Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

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Fluminator
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Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

#1 Post by Fluminator » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:09 am

I recently got into an argument defending a podcaster I listen to (Joe Rogan) from some people saying he's a gateway to the Alt Right for having controversial people on his show. (Such as Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, Alex Jones, and maybe some other. I don't know who all is considered taboo out of his guests)

Their argument is that by just giving them a platform to debate or talk with, he's giving them free publicity and they will become more popular as a result. Therefore he's an "Alt Right adjacent" they called him.

My first instinct was to think that's silly, and I believe that engaging with other viewpoints is a better thing to do than ignore them. But there seems to be a large movement to shaming people like Joe Rogan who even just have them on the show to talk with.

I understand people being upset if he just let them talk without interjecting, but it's not even about that. It seems to be controversial to even debate with "problematic views" now.
Is there any justification to this scare of talking with controversial people that I'm missing?

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Re: Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

#2 Post by flash2015 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:29 am

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Re: Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

#3 Post by MajorMitchell » Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:31 am

I think that it's almost impossible to give a simple yes/no answer to your question. To be an enabler for any extremists is not desirable in my opinion, be they right wing political extremists, or left wing political extremists, or extremists who misuse a religion of any type. An argument for engagement is that if reasonable people stay silent then the voices of the extremists go unchallenged. It is possible to express the reasonable view without direct engagement with extremists.
If you are going to engage in public debate with extremists then you should have thought carefully about it first. For example, in what forums you do it, consider who controls the forum in which you might/might not engage.

Years ago I met a chap who was a full on admirer of Hitler and his Nazi regime, a huge chap with the nickname Ivan. Ivan was also quite racist with regards to Oriental persons. Seriously big, he was a human tractor who could easily pick up a 80kg plus rock & did casual work for landscape gardeners and builders. It took about two years of patient conversations for me to change his views about the evil Nazi regime and Hitler. During that time Ivan became my golf caddy, he refused to have a go at playin' golf, but was quite happy to caddy for me and receive payment in cold bottles of beer, with a two bottles of beer surcharge for each time he had to wade into a water hazard to retrieve my golf ball.
It was gloriously hilarious, playing public golf courses in Darwin with Ivan as my caddy. Ivan took his caddying duties seriously, he got a booklet of the Rules of Golf & studied them assiduously & he got extremely proprietorial with the golf bag, clubs etc. I wouldn't dare try and touch my golf bag, clubs etc, I always asked politely for whatever item I wanted. So for example I might ask for the "Dingo bat", the unusual ten iron used for low chip & run onto the green shots, Ivan would extract the item, wipe it down with a towel and hand it to me, then after I used it & gave it back to Ivan, he would again wipe it clean with a towel then stow it in the bag. Ivan would never stoop to using a golf bag buggy, he carried the golf bag like a proper C of E Christian Caddy.
The only item I was allowed to carry was the ball, but only after Ivan had retrieved it from the hole, wiped it clean & gently tossed it to.me. Then I was expected to head off immediately to the next tee leaving Ivan to tidy up, clean the putter, record my score etc and then follow along. I taught him the duties of a good Caddy, estimating distances, keeping an eagle eye on other golfers if I was playing in a group & busting them for breaking rules & incurring penalty strokes..he was a gem in that regard.
There were some truly hilarious situations where I would stroll up to a tee with a few players waiting, they'd look at me & see an outlandishly dressed middle aged blighter in garish long shorts and knee length socks idly tossing a golf ball and without bag of clubs. Odd looks but nothing said to me, perhaps a few comments amongst themselves, then huge Ivan would appear, and there would be a wonderful ripple effect.. I would literally see them trying to figure it out. "Who is this Daffy blighter with this enormous caddy??? Is he a golf pro slumming it ??? Once they observed me play a shot that "golf pro" speculation would be instantly dismissed & the next assumption would often be.. dangerous Criminal with Minder.

