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The Harper's Letter: The Death of Liberalism?


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2 hours ago, Moonbox said:

I've been going back and forth with him on this issue and he's certainly not saying that. 

At the point where a group is declared as protected from discrimination, the debate starts to close and we move on. In 1965, people who were still expressing support for segregation started experiencing reactions for their views.  This is what we're seeing here.

How do you interpret the above? He says the debate is closed and compares those who disagree on transgenderism with those who supported segregation.

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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.

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

Fahrenheit 451

I'd heard about this letter concerning cancelling cancel culture. My first reaction was "Welcome aboard  Dummies. What took you?"

I didn't read the actual letter though. Not until somebody in this thread was whining about people like me who's reaction was why bother.

I've read it now though and I'm glad I did. There's something those reporting on it leave out. 

Although the slow pokes to the obvious who signed the letter are correct in identifying the problem they remain completely off track as to the cause.

If I read them correctly they still want to point the finger right. They're still wrong. We on the right are innocent as lambs on this one.

You know who isn't? Most of the signatories of this letter. Not only did they finance the trip to their own destruction they rode cheerfully aboard enjoying the scenery until even they couldn't ignore the truth. It was the train to Auschwitz. They were like those passengers of the helpful aliens in the Twilight Zone episode who realized too late that "Too Serve Man" was a cook book.

I can tell you who the real enemy is Noah Chomsky and J K Rowling but you won't believe me until you're simmering in the stew and by then it will be too late.

If anybody else is wondering though here's a tip:

Four Stages of Marxist Takeover: The Accuracy of Yuri Bezmenov

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Douglas Murray, who would have been exactly the sort of person to sign such a letter, had he been asked, points out that the organizers were exceptionally timid in only lightly setting a toe across the line towards the political right. But even that was too much for many on the Left.

Is it possible to re-establish the bare minimum rules of political disagreement in the internet age? Latest developments at the front line of the culture wars would suggest not.

Earlier this week a group of 150 writers appended their names to an open letter published in Harper’s Magazine (note to British readers — this is not the same thing at Harper’s and Queen, which would be a stranger home for such a declaration).The contents were, as at least one signatory admitted, fairly anodyne. The letter spoke of “the free exchange of information and ideas” and of how this constituted “the lifeblood of a liberal society”. 

...

In a way the reaction to the Harper’s letter neatly demonstrates the impossibility of the task it sought to achieve. A letter calling for unity across political divides showed up the great political problem of the era, which is not intolerance in the general, but the absolute unwillingness of the political Left to tolerate the political Right. In trying to be inclusive it was accused of including people accused of bigotry; in attempting to find a common cause for writers to unite around it was accused of providing cover for ‘white terrorism’. In attempting a ‘hang together’ ethic it found some of its number hanging apart within hours of lift-off.

 

https://unherd.com/2020/07/viewpoint-diversity-as-long-as-its-on-the-left/

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12 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

There's an actual WOLF in The Boy Who Cried Wolf..

 But not until the end.

Funny you should mention that. I was thinking something similar when I read this one:

Ocasio-Cortez Has No Sympathy For People Who Get ‘Cancelled,’ Says They Are Just Entitled And Unliked

You see this all the time amongst leftist revolutionaries of the far left. The loudest and most useful on the road to a far left takeover are the first up against the wall once it finally happens.

To take your 'wolf' metaphor a little farther, the Alpha doesn't want a bunch of betas causing dissension in his pack once he takes over.

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10 minutes ago, Infidel Dog said:

1. You see this all the time amongst leftist revolutionaries of the far left. 

2. ... once he takes over.

1. You fail to understand that this isn't right vs left any longer.  AOC vs. Margaret Atwood is actually about intellectual freedom.

The incindiary talking points won't help with this overall effort, IMO, since we're past that.

2. They took over in 1776.

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29 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

1. You fail to understand that this isn't right vs left any longer. 

No. It's conventional, free speech, conservative right and increasingly classic liberals and now possible liberals who once thought of themselves as progressive but are being forced to realize something is coming for them too against the neo-marxist left - or as you identified them, the wolf.

Myself, I've always had a warm spot for classical liberals and if you guys who are more out there in the progverse are sincere about wanting to return to the fold of reason I'll welcome you too. 

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Want to see what's going to happen if you continue your insistence on staying out there in the wacky neo-Marxist intersectional world of division and deconstruction?

