User Tag List

123 Last

Results 1 to 10 of 94

  1. #1
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    5w6 so/sx
    Posts
    3,504

    Default Free Speech: What It Is and Why It Matters.

    Free Speech: What It Is and Why It Matters << Attack the System


    Academic Composition

    “However unwilling a person who has a strong opinion may be to admit that his opinion might be false, he ought to be moved by this thought: however true it may be, if it isn’t fully, frequently and fearlessly discussed, it will be held as a dead dogma rather than as a living truth. ”

    John Stuart Mill

    The First Amendment guarantees that the “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of people peaceably to assemble”. This provision clarifies the point that the government cannot pass a law criminalizing the act of free expression. However, certain spoken statements could constitute an act of violence, provided they can be regarded as a root cause of violence against others.


    “An opinion that corn-dealers are starvers of the poor, or that private property is robbery, ought to be unmolested when simply circulated through the press, but may justly incur punishment when delivered orally to an excited mob assembled before the house of a corn-dealer, or when handed about among the same mob in the form of a placard” (John Stuart Mill, On Liberty).

    In his famous statement, John Stuart Mill noted that such acts of violence in speech occur when the speaker clearly encourages others to take violent action against others. Nonetheless, individuals who are often silenced and censored seldom directly promote such behavior. At the very least, before the act of censoring takes place, the accusers must show that the allegedly inappropriate commentary directly causes harm to others that goes beyond the initial emotional reaction to the statement in question. The burden of proof should always be on the accuser, not on the accused.

    Following in the footsteps of Herbert Marcuse, the left has embraced the doctrine of Repressive Tolerance. In line with this thesis, the left maintains that everyone has the right to be free from fear and misery. Consequently, they hold that the government is responsible for the individual’s personal well-being. If the government fails to achieve this, they believe that the citizens should take matters into their own hands. In other words, the hooligans must antagonize anyone who stands in the way of progress. In other words, the implication of Repressive Tolerance holds that a mere instance of “emotional harm” is as violent as a physical assault. Consistently with Marcuse’s thesis that everyone is entitled to freedom from misery, the PC left aspires to relieve the individual of their personal responsibility to be happy and obligates the state to care for their emotional well-being. In this sense, the environment of safe-spaces where micro-aggressions are policed is a microcosm of the ideal society the hard left intends to impose upon society.

    Their position leaves a number of obvious questions that they seldom manage to answer convincingly. (1) Why should the individual’s personal well-being be the responsibility of the state rather than their own? After all, it is the responsibility of clinical psychologists to help their clients develop healthier emotional dispositions with the purpose of empowering them to solve their own problems. This implies that it is entirely possible for people to overcome micro-aggressions and other personal sleights simply by achieving a higher level of mental health. (2) How can the proponents of Repressive Tolerance usurp the First Amendment and grant themselves the power to silence individuals who agitate their mentally unstable peers? (3) How can the doctrine of Repressive Tolerance avoid falling down the slippery slope of totalitarianism? In other words, what stops the enforces of political correctness from abusing their power? (4) Who gets to decide what is truly offensive and where can the lines be drawn on what types of utterances can be banished? Most definitions of micro-aggressions do not require a reasonable person to regard the utterance in question as offensive. Instead, all that needs to be shown is that someone has simply taken umbrage to the aforementioned claim. (5) How can the proponents of Repressive Tolerance solve what Friedrich Hayek referred to as the “Knowledge Problem“? Although Hayek developed his argument within the context of economics, it is applicable to a broad range of social problems. In order to solve any complex problem, one needs access to a great deal of information, much of which is part of a highly specialized domain. In order to obtain such material, one must engage in a vigorous exchange of ideas, often at the risk of committing the so-called micro-aggressions. For example, in order for the “scholars” of Women’s Studies to properly understand the relations between genders, they must consider the findings of biologists on this matter.

    Marcuse and his followers never answered these questions and did not develop a comprehensive theoretical framework to deal with them. However, it is possible to provide a seemingly plausible defense of their views by regarding them as a reflection of Plato’s Philosopher King thesis. In the Republic, Plato proposed a theory of knowledge to suggest that one may cultivate an understanding of politics similarly to how one may do so with respect to mathematics. In other words, if one is sufficiently intelligent and dedicated, they may solve any political problem, just as they would be able to do so for a mathematical proof. While it is questionable that even the most intelligent cohort of political thinkers could develop a comprehensive solution to all political problems, it is far from clear that they will have the will-power to do what is right.

    To address this problem, Plato developed the tripartite conception of the soul. As Plato had it, the soul consisted of three elements: the logical, spirited and the appetitive. The latter two corresponded to the passionate and the instinctive parts of the human psyche, while the former represented the intellectual capabilities. Plato maintained that the Philosopher King should be able to subjugate his egoistic instincts to his rational judgment. In other words, the Philosopher King knows what is best for the public and has the moral fortitude to do so, irrespective of whether they welcome the change.

    In the opening volume of “The Open Society and Its Enemies”, Karl Popper identified Plato’s Philosopher King thesis as the basis of a totalitarian ideology. Popper’s analysis shows that if it is possible and desirable for the most capable of politicians to govern, there is no reason for leaders to tolerate dissent. Plato elaborated upon this point by drawing an analogy between statecraft and the endeavor of piloting a ship. For good reasons, the most capable of seafarers have the privilege of captaincy and in many cases, they have no reason to take orders from their less knowledgeable colleagues. If politics is a craft in the same sense that sea-faring is, there is no reason for the Philosopher King to consider any objections he may face from his constituents.

    Popper traced the development of the Philosopher King doctrine to the philosophy of Hegel, who argued that the Prussian state had the authority to determine the nature of public morality. In stark contrast to the legal positivists who insisted on a distinction between law and morality, Hegel maintained that only the legislators could know the nature of morality and they have codified their insights into law. Building on this premise, Hegel developed the philosophy of “dialectical idealism” which provided a comprehensive account of historical progress. Hegel’s contention was that ideas shaped social reform and such developments frequently occurred within the Prussian State.

