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#141- Is #Me Too Going Too Far? A Conversation with Rebecca Traister

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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05 November 2018 08:22
 

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Rebecca Traister about her new book Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger.

#141- Is #Me Too Going Too Far? A Conversation with Rebecca Traister


This thread is for listeners’ comments.

 
 
LadyJane
 
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LadyJane
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05 November 2018 10:19
 

Amen, Sister.  #FuckinA

 
 
John V. Linton
 
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John V. Linton
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05 November 2018 12:38
 

Harris lets Traister walk all over him with her hysterically bad arguments.  She is frightening.  Utterly terrifying.

He takes the worst examples (Roseanne Barr, Weinstein) instead of pursuing the Everyman fear of this nonsense of one million : one person.

Traister is absurd that if you’re not criminally liable, there is no real concern here.  She is not even coherent on her own terms.  She’ll pull back periodically and grant how “nuts” she is, then fall back into this nonsense about Damon abusing his “powerful man” status to make a commonsense point.  Why on earth are Damon’s measured words an attack on all victims of sexual assault?  Why on earth is his careful phrasing meant to shred the entire me2 movement?

Traister is reprehensible about the Shitty Media Men List, saying she was mainly worried how it could backfire against the women authors (not any potentially innocent men listed, because there is no such thing as an innocent man).  Her lack of a concern for the mere possibility of innocents accused displays the mind of a true fanatic.  (No doubt she pays lip service to this concern during one of her “feelings” in her book.)  There is no effort to “split the difference”, even 80/20, on the question of fighting sexual assault but also preserving due process.

Traister goes on about how she wrote in her book about her contrary feelings on various questions, as if somehow her self-contradictory thoughts and moods (which all adults have) introduce “nuance”.  They do not, because Traister does not bother to organize or synthesize her own thoughts, but only flows with each passing mood, always indicting men, regardless of evidence, but otherwise incoherent except for her mood.

Why the heck did Harris spend the whole podcast on Matt Damon instead of on the average joe?  Why on earth does Harris not focus the mind on the average citizen’s fear of the mob?

Traister defines a mob as a group of people that could never initially be animated by a moral premise.  That’s not the case.  She has no real understanding of what a mob is.  It is in fact an inflation of the thirst for justice, often starting with a real-world legitimate justice concern.

Harris then stumbles into Trump (and immigration?).  It’s like he has to constantly touch third rails in front of someone who herself is clearly not fully coherent, instead of picking workaday, quotidian examples that would refute her from their boring example of the common person.  He seems incapable of understanding he has to bring down the voltage when interviewing someone like Traister.

Sometimes one suspects Sam of such hard-left sympathies and prior programming that he has to constantly self-sabotage in the presence of someone like Traiser, tripping over absurd straw men of the real concerns of reasonable people.

Whatever Jordan Peterson’s flaws in mental precision versus Harris, Peterson never would have stood for this nonsense; Peterson (like Paglia) would have shredded such nonsense right from the start.  That puts them a notch above/beyond Harris, who stumbles in trying to face down PC even as he is quietly tempted still to virtue-signal despite her absurd emotionalism.

The game is roughly for Traiser to constantly act as if a) sexual assault = b) criticizing me2 but then to c) periodically step back and say that’s absurd, that’s not at all what she’s saying, she’s had contrary thoughts on it don’t you know.  Then back to the emotional conflation of a) and b) again…  Wash rinse repeat, ad infinitum.

[ Edited: 05 November 2018 13:11 by John V. Linton]
 
SamStone
 
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05 November 2018 14:30
 

I thought it interesting that, in a long conversation about the Kavanaugh hearing, there was not a single question of the evidence against him, due process, whether a woman’s accusation alone without any corroborating evidence should result in the destruction of someone’s career,  or anything else that was actually what the hearing was about.

Instead, her entire focus (and Sam’s, unfortunately) was on tactics.  The women who screamed at Jeff Flake in an elevator were evaluated on whether or not the tactic worked - not whether it was obnoxious behaviour.  Kavanaugh’s outburst was debated only in tactical terms - the assumption being that his anger was clearly a tactic, because there could not be any other reason for it.  You know, other than that if he was innocent he just might be angry about the fact that what should have been the most rewarding moment of his career was turned instead into a permanent black mark on his character.  If that had been me, I would have been plenty mad as well.

