• VagabondSpectre
    1.6k
    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.Isaac

    As far as I can gather, you're a socialist leaning anti-fascist.

    In any case, the views of the Berkeley students who use force to shut down conservative events seem to have ample platforms of their own.

    And there's an irony afoot. The "Antifa" movement of today mirrors some of the tactics and attitudes of the original fascists. Purging our communities of undesirables might not turn out like you'd hoped...'

    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.Isaac

    I understand what you're saying in principle, it's called "distributive justice", but in the broader "community" of which Berkeley is just one part, there is disagreement about what is moral, and who we should therefore ostracize as a result. A huge swath of the American people hold conservative views, so if Berkeley and every progressive institution closes their doors to conservative leaning students, we'll just be creating division which will lead to more conflict instead of cooperation or mutual compromise.

    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.
    Isaac


    It's that "by whatever means necessary, yet remain moral" line that gives me pause.

    Are you defining what is moral by appealing to what you think is necessary?

    The ends always justify the means?

    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.Isaac

    Courts often strike down laws in practice because they violate more fundamentally important and well established laws (namely, individual rights). Politicians and bureaucrats draft bills, parliamentary/senatorial representatives ratify them, police enforce them, and then the courts interpret them. If a certain law cannot be justly enforced, or if a given interpretation makes no sense, then individual judges can essentially overturn or reject said law (and in doing so they can set an influential precedent, which we all learn from). Case law works because it's constantly being put to the test; it can evolve according to whether or not it's actually working, or as the values of the people change. If the enforcement of a particular law causes too many problems or upsets for too many people, judges might strike them down and politicians/bureaucrats will have them addressed.

    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.Isaac

    Students attend university to learn, not to occupy or control it.
  • Isaac
    714
    As far as I can gather, you're a socialist leaning anti-fascist.VagabondSpectre

    That's a very broad brush. Even Shapiro does not support zero welfare and he certainly claims to oppose fascism, so I think socialist leaning anti-fascist describes almost the entire political landscape. No one is suggesting that the ecomony should be entirely unregulated with regards to progressive redistribution (welfare/minimum wage/stock option/government funded services) and no one is suggesting that Americans are the master race and non-Americans should be purged because they are lesser beings.

    The arguments are about exactly how much wealth redistribution there should be and to exactly what extent ethnic/national groupings should be allowed to migrate.

    The detail of my own political opinion is way off topic, but the point is that some positions on this scale (wealth redistribution, ethnic/national migration) are unpopular and unrepresented.

    The point about some views not having platforms is not that it justifies action for those groups, it's to re-affirm that we live in a society where denial of platforms is a perfectly normal commonplace event. If I went to Berkeley conservative Union and asked to speak, they would say no. They would deny me a platform, it's normal practice. We're arguing about how and why, not whether.

    Purging our communities of undesirables might not turn out like you'd hoped...'VagabondSpectre

    It may not, but there's nothing I can do about that. Purging our community of undesirables is happening all the time. What we're arguing over is the method, not the activity. Look at a community in rural Afghanistan, a community of Australian Aborigines, a community of middle class New Yorkers. Are you supposing that the almost complete homogeneity you see within those communities (when compared to between them) is random? No, it's the result of purging undesirables, and it's usually done by ostracisation.

    There's a reason why there aren't any mainstream fascists here in Europe, and it's not because we debated their ideas. It's because we shot them.

    in the broader "community" of which Berkeley is just one part, there is disagreement about what is moral, and who we should therefore ostracize as a result. A huge swath of the American people hold conservative views, so if Berkeley and every progressive institution closes their doors to conservative leaning students, we'll just be creating division which will lead to more conflict instead of cooperation or mutual compromise.VagabondSpectre

    I don't see any reason to think that would be the case. You're talking about this as if it were a question of learning about other cultures by intermixing, like we should avoid ending up with a 'conservative' university and a 'liberal' one, so that people mix and understand where each other are coming from. But this is not about where people are coming from. It's about greed and xenophobia. These are moral issues. No one would say we should have a few child-killers in the community so we can mix and understand where different people are coming from.

    It's really as simple as saying that some attitudes are simply not tolerated within a community. Again, this is perfectly normal practice, the debate is (or should be) about what attitudes are disallowed and what means a community can engage in to make that position clear. That some attitudes are disallowed, and that some methods are employed to make that clear is unquestionable.

    It's that "by whatever means necessary, yet remain moral" line that gives me pause.

    Are you defining what is moral by appealing to what you think is necessary?