    Walking in Hegel’s footsteps, Marx famously asserted that he stood Hegel on his head and to this day, Marxism the blueprint for the prototypical totalitarian state. In the “Open Society and Its Enemies”, Popper traced the origins of totalitarian ideology to Plato, Hegel and Marx. The common ground between the three thinkers is apparent: their political philosophers are rooted in the Philosopher King thesis. Similarly, Marcuse’s doctrine of repressive tolerance empowers the intellectual elite to determine who the truly intolerant people are and when they should be censored.

    The intellectual successors of Marcuse and Marx have gone on to develop a various schools of thought under the banner of post-modern relativism, which held that objectivity was a fiction and that all claims to a knowledge of truth are merely expressions of prejudice. While the post-modernists have observed that the dominant groups of society will assert their interests, they neglect to apply this criticism to the academic leaders who represent their interests. In most departments of the humanities, registered Democrats outnumber their Republican counterparts by a wide margin. Predictably, the professoriate continues to assert their group interests at the expense of their peers who are a minority in the collegiate milieu. Examples, where right-leaning professors have been subjected to hostile treatment, are numerous and continue to proliferate.

    When confronted about their intolerance, academics tend to cavalierly dismiss all of such allegations, insisting that “truth has a left-wing bent”. In other words, they tacitly invoke the Philosopher King thesis, implying that the views of the intellectual elite are beyond scrutiny. Yet, evidence suggests that human knowledge is context-specific and scholars who are highly proficient in their field seldom have the ability to apply it to a broad range of other endeavors. For example, as Daniel Kahneman has shown, even the distinguished scholars of statistics are not good “intuitive statisticians”, as they often commit elementary errors when forced to solve statistical problems in a real-world context. Despite the enormous frustration progressive professors express at the leaders of the Democratic Party who reject their erudite advice, it is quite likely that the guidance of academics could be misleading in as many ways as it is helpful.

    The ethos of totalitarianism is ingrained in the collective worldview of the academic left. It is also worth noting that the ideological descendants of Marcuse and Marx tend to be densely concentrated in the humanities and fields where findings are subjected to rather lenient standards of empirical evidence. Hence, the far-left activists are far more common in departments of Gender and Queer studies than in Economics. This is a clear reflection of the underlying philosophical tendencies of leftist activists who oppose free-speech. They are wedded to the Philosopher King thesis which leads them to believe that it is acceptable to silence those who question their apparent wisdom.

    In stark contrast to Plato, Aristotle regarded politics as an empirical craft that one learns through trial and error. Building on his distinction between episteme and techne, he argued that no level of intellectual ability allows one to grasp the art of statecraft in an a priori fashion. By contrast, he likened political skill to tangible crafts rather than the purely intellectual undertakings. Consistently with this rejection of the Philosopher King thesis, Aristotle maintained that the rulers inevitably display self-serving bias. Furthermore, in order to solve that problem, it is necessary to create a system where the power-holders have minimal incentives to oppress other groups of people.

    Aristotle correctly observed that oligarchy allows the rich to pilfer public resources and depredate the wealth of the polis. Conversely, if the poor are to have their way, they will oppress the rich. On the other hand, if the middle class were to seize power, they would have no reason to oppress either class. While the members of the middle-class are not any less self-interested than the poor or the rich, they can act as the buffer between the competing class interests. In the interest of creating political stability, it is always desirable to expand the middle class and this should be the key objective of any economic or political agenda.

    John Stuart Mill developed the distinction between offense and harm, maintaining that the state should intervene only if one individual directly harms another. However, a mere offense is not a legitimate cause for such an intervention. Consequently, the left’s arguments that their opponents threaten the marginalized groups’ right to exist should be regarded as complaints about offensive speech, rather than as harmful action. Yet, because these instances do not involve a direct call to violence and cannot be regarded as a cause of hate crime, there is no reason for the offensive communicators to be censored. Accordingly, all statements that do not directly harm others are to be protected under the clause of free speech and should be tolerated under all circumstances.

    Although the principle of freedom of expression may have intrinsic value, its practical benefits cannot be overstated. In the absence of vigorous public debate, the Philosopher King thesis will remain entrenched in the nation’s collective consciousness. It is imperative that authority figures are subjected to rigorous scrutiny. Otherwise; the political decision-makers will likely become corrupt, mismanage public resources and adhere to misguided political doctrines. As a result, the public’s trust in institutions will decline, as the official state ideology will be treated as a “dead dogma” rather than as a living truth. That is precisely what happened in various Marxist-Leninists states of Eastern Europe and Latin America where the economy collapsed, the public lost respect for the rule of law and the Communist Party executives could only rely on brute power to enforce their unearned authority.

    Above all, politics should be treated as a practical craft where knowledge is gained in an a posteriori fashion. Consequently, the study of politics should bear a closer semblance to the scientific method than to the one that is employed in the ideologically motivated departments of academia. When freedom of expression becomes a universal value in all spheres of public life, it will become possible to challenge political power and ensure that policy-makers consider a variety of facts and viewpoints in their decision-making process. Although it is seldom possible to keep political power in check and to ensure that politicians keep an open mind to all relevant information, the value of free speech promotes the achievement of these goals.

    It is not a coincidence that the most vehement opponents of free speech seldom reside in the departments of the natural sciences or that of rigorous humanities, as serious scholars tend to recognize the importance of free inquiry and academic freedom. Conversely, the worldview of the PC ideologues would collapse if tolerance for the diverging viewpoint was to become part of the culture of their community.

    University campuses are the bastions of anti-free speech activism and several steps can be taken to redress this problem.

