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  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford

    Jake, you need to go read the details of the case before commenting.Baden

    You need to stop claiming to be the morally superior holy roller expert on the subject, because you certainly are not. As example...

    She told her therapist she was assaulted before any of the recent political events. — Baden

    She told her therapist, but nobody who could actually do anything to remove the alleged rapist as a threat to the public. This lack of action was a public statement that what maybe happened to her was not really that big of a deal.

    She allowed him to become a lawyer, a high ranking public official in the Bush administration, a judge. 35 years of opportunity to right the wrong that she perceives. 35 years of opportunity to protect the rest of us from someone she sees as being seriously flawed. A single police report would have probably ended Kavanaugh's career before it ever started, but instead, for 35 years she chose to ignore us.

    She had a right to ignore us. But we also have a right to review this record documenting a lack of concern for the rest of us, and find her credibility weak.

    Plus, she asked Feinstein that the information remain confidential. — Baden

    She contacted her congresswoman with the intention of her story having an influence upon a major political decision, a fact I see you are intent to ignore. She willfully entered the political process, and is now being evaluated by that process. It's reasonable for people in that process to evaluate her claim as not being useful, given that she brings little to the table other than a claim.

    Look Baden, I'm all for crime victims bringing their stories in to the public political realm. I spent a year of my life facilitating that very process. But this is not how you go about it.

    As the mod of philosophy forum, and a normally sensible commentator, you should be able to realize that if we accept claims without evidence, then the credibility of all claims are undermined. Such a process is not helpful to the #metoo movement.

    If we accept claims without evidence, it's only a matter of time until others begin fabricating claims in order to get money, fame etc, and then nobody will believe anything.

    Ford should be allowed to tell her story under oath, not that this will accomplish anything more than boosting TV ratings. She should be respected as a person (unless it can be proven she's lying). But after that, she sucks as a witness, and is basically wasting our time.
  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford

    You don't get to use #metoo to discredit my arguments. Period. If you want to address my points, do so.Baden

    I am addressing your points. And please recall two things, we have the same goal, and I've invested a ton of my own personal time in serving as a political advocate for crime victims, and was part of a process of changing a major public safety law here in Florida.

    You're getting carried away, as is pretty much the entire culture right now, and that getting carried away is a threat to the #metoo movement. If anybody can be declared a victim simply by making a claim, eventually none of the claims will be seen as credible.

    Let's assume Dr. Ford is a victim, that her claim is true. She is of course within her rights to talk about that, or keep it private. But if she wishes to use her personal experience to comment upon public policy, she's regrettably gone about that in an unhelpful manner. No police report, no public statements about her experience until the very last minute of a highly charged political decision 35 years after the alleged crime etc.

    Whether she is a victim or not we can wish her well, but we can't use her as a model of how crime victims should influence public policy with their personal stories.
  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford

    Yet you continue to ignore Blasey Ford, the victim's interestsBaden

    She is a victim, at this point, of an unproven accusation, an accusation that will most likely stay that way. #metoo and Blasey Ford make an accusation and you (you being a very big plural here, not the singular referring to Moderator Baden) automatically assume grave harm was done. Maybe it wasn't.
  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford

    Baden scores 10 points from #metoo.Bitter Crank

    What seems to be under appreciated is that the #metoo movement, a very just cause, is threatened by sloppy standards and a rush to jump on a politically correct bandwagon.Jake

    You don't get to use #metoo to discredit my arguments. Period. If you want to address my points, do so. If you want to criticise #metoo, do it in a discussion about #metoo. And standing up for victims of sexual abuse, especially child victims, has nothing to do with political correctness either. It's what's known as common decency.

    Crime victims need to keep in my mind that, however difficult it may be, they have a civic responsibility to report crimes to the police because failing to do so puts other people at risk. If they fail to fulfill that responsibility, their credibility is naturally going to take a hit, and maybe it should.Jake

    She was fifteen, and most likely very scared and traumatised. But let's blame her rather than criticise the abuser. Again, all your post demonstrates is a lack of empathy for the victims of these crimes. It does zero in terms of analysis.
  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford

    At this point the case is one person's version versus another persons version, delayed by 35 years time. There is no way to prove very much about this case. You believe women. Baden scores 10 points from #metoo.Bitter Crank

    Casting my vote for this.

    What seems to be under appreciated is that the #metoo movement, a very just cause, is threatened by sloppy standards and a rush to jump on a politically correct bandwagon.

    Crime victims need to keep in my mind that, however difficult it may be, they have a civic responsibility to report crimes to the police because failing to do so puts other people at risk. If they fail to fulfill that responsibility, their credibility is naturally going to take a hit, and maybe it should.
  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford

    Plus, the idea that some privileged elite who has an accusation leveled at him is being treated worse than a 15-year-old who thought she was being raped is severely wrongheaded.Baden

    Oh yes, it's a classist thing, where privileged elite folks ought have less sympathy than those who happened not to be so lucky. I have a sneaky suspicion she too didn't have too many financial struggles during her upbringing, as if that matters.
    Does the accused suddenly have the right not to be prosecuted much later? Nazi war criminals were prosecuted long after the war. The only people that objected to that were Nazis.Baden

    You reference Republican hysteria but then your next sentence actually attempts to draw an analogy between sexual assault and genocide, as if they're at all comparable. You appear far more hysterical than me or the Republicans.

    Anyhow, let's see, why might your analogy be flawed? Could it be perhaps that genocide is a far more serious crime than sexual assault at a party?

    The reason there exists statutes of limitations in criminal matters is to protect an accused from prosecution after witnesses and evidence have been lost when the government could have prosecuted the case earlier. In the case of the Nazis, one reason the government didn't prosecute the Nazis earlier is because it was the government that was committing the crime. I suppose Eichmann could have argued that he ought be freed because the Germans failed to prosecute him earlier when they had a chance, and then the Nuremberg judges could have tried to make sense of that argument, just like I'm trying to make sense of your argument.
    See above. There is no right to get away with crimes just because you weren't caught quickly enough except in cases where statutes of limitations apply.Baden

    Again, your comparison of Senate confirmations hearings with Nuremberg. Just withdraw this argument. It's nonsense.

    My reference was to the political nature of this whole affair. All we have are competing claims. She says it happened and he says it didn't. They both have plenty of motivation to lie. The consequences of his confirmation will be devastating to the left, and the consequences to him personally will be devastating on the other side of this coin.