Seattle is building an example for you.

At least you need to realize you do have a for real enemy and virtue signaling imaginary tolerance and fake understanding to fade the lines won't take it down. No, it's not people of colour. My God, I hope weren't going to say that. If you were going to pretend that's what I'm saying you're too far gone to help.

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Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post helps the discussion with some framing points.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/08/ten-rules-preserve-common-sense-debate-about-free-speech/

The article only affirms that there may be a problem by existing, ie. It doesn't go out of its way to say that there's actually a problem.

But the specificity here implies that there is:

6. The argument about “cancel culture” is properly directed at the people with the power to cancel (e.g. government, news outlets, universities). Railing at people who would like to get you fired and want others to cancel subscriptions is not productive.

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2 hours ago, Argus said:

How do you interpret the above? He says the debate is closed and compares those who disagree on transgenderism with those who supported segregation.

That's pretty much exactly where I disagree with him.  Thought the basic idea he's communicating has merit, his application is too broad and definitive.  On the one hand, I think he's right that once a group is determine protected (like Blacks or Natives for example), you can't really be expressing opinions or debating whether they're sub-human, less intelligent or less suitable for a job etc. 

On the other hand, debating the terminology that 50% of the population has for centuries used to describe itself is not even close to the same thing.  

Either way, at no point has Michael Hardner told me I'm a racist transphobe.    

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33 minutes ago, Moonbox said:

1. ...once a group is determine protected (like Blacks or Natives for example), you can't really be expressing opinions or debating whether they're sub-human, less intelligent or less suitable for a job etc. 

2. On the other hand, debating the terminology that 50% of the population has for centuries used to describe itself is not even close to the same thing.  

3. Either way, at no point has Michael Hardner told me I'm a racist transphobe.    

1. Sorry I missed this.  You can express some of said opinions, but some may be classified as hate mongering.  And all of them would likely see you suffer consequences.

2. I don't think that it's hate mongering, 

3. That would be very presumptuous of me.

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2 hours ago, Moonbox said:

That's pretty much exactly where I disagree with him.  Thought the basic idea he's communicating has merit, his application is too broad and definitive.  On the one hand, I think he's right that once a group is determine protected (like Blacks or Natives for example), you can't really be expressing opinions or debating whether they're sub-human, less intelligent or less suitable for a job etc.

You can't be expressing opinions like that about people, period. Why should it be okay to say some 'unprotected' group is subhuman but not okay to refer to some 'protected' group? I realize, btw, that you're right in the current environment. A black person can use the most extreme language about whites (such as the head of BLM has done) and no one cares, but the reverse will get someone cancelled and fired.

In any event, no one is suggesting trans people are 'subhuman'. They're disagreeing with the lack of science and the lack of common sense behind the positions espoused by the activists. And while I don't suggest people should be able to refer to Blacks as subhuman without pushback it ought to be fine to quote black crime records in response to statistics given by the BLM types about how often blacks are shot by police. It also ought to be perfectly acceptable to say the narrative that we tried to commit 'genocide' on natives is so much bullshit.

Edited by Argus
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6 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

I don't think that it's hate mongering, 

Perhaps not, but debating the definition of "women" and not falling in line with expanded definition is punishable apparently...so if it's not hate mongering, then what is it?  

3 hours ago, Argus said:

You can't be expressing opinions like that about people, period. Why should it be okay to say some 'unprotected' group is subhuman but not okay to refer to some 'protected' group? I realize, btw, that you're right in the current environment. A black person can use the most extreme language about whites (such as the head of BLM has done) and no one cares, but the reverse will get someone cancelled and fired.

This is too black and white Argus.  Alicia Garza can't say anything she wants without repercussions, though she'd likely get away with more in the current environment.  I'm not entirely familiar with her more inflammatory comments, but politically she's not my cup of tea.  Regardless, I can say all sorts of stuff about black people without losing my job.  So can you.  Just don't say really dumb stuff like I was doing in my last post.  

3 hours ago, Argus said:

In any event, no one is suggesting trans people are 'subhuman'. They're disagreeing with the lack of science and the lack of common sense behind the positions espoused by the activists. And while I don't suggest people should be able to refer to Blacks as subhuman without pushback it ought to be fine to quote black crime records in response to statistics given by the BLM types about how often blacks are shot by police. It also ought to be perfectly acceptable to say the narrative that we tried to commit 'genocide' on natives is so much bullshit.