To cut to the chase.. I explained to Ivan that he could get far better remuneration by giving up being exploited by builders & landscape gardeners as a human tractor if he was prepared to exploit the psychological weaknesses of rich Japanese businessmen who play golf at Queensland golf resorts.
My theory being.. Face, or public image is extremely important to these Asiatic golfing chaps. The average caddy is an arrogant teenager who is invariably a scratch golfer, they're Ivan's competition for work as a caddy. So if Ivan learns some basic Japanese.. yes sir, no sir, at once sir etc plus the required golf related lingo, plays the obedient servant role, then he becomes a most desirable image enhancing Caddy, far more desirable than some spotty disrespectful teenager. How appealing to rich Japanese businessmen​, the opportunity to strut along a golf course like a bantam cock with a huge, physically intimidating Ivan trailing them dutifully and obediently, who is also a most thorough caddy. Busting their colleagues with penalty shots for rule infringements to help them win wagers etc.
Ivan grasped the cunning merits of my suggestion, applied himself to learning Japanese language and etiquette and relocated to Sunny Queensland.

The last I heard from Ivan was that he was on a generous retainer that included nice free apartment & use of a Mercedes Benz and he was a combination Caddy, driver and bodyguard for a chap who might have been a Yakuza power broker & Ivan had decided to get engaged to a lovely Japanese lady who was related to his new patron.
So there is a wonderful example of how engagement with a Nazi and Hitler admirer & despiser of Oriental persons can change him into a critic of Hitler and his Nazi regime, a friend to Japanese businessmen and willing to engage in matrimony with a Japanese lady.
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Re: Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

#4 Post by Octavious » Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:55 am

There was a debating society at Exeter uni which once decided to debate whether or not it was right to allow the far right to speak at debates. They invited certain left wing speakers to argue in favour of no platform, with the society committee members arguing in favour of free speech and using argument to defeat far right ideas. This was back in 2007.

For daring to even ask the question the debating society President, a good friend of mine, was attacked and vilified by various antifa style groups. He was constantly hassled and hounded, and typing his name into Google returned pages of results calling him Nazis scum. It ruined his life, and forced him to move and change his name.

Ever since I have despised far left hate groups such as antifa as much as I despise Nazis. They are vile scum, pathetic excuses for human beings. Even so, I would give them a platform. Freedom of speech is too important to sacrifice for people like that. Their ideas must be debated and destroyed in the clear light of day, not hidden in the dark.
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Re: Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

#5 Post by StevenC. » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:02 pm

>"Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?"

Yes, it is 100 percent okay. The point of freedom of speech and expression is to be able to air your views, no matter how repugnant.

Fluminator wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:09 am
I recently got into an argument defending a podcaster I listen to (Joe Rogan) from some people saying he's a gateway to the Alt Right for having controversial people on his show. (Such as Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, Alex Jones, and maybe some other. I don't know who all is considered taboo out of his guests)
If Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro are too controversial for these people, chances are they are hard-core ideologues. Joe Rogan should be able to have whoever he wants on HIS podcasts. These people should be adult enough to not try and control what Joe Rogan does on his own podcast and just not watch if they find the people he brings on to be repugnant.
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Re: Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

#6 Post by orathaic » Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:38 pm

StevenC. wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:02 pm
>"Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?"

Yes, it is 100 percent okay. The point of freedom of speech and expression is to be able to air your views, no matter how repugnant.
<SNIP>
Em.. So there are two things. Freedom of speech, as defined by the US constitution, only gives freedom from STATE repression.

That doesn't mean you get to speak at the local church, university, or tv/radio station. Nobody has to listen to you, and if your views are so repugnant that people are criticised for just having spoken to you, and that is their freedom of speech too.

You can air your views, but that doesn't mean someone like Joe Rogan has to use his platform to promote those same views (he is also free to platform people, and to face the consequences of doing so, whether that be a boycott or loss of advertising revenue, even loss of his job if something sufficiently contraversial happens, those are the consequences - he is responsible for the people he chooses to have on his show).

