Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

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Mr Man
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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by Mr Man » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:05 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:52 pm
Mr Man wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:35 pm
Or you could post in English.
Certainly!

"Entities are not to be multiplied without necessity"
Doesn’t make any sense to me. How does it relate to my question?

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:14 pm

Mr Man wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:05 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:52 pm
Mr Man wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:35 pm
Or you could post in English.
Certainly!

"Entities are not to be multiplied without necessity"
Doesn’t make any sense to me. How does it relate to my question?
Your question was why didn't I want a specific statement forbidding racist etc. content.

My answer is that there is no necessity to create such an entity.

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by Mr Man » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:20 pm

Ah okay.

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by Upeksha » Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:42 am

Well, I think that this thread demonstrates that we are all capable of having a collective think on these thorny issues, and if nothing else, that the situation is not at all black and white. It is difficult, complex and inherently contestable.

What this leads to or ought to lead to probably should always remain an open question.

I did not wish or intend to bring undue criticism upon the moderating team - they are doing a very difficult job for free. But I do think they have a responsibility to continually reflect and examine some of the issues raised here. In some cases, I think the opposite tendency has been expressed - a sense that the moral question is completely settled, and anyone who opposes it are themselves a moral problem.

I think it is worth examining that.

There has been explicit statements of the kind that people such as myself who object to and speak up about antisemitic content only do so on the basis of self-righteousness, in order to gain some kind of personal benefit (I wonder what on earth this might be!), have the intention only of shutting down discourses they don't like and are, in the final analysis "morally repugnant" for those reasons.

To say nothing of the bizarre claim that it is more morally repugnant to object to antisemitic content than to post it, what is most troubling about this kind of reasoning is that it denies the very thing it is fighting to preserve: namely, free speech.

Let me explain.

At the root of this particular debate is an epistemological issue: who is making true and valid claims and how do we decide (that truth and validity)?

Well, if someone posts content about Jews or Judaism which they think is fair, well founded and true, and someone else thinks it is unfair, unjust and false, then we have a dispute about the validity or truth of those claims, don't we?

If the person - in this case me - can only make the assertion "that is unfair, unjust and false" on the basis of "self-righteousness, gaining personal benefit and trying to shut down a discourse I don't like" it ascribes purely subjective (and unwholesome) motivations to my assertion, and flatly denies any epistemic validity to my position.

At the same time, it raises the epistemic validity of the other position to the level of truth or fact.

The implication is that there can never be an epistemologically coherent case of actual antisemitism - in every case, the agent who asserts it is psychologised, or thought to be proposing something entirely within the sphere of their self-interested motivations.

This is especially a problem when a moderator deploys this kind of (il)logic, because they are invested with the power to decide (truth and validity).

So that has bothered me a little.

But generally I think it has been a fruitful conversation, and I hope a balance may be struck which keeps everyone happy.

:anjali:

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:54 am

Greetings Upeksha,
Upeksha wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:42 am
There has been explicit statements of the kind that people such as myself who object to and speak up about antisemitic content only do so on the basis of self-righteousness, in order to gain some kind of personal benefit (I wonder what on earth this might be!), have the intention only of shutting down discourses they don't like and are, in the final analysis "morally repugnant" for those reasons.
That's a misrepresentation of what was said. To repeat (with bolding for emphasis)...
I find the practice of levelling false (or at least "spurious") morally-loaded accusations against others, for the personal benefit of the accuser, to be a repugnant practice.
For example...

To have a pop at someone as being "fat", "short", "old", "ugly" etc. is to engage in superificial ad-hominem criticism.

However, to call someone "racist", "anti-semitic", "misogynist", "Islamophobe", "xenophobe", "sexist", "homophobic" etc. is to morally impugn their character.

To hurl one of these identity-based buzzwords at another is indeed quite an allegation and goes beyond mere insult.

When that is done on false or spurious grounds for personal advantage, it is indeed a "morally repugnant" action and indefensible as Right Speech (on the grounds of falsity).