    And let's not pretend that she came forward now only because she felt safe with the #metoo movement. She told Feinstein back in July about her claims and Feinstein revealed it just before the confirmation vote. Feinstein's motive was to block a candidate for the Supreme Court she doesn't like. She doesn't give a damn about that girl.
    It's odd that it takes a potential prosecution of an elite conservative to bring out your concerns about a justice system that is highly weighed against the poor and unprivileged.Baden

    Why because I'm part of the elite? I was pretty much a middle class kid who went to public school (and public means government funded in the US, which I understand is oddly the opposite in the UK), we took exotic trips in our station wagon to the Georgia coast every year, and I don't remember any country clubs. But, whatever. I thought the Clarence Thomas lynching was just as bad, and yet he was hardly from an elite background.

    This is an aside also. It's an ad hom. I guess I could tell you that your only motivation in holding your position is because of your disdain of those elite country club kids who you looked upon with envy from your hovel as a child.

    I think no one, from the right or the left, suggests there ought be a dissolution of the distinction between juveniles and adults. We all understand that kids lack capacity to make decisions that can effect the rest of their lives, and for that reason they are treated as protected citizens, incapable of fully engaging in society. Juvenile records are sealed usually because we don't want the sins of youth to destroy one's life. I generally think that's a good thing. My guess is that you do too. As I've said, and which no one can answer, is how do you think he could be prosecuted now as an adult for a juvenile offense? You can't wait for someone to turn of age and then prosecute them as an adult. That's not how it works. A 17 year old who commits murder and who is tried as a juvenile can only remain in custody through age 21. Children are children. Do you really not see an absurdity of prosecuting a 52 year old for his actions when he was 15, or do you really consider your Nazi analogy that persuasive?
  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford

    Baden scores 10 points from #metoo.Bitter Crank

    I don't fully believe anyone, but in my judgment her telling the truth is the most likely scenario, and I gave reasons why. Reasons that nobody has questioned so far, incidentally. So, let's not get up on a cranky horse about the #metoo movement. That's not the issue here. If you want to ask me about my position on that, start a thread on it.

    I've never been enthusiastic about people's sexual activities being weighed up for political and professional judgment. That's a very old-fashioned attitude now.Bitter Crank

    The issue is about criminal sexual activities, not all sexual activities. Sexual assault and attempted rape are criminal offenses. That's what he's being accused of. If he likes to wank off his pet dog in his spare time, that's fine by me. Couldn't care less.

    How far back should we go to hold people accountable? There was underage drinking going on in that house. There are adults who were responsible for obtaining, making available, or not protecting the teenagers from alcohol. Are you in favor of leveling charges against them 35 years later? If not, why not?Bitter Crank

    No, because I don't care. Why would I? And you asking that question makes me wonder if you've been drinking, frankly. I mean do you think holding down a 15-year-old girl, groping her, and trying to rip her clothes off while holding your hand over her mouth is as insignificant as buying a drink for someone who is underage? What are you trying to say? And please put down your drink while you type your reply in case you spill it all over the keyboard.
  • Re: Kavanaugh and Ford

    If he had come out and admitted it and apologized in an appropriate manner, I might agree that it might not be disqualifying. But what he is doing now by, if it is true, is lying about it and putting his victim through further punishment, which absolutely is disqualifying.Baden

    At this point the case is one person's version versus another persons version, delayed by 35 years time. There is no way to prove very much about this case. You believe women. Baden scores 10 points from #metoo.

    It would not surprise me if the boys behaved badly toward the girl. People (males, females) often behave badly.

    Kavanaugh could have offered a strategic apology, but he said he didn't do it and is sticking with his story.

    I've never been enthusiastic about people's sexual activities being weighed up for political and professional judgement. That's a very old-fashioned attitude now. Franken should not have resigned, should not have been excoriated by the Democratic Party. John F. Kennedy's presidency shouldn't be judged on how many women were procured for him. All this goes for a quite a few other politicians. There are better grounds to reject Kavanaugh (and probably everybody else Trump appoints) than teenage misbehavior. If we were going to hang Donald Trump, he should be convicted on grounds of endangering the nation -- not on being sexually crude and licentious.

    How far back should we go to hold people accountable? There was underage drinking going on in that house. There are adults who were responsible for obtaining, making available, or not protecting the teenagers from alcohol. Are you in favor of leveling charges against them 35 years later? If not, why not?
  • Crime and Extreme Punishment: The Death Penalty in America

    The reasons civilized, humane people object to public hangings, drawing and quartering, skinning alive, burning at the strake, chopping off hands/tongues/penises and anything liable to a clever, are four-fold:

    First, performing torture unto death is an inherently dehumanizing, degrading experience for the person elected to perform the task.

    Second, legislating torture unto death dehumanizes and degrades both the legislators and their electors

    Third, viewing a torture unto death (these sorts of things have always been popular where allowed), is dehumanizing and degrading to the observer,

    fourth, being tortured unto death is dehumanizing and degrading to the subject.

    Everyone involved in torture unto death, either directly or as indirectly as merely approving of this kind of punishment is contaminated by the retrograde act of ancient tribal justice.

    All this applies to torture short of death, as well.

    Look, we're making some progress. Many in the world disapprove of female clitorectomy, female disinfibulation (scaring the vagina shut prior to marriage), and male circumcision. Foot binding in china was ended... about a century ago. There are laws in many countries (particularly in the West) against torturing people to extract information. There are strong objections to putting prisoners in solitary confinement for periods longer than... 3 days, is it? (Some prisoners have been kept in solitary for months or years.) Most countries in the west have patient protection through informed consent. #MeToo gets people fired for unsubstantiated claims of sexual harassment. Transexuals, Transgendered people, and homosexuals have legal protection. Et cetera.

    If being hanged, electrocuted, drugged, gassed, shot, or strangled doesn't prevent people from committing capital crimes, I don't think making this even more grotesque will do the trick.

    We have to accept that a certain number of slight, moderate, and very bad criminal acts will occur in society. they will range from shoplifting to serial murder and serial rape. The best we can do is try to prevent crime (we really don't try very hard in that area), rehabilitate criminals (we flat-out fail in most cases) and separate dangerous people from society (right now we separate way, way too many ordinary criminals from society -- at huge expense with no benefit to anyone except the prison business of states and private industry).
  • The Shoutbox

    She used Shapiro's identity as a male against him by framing his invitation as typical sexually motivated male behavior. In the #MeToo era it's quite derisive and divisive.VagabondSpectre

    If it's devisive it's not advantageous, but is it?

    Trump has already started subtle sexist attacks on Warren. The multitide of Republicans will still vote for him.