That said. Maybe, you can have someone contraversial on your show and tear their views apart, ridicule and belittle their obnoxious views, and make it clear how little you think of their opinions (I did hear a criticism of Avengers infinity war, not because Thanos was the main character, but because his psychotic and idiotic plan was not challenged. Like why couldn't he produce twice the resources or... Many other arguments which could have been made, were not. That is providing a platform to Thanos, while not providing any counter argument... Except Thanos is a fictional character they created, so they did more than provide him a platform... < / digression >)

OK, so there may be one other side to this, what does 'engage' mean in this context?

There is one man who goes out and talks to the KKK, and he can tell you his own story. But you will note, he isn't giving their views a platform: https://youtu.be/ORp3q1Oaezw

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Re: Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

#7 Post by flash2015 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:33 pm

I was trying to be funny with my first comment...if you didn't understand (click the link).

Who is criticizing Joe Rogan for Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro? I wouldn't call either directly part of the alt-right.

I don't have a problem with Joe Rogan does. He often does challenge his guests when he disagrees with them to the best of his ability...and he has guests from all over the spectrum.

I have more problems with someone like Dave Rubin who has realized where the money is and has effectively become an "alt-right" enabler. He lets his guests spout all sorts of wacky and dangerous nonsense interspersed with phrases from him like "regressive left" and "marketplace of ideas" to give him cover for not challenging the extreme ideas that many of his guests promote either directly or indirectly.

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Re: Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

#8 Post by Carl Tuckerson » Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:45 am

flash2015 wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:29 am
No
Lol, this one is new to me. Love it.

@OP: The answer should be obviously yes, in a functional society not on the verge of total unraveling due to a cold civil war decades in the making. Once you understand that the people making the types of arguments you describe are trying to win a war and destroy an enemy, and not trying to engage in dialogue with citizens of different political persuasions, you will understand the crazed impulse to stifle dissent.

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Re: Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

#9 Post by Jamiet99uk » Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:42 am

The main problem with him featuring Ben Shapiro is that Ben Shaprio is an idiot and the podcast featuring him was insufferable, and actually very boring.

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Re: Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

#10 Post by flash2015 » Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:13 pm

Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:45 am
flash2015 wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:29 am
No
Lol, this one is new to me. Love it.

@OP: The answer should be obviously yes, in a functional society not on the verge of total unraveling due to a cold civil war decades in the making. Once you understand that the people making the types of arguments you describe are trying to win a war and destroy an enemy, and not trying to engage in dialogue with citizens of different political persuasions, you will understand the crazed impulse to stifle dissent.
There are limits though, aren't there? Would you say it is OK for a company to make fake medical claims about a product (e.g. these crystals cure cancer, guaranteed!!!)? Or perhaps a youtuber which tells his/her followers to go kill someone because they say something they don't like? Would you expect youtube to keep such a video on its platform irrespective of its potential consequences?

And there is an assumption with the pure "free speech" argument that better arguments will always win over poor/bad/dangerous arguments. I don't believe that is true at all otherwise you wouldn't have people believing in the power of crystals to cure cancer, or that vaccines are all a conspiracy to control us or believe that the world is flat.

There are many reasons why better arguments often don't win over poor arguments. People often more easily agree with arguments which are in alignment with their pre-conceived notions and biases. People often tend to start to believe arguments or ideas purely through repetition irrespective of their basis in reality, this is why the idea of political "talking points" are so effective. And it is usually far harder to debunk arguments than to make them, especially if they have an element of truth to them (e.g. if arguing about the Bell Curve, African Americans HAVE generally scored lower in the past on IQ tests - it is just a fact that can't be challenged)...and the actual truth about intelligence and race may be far more nuanced than the simple answer provided in the Bell Curve (scientific argument is often not that clear cut). Argument strategies like the "Gish Gallop" take most advantage of this debunking difficulty (make so many BS statements that it is almost impossible to debunk all of them, at least not in any reasonable period of time). Given how much work it is to actually do the debunking you can see how it can be much easier for people to just ignore OR label people because they don't agree with. This happens on all sides of politics (we can go through many examples if you like - on the conservative side quickly slapping a "marxist" label on policies they don't like is a good example).