Thus, my comment says nothing whatsoever about if and when it is done on legitimate grounds. Hence, why your misrepresentation of my words needed to be corrected.

It is unfortunate that activists throw such identity-based buzzwords and moral accusations around like candy, but that's not something that can be laid at the feet of current Dhamma Wheel staff. To the contrary, we make a conscious effort not to reward (and thus, not provide incentive for) such grievance mongering, and concomitant social dynamics such as hugboxes, the progressive stack or The Oppression Olympics, which can and do occur when such morally repugnant grievance-mongering is pandered to and rewarded.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:23 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:54 am
However, to call someone "racist", "anti-semitic", "misogynist", "sexist", "homophobic" etc. is to morally impugn their character.

To hurl one of these identity-based buzzwords at another is indeed quite an allegation and goes beyond mere insult.

I agree. There are many repugnant identity-based buzzwords that, in my opinion, should not be hurled at members. In addition to the above, I would add "PC", "SJW", "whinger", and various other terms of derision.

Of course, there are times when some of those terms might be legitimately used to describe public figures or ideas. I don't think many would object to terms like "anti-semitic" being used to describe Adolf Hitler. And arguing (politely) that a certain law is pandering to "PC" or "SJW" ideas is perfectly fine with me.

It has been interesting following this conversation with the experience of leading some of the effortst that my organisation is going though to improve our "organisational culture". It is easy to get agreement that enhancing affiliative behaviour, and minimising adversarial and avoidance behaviour would make our workplace more pleasent and more efficient. However, it is hard to get people to recognise that the problem is from within, not from without. The problem is always somewhere else: "If only management/finance/HR/facilities-management would get themselves sorted out...".

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:26 am

Greetings,
mikenz66 wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:23 am
I agree. There are many repugnant identity-based buzzwords that, in my opinion, should not be hurled at members. In addition to the above, I would add "PC", "SJW", "whinger", and various other terms of derision.
On a personal level you can have whatever perspective you like, Mike.

Just remember in this context the Rules for the "News, Current Events & Politics" forum (again, with bolding for emphasis)
1. Groups and classifications (e.g. Left, Right, Centre, Alt-right, Alt-lite, Alt-left, SJW, Progressive, Regressive-Left, Conservative, Identity Politics, Critical Race Theory, Liberal, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Globalism, Isolationism, Nationalism, White Nationalism, Communism, Socialism, Nazism, Anarchism, Authoritarianism, Totalitarianism, Third-Wave Feminism, Tea Party, Tory, Populism, Islamism / Sharia Law, Fascism, Anti-Fa, Black Lives Matter, KKK...) may serve as a proxy or banner for a particular world-view or ideology, and can be critiqued without any problem, although preferably with some logic and reason behind that criticism – or even better, critique based upon principles found in the Dhamma.
From my perspective, Rule 2 of that section provides adequate coverage for the concerns you raise...
2. Whilst you may critique ideas, you may not attack or smear members who ascribe to such views, or who are perceived by you (rightly or wrongly) to be holders of those views.
As you can see, the "person" and the "idea" are clearly differentiated in the rules of the News section, and the forum-wide Terms of Service. This is a deliberate measure, which if held to, both fosters appropriate behaviours, and enables a free marketplace of ideas.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:30 am

Yes, I am in complete agreement.

Calling a member "racist" or "PC" is an insult, as you said. Questioning their ideas is fair game.

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:38 am

Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:30 am
Calling a member "racist" or "PC" is an insult, as you said.
Unlike called someone a "racist", calling someone PC is not necessarily "an insult", nor is it necessarily "morally impugning their character".

As such, if anything, it rightly belongs in Section 1 of the News TOS set of "Groups and classifications" that "may serve as a proxy or banner for a particular world-view or ideology".

Since it's a descriptor which does regularly come up in conversation, I'll add it to the list of examples now...

