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The Harper's Letter: The Death of Liberalism?


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8 minutes ago, Argus said:

1. ... society as a whole or accepted by a vocal group of zealots able to put pressure on employers?

2. Many of the views of the trans activists, for example, are NOT accepted by the majority of the population.

3. 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.

1. So your issue seems to be that the majority isn't in fact supporting trans rights ?   Then, it should be easy to rally the majority who wants to support public liberalism and apply reverse pressure.  Or maybe it's not a small group after all ?  In the end it doesn't matter, as it's in the purview of the employer.

2. I agree.

3. I think that might be illegal.  I think it's a stupid idea but... I don't know - I defer to the law.  I sure don't talk about politics at work.  Do you ?

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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

37 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

3. I think that might be illegal.  I think it's a stupid idea but... I don't know - I defer to the law.  I sure don't talk about politics at work.  Do you ?

How different is it, really, to fire employees for disagreeing with your politics AFTER they're hired, as opposed to not hiring them to begin with?

I mean, you can say the things getting people fired relate to social views, but many if not most of these social views are aligned with one party or the other. I mean, do you think there are a lot of liberals (Democrats) being fired in the US for social views, or are they more likely to be conservatives (Republicans)? And in Canada, are Conservative or PPC supporters likely to be fired or NDP and Liberal supporters?

I would also suggest that in terms of academia, a political test, if unofficial, is likely being applied to potential employees. That would explain why almost all of them are liberals (Democrats) and there are virtually no Republicans.

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19 minutes ago, Argus said:

1. How different is it, really, to fire employees for disagreeing with your politics AFTER they're hired, as opposed to not hiring them to begin with?

2. I mean, you can say the things getting people fired relate to social views, but many if not most of these social views are aligned with one party or the other. I mean, do you think there are a lot of liberals (Democrats) being fired in the US for social views, or are they more likely to be conservatives (Republicans)?

3. And in Canada, are Conservative or PPC supporters likely to be fired or NDP and Liberal supporters?

4. I would also suggest that in terms of academia, a political test, if unofficial, is likely being applied to potential employees.

5. That would explain why almost all of them are liberals (Democrats) and there are virtually no Republicans.

1. Not much at all.  I suppose if they asked you - when you got hired - to never express public opinions then that might help.

2. I'm sure people get fired for lots of reasons.  I am primarily researching why people's academic freedom is suppressed and it seems to be a lot of reasons.  People are boycotted and suppressed for supporting BDS (Israel Boycott), researching private journals, and generally rocking the boat as well as the reasons you are familiar with.
3. Does that matter ?  I don't think many, if any, people have been fired in Canada but we could look at a case.  I have one in the US where an NAACP member was fired for talking about a media conspiracy and making anti-Semitic intonations.

4. Suggest or suspect ?  It would be nigh well impossible to get away with that under the microscope of academic life, IMO.  The process is highly transparent and involves a lot of people.
5. Sorry - you are already getting mixed up.  'liberal' in this term doesn't refer to Democrats, it refers to the core values of liberty - so both political parties.  If you think that the Harper's letter was about persecution of Democrats, you have this whole thing backwards.  That's why progressives have turned on their own left-liberal elite you see.  Maybe that's why you're not more excited about this topic...

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2 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

1. Not much at all.  I suppose if they asked you - when you got hired - to never express public opinions then that might help.

And how would that be legal?

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3. Does that matter ?  I don't think many, if any, people have been fired in Canada but we could look at a case.  I have one in the US where an NAACP member was fired for talking about a media conspiracy and making anti-Semitic intonations.

I recall three firefighters fired a couple of years back for tweeting sexist lines from sitcoms. Stockwell Day, as you might recall, was forced off the CBC's power panel, out of his job with Telus and with a law firm for daring to doubt there was systemic racism at play. For that matter, now that I think of it, Bernier left the Tories just ahead of being forced out for daring to suggest there could be such a thing as too much diversity. And then there was the firing of a professor a couple of years ago from Acadia for expressing views that I think a lot of people would agree with. Notably:

He came under fire for saying multiculturalism is a scam, denying the wage gap between men and women, and dismissing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a vehicle for "endless apologies and compensation."

On Twitter, he retweeted a post that said it is "statistically impossible for all Native children to have had a negative experience with residential schools."

https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/controversial-acadia-prof-fired-after-complaints-about-comments-1.4084580

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4. Suggest or suspect ?  It would be nigh well impossible to get away with that under the microscope of academic life, IMO.  The process is highly transparent and involves a lot of people.