Having said that there ARE genuine concerns about political bias. We have of course had these discussions before though. This is why the FCC instituted the policy of "the fairness doctrine" for companies holding broadcast licenses. But conservatives like Ronald Reagan pushed to remove this regulation because they perceived it infringed free speech. My of course more cynical view is they believed there was political advantage to it...because it allowed the rise of the "shock jocks" etc which were effectively able to pander to people's pre-conceived biases and solidify them. And many of the biggest media organizations are owned by people that do use their news organizations to push a specific political agenda (e.g. Murdoch or Sinclair Broadcasting are the most blatant in this). But as in most things there is often almost always an element of self-interest even in the most supposedly idealistic positions.

When talking about Google/Facebook/Twitter etc. there may be some issue of bias...but in many cases it may be just a case of Hanlon's razor. They all don't have the resources to have people actually watch/read everything. To make this viable at all a lot of their filtering is automated...which has very inconsistent results (e.g. you have videos demonetized because they are showing violence when they are actually criticizing said violence - this happens to videos from all sides of the political spectrum). The people that do have to do the monitoring are likely minimum wage workers...or close to it and are vastly overworked so they really don't have time to view/read everything in full so they often may make the wrong decisions. And I think conservatives often underplay the number of times videos that they disagree with get banned (there is a lot of discussion about this which I believe conservative commenters either don't know about or deliberately ignore because it disagrees with the narrative). Conservatives complain about "bias" at universities then ignore the many university staff that have been fired for their non-conservative views. Many conservatives don't see the cognitive dissonance in fighting for "free speech" then cheering on the government instituting bias in employment and contracts for people who disagree with Israel's policies...which IS a direct attack on the first amendment. We are either for free speech, irrespective of whether we agree with the speech or not, or we are against it. We can't have it both ways.

In short what I am trying to say is I believe few, if any, people truly believe in completely uncontrolled free speech. I think everyone has **some limit**, but some people have more restrictive limits than others. I do believe we are too easily dismissive of some opinions and we do need to engage more with them. Underneath the covers I think there are some genuine concerns there whether it be the role of men in society (e.g. Jordan Peterson's speeches about how men find meaning in their lives)...or whether we have not done enough to help people that have been harmed by technological or societal changes (e.g. automation - if manufacturing comes back it will be with far fewer workers. And whilst I do believe social media/web companies do need more regulation (especially on privacy and data transparency) I do think we need to be careful with any regulation to force "fairness". If it was wrong before we need to make a very good argument to explain why now is different.

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Re: Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

#11 Post by Jamiet99uk » Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:39 pm

There must be limits to free speech. Some people find this hard to accept, but "free speech" does not, and should not, trump all other rights. When free speech becomes hate speech, I believe it is perfectly legitimate to silence it.

If not, should I be allowed to stand up with a megaphone in a public place saying "let's round up the jews and the blacks and the gays and kill them all"...? If I can afford it, should I be able to publish a magazine articulating such views and put them through the letterbox of every house in my city?

I hope most people would agree that I should not be allowed to do that. But what about MY FREE SPEECH?

There have to be limits.

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Re: Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

#12 Post by Randomizer » Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:56 pm

Free Speech only applies to government regulation. A company providing a platform as a profit making business has a legitimate right to regulate its platform. If you agreed to the company's rules when you started your account, then you can't complain if they restrict you for violations.

That's what happen with McConnell on Twitter.

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Re: Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

#13 Post by Carl Tuckerson » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:27 pm

flash, that's all well and good and I largely agree, but we aren't talking about the abstract limits of the right of free speech, but instead their weaponization by a faction of Western society hellbent on destroying it. The people Fluminator described in the OP aren't out to find principled limits on free speech that can be fairly applied to all people. They're out to destroy an enemy.
Hence the tilt of my answer.
And for the record I'm certain you mean well and are not one such person as described in the OP, nor do I ascribe any bad motives to your position. I think in better times we could very easily have a constructive dialogue on this subject, even if we walked away largely believing what we already believe.