Personally I don't really care that much about the transgender debate.  I do worry from what I've read that children are being "treated" for gender identity problems before they're even fully developed, and I do sympathize with feminist arguments on the definition of "woman" but I'd have no problem referring to a transgender female as a women out of simple consideration.

I don't think anyone here was calling you racist for giving statistics on black crime either.  I think your focus was misguided and you were paying too much attention to the negative attention the police were getting, and not enough attention on what seem like obvious problems with policing procedures.  

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6 hours ago, Moonbox said:

1. Perhaps not, but debating the definition of "women" and not falling in line with expanded definition is punishable apparently...so if it's not hate mongering, then what is it?  

2. This is too black and white Argus.  Alicia Garza can't say anything she wants without repercussions, though she'd likely get away with more in the current environment. 

1. You use the term ' is punishable ', but by whom?  See my post from Jennifer Rubin about aspects of free speech.

To challenge the legal definition alone would simply be offensive to many, ie. Not enough to rise to the level of hate mongering.  It might be discrimination, though, if used to deny services, or as harassment in the workplace for example.

2. As much as some woke people might deny it, there is a double standard.  Is that fair?  If you think that making comments about Scots and Jews is the same thing, then I guess it's not fair to you.  But this legislation only exists, ostensibly, to grease the engine of social engagement and the Jews are perennially the most attacked, hated, and discriminated group in Canada.  The Scots are embedded in all strata of society.

No one says 'Go back to Scotland!'

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When the Roman empire fell, it fell not because the barbarians at the gate were so very powerful, but because it could no longer defend itself. The empire had matured and grown to encompass many different places and cultures. All of these places came under its rule, and benefited from Roman technology and Roman ideas. That is why the empire was able to sustain itself for so long, although it was also under continuous attack in every quarter. Eventually there came an age when there was very little war, comparatively, since all regions were happily subjugated. Water closets do have value, after all.

Yet the true barbarism actually lay within Rome, not outside, for their political system had reached such a highly evolved level of organization that it became a thing unto its own, to which no single man had complete and overarching authority. In other words a democracy. Escalation of political infighting, and opposition to reforms whether good or not, for the benefit of serving internal power structures took priority over matters of true civil importance. It is the rot that arises from the core. The death knell of civilization.

You can hear it now in the wind, listen...     aaauuughaaaa... ask not for whom this bell tolls...

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8 hours ago, Moonbox said:

Perhaps not, but debating the definition of "women" and not falling in line with expanded definition is punishable apparently...so if it's not hate mongering, then what is it?  

This is too black and white Argus.  Alicia Garza can't say anything she wants without repercussions, though she'd likely get away with more in the current environment.  I'm not entirely familiar with her more inflammatory comments, but politically she's not my cup of tea.  Regardless, I can say all sorts of stuff about black people without losing my job.  So can you.  Just don't say really dumb stuff like I was doing in my last post.  

That simply is not the case unless your job is working for yourself (as mine is). People are now being fired for things they tweeted thirty years ago. People are being fired for things relatives do. People have been fired for tweeting lines from sitcoms.

8 hours ago, Moonbox said:

I don't think anyone here was calling you racist for giving statistics on black crime either. 

But people have been fired for giving that information. I cited instances where university researcher was fired for posting statistics from an academic study which refuted the idea blacks were disproportionately targeted by police. Even the original researchers who came up with the information are now desperately trying to distance themselves from it in fear of their careers.

8 hours ago, Moonbox said:

I think your focus was misguided and you were paying too much attention to the negative attention the police were getting, and not enough attention on what seem like obvious problems with policing procedures.  

I was paying attention to truth. First, the whole wild mass of protests, demos, riots, arsons, lootings and murders was inspired by the belief promulgated by the media that police are gunning down blacks left and right due to racism. That is a lie. And the facts are fairly easily established. Second, the entire narrative of systemic racism has almost no foundation in fact. The Left has taken the position that if there are unequal outcomes that in itself proves racism. Thus if blacks earn less than whites that's because of systemic racism. The truth is that no two groups have the same culture, values and outcomes. Black economic outcomes are the result of the high number of single parent families and little respect for education, not racism.

I have actually been complaining about policing procedures for years. I prefer a combination of the more relaxed British attitude, and the high level of training the Japanese police get.

