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What Islamists and ‘Wokeists’ Have in Common

 
diding
 
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17 September 2020 08:20
 
Poldano - 16 September 2020 10:33 PM
diding - 16 September 2020 12:55 PM

If a white man’s daughter was killed by a black man and he hears another black man say “All white people should be killed”, can the white man punch the black man in the face?

I think you are really asking whether it is either moral or legal for the white man to punch the black man who uttered “All white people should be killed” in the face? I would say probably not, but at the same time it would not be entirely without reason were it to happen. If it did happen, the white man might be treated less severely by the justice system, or would meet with some mitigation from the moral judgment of others. The variability depends on the contingencies surrounding both the original killing and the white man’s actions, such as whether he was under emotional distress at the time or whether his daughter’s death as accidental or intentional.

That sounds about right. You got the gist of my question without any details.  You understood what I was asking.  Details are important, though.

Can a 20 something white kid from the suburbs punch a known Nazi in the face?  Can anybody who wants to?

[ Edited: 17 September 2020 09:30 by diding]
 
diding
 
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17 September 2020 09:20
 

We always knew that saying certain words could illicit a violent response from some certain kinds of people.  Growing up I was always told that only knuckle dragging types would react violently to words and that civilized, intelligent people could “talk things out”.  Seems to me that this “words are ACTUAL violence” idea arises form the need for civilized intellectual types to justify behaviour that they used to see as beneath them. 

Pistols at dawn it is, then.

 
weird buffalo
 
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17 September 2020 09:48
 
diding - 17 September 2020 09:20 AM

We always knew that saying certain words could illicit a violent response from some certain kinds of people.  Growing up I was always told that only knuckle dragging types would react violently to words and that civilized, intelligent people could “talk things out”.  Seems to me that this “words are ACTUAL violence” idea arises form the need for civilized intellectual types to justify behaviour that they used to see as beneath them. 

Pistols at dawn it is, then.

Considering I am the person who is primarily advocating “speech is violence” in this thread… where have I said that it is a justification for punching people?

 
diding
 
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17 September 2020 14:38
 
weird buffalo - 17 September 2020 09:48 AM
diding - 17 September 2020 09:20 AM

We always knew that saying certain words could illicit a violent response from some certain kinds of people.  Growing up I was always told that only knuckle dragging types would react violently to words and that civilized, intelligent people could “talk things out”.  Seems to me that this “words are ACTUAL violence” idea arises form the need for civilized intellectual types to justify behaviour that they used to see as beneath them. 

Pistols at dawn it is, then.

Considering I am the person who is primarily advocating “speech is violence” in this thread… where have I said that it is a justification for punching people?

I don’t know if you have or haven’t .  Lets assume that you never said anything of the sort.  That doesn’t really have anything to do with what I brought up.  We have always known that certain words may get you an ass whooping.  Sometimes people think it was deserved and sometimes people think the “whooper” is a Neanderthal lacking self control.  The idea that speech is ACTUAL violence is strange to me.  The argument that words have an effect on brain processes and that brain processes are physical things, chemicals and electricity and whatnot,  and therefore words that cause mental harm are the same as actual physical violence seems sketchy.  But, OK, lets extend the definition that far.  If someone gets offended or they experience the type of neurological harm we now call violence by someone burning a flag or Bible, they can now respond in kind by punching the flag or Bible burners in the face.  I would recommend that people who support that idea should go work out and train in some kind of martial art or learn how to shoot.  Or adopt some guerrilla tactic in which they all dress the same and sucker punch someone and then run back into the anonymity of the crowd. 

You do what you gotta do.

 
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no_profundia
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17 September 2020 15:04
 

The idea that speech is ACTUAL violence is strange to me. The argument that words have an effect on brain processes and that brain processes are physical things, chemicals and electricity and whatnot,  and therefore words that cause mental harm are the same as actual physical violence seems sketchy.

Saying they are the “same” is ambiguous. There are differences and similarities. It’s one reason I am not that interested in wading into the question whether speech is violence. Insulting someone and punching someone are similar in some ways and different in others and whether we highlight the similarities or differences depends on our interests.

They are probably different in terms of self-defense laws. I don’t really know anything about self-defense laws. I don’t think you can punch or shoot someone for insulting you and claim self-defense but maybe if they are threatening you verbally there are cases where you could? Words might harm you but you can’t actually die from being insulted (leaving out the ambiguous case of suicide). So if what we care about is coming up with laws that allow people to defend themselves against physical harm we will highlight the differences between speech and physical violence and say self-defense is justified in the case of physical violence but not in the case of speech (at least most of the time).