In the spirit of that, if we want to discuss free speech in the abstract, I can give you a more detailed and engaged response on the premise that this is a more abstract discussion. Might be a couple of days as tonight and tomorrow are busy for me.

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Re: Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

#14 Post by flash2015 » Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:18 pm

Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:27 pm
flash, that's all well and good and I largely agree, but we aren't talking about the abstract limits of the right of free speech, but instead their weaponization by a faction of Western society hellbent on destroying it. The people Fluminator described in the OP aren't out to find principled limits on free speech that can be fairly applied to all people. They're out to destroy an enemy.
Hence the tilt of my answer.
And for the record I'm certain you mean well and are not one such person as described in the OP, nor do I ascribe any bad motives to your position. I think in better times we could very easily have a constructive dialogue on this subject, even if we walked away largely believing what we already believe.

In the spirit of that, if we want to discuss free speech in the abstract, I can give you a more detailed and engaged response on the premise that this is a more abstract discussion. Might be a couple of days as tonight and tomorrow are busy for me.
Who are these people who are supposedly out to turn the USA into a Totalitarian state? If a few $RANDOM people on Twitter disagree with Joe Rogan having Shapiro or Peterson on his show, who cares? Yes, there are some nuts on campuses but that has always been the way. Do you really think these nuts have any real political power...especially with new far more well-funded conservative groups now turning up on campuses? Do you believe Shapiro and Peterson who have massive platforms and are making money hand over fist are actually victimized here? IMHO if anything they have been able this harness this fake victim hood to make themselves richer (would anyone care who Peterson was without him going way, way overboard with the rhetoric about bill C-16?), much like many other conservative commenters. Shapiro's big argument is that "the left" are promoting fake victim hood. Peterson pretty much dismisses anyone who doesn't agree with him completely as a "cultural marxist".

There is a general rhetorical strategy I have seen on the conservative talk shows to take a kooky position by a few people and ascribe it to "everyone" on the left. "The left" is a big tent with a wide variety of opinions and it is silly to ascribe the views of any one person to the whole (e.g. Sargon today, from one article in the guardian, now believes "the left" as a whole have changed their mind about Jordan Peterson - huh? - there has been arguments going on for a while now about the validity of some of his opinions). Or to frame arguments in a way, as I have already suggested, that if you don't completely agree with them the only possible other position is totalitarianism. Then commenters like Shapiro tie also more moderate issues to these same extreme positions as a way to easily dismiss discussion without argument.

If everyone could tone down the rhetoric it would be great. I get frustrated by the tribalness of political discourse on all sides. And a lot of the things I ascribe to conservative commenters are also seen in more liberal ones, though IMHO not to the same extent (at least in the ones I also watch). But I know the conflict is good for the clicks. More people want to watch shows which talk about the end of the country/planet will happen if the other side gain power than nuanced, largely dry, political argument.
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Re: Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

#15 Post by flash2015 » Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:30 pm

I think I should end each of my sentences with "So say'eth the Lord" as I realize I sound way too preachy... :P

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Re: Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

#16 Post by Carl Tuckerson » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:00 am

I'm not saying anything about Peterson or Shapiro... I haven't brought them up in this thread. They're certainly not oppressed. They make a lot of money for being strict gatekeepers of the right-wing end of polite society, and their most meaningful punches are to the right, not the left. If they ever become legitimately oppressed, then the totalitarian left has won an utter rout of a victory and this country is doomed.
I've merely commented on the nature of the subset of people Fluminator described in his OP, who seek to punish people merely for trying to engage with dissident right-wing thinkers and ideas. People like you would just as easily come under their line of fire at some point, even though you're clearly a normal progressive who generally holds the "right" opinions from their vantage point.

