• DingoJones
    2k
    I question the wisdom of fighting hate by silencing hate speech. This silencing includes banning, deplatforming, PC culture, cancel culture and all that stuff.
    I understand why people think this is the best tactic, a means of setting standards and changing culture. My main criticism of that tactic is that it simply forces people like white supremacists (why thats a pertinent group will follow) to hide, wear hoods etc. It doesnt change their minds.
    Here are two examples of the strengths in letting those ideas, terrible as they may be, be openly discussed (and thereby exposed):
    Daryl Davies is a black blues musician, and he has single hand-idly turned over 200 white supremacists from the KKK and neo nazi groups from their toxic ideologies. He did this by attending rallies, listening and talking with the people there. (Serious balls in this guy, most of it he did alone). His list of victories include senior members and rank and file members, even Grand Wizards and Dragons (the highest, most dedicated rankings. I suggest he has changed more minds than any amount if PC, speech controlling or canceling ever has. In fact, it could be argued that the silencing of folks has made it easier for people to be sucked in or sympathetic to those hate groups.
    Second, the Westboro Baptist Church. Meagan Phelps, grand daughter to Fred Phelps was once a dyed in the wool warrior for the church. By her own admission, she was a rabid warrior for the cause who fully believed in the righteousness of that cause. The church had a good number of high ranking, high education lawyer types who essentially trained church members tactics of arguing and “activist” activity, how to skirt the law, how to instigate confrontation and other such things in order that they were better equipped to spread their messages of hate. Armed with these weapons Meagan Phelps took to funerals, rallies, protests and the internet to do battle against the churches idealogical foes and convert people to her views.
    On the internet, she came to forums like this one, and Reddit. There, exposure to others ideas and stumbling upon her counter-parts in movements more based in understanding live etc. Allowed her to break free from the church, and to recognise her own ignorance based errors. She lost arguments, and only in this way was she able to have her mind changed. The battleground of ideas freed her.
    Now neither of these people were part of a group effort, so one could call this anecdotal. Thats fair, but im interested in the principal of the tactics. Im imagining if this tactic was as wide-spread as PC/cancel culture tactics are, which would be more effective?
    Its clear to me its the Daryl Davis way, the battleground of ideas that turned Meagan Phelps away from a toxic ideology.
    Why am I wrong?

    Edited: also, Im not arguing about this forums rules. I understand why its done the way it is here, that the rules of this forum neednt be concerned about the same freedom of speech Etc that the general society does. Moderators dont want this to be Reddit or some other internet cesspool. I get it and respect it. Im talking about general principal here.
  • darthbarracuda
    3k
    It doesnt change their minds.DingoJones

    I think the idea is that it helps prevent the spread of these harmful ideas.

    In fact, it could be argued that the silencing of folks has made it easier for people to be sucked in or sympathetic to those hate groups.DingoJones

    How could it be argued thus?

    Actually this seems like an empirical inquiry: how does censorship of hateful ideas influence the spread of them and/or impact those who already believe in them? Does censorship help stop the spread of hateful ideas? Does censorship make hateful people even more hateful?

    No, really, does it? I don't know if this is something we can figure out just by thinking about it. A few examples is not enough to give us a clear indication one way or another.

    Censorship might be done also out of respect to whom the hateful ideas are directed at. It might not serve a "purpose" beyond this. Perhaps by allowing hateful ideas to be expressed, we show that we do not care about those who are harmed by them.
  • tim wood
    5.3k
    Depends on how you care to understand hate speech. One approach is to substitute something else for "hate speech."
    I question the wisdom of fighting hate by silencing hate speech.DingoJones
    I think you get where I'm going with that. But in short, I say yes. If it's hate speech, control it. I am under the impression that Germany has laws against certain kinds of speech - that they're ready willing and able to enforce. They of course have a reasonably clear model for what they're controlling and why. In the US ours is not quite so clear - but clear enough.

    And there need not be any fixed test for hate speech. As with many kinds of things, it need merely meet a number of criteria. It would stand as an antidote to a social sickness, a necessary and unpleasant medicine. Nor does it cross free speech. Free speech is pretty free, but often not as free as some people think it is. And to be sure, for many US citizens, issues of hate amount to a near state of war, or war-like stress, and in time of war, some freedoms are limited.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    Today on National Public Radio The World program, the name of the Washington Redskins was deemed unsayable. It wasn't unsayable just a week ago on NPR. I'm fine with changing the name of the Washington team, or other teams whose names belong to groups of people. But some principled people are against censorship of any kind, for any reason. I'm more in agreement with opposition to censorship than support for it.

