7 votes

The historical amnesia of culture warriors

25 comments

  1. [16]
    moonbathers
    Link
    I know this isn't calling me out specifically, but: I hear people say sometimes "well if we're cancelling people are we going to cancel Thomas Jefferson for owning slaves?" or "what if 200 years...

    For many progressives, this unknowing is indeed a kind of generational vanity: only we, in the early 21st century, have the moral clear-sightedness and mettle to reprimand behaviour that our predecessors let slide.

    I know this isn't calling me out specifically, but:

    I hear people say sometimes "well if we're cancelling people are we going to cancel Thomas Jefferson for owning slaves?" or "what if 200 years from now we cancel someone you really care about?" and I say so be it. If people care enough to dissect what I think at that point and they don't like some views that I have and decide to tear down statues of me and rename Moonbathers High School then so be it. I'm not going to pretend that I'm completely right and enlightened about everything, I just believe that if someone did things that are shitty enough to merit them not being honored as much as they were before then they shouldn't be honored as much as they were before, regardless of what the prevailing view on things like slavery or women's rights or that sort of thing was at the time. If I'm too ignorant to see that a view that I hold is wrong, I hope I get called out for it.

    Their main point that it's worth looking at how these issues were handled in the past is valid, but I don't like most of what surrounds it. I don't like the dismissal of people advocating for equality as culture warriors. It's probably said by someone whose well-being isn't on the line. They disingenuously frame what's going on as censorship when we all know that's not what's happening.

    12 votes
    1. [13]
      NaraVara
      Link Parent
      If you’re on a side of a cultural conflict you’re a culture warrior by definition. That’s not really dismissive, it’s just definitional. And just assuming anyone who holds a position must not have...

      It's probably said by someone whose well-being isn't on the line.

      If you’re on a side of a cultural conflict you’re a culture warrior by definition. That’s not really dismissive, it’s just definitional.

      And just assuming anyone who holds a position must not have anything at stake sounds pretty presumptive dismissive in itself. I mean, I’m a person of color, a religious minority, and a first generation immigrant. I can still acknowledge which things are controversial, when I’m engaging with controversy, and if people are being out of line or ignorant even if they’re nominally on my side.

      3 votes
      1. [9]
        moonbathers
        Link Parent
        My issue is that calling it a culture war gives it a connotation that it's something that can be observed from the sidelines and isn't really a big deal, like it's some controversy in a fandom or...

        My issue is that calling it a culture war gives it a connotation that it's something that can be observed from the sidelines and isn't really a big deal, like it's some controversy in a fandom or something you'd read about in a history book that happened a long time ago. In a literal sense, yes it is a culture war, it's a battle for the country's future, but pretty much everyone who uses that phrase uses it in a way that's brushing off why it's even happening.

        Maybe this person is someone whose well-being is on the line. Again, I think their main point that it's worth studying these battles in the past. I'm not saying we can't call people out on our own side who are being ignorant or out of line. My concern is that they frame these issues as censorship when that's not happening.

        6 votes
        1. mieum
          Link Parent
          I know what you mean. Even if it is an accurate, valid term, it or other similar terns are often enough used dismissively that they take on that connotation. A somewhat tangential example is the...

          ... calling it a culture war gives it a connotation ...

          I know what you mean. Even if it is an accurate, valid term, it or other similar terns are often enough used dismissively that they take on that connotation.

          A somewhat tangential example is the word “Jew,” or “Jewish.” I have met not a few people who think these are slurs referring to Hebrews, because they are so often used in a negative context.

          7 votes
        2. [7]
          NaraVara
          Link Parent
          Part of being a good analyst and actually knowing whether anything your saying is actually correct, instead of just whatever we happen to feel like, is being able to compartmentalize and evaluate...

          My issue is that calling it a culture war gives it a connotation that it's something that can be observed from the sidelines and isn't really a big deal, like it's some controversy in a fandom or something you'd read about in a history book that happened a long time ago.

          Part of being a good analyst and actually knowing whether anything your saying is actually correct, instead of just whatever we happen to feel like, is being able to compartmentalize and evaluate things as objectively as possible. The main skill set that’s valuable in a crisis is being able to keep a cool head and think long-term. Indeed, this is the entire reason we study history, so we can look at things we’re further away from and help it give us perspective about the situation we’re in today.