As for Bill Clinton… Boy, it’s sure easy to throw him under the bus now that he is no longer of any use to the progressive side.  The point is that during the period where he was useful to the left, the left turned a blind eye to everything he was doing.  You can’t escape that by now admitting he’s a horrible person - when he can no longer do things for you.

It’s clear that her entire worldview is the full hard-left belief that everything around us is determined by organized power structures, and that people should be judged by the power group they are most closely associated with by gender or skin color.  It’s a gross, twisted view of how the world works.  There is no doubt that some people have power over others, and even some groups have more power than others in certain contexts in aggregate.  However,  to go from that to pre-judging any individual based on the group their skin color or gender places them in is the very definition of bigotry.  Too bad she can’t see just how racial, sexist and bigoted her ideas are.

There is only one moral way to treat the people around you - as individuals.  Judge them on their own behavior, their own knowledge, work ethic, etc.  The minute you find yourself putting a stranger into a pre-conceived ‘box’ of any sort,  you are guilty of bigotry.

 
nonverbal
 
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05 November 2018 15:02
 
SamStone - 05 November 2018 02:30 PM

. . .

It’s clear that her entire worldview is the full hard-left belief that everything around us is determined by organized power structures, and that people should be judged by the power group they are most closely associated with by gender or skin color.  It’s a gross, twisted view of how the world works.  There is no doubt that some people have power over others, and even some groups have more power than others in certain contexts in aggregate.  However,  to go from that to pre-judging any individual based on the group their skin color or gender places them in is the very definition of bigotry.  Too bad she can’t see just how racial, sexist and bigoted her ideas are.

There is only one moral way to treat the people around you - as individuals.  Judge them on their own behavior, their own knowledge, work ethic, etc.  The minute you find yourself putting a stranger into a pre-conceived ‘box’ of any sort,  you are guilty of bigotry.

I agree with your stance as being the best-informed and perhaps most refined, but Traister is apparently in combat mode, and rightfully so. Yes, it’s truly a shame to see human beings grouped in meaningful ways by visual traits or gender. But her battle seems to require a certain amount of it in order for her movement to gain some momentum, wouldn’t you say? Lots of historical wrongs to be righted, in my opinion.

 

 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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05 November 2018 15:04
 

I don’t know, Mr. Linton.  What hysterically bad arguments?  And how on earth is she frightening?  A little goofy, perhaps, if her brief allusions to that defunct leftist social theory are reliable (and maybe they are not).  But hardly anything to get excited about, either for or against.  At least as far as I could tell.

In any case, she did make some good points, most of which I think should have assuaged Harris’ concerns.  The way she describes the sexist joke situation, for instance—that it’s not sexual violence (the hyperventilating of the lost-left) but still a landmine with a prospective cost—sure makes a lot of sense to me.  And as for the rest of the ones she made, I didn’t see her walking all over Harris at all, or really even saying anything all that radical.  Just pretty common sense stuff (again, absent the allusions to the defunct social theory).  In fact, my biggest complaint is that neither one of them delved into the scope and substance of these issues; that the whole conversation was a rather shallow exchange over the obvious, with neither achieving any depth or scope, in my opinion. It was like both were too afraid to do anything but scratch the surface for fear of giving offense.  More like an hour an forty minutes of mind-numbing tedium (for which I stand under potential correction, because I gave up listening at 1:15).

It may be that this reiteration of the obvious is necessary given the noise over this issue.  I don’t know because I am not privy to that noise, or privy to where it is coming from.  But that said, it seems to me that most people aren’t confused over the things Harris worries confusion might be overtaking, hence most people don’t need Traister’s clarifications and reassurances over those so-called confusions.  It might just be that this podcast exemplifies how much we need a conversation over the prevalence of harassment and discrimination in the workplace, and what to do about it, since this podcast was so remote from providing it.

[ Edited: 05 November 2018 16:11 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
SamStone
 
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05 November 2018 15:21
 
nonverbal - 05 November 2018 03:02 PM
SamStone - 05 November 2018 02:30 PM

. . .