I do wish if you want rhetoric toned down that you would engage with what I am actually saying. If you're really decrying the excessive tribalism in politics then you should be criticizing the people Fluminator is describing. I utterly hate the way that I cannot discuss most issues with a lot of reasonably decent people because of that excessive tribalism.
But I didn't cause it. I was a classic treat-everyone-nice good guy who never wanted to wrong anybody, just wanted to live my life the way I thought was right and do right by everyone. THEY brought the fight to ME.

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Re: Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

#17 Post by Carl Tuckerson » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:55 am

[I seem to have posted prematurely. This was meant to be included in the original response.]

At the very least it feels very disingenuous for you to criticize me for discussing the very people who are the subject of Fluminator's OP. Fluminator asked if they were right, not if they had power. I maintain that my characterization of them as people bent on destroying traditional America is completely right, however effective they might be at accomplishing that, and that their apparent hysteria regarding the "alt-right" makes sense in the context of them seeing someone influential giving a platform to a sworn enemy.

Again, I think you mean well and I'm happy to discuss the idea of free speech and engagement in the abstract, but please refrain from criticizing me for engaging the OP as asked and engage with what I am actually saying.

~

In the spirit of that...
There are limits though, aren't there? Would you say it is OK for a company to make fake medical claims about a product (e.g. these crystals cure cancer, guaranteed!!!)? Or perhaps a youtuber which tells his/her followers to go kill someone because they say something they don't like? Would you expect youtube to keep such a video on its platform irrespective of its potential consequences?
I agree with restrictions on false advertising and on inciting violence in principle. These forms of speech create considerable risk of real physical harm to other people. If you're strictly interested in discussing the idea, you can skip the next bit and go to my next quoting of you.
I am worried about enforcement of such restrictions, particularly on inciting violence, because we have already seen bad-faith actors attempt to represent reasonable policy proposals, like deporting illegal immigrants, as inciting violence, and if such actors were in charge of enforcement I would be very worried about the infringement of speech that should be protected. Hence why it is so difficult for me to separate abstract ideas from their practical implementation--someone HAS to enforce it, and there currently exist actors very hostile to the idea of free speech for those with whom they disagree. I worry that our country is becoming polarized at an accelerated rate, and that this position will be commonstance within a couple of decades, and reality within another.
And there is an assumption with the pure "free speech" argument that better arguments will always win over poor/bad/dangerous arguments.
[...]
There are many reasons why better arguments often don't win over poor arguments. People often more easily agree with arguments which are in alignment with their pre-conceived notions and biases. People often tend to start to believe arguments or ideas purely through repetition irrespective of their basis in reality, this is why the idea of political "talking points" are so effective.
I don't think free speech depends upon the idea that presumptively better arguments always prevail, though I agree that many people argue this point in defense of free speech. (I don't know your stance on this and won't presume anything about it.) In fact, that's a very narrow understanding of free speech to me, the implementation of which would lead to errors, for two reasons.
One, presumptively better ideas are not always truly better ideas. People don't get things right the first time at all. Prevailing understandings of ideas are often incorrect or at least incomplete, and some degree of contradiction--and thus the freedom to contradict--is necessary to improve our understanding.
To point to your flat Earth example, while the extent to which ancient peoples believed the Earth to be flat is vastly overstated, at one point that belief was commonplace and presumptively right, and the eventually demonstrated correct idea that the Earth was round was presumptively wrong. If, as the argument goes, free speech is good because presumptively good arguments beat presumptively bad ones, then that suggests to me that free speech is not good if presumptively bad arguments beat presumptively good ones. In such an environment, if you aren't free to make presumptively bad arguments, and by chance a presumptively bad argument is actually correct, you aren't free to reach the truth.
Two, any given freedom is little more than a truism if it is only being exercised in a way which no one would seek to restrict. No one would seek to restrict speech that is accurate, uncontroversial, and supportive of the status quo. I don't need freedom of speech to tell people that the Earth is round: it's accurate, it's not controversial, and the powers that be are not threatened by me telling people the Earth is round. It's great that I can't be arbitrarily silenced for saying that the Earth is round, but ultimately that's a very fringe benefit of freedom of speech, because even if it weren't codified in law, no one would actually try to prevent me from saying it.
The reason freedom of speech exists is to protect speech that is inaccurate, controversial, or not supportive of the status quo. It's to protect people like flat Earthers or anti-vaxxers, because, as mentioned above, at some point one of those "kooky" groups is going to be actually right about something meaningful and important, and if they don't have the right to participate in conversations about their subject of choice, we will fail to improve our understanding and may even make a critical mistake. The only way I could possibly justify restricting this type of speech is if I were completely confident that I had figured out essentially everything there was to figure out about the world, and I certainly do not, so I could not justify such restrictions.
When talking about Google/Facebook/Twitter etc. there may be some issue of bias...but in many cases it may be just a case of Hanlon's razor.
If various upper and middle level management hadn't repeatedly been caught on video talking about how they saw it as their mission to ensure that another populist right-wing candidate like Trump never gets elected, I could believe this. I'm inclined to apply Hanlon's razor to life as a general principle. Certainly I think the implementation of any censorship policy they undertake will be fraught with errors and unintended consequences--another reason not to implement a censorship policy in the first place, or at least to limit it sharply. But they openly talk about how they seek to curate the information in their services, and their upper management makes both their ideology and their zealotry very clear. It beggars belief, to me at least, to attribute their pervasive censorship of right-wing ideas to anything other than their stated aim to ensure that the next Clinton doesn't lose to the next Trump.
Many conservatives don't see the cognitive dissonance in fighting for "free speech" then cheering on the government instituting bias in employment and contracts for people who disagree with Israel's policies...which IS a direct attack on the first amendment. We are either for free speech, irrespective of whether we agree with the speech or not, or we are against it. We can't have it both ways.
100% agree. I probably loathe these types of people more than you do lol. The day these Israel-First clowns get their comeuppance and the right wing is run by people who actually care about America will be a great day for this country.
But yes, completely agree, there's a ton of hypocrisy among mainstream conservatives on free speech and Israel.
In short what I am trying to say is I believe few, if any, people truly believe in completely uncontrolled free speech.
I think so too, but at risk of losing the idea-driven spirit of this discussion, do you understand why I would be so concerned about the practical implementation of controlled speech?
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MajorMitchell
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Re: Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