    The trouble with censors is that they tend to have fairly broad definitions of speech they don't like, which provides them with considerable latitude in decided what to censor. You want to ban very specific words, like 'fuck' for instance? Fine. Make a list of words that you want censored and we can talk about it. But "hate speech" can be whatever you don't like. That just leads to another kind of tyranny.
  • Brett
    2.3k


    But "hate speech" can be whatever you don't like. That just leads to another kind of tyranny.Bitter Crank

    Yes, there’s no end to this.
  • zookeeper
    72
    I don't think "stopping the spread of harmful ideas" can really work at least in the liberal western culture. This is a culture that I think idolizes rebellion, siding with the underdog, breaking taboos and generally pushing the bounds of established social norms.

    Obviously, to some degree people anywhere will likely gravitate towards ideologies that speak to them even if they're taboo or socially unacceptable, but I'd imagine that's particularly difficult to prevent in a culture that so strongly idolizes opposing the establishment.
  • Brett
    2.3k


    but I'd imagine that's particularly difficult to prevent in a culture that so strongly idolizes opposing the establishment.zookeeper

    In western society we have real tolerance towards our children challenging authority. We virtually regard it as healthy and normal, a rite of passage. Rebelling against the father and so on. An immature generation no longer connected to tradition could easily take that on as a permanent state without fully comprehending why and what they’re doing.
  • Kenosha Kid
    835


    If you ban an idea, you also ban universal reaction to that idea, letting legislature take the place of public opinion. But legislature only tells you what you can do, not what's right to think. The opinions of your peers are far more important in influencing your own opinions, including in cementing a robust position against things.

    Recently in the UK, posh moron Laurence Fox (of the Fox acting nobility) unexpectedly aired his hitherto unknown views of racism on a panel show called Question Time. And it was great! Not because of his views, naturally, which, had anyone expected them, would likely have invalidated him from speaking (QT generally tries to get a diversity of opinion, but also to keep the public complaints sufficiently low that the BBC won't get itself referred). But because everyone in the UK hates him for it.

    What would you rather happen to some naive, confused posh white boy who has only ever met people of colour who swear blind they're happy to work for his family? To see Laurence Fox getting his ass handed to him by an entire country? Or for Laurence Fox to come up to him and say, "You know all this racism stuff is a myth, right?"
  • DingoJones
    2k
    I think the idea is that it helps prevent the spread of these harmful ideas.darthbarracuda

    Right, but I dont think it does, or at least it doesnt do as good a job of it than engaging/exposing the ideology.
    The people who are susceptible to bad ideology arent made less so by silencing the speakers, and the majority of people who hear the speaker are not susceptible to it. So Im not sure silencing people does much at all to help, the maun benifit seems to be the comfort of people who dint like thise ideas anyway.

    How could it be argued thus?darthbarracuda

    Well because silencing someone publicly doesnt actually stop the spread of bad ideas, it just changes where and how a person is exposed to the idea.
    Instead of the town square where the bad idea can be exposed for what it is, the bad idea is spread privately. With no counter-points/arguments, its much easier to recruit a susceptible person into a bad ideology.
    So for example, you got Bob the Racist, Jim the Disenfranchised and Ryan the Anti-Racist. Bob the racist tries to infect Jim with his ideas at a public protest or event. Jim hears Bob and it appeals to Jims disenfranchisement but luckily Ryan also speaks, and exposes Bobs ideas fir the hate filled rhetoric designed to tap into Jims anger that it is. Jim realises that Bob is wrong.
    Now imagine instead of Ryan, there is Jack the Silencer. When Jim shows up at the event, Bob has been silenced by Jack and Jim is not exposed to Bobs ideology. However, Jim has also not been exposed to Ryans view since that discussion never took place, and Jim is not equipped with Ryans anti-racism. So Jack pats himself on the back and Calls it a job well done. Bob is still out there, Bob is still looking for the Jims out there except now when Bob talks to Jim there is no one to counter Bobs bad ideas. This is ideal for Bob, it makes it easier to get Jim onboard.
    In that way, Jack has made the situation worse. We cant know where and how these bad ideas are now being spread. The spreading of these bad ideas hasn't been stopped, merely hidden. Daryl Davies stops those bad ideas dead in their tracks, he doesnt even need to worry about Jim, he goes after Bob. Not to silence him but to change Bobs mind so that now when Bob finds Jim, Bob has a much different tale to tell. Plus, Bob will talk to other Bobs and that is simply far more effective at combating these bad ideas.
  • DingoJones
    2k


