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(The Atlantic)   We have become a culture accustomed to shutting up when we attempt to voice dissident political opinions, claims person upset at getting shot down by "facts" and "statistics" when trying to say Obama is really from Africa   (theatlantic.com) divider line 19
    More: Dumbass, freedom of thinks, Great Village Recession, Brendan Eich, Mount Doom, Middlebury College, statistics, tort of outrage, cultures  
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3957 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 Apr 2014 at 9:56 AM (20 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



Voting Results (Smartest)
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2014-04-08 10:08:42 AM
12 votes:
In other words, you believe that you should be able to say whatever you want without any consequences. The age old cry of liars, cheats and bigots: "freedom means from consequences!"

You believe that if you say something that is demonstrably false, it's unfair when people demonstrate your falsehoods.

You believe that if somebody acting in the capacity of a public figure at a business says something that is unpopular, it's unfair when the people you rely on for your livelihood choose to no longer support you financially.

You believe that if somebody says something to a group of their associates that those associates strenuously disagree with that it's unfair when those associates choose to disassociate from you.

Nobody was told to shut up, Lovett. I have every good, goddamn right to choose to respond to falsehoods with facts and I have every good, goddamn right to choose who I spend my money with and I have every good, goddamn right to choose who I associate with. And when I make those decisions and you try to tell me that my decisions are wrong and unfair and anti-freedom because I made them on the basis of my own experiences and ethos YOU are the one who is attempting to stifle speech.

When the government tries to pass laws that tell those people in your piece to shut up, let me know. When somebody puts a gun to your head and tells you to stop talking, let me know.

Until then all I see are people acting against statements of conscience based on their own consciences. Being the first to speak does not infuse you with protection against the retaliatory speech of others.

So, shut up, Jon Lovett.
2014-04-08 10:07:56 AM
6 votes:
Martin Bashir was told to shut up about Sarah Palin.

And got fired for it.  But I didn't hear Sister Sarah defending his right to free speech then.  funny, that.
2014-04-08 10:25:04 AM
4 votes:
I thought this article was going to make a good point, but then it went off in on the "people are mean when opinions are expressed" direction.

I believe public discourse really fell apart starting with CNN's Crossfire. Suddenly, there were no longer a bunch of different opinions across a spectrum being presented on TV. Everything needed to fall into either "right" or "left" and the definition of those categories became extreme. If you expressed sympathy with some ideas of the other side, not only were you decried as a traitor, but you were no longer useful to the networks presenting "balanced" programs. They needed one guy on the left, one on the right, and the guy moderating (the best part of the article was the first paragraph). If you couldn't play in this, you didn't get called by the news networks, so everyone became shrill idiots shouting the party lines.

What that meant to everyone else is that you could no longer feel safe, in private life, expressing a moderate position, because everyone tries to associate you with one of those idiots or the other. You can't say "well, of course global warming is real, but I'm not sure we've thought through solutions fully" because then you are labeled a right wing idiot. You can't say "well, I believe in the free market, but isn't Wall Street rigged to make huge profits for the companies and not investors?" without being told you are a Occupy sympathizing lefty.

Yes, we've always had extremist idiots shouting at each other throughout American history. But we've also had more moderate, thoughtful grown-ups talking things through. At least until the last couple of decades...
2014-04-08 09:29:40 AM
4 votes:
That article was a lot like a sunday morning motorcycle ride.

You leave the house, meander around, mabe stop for breakfast, and, several hours and 100 miles later, end up back in your garage.
2014-04-08 10:28:55 AM
3 votes:

MonkeyDavid: I thought this article was going to make a good point, but then it went off in on the "people are mean when opinions are expressed" direction.

I believe public discourse really fell apart starting with CNN's Crossfire. Suddenly, there were no longer a bunch of different opinions across a spectrum being presented on TV. Everything needed to fall into either "right" or "left" and the definition of those categories became extreme. If you expressed sympathy with some ideas of the other side, not only were you decried as a traitor, but you were no longer useful to the networks presenting "balanced" programs. They needed one guy on the left, one on the right, and the guy moderating (the best part of the article was the first paragraph). If you couldn't play in this, you didn't get called by the news networks, so everyone became shrill idiots shouting the party lines.

What that meant to everyone else is that you could no longer feel safe, in private life, expressing a moderate position, because everyone tries to associate you with one of those idiots or the other. You can't say "well, of course global warming is real, but I'm not sure we've thought through solutions fully" because then you are labeled a right wing idiot. You can't say "well, I believe in the free market, but isn't Wall Street rigged to make huge profits for the companies and not investors?" without being told you are a Occupy sympathizing lefty.

Yes, we've always had extremist idiots shouting at each other throughout American history. But we've also had more moderate, thoughtful grown-ups talking things through. At least until the last couple of decades...