Why else have the number of conservative professors been declining so rapidly over the past several decades?

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5. Sorry - you are already getting mixed up.  'liberal' in this term doesn't refer to Democrats, it refers to the core values of liberty - so both political parties. 

It means Democrat, because that's how the studies define it.

https://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-disappearing-conservative-professor

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/oct/6/liberal-professors-outnumber-conservatives-12-1/

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If you think that the Harper's letter was about persecution of Democrats, you have this whole thing backwards.  That's why progressives have turned on their own left-liberal elite you see.  Maybe that's why you're not more excited about this topic...

I'm not sure what you mean by my not being 'excited' about this topic. I've been complaining about it for quite some time. In fact, I vaguely recall you once dismissing it as just 'college stuff' and of little importance to the real world. And speaking of the real world, we saw this today. One of the signatories of the Harper Letter forced to resign from the New York Times.

New York Times Opinion staff editor and writer Bari Weiss announced her resignation on Tuesday, decrying the newspaper's workplace culture as "hostile" toward staffers who hold anything other than left-of-center ideologies. In a resignation letter posted to her website, Weiss described the Times as an institution where "intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability" and where the opinions of Twitter users have become the paper's "ultimate editor." She complained that she felt bullied by colleagues who "called me a Nazi and a racist" and who posted an ax emoji next to her name.

“Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery,” Weiss wrote.

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/07/14/new-york-times-bari-weiss-resigns-360730

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58 minutes ago, Argus said:

1. And how would that be legal?

2. And then there was the firing of a professor a couple of years ago from Acadia for expressing views that I think a lot of people would agree with. Notably: 

3. Why else have the number of conservative professors been declining so rapidly over the past several decades?

4. It means Democrat, because that's how the studies define it.

5.  I'm not sure what you mean by my not being 'excited' about this topic. I've been complaining about it for quite some time. In fact, I vaguely recall you once dismissing it as just 'college stuff' and of little importance to the real world.  

1. I don't know.  Wouldn't it ?  I'm not a legal scholar but maybe ?
2. Sorry, I thought you meant fired for supporting a political party.  I don't remember what I was thinking of.  I guess the Stockwell Day firing is like the one Moonbox and I are talking about in the UK, in that a firm was worried about their reputation or the sphere of their activity due to comments he made.  I am going to look up the professor, though.  The universities are usually watched pretty closely if it's truly a matter of academic freedom but we'll see.
3. I don't know why.  I have a few guesses but they aren't asking Chemistry grad students who they vote for, I can guarantee you that.
4. No - we're talking about the Harper letter and it's NOT about Democrats - it's AIMED at Democrats if anything.
5. Yes, and this is more proof you aren't understanding what is happening here.  Let me recap: the LEFT liberal intelligensia (ie. the people you are steadfastly AGAINST) are turning AGAINST progressives in this letter.  Got that ?  It's an internal conflict.  This is why some on the left are taking notice and reviewing, and that is why my position has changed.

As you know, I have you on ignore and I have been engaging you on this because it's my thread and I'm interested in all points of view.  Furthermore the left has been understandable silent - I mean people in my circles are not commenting - so I have to find out what others thing.  But also: we don't seem to be disagreeing on anything and I feel that going back and forth like this is just going to result in a fight about some stupid side point.  I will take the Acadia prof case and do a deep dive into that one - thanks for the example.

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http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/4858757/Letter-to-Dr-Rick-Mehta.pdf

Rick Mehta discipline letter - this was the Arcadia prof.  He got a $50K settlement for both sides to walk away, which he lost when he breached the terms by Tweeting that he was vindicated.  He seems like a complete idiot, but ok.

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1 hour ago, Michael Hardner said:

5. Yes, and this is more proof you aren't understanding what is happening here.  Let me recap: the LEFT liberal intelligensia (ie. the people you are steadfastly AGAINST) are turning AGAINST progressives in this letter.  Got that ?  It's an internal conflict. 

I would say it's more accurate to say "some" on the Left are complaining about the cancel culture which has been used on conservatives for some years because that cancel culture is now broadening the range of those it wants to cancel to include moderate liberals.

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As you know, I have you on ignore

Way to complain about cancel culture in a completely non-hypocritical way.

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2 hours ago, Argus said:

I would say it's more accurate to say "some" on the Left are complaining about the cancel culture which has been used on conservatives...