It’s clear that her entire worldview is the full hard-left belief that everything around us is determined by organized power structures, and that people should be judged by the power group they are most closely associated with by gender or skin color.  It’s a gross, twisted view of how the world works.  There is no doubt that some people have power over others, and even some groups have more power than others in certain contexts in aggregate.  However,  to go from that to pre-judging any individual based on the group their skin color or gender places them in is the very definition of bigotry.  Too bad she can’t see just how racial, sexist and bigoted her ideas are.

There is only one moral way to treat the people around you - as individuals.  Judge them on their own behavior, their own knowledge, work ethic, etc.  The minute you find yourself putting a stranger into a pre-conceived ‘box’ of any sort,  you are guilty of bigotry.

I agree with your stance as being the best-informed and perhaps most refined, but Traister is apparently in combat mode, and rightfully so. Yes, it’s truly a shame to see human beings grouped in meaningful ways by visual traits or gender. But her battle seems to require a certain amount of it in order for her movement to gain some momentum, wouldn’t you say? Lots of historical wrongs to be righted, in my opinion.

Gotta break a few eggs to make an omellette, hmm?  Or maybe the ends justify the means?

Due process and the individual rights of people have to take a back seat to righteous indignation when there’s a cause to fight for - said every despicable tyrant ever.

 

 
nonverbal
 
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05 November 2018 15:33
 
SamStone - 05 November 2018 03:21 PM
nonverbal - 05 November 2018 03:02 PM
SamStone - 05 November 2018 02:30 PM

. . .

It’s clear that her entire worldview is the full hard-left belief that everything around us is determined by organized power structures, and that people should be judged by the power group they are most closely associated with by gender or skin color.  It’s a gross, twisted view of how the world works.  There is no doubt that some people have power over others, and even some groups have more power than others in certain contexts in aggregate.  However,  to go from that to pre-judging any individual based on the group their skin color or gender places them in is the very definition of bigotry.  Too bad she can’t see just how racial, sexist and bigoted her ideas are.

There is only one moral way to treat the people around you - as individuals.  Judge them on their own behavior, their own knowledge, work ethic, etc.  The minute you find yourself putting a stranger into a pre-conceived ‘box’ of any sort,  you are guilty of bigotry.

I agree with your stance as being the best-informed and perhaps most refined, but Traister is apparently in combat mode, and rightfully so. Yes, it’s truly a shame to see human beings grouped in meaningful ways by visual traits or gender. But her battle seems to require a certain amount of it in order for her movement to gain some momentum, wouldn’t you say? Lots of historical wrongs to be righted, in my opinion.

Gotta break a few eggs to make an omellette, hmm?  Or maybe the ends justify the means?

Due process and the individual rights of people have to take a back seat to righteous indignation when there’s a cause to fight for - said every despicable tyrant ever.

Isn’t “due process” a term applying to court-related issues? Please correct me.

 

 
SamStone
 
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SamStone
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05 November 2018 17:28
 
nonverbal - 05 November 2018 03:33 PM
SamStone - 05 November 2018 03:21 PM
nonverbal - 05 November 2018 03:02 PM
SamStone - 05 November 2018 02:30 PM

. . .

It’s clear that her entire worldview is the full hard-left belief that everything around us is determined by organized power structures, and that people should be judged by the power group they are most closely associated with by gender or skin color.  It’s a gross, twisted view of how the world works.  There is no doubt that some people have power over others, and even some groups have more power than others in certain contexts in aggregate.  However,  to go from that to pre-judging any individual based on the group their skin color or gender places them in is the very definition of bigotry.  Too bad she can’t see just how racial, sexist and bigoted her ideas are.

There is only one moral way to treat the people around you - as individuals.  Judge them on their own behavior, their own knowledge, work ethic, etc.  The minute you find yourself putting a stranger into a pre-conceived ‘box’ of any sort,  you are guilty of bigotry.

I agree with your stance as being the best-informed and perhaps most refined, but Traister is apparently in combat mode, and rightfully so. Yes, it’s truly a shame to see human beings grouped in meaningful ways by visual traits or gender. But her battle seems to require a certain amount of it in order for her movement to gain some momentum, wouldn’t you say? Lots of historical wrongs to be righted, in my opinion.

Gotta break a few eggs to make an omellette, hmm?  Or maybe the ends justify the means?