    Ok, but I meant this as more about ideologies rather than strictly censorship/free speech. In that context, changing names of football games does nothing to combat racism. Its inly about making non-racists comfortable. Combating racism is more important than making a small group (by which I mean the small group of censors, not the minority group) comfortable.
  • DingoJones
    2k


    Im not familiar with the example or this Fox guy, but I would want Fox to be able to speak, and for others to explain why he is wrong. That will have a much greater effect in fighting racist views than having Fox never to have spoken at all. Once QT is over, Fox is still a racist and that bad idea still contagious. Daryl Davies has the discussion, he changes minds so that the bad idea is no longer contagious, in fact now Fox is going to be spreading anti-bodies.
  • tim wood
    5.3k
    Combating racism is more important than making a small group (by which I mean the small group of censors, not the minority group) comfortable.DingoJones
    :100:
    If you ban an idea, you also ban universal reaction to that idea,Kenosha Kid
    I'm more in agreement with opposition to censorshipBitter Crank
    I don't think "stopping the spread of harmful ideas" can really workzookeeper

    Imo, silencing and banning are words without the possibility of practical application (in anything that with any justice claims to be a free society) - which is in itself instructive as to the nature of the problem. The question becomes control ante, or control post. It can only be control after the fact - which must in the nature of the control consider the particulars of the act. Holmes on crying out "Fire!" in a crowded theater is on point. There are the initial considerations, the tests. Then the texts, the speech itself in question. Then the contexts, the circumstances. And then the purpose.

    I am persuaded that racism is a sickness and disease far worse, deeper, endemic, and destructive than generally acknowledged or even generally understood. We should be color-blind, as well as blind to all the other kinds of difference. In diversity should be celebration, joy, and pleasure. But who among us is? And how did we get that way? It is, as the behavior of most children exemplifies, not natural. As such, it needs to be fought. And defense of racism through claims of "free" speech are chimeras, propounded by people who neither are interested in, nor who even understand, freedom.

    A civil society always already has acknowledged the need to control as to some things, the tension and debate being as to exactly the hows, whys, and wherefores of the control. But not the control itself.
  • ssu
    3.2k
    Why am I wrong?DingoJones

    Because people like toxic ideologies and just love to fight them. It gives them a righteous cause to vent their anger. People are not like Daryl Davies who gives respect to a racist even if he disagrees with him. People actually do not want to try to change the views of others. For many it's simply unfathomable to disagree and to give respect at the same time. Just like understanding is acceptance for some, and hence it's better to say you cannot understand at all the other.

    And of course, cencorship works. It works especially well if you get people to perform self-cencorship.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    I question the wisdom of fighting hate by silencing hate speech. This silencing includes banning, deplatforming, PC culture, cancel culture and all that stuff.DingoJones

    I also question whether those tactics have a significant effect on ideology, as practiced, as thought, as written and read. And even if it were effective, I still don't approve of these practices.

    Is silencing hate speech the best tactic against hate?DingoJones

    A communist, socialist, or anarchist could easily run afoul of hate-speech suppression during a rant about the ruling class, about rich people, about people with lots of real power. As it happens, the banners, deplatformers, PCers, cancel cultists--that whole crowd--come from the quasi-leftist side of town. That's my home address, too, but I still disapprove.

    In an open society--which is what we supposedly have--it is permissible for Neo-Nazis to march around. Lots of people don't like it, but the ACLU was right to defend Neo Nazis when they wanted to hold a rally in Jewish Skokie, Illinois. (This was back in 1978; apologies for referencing ancient history.). White Supremacists, a group recently concocted in the minds of quasi-leftists and racial activists, should have as much right to air their views as Neo-Nazis, BLM activists, defenders of illegal immigrants, and so on.

    What I really, really dislike about banning, deplatforming, PC culture, cancel culture, and so on is that it is too crude to be useful. Portraits of "white supremacists" have been drawn with nothing more subtle than paint rollers, where sharp pencils are in order. Who, and what, exactly, is a white supremacist? Or a transphobic? Will the real fascists please state your party platform? Abolishing whole police departments (composed, in Minneapolis, of 900 officers) because a small minority of them are brutal thugs, is another example of crude thinking.

    REAL CHANGE, if that is what we really want (and I'm not convinced we do) won't involve reorganizing the symbolic and linguistic deck chairs on an ill-fated Titanic. It will involve fundamental changes in the industrial and financial core of society. The monumental pile of wealth belonging to Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and a few thousand other very rich people, will have to be redistributed; production for profit (first and foremost) will have to be shifted to production for people's needs [hey, I can use a paint roller too!]. All this involves massive change which will be resisted most vigorously.
  • ssu
    3.2k

    Listening to you Bitter confirms me that a lot of leftists genuinely dislike where "the left" is going. But of course I can understand this well as "the right" has it's shares of morons and moronic behavior too, starting from a certain President of a large important country. I'm just happy that sanity has somehow prevailed in my little country. At least for now.