    The ends always justify the means?
    VagabondSpectre

    No. What is moral is what is moral. It's that the morality of behaviour is contextual. It's not immoral to kill (it's immoral to kill someone who isn't an immediate threat, or in need of mercy killing, or...). So no, the ends do not always justify the means, but of course they sometimes do. I think that's the case for everyone?

    Personally, when anti-immigrant and anti-welfare sentiment is at risk of being escalated thousands of people's lives and livelihoods are at risk. I think a little scuffle is a more than justified way of demonstrating how unwelcome that sentiment is.

    If the enforcement of a particular law causes too many problems or upsets for too many people, judges might strike them down and politicians/bureaucrats will have them addressed.VagabondSpectre

    True, but that just acts as a means to ensure the laws are enforceable. It still doesn't seem to be a mechanism whereby laws are filtered to ensure they focus on maintaining a healthy degree of order.

    Students attend university to learn, not to occupy or control it.VagabondSpectre

    Can't they do both?
  • ssu
    1.5k
    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.Maw
    When it comes to billionaires giving money to political movements, parties and outright individual politicians, one naturally has to make the difference between propagation of political and economic ideology and what is simply lobbying for personal gain. For some like the Koch brothers to hold power in the GOP it's more about the latter. Yet typically things are promoted as ideological choices.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.6k
    The point about some views not having platforms is not that it justifies action for those groups, it's to re-affirm that we live in a society where denial of platforms is a perfectly normal commonplace event. If I went to Berkeley conservative Union and asked to speak, they would say no. They would deny me a platform, it's normal practice. We're arguing about how and why, not whetherIsaac

    Then my argument is that one political faction of Berkeley U's students should not be able to control the platforms of an opposing faction through force. The opposing faction may have rented a venue from Berkeley U, and you can say that conservative views are immoral, therefore students ought to censor it, but the opposition could make the same blanket statement as justification for shutting down an event that you or I might support. I'm saying that just because some students feel like they have the right to occupy Berkeley doesn't make it so. It's not fair to Berkeley and it's not fair to the opposition which would be censored.

    If you want to actually establish that the opposition is immoral, delivering an argument or a rebuke at the event in question would be your primary means to actually persuade them.

    It may not, but there's nothing I can do about that. Purging our community of undesirables is happening all the time. What we're arguing over is the method, not the activity. Look at a community in rural Afghanistan, a community of Australian Aborigines, a community of middle class New Yorkers. Are you supposing that the almost complete homogeneity you see within those communities (when compared to between them) is random? No, it's the result of purging undesirables, and it's usually done by ostracisation.

    There's a reason why there aren't any mainstream fascists here in Europe, and it's not because we debated their ideas. It's because we shot them.
    Isaac

    You're advocating for using the tactics of the racists and the fascists in order to get rid of them, and because of that you run the risk of merely replacing them.

    It's really as simple as saying that some attitudes are simply not tolerated within a community. Again, this is perfectly normal practice, the debate is (or should be) about what attitudes are disallowed and what means a community can engage in to make that position clear. That some attitudes are disallowed, and that some methods are employed to make that clear is unquestionable.Isaac

    If you want to censor Shapiro's ideas, then I'm worried that you would wind up censoring basically everything else that you don't agree with.

    One of the few kinds of speech I'm in favor of censoring is speech that calls for violence against a specified group or individual. Why, again, must Shapiro be purged?

    Personally, when anti-immigrant and anti-welfare sentiment is at risk of being escalated thousands of people's lives and livelihoods are at risk. I think a little scuffle is a more than justified way of demonstrating how unwelcome that sentiment is.Isaac

    How do you regulate the scuffling mob?

    Once you've framed the issue as one of preserving life and livelihood, where force in general is sanctioned, how will you stop the mob from going too far?

    Can't they do both?Isaac

    Student's can't run the university because they don't know how. They're teenagers who lack knowledge and experience; most of their time needs to be dedicated to learning their course material and attending lectures, and the rest of it needs to be spent goofing off to diffuse stress. They're customers, not faculty/staff; they pay for a service, they didn't buy the business.

    This really is a case of suggesting that the inmates should run the asylum. We don't let the most inexperienced among us make the most critical decisions for the rest of us, because people with no experience at a thing generally suck at that thing.
  • Maw
    1.5k
    When it comes to billionaires giving money to political movements, parties and outright individual politicians, one naturally has to make the difference between propagation of political and economic ideology and what is simply lobbying for personal gain. For some like the Koch brothers to hold power in the GOP it's more about the latter. Yet typically things are promoted as ideological choices.ssu

    Except if you had actually read anything I recommended, you'd know that the Koch Brothers don't exclusively lobby or donate money to politicians and campaigns, but also set up and direct multiple think tanks and university departments to propagate libertarian ideology, as I've already stated multiple times now. Not going to further waste my time with a tried and true know-nothing like yourself who constantly pedals in vapid speculation.
  • Benkei
    2k
    The insults are unnecessary and you certainly can't expect a European to be as informed or even interested in the details of certain aspects of US politics. It also makes you sound unconvincing.
  • ssu
    1.5k

    Look at you go!

