View Poll Results: Would you sign an Open Letter without knowing of other signees?

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  1. #1
    Legendary! Milchshake's Avatar
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    A Letter on Justice and Open Debate VS Immunity from Criticism

    Lettergate
    Surprised we havent had a bad faith take on this yet.
    Basically Harper's magazine sends a form letter around. Titled, "A Letter on Justice and Open Debate".
    It was signed by people from different factions of online discourse, and now there's panic and confusion over whether they knew each other would be on it.
    Looks like people that with very large platforms, are mad when people start criticizing them. Or pointing out, that they have bad hot-takes on twitter.

    This is the issue that unified Noam Chomsky, Bari Weiss, and JK Rowling.




    An interesting case study in how much the meaning of a document can shift when you consider the signatories.
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  2. #2
    Nice of Harper’s to publish the Epstein flight logs.
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  3. #3
    I Don't Work Here Endus's Avatar
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    Take this particular bit, which I think gets at the utterly rotten core of the argument;

    But this needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity.
    So, a few pretty fundamental points on this;

    First, on "toleration of differences". This has never extended to harmful beliefs or actions. We don't "tolerate" the guy who thinks it's okay if he beats his wife unconscious for talking back to him. We don't "tolerate" terrorists who kill innocents in pursuit of their ideology. We don't "tolerate" Nazis. Once you acknowledge that we shouldn't tolerate these kinds of people and their beliefs and actions, you've admitted that there are "differences" that absolutely should not, indeed must not, be tolerated. The call for tolerance of difference was never a call for universal tolerance; it was always only ever limited to those differences which do not promote injustice. And I use "injustice" rather than "harm" in the acknowledgement that some "harm" may be "justice"; I think we're all in agreement that a security guard shooting a school shooter mid-spree is acting heroically, not unjustly.

    Second, on "ideological conformity". Fuck off. There is no expectation of any such thing among those with socially liberal views. I'm a liberal market socialist, I've been identifying as such here since like 2014 at least. Know how many socially liberal people have attacked my for those views? Basically none. Even though they don't share them; we might agree on some points, but never all. Instead, what you see happening is that you get TERFs like Rowling making statements that are explicitly and literally bringing harm to transgender people in the UK, where her words are held up in political proceedings to back the legislation that works against transgender rights. She gets shat on for that because she is pushing injustice, and pushing harm on innocent people. We should push back against that. That's how you act justly. Standing by and allowing injustice and abuse to continue is a shitty attitude, pushed by shitty people, who don't have the wherewithal to take their licks for saying truly egregious things in a public forum. They can dish it out, but they have no capacity to take it in response. And so, they cry out for "decorum" and "tolerance", when they have no respect for those things in any way whatsoever. They're just hoping they can confuse you enough into mistaking their intent.

    Here's the secret. When someone says "You're a fucking racist/transphobe/sexist bigot if you're going to say something like that and mean it, jesus christ, get help you sick fuck", that is criticism. It is debate. It lacks decorum. It is impolite. But it is criticism.

    And if people don't want to publish your book/employ you in your current position/continue to do business with you as a result of your public positions, maybe you should've thought a bit harder before making those statements. Would you wish for the same olive branch to be extended to a colleague who insisted on wearing a red swastika armband in their daily work? The office lecher who insists on sexually harassing underlings? That's the same thing. Attitudes which are harmful and abusive and won't be tolerated. You're in the position of that old lecher who's angry at these sexual harassment laws meaning he's getting punished for a little harmless grab-ass with the office girls. You were never in the right. Society's just no longer looking the other way, and they're finally holding you to account for the harm you choose to do.

    The above may not apply to everyone on that list, but it certainly applies to some, at least.

  4. #4
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    I think one should consider that famous people may sign such open letters only because they can then be seen having signed it without truly believing what they sign

    In that the letter does take some meaning (or mostly is tainted) by token signatories

    Not that there is anything obviously false with the letter itself (or anything new to it for that matter) that i could see with a quick scan

    I do however think it is unwise to publicly commit to any opinion that can be traced back to you

    Because some day that might cost you your job, does not matter what that opinon is, shifting currents and all means eventually whatever you stated will fall out of favor

  5. #5
    I Don't Work Here Endus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xarkan View Post
    I do however think it is unwise to publicly commit to any opinion that can be traced back to you

    Because some day that might cost you your job, does not matter what that opinon is, shifting currents and all means eventually whatever you stated will fall out of favor
    Really?