          It’s one thing to suggest that someone doesn’t have a full picture of an issue because of being disconnected from the matter is one thing. But I don’t get writing off attempts at being concerned with perspective or objective truth as being bad in themselves. Doing that literally leaves us with no ability to actually discuss issues or come to consensus. It just leaves questions of justice up to the will of the strongest or the loudest.

          2 votes
          1. [6]
            moonbathers
            Link Parent
            I'm not saying we shouldn't search for objective truth, nor that it's a bad thing. I said nothing about thinking long-term or keeping a cool head. I'm saying that framing it in a dispassionate way...

            I'm not saying we shouldn't search for objective truth, nor that it's a bad thing. I said nothing about thinking long-term or keeping a cool head. I'm saying that framing it in a dispassionate way is a tactic of people on one side of the issues and favors the status quo, and even if that's not what your intention is, those people are going to use your arguments in their favor. People's lives and well-being are on the line and if you want to be objective about it, framing it as an issue of censorship isn't the way to do it. Maybe you could frame it as "one side thinks it's censorship and the other things it's an issue of people's lives", but they don't even do that. They're only paying lip service to the side that says "hey let's not discriminate against people please".

            6 votes
            1. [5]
              NaraVara
              Link Parent
              Not at all. Status quo bias is endemic with loss aversion and fear of the unknown. Just because the Ben Shapiro types lean into fetishized “rationalism” doesn’t mean they’re actually any good at...

              I'm saying that framing it in a dispassionate way is a tactic of people on one side of the issues and favors the status quo

              Not at all. Status quo bias is endemic with loss aversion and fear of the unknown. Just because the Ben Shapiro types lean into fetishized “rationalism” doesn’t mean they’re actually any good at it.

              those people are going to use your arguments in their favor.

              They’ll do that with anything you say or do. This isn’t any different from people saying you can’t criticize anything Biden does without supporting Trump or that you can’t criticize American imperialism without supporting Terrorism. It’s a false dichotomy that depends on collapsing all people into two dueling tribes and gives up any chance for coming together on anything.

              framing it as an issue of censorship isn't the way to do it.

              It is an issue of censorship though. This is, again, definitional. A discussion about what people are allowed to say is a discussion about what views or ways of expressing them are allowable or not. When you decide they’re not allowable in a space, you’re censoring. We’re always censoring, the question is where to draw the line.

              The classic Oliver Wendell Holmes defense of censorship, about shouting “FIRE!” in a crowded theater is literally about balancing the trade offs between free speech and public safety.

              4 votes
              1. [4]
                moonbathers
                Link Parent
                Would you talk about the sit-ins of the 60s in a First Amendment "these mean black people are violating my freedom of association!" framing, the same way the author and countless others talk about...

                Not at all. Status quo bias is endemic with loss aversion and fear of the unknown. Just because the Ben Shapiro types lean into fetishized “rationalism” doesn’t mean they’re actually any good at it.

                Would you talk about the sit-ins of the 60s in a First Amendment "these mean black people are violating my freedom of association!" framing, the same way the author and countless others talk about the current struggle for rights in a First Amendment "these mean liberals are violating my freedom of speech!" way?

                They’ll do that with anything you say or do. This isn’t any different from people saying you can’t criticize anything Biden does without supporting Trump or that you can’t criticize American imperialism without supporting Terrorism. It’s a false dichotomy that depends on collapsing all people into two dueling tribes and gives up any chance for coming together on anything.

                Ok, sure, they will do that with anything you say or do. But unless you're making a specific point of not siding with the free speech for me but not for thee crowd, you're taking their side.

                It is an issue of censorship though. This is, again, definitional. A discussion about what people are allowed to say is a discussion about what views or ways of expressing them are allowable or not. When you decide they’re not allowable in a space, you’re censoring. We’re always censoring, the question is where to draw the line.