    Your arrogance and ideological tribal fervor is so over the top that it's hilarious, yet so telling. Where did I say that the Koch's exclusively donate to politicians and campaigns? Donating to think tanks etc. can be a way to effect party policy and this can be done, in the end, for personal gains. Yet with the so popular tradition, just give an answer to things that have nothing to do with what I actually say. How this conversation reminds me of the debates with the old venerable LandruGuideUs chap.

    The total inability to see that populists (by the traditional definition of populism, actually) both on the left and the right don't really like billionaires funding politics is obvious. At least those that fund the other sides favorite issues. Oh but this is what? Toxic centrism? That would be a new one. Even to refer that both sides would engage in basically similar demagoguery (even in their alternate universes, of course) is heresy for you as obviously one side is justifiably right, errr the left that is, and the other side just resorts to absurd lies that have absolutely nothing to do with reality.
  • Isaac
    714
    I'm saying that just because some students feel like they have the right to occupy Berkeley doesn't make it so. It's not fair to Berkeley and it's not fair to the opposition which would be censored.VagabondSpectre

    But now we're back to 'fairness' again. Why do you think it would not be 'fair'?

    If you want to actually establish that the opposition is immoral, delivering an argument or a rebuke at the event in question would be your primary means to actually persuade them.VagabondSpectre

    One cannot argue morality, there are no moral facts, only opinions. Even if we could agree on some basic moral and argue the facts of how it is achieved, what evidence do you have to justify your belief that evidence-based persuasion is the best way to change someone's opinion?

    I've just read this morning that Alabama have just banned abortion even for victims of rape and incest. How did the logical persuasion of liberals go there?

    You're advocating for using the tactics of the racists and the fascists in order to get rid of them, and because of that you run the risk of merely replacing them.VagabondSpectre

    That's a ludicrous argument. If racists and fascists started debating their ideas in open forums would you then advise we switch to violent insurrection lest we become fascists by copying their tactics?

    Tactics and the arguments they promote are two different things. As I said, I'm not an advocate of serious violence unless it is strictly necessary (responding to serious violence). I'm just not arbitrarily drawing a line at any physical force whatsoever. I'm still not seeing any argument for drawing the line there apart from this 'escalation' idea, but then I'm not seeing the mechanism by which violence breeds more violence, but spoken word is immune from such escalation.

    If you want to censor Shapiro's ideas, then I'm worried that you would wind up censoring basically everything else that you don't agree with.VagabondSpectre

    Yes, that's the point. Within one's community, why would we not be allowed to proscribed certain speech acts? We proscribe all sorts of other behaviour, even very trivial stuff of virtually insignificant harm. What is it about speech that you're so opposed to circumscribing?

    How do you regulate the scuffling mob?

    Once you've framed the issue as one of preserving life and livelihood, where force in general is sanctioned, how will you stop the mob from going too far?
    VagabondSpectre

    The same way you regulate the non-scuffing mob. Why has the fact that it is scuffling suddenly rendered it difficult to regulate?

    We don't let the most inexperienced among us make the most critical decisions for the rest of usVagabondSpectre

    Inexperienced at what? We're not talking about how to balance the cash flow, we're talking about desicions about who to allow to speak on campus. What level of experience is the CEO guaranteed to have here that helps them make the 'right' decision?
  • Maw
    1.5k
    Hey Benkei, a very obvious solution for one who is uninformed on a subject is to read and learn more about it, as I have suggested to ssu multiple times, which he decidedly ignores. What's actually more insulting is to suggest otherwise.
  • thedeadidea
    98
    I only hope in 2020 more humanities departments close down as universities are starved even more economically.....

    I really want to see how long they can keep pretending that SJW fanatics are not a problem and people don't want to learn from or with such morons.

    I wonder if they will pretend to the end.
  • ssu
    1.5k
    Back to the actual topic, here is the culprit talking among other things about this incident and conservatism in general to another wretched right-winger:

  • fdrake
    2.5k
    Ok, first thing - Scruton's 'context' - the estate, the horses (there were horses, right?). My first thought is, if you lose that, 'good!'csalisbury

    I like to imagine Scruton having his ideas about sex and gender identity while watching carp in a stately pond. But yes, less carp, more empathy, more reality.

