argument that your views aren't commercial enough to get their own pundit is not at all realistic (in fact, corporations platform progressive views more than any other). Ironically, the only hard barrier to any political persuasion finding representatives is the very censorship which some have advocated for in this thread.

    If the university allows the lecture to go ahead, they are deciding for the other members of that community that his ideas are OK to legitimise by association with their university.Isaac

    We're not supposed to be unthinking lemmings who look to an intellectual authority to decide whether or not a private group of students should be permitted to discuss their beliefs. By telling conservative students their beliefs aren't "legitimate" and that they have no right to express them, we're legitimizing worse.

    I thought you said it was his hard work and popularity?Isaac

    Shapiro had been growing his popularity for around ten years, but it wasn't until antifa started barricading his events that the mainstream media finally started giving him undue attention. The story became how there's this "culture war" with racists on one side and PC babies on the other (depending on who you ask). The rise to his current level of fame is thanks to the negative attention given to him by the left, and his ability to spin discussions in his own favor.

    Do the students own Berkeley? — VagabondSpectre


    ...yes.
    Isaac

    Actually, The Berkeley Group Holdings plc owns UoBerkeley. The students are just paying customers (the conservative and the liberal students alike).

    This is too much to get into here. Suffice to say I disagree that the institutions you list are a means to safely and consistently navigate from feelings to force. The history of modern civilisation has been an almost unbroken fight for power on the basis of force.Isaac

    It's been an almost unbroken fight in terms of military vs military and nation v nation, but the deaths resulting from war have continuously plummeted, and while they are still too numerous, are proportionally smaller than perhaps ever before. I think that at this point in history we're more free (in the west) than ever before from abusive government, but we also happen to be more beholden than ever before to corporations, which are forces unto themselves.

    In the senses that corporations use undue force in politics, I do want to see change (which may inexorably require force) but I don;t want to see it achieved through the whimsical arbitrariness of mob impulse.

    Look to your history books. If you can detail me a single instance of a law protecting property coming about after a community-wide discussion about the anarchistic ramifications if we don't, I'd be fascinated to see it. All I've found so far is laws put in place by wealthy landowners in order to apply the force of the army to back up their claim to land.Isaac

    When police arrest thieves and return the stolen property to the victim...

    It happens every day. But my point isn't that laws protect everyone equally, my point is that if we don't have laws then the alternative would be worse. For example, a few hundred years ago, if I wrongfully accused you of horse or cattle theft in a frontier town where there were no marshals/police, all it would take to have you unjustly killed would be to get enough people angry about it. This point is deeper than the value of democracy, it's one of the pillars of civilization itself.

    We don't need to consider the anarchistic ramifications every-time we uphold the law, and every-time an innocent person is declared not guilty, and a guilty person is found guilty, in a fair court of law, it's a victory for civilization itself (our ability to live together and successfully in large groups).

    Have you any evidence to back this up. I could point to the many successful community run enterprises and worker-owned companies in oppositionIsaac

    Let the inmates run the asylum? :chin:

    Well, the latter is coming. To quote one of my favourite passages from Stephen Emmott when asked what he would do in response to the current global situation he replied "teach my son how to use a gun".Isaac

    That's just not the right attitude...

    First you teach him what guns are, and what they are for, and why they are dangerous. Then you teach him about gun safety. Start him off with a pellet gun, and teach him how to load and shoot targets safely. Once he is old enough, and under direct and expert guidance, then he can learn how to shoot a gun.

    So I take it you're a supporter of the second amendment (gun rights)?

    I wonder...

    If you were attending a gun safety seminar, and a group of anti-gun rights activists showed up to disrupt and vandalize the event, how would you respond?
  • csalisbury
    1.7k


    yes, yeah. A lot to chew on there

    Ok, first thing - Scruton's 'context' - the estate, the horses (there were horses, right?). My first thought is, if you lose that, 'good!'