Once again - you aren't getting it.  "some" on the left.  Chomsky, Steinem, Atwood... these are not 'some'.  And if you read the attacks against them from Woke Nation then you would likely be more gleeful.    It's not about who it's used on but how they are doing it.

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11 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

Once again - you aren't getting it.  "some" on the left.  Chomsky, Steinem, Atwood... these are not 'some'. 

Once again you're acting like you're an all-knowing God and that whatever you believe is reality. Those are indeed SOME on the left. Which would explain the counter letter, and the howls of anger directed at this letter FROM THE LEFT.

Cancel culture has been around for a while. It wasn't until it started to spread it's outrage to people on the Left that you started to show even a desultory interest.

 

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11 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

I'm trying to brighten the day of a poster who likely lives in a dungeon, and drinks gruel out of a skull with only a wretched crow to talk to.

No arrogance HERE.... :rolleyes:

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50 minutes ago, Argus said:

1. Once again you're acting like you're an all-knowing God and that whatever you believe is reality. Those are indeed SOME on the left. Which would explain the counter letter, and the howls of anger directed at this letter FROM THE LEFT.

2. Cancel culture has been around for a while. It wasn't until it started to spread it's outrage to people on the Left that you started to show even a desultory interest.

 

1. I'm not an all-knowing God but you seem to not get the fact that this is an internal fight on the left.  Why are you not acknowledging that ?  That's why I keep saying you aren't getting it.

2. 'Desultory' - no.  This is a new thing with me.  And yes, it wasn't surprising to me when The Rebel and Tucker Carlson told me that the Marxists are coming.... nor was it when I heard it during the Clinton Administration.  Yes, this new warning got my attention.  Maybe I am closed-minded because I am picking one side of the left, or maybe I would have been if I said that the Harper's Letter should be ignored.  Not sure.   

3. Calling you a fetid gnome is a playful insult and a kind of detente.  So much for that, you fetid gnome.

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1 hour ago, Michael Hardner said:

1. I'm not an all-knowing God but you seem to not get the fact that this is an internal fight on the left.  Why are you not acknowledging that ?

Why are you putting so much effort into getting me to acknowledge something I don't believe? This is not an 'internal fight on the left' and I honestly cannot imagine why you would think it was other than no one matters to you who isn't on the Left. This is a growing menace to freedom of speech and expression which first threatened the far right, then spread to the right and even moderate conservatives, then the centrists and is now engulfing moderates on the Left.

1 hour ago, Michael Hardner said:

2. 'Desultory' - no.  This is a new thing with me. 

Because you ignored it as long as it targeted those you agreed should be targeted.

1 hour ago, Michael Hardner said:

3. Calling you a fetid gnome is a playful insult and a kind of detente.

Oh right. Yes, how could I not know that? People often insult me when they want 'detente'. Particularly after loftily telling me that they ignore me but just this once are generously deciding to respond. Especially those oh-so-moderate centrists earnestly desiring open discussion.

 

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2 minutes ago, Argus said:

1. Why are you putting so much effort into getting me to acknowledge something I don't believe? This is not an 'internal fight on the left' and
2. I honestly cannot imagine why you would think it was other than no one matters to you who isn't on the Left.
3. This is a growing menace to freedom of speech and expression which first threatened the far right, then spread to the right and even moderate conservatives, then the centrists and is now engulfing moderates on the Left.
4. Because you ignored it as long as it targeted those you agreed should be targeted.
5. Yes, how could I not know that? People often insult me when they want 'detente'.  

 

1. The Harper's Letter is the subject, and that's what I am referring to.  
2. Not true.
3. I don't agree with this assessment.
4. I don't agree with this assessment.  It's the people who were talking about it I was paying attention to, not who was 'targeted' - which is a loaded word.
5. You would know it if you had a sense of humour.

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2 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

1. The Harper's Letter is the subject, and that's what I am referring to.  

Then you ought to have titled it "the Harper's letter' instead of "the death of liberalism"

2 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

3. I don't agree with this assessment.

You don't get your own facts. It's pretty clear that the original anti-facist/anti-racist woke stuff targeted the alt-right. And it's spread leftward since.

2 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

5. You would know it if you had a sense of humour.

Perhaps consider that if your humour fails to draw laughter others don't consider it very humourous.

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25 minutes ago, Argus said:

1. Then you ought to have titled it "the Harper's letter' instead of "the death of liberalism"

2. You don't get your own facts. It's pretty clear that the original anti-facist/anti-racist woke stuff targeted the alt-right. And it's spread leftward since.