    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.csalisbury

    I think that's about right. At least, close to my perspective on it.

    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

    I guess it's about a different kind of contextualising. You can embed nuance in the Endless Stream of the Styx through tinyurl; so lectures, 'thinkpieces', books, good blog posts; can propagate. The problem there is that reason is unlikely to function as a bridge or a perturbation, as its distribution is partitioned into channels created by other means. The synoptic vision and measuredness that can come from good research and journalism is a synoptic vision for the marketing demographic that is most likely to click on it.

    As much as people like to paint reason as a great connector - it's now less a universal transit system of the space of ideas and more like a bridge between near islands in the grand archipelago of internet discourse.

    Edit: I guess the contrast is between 'dropping out' = cutting out your tongue and 'staying in' = speaking post-Babel in the Bible.

    Edit2: Though there are some promising prospects for grass-roots viral marketing, like the case of the Scottish Independence referendum a few years ago.
  • Kippo
    131
    Back to the actual topic, here is the culprit talking among other things about this incident and conservatism in general to another wretched right-wingerssu

    Why aren't they sitting on those nice looking mahogany chairs instead of those plastic things? Is it a fake backdrop or something?
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.6k
    Why do you think it would not be 'fair'?Isaac

    It's not "fair" because banning conservative views on campus would be gross political favoritism. Conservative students are paying customers, and as long as they're behaving peacefully, banning them would be unjust.

    It's also not fair to Berkeley to use force to compel them to play political favoritism.

    If alt-rioters shut down an event you that happened to be attending and support, I'm guessing you would object to their use of force against you and yours, right?

    One cannot argue morality, there are no moral facts, only opinions. Even if we could agree on some basic moral and argue the facts of how it is achieved, what evidence do you have to justify your belief that evidence-based persuasion is the best way to change someone's opinion?Isaac

    Often times people hold particular political views because they believe that they represent the best way to achieve fundamentally important moral goals (like a secure, stable, and prosperous society).

    As it turns out, conservatism and progressivism are often after the same ends, people just disagree about how best to achieve them (both sides are interested in "fairness" for example, but they disagree about the facts of the playing field).

    So, with the right evidence, it is actually possible to show people that their views are not practical or are not likely to achieve the desired results.

    We didn't get where we are today by randomly succumbing to our moral whims, we actually held debates as best we could, and were able to find mutually beneficial compromises.

    I've just read this morning that Alabama have just banned abortion even for victims of rape and incest. How did the logical persuasion of liberals go there?Isaac

    What logical persuasion?

    Merely condemning abortion without appealing to facts isn't evidence based persuasion, it's based on an emotional appeal. Alabamians are well insulated from reasonable pro-choice speakers, so it's unlikely that many of them have ever seriously considered the issue. The problem is that many of them have pre-decided, on emotional grounds, that they're correct, and that listening to the opposition is nothing but harmful; and because they're surrounded only by people who reinforce that view, how can they get away from it?

    When the left comes in and calls them monsters as a rebuke, they're only strengthening their resolve.

    This is the politics of feelings over facts, and it stinks...

    That's a ludicrous argument. If racists and fascists started debating their ideas in open forums would you then advise we switch to violent insurrection lest we become fascists by copying their tactics?Isaac

    I think your analogy is a bit lopsided. Racists and fascists are debating their ideas in open forums, and you're advising violent insurrection to be used against them. I'm not saying copying the fascists and racists is necessarily bad, I'm saying that violent insurrection is bad. Racists and Fascists have historically used violent insurrection to achieve their ends. I'm trying to draw an ironic ideological connection between your advocacy of the use of force as political speech with the self-same directive of the original fascists (see: brownshirts & blackshirts).

    As I said, I'm not an advocate of serious violence unless it is strictly necessary (responding to serious violence).Isaac

    Tell me again why barricading the doors of Shapiro's events is necessary force?

    You said because the lives of marginalized folk are on the line. You might interpret that as only condoning barricades, but why can't someone else say that it condones the use of artillery?

    If lives are on the line when Shapiro speaks, can't your argument also justify his assassination?

    Yes, that's the point. Within one's community, why would we not be allowed to proscribed certain speech acts? We proscribe all sorts of other behaviour, even very trivial stuff of virtually insignificant harm. What is it about speech that you're so opposed to circumscribing?Isaac

    Because lots of people disagree, so what you're asking for leads inexorably to conflict and political segregation.