    Do you think I should hold back on opinions like "pizza is a tasty meal", or "I like kittens, but puppies are neat too"?

    Or is the supposed "issue" that people are able to concretely assess that some "opinions" are abusive and harmful, and react accordingly?

  6. #6
    Scarab Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by Endus View Post
    Really?

    Do you think I should hold back on opinions like "pizza is a tasty meal", or "I like kittens, but puppies are neat too"?

    Or is the supposed "issue" that people are able to concretely assess that some "opinions" are abusive and harmful, and react accordingly?
    I think you should consider that some conservatives for example on this forum have made it clear what loss of rights and what consequences for example socialists should suffer

  7. #7
    I Don't Work Here Endus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xarkan View Post
    I think you should consider that some conservatives for example on this forum have made it clear what loss of rights and what consequences for example socialists should suffer
    Okay, two separate points.

    First, I was speaking about the social opprobrium against harmful and abusive opinions, which is a move that is just and fair.

    Your example is one of injustice, of authoritarian suppression of dissenting opinions.

    You can't really compare justice to injustice and pretend they're totes the same thing. I was calling for no authoritarian crackdown. Just that people can, like, feel free to think you're an abusive ding-dong for saying abusive ding-dong things. And if they're your boss, that might mean firing you. And to be clear; these are things that most professional codes of ethics concretely lay out and demand that members do not do, at risk of losing their membership in the field and licence to practice. Doctors, lawyers, architects, planners, nurses, all of 'em. This isn't a subjective thing.

    Second; in what world do you think I am in any way worried about my views coming to light? None of this is a secret I only expose on the Internet. I've never had any social backlash for any of it. I couldn't care less what some dingbats wish they could do to me if they only had the real power in society. They don't. Fuck 'em.

  8. #8
    The Insane PC2's Avatar
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    For me the only speech that I want silenced is the speech that relates to causing violence. Trying to control everything else seems like a waste of time. /shrug
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by PC2 View Post
    For me the only speech that I want silenced is the speech that relates to causing violence. Trying to control everything else seems like a waste of time. /shrug
    To be fair, that can be interpreted quite broadly, if one was inclined to do so.
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  10. #10
    Banned Thee ANCOM's Avatar
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    the problem is none of these people seem to understand that censorship isn't a crime, much less when done so by private entities.

    don't get me wrong, I don't like how private businesses are the grand arbitors of our public discourse, but am I going to complain about them shit canning people I don't like? nope. plus petitions are dumb and lame.

  11. #11
    I once believed that airing shitty ideas, letting them rot in the open, was the best way to defeat these ideas. I have since changed my mind, and I'm no longer sure it's a good idea to let these ideas roam free. People with shitty ideas tend to attract more people with shitty ideas, not people that refute shitty ideas - "echochambers" on various sites popup like Facebook and the like, where the views are not challenged and are instead growing. The rise of populist demagoguery in the last decade or so is not a coincidence I think, but rather an effect of this, of social media being able to feed these ideas on an unprecedented level.

    Now social media, and other private companies, are starting to take some responsibility. They're using their right to choose who they associate with, an integral freedom in battling people with shitty ideas. People protest, they claim they're being censored, they feel entitled to the megaphone of a private entity. We've seen some irony here with calls for nationalization of social media, like communists - except these people tend to identify themselves as anything but that.

    I think that in order to beat intolerance we must be intolerant of it. If we let it grow and fester it'll only grow stronger, as civil and reasoned debate rarely can put a stop to ideas with people behind them that are blind to it.
    "In order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance." Paradox of tolerance

  12. #12
    I think the idea that you shouldn't express any opinion on the basis that someone you don't like and or agree with might also hold that opinion is one of the great failings of public debate. Signing a letter is a step beyond this obviously but having your opinion attacked because the woman who wrote a bunch of pooping wizard books agrees with it and not the content of the opinion is emblematic of the issue the letter is supposedly trying to address.

    As to the actual content of the letter, on the surface, it seems to be pretty inoffensive and largely unobjectionable piece. I think if you read between the lines a little you'll find the words don't match up with the intent. I'd say more than anything it's generally a *Worry Intensifies* from the billionaire class.
    Last edited by Saltysquidoon; 2020-07-08 at 11:39 AM.

  13. #13
    I never sign anything more than what's strictly necessary, especially not stuff that's gonna get public.