    What I really, really dislike about banning, deplatforming, PC culture, cancel culture, and so on is that it is too crude to be useful. Portraits of "white supremacists" have been drawn with nothing more subtle than paint rollers, where sharp pencils are in order. Who, and what, exactly, is a white supremacist? Or a transphobic? Will the real fascists please state your party platform?Bitter Crank
    Perhaps there is a conspiracy to divide the people, yet make the issues so stupid, so unimportant to the greater audience that it actually doesn't rock the boat. As you said, the true focus should be in income distribution and how we make our society better, not the nonsense of a perpetual culture war.

    Or then it's just the cultural and ideological decadence of our time that we are experiencing, as there's likely nobody behind the curtain.
  • Athena
    807
    The best tactic to stop hate is to return education to the conceptual method and back to the humanities that are essential to being civilized. We seriously need to stop relying on religion for social order because reliance on religion has promoted social and economic injustice, racism and war.
  • Kenosha Kid
    835
    As such, it needs to be fought.tim wood

    For sure, I just disagree with prior restraint as the best way of winning the fight. If you could snuff out racism this way, I'd be all for it. But it seems a bit fallacious. Censorship is anti-racist, therefore it will stop racism! How? By alerting every individual mind to the concept of racism without giving any of them the opportunity to have a single emotional reaction against it? No. Censorship is not a preventative: it is a means of creating generations of silent, unchecked, unjudged, unhumiliated, unargued-against racists. Except of course when they all get together, making themselves the only people with opinions that matter.
  • Athena
    807
    Perhaps there is a conspiracy to divide the people, yet make the issues so stupid, so unimportant to the greater audience that it actually doesn't rock the boat. As you said, the true focus should be in income distribution and how we make our society better, not the nonsense of a perpetual culture war.ssu

    That would be nice. And yes there is a conspiracy to keep us ignorant, pitted against each other, and easy to manipulate with anger and fear. Education for a technological society is not education for thinking people. It is education for dependency on authority and a police state under the control of the elite.
  • DingoJones
    2k


    That doesnt answer why Im wring about Daryl Davies way being more effective. You are just saying that most people dint do it that way. That doesnt mean its not the best way to do it.
  • DingoJones
    2k


    I dont see anything to disagree with there. The tactics themselves are immoral to start with but even if we take it as granted that it isnt immoral then there is still the matter of whether or not its anywhere near as effective as the open battleground of ideas method. (Which I dont think it is).
  • ssu
    3.2k
    That doesnt answer why Im wring about Daryl Davies way being more effective. You are just saying that most people dint do it that way. That doesnt mean its not the best way to do it.DingoJones

    Simple answer: efficiency and humans being social animals and the way they behave in groups.

    Daryl Davies met a Klu Klux Clan leader first with the clansman having a bodyguard. Only after a long time dared the clansman come alone to meet Davies and only years had went before Daryl Davies could say that he befriended them and made some leave the clan. Indeed such personal approach might be effective and you can get people to change their views, but notice the effort, not very efficient way.

    The other reason is that people in social groups tend to behave differently than individually. It's totally different to have a conversation with a person than have a debate with 100 people. In a large debate the vast majority will actually not participate in the conversation as everybody understands that not everybody can talk in a crowd of 100 and likely there aren't 100 different views on any subject. And many likely don't even want to talk to 99 people. Hence with a 100 people those who talk dominate the discourse and those views that aren't for some reason expressed are simply absent. Hence the urge for activists and political leaders to dominate the public discourse. Controlling the discourse is a power play.

    Unfortunately that silencing by "banning, deplatforming, PC culture, cancel culture and all that stuff" does work and is the easiest way of control and a far more efficient way than Davies. Naturally one obvious argument would be simply to show that something is incorrect, doesn't work, makes things worse, and let the people figure it out. But in our complex World that won't happen.

    And the last thing is that actual hate speech is banned and should be banned. We don't let the Islamic State to run adds in our national televisions, we don't interview terrorists like Anders Breivik for them to have a chance promote his ideology in order to create copycats. Because true hate speech is genuinely urging people to act a genocide, like the Ruandan radio stations inciting ordinary citizens to take part in the massacres of their Tutsi, and moderate Hutu neighbors.

