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David Miller
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Posted: 08 April 2021 at 7:15pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

UPDATE: It's a toilet now.


 QUOTE:
UDC has a complicated history in this country, and we’ve been looking at them for quite some time. And of course last summer, everything that happened with George Floyd reignited this conversation about Confederate monuments in America. And one thing we really wanted to do, to highlight, is that groups like the UDC and people with the same ideology and beliefs, they tend to care more about things than people. If you look at the Black Lives Matter movement, if you look at the civil rights movement, if you look at any time in history in the South particularly, when people are putting their lives on the line, there are always these groups like the UDC, and just normal civilians from the South, they have a tendency to pick objects ... over that of human life and over the needs of human beings, whether it’s the right to vote, or the right to have your neck not kneeled on for nine minutes.
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Rodrigo castellanos
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Posted: 08 April 2021 at 8:24pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

No one is required to do this.  If there are still people out there who share the opinions of the CSA, they are entitled to express them.

Complete outsider views on this matter, I apologize in advance... but:

IMHO the Confederate flag and symbols (which I find brilliant in their aesthetics) are just as racist and dangerous symbolically as the Nazi imagery (also brilliant, obviously).

That brilliance means huge symbolic power and that makes them extremely dangerous, as the Germans have learned and that's why they're completely banned over there.

I think that's a smart call, and Americans should push for the same. Show your southern pride in a different way if you must, but not those symbols. 

You'll have a hard time finding a bigger advocate for free speech than me, and the USA is a big inspiration on that. But free speech ends when hate speech begins and in this case I find it very clear where the line is.

You guys had a preview on January 6th, I wouldn't want to see the whole movie.



 


Edited by Rodrigo castellanos on 08 April 2021 at 8:30pm
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John Wickett
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Posted: 09 April 2021 at 9:00am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

No need to apologize for your opinions.  

If you want to outlaw hate speech, the problem becomes how to define it, and who gets to define it.  Does any offensive speech qualify?  And offensive to whom?

I think you are right that speech can be dangerous.  We have laws that address some of those dangers.  You can't threaten someone, for example.  

Historically, we've drawn a line at regulating speech because of offensive content, and I think we should continue to draw that line in order to protect diversity of thought and opinion.  

There's an old saying that just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.  That applies to speech.  I think social media has shown that many of us need to exercise better judgment with respect to what we say and how we say it.  

In most situations we have social and cultural mechanisms to hold each other accountable when we say stupid, insensitive, or offensive things, without having to criminalize speech.  Sure, sometimes that's impossible.  For example, there are thousands of places you can go on the internet to anonymously rant, and express your vilest thoughts.  But nobody has to listen.  With one click, the "audience" can turn its attention elsewhere, and you are gone.

At the end of the day, all liberties come with a price.  If you want to be free to express yourself, then you have to give your neighbor that same freedom, even though he may use it in a way you disapprove of, or find offensive.  So there's a sliding scale here with liberty on one side and comfort on the other.  How much of one are you willing to sacrifice to get more of the other?  As we've seen, we all fall at different places on that scale.  Personally, I lean more towards liberty.


Edited by John Wickett on 09 April 2021 at 9:01am
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Rodrigo castellanos
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Posted: 09 April 2021 at 9:16pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I apologized in advance not because of my opinions per se but because I'm not an American citizen and I get that some may find it disrespectful for an outsider to intrude in their internal affairs. Again, I totally get that and don't want to be out of line.

I do work directly for American companies and pay taxes in a way, though :) But most importantly, I think what happens over there is hugely influential and has a lot of real consequences for the rest of the western world, so we're probably entitled to an opinion as well.

Back to topic, I think "offensive" speech and hate speech are different things but which you're trying to make them sound the same. I'm not talking "political correctness" here, which would be another whole subject.

You can be as "offensive" as you like in your speech, as long as you learn how to take it in if you dish it out as well. But hate speech isn't something you're entitled to.

When you scratch below the surface of the Confederate flag and associated symbols what you encounter is not politically incorrect content or "southern heritage", but straight hate speech (and I say this as a huge Lynyrd Skynyrd fan, this doesn't mean every single person raising that flag is necessarily aware of this or that it makes them instantly racist, but the symbols do represent that). And, as philosopher Karl Popper famously said, you can't be tolerant of intolerance.

Again, the germans learned this the hard way and the only "solution" is to ban it altogether, make it socially unacceptable to claim and vindicate those symbols. Mark a clear line in the sand, this is wrong and evil.

If you don't do that, as a society, the power and ideologies within those symbols will explode in your face. Again, January 6th was a clear example of that.

On this subject, I highly recommend the recent "Q: INTO THE STORM" documentary series from HBO, it eloquently shows how this wrong "anything goes" interpretation of free speech can turn very bad, very fast.


  


Edited by Rodrigo castellanos on 09 April 2021 at 9:24pm
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John Wickett
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Posted: 09 April 2021 at 11:50pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

"...some may find it disrespectful for an outsider to intrude in their internal affairs."

I welcome your insights, and you make some good points.

I wasn't trying to equate political correctness with hate speech.  I understand the difference, but I used the broader term of offensive speech because even though they are different, they are both on the spectrum of free speech.

"Mark a clear line in the sand, this is wrong and evil....you can't be tolerant of intolerance."  

Agreed.  Hate speech should not be tolerated.  It should be called out and repudiated wherever it appears, and we should take the time to educate people about why it is wrong.  

I just don't think that we should criminalize speech, or forcefully silence anyone.
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Rodrigo castellanos
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Posted: 10 April 2021 at 12:43am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Agreed.  Hate speech should not be tolerated.  It should be called out and repudiated wherever it appears, and we should take the time to educate people about why it is wrong.  