    So is it just devisive for Democrats?

    Better arguments in debates means better outcomes in generalVagabondSpectre

    I disagree that debates are intended for or do educate the public about issues. I think it's just a showdown.
  • The Shoutbox

    How is it identity politics?frank

    She used Shapiro's identity as a male against him by framing his invitation as typical sexually motivated male behavior. In the #MeToo era it's quite derisive and divisive.

    Is there an advantage to being civil? Other than owning the higher moral ground?frank

    Well, yes. Civility, respect, and charity allow for better versions of arguments to be made (and debates to actually happen). Better arguments in debates means better outcomes in general. Audiences and participants get better informed, who perhaps then adjust their views to better approximate truth.

    Public debates between politicians are meant to put them and their ideas to the test. Sometimes all we test for is the ability of a pundit or politician to inspire the most hatred in the most people, but for the sake of democracy (and our own sorry keisters) they ought to be aiming for understanding and agreement.
  • Trump's organ



    It's a horribly incoherent infantile mess. It's only that when you see it spoken in context, and you understand he is referencing the crowd, it doesn't look like he is actually insane. That's a pathetically low bar. Anyone who has ever experienced an accomplished speech would recognize that this is the ramblings of a man-child. We should be standing up for quality not lauding this kind of rubbish. There was a time when oratory was appreciated. This is utterly retrograde, a descent into verbal faeces, and should be called out for that lest we lose sight of the actual potential of the spoken word to evince the higher emotions, intuitions and rational faculties. But yes, journalists are very bad, #MeToo sucks and Elizabeth Warren is Pocahontas. :vomit: :vomit: :vomit:
  • The Babysitter

    The short story as Rorschach Test. One can read all sorts of things into the story. Everybody does this; #metoo. I tend to prefer stories that clearly reflect the author's understanding of the world. Babysitter doesn't do that particularly well. But that is my preference, not the last word in Lit Crit.

    (fwiw my copy - used bookstore - has all sorts of sober, analytic notes (feminine handwriting) in the margins, but under the final paragraph it just says 'What the hell?!')csalisbury

    "What the hell?!" probably applied to the whole story. Buying used books is good ecology and economy.
  • #MeToo



    That's F-ed up. NicK needs to pull his spousal socks up.
  • #MeToo

    So when NicK and I got in the car I explained to him what had happened and he dismissed it as the guy just being a "huggy" kind of person. I called bullshit on NicK because I am a "huggy" person and I have never uttered such words to a man while embracing and NicK still, today, believes that I am over-reacting. Am I? I don't even want to be around him because knowing NicK doesn't have my back on this makes me nervous. Not because I don't know how to put an end to it but because of the ripples within our friendships it would cause if he were to do it again and still not hear me and make me call him out on it.ArguingWAristotleTiff

    disturbing update: NicK shared with me that he now in fact believes what I said about his friends brothers' actions and that it was not me that was "over-reacting". Shocked I turned to him and asked him what exactly changed his mind about what I SAID happened?

    I am having trouble with his response as he said that when the group of guys went out to the range, the brother (offender) stayed behind at the house with another brothers wife. Apparently when the other brother got home, he got a earful from his wife about what had just happened to her. HE got pissed at his brother and is still not talking to him and THAT is what made NicK believe me. Pretty fucked up if you ask me. I expressed that to NicK and he once again said that "You are quite capable of taking care of yourself" and I informed him that I was well aware of that but a spousal backup didn't seem unreasonable and expressed that to him.

    I wonder how extreme of a situation I would need to be in when he would consider backing me up. It is not a comforting wonder by any means but I do wonder... :worry:
  • Cat Person

    I did a ctrl-f on the story for “fear” to try to find a passage. The word fear comes up four times. Twice in reference to Margot’s fears, twice in reference to Robert’s. What’s most missing, in this story (in a lot of irl dating) is a way to express fear without an additional fear of being rendered pitiful for doing so.

    Anger’s usually a secondary emotion, as we all know. In a lot of ways - and here I agree with @aporiap - Robert’s misogynistic outburst is a cover for his inability to process the date, which is, unequivocally, both his and Margot’s fault. The way he handled it was undeniably shitty, but I think we’ve all been beset by ugly thoughts that come suddenly upon us - I condemn the action, but understand what let up to it. The abruptness of Margot’s friends text is equally violent, and frankly hateful. Ugly emotions are part and parcel of actual romance. Obviously there are helpful and unhelpful ways of dealing with these emotions, and robert opted for the latter. But the way cat person functions, as part of the broader conversation around #metoo etc, is to pinpoint an evil core, and then retroactively make all the ambiguity of the date symptoms of that core.

    In that sense it exacerbates the problem its trying to illustrate. As I mentioned in my response to Bitter Crank above, the natural progression is this: Same scenario, but now both participants have read Cat Story.

    I’ve never called a woman a whore, but I am prone to emotional outbursts (cf my post history) which I usually feel ashamed of after the fact. I think the only way to deal with this kind of pattern is to take responsibility for it, which means something like: I could have chosen not to do what I did, but I still did it anyway, and that’s on me. The next step is to figure out why (the real reasons why) you fall prey to those patterns and then address the problem from there. But the ability to take responsibility means shifting from shame to guilt.

    Shame means “I’’m essentially bad at my core.” Guilt means “I’m flawed, both good and bad, and that means its my responsibility to act in a way consonant with my values.” Cat Person, imo, is shame through and through - it really wants someone or something to be all bad. But when you uses this tactic, you don’t fix the problem, you just drive it underground. If bad behavior is seen as symptoms of an unalterable core badness, then those who recognize themselves in that behavior aren’t going to try to change at all. They can’t, after all, if the shame narrative is right. But they, like almost everyone, still deeply need intimacy, so even if they internalize that theyre bad, theyll wind up eventually, dating - except concealing their flaws, rather than have worked through them. So you get a sort of antibody/virus dialectic for red flags.

    I’m just just out of a three year relationship and my therapist asked me if I’m thinking of trying to date again anytime soon. I told him I want to, in a bit, but I can’t figure out how to balance appearing dateable while not simply hiding my emotional baggage, because it'll just make stuff off from the beginning. He said something like: well you know just be up front that you're sensitive. My immediate, reflexive reaction, was like whoa guy, you don’t understand what “sensitive guy” connotes these days. I feel like what I'm looking for is something between a red flag and a flawless facade. Some way to communicate: this is what I struggle with, this is how I'm working on it, what are you struggling with, how are you working on it - and will these two struggles and ways of working through them fit together? But I have no idea how you would do this, unless you trust that the other person is cool with doing that too, and it seems like people are getting less and less cool with doing that.

