Author Topic: So... Anyone else concerned about the war on free speech?  (Read 59895 times)

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Re: So... Anyone else concerned about the war on free speech?
« Reply #60 on: November 11, 2015, 01:12:19 PM »

Offline jpotter33

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I am. Im tired of it. Perhaps a republucan president would fix some of it. But the thought of carson or trump winning makes me cringe. Im tired of slacktivism and the daily social media and twitter campaigns. Im tired of people being offended over the color of a starbucks cup, and im tired of the US pop. In general. People being offended by this stuff is offensive to me. Grow some skin people. With the tradgedies and horrors going on in the world the things that trend and are fought against are halloween costumes and cups, good lord

Exactly. This was mainly an issue in liberals, but now conservative Christians are starting to jump on the "offended" bandwagon and use it to their advantage.

Where did this come from? It's like all of a sudden there is now this notion that you can't respectfully disagree with someone else without vilifying them. This is one of the dangers of this radicalized PC that is so rampant nowadays, and it's a really dangerous precedent to set for the future.

"starting"?  Liberals and conservatives of all sorts have had their share of sacred cows for a loooooong time now, and they tend to get very upset when someone messes with them.  See any story in the past 30 years about someone disrespecting an American flag.  Or the annual "War on Christmas" nonsense that's been getting trotted out for at least a decade or so now.

Very little about any of this is new; we have a much greater ability to communicate and spread information without major media to serve as a middleman, and the targets have shifted as they always do.  But the tendency to overreact to seemingly trivial offenses has been around since at least the Romans.  And so has the fact that these overreactions are generally indicative of a deeper source of animosity and mistrust.  It's more fruitful to try and figure out what's underlying these specific types of responses and how legitimate it might be than to just make the classic blanket statements about how society's going downhill or start lining up one's own overreaction by declaring it a "war".


Quote
Where did this come from? It's like all of a sudden there is now this notion that you can't respectfully disagree with someone else without vilifying them.

Again I think this tendency's been around forever, but this is one I think is actually increasing, precisely because of our new sources of communication (mainly online).  It's been found that the human mind struggles to think of people as individuals as we interact with more of them; ~150's been estimated as a typical cap.  When you interact with more and more people as we can now, you're more motivated to stereotype them because it's overwhelming to treat everyone as a separate individual.  Most places online if you get into a discussion on a controversial topic you'll have people attacking you for all kinds of things you never said; eventually you realize it's because they're talking to the stereotype instead of the person.  This seems difficult to fix because it's mainly a human brain problem.

Yeah, I should've specified in the year 2015. Obviously the conservative Christian crowd has utilized a similar type of argument for a long time now, but it seems to be a new type of "offensive" argument that has erupted ever since the Confederate flag issue earlier this year, which is what I was primarily referring to in the liberal crowd.

Thanks for adding the second part, too, because I was making that same sort of argument earlier in the thread. Generalizations are a natural part of human reasoning, because that's the easiest way for our brains to categorize pieces of information. Thus, generalizations in themselves aren't necessarily morally wrong or bad. It's when pejorative or derogatory elements are added to those generalizations that make it wrong, or of course when one places an individual in a generalized group and prescribes upon them qualities or beliefs that aren't necessarily held by the individual. I think a lot of people confuse these things today and consider any type of generalizing concept bad, while inevitably generalizing other concepts themselves.
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Re: So... Anyone else concerned about the war on free speech?
« Reply #61 on: November 11, 2015, 01:13:23 PM »

Offline PhoSita

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I often feel that much of what I see derogatorily labeled as "PC Culture" could also be fairly labeled "Don't Be A Jerk" culture.



If it seems like stuff that didn't used to count as "being a jerk," is being called that now, maybe it's because the people that were hurt or offended by the behavior in the past didn't feel empowered to speak up about it.

I think there's value in questioning why people are saying a particular speech of behavior needs to be shut down, instead of there being a "dialogue," or just appreciating the value of diverse viewpoints and modes of expression, that sort of thing.

But if you're a member of the majority -- and this is something I've struggled to learn to do, myself -- I think you need to be willing to be persuaded and respect when somebody tells you a behavior bothers them, especially if that person speaks from a perspective you can't fully understand because of your privilege.
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Re: So... Anyone else concerned about the war on free speech?
« Reply #62 on: November 11, 2015, 01:31:59 PM »

Offline fairweatherfan

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But if you're a member of the majority -- and this is something I've struggled to learn to do, myself -- I think you need to be willing to be persuaded and respect when somebody tells you a behavior bothers them, especially if that person speaks from a perspective you can't fully understand because of your privilege.