    Quote Originally Posted by Endus View Post
    Second, on "ideological conformity". Fuck off. There is no expectation of any such thing among those with socially liberal views. I'm a liberal market socialist, I've been identifying as such here since like 2014 at least. Know how many socially liberal people have attacked my for those views? Basically none.
    That's interesting and, according to my experience, very wrong, because despite identifying as a right-winger, my views on social matters are very progressive - in other words, I have socially liberal views, in the American acceptation of the term. Know how many self-styled socially liberal people have went out of their way and called me anywhere from a fascist to a homophobe to a Nazi and whatnot? Throngs. Despite me agreeing with them on many, and in some cases all points pertaining to a variety of social issues.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adolecent View Post
    I'm getting infracted by an American moderator on an American topic promoting/advocating weapons on a childrens forum, what else to expect on an American forum. I'm done here and i'm going to leave you one thing to remember:
    [extremely graphic picture of dead children]
    Hope you sleep well. With the lack of empathy the majority of you show i guess that won't be a problem. BB

  14. #14
    It seems to me that there's a desire to criminalize simply having a difference of opinion.

  15. #15
    Cancel culture is an unsustainable form of activism imo, but to complain about it in order to make room for your own more edgy activism is equally stupid if not more so and gets no sympathy from me.

  16. #16
    The Lightbringer GreenGoldSharpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dezerte View Post
    I think that in order to beat intolerance we must be intolerant of it. If we let it grow and fester it'll only grow stronger, as civil and reasoned debate rarely can put a stop to ideas with people behind them that are blind to it.

    The problem here is that this doesn't work on social media except in controlled environments. You're very, very likely to get swarmed, and someone with a lot of followers can easily cherry pick responses, retweet, disagree, and turn their followers use on you. Rowling has done that, and you then have this power dynamic where someone with 14 million followers is retweeting someone with 75 and that person finds their account functionally unusable for the duration of the swarm. That's not even getting into the context of what people would be tweeting at them, either.

    Now, a platform like Twitter could easily create infrastructure to prevent exactly this from happening, but a whole lot of people are either invested in free speech absolutism (and disregard freedom of association) or are making a lot of money / gaining a lot of influence on the platform. So, unlikely.

    That said, online power is often very limited. The vast majority of people don't use twitter, and a lot of people on Facebook aren't trading weird ass Boomer memes. I'll just use the LGBTQ community here in the US again as an example. Recently, the Trump administration announced they were going to allow doctors to refuse treatment to the community, which was a policy loss. What happened in the subsequent weeks, however, was a demonstration on how weak their actual position is. First, we had the Bostock case that has determined that "sex" in federal employment law covers gay and trans people. The ruling is very, very likely to have a domino effect and all instances of sex protection (like in, say, discrimination by refusal to treat) are going to be ruled Unconstitutional. Likewise, I'm from Illinois, and within a few weeks the governor released a statement reinforcing a number of legislative initiatives that have been passed that protects LGBTQ folks from discrimination. So, because insurance mandates, physician licensure, and enhanced protections are all handled by the state and not the federal government the governor's statement has teeth and legal precedence. The feds can establish a baseline, but the state can build beyond that foundation.

    Anyway, the point of all of that is to demonstrate that political power is very much still a thing, and, increasingly it's why the left is winning the so-called culture war. While the LGBTQ community writes legislation and BLM is in the streets the right has essentially left the legislative space in favor of the internet. Most of what their followers consume is "Got'cha" media and laughing at "triggering the libs." Outside of political organizations calling for libertarian economic policy the only real ground left is the religious right, and they lost badly in the last SCOTUS session despite getting two optimal picks for that very court. That's actually, really, really bad for them since they're bleeding young people and thus future influence already.

    My point being is that I don't think social media has the power people assume, and I'm particularly glad that the right chose it as their platform over doing real work. Between Trump and this folly they're, for now, a spent force.

    Also, as an aside, a lot of underlying context of this letter is that a whole lot of these people are fairly elite. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's also telling. I saw a younger journalist mention that getting paid a couple of grand for an article in 2000 netted you a few hundred bucks in 2010 and is now done by unpaid interns in 2020. If you look into the news organization that published the letter they only offer unpaid internships. In the most expensive city in the country. So, you end up with trust funders and rich folks nabbing all entry points into the profession. This is definitely part of the ruffled feathers response to the letter.

  17. #17
    Void Lord Felya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thelxi View Post
    Cancel culture is an unsustainable form of activism imo, but to complain about it in order to make room for your own more edgy activism is equally stupid if not more so and gets no sympathy from me.
    I think it’s not realizing the effect of media that is perceived as banned. When I noticed Bugs Bunny episodes skipping some numbers on HBO app, it made me want to see what they are, more than the background noise they were intended to be.