A psychologist who is working with somenoe who was abused will have a different set of interests. Both physical abuse and verbal abuse cause lasting harm, and in fact, based on anecdotal things I’ve heard I think it is often the case that certain forms of verbal abuse cause more harm than simple physical violence. Someone who lives in a basically loving home where they are occasionally spanked in response to predictable misbehaviors is probably going to do better than a child that lives in a house where they’re told they’re a piece of shit every day even if there’s no physical violence. So, if we are trying to instituted laws regarding child abuse we will care more about the ways in which physical violence and speech are similar - they both cause harm - and prohibit forms of both.

Everything is both similar and different from everything else so we have to determine what the relevant similarities and differences are within the context we are talking about and if we are talking about whether certain forms of speech should be regulated the fact that certain forms of speech cause harm, just like physical violence does, is potentially relevant. That fact is neither a sufficient nor necessary condition for regulation but it is certainly relevant.

So when someone says speech is violence I think they implicitly have a context in mind where they believe the similarities between the two justify treating them in the same way. I think most people who assert that speech is violence are saying something like “in this legal, political or social context our reasons for regulating or limiting physical violence apply equally to certain forms of speech so they should be treated the same.” I think you and Antisocial are taking that statement as a statement of absolute identity. If they are the same they must be the same in every way and if you can find any difference at all that’s enough to prove the statement is false.

Also, as a simple logical matter I will point out that you are starting from the assumption that violence = physical violence and rejecting the claim that speech is violence based on differences you see between speech and physical violence. But that is a little bit like taking “human” as your prototypical “animal” and then deciding that cows can’t be animals because there are lots of differences between cows and humans. If violence were a more encompassing genera then certain forms of speech and physical violence might be differing species of violence even if they differ a great deal between each other.

I said I was not going to weigh in on whether speech is violence but I’m finding lots of fascinating thoughts (to me, at least) while thinking about it. Ultimately, I don’t care that much because I think the fact that some forms of speech cause harm is simply undeniable and in lots of contexts that is all that matters and all we really care about. We don’t need the claim that speech is violence.

If someone gets offended or they experience the type of neurological harm we now call violence by someone burning a flag or Bible, they can now respond in kind by punching the flag or Bible burners in the face.

Is your argument that if speech is violence then one can physically attack a speaker as self-defense? I’m having trouble following your argument because no one is talking about punching people as a response to speech on this thread other than you. You seem to have introduced that out of nowhere and I’m having trouble following the unspoken connections and leaps of logic that are leading you to conclude that if speech is violence then it’s okay to punch someone who says something we don’t like.

What I took the question about speech is violence to be about is whether certain forms of speech should be regulated or prohibited or, perhaps not even going that far, if norms against those forms of speech should be reinforced so that people suffer greater consequences for certain forms of harmful speech, which is what the proponents of cancel culture would say they are doing I think.

[ Edited: 17 September 2020 15:55 by no_profundia]
 
 
diding
 
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17 September 2020 17:02
 
no_profundia - 17 September 2020 03:04 PM

The idea that speech is ACTUAL violence is strange to me. The argument that words have an effect on brain processes and that brain processes are physical things, chemicals and electricity and whatnot,  and therefore words that cause mental harm are the same as actual physical violence seems sketchy.

Saying they are the “same” is ambiguous. There are differences and similarities. It’s one reason I am not that interested in wading into the question whether speech is violence. Insulting someone and punching someone are similar in some ways and different in others and whether we highlight the similarities or differences depends on our interests.

They are probably different in terms of self-defense laws. I don’t really know anything about self-defense laws. I don’t think you can punch or shoot someone for insulting you and claim self-defense but maybe if they are threatening you verbally there are cases where you could? Words might harm you but you can’t actually die from being insulted (leaving out the ambiguous case of suicide). So if what we care about is coming up with laws that allow people to defend themselves against physical harm we will highlight the differences between speech and physical violence and say self-defense is justified in the case of physical violence but not in the case of speech (at least most of the time).

