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Michael Hardner

The Harper's Letter: The Death of Liberalism?

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https://harpers.org/a-letter-on-justice-and-open-debate/

Read the Harper's letter, and read it as the dire warning that it is.  In fact, it would not take much for western institutions to become dysfunctional.

Our responsibility, as a public, is to speak plainly and specifically.  We are responsible for the society we belong to.  The enemy isn't left or right, it's war itself.

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The cause has already been lost in nations that have so called "hate speech" laws and tribunals.

Liberalism dies by a thousand cuts.

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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1 hour ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

Liberalism dies by a thousand cuts.

Do you think LBJs civil rights legislation was such a cut also ?  Serious question.

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21 minutes ago, Moonlight Graham said:

Fahrenheit 451

They don't need to burn books. They simply stop them from being published. Look at what happened to Woody Allen's bio. Hordes of people protested and the publisher walked away from it. Other publishers are actually having members of identity groups screen manuscripts, including fiction, to ensure nothing offends them. If it does, they don't publish it without changes.

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9 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

Do you think LBJs civil rights legislation was such a cut also ?  Serious question.

 

Yes, but only in the context of individual rights and expression, not public accommodation.  The U.S. Supreme Court was already moving on civil rights, whether LBJ and the southern Democrats voted yes to pass the Act or not.   Congress wanted the glory more than the USSC wanted it, per constitution.

Good call on the Harper's piece, it is making the rounds today in U.S. talk radio and social media.

 

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The problem is people and businesses and governments generally very much fear being accused of being racist, homophobic, sexist etc. It's terrible PR, so they do everything to avoid looking like it, including firing employees and cancelling whatever.

With social media all you need is a small minority of loud mouths to put someone in the hot seat.

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7 hours ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

Good call on the Harper's piece, it is making the rounds today in U.S. talk radio and social media.

Between Harper's and the Lincoln Project it's good to see some headway being made to relocate closer to a less unreasonable center people can feel less uncomfortable in.

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6 hours ago, Moonlight Graham said:

The problem is people and businesses and governments generally very much fear being accused of being racist, homophobic, sexist etc

 

Society created that cause for fear! 

The consequences for said ACCUSATION of racism, homophobia etc (by anyone's definition),  are fierce.   It's not abating by any means.

Edited by betsy
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10 hours ago, Moonlight Graham said:

With social media all you need is a small minority of loud mouths to put someone in the hot seat.

A lot of people are taking the letter as a warning against general criticism and moralizing, but I think that it was more specifically about public intellectual forums.

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7 hours ago, eyeball said:

Between Harper's and the Lincoln Project it's good to see some headway being made to relocate closer to a less unreasonable center people can feel less uncomfortable in.

I agree with you.  

As the letter says, the response to extremism to isn't more of the same.

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57 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

A lot of people are taking the letter as a warning against general criticism and moralizing, but I think that it was more specifically about public intellectual forums.

It's really both.  

"While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty."

Though the article does talk about institutional leaders running panicked-damage control at the slightest threat of negative PR (as moonlight graham explained), we also have large proportions of the population proclaiming boycotts or "cancelling" people at the slightest provocation.  The exaggerated culture of moral righteousness has become absurd.

"We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences."

On a similar note, we need to understand that it's okay to disagree in good faith without sweeping judgment on each other's personal character.  Depending on the issue we're discussing here, I'm either a left-wing sheep (for supporting police reform or mocking Rebel Media) or I'm a right-wing nut (for emphatically opposing public sector unions or misguided green energy initiatives).  Since coming back to these forums it seems I'm getting accused of the former more than the latter. There's been a pretty substantial shift in tone since the earlier days of my posting here.  

 

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1 hour ago, Moonbox said:

Though the article does talk about institutional leaders running panicked-damage control at the slightest threat of negative PR (as moonlight graham explained), we also have large proportions of the population proclaiming boycotts or "cancelling" people at the slightest provocation.  The exaggerated culture of moral righteousness has become absurd.  

Left-wing censoriousness is a long overdue reaction to an absurdly exaggerated culture of moral and of course economic righteousness.

 

Quote

 

"We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences."

On a similar note, we need to understand that it's okay to disagree in good faith without sweeping judgment on each other's personal character.  Depending on the issue we're discussing here, I'm either a left-wing sheep (for supporting police reform or mocking Rebel Media) or I'm a right-wing nut (for emphatically opposing public sector unions or misguided green energy initiatives).  Since coming back to these forums it seems I'm getting accused of the former more than the latter. There's been a pretty substantial shift in tone since the earlier days of my posting here.

 

Notice how it's other right-wingers accusing you of being in the herd of left wing sheep?  I mean even Argus is a lefty now...some even think Charles Koch is a CNN stooge for crying out loud.  It wasn't the left that invented the term cuckservative.