#18 Post by MajorMitchell » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:08 am

The anti vaccination example is a good one. There's some really dangerous disinformation being disseminated by members of that group. I get annoyed with some of those persons in the anti vaccination who have​ zero recognised scientific qualifications etc etc think that their opinions are equally valid to opinions and factual information provided by eminently qualified and experienced scientists/medical professionals
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flash2015
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Re: Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

#19 Post by flash2015 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:25 pm

I haven't really had time to look into your whole comment yet...but let's start with this.
Carl Tuckerson wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:00 am
I'm not saying anything about Peterson or Shapiro... I haven't brought them up in this thread. They're certainly not oppressed. They make a lot of money for being strict gatekeepers of the right-wing end of polite society, and their most meaningful punches are to the right, not the left. If they ever become legitimately oppressed, then the totalitarian left has won an utter rout of a victory and this country is doomed.
I thought talking about Peterson and Shapiro was relevant because Flum mentioned them in his original post. Having listened to a lot of both, perhaps I missed the right shows, but I really don't see those meaningful punches. There are some moments of clarity when watching Shapiro, when he takes off the partisan hat for a little, but those few moments are short lived...and, at least from what I have seen, always effectively end with "yes, X is wrong but the LEFT are far worse!!!". When he does this he undercuts the impact of any real criticism he may or may not have been trying to make.

Shapiro sells mugs on his show which effectively say "I find enjoyment in making people I disagree with upset" (i.e. his "Leftist's Tears" mug)...which is a wacky and perverse sentiment to have. This is certainly not something I would want.