    1. Defund the ideologically motivated departments: Much of the curriculum in courses on Women’s Studies, Gender Studies, Queer Studies and Transgender studies are predicated on a denial of scientific facts about biological gender and genetics. In most cases, these courses do little to help students think critically or to learn the basic facts of reality. In most cases, they are scholarly fronts for left-wing activism that teach students to jump to conclusions, offer emotional responses to complex issues and to vilify their opponents. For these reasons, such courses invariably debauch their minds and contribute to the precipitous decline of the intellectual caliber of the student body.

    2.Support various initiatives that promote viewpoint diversity on college campuses, Jonathan Haidt’s Heterodox Academy is the case in point.

    3. Collaborate with individuals who intend to expose professors who abuse their authority to push a political agenda in class. Of course, it will be next to impossible to track all purveyors of such demagoguery, but the most egregious of perpetrators can be identified and exposed.

    4. Defund non-profits that are known for their opposition to freedom of expression. Additionally, organizations that tend to make a promiscuous use of derogatory epithets such as “racist, sexist, homophobe, transphobe, white nationalist” and so on, should be kept under closer supervision. For example, the SPLC labeled Charles Murray as a white nationalist because his findings on IQ suggested that European-Americans tend to outperform African-Americans. Murray’s contention was supported by a wealth of data and nearly all psychometrists acknowledge the existence of the racial gap with regard to the IQ test-scores. That is a well-documented fact, although most psychometrists maintain that 40 to 80% of one’s IQ is a result of genetic factors . It is necessary to question the culture and moral authority of organizations that are more concerned with promoting a political agenda than with educating the public.

    5. Discourage others from majoring in ideologically motivated fields and persuade new college students to enroll in universities that are known for their viewpoint diversity. Jonathan Haidt’s Heterodox Academy will prove to be an invaluable resource in this respect.

    6. Oppose all political proposals to increase funding for universities or expand the availability of federally funded student loans. Once college students begin paying tuition on their own endeavor, universities will be forced to become more sensitive to the financial needs of the students. As a result, the tuition rates will drop and less funding will be available to the Politically Correct departments. Consequently, the universities will need to focus on the truly essential courses that appear to impart practical skills onto the learners.

    7. Oppose grade inflation. Various prestigious four-year universities admit more than half of their undergraduate applicants. For example, George Mason University boasts a 69% admission rate and 84% of applicants who wish to enroll at Marymount University are admitted. Likewise, Michigan State University accepts nearly two-thirds of applicants, as their admission rate is 65.7%. An abundance of underqualified students creates enormous pressure for administrators and instructors to lower their standards. As a result, these circumstances create the preconditions for the emergence of entire academic departments where students can pass with flying colors merely by toeing the party line.

    8. Support professors who call for funding for rigorous departments. Commonly, such departments are in the STEM fields or the traditional humanities, such as Economics, Philosophy, History and Political Science. With additional funding for rigorous academic disciplines, it is likely that the university culture will become more tolerant and open to the value of free speech.

    9. Support university administrators who insist on requiring students to take challenging classes. These developments should create a “crowding out” effect, which will push the politically motivated courses to the fringes of academia, where they belong.

    10. Promote alternatives to formal university education. Various organizations now provide “boot-camp” training to individuals who wish to learn computer programming, web development, and other technical skills. Evidence suggests that boot-camp graduates perform at a level that is comparable to that of their peers with formal university degrees. In a similar vein, the Trump administration encouraged employers to provide apprenticeships and various other forms of on the job training to their new hires. Programs of this nature need to be supported, as when a larger portion of the population begins seeing them as a viable alternative to a formal education, the opponents of free speech will see their political influence dwindling.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

    “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”---Samuel Johnson

    My blog: www.randommeanderings123.blogspot.com/
    Likes Tellenbach, Typh0n liked this post

  2. #2
    Digital ambition Virtual ghost's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    MBTI
    iNTJ
    Enneagram
    513 so/sp
    Posts
    10,463

    Default

    I am going to be evil and just be honest with you.


    In my book all of this is exactly the consequence of free speech and basically unlimited western individualism. Since everyone thinks he/she should make their own "religion" and sell it to everybody else. Before the invention of internet this factor existed in reasonable amounts, but with the internet this got completely out of hand and to the point that western/american people can no longer even make the agreement on what the facts really are. Therefore you are social and cultural decay since you tolerate endless BS without any consequences. Not mention that the totalitarianism you hate so much is quite unlikely to make university programs about women's rights, transgender studies etc. These categories are more of a product of western liberal mindset than everything else.
    Likes Rasofy liked this post

  3. #3
    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    9 sp/sx
    Posts
    9,671

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Virtual ghost View Post
    I am going to be evil and just be honest with you.


    In my book all of this is exactly the consequence of free speech and basically unlimited western individualism. Since everyone thinks he/she should make their own "religion" and sell it to everybody else. Before the invention of internet this factor existed in reasonable amounts, but with the internet this got completely out of hand and to the point that western/american people can no longer even make the agreement on what the facts really are. Therefore you are social and cultural decay since you tolerate endless BS without any consequences. Not mention that the totalitarianism you hate so much is quite unlikely to make university programs about women's rights, transgender studies etc. These categories are more of a product of western liberal mindset than everything else.
    I am going to be evil and just be honest with you.

    Isn't it a good thing that you live in a society that aims to value freedom of speech, so that you are allowed to have your opinion and even freely share it with the rest of us, even if it is a shit one.
    ~Self-depricating Megalomaniacal Superwolf

  4. #4
    Digital ambition Virtual ghost's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    MBTI
    iNTJ
    Enneagram
    513 so/sp
    Posts
    10,463

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffywolf View Post
    I am going to be evil and just be honest with you.

    Isn't it a good thing that you live in a society that aims to value freedom of speech, so that you are allowed to have your opinion and even freely share it with the rest of us, even if it is a shit one.

