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  • Godwin's Law strikes again.

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    • Originally posted by Hierophant View Post
      No, it isn't. There are some ideas that we SHOULD be closed off to -- that 'freedom' requires us to be closed off to -- and discrimination against marginalized people (conscious or unconscious, explicit or implicit) is one of them.
      Freedom never requires the stifling of the free exchange of ideas. The balance of freedom may require that certain actions are restricted, but stifling the exchange of ideas is never a net gain in freedom.

      Some argue that it's better for society to ban nazi sympathy, but it's not more free.

      Originally posted by Hierophant View Post
      Pretending all opinions are worth equal attention and respect ...
      That's really a whole different claim. Saying that speech should not be banned is far different than saying that it is deserving of attention or respect. I don't think we should ban moon landing conspiracy theorists from sharing their viewpoints. I still think they're crackpots.

      Originally posted by Hierophant View Post
      ...Germany ... remains the most liberal and western-concept-of-freedom-oriented country in western Europe...
      Not really. The Scandinavian countries are probably more deserving of that title.
      Last edited by dpark; June 19th, 2017, 04:57 PM.

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      • Originally posted by JBarwick View Post
        Godwin's Law strikes again.
        Does this actually count? Nothing and no one was really compared to nazis. It was an example of restrictions on free speech.

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        • [MENTION=16104]Bobbumman[/MENTION]: I think we agree 90%. It's just impossible (for me) to ignore that treating all speech as equally free has e.g. lead directly to the spike in hate speech and hate-related violence in the US over the last year. Also, nobody is suggesting federally legislated Word Police. All I'm saying is that the correct response to discriminatory speech is to call the speaker an asshole, then ban them from your private communities.

          [MENTION=14764]dpark[/MENTION]: I think freedom is distinct from Total Freedom in the same way that capitalism is distinct from Unrestricted Capitalism. You're right to point out that I should've said spoken opinions/actions, not ideas. And I think you're exactly right to point to the balance of freedom as the key core concept. I DO think that e.g. white supremacist rallies should be illegal, and I think they're different in kind than e.g. moon landing conspiracist rallies because they're much, much, much more likely to get a lot of someones killed.

          I said western Europe specifically to avoid "but what about Scandinavia!" I'd put any of the Scandinavian countries ahead of any of the western European countries, no doubt about it.

          [MENTION=4069]JBarwick[/MENTION]: Worth remembering that Godwin's Law was proposed more than two decades before e.g. Steve Bannon was in the White House.

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          • Originally posted by Hierophant View Post
            That's a big part of why I'm trying to decouple luxury (a social construct related to perceived wealth and social status) from quality (primarily about how well the product does what it's supposed to do): Americans dosee quality and luxury as synonymous, and they aren't -- which leads to purchasing based on luxury instead of quality.

            Sometimes luxury and quality 'come hand-in-hand'; Aldens are a good example. But I don't think we have to look outside the fashion world for examples (and examples and examples and examples...) of how luxury is decoupled from quality.

            Agreed that owning shoes on shoes on shoes is a luxury, but that's different than seeing them as primarily luxury goods. Owning a fleet of Toyota Corollas would be a luxury too, but I don't think anyone would call them luxury goods.
            I tend to agree with [MENTION=14764]dpark[/MENTION] on this: it's not possible to decouple "quality" and "luxury" completely, at least not in a relatively unregulated capitalism in which simply having things that do what they are supposed to do is a sort of luxury. Note that that is how the "privilege" is operating in "white privilege" - the claim is that white people are privileged as a group because there are certain things that won't happen to them that will happen to people of color, even though some of those things are pretty far from being luxuries. For example, there's the white privilege to not be stopped and frisked (or killed) by the police for no reason whatsoever. In a society that was in any way just, nobody would suffer from those things, so we could probably better say that that is an example of people of color having their human/citizen rights violated, yet we call it a privilege. By analogy, then, simply being able to afford "quality" products is a luxury.

            Let me put the matter in a different way, though: for me to agree that we can decouple luxury and quality, I would have to agree not only that there are some luxury products that aren't high quality, but also that there are some high quality products that aren't luxuries. I agree with the former: Hugo Boss suits are luxurious but probably not high quality. Same with the shoes put out by fashion houses such as Prada. And so on and so on. But the reverse may not be true, and it isn't, I think, if all high quality products are ones that are so expensive that they are not affordable to most people. Not all luxuries are high quality but all high quality items are luxuries, I think.

            By the way, what do you do for a living? I see that you're pretty interested in social justice. I'm a professor and I teach classes on it every semester.