                It is not an issue of censorship unless you take the widest possible meaning of censorship. This isn't the government censoring anyone, this isn't anyone getting kicked out of a public square, this is someone coming onto Tildes and being like "but actually 14-year-olds are fully grown!" or "what's wrong with banning non-white people from the country and killing everyone who doesn't comply?" These people still have plenty of places to spew their bullshit. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, et al., aren't obligated to host these people the same way that you aren't obligated to listen to some rando who says they want to kill you and everyone like you. Framing it as an issue of censorship makes it sound like you're being oppressed (a classic part of the conservative victim complex) when that's not happening at all.

                Even in the Ezra Pound example in the article isn't censorship; everyone could still read his poems, some of those people just didn't want to give him an award for it. If that's censorship, is every failed job application censorship? Is every instance where a few people / entries / etc are highlighted instead of all of them censorship? Censorship has devolved to mean "I can't spew my bullshit wherever I'd like".

                7 votes
                1. [3]
                  NaraVara
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  Would you deny that free association and free speech are actual concerns to be balanced? When the Blue Liners show up in front of a judge's house for prosecuting police brutality and start...

                  Would you talk about the sit-ins of the 60s in a First Amendment "these mean black people are violating my freedom of association!" framing, the same way the author and countless others talk about the current struggle for rights in a First Amendment "these mean liberals are violating my freedom of speech!" way?

                  Would you deny that free association and free speech are actual concerns to be balanced? When the Blue Liners show up in front of a judge's house for prosecuting police brutality and start shouting would we be as sanguine about it? The whole point of civil disobedience is that it's disobedient. It doesn't work if it's not transgressive. You're breaking the usual guard-rails in order to make a larger point. It's a social conversation to decide if that larger point is justified.

                  But unless you're making a specific point of not siding with the free speech for me but not for thee crowd, you're taking their side.

                  This end up sounding kind of like whataboutism. These people might loom large in whatever contexts you're having discussions in, but that doesn't mean they occupy as much mindshare in the contexts other people are dealing with. If we expect people to spend column inches and time to explicitly denounce every single other concept that every reader might possibly associate with it they'd never have time to talk about much else. The only context where that makes sense is if you're only engaging with material to suss out what tribe they're in rather than actually engaging with what they're saying.

                  (Editing in a point I meant to add:) We see toxic people very easily use a norm like this against anyone advocating for progress all the time. Anyone who is active in feminist spaces is familiar with the "You talk about choice and you're okay with circumcision hmm?" "You talk about women's rights in the workplace but what about all the men being exploited to produce your iPhone hmm!?" We can exercise some discrimination to figure out when someone's saying this stuff in good faith or not.

                  This isn't the government censoring anyone, this isn't anyone getting kicked out of a public square, this is someone coming onto Tildes and being like "but actually 14-year-olds are fully grown!" or "what's wrong with banning non-white people from the country and killing everyone who doesn't comply?"

                  Are we still talking about the same article? Because this isn't talking about Tildes or the policies on any specific platform or site. It's not even really about where to draw lines or what to draw lines around. It's explicitly just a meta-commentary about how lacking in perspective the discussion around these matters is in all the contexts where it's being discussed. In fact, the author's own perspective almost certainly focused on how these things play out in universities and in publications.

                  3 votes
                  1. [2]
                    moonbathers
                    Link Parent
                    No, I do think those are actual concerns to be balanced. My point is that framing what's going on as censorship, regardless of your definition of censorship, draws an association with the first...

                    Would you deny that free association and free speech are actual concerns to be balanced? When the Blue Liners show up in front of a judge's house for prosecuting police brutality and start shouting would we be as sanguine about it?

                    No, I do think those are actual concerns to be balanced. My point is that framing what's going on as censorship, regardless of your definition of censorship, draws an association with the first amendment and freedom of speech which is an incredibly disingenuous way to look at the situation. It's the same as people crying about their rights when they can't go into a store without wearing a mask.

                    This sounds kind of whataboutism. Are people not allowed to talk about a topic in a specific context without needing to spend column inches and time to explicitly denounce every single other associated thing there? The only context where that makes sense is if you're only engaging with material to suss out what tribe they're in rather than actually engaging with what they're saying.

