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niceness vs. kindness; free speech; offence vs. harm

ygolo

My termites win
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This topic has come up before, but I couldn't find it.



But people are talking about political correctness and cancel culture, but there is real sinister stuff that uses protests of being canceled as cover.

I am interested in people take on these topics. I am actually quite ambivalent about these ideas. A younger me would have taken a hardline Libertarian stance on the issue of free speech and offending people, but after all the misinformation campaigns and public gaslighting, I am far less sure.
 

ceecee

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I'm very much in the kindness camp. I have found far too many people nearly fetishizing "niceness" and "civility". Especially in recent years. They don't want anything to change for for people being harmed to stop being harmed, they just want the status quo without complaints, backlash or anything uncomfortable for them.

Those get nothing accomplished, they're frequently done for appearance and to make themselves feel better and less about actually making another person feel better, just as the article says. A good example is - "I'll pray for you" What exactly does that do for the person you are praying for? Nothing. It's not being said to benefit anyone but the person saying it.

At a time when mainstream media and religious leaders are calling for executions of anyone they disagree with;


Or anyone they feel should be executed. Sure it's one person but he is mainstream media and has a mammoth audience of inflamed shitheads. Tucker Carlson isn't going to kill anyone. But he is certainly hoping one of his viewers will carry out his wishes.


Don't believe it? Nearly every person on trial for Jan 6 had blamed Trump directly or indirectly;



And all of this is done with impunity, screaming free speech. So yeah there is a limit to what free speech should be covering. But I agree there can be a huge difference between offending and harming. What I have listed above is obviously harmful. My own feelings on it mirror the article
Secondly, and relatedly, feelings of offence are not dependent upon an individual’s feelings about how she herself is treated. Mental harms are something I suffer as a result of what others do to me. By contrast, I feel offended not necessarily because of how I am treated personally, but because I regard certain behaviours as profoundly intolerable, irrespective of whether they have any direct impact on me.

For the most part, my feelings on being "cancelled" is that there are consequences for actions. The end. Of course people use being canceled as cover for their heinous behaviors, what else are they going to do? They have no argument or explanation, they just blame the faceless woke mob and hope everyone forgets when the outrage machine throws whatever it can to maintain an audience enraged by imaginary grievance (wonder why no one is talking about CRT anymore?)
 

Arcturus

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I likely fall into the kindness over niceness camp to the detriment of certain "social etiquettes" at times.
I like the first article. My thoughts come in two parts.


First, that it articulates certain things I think about certain forms of "niceness" and social etiquette; it's letting the room do the thinking for you, to let them decide for you. It's thinking about everyone first at your own detriment, since it at times removes you in entirely from the equation. To be wronged and then be socially pressured into smiling about it is a double slap in the face. Why must I be gracious for your mistakes?

Second, I think that a lot of these forms of social etiquette favour and shield the true transgressor, which is something I have a problem with. Many would sooner skirt over the real troublemaker so as to not be subject to the 'ugly' view of someone getting angry and/or cutting off the withering branches of the social group once and for all, instead letting it fester.


I appreciate the article highlighting that simply choosing to be "nice" isn't necessarily kind. The fact that one is not socially expected to "talk back", "rock the boat", and to just let the transgressor be in peace is simply socially-conditioned, socially-enabled silencing. The transgressor often knows this, and cowardly hides behind the wall of people who would defend them because you, being the one to speak out, aren't "being nice". "You know how he is!" "Just let it slide," etc. It is many layers of wrong and I get the sense that not many see it.

I must admit that my first intentions first and foremost are not necessarily even to be "kind". It simply is that doing the "nice" thing is the plain wrong thing to do, period- and I do not mean that necessarily morally either (referring to my first point above). My follow-up actions being "kind" would be coincidence. To explain further; someone initiating these social exchanges are forcibly pulling you into their game, their dynamics, where you would then be expected by both them and the room to continue playing in a certain way. It is covert social coercion, something I despise. Nuh-uh. Morals or not, I despise that and would not stand for it. Bring your own pawns.

The article says this:
"Being kind doesn’t always mean being nice, however — because the truly kind response won’t always be pleasing to the other person."
You have a choice. You be nice, and please the transgressor, the wrongdoer and everyone else who enables it with their silence, sitting in what is ultimately silent approval, OR, you stand up and offend everyone but the victim.


You're afraid of offending a whole room? You feel that offending 10 people is worse than offending just one?
The quantity doesn't matter here. Guilty is guilty.
To offend the room is to offend them all individually. They will pile in on each other and agree that you're being a pest. The transgressor will laud them for being the perfect pawns they were, simple extensions of his twisted will, feeding into them and encouraging their toxic growth. Point being- they have each other.
What about the victim? In a room of 12 people (transgressor, you, 10 other people) only one defended them. They only have one person.

"Keep the peace?" Shame on you.


OP mentions Political Correctness and Cancel Culture.
My opinions on those: You're thinking too far ahead. You are thinking of an imaginary event many steps down the line that won't necessarily happen, and that can stop you from intervening in the moment. Ponder over it now if you must, but don't let that freeze you in the moment and stop you from intervening when something is happening.

"Am I being too politically correct...? Am I "cancelling them...?" - who cares. Wrong is wrong. If the individual is coincidentally cancelled in the end, so be it. Trust me, you would have to do far more than just standing up in the moment to "cancel" someone. Just stand up and stop shuffling your feet around.

If the transgressor themselves complain they are being "cancelled" by you, or that you're "being a PC SJW" or whatever it is, ignore it. That's age old. If they weren't saying that, they'd use other excuses. "You're too sensitive," "It's just a prank, bro," or whatever the hell it is. A rose by any other name. Bullshit by any other name, really.
 

Coriolis

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I seem to recall having this discussion before, perhaps even the same or a very similar article to the first posted by the OP. No matter.

The distinction between harm and offense is critical. No one has a right not to be offended, as we do have a right not to be harmed. If you think you can say what you want, so can the next person, and what they say may criticise or take issue with you.

Though I don't put much stock in "niceness" as described by the first article, I do see room for civility. There is no opinion, however critical, that cannot be made with civility. Being rude and crass is likely to turn listeners off so they don't even hear what you have to say; or worse, bias them against your point of view before they even consider it. Sure - that response is on them, but it may be disappointing to you.

Yes, sometimes you have to offend others, or at least you risk offending them, in doing the right thing. "Right thing" here means preventing actual harm. This can be scary as it may open you to attack. Bystander intervention, however, has been shown to be an especially effective way to deter a bully. Some actions, statements, and points of view deserve to be cancelled because they cause actual harm to others.

That being said, there is nothing to be gained by offending people just for the sake of it, or just because you can. Better to offend only with good cause and in full knowledge of your actions. This presumes what you are saying is not only accurate/truthful, but also useful. In this sense, I don't care about political correctness, just actual correctness, combined with utility or effectiveness.
 

ygolo

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I found this exposition of clear bias in the scientific community relevant to the notion of free speech as well.


Specifically, I used to believe in a more general meritocracy in the "marketplace of ideas". But if you take the retracted findings mentioned in the video without the specific interpretations given by the author, it seems to show that a particular pedigree is actually the main determinant of success in science and not necessarily the merit of the work itself.

edit: tl;dr. Long term consensus, and truth have a much wider gap than I assumed. I am not sure what to do with this revelation...in science, philosophy, and even belief in democracy. For now, the systems that I was taught are still the best systems I can think of presently.
 
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