Another piece of the issue is that the media wanted pundits who could speak in sound bites and wanted a really short contact list. You didn't get a guy who knows science and a different guy who knows gay rights and a different guy who is an expert on relations with Turkey.

You get one dude who has no real skill set, other than the ability to recite summaries of position papers who is in charge of debating all three topics.
2014-04-08 09:49:55 AM
3 votes:
technically speaking, we're all from africa.
2014-04-08 10:14:19 AM
2 votes:

palelizard: The problem in the story is the villagers used the rocks to write things to each other, rather than stoning the elders to death when they made catastrophic mistakes.  Leaders should fear their constituents, not the other way around.  It helps ensure the only people who want to be leaders are people who want to lead.


OR, I'm just throwing this out there, nobody fears anybody and we all work cooperatively to make the world better. We could get together to make rules that everybody agrees to live by and because we can't all take the time out of our day to do that we could vote to elect representatives to do it for us; and everybody puts a little bit of money based on what they can afford into a pot so that we can all collectively pay for things that are a common good, like roads and shiat...but whatever, that's just crazy talk.
2014-04-08 04:07:51 PM
1 votes:
Well, when we live in a society where the only people with an effective voice to change things are those with piles of money, and the great unwashed are left with a very small voice and very little real power, what did you expect would happen?

Bereft of any REAL power to change things, ordinary people will start attacking each other in the belief that changing the opinion of someone who is as equally powerless as you are will make a difference, even when the change of belief they want is often based on semantics and will not make any real difference anyway.

However there are ALWAYS cracks in the wall, and when we find them, we CAN use them to make change that matters to ordinary people. But ONLY if masses of us keep pushing, and it is so easy to give up these days....
2014-04-08 02:57:11 PM
1 votes:

skozlaw: kgf: The author said none of the things you attribute to him...

Except for that part right in the middle where he says exactly all of that. You know, where he lists off all those people who were "wronged" because they said something that got responses from people who disagreed. Or the part right after where he talks about how it's not right that the "middle" sometimes reacts to speech it disagrees with by harming the speaker financially or socially, as if it's wrong to make value-based decisions in a world with numerous options. Which is funny since immediately after he deigns himself arbiter of those ideas which are "off-limits" and glorifies the fact that that retaliation for racist and anti-semitic speech make the "social costs of saying the unsayable ... prohibitively high". Because, apparently, he gets to decide what is and is not off-limits.

Even ignoring all that, though, it's a bullshiat argument anyway. There is no "outrage bubble". The fact that people are able to communicate and organize their outrage is new, but the fact that people became outraged by the outrageous is not. He's essentially biatching because people are able to come together and their voices are now louder than before, but the voices aren't new, they're just organized and in unison now.

Get the fark over it. There was a time when you could take a Polaroid of your junk and then burn the evidence for good if you had misgivings later. Well, like those days of yore, the days when a CEO or other public figure could say something hateful and take it back before anyone noticed are gone. The solution to that isn't to stop holding assholes accountable for being assholes, it's for assholes to simply stop being assholes.
Since Eich is the current preeminent example, we'll use Eich. I personally don't care enough to get that worked up about his bigotry, but apparently a lot of other people did. I'm not going to say it's wrong what they did because it's not. There's no shortage of browsers out ther ...


This article was so terribly written, it's hard to tell what point the author was trying to make, exactly. To the extent that he was saying "defeat ideas, don't attack people" I can see the point of that argument, even if it is just hand-waving "take the high road" centrism that tends to really piss people off. It's along the same lines of the "agree to disagree" philosophy of civil, civic discourse - "I disagree with you but I'm pretty sure you're not Hitler" sort of protesting. And to the extent that inflammatory rhetoric has replaced compromise, and there has been a sharp rise in the "us v. them" gamesmanship in the political sphere, I can see his point.

But where he falls short is not understanding that there are some people who do need to be told to shut up. There are people who need to be held accountable for stupid, dangerous, wrong, immoral, bigoted speech, and those people should be told to shut up. I don't care if my neighbor believes in evolution or is pro-life, except to the extent that he's an asshole about it. I do care when a school board member doesn't believe in evolution, or when my pharmacist is pro-life, because that will actually affect me personally. I care when a prominent person who has influence over...whatever, that might affect me, spouts off offensive and disgusting viewpoints. And I believe that those people should be removed from positions of influence so that those offensive viewpoints cease to affect me.

And that's what the author is missing. If you are in a position of influence in our society, whether it's as a CEO, or a politician, or a political commentator, or even just a celebrity, you have influence over the way people think, act, and respond to situations in their lives. Much more influence than me, I'm well aware. So if you hold a position I disagree with, the best way I know to counteract that position is by limiting the voices espousing that position. Reducing the influence of that position. And if you consider my methods of reducing that influence to be crass, argumentative, unproductive, or silly, well, sometimes that's the only way to be heard.
2014-04-08 12:49:21 PM
1 votes:

Syrrh: No, but it doesn't surprise me that someone would go there. And I honestly wouldn't push for a whatever-th amendment to allow foreigners to run for president because there *is* a (tiny) chance that someone could try to undermine US leadership.