:thanks:
mikenz66 wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:30 am
Questioning their ideas is fair game.
Absolutely... however it wouldn't be able to occur on a level playing field if we gratuitously censored links etc. in the way that certain people have proposed throughout this topic.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:23 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:38 am
Greetings Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:30 am
Calling a member "racist" or "PC" is an insult, as you said.
Unlike called someone a "racist", calling someone PC is not necessarily "an insult", nor is it necessarily "morally impugning their character".
Of course, it depends on how it is used. However, terms like PC and SJW are certainly used in some circumstances as insults.

Continuing from my previous post about "culture", I think that if members took the Rules for the "News, Current Events & Politics" Forum:
2. Whilst you may critique ideas, you may not attack or smear members who ascribe to such views, or who are perceived by you (rightly or wrongly) to be holders of those views. This includes any infantile or churlish name-calling, such as calling members you disagree with "silly", "idiots", "stupid" etc.
more seriously, then discussions would be much more productive. There are not a lot of flagrant violations of this point, but many posts seem to have this as a subtext (perhaps not deliberately).

:heart:
Mike

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:39 am

Greetings Mike,

On that point, you and other moderators are welcome to moderate News topics in line with those standards, to ensure they're upheld.

Similarly, members may report posts that they feel do not comply with those standards.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by Upeksha » Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:44 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:54 am
Greetings Upeksha,
Upeksha wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:42 am
There has been explicit statements of the kind that people such as myself who object to and speak up about antisemitic content only do so on the basis of self-righteousness, in order to gain some kind of personal benefit (I wonder what on earth this might be!), have the intention only of shutting down discourses they don't like and are, in the final analysis "morally repugnant" for those reasons.
That's a misrepresentation of what was said. To repeat (with bolding for emphasis)...
I find the practice of levelling false (or at least "spurious") morally-loaded accusations against others, for the personal benefit of the accuser, to be a repugnant practice.
For example...

To have a pop at someone as being "fat", "short", "old", "ugly" etc. is to engage in superificial ad-hominem criticism.

However, to call someone "racist", "anti-semitic", "misogynist", "Islamophobe", "xenophobe", "sexist", "homophobic" etc. is to morally impugn their character.

To hurl one of these identity-based buzzwords at another is indeed quite an allegation and goes beyond mere insult.

When that is done on false or spurious grounds for personal advantage, it is indeed a "morally repugnant" action and indefensible as Right Speech (on the grounds of falsity).

Thus, my comment says nothing whatsoever about if and when it is done on legitimate grounds. Hence, why your misrepresentation of my words needed to be corrected.

It is unfortunate that activists throw such identity-based buzzwords and moral accusations around like candy, but that's not something that can be laid at the feet of current Dhamma Wheel staff. To the contrary, we make a conscious effort not to reward (and thus, not provide incentive for) such grievance mongering, and concomitant social dynamics such as hugboxes, the progressive stack or The Oppression Olympics, which can and do occur when such morally repugnant grievance-mongering is pandered to and rewarded.

Metta,
Paul. :)
Well then, does it follow that you agree that there are indeed legitimate grounds for the claims of antisemitism in this thread?

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by Modus.Ponens » Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:53 am

Upeksha wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:42 am
Well, I think that this thread demonstrates that we are all capable of having a collective think on these thorny issues, and if nothing else, that the situation is not at all black and white. It is difficult, complex and inherently contestable.

What this leads to or ought to lead to probably should always remain an open question.

I did not wish or intend to bring undue criticism upon the moderating team - they are doing a very difficult job for free. But I do think they have a responsibility to continually reflect and examine some of the issues raised here. In some cases, I think the opposite tendency has been expressed - a sense that the moral question is completely settled, and anyone who opposes it are themselves a moral problem.

I think it is worth examining that.