    The calming luxury of an estate points toward the calming, sober, power of the master. The meaning of a speech delivered in a warm drawing-room after a tour around the property bristles with everything you've just seen. and the plight of placeless gypsies in Hungary very easily, naturally, rolls into a momentary distaste for [those who would want to disrupt this eminently Placeful Harmony]

    from Henry James The Bostonians : a fervent 19th century feminist spending an evening at a wealthy nonfeminist's place:

    I must add, however that there was a moment when she came near being happy - or, at any rate, reflected that it was a pity she could not be so[...]His guests sat scattered in the red firelight, listening, silent, in comfortable attitudes; there was faint fragrance from the burning logs, which mingled with the perfume of Schubert and Mendelssohn; the covered lamps made a glow here and there,, and the cabinets and brackets produced brown shadows, out of which some precious object gleamed[...]Her nerves were calmed, her problems - for the time - subsided. Civilization, under such an influence, in such a setting, appeared to have done its work; harmony ruled the scene; human life ceased to be a battle. She went so far as to ask herself why one should have a quarrel with it; the relations of men and women, in that picturesque grouping, had not the air of being internecine. — James


    But I understand your broader point to be that internet discourse is a kind of flattening all around. Where everything is yanked from its context, and you reach a sort of critical mass of 'yanking' where the flat space of the internet doesn't reflect a given world anymore, but, instead, everything in the world is already measuring itself against how it would seem in the flat space. Gradually quotes aren't cited in a neutral medium; the medium itself dictates how people speak, all speakers now anticipating how their quotes will be reworked.

    In that regard, I agree with you. The tweeted protestations or lamentations of the 'sane' are a performative contradiction It's like Comey doing his sober perspective in biblical tweets (waters of righteousness or something). He's immediately infected, and made memeable. Everyone gets sucked in.

    But do you think - My feeling is that a return to context *is* good, even if the Scruton context is abhorrent. Where the speaker draws from a local situation and works with it. I know that's a little luddite, because it means logging off - but I don't see how you can counteract the sheer dissolving momentum of internet discourse - for the reasons you mention - through anything short of dropping out of it. Any attempts to intervene in the medium itself will get sucked into it.
  • csalisbury
    1.7k
    @fdrake There's also something to be said about 'thinkpieces' which correspond to the 'above it all' position I mentioned. These have proliferated like crazy. There are thinkpieces on thinkpieces, of course, so I'm saying nothing new. It's weird, because like - Dostoevsky's Notes From The Underground,say, would have been a 'thinkpiece' at the time. Maybe even Erasmus or Voltaire or Swift. But is it the same thing?
  • Isaac
    714
    You're equivocating "the right to be heard" with "the privilege to speak at Berkely", and you're also equivocating "not having the right to speak at Berkeley" with "not having any rights at all".VagabondSpectre

    No, it's about the fact that when it comes to the right to speak at Berkeley, you play the nihilistic and say hat Berkeley is a private institution and has the right to allow or disallow whomever it wants. If we're basing rights here solely on law, then the protesters have the 'right' to block entry, in fact do absolutely anything that it is not actually illegal. But when we talk about the protesters, you switch terms. No longer are we talking about what they have a right to do by law, we start talking about what they should do, in terms of not escalating violence, not fanning the flames etc. So why is it legitimate to talk of what the protestors should do morally in their actions, but not about what Berkeley should do morally in controlling the speaking platforms they own?

    You are saying that in order to be popular, first, you need to be popular, which makes no sense.VagabondSpectre

    No, I'm saying in order to be popular you must be popular in principle. What will be popular is not a mystery, advertising companies predict it all the time. In order to popular you must be one of the things which it is known is going to be popular.

    The argument that your views aren't commercial enough to get their own pundit is not at all realistic (in fact, corporations platform progressive views more than any other). Ironically, the only hard barrier to any political persuasion finding representatives is the very censorship which some have advocated for in this thread.VagabondSpectre

    So your counter argument is to just ignore everything I've said with a blanket denial. Haven't we just been discussing the barriers to some viewpoints getting a platform? Only controversial views sell advertising space, if your views are not controversial you will not have the same platforms available to you as controversial views.
    Only popular views are worth promoting. What is going to be popular is fairly well predictable and if your views don't fit into these categories you will not have the same platforms available. It is pretty unequivocal (and to be honest a fairly uncontroversial view) that certain ideas are more 'sellable' than others for reasons other than their actual merit. So no, censorship of the kind I'm advocating is not the only barrier to political persuasion, its not even close.