    The whole point of democracy is to work through our disagreements about what policies and moral aims we should enshrine into culture and law. We don't police the thoughts of other citizens because we've collectively decided to protect the right of individuals to think and speak freely, so that through a marketplace of our ideas, we may identify the best and most appealing principles by which to govern.

    The same way you regulate the non-scuffing mob. Why has the fact that it is scuffling suddenly rendered it difficult to regulate?Isaac

    How can you even ask this?

    Are you really wondering what could make a scuffling mob harder to control than an organized crowd (i.e: not a mob)?

    Here's how: emotionally riled up individuals within the scuffling mob take aggressive action, which engenders an aggressive response from opposing individuals, and then when the rest of the mob sees this, they tend to escalate their degree of scuffling.

    Inexperienced at what?Isaac

    Exactly. They don't even yet know what they don't yet know, and if they skip their business classes then they may never know.

    We're not talking about how to balance the cash flow, we're talking about desicions about who to allow to speak on campus. What level of experience is the CEO guaranteed to have here that helps them make the 'right' decision?Isaac

    If you think it would stop at deciding who gets to speak on campus, then you're kidding yourself beyond measure, but let's assume that's all they're after:

    An edict is issued banning any and every conservative speaker, which causes the conservative student union to start protesting, and to lose faith in the institution's ability to impartially educate them.

    Next year enrollment figures are way down as a result, and the university needs to think about what it's going to cut, or sell, or who it will layoff to balance the budget. Because "progressive" students are the ones using forceful extortion, they might have no choice but to down-size and start openly pandering to assuage the students' ire.

    And what would all this do to the academic integrity of the institution in the long run? How could Berkeley field a political science major and at the same time shield them all from even entertaining mainstream conservative political beliefs? It's farcical.
  • fdrake
    2.5k
    And there's an irony afoot. The "Antifa" movement of today mirrors some of the tactics and attitudes of the original fascists. Purging our communities of undesirables might not turn out like you'd hoped...'VagabondSpectre

    You have some stupid antifa. Then you have the ones, the majority, that counter protest violent nationalists. They are called antifa because they try to impede far right movements. I'll be more sympathetic to this comparison when you can give me news articles of antifa killing people. or acting to seriously harm people, for their political beliefs and not out of self defence.

    Even violence at protests; most of which is done by antifa in self defense; all political ideologies have violence somewhere - faultlines of power are semipermeable membranes for our conduct -, the presumption that antifa violence is just as unjust and indifferent to life as memeing your car into a group of left protestors, killing an island conference of schoolchildren, or beating the shit out of unarmed black teenagers is quite reductive.

    Where's the nuanced treatment of the antifa? Why is the presumption there that the antifa are aggressive in the same way as the people they counterprotest? Surely there should be more nuance here.

    Edit: also, left liberals attempting to deplatform on college campuses are generally not antifa - antifa are usually anarchist, anticapitalist leftist, rather than capitalist-humanists that lean left.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.6k
    You have some stupid antifa. Then you have the ones that counter protest white nationalists. I'll be more sympathetic to this comparison when you can give me news articles of antifa killing people. or acting to kill people, for their political beliefs.fdrake

    I'm reluctant to go into specifics because I'm not looking to tit-for-tat justify violent actions from either side, I'm saying that embracing violence in arenas which are meant to be democratic is antithetical to democracy. I'm rebuking left wing actions here in this thread (given its context, and especially given they're the democratic party), but it doesn't mean I don't rebuke the other side (my main point has become that rebuking the other side on moral, ideological, and factual levels in spite of its violence is the only apparent solution, where meeting force with force just compounds the root cause of the problem).

    Even violence at protests; most of which is done by antifa in self defense; all political ideologies have violence somewhere - faultlines of power are semipermeable membranes for our conduct -, the presumption that antifa violence is just as unjust and indifferent to life as memeing your car into a group of left protestors, killing an island conference of schoolchildren, or beating the shit out of unarmed black teenagers is quite reductive.

    Wheres the nuanced treatment of the antifa? Why is the presumption there that the antifa are aggressive in the same way as the people they counterprotest? Surely there should be more nuance here.
    fdrake

    Shapiro is a lot of irritating things, but I don't believe him to be white nationalist, and he doesn't condone violence so far as I know. Nuance for Scruton (and by tangential extension, Shapiro) is my objective here.