Due process and the individual rights of people have to take a back seat to righteous indignation when there’s a cause to fight for - said every despicable tyrant ever.

Isn’t “due process” a term applying to court-related issues? Please correct me.

Due process is a fundamental concept of an enlightened society.  It’s often associated with formal legal proceedings,  but the concept of due process should apply to every aspect of life.  A fundamental principle of a civil society is that we don’t shun people without evidence, we don’t fire them because the racial group they belong to has been found wanting, and we don’t assume that someone is guilty just because someone from a preferred group makes an accusation.

If you think we need to go down that road to fix past injustices,  you are just setting the stage for more injustice.

 
nonverbal
 
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05 November 2018 17:55
 
SamStone - 05 November 2018 05:28 PM

Due process is a fundamental concept of an enlightened society.  It’s often associated with formal legal proceedings,  but the concept of due process should apply to every aspect of life.  A fundamental principle of a civil society is that we don’t shun people without evidence, we don’t fire them because the racial group they belong to has been found wanting, and we don’t assume that someone is guilty just because someone from a preferred group makes an accusation.

If you think we need to go down that road to fix past injustices,  you are just setting the stage for more injustice.

Sounds good, but how does one arrive at due process outside the court?

 
mapadofu
 
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05 November 2018 17:56
 

Kavanaugh duly went through the confirmation process; successfully I might add. Why the outrage on his behalf?

[ Edited: 05 November 2018 18:12 by mapadofu]
 
SamStone
 
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05 November 2018 18:51
 
nonverbal - 05 November 2018 05:55 PM
SamStone - 05 November 2018 05:28 PM

Due process is a fundamental concept of an enlightened society.  It’s often associated with formal legal proceedings,  but the concept of due process should apply to every aspect of life.  A fundamental principle of a civil society is that we don’t shun people without evidence, we don’t fire them because the racial group they belong to has been found wanting, and we don’t assume that someone is guilty just because someone from a preferred group makes an accusation.

If you think we need to go down that road to fix past injustices,  you are just setting the stage for more injustice.

Sounds good, but how does one arrive at due process outside the court?

Through personal behavior?  By allowing things to remain private unless you are personally involved?  By not pre-judging people?

But you have a point - due process is difficult outside a formal court of law.  That’s why we have civil laws so that people can find a court to adjudicate disputes.

This is also the reason why we shouldn’t be so quick to politicize everything to the point where people get fired from their jobs for having the wrong views, or by being accused with no evidence.  Company execs are a terrible substitute for justice, which is why until the last few years we all sensibly adopted the notion that the only thing you should be fired for is a violation of the company’s policies while at work, and not for your political beliefs at home.  Politics ruins everything, and the more that politics intrude into our private spaces the worse it will be for a civil society.

A world where someone from a preferred group can accuse you of badthink and cause you to lose your job and your standing in society without any evidence is a much worse place to live than one in which we fight bad ideas with good ideas, without the need to destroy the speaker or silence them.  No matter how bad their ideas are. 

Are you old enough to remember the Red Scare or McCarthyism?  Same thing.  People being called out for saying the wrong things in private, for having friends of the wrong type, and having their lives destroyed over it.  It was terrible then, and it’s just as terrible when the new ‘Red Scare’ involves people in red MAGA hats.  You may hate what they believe, but when you go down the path of trying to exclude them from the social sphere and job market because of their politics,  you just became the bigger problem.

The belief in due process is WHY we are supposed to allow the courts to adjudicate these disputes.  The alternative is mob rule and a gradual breakdown of civil society, which we are already beginning to see.  The history of such change is not pleasant. 

It is very hard to build a civil society, and very easy to lose it.  The enlightenment gave us the tools to build and maintain civil society.  Free speech, courts of law to adjudicate disputes, a sphere of privacy granted to individuals, the right to live for your own goals, a market based economy… These are the building blocks of civil society.  Throw them away at your peril.

One last thing to remember:  If civil society does break down, the people who will pay the heaviest price will be those in the marginalized groups you wish to help.  So you should be focused like a laser beam on maintaining the institutions that preserve it.