                    It's not even related to whataboutism. If the author wants to be taken in good faith they should show that they're arguing in good faith, and they aren't. What's going on isn't censorship any more than kicking someone out of your business (or internet forum) for yelling racial slurs. They argue from one side and don't question that side at all while giving the other side (in a modern context, not the historical one) only faint lip service, and so it doesn't come off as objective as it claims to be. This sentence is pretty telling:

                    More worryingly, the 1949 consensus that censorship is a line one should not cross no longer holds, nor does the assumption of good faith on the part of one’s opponents on a matter of conscience rather than partisan allegiance

                    I don't know what the situation was like in 1949 but in a vast majority of cases now, assuming whoever you're talking with is arguing in good faith is asking to get suckered.

                    Are we still talking about the same article? Because this isn't talking about Tildes, the policies on any specific platform or site. It's not even really about where to draw lines or what to draw lines around. It's explicitly just a meta-commentary about how lacking in perspective the discussion around these matters is in all the contexts where it's being discussed. In fact, the author's own perspective almost certainly focused on how these things play out in universities and in publications.

                    This article isn't a meta-commentary. It's about what's going on right now as it relates to similar discussions in the past. If the author didn't want current comparisons to be drawn, they should have left their argument at "here's an instance of a similar discussion in the past and here's what happened afterward". Instead they assess what's going on now:

                    the 1949 consensus that censorship is a line one should not cross no longer holds

                    [the argument over statues] has still been framed, for the most part, as an argument between the present and the past: the enlightened living versus the dead racists.

                    For their opponents, meanwhile, chronocentrism magnifies the danger of current challenges to free speech

                    For many progressives, this unknowing is indeed a kind of generational vanity: only we, in the early 21st century, have the moral clear-sightedness and mettle to reprimand behaviour that our predecessors let slide

                    To pretend there's an issue of censorship from progressives at universities is pretty disingenous considering Republicans are the ones doing the suppressing. Feeling that free speech is in danger is overblown almost to the level of Q insanity. The author and every conservative who says that is playing victim when if anything they get preferential treatment. Conservatives get banned more often because their ideology is trash, not because there's any sort of bias against them.

                    They don't want to play by the rules so they take advantage of institutions' attempts to avoid being biased by claiming those institutions are biased. Then those institutions try to accommodate them so they can continue to appear fair. The free speech crowd plays victim by claiming they're being censored, that they're being oppressed, and yet Twitter has said they explicitly won't ban Trump even though he's threatened nuclear war. They claim they're victims of mob justice when Brett Kavanaugh looked like a total jackass during his hearing and yet still got the job. They draw comparisons to witch hunts and lynching when almost no one's being sent to prison, no one's being dragged out of their home and their killing made a weekend event for the whole town to come see. Conservative voices and opinions are still being shared despite claims that are more hyperbolic than I will ever make about what they want to do to me and people like me.

                    If you want to talk about historical events in the past to give current events some perspective, then only talk about those historical events. You can talk about them in current terms, like making comparisons between one side then and one side now, but you better be damn sure you're not unfairly portraying that side if you want to claim objectivity, and you certainly can't refer to what's going on now in terms any less detached than something like "current arguments over rules on internet sites, universities, and other places that people commonly interact". If I wrote this article I could use their example and draw conclusions about their intentions and arguments by looking at their past and future intentions and arguments. I'd say that these sort of issues weren't completely resolved then and probably won't be now, but that we will hopefully make some progress toward determining what is right and wrong.

                    I have not at any point disagreed that historical context is good. Knowing your history is crucial to making judgements about the present. My entire point is that the author of this article isn't being as objective or fair as they claim to be.

                    4 votes
                    1. NaraVara
                      Link Parent
                      If their freedom of movement is curtailed for a larger social obligation, that's *still a curtailment of their freedom of movement." Whether you think it's justified or not is a separate...

                      It's the same as people crying about their rights when they can't go into a store without wearing a mask.

                      If their freedom of movement is curtailed for a larger social obligation, that's *still a curtailment of their freedom of movement." Whether you think it's justified or not is a separate discussion from the thing itself.

                      This article isn't a meta-commentary. It's about what's going on right now as it relates to similar discussions in the past.

                      . . . that's what meta-commentary is. He's addressing the commentary that's going on now and pointing out that its' not great.