A psychologist who is working with somenoe who was abused will have a different set of interests. Both physical abuse and verbal abuse cause lasting harm, and in fact, based on anecdotal things I’ve heard I think it is often the case that certain forms of verbal abuse cause more harm than simple physical violence. Someone who lives in a basically loving home where they are occasionally spanked in response to predictable misbehaviors is probably going to do better than a child that lives in a house where they’re told they’re a piece of shit every day even if there’s no physical violence. So, if we are trying to instituted laws regarding child abuse we will care more about the ways in which physical violence and speech are similar - they both cause harm - and prohibit forms of both.

Everything is both similar and different from everything else so we have to determine what the relevant similarities and differences are within the context we are talking about and if we are talking about whether certain forms of speech should be regulated the fact that certain forms of speech cause harm, just like physical violence does, is potentially relevant. That fact is neither a sufficient nor necessary condition for regulation but it is certainly relevant.

So when someone says speech is violence I think they implicitly have a context in mind where they believe the similarities between the two justify treating them in the same way. I think most people who assert that speech is violence are saying something like “in this legal, political or social context our reasons for regulating or limiting physical violence apply equally to certain forms of speech so they should be treated the same.” I think you and Antisocial are taking that statement as a statement of absolute identity. If they are the same they must be the same in every way and if you can find any difference at all that’s enough to prove the statement is false.

Also, as a simple logical matter I will point out that you are starting from the assumption that violence = physical violence and rejecting the claim that speech is violence based on differences you see between speech and physical violence. But that is a little bit like taking “human” as your prototypical “animal” and then deciding that cows can’t be animals because there are lots of differences between cows and humans. If violence were a more encompassing genera then certain forms of speech and physical violence might be differing species of violence even if they differ a great deal between each other.

I said I was not going to weigh in on whether speech is violence but I’m finding lots of fascinating thoughts (to me, at least) while thinking about it. Ultimately, I don’t care that much because I think the fact that some forms of speech cause harm is simply undeniable and in lots of contexts that is all that matters and all we really care about. We don’t need the claim that speech is violence.

If someone gets offended or they experience the type of neurological harm we now call violence by someone burning a flag or Bible, they can now respond in kind by punching the flag or Bible burners in the face.

Is your argument that if speech is violence then one can physically attack a speaker as self-defense? I’m having trouble following your argument because no one is talking about punching people as a response to speech on this thread other than you. You seem to have introduced that out of nowhere and I’m having trouble following the unspoken connections and leaps of logic that are leading you to conclude that if speech is violence then it’s okay to punch someone who says something we don’t like.

What I took the question about speech is violence to be about is whether certain forms of speech should be regulated or prohibited or, perhaps not even going that far, if norms against those forms of speech should be reinforced so that people suffer greater consequences for certain forms of harmful speech, which is what the proponents of cancel culture would say they are doing I think.

I never said that I thought that speech is violence but others have, here and in the real world. I was brought up to think that you don’t hit people over words. I’ll acknowledge your new goal post and concede that speech can do harm and that the definition of violence includes psychological harm.  I’ll further acknowledge that psychological harm may cause more profound, life changing damage than physical violence.  I can attest to it’s effects myself and will admit to having used violence in response to speech, namely bullying.  After reading the definition of violence in Brittanica and Webster, I concede that speech that causes psychological harm is considered violence.  I, too, can completely disregard the argument about whether or not speech is violence.  I thought I was making the argument that we have always known that certain types of people will punch someone in the face over something that was said.  Speech was never required to be considered violence in order for someone to act violently in response to it.  People will punch someone in the face if they insult the memory of the Confederacy or the validity of Jesus’ resurrection. 

Interesting question about self defense.  If someone tells me that they intend to rape my wife and eat my daughter can I knock them out and tie them up or do I have to wait until they try? If someone tells me that “All lives matter” and that hurts my feelings and makes me feel like they don’t care about me can I punch them in the face?  I know there are laws against trying to talk, or having talked someone into doing something illegal like blow up a building or riot.  Can anybody punch a Nazi if they want to?

You’ll have to ask someone who would say that speech is violence to confirm or correct your assumptions about what they mean by it.

 
weird buffalo
 
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17 September 2020 17:21
 
diding - 17 September 2020 02:38 PM
weird buffalo - 17 September 2020 09:48 AM
diding - 17 September 2020 09:20 AM

We always knew that saying certain words could illicit a violent response from some certain kinds of people.  Growing up I was always told that only knuckle dragging types would react violently to words and that civilized, intelligent people could “talk things out”.  Seems to me that this “words are ACTUAL violence” idea arises form the need for civilized intellectual types to justify behaviour that they used to see as beneath them. 