3. Perhaps consider that if your humour fails to draw laughter others don't consider it very humourous.

1. Fair.  I retitled the thread just now.
2. Your assessment of things, it's not factual it's a perspective.  You don't understand objectivity and never have.   I have always given quarter to centrists who have raised concerns about academic freedom, however anyone should recognize that a letter like this represents a new high water mark.  And it has nothing to do with the subject of the criticism, as most of the 150 aren't in the line of fire here.  I can only think of one, actually.
3. Humour is subjective.  Therefore your sense of humour is objectively wrong, but not only for me - for you and for all living humans, animals and plants.  I would not expect more from a gnome who lives in a cave and feasts on vampire meat with his brotherhood of bats.
 

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30 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

2. Your assessment of things, it's not factual it's a perspective.  You don't understand objectivity and never have.

Everyone's assessment is perspective, yours included. Your continued pretense to being impartial is mere conceit on your part. I have read your opinions for fifteen years. You are no more objective about political and social issues than I. You were ready to grab a club and a balaclava and go hunt the alt-right after that Tiki march in Charlottesville.

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I have always given quarter to centrists who have raised concerns about academic freedom, however anyone should recognize that a letter like this represents a new high water mark. 

Why? The signers are already facing retaliation, and the letter made a brief splash then disappeared. I would say that the resignation of that Times writer yesterday (one of those signers) made a bigger noise. But that too will likely soon be forgotten. The Times will continue to be ruled by Twitter, and Twitter will continue to be owned by the far Left, who will use it to harass and threaten all who disagree with their views.

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On 7/14/2020 at 12:57 PM, Michael Hardner said:

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"

The severity is a new thing.  

On 7/14/2020 at 12:57 PM, Michael Hardner said:

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

Sure, but that's the same sort of argument as "that's just your opinion".  Of course it is.  The whole topic is subjective. 

We're really just arguing in circles here.  I'm glad the letter was published and I agree with it wholeheartedly. 

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1 hour ago, Moonbox said:

I'm glad the letter was published and I agree with it wholeheartedly. 

Right, well... that's where we are with it.  I am almost the only person in my political circle who found this letter notable.  As near as I can tell - this event was the high water mark that triggered all of this:

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

And the Canadian examples in academia that I pointed out are the ones I am still concerned with, or just watching.  And - yes - these issues I am looking at are a category different than simple protests on campus.

That's where I stand with this. 

 

 

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On 7/14/2020 at 7:30 PM, Michael Hardner said:

I'm trying to brighten the day of a poster who likely lives in a dungeon, and drinks gruel out of a skull with only a wretched crow to talk to.

 

But, hey, that's me.  I'm a walking talking rainbow.

I've somehow been magically transformed into a giddy little girl who lives in a tree.  Apparently I'm also quite bloodthirsty and authoritarian so I suppose I'm still some kind of force to be reckoned with.

 

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On 7/15/2020 at 11:25 PM, Michael Hardner said:

Right, well... that's where we are with it.  I am almost the only person in my political circle who found this letter notable.  As near as I can tell - this event was the high water mark that triggered all of this:

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

And the Canadian examples in academia that I pointed out are the ones I am still concerned with, or just watching.  And - yes - these issues I am looking at are a category different than simple protests on campus.

That's where I stand with this. 

Pretty good article.  I just wish folk could put aside their outrage and judgment and actually consider what people are saying before writing each other off as the anti-Christ.  

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Former Rolling Stone columnist Matt Taibbi expresses his frustration that the right wing kooks he and every other journalist used to mock have been hugely surpassed by left wing kooks, yet no one is laughing.

Fifteen years later, America is a thousand Dovers, and the press response is silence. This time it’s not a few Podunk school boards under assault by junk science and crackpot theologies, but Princeton University, the New York Times, the Smithsonian, and a hundred other institutions.

Today Matt Yglesias signing a group letter with Noam Chomsky is considered threatening. Moreover a lot less than booking a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit can get you in the soup – a headline, a retweet, even likes are costing people jobs. Imagine how many movies Milos Forman would have had to make if Jerry Falwell had been able to get people fired this easily.

https://taibbi.substack.com/p/the-left-is-now-the-right

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3 minutes ago, Argus said:

Former Rolling Stone columnist Matt Taibbi expresses his frustration that the right wing kooks he and every other journalist used to mock have been hugely surpassed by left wing kooks, yet no one is laughing.

 

Well, with right wing kooks, everyone knows they are kooks.  With left wing kooks, it's offensive, and possibly dangerous,  to even suggest that they are kooks. 

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