                      My entire point is that the author of this article isn't being as objective or fair as they claim to be.

                      My point is that it's sounding like you're hanging a lot of baggage on the authors' point that isn't there, and it's causing you to grievously misread most of his points.

                      For example he said "For many progressives, this unknowing is indeed a kind of generational vanity: only we, in the early 21st century, have the moral clear-sightedness and mettle to reprimand behaviour that our predecessors let slide" and you read that as "progressives are doing too much censorship."

                      But parse the actual sentence in the context of this line: "[the argument over statues] has still been framed, for the most part, as an argument between the present and the past: the enlightened living versus the dead racists."

                      He's talking about misframing the discussion as past vs. present rather than a long-standing battle between good and bad. This is made clear in the very next sentence: "There is a whole click-friendly genre of journalism dedicated to scolding “of its time” art in the tone of a disappointed schoolteacher, while oblivious to the fact that many of their points were made at the time." If anything, he's criticizing the presentation of these issues as newfangled arguments that "the kids today" are doing and will grow out of.

                      2 votes
      2. [2]
        RapidEyeMovement
        Link Parent
        To me this is factually not true. This view point subverts the nuance inherent in any thought or idea Can you give me any examples?

        To me this is factually not true. This view point subverts the nuance inherent in any thought or idea

        If you’re on a side of a cultural conflict you’re a culture warrior by definition. That’s not really dismissive, it’s just definitional.

        Can you give me any examples?

        1. NaraVara
          Link Parent
          I'm not sure what you want in terms of examples or how you're interpreting these terms. The term "culture war" has been around for a few decades now to talk about the contentious social wedge...

          I'm not sure what you want in terms of examples or how you're interpreting these terms. The term "culture war" has been around for a few decades now to talk about the contentious social wedge issues of the time, like abortion, women in the work-force, women in the military, etc.

          The actual issues that have been most salient have shifted over time.In the 80s it was a lot of stuff on women's role in the workplace, "PC" stuff on terminology, and some satanic panic. In the 90s it became rap music and abortion. In the 2000s it became gay marriage. In the 2010s it's been trans and immigrants' rights (and also re-litigating all of the above because our gerontocrats in charge keep losing track of what year it is). But the general point has always been that it's a political fight over norms and values that's hard to resolve because it's not something that the competing parties can horse-trade or compromise on.

          2 votes
      3. Gaywallet
        Link Parent
        Weird, it's almost as in if humans have control of language and can choose to define or not define things however they wish. While we are at it, we should probably refer to all people of colored...

        If you’re on a side of a cultural conflict you’re a culture warrior by definition. That’s not really dismissive, it’s just definitional.

        Weird, it's almost as in if humans have control of language and can choose to define or not define things however they wish. While we are at it, we should probably refer to all people of colored skin as 'coloreds' because that's just definitional.

        5 votes
    2. [2]
      arp242
      Link Parent
      I think the problem isn't so much examining the past per se, but rather the judgment of people – especially individuals – for being unethical. The thing is, we all like to think that we'd be the...

      I think the problem isn't so much examining the past per se, but rather the judgment of people – especially individuals – for being unethical. The thing is, we all like to think that we'd be the one to oppose slavery, or Nazism, or the ones that will survive the zombie apocalypse. But in reality ... probably not. If I was born in 1830 in Alabama and grew up with slavery as a normal thing, then I'd probably just ... accept it. Perhaps even defend it.

      Of course there are people who are exceptionally bad, or exceptionally good. But most of us? just somewhere in the middle. Our sense of ethics is strongly determined by our environment. There's a bunch of reasons why our ethics have changed so much over the last few hundred years, but expanding on that is a bit beyond the scope of this comment. Suffice to say, that it has.

      So I dislike judging people who were mostly just a product of their time by modern standards. This doesn't mean we can't examine and recognize bad aspects to get a better understanding of the people, the environment, and history and general – which is very valuable! – I just don't like the judgemental attitude.