    For me this is actually questionable, fundamentally free speech isn't a bad thing but it is so easy to pervert it if you try hard enough. Since fully free speech very easily turns into cacophony in which it is very hard to find decent piece of infomation. Plus it doesn't really sanctionize those that deliberately spread lies, half truths and BS. Therefore for me fully free speech is acually an oxymoron or double edged sword.



    Btw I am not living in the society that cares too much about free speech (at least not when it comes to media and freedom of information).
    As you can see my part of Europe really isn't too much into media freedoms and the situation is getting worse by each year. (and that could easily be the consequence of the lack of repression in right time and place)



    What I am posting around this forum perhaps isn't the smartest thing to do either.

  5. #5
    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    9 sp/sx
    Posts
    9,671

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Virtual ghost View Post
    For me this is actually questionable, fundamentally free speech isn't a bad thing but it is so easy to pervert it if you try hard enough. Since fully free speech very easily turns into cacophony in which it is very hard to find decent piece of infomation. Plus it doesn't really sanctionize those that deliberately spread lies, half truths and BS. Therefore for me fully free speech is acually an oxymoron or double edged sword.



    Btw I am not living in the society that cares too much about free speech (at least not when it comes to media and freedom of information).
    As you can see my part of Europe really isn't too much into media freedoms and the situation is getting worse by each year. (and that could easily be the consequence of the lack of repression in right time and place)



    What I am posting around this forum perhaps isn't the smartest thing to do either.
    I don't disagree there is a lot of shit around that is given a lot more credit than it deserves. But the way to battle that isn't to censure, but rather to educate.

    Critical thinking and the tools to reliably source check and also the capacity to read something, then store it in a 'huh, interesting, but I'll withhold judgement until I can confirm it is reliable/true' part of the brain.

    If schools and education would actually teach people to properly understand the motivations and intentions behind given pieces of information, then the power of misinformation would diminish greatly.

    If you instead try to censure it however, it won't solve any issues, rather it is going to create many more issues.

    Sorry to hear you're living in a 'more backwater' country than most of the west, but well, no country is doing it right anyway, while here in the Netherlands we are (were) known for tolerance, recent years show how fragile and weak that tolerance is amongst most of the population. And while most of our media sources strive to deliver news neutrally while holding the moral high ground, they still fail miserably and end up following the trends like sheep as well, all for the clicks and the monies.

    Humanity is still too young to get it right apparantly.

    Still, if we seek to improve, freedom of speech and expression needs to be maintained as much as possible. And it is rather the education that is in serious need of change.
    ~Self-depricating Megalomaniacal Superwolf
    Likes SolitaryWalker liked this post

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    25,060

    Default

    I'm a big fan of Mill but I dont believe that Marx was a totalitarian thinker at all, not for a moment, if you consider that he spent most of his time working as a journalist and campaigning for actual free speech before having to flee to London for doing so, it kind of makes Popper, how knew Marx probably from secondary sources, Soviet ones, seem like a lot of rubbish.

    The "good king" thesis in Plato is mistaken but you need to contextualise that too, he had seen both (limited) democracy and oligarchy in his day and Sparta crushed them both, while oligarchy resulted in the death of his friend and mentor Socrates. When you consider Plato as the chronicler of Socrates and inevitable bridging theorist to Aristotle its hard to believe that he was the villain Popper cast him as too. The old world belief in "good kings" or enlightened despotism or benevolent absolutism is so far removed from the present its become hard for anyone to fathom let alone relate to, except maybe Hobbes who'd experienced first hand what a protracted period of lawless disorder was like, ie something like the most recent seasons of The Walking Dead. Its no justification, I think it needs to be contextualised, some day I think ideas like the invisible (read impartial) hand of the market or free markets as self regulatory mechanisms will take their place alongside the divine right of kings but those ideas endure today as the others did then.

    Hegel I dont think was totalitarian either, though he lent through his philosophy legitimacy to some regimes that probably were or had pretenses that way, its part of why it was important that Marx and others did invert his thinking, though the revisionist Hegelians were a pretty diverse bunch, consider Max Stirner's views in contrast to Marx, or anyones for that matter, it borders on the bonkers but its a different, much different, idea to what Popper was trying to paint in his book. In fact I think Popper can and does border on the right wing idea to treat all opposition as part of the same ahistorical but continuous, perennial conspiracy, ie liberals, socialists, feminists, fascists, communists, nazis are all "leftists", which is patently absurd and wrong.

    Its nice that you've discovered Popper, he's a more recent writer than I'm used to be citing and being interested in SW but unfortunately I really can not share your enthusiasm, he's presently a gateway theorist for a lot of people who are seeking to draw open minded people of critical dispositions into some pretty sketchy right wing scenes. I am less sure about the whole activism contra left wing academia, I'm not from the US so I dont feel I really can comment, I've encountered some truly extreme elements in US academia but they were not left wing, they were radically libertarian and neo-liberal and one told me outright the saw no point at all in discussing any difference of opinion. It was maybe a wise appreciation of how he and I may have wasted our time otherwise but it was the sort of closing down of communication that you're suggesting is more or less the preserve of the left wing thinkers, which it really isnt.

    If you defund the non-profits and the university departments I'm not sure you merely empower and enrich, relatively speaking, the already wealthy departments which by default are inclined to a conservative or reactionary mindset, there are also massive and very well (privately) funded "think tanks", created long ago during previous rounds of establishment/conservative assaults on academic thinking which was disagreeable to them, mainly for challenging their privilege and power. I think its easy to take these sorts of stands presently because the LGBT scene and many of those liberal causes which resemble it are just frankly horrible, even more so than a great many of their precursors, like Marcuse et al, which you do mention, or even left wing movements which predate Marcuse.