    The fast and loose way in which we associate Shapiro with these heinous acts provides great emotional fodder to motivate a basic protest even though it might not be accurate, but it also causes some individuals to become emotionally enraged and to resort to violence. The idiotic minority of antifa who go overboard and undermine the movement are magnified by the opposition and used to paint a caricature, which then becomes the fast and loose rhetoric that motivates and radicalizes individuals on the other side.

    It's almost never productive to protest for emotional reasons alone, because without a coherent ask it's just a rowdy waste of time. If the people who are protesting Shapiro are asking him to go away, then they're also asking the conservative students who invited him to go away, which is an unreasonable request if Berkley wishes to show some semblance of political impartiality
  • StreetlightX
    3.8k
    Love how having money somehow puts one beyond the sphere of politics. B-b-but they paid for it! This means they have rights!

    Pathetic.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.6k
    Short of declaring Spencer an enemy of the state, how to we defeat fascism, and does protesting Shapiro contribute to that fight?

    I'm willing to accept (culture) war in principle, but I think you might be escalating things rather quickly, especially you think if Shapiro's followers are beyond persuasion.

    Love how having money somehow puts one beyond the sphere of politics. B-b-but they paid for it! This means they have rights!

    Pathetic.
    StreetlightX

    I don't get what you mean, who is suggesting money buys civil rights?

    Or are you just broadly equating the political sphere with force?
  • StreetlightX
    3.8k
    Or are you just broadly equating the political sphere with force?VagabondSpectre

    I'm not 'equating' the political sphere with anything. What counts, and does not count, as political, is the political act par excellence and the liberal con is to imagine that one can set out, in advance, what ought to, and ought not, count as political. The neutralization and sterilization of politics passed off as sensible political theory. Trash.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.6k
    I'm not 'equating' the political sphere with anything. What counts, and does not count, as political, is the political act par excellence and the liberal con is to imagine that one can set out, in advance, what ought to, and ought not, count as political. The neutralization and sterilization of politics passed off as sensible political theory. Trash.StreetlightX

    You're right that what counts most is determined in the field (voting booths mostly), but we embrace the use of force at the expense of the use of sensible political theory, where instead of the merit of a representative's ideas lending them success, it will be the amount of force employed by their supporters.

    I'm not saying violence can't be political, or that there's not a time and a place for it, but I am saying it's undemocratic. Hooliganism from either side convinces no one, and seems to only serve the opposition by energizing them and fueling their rhetoric, so why bother?

    Why do you want a no-holds barred political sphere?
  • StreetlightX
    3.8k


    No, I want a non-hypocritical political sphere. One in which the politics at work in platforming some dickhead like Shapiro is acknowledged as political, and not the outcome of some 'natural', merit-based, extra-poltical process. Where money is similarly acknowledged as a political tool that anyone who holds it knows it to be. What is 'undemocratic' is the (pseudo-)depoliticization of what is obviously political: of putting these things out of democratic play. I want more democracy not less. But this requires a less shallow, less emaciated understanding of democracy than just what happens in 'voting booths'.
  • I like sushi
    1.2k
    Regarding “conservativism” it is clear enough to me that it’s suffering, and going to suffer more, simply because the world is changing fast.

    The older you get the more conservative your values become. Does this mean experience is wisdom or that experience dims wisdom? Listen to your elders.

    Political discourse requires opposition, conflict and the exposure of necessarily difficult and threatening questions.

    Generally speaking I believe it best to act collectively with a right-leaning attitude and individually with left-leaning attitude - not that this dictates any personal starting position. To me this has become a common practice now that I try to instill habitually.

    As for Murray’s comment about Foucault that is irrelevant. “Power” isn’t a dirty word and not something we should attach to ‘shame’ and/or ‘decadence’. Foucault’s work is primarily political and historical; his style of writing is that of someone who couldn’t decide whether to write fiction or be a scholar.

    I do like this line from Murray:

    “If you hear the dog whistle then you are the dog.” Haha!
  • pomophobe
    41
    I haven't interacted much, but I've followed this thread closely. There's been talk of ostracizing the baddies, but then Shapiro is somehow a viable boogeyman. Shapiro? Really? I watched the interview in which he himself was 'DESTROYED' and pitied him his earnestness and his shrill presentation.

    Contrast Shapiro's shrill delivery with Hitchens here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z2uzEM0ugY

    Now that's charisma, whatever you think of his points. If he was still around, some 20-year-olds would probably be trying to silence him.

    Paglia is a far more interesting individual than Shapiro and an even less plausible cartoon villain. My sense is that those who think Shapiro and Paglia are beyond the pale are themselves in a pretty small group, which is to say beyond the pale for yet another and perhaps larger group. And it's not the cartoon fascists. It's people largely in the middle and who haven't thought about the issues as much as intellectuals who really don't like being told what they can say and hear. Sorry, geniuses, you'll have to win those hearts and minds despite your obvious superiority.