    I think this is the heart of my fascination with the story (how the particular way it tries to discuss a problem ends up perpetuating it.) I also find it troubling that the New Yorker published this - less for aesthetic reasons, than that it uses Kitsch (as @Baden put it) in a moral way, and in a way that kind of puts it a new yorker story on the same level as any other hot-take. It seems to exemplify a broader flattening.

    So its pretty clear this a personal topic for me. Does any of this make sense to others or sound more like rationalization? This stuff has been knocking around in my head the past month.
  • #MeToo



    I agree with the article but I haven't read the following in the #MeToo movement, which probably explains my earlier inability of understanding the situations you were referring to:

    The law, in other words, should be adapted to track the cultural shifts demanded by #MeToo. Proponents of affirmative consent argue that sexual partners should actively seek clear signs of consent throughout a sexual encounter. ‘Consent is sexy,’ we are told. When a woman alleges an assault, we should believe her. The burden should shift to the defendant to show that he took reasonable steps in the circumstances to ascertain her consent.

    Of course, if you read the above in the #MeToo movement, we should worry about the fluidity and ambiguity surrounding sexual encounters, the danger and fun accompanying it. I never interpreted the movement like that though. I understood the #MeToo movement as a wake-up call to take seriously the social assumptions on a lot of sexual encounters; the reality that 40% of Dutch women have been sexually assaulted and 80% sexually harassed with no similar figures for men. A woman's fear of speaking out due to effects on their careers, social ostracization etc.
  • #MeToo

    #MeToo explicitly relies on patriarchy as both cultural context and target. It sees women as objects of sexualised male domination. Men, we are told, have an interest in furthering, or at least maintaining, misogynistic forms of social control over women. They are assumed to want to go ‘as far’ as they can before being confronted with a woman’s expression of non-consent to sex. This picture provides, at best, an idiosyncratic and regressive picture of human sexuality. At worst, it encourages us to police sexuality in conservative ways.

    Western society has only recently gone from banning of explicit sexual constants and practices to celebrating them. The practices that put Oscar Wilde in prison, are now celebrated in marriage. Society in the process of liberating sex, and its associated practices, has created a moral (& a legal) maze for all genders.

    Van Badham in her Globe piece (2/1/2018) quotes an "eloquent truth":

    “The only sexual rule today is ‘consent’, and men have been taught that women are potentially always sexually available because that is what ‘liberation’ means.”

    Van Badham points to the generational issues surrounding various feminist claims. The freedom of agency that older feminists sought so long and hard to achieve, younger feminists now want to circumscribe. Lili Loofbourow cultural critic for The Week interestingly states:

    The Aziz Ansari case hit a nerve because, as I've long feared, we're only comfortable with movements like #MeToo so long as the men in question are absolute monsters we can easily separate from the pack. Once we move past the "few bad apples" argument and start to suspect that this is more a trend than a blip, our instinct is to normalize. To insist that this is is just how men are, and how sex is.

    Perhaps it is "our instinct is to normalize", the control that society puts over agency, that is shaping what 'consent' entails, which is worrying from a feminist position because the Male view is dominant in Western Culture.

    It will be interesting to see how it plays out. As far as I am aware very few of those #MeToo has called out are under legal indictment and I wonder how it will pan out for those "monsters" who have been charged. Cosby's trail has gone on and on and picks up again next month. Remember OJ was exonerated of murder because of the force of his legal defense and I wonder if many public prosecutors or victims will be able to withstand the legal force that those 'monsters' will employ to defend themselves.
  • #MeToo

    I just read an interesting article on Aeon that might make it clearer what I meant when I said this:

    new social restrictions surrounding sex, an impoverishment of sexual interaction and a degradation of individual autonomyjamalrob

    How do we understand sexual pleasure in this age of ‘consent’?

    Some quotes from the article:

    Sometimes what we want is not fully known to us in advance. The details of desire and satisfaction are often discovered, and produced, in the sexual moment. Rather than a question of individual will, sexual autonomy can be expressed through the interaction of two (or more) partners. Sex can be a uniquely utopian experience, in that the act of sexually relating creates novel ways of being together socially.

    Women’s sexual pleasure is often viewed as more complicated and less predictable than men’s. Historically, this assumption has contributed to the over-regulation of female sexual and reproductive capacities. Rather than the exception, ambiguity about exactly what is desired, and how that desire should be expressed, is the sexual norm. Women’s emancipatory projects should therefore focus on ways of incorporating this fact, rather than shunning it.

    This is not to say that there are no limits in sex, but rather to propose that we devise limits that align with the erotic potential of the sexual encounter. Liminal trust is a space in which partners can explore the value of sexual experiences precisely because they directly engage the line between permissibility and impermissiblity. Both affirmative and enthusiastic consent cast this kind of sexuality as deviant and criminal. That is a mistake.

    #MeToo explicitly relies on patriarchy as both cultural context and target. It sees women as objects of sexualised male domination. Men, we are told, have an interest in furthering, or at least maintaining, misogynistic forms of social control over women. They are assumed to want to go ‘as far’ as they can before being confronted with a woman’s expression of non-consent to sex. This picture provides, at best, an idiosyncratic and regressive picture of human sexuality. At worst, it encourages us to police sexuality in conservative ways.

    And if you have no idea what she's talking about, well, you're doing it wrong. :wink:

    No doubt she'll be cast as a rape apologist by the mob.
  • Is the American Declaration of Independence Based on a Lie ?


    Well, by today's viewpoint Jefferson would most definitely be a tyrant; I can't deny that he did some disturbing things. I suspect he had the capabilities to free his own slaves too, even if it meant sneaking them out to Canada, although it would of been to his detriment.

    A mix of reasons I've found online, although most are just outright bad.
    • the economic value of his human property (at certain times, his slaves were mortgaged and thus could not be freed or sold);
    • his lifelong view that emancipation had to go hand-in-hand with expatriation of the freed slaves;
    • his paternalistic belief that slaves were incapable of supporting themselves in freedom and his fear they would become burden to society;
    • his belief in gradual measures operating through the legal processes of government;
    • and, after 1806, a state law that required freed slaves to leave Virginia within a year. Jefferson wrote that this law did not "permit" Virginians to free their slaves; he apparently thought that, for an enslaved African American, slavery was preferable to freedom far from one's home and family.