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            • [MENTION=12586]Hierophant[/MENTION]:

              To add to what I was saying about luxuries and privileges:

              I think there are two ways of conceptualizing a privilege that ought to be distinguished.

              In the former, which is I think the way in which privilege was used by social-democratic and socialist parties using a class analysis, a "privilege" is something that cannot be shared by the populace at large. On this view, the paradigmatic example of a privilege is wealth that puts one within the top X percentage of the country (or city or world or wherever): it is a necessary condition of being in the 1% that you have more wealth than do 99% of people.

              In the latter, which is I think the way in which privilege is used by liberal and race/gender/sexuality justice advocates using an individualistic analysis, a "privilege" is something that is not shared by the populace at large (and whether it could be shared by them at large is irrelevant). Hence my earlier example. Note that on the other usage of "privilege," not being targeted by the police isn't a privilege: it is not a necessary condition of being free from police harassment that other people not be free from police harassment. Rather, it's a rights violation. We can imagine a better world in which nobody is harassed by police. We can't imagine a better world in which everybody is in the top 1% of wealth.

              I think this is relevant to how I'm conceptualizing a luxury: in my view, what makes something a luxury is, in part, that it could not be shared widely without wide scale social change. On that basis, Alden is a luxury. For someone on the median household income of $50,000 - $55,000, it's really hard to stump up $600-$700 for a pair of shoes. And there are many people who are well below the median household income. If I'm right, you suggested that a luxury is something that is intended to display one's high income/wealth, right? In other words, it's something that you consume conspicuously? I think that merely reflecting high income/wealth is enough, whether one intends to do so or not.

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              • Originally posted by Hierophant View Post
                [MENTION=16104]Bobbumman[/MENTION]: I think we agree 90%. It's just impossible (for me) to ignore that treating all speech as equally free has e.g. lead directly to the spike in hate speech and hate-related violence in the US over the last year. Also, nobody is suggesting federally legislated Word Police. All I'm saying is that the correct response to discriminatory speech is to call the speaker an asshole, then ban them from your private communities.
                So you dislike offense speech, of which I think many of us agree with you on, but then part of your solution is to go and call someone an a-hole, which is in itself offensive. LOL. Define irony...

                As much you as you don't seem to like it, our freedom of speech should not be impeded upon. With that said, if someone is legitimately being racist, homophobic, sexist, threatening, etc, we're are also free to call them out and take the necessary action, and we should. But if someone simply disagrees with you and you resort to making such unfounded accusations simply because their opinion is different, which I've seen you do on this very forum, you immediately lose all credibility. And you know what the worst part is? Most people likely agree with you; they just won't tolerate your hypocritical approach.

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                • Originally posted by srlclark View Post
                  I tend to agree with [MENTION=14764]dpark[/MENTION]

                  By the way, what do you do for a living? I see that you're pretty interested in social justice. I'm a professor and I teach classes on it every semester.
                  Wow, that's a tough gig, at least in my opinion. I would imagine it is difficult to stay objective. What are some of the things that keep you focused, objective and grounded when teaching that topic? Do you find that your students usually stay controlled and respectful? Totally off-topic, BTW - my apologies for that.

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                  • Originally posted by iviustang50h View Post
                    Wow, that's a tough gig, at least in my opinion. I would imagine it is difficult to stay objective. What are some of the things that keep you focused, objective and grounded when teaching that topic? Do you find that your students usually stay controlled and respectful? Totally off-topic, BTW - my apologies for that.
                    I enjoy teaching a lot (the research part of my job less so), but those things are definitely challenges. To answer your questions:

                    1) My field is called "political theory" or "political philosophy" and is all about making arguments, so there's just no way that I can be objective in the sense of not offering a viewpoint. It's my job to help students to distinguish between good and bad arguments. As a result, I tell my students that I'll try to be "evenhanded" instead. It's perhaps not an obvious distinction, but what I mean by that is that I'll try to present arguments and critiques of those arguments from multiple perspectives rather than not criticizing any positions.
                    2) That is a big challenge, especially because I don't particularly like the disciplinary side of teaching. I think I do a pretty good job of encouraging student participation regardless of viewpoint. For example, last semester I had one very conservative student in a class that was (surprise, surprise!) mostly liberal. When they did mid-semester evaluations and she said that she felt outnumbered, I e-mailed her to say that I wanted her to feel included in the class and encouraged her to speak up, as well as to challenge the readings in her written work, and she both did so and thanked me at the end of the semester for letting her participate. I'm not conservative myself, but I think it's very important that professors take steps to include students of (almost) all perspectives. On the other hand, I'm not as good as I should be from preventing students from monopolizing conversation. If class discussion gets too heated, I will always start the next class by reminding them of something I say at the outset, which is that we'll be discussing vexed and controversial topics and disagreement is inevitable, but it's important to address each other respectfully and keep disagreement focused at the level of the topic not the person. I've recently started telling them that one of the things I want them to get from the class is an insight into a form of political discourse that is both more nuanced and less antagonistic than the one that they are used to.