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2 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

1. You use the term ' is punishable ', but by whom?  See my post from Jennifer Rubin about aspects of free speech.

it's punishable by the law.

https://thefederalist.com/2019/04/29/authorities-arrest-canadian-father-refers-trans-child-real-sex/

In the UK any disagreement on whether trans women are women can bring a cop to your door.

In Canada it's also punishable by having mobs of screaming people surrounding any venue you try to talk at, doxxing you, and calling and threatening your employer if you're not fired.

 

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1 hour ago, Argus said:

1. it's punishable by the law.

2. In Canada it's also punishable by having mobs of screaming people surrounding any venue you try to talk at, doxxing you, and calling and threatening your employer if you're not fired.

1. The example you have is very obviously flawed due to the child welfare aspect.  There isn't an example of someone being persecuted for just being rude and using improper pronouns. At least not one that has been presented in a Canadian context.

2. That's community morality, though.  There are examples of such things happening in other walks of life such as the Dixie Chicks being boycotted for cheap shots against a president.  That's not what we mean when we talk about liberal values in the public sphere, although it's related. ( Now people are boycotting products because the company founder made some comments.). But the Harper's letter is more about public institutions.

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14 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

1. The example you have is very obviously flawed due to the child welfare aspect.  There isn't an example of someone being persecuted for just being rude and using improper pronouns. At least not one that has been presented in a Canadian context.

We're not there yet. That's where the UK is. But the mob is trying to drive us in that direction.

14 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

2. That's community morality, though.  There are examples of such things happening in other walks of life such as the Dixie Chicks being boycotted for cheap shots against a president. 

Mobs did not show up at Dixie Chick concerts wielding home made guillotines. The ferocity directed at any opposition towards full trans/female equality is unequaled in recent history. That a rape crisis centre would be denied government funding for refusing to admit transwomen, and have dead rats hung on its door and screaming men (who say they're women) assailing those inside shows the depths of insanity behind much of this movement.

14 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

That's not what we mean when we talk about liberal values in the public sphere, although it's related. ( Now people are boycotting products because the company founder made some comments.). But the Harper's letter is more about public institutions.

Public institutions have proved too cowardly to stand up to the mob, and instead genuflect in hopes of avoiding its ire. No one is willing to respond, even with a full array of indisputable facts on their side. It seems facts don't matter when they other side screams about how they don't feel safe in the face of them.

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13 minutes ago, Argus said:

1. We're not there yet. That's where the UK is. But the mob is trying to drive us in that direction.

2. Mobs did not show up at Dixie Chick concerts wielding home made guillotines.  

3. Public institutions have proved too cowardly to stand up to the mob, and instead genuflect in hopes of avoiding its ire. 

1. (And 3.) Hence the letter.

2. But the principle is the same: free expression of unpopular opinions can evoke extreme, and even unfair responses.  The way we mitigate these responses is through public dialogue.

3. WLU university discovered that there are limits to group think.  That's the best example I have of illiberal thinking and a proper response too.

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3 hours ago, Argus said:

That simply is not the case unless your job is working for yourself (as mine is). People are now being fired for things they tweeted thirty years ago. People are being fired for things relatives do. People have been fired for tweeting lines from sitcoms.

But people have been fired for giving that information. I cited instances where university researcher was fired for posting statistics from an academic study which refuted the idea blacks were disproportionately targeted by police. Even the original researchers who came up with the information are now desperately trying to distance themselves from it in fear of their careers.

Well I obviously agree that it's going way too far, and that's the whole point of this thread (IMO).  The universities are the worst among the offenders.

Quote

I was paying attention to truth. First, the whole wild mass of protests, demos, riots, arsons, lootings and murders was inspired by the belief promulgated by the media that police are gunning down blacks left and right due to racism. That is a lie. And the facts are fairly easily established. Second, the entire narrative of systemic racism has almost no foundation in fact. The Left has taken the position that if there are unequal outcomes that in itself proves racism. Thus if blacks earn less than whites that's because of systemic racism. The truth is that no two groups have the same culture, values and outcomes. Black economic outcomes are the result of the high number of single parent families and little respect for education, not racism.

I have actually been complaining about policing procedures for years. I prefer a combination of the more relaxed British attitude, and the high level of training the Japanese police get.

Well I'm completely against the rioting and looting for obvious reasons, but you make the common mistake of thinking that this is symbolic of the movement itself, rather than the same sort of criminal opportunism we all the time during protests.  

As for the "lie", I still think you're missing the message.  The message, as far as I can tell, is NOT that police all over North America are racist and looking to kill black people.  As for systemic racism, you're being incredibly choosy with your "facts".  The idea that "culture" people being full of single parent families and having little respect for education is highly misguided.  There's a direct correlation between poverty and single-parenthood, which for obvious reasons affects a child's support and motivation towards education.  This is a feedback loop that reinforces itself over generations and it's true across all races.  To say it's just a "cultural" with black people is ignorant of the "facts" as you call them.  Sorry.   

 

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6 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

1. You use the term ' is punishable ', but by whom?  See my post from Jennifer Rubin about aspects of free speech.

To challenge the legal definition alone would simply be offensive to many, ie. Not enough to rise to the level of hate mongering.  It might be discrimination, though, if used to deny services, or as harassment in the workplace for example.

but Maria Forstater lost her job for just disagreeing with a new legal definition.  She was hardly unique.  

6 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

2. As much as some woke people might deny it, there is a double standard.  Is that fair?  If you think that making comments about Scots and Jews is the same thing, then I guess it's not fair to you.  But this legislation only exists, ostensibly, to grease the engine of social engagement and the Jews are perennially the most attacked, hated, and discriminated group in Canada.  The Scots are embedded in all strata of society.

No one says 'Go back to Scotland!'

The legislation's intention and it's application in practice are not the same things.  

Regardless, your example about Scots vs Jews is a non sequitur.  Nobody's disputing whether transgender people are discriminated against, or if they deserve some protection.  We're disputing what constitutes discrimination or hate and how absurdly exaggerated and unforgiving the standards for proper conduct become when dealing with protected groups, whereas those groups and their advocates get a free pass to bully and threaten their opponents.  

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3 hours ago, Moonbox said:

As for the "lie", I still think you're missing the message.  The message, as far as I can tell, is NOT that police all over North America are racist and looking to kill black people. 

As far as I can tell that definitely IS the message. Seattle is apparently going to cut it's police budget by 50%.

3 hours ago, Moonbox said:

As for systemic racism, you're being incredibly choosy with your "facts".  The idea that "culture" people being full of single parent families and having little respect for education is highly misguided. 

I've heard it from a lot of people of late - black intellectuals.

3 hours ago, Moonbox said:

There's a direct correlation between poverty and single-parenthood, which for obvious reasons affects a child's support and motivation towards education.  This is a feedback loop that reinforces itself over generations and it's true across all races.  To say it's just a "cultural" with black people is ignorant of the "facts" as you call them.  Sorry.  

Again, this is something you can hear from well-respected black intellectuals, some of whom I've posted on the other thread. The most economically successful groups in North America are Asians, Jews and Mormons, and all of them have low single parent numbers and place a very high priority on the education of their children. Blacks have the highest single parent rate, and it doesn't  just correlate with low economic success but with high criminality. Thomas Sowell is 90. He speaks about the deterioration of Black schools from when he went to school in Harlem in the 30s and 40s, and when his kids went to school in the 70s and 80s. Coleman Hughes and John McWhorten talk about the lack of discipline in schools, the fighting, the inability to expel troublemakers because of Obama's guidance to schools to either lower the numbers of those suspended and expelled or lose federal funding. As Larry Elder says, if you're black and studious you get accused of acting 'white' and disrespected for it. That's not so in the Asian community, where academic excellence is admired. What's admired in the black communities is the attitude of macho toughness exemplified by gangsta rap.

Now I don't know what to do about it, but simply assuming that any two groups which have disparate outcomes has to involve racism has little evidence behind it.

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1 hour ago, Moonbox said:

1. Maria Forstater lost her job for just disagreeing with a new legal definition.  

2. The legislation's intention and it's application in practice are not the same things.  

3. We're disputing what constitutes discrimination or hate and how absurdly exaggerated and unforgiving the standards for proper conduct become when dealing with protected groups, whereas those groups and their advocates get a free pass to bully and threaten their opponents.  

1. Ok, my response after reading the actual judgment is that people were offended by her outspoken outlook on this topic.  I already explained that, and I don't think that you responded.

People are fired for expressing unpopular opinions and I don't think that this letter focuses on that phenomenon, which is harder to change.

2. No, but they are both effects of the common morality.

3. I'm not debating those things.  Everyone has their own take on it.

I have said several times that the letter is focused on institutions.  We need to look at their decisions as they have official power.

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