    Today, we live in a society were a lifetime of good deeds mean nothing if the #metoo movement accuses you of past sexual misconduct. We also have wealthy elites proclaiming wealth redistribution, although they themselves are not willing to contribute from their wealth alone. It's not even limited to the elites, as there are hundreds of countries worse off than America, and yet wallets largely stay closed. I've adopted my cat, although I do feel guilty that I have room to adopt a few more, and yet I don't.

    So my argument is that Jefferson did "give a fuck", although how far he was willing to self-sacrifice can easily be held to scrutiny. Given the context of the time, he was a progressive!

    Throughout his entire life, Thomas Jefferson was a consistent opponent of slavery. Calling it a “moral depravity” and a “hideous blot,” he believed that slavery presented the greatest threat to the survival of the new American nation. Jefferson also thought that slavery was contrary to the laws of nature, which decreed that everyone had a right to personal liberty. These views were radical in a world where unfree labor was the norm.
    https://www.monticello.org/site/plantation-and-slavery/thomas-jefferson-and-slavery

    Regarding payment to slaves, he was heading in the direction of modern McDonalds I suppose,

    Jefferson attempted to motivate slaves to perform tasks with incentives such as “gratuities” (tips) or other rewards. He experimented with “new modes of governance” of enslaved people, which was intended to moderate physical punishment and to capitalize on the human desire to emulate and excel.

    https://www.monticello.org/site/plantation-and-slavery/thomas-jefferson-and-slavery

    I also found this a bit interesting, although a bit off topic:

    Jefferson’s belief in the necessity of abolition was intertwined with his racial beliefs. He thought that white Americans and enslaved blacks constituted two “separate nations” who could not live together peacefully in the same country.
    https://www.monticello.org/site/plantation-and-slavery/thomas-jefferson-and-slavery

    Based on his view of the Haitian Revolution and an aborted rebellion in Virginia in 1800, he believed freeing of the slaves outright would result in a race-war, but he also believed that to keep slaves in bondage, with part of America in favor of abolition and part of America in favor of perpetuating slavery, could only result in a civil war that would destroy the union.

    This fear was at least partially not unfounded, as the civil war proved, and we see race battles persist in America today and in countries like South Africa.
  • Separating The Art From The Artist



    Yeah, I think the Cosby case is the real case; it's the one that we can all agree on. Was that the case that started the #metoo movement? I can't remember. If so, then it was certainly justified.

    But lesser cases, as I think @Bitter Crank has well illustrated, are less clear.

    And yes, that it's a personal response is of course, completely acceptable. Even rational, ironically. I don't disagree with you, T Clark.
  • Separating The Art From The Artist

    In the 'real world' #MeToo's targets are being dumped in mass by their support systems.Cavacava

    Which raises moral problems as well. Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) dumped Garrison Keillor in an act of breathtaking ingratitude. Keillor is well fixed, reputationally and financially; we need not worry about his well-being. Garrison contributed his entire working life to MPR, and is a big reasons MPR is a leading player in Public Radio. Worse, in terms of "the optics" they dumped him when they no longer needed him. He had retired from the Prairie Home Show (and they abruptly dropped that name too, replacing it with the tone-deaf "Live From Here" moniker). They also dropped the daily 5 minute Writer's Almanac and rebroadcasts of the Prairie Home show.

    Keillor's crimes fall into the category of "moody", occasionally harsh criticism of staff persons, difficult to work with. On a few occasions he made "inappropriate" overtures to female staff members. Pretty mild stuff.

    So why did MPR sever the Keillor connection with an axe? High morals? I don't think so. They were scurrying to avoid any financial harm from the #metoo sex panic. The effect of #metoo went off the deep end very quickly. The quite disparate organizations which did the various severings are no more moral than any other corporate entity; they were not protecting morals, they were protecting their bottom lines, and throwing a disposable cape of high ethical standards over their shoulders while they did it.

    Bill Cosby's behavior isn't in the same ball park as most of the people targeted and punished by #metoo. Drugging women to have sex with them is clearly much, much worse than what falls into the category of "inappropriate". It's clearly criminal.
  • Separating The Art From The Artist



    In the 'real world' Roman Polanski plead guilty to statutory rape of a 13 year old and then absconded to Europe where he continues to work, shielded from US justice. He won a 2002 Oscar for the Pianist: Best Director and Best Picture, so the Academy apparently did not hold his actions against his work.

    I'm just not in favor of black listing every person who has done something wrong. BECAUSE, Cavacava, there literally won't be anybody left to do the black listing before long.

    I don't disagree, but as you indicated many of the alleged abusers such as Woody Allen, have no pending prosecutions. As far as I am aware Harvey Weinstein has not been criminally charged for anything although he is apparently under criminal investigation. Bill Cosby's retrial is scheduled for April. The actual list is short, but that wasn't really to point to my question.

    As stated, I agree that the work of an artist is separate from the artist. The moral choice, as I see it, is whether of not to support works by such artists by paying to see their works and thereby enabling them to continue to work or to support their victims by boycott works of these people regardless of the status of their work. In the 'real world' #MeToo's targets are being dumped in mass by their support systems.
  • Separating The Art From The Artist

    but the question is will you go see the next movie by someone who had sex with a 14 year old?Cavacava

    Yes, I would, assuming that the movie was of interest. Am I indifferent to the possible misfortune of the 14 year old? No. And I don't know what all the producers, directors, crew, actors, editors, and everyone else who worked on the film may or may not have done to whom, how, where, and when. A lot of people work on a film. People do good, bad, and indifferent things, and they may not even have done things for which they are reviled.

    Many people (a large percentage of the population, let's say 25%) have done things that when exposed in public are likely to be condemned by one group or another--and viewed as OK by others. There is a long list of things that someone might have done, or be doing now, that will result in their being pilloried. The are tried, convicted, and punished by mob justice, these days conducted on line, like #metoo and TimesUp.

    Take Woody Allen. It isn't as if the charge against him (by Mia Farrow and his adopted daughter) hasn't been investigated and disposed of more than once. There is no evidence that he ever had sex with Dylan. There are no witnesses who think that it even could have happened. (This case isn't new -- it started during a bitter divorce proceeding in 1993. It was recently revived by #metoo.)

    I'm not in favor of these shunning/censoring maneuvers; the casting out of some group's devil de jour. Of course, I understand righteous indignation; it's one of my favorite emotions. But... conviction in the Twitter Court does not require a response from me.
  • Separating The Art From The Artist



    Perhaps you can think about it under the conception of authorial intent as put forward by Wimsatt and Beardsley.