I'm consistently perplexed by the tendency of other white, straight males (like myself) to hear racial/sexual minorities and women describe their experiences and just flatly say, "nope, you're wrong, that's not the way it is".  It's basically telling someone your characterization of their personal experiences trumps their own.  It doesn't mean you'll always be wrong - sometimes an outsider's perspective really is more accurate - but gosh, how do they not realize the odds are sharply against that?

I think "privilege" gets overused in some circles, especially when it just winds up looking like the exact reverse of what I've just described, but the tendency to just outright disregard the perspectives and experiences of other groups seems like a pretty prominent example of privileged thinking.

Re: So... Anyone else concerned about the war on free speech?
« Reply #63 on: November 11, 2015, 01:35:23 PM »

Offline fairweatherfan

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Thanks for adding the second part, too, because I was making that same sort of argument earlier in the thread. Generalizations are a natural part of human reasoning, because that's the easiest way for our brains to categorize pieces of information. Thus, generalizations in themselves aren't necessarily morally wrong or bad. It's when pejorative or derogatory elements are added to those generalizations that make it wrong, or of course when one places an individual in a generalized group and prescribes upon them qualities or beliefs that aren't necessarily held by the individual. I think a lot of people confuse these things today and consider any type of generalizing concept bad, while inevitably generalizing other concepts themselves.

I think one of the reasons why political discussions here are on average so much more respectful and thoughtful than in any other context I've seen online is exactly because the smaller user base means we all "know" each other to some extent.  Gives us a stronger sense of the nuances of individuals' opinions, instead of just tossing them in a liberal/conservative/libertarian/socialist box and yelling at a mental caricature of "those people".

...plus we're all Celtics fans, which makes us just a little bit classier and smarter than the unwashed masses.  :)
« Last Edit: November 11, 2015, 01:42:06 PM by foulweatherfan »

Re: So... Anyone else concerned about the war on free speech?
« Reply #64 on: November 11, 2015, 01:39:49 PM »

Offline kozlodoev

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But if you're a member of the majority -- and this is something I've struggled to learn to do, myself -- I think you need to be willing to be persuaded and respect when somebody tells you a behavior bothers them, especially if that person speaks from a perspective you can't fully understand because of your privilege.
Just because you're bothered doesn't mean you're right. It's a fairly simple concept which proves to be amazingly nebulous to millenials, time and time again.

And speaking about millenials, the hunger striker down in Missouri is the son of a top business executive. Talk to me more about privilege, please.

http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/columns/joe-holleman/mizzou-hunger-strike-figure-from-omaha-son-of-top-railroad/article_20630c03-2a68-5e63-9585-edde16fe05f3.html
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Re: So... Anyone else concerned about the war on free speech?
« Reply #65 on: November 11, 2015, 01:40:01 PM »

Offline jpotter33

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But if you're a member of the majority -- and this is something I've struggled to learn to do, myself -- I think you need to be willing to be persuaded and respect when somebody tells you a behavior bothers them, especially if that person speaks from a perspective you can't fully understand because of your privilege.

I'm consistently perplexed by the tendency of other white, straight males (like myself) to hear racial/sexual minorities and women describe their experiences and just flatly say, "nope, you're wrong, that's not the way it is".  It's basically telling someone your characterization of their personal experiences trumps their own.  It doesn't mean they'll always be wrong - sometimes an outsider's perspective really is more accurate - but gosh, how do they not realize the odds are sharply against that?

I think "privilege" gets overused in some circles, especially when it just winds up looking like the exact reverse of what I've just described, but the tendency to just outright disregard the perspectives and experiences of other groups seems like a pretty prominent example of privileged thinking.


This is a good middle-ground, I think. I think the overall term "privilege" is more of an arbitrary, theoretical concept than anything practical in nature, and it is incredibly overused by many who just take it at face-value without even suggesting any real, practical situations that it might actually apply to.

That said, as fallible, finite human beings, we all have limited perspectives, so to categorically dismiss others' experiences as false is illogical in nature. Ethically, I think there should be some sort of sensitivity towards others' experiences and perceptions, but that very sensitivity is also limited by the fundamental, deontological rights granted to individuals in this country, i.e. free speech.
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Re: So... Anyone else concerned about the war on free speech?
« Reply #66 on: November 11, 2015, 02:10:58 PM »

Offline PhoSita

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Just because you're bothered doesn't mean you're right. It's a fairly simple concept which proves to be amazingly nebulous to millenials, time and time again.


Sure, I suppose that's true.  But what relevance does being "right," have here, exactly?

Just because you can't understand why particular actions or words bother somebody else doesn't mean you shouldn't respect that person's feelings.