    What is different today is that those movements do not seem to have their own internal critics like Erich Fromm (of Marcuse and the Frankfurt School, you should read some of his later books, they are not easy to find but at least one of the is like a protracted response to Marcuse's butchering of Freud and savage assaults on anyone who challenged his ill conceived ideas like those in One Dimensional Man) or George Orwell (whatever revisionists, some of whom are Orwell's own family, may say Orwell repeatedly said that he was in fact a socialist and nailed his colours to that particular mast a few times, he was almost killed being shot through the throat for his trouble).

  7. #7
    Digital ambition Virtual ghost's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    MBTI
    iNTJ
    Enneagram
    513 so/sp
    Posts
    10,463

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffywolf View Post
    I don't disagree there is a lot of shit around that is given a lot more credit than it deserves. But the way to battle that isn't to censure, but rather to educate.

    Critical thinking and the tools to reliably source check and also the capacity to read something, then store it in a 'huh, interesting, but I'll withhold judgement until I can confirm it is reliable/true' part of the brain.

    If schools and education would actually teach people to properly understand the motivations and intentions behind given pieces of information, then the power of misinformation would diminish greatly.

    If you instead try to censure it however, it won't solve any issues, rather it is going to create many more issues.

    Sorry to hear you're living in a 'more backwater' country than most of the west, but well, no country is doing it right anyway, while here in the Netherlands we are (were) known for tolerance, recent years show how fragile and weak that tolerance is amongst most of the population. And while most of our media sources strive to deliver news neutrally while holding the moral high ground, they still fail miserably and end up following the trends like sheep as well, all for the clicks and the monies.

    Humanity is still too young to get it right apparantly.

    Still, if we seek to improve, freedom of speech and expression needs to be maintained as much as possible. And it is rather the education that is in serious need of change.


    In some ideal world and on the long run I would absolutely agree with you.

    However I am not sure that in my case it is that simple and I am having doubts if all of fascist and communist that make at least a third of my country should have so open right to push for what they want. When such groups are minor groups then you can play education card, however if such groups are big in numbers then with free speech you are risking burning down of the system.

    Also if a billionare for years talks to the press in a way that is like "Oh, here is the scum I though that I smell something rotten in here", "I will fuck you mother asshole!", "And do you know what I heard ? That the all of you are giving each others blowjobs in the news reduction", "You are ilitterate stinky idiot, get out of my way!", "I will stick you on my dick, my son will do whatever I want (it seemed that his son broke the law)" I am not sure that this should be constantly present in media space. Since the truth is that now many dare to reduce their rethoric on this level and death threats to the press have become business as usual. Not to mention that the guy even beat up some local official in their offices since they screwed up his projects and he didn't answer for that as far as I know. I am sorry but this is texbook example where I think that repression of various kinds is the only real answer. Also often I pass next to the large video wall of the Russian state bank that glorifies Russian economy and in a way Russian government. Therefore to tell you the truth I am not sure that we need that kind of thing in the very center of our Capitol city.


    Repression is a tricky tool but I think that it should be used in extreme cases that in my part of the world aren't that rare.

  8. #8
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    5w6 so/sx
    Posts
    3,504

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Virtual ghost View Post
    I am going to be evil and just be honest with you.
    Don't waste time with the unnecessary preface. Honest exchange of words is the point of free speech.


    Quote Originally Posted by Virtual ghost View Post
    In my book all of this is exactly the consequence of free speech and basically unlimited western individualism.
    Anomie is a result of the excesses of individualism, it also manifests in an edgy youth culture, high crime rates and erosion of trust in the nation's institutions.

    We've witnessed plenty of that roughly between the mid-80s and the early 2000s.

    Yet recently, individualism has been on the decline, as the public has grown weary of its excesses.

    That is partly why a significant percentage of Millennials believe that speakers who offend minorities should be censored. On other issues, they are also in favor of government intervention and other collectivist reforms.

    The Screwed Generation Turns Socialist

    What we're witnessing is not in the least bit unusual, let alone not unprecedented. We've seen similar excesses of individualism in the 1910s, which culminated with the "roaring 20s". However, a decade later, the G.I generation came of age and reshaped the culture to become more collectivist, civic-minded and obedient to authority.

    For more on that, the Strauss-Howe generational theory is worth looking into.

    Strauss–Howe generational theory - Wikipedia

    Quote Originally Posted by Virtual ghost View Post
    Before the invention of internet this factor existed in reasonable amounts, but with the internet this got completely out of hand and to the point that western/american people can no longer even make the agreement on what the facts really are
    It certainly has gone out of hand and it's worth noting that the internet has become widely available to the general public in the thick of the Third Turning, or the unraveling. That is when the demand for social order is the lowest in the entire 80-88 year saeculum and the values of individualism are exalted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Virtual ghost View Post
    Therefore you are social and cultural decay since you tolerate endless BS without any consequences.
    We'll be seeing a global turn toward authoritarianism, collectivism and a comprehensive reversal of the individualistic values that the young Boomers championed at the heyday of the cultural revolution. Millennials will be at the peak of their political power by the 2040s and when they grow up, it's obvious how they'll affect our society by and large.

    Today they may be self-important snowflakes who are totally dependent on the approval of their peers and caretakers, yet as they age, they will be much more like the G.I generation and all of the previous generations bearing the "Civic" archetype. The G.I generation may be called the "greatest generation", but they had serious flaws as well.

    They were generally unable to challenge authority and they were overly dependent on the approval of their peers. Without the nearly unanimous support of the youth, FDR would never have constructed the New Deal reforms and to be sure, he would not have become the only president in the U.S history to serve three consecutive terms.

    Today, the United States ranks as one of the most individualistic countries in the world.

    Compare countries - Hofstede Insights

    Yet, that is mostly because the modern cultural values are a reflection of the attitudes of Boomers and Xers. By the time the Millennials fully reach mid-life, the U.S will score much lower individualism, higher on Power Distance and Higher on Uncertainty avoidance.

