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  • #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...
  • #MeToo

    But the reason the wife wasn't with that person, was because they wanted to have sex with a hooker.Agustino

    Yeah, they set it up for themselves as they wanted to. If the organizer wouldn't agree, they'd find someone who would, and so on so forth.Agustino

    On the one hand it has been set up that way by people who want it that way, on the other hand most of the people who attended were probably not involved in the set up. Again you take a simplistic, absolutist position, when the reality is more complex. There is feedback and feedforward. Nobody brings a wife, because it is instituted as men only. It is instituted as men only to ensure that nobody brings their wife. There is thus no unified 'they'.
    But it is not men only, because girls are provided. But not enough girls for even one each. So the set up also involves by plan, 'non harassing men' who are probably there for the charitable kudos, and certainly there to add to the legitimacy.

    Anyway, I'm happy to report that the organisation is winding itself up, there has already been one resignation from a government committee, and the general outrage and disapproval is such that it will be difficult to repeat this in the immediate future. We might even get some legislation out of it.
  • #MeToo

    It's like telling someone "you would not have had sex with a hooker, if your wife was with you" - well of course! But the reason the wife wasn't with that person, was because they wanted to have sex with a hooker.
  • #MeToo

    Those grown-up men would not have behaved like that if there had been a good sprinkling of wives and significant others present, (oh and possibly some powerful women guests) and the auction items would have been different, and the uniforms would have been different, and...unenlightened
    So you're telling me those grown-up men would not have behaved like that, if they did not wish the organizer to set up a party like that? :s That's silly beyond belief - of course not! When they themselves told that organizer, do a party like this, if you want our money, how would it be possible for there to have been a "good sprinkling of wives" etc.?

    It was set up to indulge and legitimise foul behaviour, and everyone involved knew it, hence the non-disclosure agreements.unenlightened
    Yeah, they set it up for themselves as they wanted to. If the organizer wouldn't agree, they'd find someone who would, and so on so forth.
  • #MeToo

    the structure of society both represents and produces 'who we are'.
    — unenlightened
    Yes and no. It produces "who we are" in children and young adults, but not in those who have already formed and crystalised their personality. So those grown-up men, there pretty much is no changing for most of them.
    Agustino

    No and no. Those grown-up men would not have behaved like that if there had been a good sprinkling of wives and significant others present, (oh and possibly some powerful women guests) and the auction items would have been different, and the uniforms would have been different, and...

    Because they and we already know better. It was set up to indulge and legitimise foul behaviour, and everyone involved knew it, hence the non-disclosure agreements.
  • #MeToo

    If you have a guys’ place, you have a guys place. I have a hard time letting go of that. Maybe I’m not gonna have a choice.

    If you can’t handle some of the basic stuff that’s become a problem in the workforce today, then you don’t belong in the workforce. Like, you should go maybe teach kindergarten. I think it’s a respectable position.

    Donald Trump Jr. on SiriusXM radio program The Opie & Anthony Show back in 2013.

    The acorn does not fall far from the tree.
  • #MeToo

    the structure of society both represents and produces 'who we are'.unenlightened
    Yes and no. It produces "who we are" in children and young adults, but not in those who have already formed and crystalised their personality. So those grown-up men, there pretty much is no changing for most of them.

    Well that's not true. Fear of breaking the law is a pretty good motivator.Michael
    Don't be naive. Someone is not afraid of the law if they understand the procedures, they have (or can make) connections with the decision makers, and can influence them. The law doesn't implement itself, it needs people to be implemented. Things need to pass through certain procedures, and through multiple hands, in order for the law to do things. These are social matters.

    For example, someone may go to their local police station and file an accusation that, for example, you hit them. That accusation then needs to be passed onto a decision-maker who will decide if an investigation needs to be started, or there is no basis for it. If an investigation is started, then that will need to be passed onto the courts as well.

    At every step of the way, there is an opportunity for something to go wrong. At the person who takes the accusation first and sends it over to his boss, if there is corruption, the papers will get lost. If the papers pass from that person to his boss, and there is corruption, his boss can find a reason for not starting an investigation into your case. And so on across the entire chain, to the highest levels.

    So society is more important than the law - society governs how the law is implemented. If a homeless child from the street gets kidnapped, who is there to start an investigation into his case? If someone from a regular but stable family gets kidnapped, on the other hand, there will be a lot of people to report it, follow up, and make sure that an investigation is started and pursued to the end.

    So society is more important than the law. These social structures determine the very possibilities for someone to use the law in the first place.

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