    Edit: Too many apps...
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  18. #18
    Legendary! Milchshake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenGoldSharpie View Post
    Also, as an aside, a lot of underlying context of this letter is that a whole lot of these people are fairly elite. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's also telling. I saw a younger journalist mention that getting paid a couple of grand for an article in 2000 netted you a few hundred bucks in 2010 and is now done by unpaid interns in 2020. If you look into the news organization that published the letter they only offer unpaid internships. In the most expensive city in the country. So, you end up with trust funders and rich folks nabbing all entry points into the profession. This is definitely part of the ruffled feathers response to the letter.
    This is a really important insight. Which deserves it's own thread. It answers why so many of the "thought leaders" of the new left are wealthy fuckoos.
    They also colonized podcasting and youtube in a similar manner.

    The funny thing about these upper-middle class kids. They're aspirational in the worst way.
    They all saw themselves getting to the next class level.... but children of even wealthier people beat them to it. Instead of blaming wealthier people, they whinge about immigrants or queer folk.

    All these IT bros fall into the alt-right for the same reason. They blame feminists for them not having a billion dollar startup. They never understand that Gates, Zuckerberg, Musk all came from wealthier families. Not every college drop-out gets a 100k to start a business ... or a podcast.
    Welcome to GEN-OT, have a seat, we'll introduce you to the 23-year-old who will lecture you about how Democrats didn't try hard enough to improve the ACA, and once that's all set up you'll be assigned a socialist who supported Ron Paul up to 2015 to harass you forever.
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  19. #19
    I Don't Work Here Endus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coolthulhu View Post
    That's interesting and, according to my experience, very wrong, because despite identifying as a right-winger, my views on social matters are very progressive - in other words, I have socially liberal views, in the American acceptation of the term. Know how many self-styled socially liberal people have went out of their way and called me anywhere from a fascist to a homophobe to a Nazi and whatnot? Throngs. Despite me agreeing with them on many, and in some cases all points pertaining to a variety of social issues.
    Were you being accused of such because of your socially liberal (for a right-winger) views? Or because of other views, or because that liberalism has limits and meant you were actually arguing for less racism, not no racism (to pick an example)?

    Because I'm not expecting that you were getting blasted for things you agreed with people over. But because that agreement had limits. So you were labelled according to those limits.

    Quote Originally Posted by GreenGoldSharpie View Post
    Also, as an aside, a lot of underlying context of this letter is that a whole lot of these people are fairly elite. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's also telling. I saw a younger journalist mention that getting paid a couple of grand for an article in 2000 netted you a few hundred bucks in 2010 and is now done by unpaid interns in 2020. If you look into the news organization that published the letter they only offer unpaid internships. In the most expensive city in the country. So, you end up with trust funders and rich folks nabbing all entry points into the profession. This is definitely part of the ruffled feathers response to the letter.
    You end up with people like J. K. Rowling (who signed this) effectively complaining that it's unfair that people start pointing to all the racist and sexist and fascist horseshit in Harry Potter that people overlooked before she decided to come out as an outspoken, abusive TERF in public. Now that she has, well, that puts her work in a different light.

    The up-and-comer never takes the chance at this kind of thing, for the same reason that they'd never have hit "reply all" on an e-mail back in the day, containing the same information. Because the issue isn't actually that there's been any appreciable change in how employers respond to employee public conduct. It's that the wealthy garner millions of followers on social media, and that social media is an equalizing force to a large extent, and they now have to deal with the millions of angry voices of those they've cheesed off. And how those millions wield their collective value, in boycotting and the like. How dare the poors collaborate and challenge their wealth, basically. That's the complaint.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Coolthulhu View Post
    That's interesting and, according to my experience, very wrong, because despite identifying as a right-winger, my views on social matters are very progressive - in other words, I have socially liberal views, in the American acceptation of the term. Know how many self-styled socially liberal people have went out of their way and called me anywhere from a fascist to a homophobe to a Nazi and whatnot? Throngs. Despite me agreeing with them on many, and in some cases all points pertaining to a variety of social issues.
    You're like most people then, in that you're both left and right.
    Some points "we" will agree on...and that's where a dialogue can be established. We can talk without spitting on each other.
    The few radicals that have gone off the deep end would prefer your silence.
    This plays into the 1% rule in that those participating represent a tiny loud-mouthed visible minority and the silent majority dismissing them outright.

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