Pistols at dawn it is, then.

Considering I am the person who is primarily advocating “speech is violence” in this thread… where have I said that it is a justification for punching people?

I don’t know if you have or haven’t .  Lets assume that you never said anything of the sort.  That doesn’t really have anything to do with what I brought up.  We have always known that certain words may get you an ass whooping.  Sometimes people think it was deserved and sometimes people think the “whooper” is a Neanderthal lacking self control.  The idea that speech is ACTUAL violence is strange to me.  The argument that words have an effect on brain processes and that brain processes are physical things, chemicals and electricity and whatnot,  and therefore words that cause mental harm are the same as actual physical violence seems sketchy.  But, OK, lets extend the definition that far.  If someone gets offended or they experience the type of neurological harm we now call violence by someone burning a flag or Bible, they can now respond in kind by punching the flag or Bible burners in the face.  I would recommend that people who support that idea should go work out and train in some kind of martial art or learn how to shoot.  Or adopt some guerrilla tactic in which they all dress the same and sucker punch someone and then run back into the anonymity of the crowd. 

You do what you gotta do.

Do you think that a response to violence should be proportional?  Or all forms of violence equivalent?

For example, if you push my kid, and he falls down on the grass and is basically uninjured…. if I responded by calling in a drone strike on your house… would those be roughly the same?  They’re both violence, and if any form of violence can be responded to with any form of violence, then your argument is that the above scenario is appropriate.  Do you agree with that?

 
Poldano
 
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18 September 2020 04:19
 
diding - 17 September 2020 09:20 AM

We always knew that saying certain words could illicit a violent response from some certain kinds of people.  Growing up I was always told that only knuckle dragging types would react violently to words and that civilized, intelligent people could “talk things out”.  Seems to me that this “words are ACTUAL violence” idea arises form the need for civilized intellectual types to justify behaviour that they used to see as beneath them. 

Pistols at dawn it is, then.

You were socialized to avoid violence. So was I. It is something that is commonly done in societies to prevent them from breaking down because of violence. Still, in every society that socializes children to avoid violence, there are some children that don’t take well to the process. Some of these become proud of their power to inflict fear on others. Some of them become criminals. Some of them manage to sublimate their violent impulses into less-violent pursuits, or curtail them sufficiently to avoid punishment. I’ll let others guess what those who don’t end up as criminals do with their lives. There are lines of lawful work that are suitable to those with a sufficiently-managed impulse to violence.

The impulse to violence is in each of us. Many of us are in denial about it, because to admit it is present is to admit that the negative propaganda we were socialized with is true of us.

 
 
mapadofu
 
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18 September 2020 13:54
 

Are you saying most people would not avoid violence but for it being socialized out of them?

 
Poldano
 
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19 September 2020 02:46
 
mapadofu - 18 September 2020 01:54 PM

Are you saying most people would not avoid violence but for it being socialized out of them?

I am saying that some people would not avoid violence but for it being socialized out of them. Socialization to minimize intra-community violence was a singular achievement of the Axial Age (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axial_Age), and was necessary to enable societies to expand much beyond the size of groups in which everyone knew everyone else.

 
 
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19 September 2020 05:00
 

“Some people would not avoid violence…” comes across very differently to me from “The impulse to violence is in each of us.”

[ Edited: 19 September 2020 05:40 by mapadofu]
 
weird buffalo
 
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19 September 2020 09:49
 
Poldano - 19 September 2020 02:46 AM
mapadofu - 18 September 2020 01:54 PM

Are you saying most people would not avoid violence but for it being socialized out of them?

I am saying that some people would not avoid violence but for it being socialized out of them. Socialization to minimize intra-community violence was a singular achievement of the Axial Age (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axial_Age), and was necessary to enable societies to expand much beyond the size of groups in which everyone knew everyone else.

The concept of the Axial Age seems really arbitrary to me.  If we were to rewrite the history of Athens and disguise it as a contemporary state in the Middle East, I doubt you could significantly distinguish it from Iraq, Iran, Syria, or Afghanistan.  Athens went to war every other generation, or sometimes every generation, or multiple times in a generation.  Some wars lasted more than one generation.  What we consider Classical Athens only lasted half as long as the United States (as formed by the Constitution), and was a slave owning society that either invaded or was invaded by every geographic neighbor within 300 miles.