      This sort-of also applies to contemporaries by the way. For example I recently read something about 25% of women in Russia being victims of domestic abuse (a shockingly high number!), and racists from Alabama are a classic stereotype. We'd all like to think we're better than that (and I certainly hope I would be), but in reality ... quite a few of us probably wouldn't be, because that's just human nature. Judging people doesn't really fix anything, examining the circumstances as to why they became this way is. The classic example of this is the rise of Nazi Germany (but again, some people are are exceptionally bad/evil, so this doesn't apply to everyone of course).

      2 votes
      1. moonbathers
        Link Parent
        I get that our sense of ethics is determined by our environment and that it's changed over time. I think everyone who wants Confederate statues torn down is aware of why they were the way they...

        I get that our sense of ethics is determined by our environment and that it's changed over time. I think everyone who wants Confederate statues torn down is aware of why they were the way they were, I just don't think it matters. There were plenty of people in the 18th and 19th centuries who thought slavery was just as terrible as we think of it now, too.

        In the case of historical figures who were slaveholders, it's not just about judging them, it's a reminder to millions of people in this country that their ancestors were owned by people who were/are venerated enough to get statues built of them. So many people with slave ancestors also have slaveholder ancestors because those slaveholders raped their slaves. I don't know how we address it, but I do think that we need to have a conversation about the slaveholding founding fathers' positions in our culture.

        2 votes
  2. [8]
    Akir
    Link
    I can't help but find myself getting upset reading this. It feels extremely judgemental but doesn't seem to adequitely decent it's position. The author is basically saying that censorship is bad...

    I can't help but find myself getting upset reading this. It feels extremely judgemental but doesn't seem to adequitely decent it's position. The author is basically saying that censorship is bad because reasons. The closest he comes to defending it is this quote:

    I am against censorship in principle even though in particular cases it might be publicly beneficial, because censorship, once invoked, is difficult to control and therefore dangerous.

    Someone needs to paste a giant Citation Needed there. How is censorship difficult to control? If there is one lesson to be learned from history, it's that ideas cannot be erased.

    Heck, we can't even call his examples sensorship. Refusing to give an award to someone you disagree with is not anything close to censorship. Heck, refusing to publish works you don't agree with is not censorship: that action is in itself a demonstration of free speech! So remind me again, how is cancel culture the same as censorship?

    Also, seriously, the Rushdie example is absolutely terrible. The problem with this example is not that he was censored (though that was clearly also part of the problem), but that attempts were made to murder him for his ideals.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      NaraVara
      Link Parent
      This is not the authors' point at all. Review his thesis statement and his conclusions: Thesis statement: Conclusion: The whole point is that the discussion is ignorant of historical perspective,...

      The author is basically saying that censorship is bad because reasons.

      This is not the authors' point at all. Review his thesis statement and his conclusions:

      Thesis statement:

      The prize and its justification ignited an argument which blazed for six months: can art be separated from politics? Should the intolerant be tolerated, let alone rewarded? Should liberalism take account of the consequences of speech even as it defends the right to speak? To put in in 2020 terminology: “Should Ezra Pound be cancelled?”

      Conclusion:

      By paying our forerunners the respect of acknowledging that they thrashed out many of the same issues of conflicting rights as us, we can remind ourselves that these dilemmas aren’t going to be resolved in a hurry, nor do they have to be. We are neither the first nor the last nor the most important. Years from now, when “woke” and “cancel culture” are rusting on the lexical scrapheap, these arguments will still be raging and perhaps a subsequent chronocentric generation will have forgotten that we cared enough to have these fights, too.

      The whole point is that the discussion is ignorant of historical perspective, and consequently fails to actually make any intellectual progress.

      So remind me again, how is cancel culture the same as censorship?

      Oy! The article is, again, explicit about this: "The phrase “cancel culture” might have been coined by the Devil to ensure maximum rancour and confusion." Nobody disagrees here. The whole point is that people are terrible at drawing cultural or historical parallels because they're ignorant of the actual history.

      2 votes
      1. Akir
        Link Parent
        First, that is not his thesis statement. He doesn't really have one - his thesis is that modern people do not look to historical context when it comes to discussion on deplatforming. And frankly...

        First, that is not his thesis statement. He doesn't really have one - his thesis is that modern people do not look to historical context when it comes to discussion on deplatforming.