    Consider also that those who bother to watch Shapiro are still at least identified with 'REASON' and 'FACTS.' They are willing to talk. Shutting them down just puts the censors in question. If I'm young and my mind isn't made up yet, I'll probably go with the group that isn't directly interfering with my most taken-for-granted freedom. Isn't socialism scary to many people precisely in terms of its threat to freedom? And if those who would censor others really have reason on their side, then what do they have to hide? I identify with the left, but personally I'd like to trade the PC-left (the 'safe space' left) for some of the people in the center. And I think it would have to be a trade. Our crazies make the family look bad.
  • Isaac
    714
    It's not "fair" because banning conservative views on campus would be gross political favoritism. Conservative students are paying customers, and as long as they're behaving peacefully, banning them would be unjust.

    It's also not fair to Berkeley to use force to compel them to play political favoritism.
    VagabondSpectre

    That's just a slightly longer restatement of your position. I asked why. What is it about political favouritism that is unfair? What is it about banning them that would be unjust? We do favour people and ban people for various reasons, so it's not that favouring and banning themselves are unfair acts, so how are you justifying your judgement about who it is fair to favour/ban and who it is not?

    If alt-rioters shut down an event you that happened to be attending and support, I'm guessing you would object to their use of force against you and yours, right?VagabondSpectre

    Yes. That's the point of having a feeling about how our society should be. I would object to the alt-right using any means at all to shut down an event I approved of because I'd believe them to be wrong. You can't remove the judgement of what's right and what's wrong from this. The debating arena itself is constructed and maintained by people. People who all have a view of what's right and what's wrong. It infuses every action they take. Denying a platform, allowing a platform, ignoring a platform...everything is infused with our moral sensibilities, we cannot 'step outside of them' to create a fair debating space.

    As it turns out, conservatism and progressivism are often after the same ends, people just disagree about how best to achieve them (both sides are interested in "fairness" for example, but they disagree about the facts of the playing field).

    So, with the right evidence, it is actually possible to show people that their views are not practical or are not likely to achieve the desired results.
    VagabondSpectre

    What political rhetoric claims to be in pursuit of and what those following it are actually in pursuit of are not the same thing. Are you suggesting that it is a coincidence that most wealthy people are right-wing? That in order to get votes among the poor right wing parties appeal to anti-immigration? That despite any extraneous policies, the voting of the subsequent party/president depends almost exclusively on the strength of the economy?

    The vast majority of people don't give a shit about 'fairness', or the playing field, or anyone else not directly related to them. If they did, then how would there be any homeless? How would a pair of trainers made by 11 year old sweatshop workers ever be anything other than a morbid museum exhibit?

    This is not, nor ever has been, about rational persuasion on the basis of evidence. It's about what is and is not acceptable behaviour in a community, and people judge that by the actions of others. People think its OK to just walk past a homeless person because others do so too. They think it's OK to buy sweatshop-produced trainers because others do too. Rational argument never entered into it.

    Alabamians are well insulated from reasonable pro-choice speakersVagabondSpectre

    they're surrounded only by people who reinforce that viewVagabondSpectre

    Are you suggesting that Alabama has some kind of censorship law? I'm not particularly expert on local law in the US, but it's hard to imagine that evidence-based pro-choice arguments were somehow banned. If you're trying to make the argument that these people would have behaved any differently simply as a result of being presented with the evidence then I'm afraid you have a mountain of psychological research saying the exact opposite to counter along the way.

    People do not change their political opinions on the basis of evidence. That's about as close to a concrete fact as we get in psychology.

    Racists and fascists are debating their ideas in open forumsVagabondSpectre

    No, they're not. No one is 'debating' anything. They're rabble-rousing and it needs to be stopped before a rabble gets roused. Their words have real impact on the lives of actual people. Ethnic minorities, the poor, immigrants... These people are actually harmed by the rhetoric of fascists, racists and the alt-right.

    Tell me again why barricading the doors of Shapiro's events is necessary force?VagabondSpectre

    Because Shapiro's speaking at a university legitimises his ideas by association. Those who feel they do not want their community associated with such ideas often lack the power to ostracise him by financial or media control, so they use physical force to do so. The physical force carries a minor risk of harm to some, but Shapiro's ideas carry a more significant risk to a larger number, so the risk is broadly justified.

    You said because the lives of marginalized folk are on the line. You might interpret that as only condoning barricades, but why can't someone else say that it condones the use of artillery?