The Tea Party, for example?  Shut down the government because they didn't get what they wanted?

Or how about the billions of dollars now available to candidates across America?  No way that will undermine our political system!

/How does one be a speechwriter for Obama for 3 years, but then call him "foreign-born"?
2014-04-08 12:04:50 PM
1 votes:
I see some people think the writer is serious about being a birther. Successful troll is successful.
2014-04-08 10:53:11 AM
1 votes:

palelizard: Voiceofreason01: OR, I'm just throwing this out there, nobody fears anybody and we all work cooperatively to make the world better. We could get together to make rules that everybody agrees to live by and because we can't all take the time out of our day to do that we could vote to elect representatives to do it for us; and everybody puts a little bit of money based on what they can afford into a pot so that we can all collectively pay for things that are a common good, like roads and shiat...but whatever, that's just crazy talk.

It's a great ideal and I'm all for it.  The problem is there are bad people out there, and they tend to pose as good people but continuously put their own interests ahead of others' in a way that is detrimental to the whole. On a practical level, we need a methodology to minimize their impact.  Fear will keep the local politicians in line. I'm not saying literally kill people for making bad decisions, but there have to be consequences or we allow them to keep making bad decisions.


Just don't reelect them.... but whatever, that's just crazy talk.
2014-04-08 10:26:23 AM
1 votes:

Voiceofreason01: OR, I'm just throwing this out there, nobody fears anybody and we all work cooperatively to make the world better. We could get together to make rules that everybody agrees to live by and because we can't all take the time out of our day to do that we could vote to elect representatives to do it for us; and everybody puts a little bit of money based on what they can afford into a pot so that we can all collectively pay for things that are a common good, like roads and shiat...but whatever, that's just crazy talk.


It's a great ideal and I'm all for it.  The problem is there are bad people out there, and they tend to pose as good people but continuously put their own interests ahead of others' in a way that is detrimental to the whole. On a practical level, we need a methodology to minimize their impact.  Fear will keep the local politicians in line. I'm not saying literally kill people for making bad decisions, but there have to be consequences or we allow them to keep making bad decisions.

The article, for all its meandering crazy, makes a valid point when listing several things that have gone wrong in the past two decades and how the people responsible for those situations aren't the ones feeling the pain.
2014-04-08 10:25:23 AM
1 votes:
That was long and rambling and the author admits towards the end that it doesn't really have much of a point. Also it approvingly quotes Maureen Dowd. What a waste of time.
2014-04-08 10:07:41 AM
1 votes:
"President" Ballrog, HUSSEIN, Sombrero, Fresh Prince of Bill Ayers, al-Chicago, Chocolate Jesus, B-Rock the Islamic Shock, Barky McTeleprompter, Wizard of Uhhs, BoBo the Clown, Oblahbla, Jug Ears,  Saunas breach akimbo, Waffles The Clown, Borborygmos Hammerhiem, The Rainbow King, Bukkake O'Bunga, OBIGOT, El Jefe Chocholate,  "Jace the Mindsculpter", Hopey McChangeypants, Oyobi, Bonzo the Time Traveler, La Bamba yo' Mamma, Samurai Kebab Nachos, Barackabeedoobeedoobeedo, Hussein-In-The-Membrane, Black Thunder, Dr. Utopia,  Obamarambo, Fartbongo, II"
2014-04-08 10:07:40 AM
1 votes:
The problem in the story is the villagers used the rocks to write things to each other, rather than stoning the elders to death when they made catastrophic mistakes.  Leaders should fear their constituents, not the other way around.  It helps ensure the only people who want to be leaders are people who want to lead.
2014-04-08 10:07:33 AM
1 votes:
Jesus....it's 2000 words worth of crap that can be boiled down into 100 words in the last three paragraphs. The whole point of publishing on the internet is that you no longer have to fit the article to the page, STOP WRITING FILLER.
2014-04-08 10:06:19 AM
1 votes:
See, what really pisses me off about the Birther movement is that it doesn't god damn matter either way. Well, that and the fact that the asshats would obviously never believe any sort of evidence presented to them.

The rules for presidency stipulate it's gotta be a native, because we don't want a foreign interest ruling the country no matter how charming and likeable they are. Fine. I'm pretty sure Barry isn't a sleeper agent trained as an infant and carefully biding his time before making a whole lot of unfairly pro-Kenyan policy decisions. Hell, even Schwarzenegger has been in the US for long enough and has other interests besides benefiting his old countrymates that I don't think it'd be a big deal for him to run for prez.
2014-04-08 09:35:32 AM
1 votes:
This article?

2.bp.blogspot.com
 
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