There has been explicit statements of the kind that people such as myself who object to and speak up about antisemitic content only do so on the basis of self-righteousness, in order to gain some kind of personal benefit (I wonder what on earth this might be!), have the intention only of shutting down discourses they don't like and are, in the final analysis "morally repugnant" for those reasons.

To say nothing of the bizarre claim that it is more morally repugnant to object to antisemitic content than to post it, what is most troubling about this kind of reasoning is that it denies the very thing it is fighting to preserve: namely, free speech.

Let me explain.

At the root of this particular debate is an epistemological issue: who is making true and valid claims and how do we decide (that truth and validity)?

Well, if someone posts content about Jews or Judaism which they think is fair, well founded and true, and someone else thinks it is unfair, unjust and false, then we have a dispute about the validity or truth of those claims, don't we?

If the person - in this case me - can only make the assertion "that is unfair, unjust and false" on the basis of "self-righteousness, gaining personal benefit and trying to shut down a discourse I don't like" it ascribes purely subjective (and unwholesome) motivations to my assertion, and flatly denies any epistemic validity to my position.

At the same time, it raises the epistemic validity of the other position to the level of truth or fact.

The implication is that there can never be an epistemologically coherent case of actual antisemitism - in every case, the agent who asserts it is psychologised, or thought to be proposing something entirely within the sphere of their self-interested motivations.

This is especially a problem when a moderator deploys this kind of (il)logic, because they are invested with the power to decide (truth and validity).

So that has bothered me a little.

But generally I think it has been a fruitful conversation, and I hope a balance may be struck which keeps everyone happy.

:anjali:
Hello, Upekkha.

I just want to add something because you bring up an important point. The people who say that something is racist, or anti semitic, etc, are not necessarily doing so just because of how they feel. They may have all the right answers and not have the patience to reply, or they might not want to sink to their opponent's level. They might feel that what is being said is so morally repugnant that it is not worth the time and energy to dwell on that kind of filth.

The problem is that it has become acceptable in recent years in our societies to throw these insults as a political strategy to silence opponents. And since it is so often a false accusation, it is a very dirty political strategy. And the people who are not racists, but have been following this political freak show closely, have a very short fuse for this kind of behaviour.

To make matters worse, many of the self righteous people throwing these kinds of insults around, without basis for doing so, do not even know what they are opposing. It's the classic situation that John Stuart Mill described "He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion."

So, what used to be a good shortcut to assess someone's character (having the reputation of being an "ist" or "phobic" of some kind), has become, at best, irrelevant.

So, I understand those who are working honestly under the paradigm that existed before this new political pest arose, or do not want, at all, to engage in these kinds of arguments. But my position is that we should bring the better arguments to the table. Not doing so is not necessarily the same as not knowing the counter arguments or just merely reacting emotionally.

Añjali
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Apr 11, 2018 3:19 am

Greetings Upeksha,
Upeksha wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:44 am
Well then, does it follow that you agree that there are indeed legitimate grounds for the claims of antisemitism in this thread?
Not having personally investigated the specific instances referenced in this topic, nor being well-versed in Jewish history, I cannot say either way.

To clarify, although I do some moderator work when I have the time to do so, the administrator role (which is my primary focus) is more about the structures, the processes, the policies, the guiding principles, and associated oversight and governance etc. required to keep this forum fair, on track, and aligned to its objectives. Therefore, that is generally the position I am coming from when I am discussing matters relating to this forum, unless I am obviously speaking about specific instances.

That said, I would be very cautious to rush to judgement that something is anti-semitic, for reasons well espoused here by Modus.Ponens and here by DooDoot.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Free speech, mere offense, direct harm & antisemitism

Post by binocular » Wed Apr 11, 2018 3:39 am

Upeksha wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:42 am
At the root of this particular debate is an epistemological issue: who is making true and valid claims and how do we decide (that truth and validity)?
Exactly.

Truth and falsity are usually determined by the one who holds more power: true is what the person in position of greater power says that is true; and false is what the person in position of greater power says that is false.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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