    If lives are on the line when Shapiro speaks, can't your argument also justify his assassination?
    VagabondSpectre

    No, because artillery and assassination are bad. As I said above, what we consider right and wrong infuses everything we do, you cannot remove it to make an argument. No one who wishes to ostracise Shapiro would also want to use live artillery on other people. If they were that inconsiderate about the lives of others, then why would they want Shapiro shut down in the first place?

    The whole point of democracy is to work through our disagreements about what policies and moral aims we should enshrine into culture and law.VagabondSpectre

    No, that consensus politics. Something I'm greatly in favour of, but not democracy. Democracy is about doing what the largest block of voters want. Screw the rest.

    emotionally riled up individuals within the scuffling mob take aggressive action, which engenders an aggressive response from opposing individuals, and then when the rest of the mob sees this, they tend to escalate their degree of scuffling.VagabondSpectre

    Hasn't really answered my question. Why is 'scuffling' particularly responsible for creating these "emotionally riled up individuals" yet words are completely immune from having such an effect?
  • Isaac
    714


    Thanks for posting those links. The Aleksandar Hemon was a really good read. I've read few such close-up stories about watching a descent into fascism, it really highlights how dehumanising the process is.
  • ssu
    1.5k
    Regarding “conservativism” it is clear enough to me that it’s suffering, and going to suffer more, simply because the world is changing fast.I like sushi
    Scruton and Murray do get to the point just why conservatism seems so feeble compared to the left (and I would also add compared to the extreme-right). Cherishing how things are, love of your country and your people is especially in a democratic justice state is quite lame and uninteresting. Conservatism is for those who at least are doing OK. Those that look for scapegoats in minorities and have more hate in their hearts than actual love for their people are made of a different mold and will look for radical changes. In political discourse and in the university traditional conservatism sounds extremely boring. However when it comes to real life and the choices people make in their own lives, conservative values are quite popular. In a leftist welfare state like mine I would say that many of those that vote for social democrats are otherwise quite conservative: they like how things are and don't object at all to what the free market can offer them, with the supervision of the government of course.

    Conservatism a political movement for a silent majority which doesn't make a huge fuss about itself. Radical leftism is on the other hand quite hip for a loud extrovert minority who want to shake things up, especially when nobody here in the West has experienced the true nature of totalitarian Marxism-Leninism. It's very apt for Scruton to depict Murray as being 'harmless'. Of course the left wouldn't see Douglas Murray at all like that, yet there is a point about it when you talk about upholding free speach. You then have to respect that other people have different views about everything than you.
  • StreetlightX
    3.8k
    A thought prompted by this: I don't think the liberal has any capacity to think of political action beyond political speech. Words simply float free of any gravity of worldly consequence, and the whole content of politics lies entirely in the ephemera of 'argument' or 'agreement', which now come to bear the entire weight of politics. Nevermind that the world around the lectern is literally on fire - what happens out there, beyond the charmed circle of intellectual spar and parry simply cannot so much as even be thought. The liberal literally doesn't even have the vocabulary to deal with it, let alone act upon it.

    Worse still, having plucked her own eyes out, the liberal then denies that anyone else ought to have recourse to action beyond speech either (despite such actions saturating the ground aroud her). Anything else is apparently 'violence', 'unfair', 'undemocratic', or whatever empty pejorative might fit the current flow of conversation. And this sort of bullshit renders fascism utterly unintelligible to the liberal, who can only treat of it as a set of ideas while actual fascists get on with the job of grabbing the levers of power where they can. People don't get hurt in the liberal imagination because there are no people in it: only 'debatable ideas' - words. And while everything burns, the liberal can only stammer on about m-m-muh free speech... Good-intentioned pavers of the road to hell, all of them.
  • StreetlightX
    3.8k
    Brecht's lovely little poem comes to mind:

    Step foward: we hear
    That you are a good man.
    You cannot be bought, but the lightning
    Which strikes the house, also
    Cannot be bought.
    You hold to what you said.
    But what did you say?
    You are honest, you say your opinion.
    Which opinion?
    You are brave.
    Against whom?
    You are wise.
    For whom?
    You do not consider personal advantages.
    Whose advantages do you consider then?
    You are a good friend
    Are you also a good friend of the good people?

    Hear us then: we know
    You are our enemy. This is why we shall
    Now put you in front of a wall.
    But in consideration of
    your merits and good qualities
    We shall put you in front of a good wall and shoot you
    With a good bullet from from a good gun and bury you
    With a good shovel in the good earth.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.