                    One thing I've tried hard to do over the years, partly to help encourage students to participate and partly to help me to stay grounded and respond thoughtfully rather than emotionally, is not to answer a question immediately if the question is one about which there could be useful discussion. If they ask me, "What did John Stuart Mill say about x?" and it's a yes or no question, I'll answer right away. But if it's, "What would Mill say about Y?" where Y is something that happened after he died, then I'll often ask the class what they think and only offer my own view after a few responses. That also gives me time to think!

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                    • [MENTION=13548]srlclark[/MENTION] You sound like an awesome professor man. I hope you represent the majority and not the minority of college professors, specifically regarding encouraging others and helping them feel included. Thanks for sharing with us - I appreciate it!

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                      • Originally posted by Hierophant View Post
                        [MENTION=14764]dpark[/MENTION]: I think freedom is distinct from Total Freedom in the same way that capitalism is distinct from Unrestricted Capitalism. You're right to point out that I should've said spoken opinions/actions, not ideas. And I think you're exactly right to point to the balance of freedom as the key core concept. I DO think that e.g. white supremacist rallies should be illegal, and I think they're different in kind than e.g. moon landing conspiracist rallies because they're much, much, much more likely to get a lot of someones killed.
                        Drawing a line between "ideas" and "spoken opinions" seems like an attempt to diminish the bluntness of saying that some ideas essentially cannot be held. To say that an opinion cannot be spoken aloud is to say that it is forbidden to actually have that opinion. I'm not on board with this idea, but regardless, it doesn't increase freedom so far as I can see.

                        Originally posted by Hierophant View Post
                        I said western Europe specifically to avoid "but what about Scandinavia!" I'd put any of the Scandinavian countries ahead of any of the western European countries, no doubt about it.
                        Honest question, what does Scandinavia count as if not Western European? The CIA doesn't class Sweden as Western European, but then it doesn't classify Germany as Western European either.

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                        • [MENTION=13548]srlclark[/MENTION]: I don't think it's possible to completely decouple "luxury" and "quality" either; my beef is with using them interchangeably, because that inevitably leads to the Hugo Boss/Prada situation you laid out. My point is that we ought to be talking about them as distinct even though they sometimes-but-not-always coexist.

                          I'm also trying to tease out the difference between two uses of the word 'luxury': a product that is a luxury (i.e. explicitly communicates something about wealth and/or social class) and whether an action or situation is a luxury (i.e. unnecessary to survival, 'getting along,' doing something adequately, etc.) They're interrelated but I think a lot of the disagreement here is definitional. As I said, owning a fleet of Corollas is a luxury, but no one would argue that a Corolla in the US circa 2017 is a luxury product. We're probably using that second definition of luxury interchangeably with privilege.

                          I work in public housing policy, which means I spend a lot of time thinking and writing about what is and isn't a luxury. For example: do you know that internet and telephone aren't considered essential utilities and therefore aren't fundable under any HUD funding source? Which seems insane to me in 2017; not having easy access to phone and internet are massive roadblocks to achieving self-sustainability, which is theoretically one of HUD's guiding stars. I'd be happy to talk specifics over PMs, if you like.

                          [MENTION=14764]dpark[/MENTION]: Drawing a line between "ideas" and "spoken opinions" is an attempt to draw a line between thought and action. I think legislating against what people think is a bad idea (and impossible); I think we both agree that little-L legislating against what people do is sometimes a very good idea -- and speaking an opinion out loud IS an action. I think we're fundamentally at "no common ground" here, though; I think e.g. Klan meetings are fundamentally a bad idea and ought to be acted against, and I think you're much closer to the unlimited free speech end of the spectrum.

                          Honest answer: I was trying to draw a distinction between Scandinavia and the rest of western Europe, because I think there's a relevant and long-standing cultural divide on this (and many other) issues that happens right at the southern border of Denmark. I'm happy to agree that Scandinavia unilaterally has a better modern track record of liberalism, freedom, and social equality than anywhere else in western Europe.

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