    If you doubt the Millennials are anything like the G.I generation, you must not know much about the dark-side of the G.Is. Even now, Millennials believe in "peer-shaming", enforcing various codes of thought policing and relentlessly sabotaging anyone they know who may hold "offensive" views.

    Experienced teachers who have worked in the public schooling system since the early 70s will tell you that there are major differences between Millennials and Xers. To be sure, the former are much more group-oriented and more subservient to authority.

    On the bright side, you'll get exactly what you're hoping for. Violent crime rates will keep on falling, as they already have, the youth will volunteer more and obey authority.

    5 facts about crime in the U.S. | Pew Research Center

    When they grow up, our polity will become much more decorous, the culture more placid and homogenous and deviant acts will be punished much more severely.

    We'll be heading toward excesses of collectivism, just as we shifted away from the individualism of the 20s and entered the "American High" of the 40s, which was characterized by conformity, high levels of trust in institutions and civic virtue.

    Yet, this is what makes Mill's message all the more relevant. 20-30 years ago, freedom of speech seemed to be almost an unassailable value, yet it is now under severe attack.

    Quote Originally Posted by Virtual ghost View Post
    Not mention that the totalitarianism you hate so much is quite unlikely to make university programs about women's rights, transgender studies etc.
    The original ideas associated with these programs were pioneered by Boomer professors who are now in mid-life. At their core, they are idealists and individualists. Needless to say they had no sympathy for totalitarianism, regardless of how radical their beliefs were.

    On the other hand, their students are much more hive-minded and are happy to do just about anything, as long as they get a pat on the head and all of their friends are doing likewise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Virtual ghost View Post
    These categories are more of a product of western liberal mindset than everything else.
    Yes, the young Boomers and Xers who pushed our society to the brink of anarchy are the embodiment of that "western liberal mindset", yet in other countries, similar patterns have taken place. For example, there were Marxist insurgents all across the globe all throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Italy, Germany, Japan and much of Latin America are cases in point. In the aftermath of World War II, our society has become increasingly globalized, so generational shifts affect multiple cultures.

    The superabundance of egoistical ethos of the Awakening era (1961-1981) and the neo-liberal institutional decay of the Unraveling era (1982-2008) has gotten us to this point. Yet, we're rapidly moving in the other direction.

    By the time this Fourth Turning era is over, Classical Liberalism may be all but dead, just as it was in the late 40s and early 50s.

    The Fourth Turning

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Yfb2zQjKWE

    Mark my words, by 2035, "cultural decay" and "endless BS" will be the least of your worries. Yet then, it will still take another 15-20 years for the next Idealist generation to start coming of age and stage another Awakening mirroring the cultural upheaval of the 60s.

    Quote Originally Posted by Virtual ghost View Post
    Since fully free speech very easily turns into cacophony in which it is very hard to find decent piece of infomation. Plus it doesn't really sanctionize those that deliberately spread lies, half truths and BS. Therefore for me fully free speech is acually an oxymoron or double edged sword.
    That's an apt criticism of free speech, but Aristotle had it right: Virtue is the Golden Mean between the two vicious extremes. Your point of view is quite well accepted by the Millennial generation all across the globe, which is why today's youth demand greater adult intervention in their lives and when they cannot force their peers to get in line, they call for repressive censorship.

    Millennials stand for the exact opposite of what the Boomer student activists clamored for in the 60s. Indeed, there is a reason why Mario Savio's Berkeley cohort were called the "Free Speech movement".

    By the time the Boomers have fully come of age, we were in the 80s and by that point, they have already neglected to guide an entire generation, which we now know as Gen X. Despite the obvious problems with the ethos you've criticized, Reagan won both of his elections quite convincingly and continued to promote his "the government is not the solution, the government is the problem" narrative. By the late 90s and early 2000s, the Boomers and Xers pushed individualism to their ludicrous extremes, which led parents to instill a very team-minded and a collectivist spirit into their children.

    Now, we're seeing a massive backlash with every passing year when more and more Millennials come of age and undermine the values of free speech in every way they can.

    On that note, Neil Howe characterized the situation quite accurately.

    "Amazingly, amid all the sneering pejoratives hurled at this generation, very few of them even come close to identifying areas where Millennials really may face challenges. Generation Snowflake just doesn’t work. If we are going to complain about the next generation, we should at least do it correctly."

    "But I can’t emphasize it enough: There’s no such thing as a good or bad generation. Every generation is a mix of good and bad, with its worst traits typically being the “shadow side” of its best traits. Boomers are principled visionaries, but their crusading impulse can lead them to destroy what they cannot rebuild. Gen Xers are resilient free agents, but they aren’t known for their cooperation skills."

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/neilhow.../#1a7bb7f1233f

    There is a golden mean between the self-indulgence individualism of Boomers and the corrective collectivism of the Millennials, yet as is the case with all virtues, the intermediate point here is hard to find. As Millennials continue to supplant their individualistic elders as the key decision-makers in society, Mill's lessons about the value of individuality and free inquiry will continue to become increasingly relevant.

    Yet to be sure, Mill was not without his critics. Matthew Arnold forcefully argue that Mill's concept of individuality clashes with the very notion of culture itself and when taken to ludicrous extremes, it effaces culture altogether. That is more or less what has happened toward the late 2000s and these developments culminated with the onset of the financial crisis which accompanied a host of other socio-cultural changes that underscored the public's discontent with our culture of unfettered egoism. This has also been the pattern in the late 20s where similar excesses triggered the onset of the Great Depression and a comprehensive socio-cultural overhaul.

    Mill was certainly aware of the limitations of his thesis and echoed our concern which reflects the significance of Aristotle's Golden Mean.