Ask yourself -- what if they are legitimately upset by this thing they called me out on?  Is it really such a burden for me to change my behavior?
You値l have to excuse my lengthiness葉he reason I dread writing letters is because I am so apt to get to slinging wisdom & forget to let up. Thus much precious time is lost.
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Re: So... Anyone else concerned about the war on free speech?
« Reply #67 on: November 11, 2015, 02:17:16 PM »

Offline PhoSita

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I think "privilege" gets overused in some circles, especially when it just winds up looking like the exact reverse of what I've just described, but the tendency to just outright disregard the perspectives and experiences of other groups seems like a pretty prominent example of privileged thinking.

Well, "white, straight, upper middle class male" is the default setting in our culture, and has been for a while.  That's the "normal" perspective, which often gets conflated with "reasonable."

The tendency, I believe, is to think something along the lines of, "I'm a reasonable person, I didn't intend to do anything offensive, and I can't understand why you would be so bothered by it, so you must be simply making a fuss for no good reason."


Now, as Koz points out, that might actually be true.  Sometimes people make a fuss over something for no good reason.

Other times, it just doesn't seem like a "good reason," because try as you might, you can't actually put yourself in that other person's place and appreciate why they are upset about it.

For me, the shift in my thinking on this is when I realized that the conflict here is between focusing on "Well, I think I'm right," instead of focusing on "This person has been upset by my actions."

Being "right" shouldn't be more important than making sure you don't actually hurt other people.


It's basically telling someone your characterization of their personal experiences trumps their own. 

This is a really good insight.  It's really easy to invalidate another person without meaning to --one of the easiest ways to accidentally disrespect another person in a fundamental way.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2015, 02:29:42 PM by PhoSita »
You値l have to excuse my lengthiness葉he reason I dread writing letters is because I am so apt to get to slinging wisdom & forget to let up. Thus much precious time is lost.
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Re: So... Anyone else concerned about the war on free speech?
« Reply #68 on: November 11, 2015, 02:30:38 PM »

Offline KeepRondo

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Just because you're bothered doesn't mean you're right. It's a fairly simple concept which proves to be amazingly nebulous to millenials, time and time again.


Sure, I suppose that's true.  But what relevance does being "right," have here, exactly?

Just because you can't understand why particular actions or words bother somebody else doesn't mean you shouldn't respect that person's feelings.

Ask yourself -- what if they are legitimately upset by this thing they called me out on?  Is it really such a burden for me to change my behavior?
It would help to have some specific examples, so we can debate this, instead of all these generalizations that are going back and forth on.

Regarding your prior posts on another thread, I agreed with a lot of what you wrote until you started assigning blame to everyone.

Re: So... Anyone else concerned about the war on free speech?
« Reply #69 on: November 11, 2015, 02:40:45 PM »

Offline jpotter33

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I think "privilege" gets overused in some circles, especially when it just winds up looking like the exact reverse of what I've just described, but the tendency to just outright disregard the perspectives and experiences of other groups seems like a pretty prominent example of privileged thinking.

Well, "white, straight, upper middle class male" is the default setting in our culture, and has been for a while.  That's the "normal" perspective, which often gets conflated with "reasonable."

The tendency, I believe, is to think something along the lines of, "I'm a reasonable person, I didn't intend to do anything offensive, and I can't understand why you would be so bothered by it, so you must be simply making a fuss for no good reason."


Now, as Koz points out, that might actually be true.  Sometimes people make a fuss over something for no good reason.

Other times, it just doesn't seem like a "good reason," because try as you might, you can't actually put yourself in that other person's place and appreciate why they are upset about it.

For me, the shift in my thinking on this is when I realized that the conflict here is between focusing on "Well, I think I'm right," instead of focusing on "This person has been upset by my actions."

Being "right" shouldn't be more important than making sure you don't actually hurt other people.


It's basically telling someone your characterization of their personal experiences trumps their own. 

This is a really good insight.  It's really easy to invalidate another person without meaning to --one of the easiest ways to accidentally disrespect another person in a fundamental way.

Ethically, this isn't necessarily sound. The principle of nonmaleficence only extends so far, and generally obligations of autonomy trump harms of this nature, especially the abstract harm of merely being "offended."