    We're not supposed to be unthinking lemmings who look to an intellectual authority to decide whether or not a private group of students should be permitted to discuss their beliefs.VagabondSpectre

    What we are 'supposed' to be and what we absolutely evidently are, are two different things. Your faith in humanity is misplaced. Between 18 and 31% of Americans don't even believe in evolution. Is that the crowd you're expecting to critically appraise what the association with Berkeley 'really' means?

    Actually, The Berkeley Group Holdings plc owns UoBerkeley. The students are just paying customers (the conservative and the liberal students alike).VagabondSpectre

    As I said. I don't accept the legitimacy of legal ownership of property in this respect.

    When police arrest thieves and return the stolen property to the victim...VagabondSpectre

    And the law by which that prosecution is made came about as a considered means of avoiding anarchy? That was my question. I was asking for the evidence of the avoidance of anarchy being the motivating factor in creating a law, not the protection of the property of those responsible for creating it.

    Some of the law protects the citizens of the country from unjust harm. Some of it doesn't. Some of it actually perpetuates unjust harm. So 'the law' doesn't mean anything in moral terms. One still has to make an independent decision about whether one's actions are moral, and whether they are against the law or not need not enter into that.

    Let the inmates run the asylum?VagabondSpectre

    They're not inmates. They're students and workers. And yes, let them run the companies.

    So I take it you're a supporter of the second amendment (gun rights)?VagabondSpectre

    No. I'm a strong opponent of the second ammendment. Why would I want everyone else to be armed too? Just my family, armed illegally, would be the most secure insurance.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.6k
    No, it's about the fact that when it comes to the right to speak at Berkeley, you play the nihilistic and say hat Berkeley is a private institution and has the right to allow or disallow whomever it wants. If we're basing rights here solely on law, then the protesters have the 'right' to block entry, in fact do absolutely anything that it is not actually illegal. But when we talk about the protesters, you switch terms. No longer are we talking about what they have a right to do by law, we start talking about what they should do, in terms of not escalating violence, not fanning the flames etc. So why is it legitimate to talk of what the protestors should do morally in their actions, but not about what Berkeley should do morally in controlling the speaking platforms they own?Isaac

    There's no such "right to block entry" in this context, except to one's own property. By barricading doors to interfere with others, we're approaching dangerously close to intimidation, and we're likely trespassing. I'm no lawyer, but this isn't rocket-law.

    I think that students absolutely have the right to protest and lobby their university, but I don't think they should be able to use physical force against the university or any other law abiding citizen in order to achieve their political ends. I'm saying don't use physical force or violence to achieve political goals (especially in as round-a-bout a way as shutting down the events of the opposition, which merely energizes them).

    No, I'm saying in order to be popular you must be popular in principle. What will be popular is not a mystery, advertising companies predict it all the time. In order to popular you must be one of the things which it is known is going to be popular.Isaac

    Only controversial views sell advertising space, if your views are not controversial you will not have the same platforms available to you as controversial views.
    Only popular views are worth promoting. What is going to be popular is fairly well predictable and if your views don't fit into these categories you will not have the same platforms available. It is pretty unequivocal (and to be honest a fairly uncontroversial view) that certain ideas are more 'sellable' than others for reasons other than their actual merit. So no, censorship of the kind I'm advocating is not the only barrier to political persuasion, its not even close.
    Isaac

    I said that the only hard barrier to platforms is censorship. My claim is more specific than the one you've addressed, and my criticism is that your own position is both controversial and popular, and is already highly platformed in new media.

    If your political ideologies already have ample platforms, why barricade Shapiro's?

    What we are 'supposed' to be and what we absolutely evidently are, are two different things. Your faith in humanity is misplaced. Between 18 and 31% of Americans don't even believe in evolution. Is that the crowd you're expecting to critically appraise what the association with Berkeley 'really' means?Isaac

    I'm an atheist, but I don't see why people's belief in angels and demons is a problem that can't be mitigated. After all, America remains the leader of the free world despite all that (and so far, despite Trump), so the long term trajectory is against you.

    And the law by which that prosecution is made came about as a considered means of avoiding anarchy? That was my question. I was asking for the evidence of the avoidance of anarchy being the motivating factor in creating a law, not the protection of the property of those responsible for creating itIsaac

    Whether the original intention of a law is to preserve order or not, they tend to only stick around if they do. Ostensibly the modern world upholds laws in order to maintain civil order (both to protect individuals from each-other, and to protect individuals from the government itself). Lots of times we have retarded reasons written down in old dusty books and documents (such as "Under the divine auspices of Her Majesty's authority blah blah blah"), but by now everyone knows why we still need them.

