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September 30, 2012

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sk60

"The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." - H.L. Mencken

David

Related, this:

The yardstick of the validity of an opinion ceases to be veracity. It ceases to be truth. It becomes instead the emotional response that is elicited by the view. Twenty years ago in the UK, if you disagreed with someone you said, ‘That’s a lie.’ Now you say, ‘That’s offensive’ and that is deemed to be a rebuttal.

Henry

Yeah, very good. We're perhaps frittering our freedoms away. The blame partly lies with successive governments, but also public equanimity. My take on this is that people just don't recognize the several reasons why these freedoms are important.

Those who faced Nazis and the Cold War had a strong awareness of the benefits of self-determination and individual freedoms. There was much thought about what freedom meant in this era. But the history of the ebb and flow of those freedoms is much older than that.

Then there is this querulous authoritarianism, the hugely enjoyable and confident inventing of grievances and new laws to deal with them. And the meanings of words like 'democracy', 'freedom', 'racism', and 'equality' are all subtly changed as necessary to suit all sorts of political agendas. What fun it all is..

The double-think of the new far left is related to more subtle social or 'moral' restrictions on freedoms which are not new either. We don't go to church as much any more, but do we really want to religious moral certainty with....progressive-left-wing religious moral certainty? I think not.

David

Henry,

“…the hugely enjoyable and confident inventing of grievances…”

Setting aside the broader political implications, there’s also the cultivation of bad faith – a casual dishonesty – that irks too, I think. And it’s interesting just how readily students in particular internalise this claptrap. For example, a while ago I drew attention to a woolly and foolish article in the Guardian by Adam Harper. Mr Harper didn’t appreciate the subsequent light-to-moderate mockery, which I suppose is to be expected; but he also saw fit to claim that my ribbing constituted “hate” and “bullying.” I’d dared to point out some details that were unflattering to his ego and therefore I was a bad person, a hateful bully, and by implication not to be listened to. And this is a remarkably common sentiment among our intellectuals of tomorrow, especially those who identify with the politics of the left.

Sam

And it’s interesting just how readily students in particular internalise this claptrap.

Don't they understand that one day the same illiberal crap will be used against them?

David

Sam,

“Don’t they understand that one day the same illiberal crap will be used against them?”

Given the enormous scope for abuse, as illustrated above, you’d imagine this might occasionally give pause for thought. But I don’t think that’s how this kind of self-righteous illiberalism works. I doubt the parties concerned think that far ahead. Urges to punish and control can be quite… intoxicating. Maybe they imagine they can pretentiously out-tantrum everyone else and so will always have the whip hand.

A while ago I noted a study that found quite a few people are willing to pay to burn other people’s money:

Our subjects gave up large amounts of their cash to hurt others in the laboratory. The extent of burning surprised us… Even at a price of 0.25 (meaning that to burn another person’s dollar cost me 25 cents), many people wished to destroy other individuals’ cash.

Thinking analogously, it’s no great surprise that some people are willing to endanger their own freedoms and probity, and those of their children, provided they can inflict a similar fate now on someone whose views they don’t like. Or on someone they don’t like. Or on someone they feel they ought not to like but aren’t quite sure why. One shouldn’t underestimate the allure of malice, at least to certain personalities.

virgil xenophon

Re: the burning other people's money experiment, I would point out that the question of whether such views are driven by genetics or by cultural imprint (probably both, but I would opine that genetically dysfunctional individuals are what initially mold the dysfunctional culture) is very much a chicken-egg thing but culture undoubtedly plays a major role. Consider the joke about the Russian collective personality which tells of a Genie let out of a bottle who gives his benefactor Ivan a single wish (this IS Russia, after all) to which Ivan wishes for two cows which the Genie grants. The now freed Genie then moseys down the road to the next farm and tells the farmer Boris that he will give him one wish, just like he has just done for Boris' neighbor Ivan. "What did Ivan wish for?" asks Boris. "Two cows," replied the Genie. "Then I wish for Ivan's cows to die," replied Boris.