    Yet our present "hate speech" isn't like that. Nope, it's the "hate speech" of J.K. Rowling against transpeople, the "hate speech" of representative Ilhan Omar against Israel or senator Tom Cotton being on the side of US President, I guess. Hence "hate speech", just like "racism" or "white supremacy" or on the other side "maoism" and "cultural marxism", are extensively used in a setting where they have few if anything to do with the original definitions. Yet the outrage, contempt and the disapproval is kept at the same level. The objective is to silence people.
  • DingoJones
    2k


    I understand what you're saying, but I think you are conflating the motivations of the cancellers, or at least talking about a different motivation than I am.
    So the type of canceller that you are talking about are the ones after social control, power. They seek to tear down what is and replace it with their own (insane) ideology/“utopia”. Racism is just one vector for them to do this. For these folks, I think you’ve made your point well, I agree.
    Another kind of canceller is purely focused an one issue, like racism or some other ideology they agree/disagree with. Remember I used Meagan Phelps as another example to consider. I wanted to talk about combating ideologies, and the two methods of doing so I mentioned. These cancellers are not cynical grabbers of power but sincere believers.
    I think you are focused on the broader battle, while im focused on the method. My focus is applicable in one on one situations and broader ones as well, where as your focus is on the terrain, the “movement if troops” if you will.
    Im not saying youre wrong nor that your points are not pertinent, but rather my point is for clarity so we do not talk past one another. Put simply, you are talking about the political arena with all of its complexity and im talking about something much simpler, whether to respond with something “shut the fuck up” followed by fingers in ears or something like “why do you believe that” followed by discussion.
    Also, you used an example of Davies work of a high ranking KKK member. I heard him tell that story too but that wasnt his first and his numbers are not a few, they are over 200. Thats not including the people that quit because of the Davies effected people, the 200+ are him personally talking to the members over time. I want to include the broader effect (what happened in the orbit of those Davies turned) in the judgement over which is the better way. (Just like I want to include the damage done in the orbit of the cancellers way).
    That was a bit verbose so feel free to cherry pick what you think is most important to respond to, if anything.
  • NOS4A2
    3.8k


    I would argue it’s one of the worst tactic against hate and violence, for a few reasons. One, we need to know who the haters are, and hate speech is one of the few ways besides violence that they let themselves be known. Two, underground is where hate festers. Without any challenge in the public sphere there is little way to see their ideas combated and made thread-bare by reason and mockery. And third, their persecution gives them the opportunity to champion free speech, which they always take away if ever they achieve power.
  • Enai De A Lukal
    211


    Exactly. Its not about changing the minds of committed white supremacists- that's going to be an exercise in futility in the vast majority of cases. De-platforming, etc is about preventing these ideas from becoming more mainstream, widespread, or socially acceptable, or having access to a large audience for potential recruitment/indoctrination. Its also about inflicting a social cost on open involvement with white supremacist groups. And such tactics appear to be fairly effective in this respect.
  • DingoJones
    2k


    I cant disagree with any of that. I think it nets a negative, doing more harm than good. In contrast, its hard to see any significant negative effects of Daryl Davies (to stick with the example) method.
  • ssu
    3.2k
    I don't think we disagree much, and your right that we talk bit of different issues.

    These cancellers are not cynical grabbers of power but sincere believers.DingoJones
    Vast majority of people are sincere believers, very few are cynical grabbers of power. But many understand how "the game" works and that makes them to look to be "cynical". Westboro Church and Klu klux clan are extremes, while the average evangelical or religious person or the average person with bigoted views are different.
  • DingoJones
    2k


    Thats true, the majority of these types of people are useful idiots to the cynical grabbers of power.
    I shouldnt say that the cynical grabbers arent sincere believers, its more accurate to say what they sincerely believe in is a worldview that necessitates a cynical grab for power. The distinction I was attempting was between a person buying into a specific ideology and a person who has sacrificed a specific ideology for a specific end (which justifies the sacrifice) where they have the power and control. There is more utility in framing it the way you did though.
    Generals and soldiers might be a good analogy.
  • charles ferraro
    137


    Silencing hate speech is really nothing more, or less, than an indirect way to try to sabotage our constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of speech.
  • DingoJones
    2k


    Well its direct, not indirect. Its straightforwardly denying that state granted right of free speech. Also, not sabotage. New hate speech laws and amendments to the old are systemic changes. I dont know why you would think there is anything sneaky about it, its open, direct and mainstream. They dont have to sabotage something they dont care about or believe in (free speech), they just ignore it because the ends justify their means. Its cult like.
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