    Quote Originally Posted by John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, P.4
    But though this proposition [on setting the limits to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence] is not likely to be contested in general terms, the practical question where to place the limit -- how to make fitting the adjustment between individual independence and social control -- is a subject on which nearly everything remains to be done



    Quote Originally Posted by Virtual ghost View Post
    Also often I pass next to the large video wall of the Russian state bank that glorifies Russian economy and in a way Russian government. Therefore to tell you the truth I am not sure that we need that kind of thing in the very center of our Capitol city..
    How did you end up in Russia?


    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    I'm a big fan of Mill but I dont believe that Marx was a totalitarian thinker at all, not for a moment, if you consider that he spent most of his time working as a journalist and campaigning for actual free speech before having to flee to London for doing so, it kind of makes Popper, how knew Marx probably from secondary sources, Soviet ones, seem like a lot of rubbish.
    Whether Marx was totalitarian is irrelevant. What matters is that his political philosophy proved to be compatible with totalitarianism. That is the essence of Popper's critique of Marx's political philosophy. The same is to be said for the followers of Plato and Hegel. While not all of them were totalitarian, their general philosophical orientation is broadly compatible with the Philosopher King thesis.

    For what it's worth Lenin was an Orthodox Marxist and one can hardly accuse him of deliberately distorting Marx's writings. At the very least, Marxism-Leninism is predicated on the notion that an armed revolution is necessary to overthrow a capitalist society. That is certainly traceable to the communist manifesto.




    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    In fact I think Popper can and does border on the right wing idea to treat all opposition as part of the same ahistorical but continuous, perennial conspiracy, ie liberals, socialists, feminists, fascists, communists, nazis are all "leftists", which is patently absurd and wrong.
    It's not wrong to say that all of them have worldviews that are grounded in the fallacy of the Philosopher King thesis.

    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    Its nice that you've discovered Popper, he's a more recent writer than I'm used to be citing and being interested in SW but unfortunately I really can not share your enthusiasm, he's presently a gateway theorist for a lot of people who are seeking to draw open minded people of critical dispositions into some pretty sketchy right wing scenes.
    Is that so? Then how come George Soros is a devout acolyte of Popper? For what it's worth, the institute he founded is called the "Open Society Foundation"

    Popper appeals to people of a libertarian mindset of both sides of the political spectrum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    I am less sure about the whole activism contra left wing academia, I'm not from the US so I dont feel I really can comment, I've encountered some truly extreme elements in US academia but they were not left wing, they were radically libertarian and neo-liberal and one told me outright the saw no point at all in discussing any difference of opinion. .
    That may have been the case at the peak of the Unraveling Era when Milton Friedman was still a celebrity and even the Democrats, who under the leadership of Bill Clinton fomented the neo-Reaganite wave of deregulation. Yet, that is a thing of the past. For the life of me, I cannot recall a single instance that may have occurred in the last decade when Libertarians or Republicans shouted down a leftist speaker. Yet, vice-versa happens every day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    It was maybe a wise appreciation of how he and I may have wasted our time otherwise but it was the sort of closing down of communication that you're suggesting is more or less the preserve of the left wing thinkers, which it really isnt.
    If the left doesn't have the monopoly on the practice of vilification of dissent, they surely have come close to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    If you defund the non-profits and the university departments I'm not sure you merely empower and enrich, relatively speaking, the already wealthy departments which by default are inclined to a conservative or reactionary mindset, there are also massive and very well (privately) funded "think tanks", created long ago during previous rounds of establishment/conservative assaults on academic thinking which was disagreeable to them, mainly for challenging their privilege and power..
    That's a little much. To be sure, some of the sponsors of the Libertarian Think Tank had ulterior motives, but it is a mistake to paint them all with such a broad brush. Moreover, we now live in an era when the Democrats are as much of a party of big business as the Republicans. That is partly why Google, Microsoft, Facebook and various Silicon Valley giants actively offer munificent donations to leftist politicians. If we defund the non-profits, we'll see an efflorescence of privately funded left-wing think tanks. At that point, many of the contributing tycoons will behave much like their right-leaning counterparts. They will want to create a climate of hyper-vigilant political correctness to stifle dissent and distract the public from the many ways in which they are corrupting our polity through their reckless collusion with the power-brokers. Furthermore, there is nothing that the tech giants fear more than the younger version of themselves. In order to avoid becoming upstaged by the new generation of brilliant innovators, they strive to achieve regulatory capture by warping various regulations in their favor under the pretext of "Intellectual Property Rights" and "Social Justice". Prior to the advent of the internet, government regulation often served its intended purpose and that is one of promoting the public interest. In the current era, regulatory capture has been much easier to achieve than before.

    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    I think its easy to take these sorts of stands presently because the LGBT scene and many of those liberal causes which resemble it are just frankly horrible, even more so than a great many of their precursors, like Marcuse et al, which you do mention, or even left wing movements which predate Marcuse.
    Agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    What is different today is that those movements do not seem to have their own internal critics like Erich Fromm (of Marcuse and the Frankfurt School, you should read some of his later books, they are not easy to find but at least one of the is like a protracted response to Marcuse's butchering of Freud and savage assaults on anyone who challenged his ill conceived ideas like those in One Dimensional Man) or George Orwell (whatever revisionists, some of whom are Orwell's own family, may say Orwell repeatedly said that he was in fact a socialist and nailed his colours to that particular mast a few times, he was almost killed being shot through the throat for his trouble).
    They don't have their internal critics because today's youth is much more docile, other-directed and deferential to authority than they were throughout the previous two eras of the Anglo-American cycle. Millennials are more than happy to challenge authority, as long as it is affiliated with the Republican Party. Yet, when they routinely get pat on the head by their parents, teachers, guidance counselors or politicians, they almost invariably comply with little to no forethought.


    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffywolf View Post
    Still, if we seek to improve, freedom of speech and expression needs to be maintained as much as possible. And it is rather the education that is in serious need of change.