    According to Wimsatt and Beardsley, a poem does not belong to its author but rather "is detached from the author at birth and goes about the world beyond his power to intend about it or control it. The poem belongs to the public."

    Caravaggio was accused of killing one of his love rivals, and Benvenuto Cellini killed his brother's killer with a knife in an act of revenge. The objects these people are made are treasured and Cellini's autobiography is worth reading.

    Of course it is different when the artist is alive and has not been dead for 500 years. Many people refuse to go to see films by Roman Polanski or Woody Allen. The way #MeToo is going you'll probably need a score card or something to keep track.
  • The paradox of progress and the ticking clock on human enlightenment

    So I've been considering the current changes that things like globalization, technology and access to knowledge are having on shaping our path as a species.

    For this discussion, I'm interested in looking at how we can use calculative tools to approach the issue, in a way that doesn't rely on improving the human condition, but actually works under that assumption that the human condition (at least for now) evolves too slowly to be the factor that we can improve first.

    Note: I'm not saying that it is the case. But I think that in order to look at the alternative starting points to progress I will assume the human condition to be a constant in the equation.


    As the world becomes more socially conscious, the richest are becoming exponentially richer, and the bridge separating the remarkable innovations we've made with the people who need them the most remains sinfully wide. The threat of technology, nuclear war, climate change etc is growing faster than our species is collectively civilizing, or enlightening. So what then can the most educated, the most awakened, the most aware altruistic tier of people do to instigate a sharp shift in our coexistence? It seems that we need something, an era of intense change, if we are to avoid the seemingly imminent threat we pose to ourselves. The problem is that eras like the 60's etc are more unlikely as people are numbed by their facebook and prescription meds, and their focus on self. And also, the volume of information available is a catalyst for apathy.

    The word revolution may come to mind, and historically it has been what ushers in change. But I think that we are in a time where improving ourselves must come from tactics, strategy and long term investment. Revolution and conflict in this world would only benefit the elite, and at best segeway into another version of the same realities.

    I've been thinking about the differences between the power of a person's altruism and the power of a person's lack of conscience. It's an interesting thing to see how altruism is limited by it's own integrity while the freedom to seek goals by any means necessary has a compounding growth. Taking the metaphor of seeds, the beautiful seed of altruism may only grow under certain conditions while the self serving seed of selfishness will spread as a weed, inhabiting all the space it can.

    Take charities and corporations. We have seen many charities which were started with good intentions become profit making machines. To survive, they gradually evolve to become less efficient (in relation to our cabilities) and more open to being tools for political capital. Corporations on the other hand are absolutely thriving. They're growth is of a compounding nature, as they can climb around almost any legal restrictions put in place. We live in a world where companies like facebook and google are as powerful as nations.

    So this is where I started to consider other ways to approach the problems we are facing - IE not from examining the human condition.

    The elite and the most powerful institutions, states and individuals will not facilitate any radical shift of our existence that will affect their goals, way of life or accumulated power. So an adversarial stance against those who profit from the status quo seems futile. They're presentation of the "way of doing things" is deeply rooted in every aspect of society, and they are resourced with product, media, money and influence. But the thing that altruism has in its favour over this is its longevity. And if we can learn to structure our approach to progress in a way that outlives the lifespan of what is self serving, we can maybe get there in time.

    I have no real idea of how this could be done. But I think the following factors are important parts of the puzzle.

    1) In order to improve our world, the distance between the highest and lowest must be narrowed. That needs to be done from both sides IE improving the baseline of human existence with medicines, food, shelter and education, while dispersing power and influence to larger numbers of people.

    2) Find a way where the increase in equality and the deconcentration of power is done incrementally so as not to be seen as threatening to the structures and people at the top. Finding ways where they stand to benefit along with everyone else would be optimal - an example being startbucks gaining more customers by announcing they commit to hiring a percentage of refugees as their staff.

    3) creating more social capital and reverence around innovations that help the overall progression of global improvement - Have the budding elon musk's of tomorrow setting their genius towards working from the bottom up, rather than the top down. Encouraging the idea that they can still be on the frontier of human advancement by getting water to every human as opposed to sending some poor chap to mars. Again this is not trying to change people's ego, but to redirect it to lifting humanity as opposed to pulling it.

    I was thinking about starting points. Perhaps one could be creating altruism as a currency or capital. We've seen the power of mass mobility via social media, #metoo being an example. Weinstein was a catalyst, of course, but with twitter etc there was a path for the momentum of people's individual reactions to flow collectively, and was too fast and too reinforced to be squashed by all the money and influence that was thrown at it. If we could create an online platform, an app, or software that was a permanent fixture in our daily lives that could facilitate changes like metoo then it would be a place for causes to catch fire.

    Or an app/online platform that scores companies by their ability to provide for their communities. Restaurants gain points by giving spare food to the homeless, or companies scoring for their low carbon footprint, or companies who employ staff with disabilities. These things are already done by companies, but play their game by making them compete with each other over it. You could be a person who is sensitive to a certain cause, and only buy from companies with high accumulated scores for aiding that cause. The mindset and structures required are already ingrained in our lives. Take how we socialise online, and use that construct for how we consume. This is something that doesn't need a shift in the human condition, as people will do it simply to feel good about themselves, and it could take relatively little sacrifice for the individual if it was done correctly. Then the trend becomes ingrained in our way of life, and the human condition will evolve as a result, rather than the other way around.

    If there were enough of these types of structures and channels for altruism to take root, then maybe we could do what hasn't been done before, and enable altruism to work under the paradigm I used to explain the power of a person's lack of conscience. So that altruism is offered exponential growth and less obstacles. And none of this relies on improving our moral integrity, but actually gives it the opportunity to grow as it would anyway, but without the threat of extinction beating it to the finish line!

    Final thought:
    This is a collection of ideas that represent the furthest my imagination has gone in looking at what we are, and considering where we could most tangibly take autonomy over our future. I am sure that there are major problematic factors I haven't considered, and I really welcome them being pointed out. I would love your detailed explanations of the problems you find, and if you feel there's any idea above to tease out together, fire away and I'll happily bounce back and forth!