How is this any different than the gay marriage argument? Most proponents of gay marriage (including me) argued the "harm principle" for the legitimacy of gay marriage, because it literally doesn't affect or harm anybody outside of the two parties being married. The same logical reasoning applies here. There is no right to "not be offended." Hell, this country would be a pretty boring place if people weren't allowed to do things that might possibly offend other people. Thus, there is no ethical or legal imperative to avoid offending other parties, because A) there is no moral or legal right to not be offended, B) the harm principle exclusively gives citizens the right to any act that does not harm others, and C) the principle of autonomy overrules any abstract conception of harm from offense.
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Re: So... Anyone else concerned about the war on free speech?
« Reply #70 on: November 11, 2015, 02:46:35 PM »

Offline fairweatherfan

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It's basically telling someone your characterization of their personal experiences trumps their own. 

This is a really good insight.  It's really easy to invalidate another person without meaning to --one of the easiest ways to accidentally disrespect another person in a fundamental way.

Thanks, but note that "calling out privilege" often falls into this trap too.  That's one of the reasons that while I respect the concept of being oblivious to one's own socio-economic advantages, I think it's far too often used as an implement to turn the tables and invalidate the perspectives of members of traditionally advantaged groups. 

You can't begin an interaction from either side of an issue by disrespecting the legitimacy of the other person's perspective and expect to make much headway.  Even if the other party is in fact wrong.   That's not a way to begin a dialogue among equals, it's a way to open a lecture from the enlightened to the ignorant.  That's why I'm onboard with the concept but dislike how it often gets applied.  Though seeing how it's used does work as yet another example of how the intrinsic differences between groups are greatly exaggerated in our perceptions.

Re: So... Anyone else concerned about the war on free speech?
« Reply #71 on: November 11, 2015, 02:50:09 PM »

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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This thread is surprisingly the most level headed political discourse I've ever seen on the Internet.  I'm impressed

Re: So... Anyone else concerned about the war on free speech?
« Reply #72 on: November 11, 2015, 03:06:06 PM »

Offline kozlodoev

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Just because you're bothered doesn't mean you're right. It's a fairly simple concept which proves to be amazingly nebulous to millenials, time and time again.


Sure, I suppose that's true.  But what relevance does being "right," have here, exactly?

Just because you can't understand why particular actions or words bother somebody else doesn't mean you shouldn't respect that person's feelings.

Ask yourself -- what if they are legitimately upset by this thing they called me out on?  Is it really such a burden for me to change my behavior?
I don't have to care about everything that someone may be "legitimately upset" about. Neither should anyone else for that matter. The instant gratification generation doesn't seem to understand that the world isn't going to tiptoe around their fragile feelings. Maybe they don't like that -- but there is and will always be perfectly legal stuff that some people won't like.

I, for one, get pretty upset when folks that believe in an imaginary being (from a book that was written 1,500 years ago to hold the unwashed medieval masses in their rightful place, no less) get to shape life in the 21st century with their ridiculously antiquated world views. This, however, doesn't mean have a realistic expectation that it's appropriate for them to apologize, shut up, or disappear.

Life is tough. You share a planet with 4 billion other human beings, and their goal in life is not to please you.
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Re: So... Anyone else concerned about the war on free speech?
« Reply #73 on: November 11, 2015, 03:12:24 PM »

Offline wiley

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Just because you're bothered doesn't mean you're right. It's a fairly simple concept which proves to be amazingly nebulous to millenials, time and time again.


Sure, I suppose that's true.  But what relevance does being "right," have here, exactly?

Just because you can't understand why particular actions or words bother somebody else doesn't mean you shouldn't respect that person's feelings.

Ask yourself -- what if they are legitimately upset by this thing they called me out on?  Is it really such a burden for me to change my behavior?
I don't have to care about everything that someone may be "legitimately upset" about. Neither should anyone else for that matter. The instant gratification generation doesn't seem to understand that the world isn't going to tiptoe around their fragile feelings. Maybe they don't like that -- but there is and will always be perfectly legal stuff that some people won't like.

I, for one, get pretty upset when folks that believe in an imaginary being (from a book that was written 1,500 years ago to hold the unwashed medieval masses in their rightful place, no less) get to shape life in the 21st century with their ridiculously antiquated world views. This, however, doesn't mean have a realistic expectation that it's appropriate for them to apologize, shut up, or disappear.

Life is tough. You share a planet with 4 billion other human beings, and their goal in life is not to please you.

However, there is a line.  Even you would admit there's a line.  This thread is about where that line is.  I think you've gone a little abstract here..

Re: So... Anyone else concerned about the war on free speech?
« Reply #74 on: November 11, 2015, 03:15:17 PM »

Offline kozlodoev

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This thread is surprisingly the most level headed political discourse I've ever seen on the Internet.  I'm impressed
I've always been impressed by the quality of discussion we get on CB on worldly issues. Of course, there's a good core of people that have here for 10+ years, I think -- so the tenor of the interaction is different from what you'd get on a random sports board.
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