I just don't think that we should criminalize speech, or forcefully silence anyone.

In an ideal world, I'd agree with you.

But what's happening now, fueled by technologies that those in political power don't really fully comprehend as Carl Sagan predicted, gives the people promoting hate speech an unfair advantage.

In those bubbles, there's no counterpoint. People ("normal" people) can be manipulated and radicalized easily and any attempt at educating or any counter argument is easily dismissed as "lies by the mainstream media" (which does lie a lot, just not in the way these people think, which makes the issue all the more complicated) and what begins as a "healthy" interest in defending southern heritage or being against the elites or whatever the entry point is ends up with a radicalized white nationalist in record time.

And you end up with straight up Nazi rallies in the streets, which are not permitted in any country in the civilized world except America (Spain and France did have quasi similar events recently, but nobody was straight up raising a Nazi flag or paraded around in an SS uniform). Even the US President himself sort of endorsed them! 

And remember, the whole Charlottesville thing supposedly began with the defense of a confederate general statue. There has to be a line, somewhere.

And when those sorts of things happen, the advocacy of complete free speech becomes more of a prison than liberty, IMHO.




Edited by Rodrigo castellanos on 10 April 2021 at 1:17am
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John Wickett
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Posted: 10 April 2021 at 1:34am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

"technologies...gives the people promoting hate speech an unfair advantage."

I think that's an excellent point, but only if we concede the advantage.  The responsibility to reject hate speech lies with all of us; not just our leaders, and certainly not the media.  

One of the issues that's been raised in other threads (addressing systemic racism) is that the average person doesn't do enough to oppose hate.  That's probably true.  So I get your point about not living in an ideal world, but I hate the idea of using that as an excuse to compromise on our core values.

Also, I'm not sure if banning these symbols really solves anything.  You might avoid having people openly parade in Nazi uniforms, but you're not eliminating the Nazis; you're just forcing them to operate underground, and giving them another thing to be angry about (government oppression), which might end up being even more dangerous.


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Rodrigo castellanos
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Posted: 10 April 2021 at 3:12am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I think that's an excellent point, but only if we concede the advantage.  The responsibility to reject hate speech lies with all of us; not just our leaders, and certainly not the media.

I agree in part. In these issues there's no neutral ground, as we are led to believe. It's not enough perceiving oneself as not being racist, one must be actively anti-racist in order to produce that much necessary counter-position in the real world.

But going back to my "technologies" point, this is not a people vs. people thing as we are also led to believe. It's people vs. algorithms. And algorithms prioritize "high emotions" in order to generate more engagement. 

Basically, and these are things I know directly from my line of work (advertising), feelings like anger, envy or disgust trigger a higher engagement than tolerance and feel-good stuff. 

And this model, which was optimized for the advertising business (and is Google's, Facebook's and Twitter's main source of income), has been proven to have a little "side-effect" when it jumped into politics and regular social media interactions. The bad stuff "sells" better. Again, the ethical limits of free speech and the ethical limits of the free market are much closer conceptually than one is inclined to think.

Not to get too technical and going back to the thread topic, if one "likes" a Southern Heritage group on social media, the algorithm will feed you (not because it's evil - trying to be generous about it- but because it will always try to increase engagement) more and more "extreme" stuff because that would be more likely to engage you. 

Rounding up, it's a f***ed up model. And no one really knows the exact extent of the damage it has caused in society, not even counting what Russia or other interested parties may have done to "hack it" with fake news sites, etc. to their interests.

I'm sounding like a tin foil hat conspiracy nut I know, so I'll stop. But it's profoundly f***ed up and you can't "counter it" with a few personal posts advocating anti-racism, free speech and equality like we're doing right now, it's much, much, bigger than that.

Also, I'm not sure if banning these symbols really solves anything.  You might avoid having people openly parade in Nazi uniforms, but you're not eliminating the Nazis; you're just forcing them to operate underground, and giving them another thing to be angry about (government oppression), which might end up being even more dangerous.

I understand the reasoning, but I don't agree.

Of course it's almost impossible to straight up eliminate Nazis or hate groups but you can deny them any legitimate platforms in order for them to be perceived as what they are: fringe, malicious actors.

Sure, they'll b***h about it and cry censorship but that's way more preferable than them being "legitimized" in any way and opening the conceptual window to their f***ed up ideologies.

Again, the Germans more than any other western nation have the most experience on dealing with this and their conclusion was banning that speech as much as a government can. 

Sure, there are still Nazis in Germany, but they are seen as pariahs in their society and if you try to raise the issue (even in casual conversation) in Berlin you'll see how that goes.


 


Edited by Rodrigo castellanos on 10 April 2021 at 3:20am
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John Wickett
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Posted: 10 April 2021 at 10:28am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

"I'm sounding like a tin foil hat conspiracy nut I know"

Not at all.  This is great food for thought, and I appreciate the good discussion.

At the end of the day, you and I might not agree about how much speech should be regulated, but it won't be because we disagree on these points.  Its just that we fall in different places on the sliding scale I mentioned before.  

Clearly, there are legitimate reasons to criminalize some speech, ie direct threats of violence, shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre, etc.  But I'm afraid that if we start criminalizing speech because the content offends us, the place where we draw the line won't be as clear as you suggest.  Right now the far left and far right in both political parties are being accused by the opposing party of being fascists.  If we start opening the door to the type of censorship you are talking about, how long before they start trying to use those laws to silence each other?

"Sure, there are still Nazis in Germany, but they are seen as pariahs in their society"

I know you're right about that.  I can think of a lot of reasons why that would be true, but I haven't spent any time in Germany, so I would only be speculating. Do you believe that government censorship is the main reason Germans have rejected Nazism? 
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