    Thanks for reading!
  • #MeToo

    Who cares about proportionality if one can get results by making accusations which are likely to result in a firing or costly resignation? It's an all women for every woman free for all.Bitter Crank

    Last I saw, the determining factor in winning cases of sexual harassment in the workplace was who made the first complaint, regardless of what happened. Not gender. Then again, things could have changed since then...
  • #MeToo

    due processprothero
    proportionalityprothero

    I doubt if there was ever a wish for due process by the #me2 phenomena. Due process is slow and might be quite public. The court doesn't reliably find all of the accused guilty. Cases may be thrown out. I doubt also that there was any wish for proportional claims. If there is proportionality, where does one draw the line among rude and/or tasteless behavior, sexual misconduct, and sexual assault? What happens to solidarity if women who have been raped outrank, in an aristocracy of suffering, those who have been subjected only to repeated requests to have sex?

    Besides, if offending men get fired on the basis of reports alone, why bother with due process? Who cares about proportionality if one can get results by making accusations which are likely to result in a firing or costly resignation? It's an all women for every woman free for all.
  • #MeToo

    I am becoming concerned there is nothing resembling "due process" in the #metoo movement.
    I am also concerned there is no proportionality, where telling off color jokes or touching someone on the shoulder gets mixed in with requesting sexual favors for promotion or trapping someone in a hotel room and forcing them to have sex.
  • The Right to not be Offended

    So why, when people propose laws, or social trends, towards restricting the use of certain language and the platforming of certain ideas do you consistently create this straw man of a world gone mad with every slight offence being policed and virtually all debate shut down? What on earth makes you think we wouldn't be just as capable of applying exactly the same sense of proportion to claims of offence, exactly the same ability to weigh each case on its merits when people claim to be offended?Pseudonym

    Because restricting the use of certain language limit's individual's ability to express themselves, and because using laws to systematically "de-platform" certain ideas from being spoken is tantamount to thought-policing. If a coalition of students/citizens want to rent a private theatre, invite a guest who has controversial views, and hear them speak, and you want the state to intervene and censor/ban them, then you actually are fucking with the freedfom of thought of some individuals in order to preserve the emotions of some other individuals.

    There's no proportion to outright censorship, and there's no objectivity to emotional offense taking.

    No, we're not, no-one is talking about that. Despite the clandestine beginning, the topics that have been mentioned are; the repeated use of a personal pronoun opposite to the one a transgender person prefers, the banning of certain speakers with known racist or politically unsavoury views from university speaking institutions, and the offence taken at unwanted sexual advances within the MeToo movement. Absolutely no-one has suggested that a single indirect exposure to an offensive idea requires intervention. These are all repeated uses by society (or particular sections of it), of language that many people (virtually half the population in one case), find offensive in the expression of ideas which have been talked about since civilisation began. No-one is suggesting that the expression of ideas be banned off the cuff because one person is offended by them.Pseudonym

    I'm referring to the discussion that you and I are having: I get rather confused then when you keep asking, in principle, at what point an individual's right to not be offended becomes more important than another individual's right to free speech. The only example you gave is that causing emotional offense can lead to suicide. If these are your chosen hills though, so be it.

    Referring to someone by the pronouns of their choosing is the respectful course of action, but there's no law that says I have to be respectful. I will in fact happily use he, she, or they when asked, but I will not use quay/xey/zey or any other made up pronoun. I won't use made up pronouns because I refuse to accept an obligation to learn and remember an ever growing list of made-up words that are required to secure the emotions of people who have been trained to have an emotional breakdown when they don't get their way (if being referred to as quay is required for your happiness, I actually think you may need to be committed to a mental institution). If an individual calls a transsexual by the gender they do not identify with, intentionally, a single time, should they have just committed a crime?

    If I intentionally refer to a woman as a man, it's possible she may be very offended and insulted. She may cry, question her body image/identity, but she probably will not call the cops on me just for calling her a man. If I follow that woman down the street calling her a man, and it's clearly causing her mental and emotional anguish to boot, then what I'm doing is textbook harassment. The mere fact that someone gets emotionally offended is not sufficient criteria to make any normative claims whatsoever about the action which caused the emotional reaction, otherwise anytime emotional offense is taken, an investigation would be required to determine "if the emotional harm in question is greater than the potential value resulting from allowing free speech". Really what I think you're asking is why I take free speech so seriously while I don't take the emotions of others very seriously at all (I care about truth, and emotions don't help me get there, free speech does). But the main reason is that the upward limit on possible emotional harm caused by allowing certain ideas to exist is far more insignificant than the amount of physical and all other forms of harm which history has demonstrated can easily be inflicted upon a population, by it's own government, when free speech is forbidden.

    You're trying to create the best possible case scenario where we all tip-toe around one another's emotions out of respect and society works and everyone is happy, and I'm trying to avoid the worst case scenario where democracy is slowly eroded by the slow banning of ideas in the name of safeguarding the emotions of the sensitive.

    Surely pronouns have nothing to do with democracy, but what about banning "racist" speakers who were invited by private groups of "racist" students who paid money to rent privately own theaters? The famous Milo/Shapiro protests have all been done under the banner of anti-racism and anti-fascism; In a world where being racist gets you summarily banned from making public appearances, the most powerful political rhetoric becomes "you're a racist" whether it's true or not. But again, even if they are racist, banning them is only going to give them publicity and allure. There's a genuinely racist alt-right faction growing right now (one that ive been trying to engage/combat) and their formation has quite a bit to do with the fact that "the regressive left" has utterly succumbed to the "as a white man, I cannot possibly deny the lived experiences of women of color who state I am their oppressor" syndrome. Remember when some BLM activists stormed a Bernie Sanders stage and threatened to shut it down if they did not get the microphone? That's how powerful the accusation of racism has become, and so, a new wave of social media whores (mostly men, to be clear) have decided to fully and openly adopt anti-political-correctness and in some cases outright racist ideals (such as wanting a white ethno-state) and will happily preemptively offend you, causing you to call them racist and ban-worthy, which then allows them to say "See everyone? They have no argument because we have the truth". At which point they've already peaked the interest of the audience, and the individuals who had the emotional breakdown look like over-sensitive idiots who are unable to buck up and have a debate.

    If you're interested in using this as a case study for our disagreement, the following video is a quite recent "You-Tube" clash between two social media whores who happen to have massive degrees of influence over a fairly spread out cross-section of 15-40 males (specifically, conservative liberals vs genuinely racist ethno-nationalists). For you and me both, watching this video is like listening to nails on a chalk board (the stupidity contained therein), but for them and their followers it might mean the difference between gaining/maintaining semi-sane political positions or succumbing to the absolute intellectual retardation that is on offer. It's definitely "offensive" and wide spread calls to have the video taken down because it platforms racists have been made.