    Yes, regardless of how severe the excesses of individualism may be, Free Speech should be treated as a cardinal value to be guarded under all circumstances.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

    “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”---Samuel Johnson

    My blog: www.randommeanderings123.blogspot.com/

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    25,060

    Default

    SW, you make some interesting points but I really think you are continuing to exaggerate the threat posed by the left relative to that posed by the right, behaviour such as what you've described, the shouting down of speakers, political correctness etc. it all seems so much more typical of a weak and faltering opposition than one which is confident of itself.

    The conflating of marxism and philosopher kings thinking is very poor form when you understand or read either of them and find them antithetical to one and other, properly understood, its not something I'd expect from you to be honest, tarring all opposition with the same brush.

    I do not like leninism at all, I really dislike many of its features, such as democratic centralism and party bureaucracies, but I dont believe it can be reduced to violence. I'm certain that leninism contained the seeds that grew into stalinism but both where solidly in line with earlier modes of existence and political norms, namely Czarism, and I think its not difficult to see how that trend or tendency has continued in Russia now that its divested itself of any pretension to freedom or equality or any other socialist idea. I'm not sure of any ideology in history which hasnt the potential, or better yet actually has, lent itself to totalitarianism of one kind or another, even supposed anarchism within their own small organisations can be characterised by dominant and domineering personality types, even free speech can and is enlisted in that way. Lenin himself was a bureaucrat and official and largely imagined socialism being something along those lines, it definitely influenced his view of marx and his framing of marxism, if you read what Rosa Luxemburg had to say about him it could prove illustrative of how there always was strong opposition to his thinking and his marxism.

    Even should Luxemburg's ideas be dismissed as mere marxist sectarianism, Simone Weil in her book oppression and liberty did a good job of highlighting all the contradictions within Lenin's writings themselves, in opposition he wrote manifestos which actually would have embarrassed libertarians their insistence upon freedom and limited governmental power was so great, likewise Marx and Engels writings themselves, Marx in his dying days was impressed only by the pre-capitalist survivals within capitalism itself (something he criticised with venom in the actual communist manifesto) becoming involved in anthropologists studies of the Russian Mir, Engels commended the early US state because it had nothing but a few salaried and pensioned individuals "keeping an eye on the indians". It might all seem besides the point if you're wedded to Popper's world view, though I think its flawed.

    Think tanks are insidious and different in character because of their origins and purpose, the war on academic opinion serves a particular purpose and I know you dont mean to serve that purpose by highlighting the short comings of liberal political correctness or its exploitation by corporate interests who are behaving as interest groups but none the less you could well be doing that.

    The mention of Soros is a bit strange, I dont see him as a left wing icon particularly and most of the time I only see him mentioned as a hate figure for the far right elements circling around the alt right celebrities online and offline, that whole scene I think is a bad one and I'd caution you about it. Its one which I have found is characterised by grooming and manipulative exploitation as a norm rather than honestly winning support or persuading anyone of their goals and vision. Its just as bad, if not worse than what you've said about millenial liberals but it gets about half the attention, the reality is that the attention millenial liberals do get is because they are a soft target, an obvious target and all the standard "youth of today" villifications are too easy.

  10. #10
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    5w6 so/sx
    Posts
    3,504

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post

    The conflating of marxism and philosopher kings thinking is very poor form when you understand or read either of them and find them antithetical to one and other, properly understood, its not something I'd expect from you to be honest, tarring all opposition with the same brush.
    So, the the Marxist-Leninist vanguard party does not reflect Plato's paradigm of statecraft?

    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    The mention of Soros is a bit strange, I dont see him as a left wing icon particularly and most of the time I only see him mentioned as a hate figure for the far right elements circling around the alt right celebrities online and offline, that whole scene I think is a bad one and I'd caution you about it
    There is no point to this equivocation. Soros' views are left-leaning in the sense that he is in favor of Keynesian economics, lightly enforced borders, multiculturalism and a sundry of other left of center positions. There is nothing dishonest about Soros' choice to proclaim himself as leftist and to cite Popper as the inspiration for his worldview.

    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    Even should Luxemburg's ideas be dismissed as mere marxist sectarianism, Simone Weil in her book oppression and liberty did a good job of highlighting all the contradictions within Lenin's writings themselves, in opposition he wrote manifestos which actually would have embarrassed libertarians their insistence upon freedom and limited governmental power was so great, likewise Marx and Engels writings themselves, Marx in his dying days was impressed only by the pre-capitalist survivals within capitalism itself (something he criticised with venom in the actual communist manifesto) becoming involved in anthropologists studies of the Russian Mir, Engels commended the early US state because it had nothing but a few salaried and pensioned individuals "keeping an eye on the indians". It might all seem besides the point if you're wedded to Popper's world view, though I think its flawed

    In theory, it is possible to construct a non-totalitarian view of Marxism. Yet, in practice, the proponents of such positions get co-oped by the Leninist hardliners.

    Isn't this the lesson we should have learned from Orwell's Homage to Catalonia?

    I am familiar with Luxemburg and other critics of Lenin's interpretation of Marx, yet the reality is that libertarian socialists and other benign leftists have gone the way of the dinosaurs. On the other hand, the centrist positions on both sides of the spectrum that are predicated on a rejection of the Philosopher King thesis have survived.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

    “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”---Samuel Johnson

    My blog: www.randommeanderings123.blogspot.com/

Similar Threads

  1. What is this strange behavior called and why do people do it?
    By theflame in forum General Psychology
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 04-17-2017, 06:07 PM
  2. Just for fun, what do you think my socionics type is and why?
    By Generalist in forum What's my Type?
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-29-2016, 08:58 PM
  3. Europe's war on free speech and its consequences
    By lowtech redneck in forum Politics, History, and Current Events
    Replies: 95
    Last Post: 02-08-2010, 07:07 PM
  4. What is "hope," and why do I "need" it??
    By ArbiterDewey in forum Philosophy and Spirituality
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 03-14-2008, 05:04 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO