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The Harper's Letter: The Death of Liberalism?


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6 minutes ago, Argus said:

Look what happens when a guy holds a small sign which says "The right to openly discuss ideas must be defended" in the UK.

https://twitter.com/sullydish/status/1282000405241757696

 

This link in the comments purportedly give background:

https://amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/feb/22/art-gallery-criticised-over-neo-nazi-artwork-and-hosting-racist-speakers?__twitter_impression=true

I'm not going back to 2017, although it's not thread drift to do so.

-++.  --++. ---++. ----++.

To be clear, again: the letter in Harper's is something new in that it warns about institutional integrity and comes from the kinds of left liberals who generally dismiss concerns in this area of public process.

Since (I perceive) there are many here who share this concern, including myself, do others have examples in the area of higher learning and policy analysis ?  I will search some examples.

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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

7 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

Since (I perceive) there are many here who share this concern, including myself, do others have examples in the area of higher learning and policy analysis ?  I will search some examples.

I'm not sure what you're asking for here. Higher learning and policy analyses? As in studies and documentation of illiberal acts institutions have committed?

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31 minutes ago, Argus said:

 As in studies and documentation of illiberal acts institutions have committed?

Not studies, so much, but serious assessments of the scope of this concern.

 

I have found a good amount of material on my own, finally, by trying other searches.  I'll post what I found.

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9 hours ago, Argus said:

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

Because they are all racist cops, or because they have problems with the way policing is done?  

9 hours ago, Argus said:

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

Oh please.  If you go looking for it you can find someone saying anything. 

9 hours ago, Argus said:

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.

Low education standards, lousy schools and high single-parenthood are all hallmarks of poverty.  These are true no matter what race you're looking at.

The bolded part...I hope you're quoting someone else or something because that just made me cringe.  

 

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https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/06/case-for-liberalism-tom-cotton-new-york-times-james-bennet.html

I have been focused on academia, and also Canadian examples.  That's because that's a shortcut to finding serious discussion and avoiding salacious and entertainment-based muckracking.

That said, NY Mag has an example of a very illiberal response to what amounts to a citing of a paper, which speaks to the Harper's letter outside academic bounds.

I'm still researching the Canadian academic experience, to see if there is anything like a trend.

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I think that to pursue this further, we need to assess the landscape.

Shannon Dea at UW wrote this:

https://www.universityaffairs.ca/opinion/dispatches-academic-freedom/academic-freedom-scholarly-responsibility-and-the-new-gender-wars/

We need to also understand:

What is the purpose of liberalism?

What does it look like, when it works?

Who are the people working on this now and what is happening?

Please read professor Dea's article, as I will refer to it when we look at a academia and the current situation.

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One of the first things I have noticed is that academic freedom is greatly helped by tenure, which some here have opposed.

https://www.mapleleafweb.com/forums/topic/25830-canada-the-land-of-mediocrity/

The first case that I found would have been prevented if they had tenure.   Incidentally, this kind of protection came in for reasons of academic protection.

 

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Some tangential notes;

- After spending a few hours on the topic, I have seen that this issue is NOT a left/right question nor is it primarily about bend politics.

- A lot of it touches on employment law, unions, tenure, and also ways that universities can affect your livelihood aside from restriction on your tenured position.  They have legitimate reasons for those avenues, of course, but that needed to be watched. 

- As a result, it's difficult sometime to proceed with a complaint against an institution.

- Dr. (?) Dea's assertion that de facto academic repression hasn't happened is noted but there are still cases where the university has apologized or admitted that they need to change.( I'm still looking at Canadian examples, for the most part)

- There is far too much noise and rhetoric on this topic, but it's also critically important for a liberal society to make sure this gets serious attention.

- The other option is to abandon liberal principles, and go the way of China.

- I am taking the letter seriously, and watching for new examples in Canada as well as following the cases being defended by CUAT and SAFS, the two organization that figure in the complaints I have read.

The clearest cases to raise alarm I have seen are:

- The famous Lindsay Shepherd case

- Universities cancelling talks due to security concerns

- Dr. Peterson's funding being revoked (he is still a tenured professor)

- Government of Ontario's past attempts to dictate what type of speech is to happen on campus

Those are what I have for now.  I am still watching, as I said.

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7 hours ago, Moonbox said:

Because they are all racist cops, or because they have problems with the way policing is done?  

It's Seattle. Have you been following the deterioration of that city as homeless drug addicts run rampant and the woke council forbids the police from doing anything about it?

7 hours ago, Moonbox said:

Oh please.  If you go looking for it you can find someone saying anything. 

Yes, if you set your sites low. If you set your sites high - on extremely intelligent, educated, well-respected academics its a tad more difficult.

7 hours ago, Moonbox said:

Low education standards, lousy schools and high single-parenthood are all hallmarks of poverty.  These are true no matter what race you're looking at.

That is actually one of the points Coleman Hughes makes. He doesn't believe in affirmative action by race but by class. Ie, it's the poor that need help, not blacks like him.

7 hours ago, Moonbox said:

The bolded part...I hope you're quoting someone else or something because that just made me cringe. 

Coleman Hughes and Larry Elder. Your attitude towards it, btw, is one of the things Hughes notes when he says white people are not allowed to talk about race very well, and certainly not if they're going to dispute the existing narrative. Black people like him are generally presumed to not be approaching things from a point of view of being racist but that presumption is not granted to whites.

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The clampdown on thought originated in universities but the problem is it has now spread out into government and industry. Seattle seems to be one of the epicenters of what it looks like.

Last month, the City of Seattle’s Office of Civil Rights sent an email inviting “white City employees” to attend a training session on “Interrupting Internalized Racial Superiority and Whiteness,” a program designed to help white workers examine their “complicity in the system of white supremacy” and “interrupt racism in ways that are accountable to Black, Indigenous and People of Color.” Hoping to learn more, I submitted a public records request for all documentation related to the training. The results are disturbing.

At the beginning of the session, the trainers explain that white people have internalized a sense of racial superiority, which has made them unable to access their “humanity” and caused “harm and violence” to people of color. The trainers claim that “individualism,” “perfectionism,” “intellectualization,” and “objectivity” are all vestiges of this internalized racial oppression and must be abandoned in favor of social-justice principles. In conceptual terms, the city frames the discussion around the idea that black Americans are reducible to the essential quality of “blackness” and white Americans are reducible to the essential quality of “whiteness”—that is, the new metaphysics of good and evil.

It’s important to point out that this “interrupting whiteness” training is not an anomaly. In recent years, nearly every department of Seattle city government has been recruited into the ideological fight against “white supremacy.” As I have documented, the city’s homelessness agency hosted a conference on how to “decolonize [their] collective work”; the school system released a curriculum explaining that “math is a tool for oppression”; and the city-owned power company hired a team of bureaucrats to fight “structural racism” within their organization. Dozens of private companies now offer diversity training to public agencies. The idea that all whites have unconscious, “implicit bias” that they must vigilantly program themselves to overcome has become an article of faith across corporate boardrooms, academia, and law-enforcement agencies, even though the premise is unscientific and impossible to verify.

 

https://www.city-journal.org/seattle-interrupting-whiteness-training

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Academia in the US continues to push for more control of offensive thought, statements, or studies, and to mandate anti-racism training for students. Here is one at Princeton.

“Acknowledge, credit, and incentivize anti-racist student activism. Such acknowledgment should, at a minimum, take the form of reparative action, beginning with a formal public University apology to the members of the Black Justice League and their allies.” The Black Justice League, which was active on campus from 2014 until 2016, was a small local terrorist organization that made life miserable for the many (including the many black students) who did not agree with its members’ demands. Recently I watched an “Instagram Live” of one of its alumni leaders, who—emboldened by recent events and egged on by over 200 supporters who were baying for blood—presided over what was effectively a Struggle Session against one of his former classmates. It was one of the most evil things I have ever witnessed, and I do not say this lightly.

“Constitute a committee composed entirely of faculty that would oversee the investigation and discipline of racist behaviors, incidents, research, and publication on the part of faculty… Guidelines on what counts as racist behavior, incidents, research, and publication will be authored by a faculty committee for incorporation into the [usual] set of rules and procedures.” This scares me more than anything else: For colleagues to police one another’s research and publications in this way would be outrageous. Let me be clear: Racist slurs and clear and documentable bias against someone because of skin color are reprehensible and should lead to disciplinary action, for which there is already a process. But is there anyone who doesn’t believe that this committee would be a star chamber with a low bar for cancellation, punishment, suspension, even dismissal?

https://quillette.com/2020/07/08/a-declaration-of-independence-by-a-princeton-professor/

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3 minutes ago, Argus said:

It's Seattle. Have you been following the deterioration of that city as homeless drug addicts run rampant and the woke council forbids the police from doing anything about it?

What are they supposed to do about it?  As we speak the Chief of Waterloo Region Police is leading a group advocating the decriminalization of possession.  Why?  Because it's not effective.  You can look to places like Portugal who decriminalized possession and minor selling to see how HIV and disease transmission is down, overdoses are less common and there are HALF the number of minor drug offenders in Portuguese prisons now than before 2001.  In 1999, 44% of people in Portuguese jails were drug offenders - just so you have some perspective. 

The best part?  The drug use in Portugal didn't go up.  The country is saving money, saving lives and allowing the police to stop wasting their time chasing down addicts.  

3 minutes ago, Argus said:

Yes, if you set your sites low. If you set your sites high - on extremely intelligent, educated, well-respected academics its a tad more difficult.

Also if you ignore all of the highly educated, well-respected academics saying the opposite.  You a black republican lawyer, a Columbia University Professor and a 24-year old opinion columnist.  

3 minutes ago, Argus said:

That is actually one of the points Coleman Hughes makes. He doesn't believe in affirmative action by race but by class. Ie, it's the poor that need help, not blacks like him.

If black poverty rates are disproportionately higher, the distinction is kind of moot.  Nobody is saying we try to help out ONLY black poor people and not Hispanics (who also have high poverty rates) in the USA.  Nobody is saying we should be throwing money at rich black folk.   

3 minutes ago, Argus said:

Coleman Hughes and Larry Elder. Your attitude towards it, btw, is one of the things Hughes notes when he says white people are not allowed to talk about race very well, and certainly not if they're going to dispute the existing narrative. Black people like him are generally presumed to not be approaching things from a point of view of being racist but that presumption is not granted to whites.

Larry Elder is hardly the authority you make him out to be.  He's only noteworthy in that he's black and wealthy, while at the same time outspoken and Republican.  This is a guy who tries to say that low black unemployment (prior to the COVID crisis) proves that Trump isn't racist.  Unemployment rates were historically low across the country, so that was a foregone conclusion. With Black people disproportionately affected by the economic shutdown, has Larry changed his tune?  Nah. 

Another brilliant example of his "intellectualism" is how he uses the Music Modernization Act as evidence of Trump's progressive attitude towards people of colour...total nonsense.  He's a Republican squawk box. 

Coleman Hughes, at least, is thoughtful and even worthy voice in the discussion and he does have good points to make.  Are you aware that he supports reparation payments to folks who grew up under Jim Crow laws?  Maybe you should read a bit more about what he says.  

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43 minutes ago, Argus said:

I don't know what could be done about such a letter. ( The one referred to in Katz's piece ) I suppose that the Harper's letter would support an open discussion of what was proposed, and Joshua Katz would say that that hasn't happened.

I didn't see any instances of illiberal ISM in that.  Rather, a super wealthy private university thinks that it can appear valorous by offering extra perks to black faculty and students.  They could shut down the school and give the money to scholarships for the poor, I guess, if they want to really help inequality.

I'm still looking into Canadian cases, covered in academic Press or established Canadian newspapers.

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3 hours ago, Moonbox said:

What are they supposed to do about it? 

Arrest people for assault, vandalism, burglary and robbery - the usual.

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Also if you ignore all of the highly educated, well-respected academics saying the opposite.  You a black republican lawyer, a Columbia University Professor and a 24-year old opinion columnist.  

My point was that the opinions are not unanimous.

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If black poverty rates are disproportionately higher, the distinction is kind of moot.

No, it's not. As Hughes said, half the black students at his university were immigrants, and reasonably well-off. Why were they given the advantage of lower SAT number acceptance vs some American Asian kid who is automatically forced to meet a higher standard?

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Larry Elder is hardly the authority you make him out to be.

I didn't say he was an authority. I just pointed out that people like he, Brian McWhorter and Glen Loury defy the stereotype. They can argue thoughtfully and logically against what no white person is allowed to argue against without drawing accusations of racism.

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Coleman Hughes, at least, is thoughtful and even worthy voice in the discussion and he does have good points to make.  Are you aware that he supports reparation payments to folks who grew up under Jim Crow laws?  Maybe you should read a bit more about what he says.  

No, he opposes reparations. He actually spoke out against the idea in front of Congress.

https://quillette.com/2019/06/20/my-testimony-to-congress-on-reparations/

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7 hours ago, Argus said:

Arrest people for assault, vandalism, burglary and robbery - the usual.

Pretty sure they do that.  

7 hours ago, Argus said:

My point was that the opinions are not unanimous.

No, it's not. As Hughes said, half the black students at his university were immigrants, and reasonably well-off. Why were they given the advantage of lower SAT number acceptance vs some American Asian kid who is automatically forced to meet a higher standard?

I don't think that's right either, but that hardly proves there's no such thing as systemic racism.  

7 hours ago, Argus said:

I didn't say he was an authority. I just pointed out that people like he, Brian McWhorter and Glen Loury defy the stereotype. They can argue thoughtfully and logically against what no white person is allowed to argue against without drawing accusations of racism.

Not sure about Larry.  He's hardly thoughtful.  

7 hours ago, Argus said:

No, he opposes reparations. He actually spoke out against the idea in front of Congress.

https://quillette.com/2019/06/20/my-testimony-to-congress-on-reparations/

"What we should do is pay reparations to black Americans who actually grew up under Jim Crow and were directly harmed by second-class citizenship—people like my Grandparents."

From your own link.  He's opposed to reparations for slavery specifically.  It's so far back historically that any reparation would be arbitrary, wouldn't much purpose and would actually just make tensions and the divide worse.  

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On 7/11/2020 at 6:06 PM, Michael Hardner said:

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.

Which is the problem.  She had an outspoken outlook and was punished/censored for it.  

On 7/11/2020 at 6:06 PM, Michael Hardner said:

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

It absolutely does.  This, I'd argue, is the central point of the article.  The institutional side of the phenomenon is described as "panicked damage control".  

On 7/11/2020 at 6:06 PM, Michael Hardner said:

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

I disagree.  I think it was pretty clear it was talking about the overall environment of intolerance, and that institutions have fallen victim.  

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27 minutes ago, Moonbox said:

1. She had an outspoken outlook and was punished/censored for it.  

2. It absolutely does.  This, I'd argue, is the central point of the article.  The institutional side of the phenomenon is described as "panicked damage control".  

3. I disagree.  I think it was pretty clear it was talking about the overall environment of intolerance, and that institutions have fallen victim.  

1. 2. Fine, but if it's a problem it's an old one.  People have long been fired for having objectionable (to the majority) opinions.  It has only been publicly protested when it's part of a witch hunt, to expose privately held positions ... as with the McCarthy era.  I don't think that this flies within the radar of a new illiberal attitude at all, except that the subject of the opinion is a new one.

Explain to me why this is different than an anti-Semite getting fired from a job where they serve or just work for the public.

3. I don't think we disagree on this so much.  I am saying institutions are the focus, and you are saying that there's a general atmosphere of intolerance under which institutions have been corrupted. I agree with your statement as well.

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3 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

1. 2. Fine, but if it's a problem it's an old one.  People have long been fired for having objectionable (to the majority) opinions.  It has only been publicly protested when it's part of a witch hunt, to expose privately held positions ... as with the McCarthy era.  I don't think that this flies within the radar of a new illiberal attitude at all, except that the subject of the opinion is a new one.

What's "objectionable" is the question.  Is it because most folks disagree?  Is it because the majority of folk were offended and found the comments distasteful?  Was it because a lot of people found it offensive and/or threatening?  Or did someone just go out of their way to make a stink about an opinion they disagreed with?  We never really know.  

3 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

Explain to me why this is different than an anti-Semite getting fired from a job where they serve or just work for the public.

I would have thought the difference is obvious.  On the one hand you have someone saying they're "anti-someone" (which is pretty much dictionary definition hate), and on the other hand you have someone disagreeing with an updated definition for a word that had been used for hundreds of years to describe her sex.  That's not a trivial distinction.  

3 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

3. I don't think we disagree on this so much.  I am saying institutions are the focus, and you are saying that there's a general atmosphere of intolerance under which institutions have been corrupted. I agree with your statement as well.

Fair enough. 

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1 hour ago, Moonbox said:

1. What's "objectionable" is the question.  Is it because most folks disagree?  Is it because the majority of folk were offended and found the comments distasteful?  Was it because a lot of people found it offensive and/or threatening?  Or did someone just go out of their way to make a stink about an opinion they disagreed with?  We never really know.  

2. I would have thought the difference is obvious.  On the one hand you have someone saying they're "anti-someone" (which is pretty much dictionary definition hate), and on the other hand you have someone disagreeing with an updated definition for a word that had been used for hundreds of years to describe her sex.  That's not a trivial distinction.  

Fair enough. 

1. I guess it's a question for the employer.  I'm pretty sure they were embarrassed to have this person around in any case.  You're right, we don't really know.

2. But on a moral plane, you have an employer who is embarrassed by the opinions of an employee who is public-facing, which is not protected by employment law.  Do I feel differently about an anti-semite vs.  whatever this person was ?  Yes, I do.  Does it matter ?  If people think it does, then it does.  Please look at the history of McCarthyism and what it took to turn the public tide against peoples' private opinions being put on trial and having their lives ruined.  And this was about private opinions.

If you think it does make a difference, then you can try to convince people to have empathy for the person who has outlying opinions.  I am definitely sympathetic to outliers but public sentiment is what drives these things.  What happened to all that opposition to gay marriage ?  Public sentiment changed.

 

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30 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

1. I guess it's a question for the employer.  I'm pretty sure they were embarrassed to have this person around in any case.  You're right, we don't really know.

Well it's certainly not enough for an employer to just be embarrassed.  You can't fire someone simply for their political affiliation, though vocal Trump supporters might be embarrassing for some companies in the US (or vice versa?).  It works both ways of course.  You'd probably be embarrassed if your CEO was on Twitter talking about his cross-dressing nudist vacation, but would he be summarily fired for it?      

30 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

2. But on a moral plane, you have an employer who is embarrassed by the opinions of an employee who is public-facing, which is not protected by employment law.  Do I feel differently about an anti-semite vs.  whatever this person was ?  Yes, I do.  Does it matter ?  If people think it does, then it does.  Please look at the history of McCarthyism and what it took to turn the public tide against peoples' private opinions being put on trial and having their lives ruined.  And this was about private opinions.

What you're speaking of here is perception.  You're saying that perception and public opinion are the arbiters of this sort of "justice" and censorship.   I know all about McCarthyism, and I think it was an abomination.  What we're seeing today is rings similarly, though certainly nowhere near as bad.  

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1 hour ago, Moonbox said:

1. Well it's certainly not enough for an employer to just be embarrassed.  You can't fire someone simply for their political affiliation, though vocal Trump supporters might be embarrassing for some companies in the US (or vice versa?).  It works both ways of course.  You'd probably be embarrassed if your CEO was on Twitter talking about his cross-dressing nudist vacation, but would he be summarily fired for it?      

2. What you're speaking of here is perception.  You're saying that perception and public opinion are the arbiters of this sort of "justice" and censorship.  

3. I know all about McCarthyism, and I think it was an abomination.  What we're seeing today is rings similarly, though certainly nowhere near as bad.  

1. You can fire them if you don't think they represent your organization well.  Can you fire someone for openly disagreeing with accepted norms of discrimination ?  How about legal definitions ?  What law, exactly, protects people who believe such things ?  There is no law that says "this view is acceptable and that one is disgusting" that I can think of.  Those are value judgements in the purview of the employer.

I'm pretty sure if you went on about Trump all the time, and you worked for Ben and Jerry's they would not renew your contract.  Yes the CEO in your example would be fired, depending on the context.

2. No, I'm saying they are arbiters of social currency and sometimes employment.  

3. But McCarthyism was legal.  So are you asking me if it's legal to fire someone for outspoken and unpopular views, because I think it is and that's what the ruling said.

 

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10 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

1. You can fire them if you don't think they represent your organization well.  Can you fire someone for openly disagreeing with accepted norms of discrimination ?  How about legal definitions ?  What law, exactly, protects people who believe such things ?  There is no law that says "this view is acceptable and that one is disgusting" that I can think of.  Those are value judgements in the purview of the employer.

It's obvious what "can" happen, and what employers are "allowed" to do in the current environment.  I think it's dangerous, however, when employees' livelihoods and ability to freely discuss their views are subject to the whim of their employers' "value judgments".  Let's not fool ourselves here either.  It's often not even a value judgment that causes an employer to cut ties.  It's the result of a campaign of complaints, boycotts and shaming by what likely amounts to a very vocal minority.  

10 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

2. No, I'm saying they are arbiters of social currency and sometimes employment.  

Sort of a petty distinction.  When your ability to earn a livelihood is dependent on keeping your mouth shut about unpopular opinions, you are being censored.  Please note I said unpopular - not hateful.  Folks are losing their jobs because of unpopular opinions or for questioning prevailing agendas.  

10 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

3. But McCarthyism was legal.  So are you asking me if it's legal to fire someone for outspoken and unpopular views, because I think it is and that's what the ruling said.

We're not having a legal argument. The fact that McCarthyism was legal doesn't make it any less abominable.  It was a perversion of the legal system and championed by some of the most corrupt and frankly amoral people in the history of the United States.  What we're seeing today is far less nefarious, but still troubling nonetheless.  The fundamental idea behind affirmative action and anti-discrimination aren't in question.  It's the misguided, overzealous and draconian way the rules are being applied.  

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13 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

1. You can fire them if you don't think they represent your organization well.  Can you fire someone for openly disagreeing with accepted norms of discrimination ?  How about legal definitions ?  What law, exactly, protects people who believe such things ?  There is no law that says "this view is acceptable and that one is disgusting" that I can think of.  Those are value judgements in the purview of the employer.

When you say 'accepted norms of discrimination' you mean accepted by society as a whole or accepted by a vocal group of zealots able to put pressure on employers? Many of the views of the trans activists, for example, are NOT accepted by the majority of the population.

I would also ask how you would feel about employers insisting on a political test for potential employees, and only hiring those who solidly support their party and its beliefs.

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1 hour ago, Moonbox said:

1. I think it's dangerous, however, when employees' livelihoods and ability to freely discuss their views are subject to the whim of their employers' "value judgments". 

2. Let's not fool ourselves here either.  It's often not even a value judgment that causes an employer to cut ties.  It's the result of a campaign of complaints, boycotts and shaming by what likely amounts to a very vocal minority.  

3. When your ability to earn a livelihood is dependent on keeping your mouth shut about unpopular opinions, you are being censored.  Please note I said unpopular - not hateful.  Folks are losing their jobs because of unpopular opinions or for questioning prevailing agendas.  

4. We're not having a legal argument. The fact that McCarthyism was legal doesn't make it any less abominable.  It was a perversion of the legal system and championed by some of the most corrupt and frankly amoral people in the history of the United States.  What we're seeing today is far less nefarious, but still troubling nonetheless.  The fundamental idea behind affirmative action and anti-discrimination aren't in question.  It's the misguided, overzealous and draconian way the rules are being applied.  

1. As I have pointed out, it's not a new thing.  I think what's new is the particular value that people are focusing on.  The word "whim" is interesting - I would choose "disposition" or "objectives"

2. Sorry - I used a shortcut.  It's the values "cloud" lets say of the operation.  If nobody cares much either way but 10% of people are very upset then guess who calls the tune ?  Boycotts don't always work, by the way, and they are called for often.  I can think of: Wendy's, Dominos, Joe Fresh, Nike, Nestle, and even the country of Israel.  I think if you look at the operating sphere of the example we are following you would see that it's excessively small-L liberal which explains a lot.

3. I suppose that is true, but when you say 'not hateful' that's your value judgement.  

4. If you can point out the rules, then you can point to an authority that is accountable.  In the case we're talking about, you are likely dead in the water.  You can't enforce the kind of liberalism that lets people make a stand the way this person is, and protect her from being ostracized.  If she was talking about same-sex marriage would you think it was ok that she got let go ?

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