    Some of the law protects the citizens of the country from unjust harm. Some of it doesn't. Some of it actually perpetuates unjust harm. So 'the law' doesn't mean anything in moral terms. One still has to make an independent decision about whether one's actions are moral, and whether they are against the law or not need not enter into that.Isaac

    Sometimes the law corresponds to what is moral, but you also have the democratic right to try and have the law changed. If changing the laws you disagree with is completely impossible, then maybe insurrection is the right rub, but maybe the harm you would or could cause in doing so would outweigh your initial justification. In more common terms, do your ends justify your means?

    They're not inmates. They're students and workers. And yes, let them run the companiesIsaac

    How should they decide who gets to be CEO of their shiny new companies? Should they take it in turns in some sort of semi-autonomous anarcho-syndicist commune, with ratification of major decisions by simple majority?

    This is where "merit" really has a lot of merit...

    No. I'm a strong opponent of the second ammendment. Why would I want everyone else to be armed too? Just my family, armed illegally, would be the most secure insurance.Isaac

    I'm willing to bet that, statistically, owning a gun decreases one's life expectancy...
  • Isaac
    714
    There's no such "right to block entry" in this context, except to one's own property. By barricading doors to interfere with others, we're approaching dangerously close to intimidation, and we're likely trespassing. I'm no lawyer, but this isn't rocket-law.VagabondSpectre

    As far as I'm aware, 9 people were arrested, so, pending further evidence we can only presume the actions of the remainder were considered by police to be either legal, or non-prosecutable at least. Notwithstanding that, my comment was only intended to try and draw the discussion away from what's legally allowed to what's morally acceptable. The two are not the same.

    My claim is more specific than the one you've addressedVagabondSpectre

    Maybe, but it took a place in the argument which carried a greater weight. If censorship is the only 'hard' barrier (whatever that means) then the other factors I mentioned remain as barriers.

    my criticism is that your own position is both controversial and popular, and is already highly platformed in new media.VagabondSpectre

    I don't think I've yet mentioned my position. Its certainly not popular as I've barely heard it repeated in the media. The point I'm making here is about the right of communities to determine (forcefully if necessary) who they want as contributing members.

    Put simply, my view is that the people of Berkeley University form a community (from CEOs to cleaners), that community collectively are responsible for Berkeley (regardless of legal property rights, with which I do not morally agree here), a community demonstrates its moral code by ostracising those who do not adhere to it. Where there is disagreement, there will be clashes as one group tries to ostracise the other.

    If I were one of those groups I would certainly be looking to ostracise the other with as little violence as possible because I believe causing unnecessary harm is generally bad, but I wouldn't rule it out. It depends on the threat.

    I have no wish to prevent someone like Shapiro from speaking anywhere in the world (unless no community supports him). I'm defending the right of one given community to demonstrate (by whatevermmeans prove necessary yet remain moral) that he is not welcome to contribute.

    Whether the original intention of a law is to preserve order or not, they tend to only stick around if they do.VagabondSpectre

    Again, I'd need to know the mechanism by which this is ensured in order to consider it. Unless you're saying the good ones remain entirely by chance. The only mechanism I'm aware of that can remove a law in most Western countries is the democratically elected government. Is there some force I'm unaware of which prevents people from electing governments for reasons other than the prevention of anarchy? If not, I'm struggling to see what would force a government to remove laws not designed only to maintain civil order.

    How should they decide who gets to be CEO of their shiny new companies? Should they take it in turns in some sort of semi-autonomous anarcho-syndicist commune, with ratification of major decisions by simple majority?VagabondSpectre

    I really don't think explaining how worker owned coops function would be on topic here. Suffice to say many do, and the manner in which they do varies.

    I'm willing to bet that, statistically, owning a gun decreases one's life expectancy...VagabondSpectre

    Statistically it probably does. But as my statistician colleague is fond of reminding me, there is a difference between incidence and probability, and the one thing you can almost guarantee your own probability is not going to be is the incidence. No one is average.
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