Saying that a slave owning society that was constantly at war is when human morality and ability to be “civilized” took a leap forward seems pretty shaky.

 
weird buffalo
 
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19 September 2020 13:54
 

So, some Chiefs fans were booing during a moment of silence.  The median ticket price was $560 a seat.  For comparison, 45% of households in Kansas City are renters, and the average monthly rent is just over $1000.  So the people attending the game were most likely not economically disadvantaged. 

Note, the moment of silence wasn’t during the national anthem.  They weren’t kneeling during the anthem. Just asking for a moment of silence for racial equality.

The people booing weren’t doing it out of economic need for justice.  They could afford an evening’s entertainment that cost as much as half a household’s average rent for a month.  I’m surprised to learn that Kansas City Chiefs fans might be radical Islamists, since they meet one of the criteria.

 
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19 September 2020 18:34
 
Poldano - 15 September 2020 11:41 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 12 September 2020 03:03 PM

...

“Speech is violence” stems almost inevitably from the claim that there is no such thing as objective truth, that an “oppressed” person’s interpretation of their own lived experience yields knowledge every bit as valid as that gleaned from evidence and reason. How, then, does one arbitrate between mutually exclusive “knowledge” claims sans science? By equating any speech that contradicts critical race theory with “violence,” thereby justifying actual violence to silence it.

...

Objective truth has little relevance to this discussion. Its possible existence itself is irrelevant, because people don’t know much that is truly objective, especially about social issues (i.e., political, psychological, moral, etc.). I believe you yourself are on record as saying that morality is subjective. Knowing the current problem with data replication in the social sciences, it would not be much of a stretch to apply that verdict of subjectivity on all opinions about social issues generally. Besides, what is often important in matters of human interaction is not the likely objective truth of a situation, but the subjective perceptions of that situation to those involved in it.

In addition to that, I think that speech can often be intended to incite anger and even violence. Therefore, while it is a hyperbolic false equivalence to state that “speech is violence”, it is unreasonable to assert that nothing spoken can be equivalent to an act of violence. Some speech is actually intended to incite anger and by extension violence. Some spoken words have caused physical distress and eventual sickness or injury in some of those hearing them, even if there was no implied direct threat.

 

Objective truth is absolutely relevant to any discussion about today’s Social Justice movement. SJ is based on a bastardized version of postmodernism, including postmodernism’s knowledge principle, which claims that there is no such thing as objective truth. Evidence and reason, according to the knowledge principle, are merely one way of knowing, no better than other ways of knowing, like an oppressed person’s interpretation of their own lived experience. Brother Mario’s subjective “concrete experiences” that lead him to “know” that God exists, for example, must be treated as if they were facts and evidence—or, more precisely, facts and evidence must be treated as if they were no less subjective than Brother Mario’s “concrete experiences.”

(Yes, morality is subjective; if the postmodernists stopped there I’d have no problem with them. But they don’t stop there, they go all in. Even mathematics is subjective according to them. Two plus two only equals four according to the the oppressor’s “way of knowing.”)

The problem that arises is obvious: when Brother Mario’s “concrete experiences” conflict with someone else’s subjective interpretation of reality, how do we arbitrate? Not with science, according to postmodernism. Instead, it’s only hegemony that decides what’s true. Might makes right. Hence the emphasis on silencing—by any means necessary—anyone with an opposing viewpoint. Equating the voicing of opposing viewpoints with “violence” is one of those means. They’re not saying that speech can incite violence, they’re saying that speech is violence.

Give me an example of something spoken that is “equivalent to an act of violence.” Like I said before, and like the linked article by the psychologists makes clear: spoken words don’t cause “physical distress and eventual sickness or injury.” It’s the reaction to those words.

 
 
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19 September 2020 18:46
 
weird buffalo - 17 September 2020 09:48 AM

Considering I am the person who is primarily advocating “speech is violence” in this thread… where have I said that it is a justification for punching people?

Then what is your reason for advocating “speech is violence?” Even if it’s not a justification for punching people, it’s still a justification for silencing them. Because we all agree that except in the case of self defense, violence is unacceptable. Therefore, some speech is unacceptable. What else could “speech is violence” possibly justify, or imply?

 
 
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