 
SamStone
 
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05 November 2018 18:57
 
mapadofu - 05 November 2018 05:56 PM

Kavanaugh duly went through the confirmation process; successfully I might add. Why the outrage on his behalf?

Because his name was dragged through the mud?  Because it went far beyond Blasey’s testimony and involved things like what Kavanaugh meant by the word ‘boof’ in a high school yearbook, or whether he threw ice at someone in a bar when he was 19 years old? It was a Kafka-esque show trial that violated the norms of both trials and the Senate confirmation process.

How would you feel if you had to sit in a chair and let powerful people call you a drunken bastard and a rapist in front of your children and the nation?  If you were eventually aquitted of something that should never have gone to trial, but your name was forevermore going to have an asterisk beside it, would you just shrug and say, “Oh well.  I was acquitted.  Good enough for me!”?

 

 
mapadofu
 
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05 November 2018 19:08
 

That’s due process for ya.  If you’re committed to it, what else can you do?

It’s not exactly due process to squelch accusations before they can be considered.

[ Edited: 05 November 2018 19:25 by mapadofu]
 
mapadofu
 
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05 November 2018 19:24
 

Riddle me this, are you if the opinion that Kavanaugh /had/ to lie about “booting” and his drinking and whatnot?

 
nonverbal
 
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05 November 2018 19:49
 
SamStone - 05 November 2018 06:51 PM
nonverbal - 05 November 2018 05:55 PM
SamStone - 05 November 2018 05:28 PM

Due process is a fundamental concept of an enlightened society.  It’s often associated with formal legal proceedings,  but the concept of due process should apply to every aspect of life.  A fundamental principle of a civil society is that we don’t shun people without evidence, we don’t fire them because the racial group they belong to has been found wanting, and we don’t assume that someone is guilty just because someone from a preferred group makes an accusation.

If you think we need to go down that road to fix past injustices,  you are just setting the stage for more injustice.

Sounds good, but how does one arrive at due process outside the court?

Through personal behavior?  By allowing things to remain private unless you are personally involved?  By not pre-judging people?

But you have a point - due process is difficult outside a formal court of law.  That’s why we have civil laws so that people can find a court to adjudicate disputes.

This is also the reason why we shouldn’t be so quick to politicize everything to the point where people get fired from their jobs for having the wrong views, or by being accused with no evidence.  Company execs are a terrible substitute for justice, which is why until the last few years we all sensibly adopted the notion that the only thing you should be fired for is a violation of the company’s policies while at work, and not for your political beliefs at home.  Politics ruins everything, and the more that politics intrude into our private spaces the worse it will be for a civil society.

A world where someone from a preferred group can accuse you of badthink and cause you to lose your job and your standing in society without any evidence is a much worse place to live than one in which we fight bad ideas with good ideas, without the need to destroy the speaker or silence them.  No matter how bad their ideas are. 

Are you old enough to remember the Red Scare or McCarthyism?  Same thing.  People being called out for saying the wrong things in private, for having friends of the wrong type, and having their lives destroyed over it.  It was terrible then, and it’s just as terrible when the new ‘Red Scare’ involves people in red MAGA hats.  You may hate what they believe, but when you go down the path of trying to exclude them from the social sphere and job market because of their politics,  you just became the bigger problem.

The belief in due process is WHY we are supposed to allow the courts to adjudicate these disputes.  The alternative is mob rule and a gradual breakdown of civil society, which we are already beginning to see.  The history of such change is not pleasant. 

It is very hard to build a civil society, and very easy to lose it.  The enlightenment gave us the tools to build and maintain civil society.  Free speech, courts of law to adjudicate disputes, a sphere of privacy granted to individuals, the right to live for your own goals, a market based economy… These are the building blocks of civil society.  Throw them away at your peril.

One last thing to remember:  If civil society does break down, the people who will pay the heaviest price will be those in the marginalized groups you wish to help.  So you should be focused like a laser beam on maintaining the institutions that preserve it.

I was born in ‘55, so I don’t remember McCarthyism. But I learned about it. This is something different. Lots of objectionable things remain to be ironed out, such as what you’re describing, Sam. We’re in an upheaval of sorts, and innocent people can get hurt in any storm if it’s strong and carries momentum. I see Al Franken as such a victim, and I wish he could have been spared.

 

 
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