Widespread societal attitudes which engender jokes like the above are most often the result of powerful life-long cultural imprints..

carbon based lifeform

"it was no surprise to me that when the trailer for "Innocence of Muslims" debuted on YouTube and Islamic militants all over the globe began using it as an excuse to attack American embassies and kill our diplomats, the first prominent people to rise up and say "see, I told you we were wrong about free speech" were college professors… if we start punishing people in the United States because they've offended the beliefs of people of other faiths, we will have put the United States government in the role of enforcer of a religious norm. Worse still, we will have put the United States government in the position of essentially encouraging violent reactions to speech by promising to punish blasphemers if, but only if, true believers are willing to actually get violent. This is an obscene incentive that promises only more violence."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-lukianoff/we-are-all-blasphemers-a-_b_1917074.html

Obama, the smartest president ever, hasn't figured this out.

Dom

That subway incident ... Why was there a film crew present? Why did they film someone who was filming someone else? Why did the woman just happen to have a can of spray paint with her? Why was it pink paint, allowing her to deface the poster and still allow others to see what set her off? And didn't the two women sound like they were reading a script?

David

Dom,

I gather Ms Eltahawy used social media to advertise the exact time and location of her impending, totally spontaneous radicalism. How else would people see her being incredibly radical and brave, so very, very brave? And hence the pantomime. I’d say the whole point was for her to be applauded and opposed, to be seen being arrested, and above all to be noticed. If you’ve followed her ramblings, that’s pretty much who she is.


Carbon,

It’s progress into the future - a kinder, fluffier future. It’s just that we’re making a detour via the 16th century.

David

Karen,

“Fascist academics are the new black.”

That’s the thing about Green politics. Endless opportunities for the same old nasty urges and the ‘Henry Higgins’ tendency - the belief that one is smart enough to remake the world.

mojo

"Facilitators", forsooth.

Fuck off, Narc.

David

mojo,

“‘Facilitators’, forsooth. Fuck off, Narc.”

Quite.

The psychology of these sensitivity enforcers is quite peculiar. On the one hand, they feel obliged to assume the worst of Designated Oppressor Groups, usually based on nothing but skin colour, with student orientations that presuppose a need to “treat” “white privilege,” “unconscious racism” and other lurking bigotry. The scale of the alleged problem is such that they claim a need to be ever more intrusive, presumptuous and condescending, with little or no regard for evidence, logic or due process. And twinned with this presumption is an implausible credulity – as if the intrusive and overbearing systems they’ve created couldn’t possibly be exploited by liars, morons and vindictive little shits. Which of course they often are.

As a moral and political worldview it’s incoherent and absurd. But as a license for authoritarian urges and petty malice it makes a kind of sense. It’s therefore unwise to assume that the people who favour such measures are compassionate or benign.

And such measures are obviously corrosive to the testing of ideas, since the object is to spare certain favoured worldviews from any critical challenge. It’s intellectual cronyism. As Mike Adams noted, censorship, speech codes and pretentious hypersensitivity encourage a kind of “reverse Darwinism” because “only those who are emotionally unfit are likely to become uncomfortable simply by hearing a contrary point of view… [Such people] are indeed emotionally unfit if they actually remain upset long enough to file a complaint aimed at enforcing a speech code.” If Barney says, “TV show X is a bit gay,” meaning cheesy or naff, and Beryl overhears this and takes umbrage – and stays indignant long enough to file a report and demand vengeance – it seems likely that Beryl is the one being captious, churlish or spiteful.

Mskochin

"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam." -- Barack Hussein Obama, 25 September 2012.

Steve

"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."

Has anyone got any idea what that could possibly mean?

I honestly can't imagine how anyone could possibly believe that any imaginable 'future' can possibly 'belong' to any film-maker, blogger, cartoonist, commentator, comedian or anyone else based on their opinions of or reaction to one particular subject.

I'm really stumped.

dicentra

"Obama, the smartest president ever, hasn't figured this out. "

Like hell, he hasn't. Shutting down free speech is a feature for those in power, not a bug.

Henry

Steve

"I honestly can't imagine how anyone could possibly believe that any imaginable 'future' can possibly 'belong' to any film-maker, blogger, cartoonist, commentator, comedian or anyone else based on their opinions of or reaction to one particular subject"

It's good emotive language though isn't it? Good politics, I guess, to paint a picture of the universal intolerance that will abound if you don't get re-elected...

...though some fools might think it's not entirely honest.

Steve

"...though some fools might think it's not entirely honest."

You're not a fool Henry.

You're a racist. And you must be silenced. For the sake of the children.

richard40

The left has always beleived in free speech, for other leftists, for anybody else, not so much.

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