It's like I've been saying for years the right-wing isn't a place it's a direction. Mostly downhill.

Edited by eyeball
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1 hour ago, Moonbox said:

1. It's really both.  

2. Though the article does talk about institutional leaders running panicked-damage control at the slightest threat of negative PR (as moonlight graham explained), we also have large proportions of the population proclaiming boycotts or "cancelling" people at the slightest provocation.

3. There's been a pretty substantial shift in tone since the earlier days of my posting here.  

 

1. Yes, but the public sphere is explicitly mentioned, as you point out.  Also, there's a lot less that you can do about boycotts.

2. Some of that is the moral sphere, ie. that part of mob mentality we have to live with.

3. That's why I identify as conservative now.   The newbies who call everyone Marxists, and hate global trade think that they are conservative but they are not.

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By the way, the mob is attacking the signatories to the Harper letter.

Some of it is ageist, some of it is guilt by association, ie. you signed the same statement as JK ROWLING...

I think that traditional conservatives can help centrist thinking by telling us how we should express disgust with people we find to be inhumane maybe.  How do you express disgust with a Castro or a Chavez?

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1 hour ago, Moonbox said:

On a similar note, we need to understand that it's okay to disagree in good faith without sweeping judgment on each other's personal character.  Depending on the issue we're discussing here, I'm either a left-wing sheep (for supporting police reform or mocking Rebel Media) or I'm a right-wing nut (for emphatically opposing public sector unions or misguided green energy initiatives).  Since coming back to these forums it seems I'm getting accused of the former more than the latter. There's been a pretty substantial shift in tone since the earlier days of my posting here. 

It has been a hallmark of this site that people often attempt to be amateur psycho-analysts and theorize what lays behind someone's words rather than dealing with the words themselves. If you oppose this, then you must be doing so for that reason. If you support this, then you must be that kind of a person. Ie, if you don't agree that people like Faith Goldy are criminals and should be imprisoned then you clearly want to allow far right terrorism to expand. It can't just be that you believe in freedom of speech. You must support the speech someone is giving.

Likewise if you oppose mass immigration you must hate minorities. If you oppose racial quotas you must be a racist,. If you feel the evidence supporting systemic racism is pretty shallow, then again, you're a racist (unless you're black, then there's just something wrong with you).

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37 minutes ago, eyeball said:

Left-wing censoriousness is a long overdue reaction to an absurdly exaggerated culture of moral and of course economic righteousness.

Not sure I really understand what you're saying here.  Moral and economic righteousness?  What are we talking about?  Moral righteousness is pretty universal, but it has degrees of extremity.  It's one thing to be a patronizing lucky sperm telling the poor how his success has everything to do with his work ethic (and nothing to do with his rich parents), but it's another thing altogether to go out of your way endeavoring to ruin someone's life for disagreeing with you.  

37 minutes ago, eyeball said:

Notice how it's other right-wingers accusing you of being in the herd of left wing sheep?  I mean even Argus is a lefty now...some even think Charles Koch is a CNN stooge for crying out loud.  It wasn't the left that invented the term cuckservative.

It's like I've been saying for years the right-wing isn't a place it's a direction. Mostly downhill.

Well some of the silliest and worst offenders here should just be /ignored.  There's a handful that seem to bring every discussion downhill.  I'm guilty of engaging them (especially with ones I'm not familiar with) but eventually we have to stop paying attention to them. 

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1 minute ago, Moonbox said:

Not sure I really understand what you're saying here.  Moral and economic righteousness?  What are we talking about?

The condescending tone, pats on the head, and tut-tutting about left-wing sensibilities that accompanies most conservative attitudes in discussions involving the economy.  The economy is drenched with the moral certitude of conservatism, notwithstanding the most important ingredient of our economy...the natural capital our planet provides.  I'm a conservative who still can't understand what it is about conserving that fellow conservatives don't get.

 

Quote

Well some of the silliest and worst offenders here should just be /ignored.  There's a handful that seem to bring every discussion downhill.  I'm guilty of engaging them (especially with ones I'm not familiar with) but eventually we have to stop paying attention to them.

There's more to it than that, recall the suggestion that moderate Islamic people tell their extremes to stand down.  Yes left-wingers need to do similar to their own which probably explains why I get cast as a con in my circle if I doubt that Jessica Yaniv is someone I need to take seriously.

The thing we seem to have most in common here is that we're caught between a stupid and a dumb place. 

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2 hours ago, Moonbox said:

On a similar note, we need to understand that it's okay to disagree in good faith without sweeping judgment on each other's personal character.

[ ]

There's been a pretty substantial shift in tone since the earlier days of my posting here.  