And again Peterson pretty much says anyone that disagrees with me is a cultural marxist. His theoretical "the left says this"/"the supremacists say that" discussions don't really make up for that.
I've merely commented on the nature of the subset of people Fluminator described in his OP, who seek to punish people merely for trying to engage with dissident right-wing thinkers and ideas. People like you would just as easily come under their line of fire at some point, even though you're clearly a normal progressive who generally holds the "right" opinions from their vantage point.
All I know of is that there may have been some people on Twitter who disagreed with Joe Rogan. Who is threatening to "punish" Joe Rogan? Did they threaten not to watch his podcast (that is their right - they probably weren't watching it anyway)? Or did they say they would protest at his house or threaten physical violence against him? Or something else? If there were such threats of physical harm, obviously I unconditionally say that is wrong...but I don't know of any evidence that this happened. If you have links, please let me know. Again, from my understanding, it was a few people on Twitter who disagreed with Joe. If that is all there is, whilst I disagree with those few people, I don't see much of a point spending much energy on it.
I do wish if you want rhetoric toned down that you would engage with what I am actually saying. If you're really decrying the excessive tribalism in politics then you should be criticizing the people Fluminator is describing. I utterly hate the way that I cannot discuss most issues with a lot of reasonably decent people because of that excessive tribalism.
But I didn't cause it. I was a classic treat-everyone-nice good guy who never wanted to wrong anybody, just wanted to live my life the way I thought was right and do right by everyone. THEY brought the fight to ME.
All I know, at best, is that some people may not have agreed with Joe Rogan on Twitter. If there was some more to it than that and bad things either happened to Joe or he was threatened with violence then obviously I would be against it. But I personally haven't heard of it. Again, if you have more information on it you can share, I am happy to read it.

You say you rail against tribalism and heated rhetoric...but then in the same message you effectively say "those that I disagree with are going to lead us to totalitarianism!!!". You don't see the cognitive dissonance there? It is hard for me to not be desensitized to this style of rhetoric when pretty much any policy that conservatives disagree with (including such policies such as universal health care and gun control, attempts to reduce the opportunity gap with women and minorities, even network neutrality) will apparently lead to totalitarianism. What am I or anyone else "allowed" to differ in opinion with conservatives on without secretly wanting to lead you all to the Gulag??

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Re: Is it okay to engage with the alt-right?

#20 Post by Carl Tuckerson » Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:18 pm

flash2015 wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:25 pm
You say you rail against tribalism and heated rhetoric...but then in the same message you effectively say "those that I disagree with are going to lead us to totalitarianism!!!". You don't see the cognitive dissonance there? It is hard for me to not be desensitized to this style of rhetoric when pretty much any policy that conservatives disagree with (including such policies such as universal health care and gun control, attempts to reduce the opportunity gap with women and minorities, even network neutrality) will apparently lead to totalitarianism. What am I or anyone else "allowed" to differ in opinion with conservatives on without secretly wanting to lead you all to the Gulag??
Things I have said:

+ A subset of leftists, including those who are the subject of the OP, do want to eliminate free speech for people with whom they disagree.
+ I don't consider you (or really anyone in this conversation, I think?) to be such people, hence I'm happy to discuss things with you.
+ There is potential for totalitarian application of well-intentioned policies that restrict some kinds of freedom, like the freedom of speech, so while I have no problem discussing them in the abstract, my natural inclination toward a real-world implementation of such policies is one of suspicion unless I think I can trust the enforcers of the policies.

Things I have not said:

+ All people who disagree with me are going to lead us to totalitarianism.
+ Universal healthcare will lead to totalitarianism.
+ Gun control will lead to totalitarianism.
+ Attempts to reduce the opportunity gap with women and minorities will lead to totalitarianism.
+ Network neutrality will lead to totalitarianism.
+ You want to secretly or otherwise lead me to the Gulag.

If all you've got for me is this unwritten set of rules for the conversation where you don't actually have to engage with what I'm saying because it vaguely looks like something you find silly that someone else has said, I'm not participating. I thought better of you.

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