        And frankly that thesis is unprovable simply because it is too vague. Society isn't talking about history? Then why do I keep hearing historical examples when I hear discussion about cancel culture? It's useless to generalize society to such a degree.

        And if we do bring it up in an academic context it still doesnt matter. The "problem" of cancel culture wasn't difinitively solved then, and because culture and the nature of communication has changed, much of it is not relavent to modern examples. Why should the decision to award a poem decide weather I should boycott a Fox news advertiser or block someone on Twitter?

        It also seems like you are taking this as an academic work. It's not. It's 100% oppinion.

        4 votes
    2. [5]
      arp242
      Link Parent
      I have the impression that different people use "censorship" in different ways. The way it's used here is as a broad "being excluded from certain things", whereas you seem to be using a much...

      Heck, we can't even call his examples sensorship. Refusing to give an award to someone you disagree with is not anything close to censorship. Heck, refusing to publish works you don't agree with is not censorship: that action is in itself a demonstration of free speech! So remind me again, how is cancel culture the same as censorship?

      I have the impression that different people use "censorship" in different ways. The way it's used here is as a broad "being excluded from certain things", whereas you seem to be using a much narrower definition of "being forbidden to do certain things". Perhaps there should be different words for this, but language is messy :-/

      2 votes
      1. [4]
        Akir
        Link Parent
        I'm sorry, but if someone is using "censorship" to replace "social exclusion", they are making a bad faith argument. There is an ocean of difference between them and they have different causes and...

        I'm sorry, but if someone is using "censorship" to replace "social exclusion", they are making a bad faith argument. There is an ocean of difference between them and they have different causes and effects.

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          arp242
          Link Parent
          Yet his is how the word is often used by many: hidden from view, or censored from view. Many of those people are not argueing in "bad faith" just because they use a term slightly different from you.

          Yet his is how the word is often used by many: hidden from view, or censored from view. Many of those people are not argueing in "bad faith" just because they use a term slightly different from you.

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            Akir
            Link Parent
            Who is this "many"? I mean, sure, the use of the word is technically correct, but it completely ignores the historical context. And that in turn is a common bad faith argument.

            Who is this "many"?

            I mean, sure, the use of the word is technically correct, but it completely ignores the historical context. And that in turn is a common bad faith argument.

            1 vote
            1. wervenyt
              Link Parent
              A younger me would have argued in favour of that usage of "censorship", so there's one of those many. Ignoring context due to personal ignorance doesn't magically turn the argument into one of bad...

              A younger me would have argued in favour of that usage of "censorship", so there's one of those many. Ignoring context due to personal ignorance doesn't magically turn the argument into one of bad faith, it just makes it a bad argument.

              1 vote
  3. NaraVara
    Link
    This article does a good job of skewering the hot take industry on every side of this issue. Not for the position they hold, but for being dumb and lazy in general.

    This article does a good job of skewering the hot take industry on every side of this issue. Not for the position they hold, but for being dumb and lazy in general.

    As if that weren’t muddled enough, the current debate is largely taking place in a state of historical amnesia, as if the issues were as novel as the terminology. The sociologist Jib Fowles called this fallacy chronocentrism: “the belief that one’s own times are paramount, that other periods pale in comparison”. The author and academic Philip Seargeant suggests “the narcissism of the present”.

    For many progressives, this unknowing is indeed a kind of generational vanity: only we, in the early 21st century, have the moral clear-sightedness and mettle to reprimand behaviour that our predecessors let slide. There is a whole click-friendly genre of journalism dedicated to scolding “of its time” art in the tone of a disappointed schoolteacher, while oblivious to the fact that many of their points were made at the time.

    For their opponents, meanwhile, chronocentrism magnifies the danger of current challenges to free speech: the mob is at the gates, the clock is ticking and the survival of liberalism itself hangs in the balance. Novelty inspires urgency. It doesn’t help them to point out that conservative writers were routinely warning against “liberal fascism” and “a new McCarthyism” 30 years ago, nor that some of them simultaneously endorsed censorship of work that offended them. Both versions of the fallacy imply that, roughly between the peak of the Enlightenment and the launch of Twitter, it was plain sailing.

    6 votes