Don't know when you were last here; I arrived in 2015, looking (foolishly, I now realize) for insight into politics and political parties in order to make a more informed choice in the federal election.  At the time, I didn't really identify as left/right, wasn't even sure of the differences between the two, had voted for both parties at various times in my life.

I was quickly shoved into a "liberal" box, most often sneeringly, and accused of hating Canada and Canadian culture, because I support responsible immigration, I think Canada does a good job of screening immigrants to benefit Canada and I believe strongly in helping those less fortunate.  Perhaps that does make me "Liberal", but being shoved into a box and insulted isn't going to make me a conservative. 

Ultimately, the extremism of the comments directed towards me from right-wing posters here has resulted in me being less likely to take conservatives seriously, or vote Conservative, than I would have been 5 years ago.  

I'm no doubt part of the problem since I stopped trying to discuss with those people some time ago, though I'll still engage with them.  I have found more moderate conservatives on Reddit, which has helped repair my view of conservatives overall, and realize that our values aren't that different.  I like that sense of kinship, even if ultimately our votes are different.

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6 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

A lot of people are taking the letter as a warning against general criticism and moralizing, but I think that it was more specifically about public intellectual forums.

There's nothing wrong with criticism, but there's repercussions socially when people lose their jobs, especially over allegations that haven't even been proven yet in court or by internal investigation.

Why not build a society filled with people that are more resilient to words/opinions that offend, rather than creating a society where everyone insists they should never be offended.

Words are only soundwaves in the air, they do not themselves cause harm, it's only how the mind interprets and cognitively deals with words that they become harmful to somebody.  Obviously that's easier said than done, but there needs to be a reasonable line, like harassment vs just ignorant opinions.

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1 hour ago, dialamah said:

"Liberal", but being shoved into a box and insulted isn't going to make me a conservative. 

Ultimately, the extremism of the comments directed towards me from right-wing posters here has resulted in me being less likely to take conservatives seriously, or vote Conservative, than I would have been 5 years ago.  

 

Those aren't conservatives, they are trolls.  They finally got their own gloriously pure party last election, the hilariously named People's Party of Canada.  So, that's solved now.

Please continue to help us find the centre.  That's where politics happens most of the time.

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12 minutes ago, Moonlight Graham said:

1. There's nothing wrong with criticism, but there's repercussions socially when people lose their jobs, especially over allegations that haven't even been proven yet in court or by internal investigation.

2. ... a society where everyone insists they should never be offended.

3. ... there needs to be a reasonable line, like harassment vs just ignorant opinions.

1. I'm really trying to understand what you refer to.  People are losing their jobs over statements, though.  Like Tweets.  I would think that's bad enough? You may be thinking about #metoo which isn't this.

2. It's not about being offended, it's about not conforming.  In the past, people lost jobs for being Communist, making unpatriotic statements, being atheist,  gay or what have you.  Now it's for not wearing a mask, denying 'systemic' racism, or going viral as a new media a-hole.

3. They destroyed the centre, so there's nobody left to talk about a 'reasonable' line.  When Trudeau, who 'bravely' legalized gay marriage when it had 51% support is derided as a social justice warrior and Stephen Harper is declared a fascist... The middle ground starts to look like a moonscape.

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5 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

How do you express disgust with a Castro or a Chavez?

I think you praise them on twitter, like Trudeau and Singh did to Castro.

Edited by -1=e^ipi

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8 minutes ago, -1=e^ipi said:

I think you praise them on twitter, like Trudeau and Singh did to Castro.

Ha.  Fantastically witless. Do you have anything to offer other than taking offense to Tweets?

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2 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

Ha.  Fantastically witless. Do you have anything to offer other than taking offense to Tweets?

Not really. I mostly just visit this site occasionally to make snarky comments. I'm not as active as I was a few years ago due to a number of reasons: work, the changes to the editing policy, having a more established set of political  beliefs, etc.

 

With respect to the topic, I will say that it is interesting that Michael Ignatieff signed it. It makes sense given the threats to freedom that occur to universities in Hungary. But in the Canadian political context it is interesting. Based on some recent videos of him, I suspect that he might be uncomfortable in his current political party under Trudeau. I wouldn't be surprised if he jumps ship (although I doubt he would join the Conservative party). If that happens, it would be interesting to see how that might shake up the political status quo.

 

Edit: on this topic, I wonder what happened to Stephane Dion. One could argue that he was pushed out of his role in Foreign Affairs in favour of Champagne, who is more amicable to the communist party of China. Obviously, Champage's appeasement of authoritarian regimes hasn't been working out very well, not to mention his monetary ties to communist China. I think that Dion would have supported human rights more. But I guess this helps solidify the control of the Trudeau faction over the LPC.

Edited by -1=e^ipi

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