    Even if you do not watch the video (I don't actually expect anyone to have the time), can you tell me whether you think the video should be taken down on the grounds that it's offensive racism and no political gain can possibly come from it? If so, do you recognize how banning Spencer in this way only makes people more curious about his ideas? And when they have to go looking for them in the darkened corners of the media, they don't then get exposed to informed objections.

    I remain firm that even the most offensive ideas and speech needs to see the light of day even if only so that it can be ridiculed and destroyed.

    P.S: regarding the #MeToo movement, I really don't think it's a good idea to conflate the morality of sexual advances/harassment/rape as they pertain to authority/subordinate relationships with the right to express honest political opinions...

    For a start, this goes down exactly the same straw man as you've used before, no-one is suggesting banning ideas. But to take the point itself, it is not automatically true that a free ability to speak raises the amount of information in the debate. People who get up and propagate lies, for example, are not adding information to the debate, they are removing it, making it actually harder for people to see what the real issues are. Denying such people a platform assists proper rational decision making, not hinders it.Pseudonym

    Denying someone the right to a private platform is up to whoever owns the platform, that said, what I'm arguing against is A) the legally mandated deplatforming of individuals who espouse certain unsavory ideas (which you seem to constantly suggest is O.K in principle) because it is utterly un-pragmatic and potentially dangerous to do so, and B) that there is no such thing as, nor should there be, "the right to not be offended" because offense taking is subjective in nature.

    Some people clearly think they do not, that's why I was asking you for your reason why you think they do. People are claiming that the lives of, for example, transgender people, are being harmed significantly by the repeated use of the opposite personal pronoun to the one they prefer. Where this activity is carried out by society as a whole, it is not covered by anti-harassment laws, yet (the argument goes) it is causing significant psychological harm for very little public benefit.Pseudonym

    Transgenders who do not "pass" as the gender they're conforming to experience this, and it can indeed be very hard for them. If a person is repeatedly subjected to use of their undesired pronoun by an individual who is knowingly causing them anguish in doing so, then we can construct a harassment case. If however, you expect everyone in society to always know before hand and to use the correct gender someone prefers (when perhaps they may appear ambiguous), then you're asking for an impossible task.

    If you essentially want to make using the incorrect pronoun into a kind of illegal slur, then obviously that would lead to problematic litigation.

    Not relevant to the debate, but actually historical evidence has shown that small-group egalitarianism is the the least worst system, creating stable societies for several hundred thousand years before agriculture. But I'm not sure what this has got to do with the debate, is it another straw man for you to valiantly knock down, are we suggesting that the evil transgenders and anti-racists are calling for the dismantling of democracy now?Pseudonym

    You accused me of fallaciously equivocating free speech (that we have the legal right to it) with what is moral. The fact that democracy works best, historically, is why morally I support democracy, and the fact that free speech is a fundamental requisite for a functional democracy, is why morally I support free speech.

    Regarding small group-"egalitarianism", we have evidence of stable hunter gatherer societies who frequently warred, raped, enslaved, and dominated one-another while individuals died around the age of 32 on average. But since there's 7 billion of us now, small group egalitarianism isn't even on the table anyway...

    Are you really that naive to believe that people adopt ideas on the basis of a rational assessment, what world have you been living on for the last 200 years?Pseudonym

    Ummmmm..... The enlightened one?

    If it's your position that the voting public cannot be trusted to form their own rational assessment based on the evidence then what would you have once we tear down democracy?

    .
    People adopt ideas because they are part of the Zeitgeist, they're the "talked-about" idea of the moment, they're the idea their parents had and they're too lazy to think of anything else, it's the idea shared by someone they fancy and they want to get laid. Pretty much everything but actually thinking about it rationally. If you honestly think that ideas get accepted and rejected on their merit, then explain why ideas have consistently gone in waves of fashion. Have people's brains changed over time? Have people changed the way they reason? Or is it more likely that people have just got swept along by the latest craze - free-love, communism, anti-communism, the American dream, fascism... They're all just trends people follow for social reasons.
    Pseudonym
    Individuals adopt ideas for their own individual reasons; they truly do. Since we generally share similar environments, we generally share "reasons". Why do politics change you ask? It's simple: changing circumstances; changing environment. When the situation you're in changes, rationally the best strategy for making your situation better would also change, right?

    There's also this science thingamabob that's really been helping us get toward better ideas in addition to the slow progress made by various democratic states themselves.

    If we want to have any influence of direction such trends go, then making a clear statement about how we tolerate them is an extremely effective way.Pseudonym
    So then tell me your prognosis. In what ways should we not tolerate which political speakers, where should we not tolerate them, and how do we identify them?

    Again, no-one has mentioned banning an idea, the public debate has been entirely about denying platforms to speak at the very extreme, but mainly about restricting language use.Pseudonym
    You're talking about smashing private soap-boxes because of the beliefs and ideas expressed by the speaker, are you not? (a privately rented theater, privately owned by a university is a "private soap-box").

    What? I thought your suggestion that people were denying the right to express ideas was crazy enough, who the hell said anything about banning thoughts?Pseudonym
    Oh I see, in your view, denying people the right to gather and speak in public wherever possible isn't bad as long as it's not the total and outright banning of the ideas...

    This is the non-sequitur at the heart of this problem. Stating that no-one can predict the harm or the benefit from the expression of an idea is a cop out. Someone has to nonetheless, we still have to decide whether to give someone a platform (if it is ours to give), we can't just equivocate and say we don't know. A decision has to be made.Pseudonym
    We also can't equivocate and just say "risk of using the wrong pronouns is like the risk of driving drunk, and so speech should require a license".
    I think it's a much more reasonable position to say that freedom from emotional offense is not in and of itself a sound basis for a right, while the need to express one's belief actually is in a democratic system.

    You're talking as if language was the only means of communication, that some-one's right to express how they feel in speech is somehow the only defence against extremism. We have many ways of displaying and teaching our children how to be moral citizens, not least of which is by our behavior, the moral decisions we actually make about who we want to talk too, whose ideas we find worth discussing, who we consider to have reached the level of politeness we expect of anyone wishing to take part in public discourse.Pseudonym

    There's already a large swath of self-styled intellectual rebels who will be intentionally impolite and offensive for the sole purpose of making you look silly when you then react and disregard them out of hand (the ethno-state supporting alt-right). The more you suggest that we should disregard ideas because of the politeness of the person or the flavor of the idea, the more you appear to fit their description that "they're afraid of the truth".

    They need to actually be invited into the open so they can be thoroughly trounced by better ideas. That's kind of what the enlightenment was all about...

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