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« Still More Agonies of the Left | Main | Friday Ephemera »

October 17, 2012

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David

Incidentally, the book cover mentioned at the beginning of the video probably refers to this sorry episode.

Min

Ow, My Feelings

Should be 'ow, some feelings I just made up'.

David

Min,

“Should be ‘ow, some feelings I just made up’.”

Well, there may be actual feelings involved, just not necessarily the ones being paraded. Say, “I resent the fact you’re winning the argument and I want you to shut up,” or “I don’t like your political views and I want you to shut up.” Or, “I just like being able to dominate others by pretending to be hurt.” Things of that kind.

But yes, imaginary feelings work just as well as dishonest ones.

pst314

Academia is always the vanguard of fascism.

Draw from this comment whatever you wish regarding the tolerance due to "progressive" academics.

spiro

It is weird to me how getting offended has become a power move to gain the upper hand in arguments.
My parents instilled in me at a young age (I'm 36 now - so I'm not some old timer) that taking offense gave the other person power over you, specifically, power over your feelings. To this day, I still see it that way. Even if I was offended by something (which I can't think of any situation that would truly offend me), I would never give another person the satisfaction of knowing I was offended. to my way of thinking, it shows weakness. Either emotional fragility or, more typically, weakness of convictions (as in "my belief that Mohammed is a prophet is so weak/fragile that a cartoon depicting him as a car salesman sends me into fits of self-righteous rage")

JuliaM

This is probably why I can't seem to feel anything but a touch of schadenfreude when a chief diversity officer gets hoist on her own petard...

David

Julia,

Hm. On the one hand, a deaf black woman; on the other, gay marriage. The victimology calculations must’ve taken hours. But it’s good to know we must all think the same way in the name of diversity.

David

spiro,

“To my way of thinking, it shows weakness.”

The notion of stoicism, of emotional restraint in debate, is quite alien to some people. It’s terribly old-fashioned. Some seem to think that their political views are made more ‘authentic’ and compelling by shouting them more loudly, ideally so that the other person’s arguments can’t be heard (and then, conveniently, don’t need to be rebutted). I think the idea is to be as prickly and reactive as possible, thereby discouraging any questioning at all. Though it doesn’t seem a good way to organise one’s thoughts or take on board new information.

In one of my very first posts, I wrote:

When I see attempts to stifle debate or to control the terms of debate, or to shut down thought before it can happen, I most often find those attempts coming from the left. This wasn’t always the case, of course; but right now I don’t see too many leftists standing up for free speech and the testing of ideas. Those that do are assailed from the left. And if a person doesn’t want an open debate to take place and wants to define in advance what kind of language is permissible and which subjects are off-limits, that usually indicates the weakness of their position and, more to the point, an awareness of just how weak that position is.

I don’t think much has changed in that regard.

JuliaM

"I think the idea is to be as prickly and reactive as possible, thereby discouraging any questioning at all."

Hmmm, could be:

"Humphrys's famous BBC "impartiality" was on display again this week when he aggressively challenged Harriet Harman over the definition of sexual abuse. This is either hard-hitting interviewing or a dismal and anachronistic attitude given what we now know.

;)

Anna

I think the idea is to be as prickly and reactive as possible, thereby discouraging any questioning at all.

If Obama doesn't win let's all riot!

David

Anna,

Thanks, I saw. It’s the same basic dynamic as the tantrum-slash-gap-year known as Occupy: “Do as we say and no-one gets hurt.

Elrond Hubbard

Anna,

The Democrats' new slogan: "Vote for Obama and nobody gets hurt."

Spiny Norman

Some seem to think that their political views are made more ‘authentic’ and compelling by shouting them more loudly, ideally so that the other person’s arguments can’t be heard (and then, conveniently, don’t need to be rebutted).

Stand-up comic Ron White related the story of his (very brief) stint as a member of his high school debating team:

I got kicked off the high school debate team for saying, "Yeah? Well, fuck you!"

I thought I had won. The other kid was speechless. I thought that was what we were trying to do!

This is the Left's favorite tactic pared down to its most basic form. They always think they've won.

David

Somewhat related, a taste of Hating Breitbart.

Steve

Such a shame that Breitbart lacked charisma and spoke in that gratingly whiney nasal drawl which always made him sound stoned.

But the good news is that the American right may finally have found an articulate, intelligent and charismatic communicator in their presidential candidate

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4Cw-UdQNtw&lc=k2VY2p_UFcSz44K3gsmoO_ZlWj7l29DNOoXQ4b3MWAg&feature=g-all-c

Rich Rostrom

There's nothing really new about this.

In In-Laws and Outlaws, C. Northcote Parkinson identified and described "Browbeatnikism", a form of "Chairmanity" (making a committee do what the chairman wants.).

The Browbeatnik simply asserts that the committee has already decided the issue as he wants. If anyone disagrees, he takes it as a personal attack ("Are you calling me a liar?") and threatens to fly into a rage. The committee submits, rather than have a scene.

This was a rather specialized application of the method, but it worked.

Going back further, in the period just before the American Civil War, the "hot-blooded gentlemen" of the slaveowning South often took personal offense at the criticisms of abolitionists.

This trend reached a climax in 1857, when Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina attacked Senator William Sumner of Massachusetts in the Senate chamber, and beat him senseless with a walking stick. (Sumner had delivered a scathing speech against his uncle, Senator Andrew Butler.)

The slaveowners had already silenced any anti-slavery speech in their states. (With the exception of Cassius Clay of Kentucky, who as Bruce Catton wrote, "survived an extended career as an open abolitionist in a slave state by sheer physical toughness" - and skill with a Bowie knife.)

There are places in the world today where a second Cassius Clay is needed - but they don't come often.

David

Rich,

Yes, it’s an old vice. But that vice is now being explicitly cultivated as a virtue among our supposed intellectuals. “My transparent pretensions of woe say more than facts and reasoned argument ever could” is, for some, the highbrow, statusful, sophisticated position. It’s being idealised and rationalised in a way that’s quite novel. And so we have professors denouncing the word ‘patchwork’ as a “gendered insult” that supposedly “debases” all womankind. Academics for whom deviation from socialism is “violence” and a basis for revenge. And would-be academics insisting that a slightly mocking blog post constitutes “bullying” and “hate.” A rummage through the ‘academia’ archives does reveal a pattern.

The exchanges I’ve had in which feigned outrage was a rhetorical strategy have usually been with students, academics or people who’ve been immersed in academia for longer than is wise. (The only other example that comes to mind involved a member of the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, who went from supremacist fantasy one minute to whiny victimhood the next. He only wanted to subjugate others, after all, and for this some people laughed and called him egomaniacal, which was hurtful, racist and beastly of them.) That so many of our supposed brightest and best should rely on much the same passive-aggressive approach is a little odd, to say the least.

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