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Monday, May 09, 2016

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Hi Bill,
I agree that leftists will typically insist that they have the right to speak what they think is true, while also typically denying that rightists have any such right. Now if they claim that they have that right _because_ they have something to say that they think is true, their denial that rightists also have that right seems to indicate a double standard. (They must know that rightists also sometimes think that what they say is true.)

But I'm not sure this is how they think of the issue. A lot of them probably just think "We have the right to speak because we're oppressed" or "We have the right to speak because we're objectively right (and not evil crazy Nazis)". For example, apparently at the Occupy Wall Street thing normal white men were only allowed to speak at the mic if every woman or transvestite or black person had already had a chance to say whatever they felt like saying. The justification seems to have been that white men were "privileged" (or maybe "over-privileged"?) compared to everyone else. Though I'd have to look up the references, I'm pretty sure that lots of traditional Communists believed that free speech was only good or acceptable to the extent that it would serve the global struggle. No need to let class enemies and capitalist oppressors speak freely. And cultural Marxists nowadays take roughly the same view. Cisgendered-white-male-haters oppress others when they 'argue' or 'explain' in public. Their speech makes everyone else unsafe, right? So it's only reasonable that they should be silenced. Feminists often argue that porn should be censored, or that men's rights ideas should be censored, because the expression is itself an act of political subordination of women.

Are leftists operating with a double standard if they think of free speech rights in these ways -- if they think that people have rights to express themselves only if they satisfy some special condition that, as it turns out, their enemies and critics never do satisfy? Or do they just have a single standard which happens to be insane?

I suppose we need to define 'double standard.'

I take it you are saying that there are privileged, white male leftists who deny that there is a universal right to free speech. What there is a right of free speech only for certain 'oppressed' and 'marginalized' people. And so these white leftists do not believe that they have any right to free speech. But then why don't they STFU?

And doesn't the fact that their practice contradicts their theory show that they operate with a double standard?

Yes, I think the real serious Left (which has the real power) has never really believed in freedom of expression. Suppose they think people have the right to speak if and only if what they are saying is liberating, and suppose they think it's liberating if and only if it advances the Leftist causes they care about. Then it may be consistent for the privileged tenured white male Leftist to insist on his right to speak while holding that his intellectual and moral superiors on the Right must be silenced. He doesn't think they're intellectually and morally superior, and he thinks that their speech will not be liberating. He has one false standard which applies consistently, not a true standard that he applies inconsistently. Now there may be some kind of de re/de dicto puzzle here, depending on his rationale. Suppose he thinks that only the oppressed have the right to free speech, and fails to recognize that (in fact) he himself is an oppressor and not one of the oppressed. In reality, it is others -- white people, Christians, working class people, students of his -- who are oppressed by his authoritative propaganda. Is he guilty of working with a double standard in that case? I'm inclined to say no, so long as he really is so deluded that he fails to understand that he himself is a powerful and privileged person, e.g., he thinks that the USA is a rightwing Christian theocracy and Leftists suffer terrible persecution. But I'm not sure about that. Maybe you can offer an account of double standards?

PS: Your latest post about Jonah Goldberg seems relevant here. He refers to a 'conservative movement' and you seem to accept that the people in that movement, such as Goldberg himself, are conservatives of some kind. At least you don't explicitly say that they're not true conservatives. I'd say Goldberg is a CINO given that he is willing to tolerate Hillary Clinton rather than Trump, and obviously cares less about saving America from demographic cultural ruin than he cares about the despicable Republican party -- its donors and funding, the status and income he gets as a result. I disagree with you that people like him are 'gentlemanly'. I think they're scum. They're at least as bad as most on the Left, and worse because they're so dishonest. At least with Marxists or BLM people you know where you stand. People like Goldberg and the other NR writers are liars and traitors who pretend to stand with ordinary western people when in reality they're a controlled opposition. Likewise, it may be true that they want to be liked and respected; but the key thing is that they want to be liked and respected by their masters on the Left, the media and academic establishment, the corporations and banks and other globalist powers. They don't care how anyone else thinks of them. Also, their deeper motivation is probably just to keep their money and social status; they're prostitutes, basically.

I think you are being too hard on Goldberg & Co., but I agree that a good part of their motivation is to preserve their power, position, and perquisites.

Amazing to me are the extremes. The pro-Trump blind partisans and the neverTrumpsters.

Here is one of the latter you may enjoy tangling with: http://lydiaswebpage.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-one-gleam-of-silver-lining.html

By the way, what exactly were you arguing over with Pollack recently, whether naturalism entails nihilism?

Hi Bill,
For me the fact that self-described right-wingers and conservatives are saying they're going to vote for Clinton rather than Trump is far more amazing and revealing than anything on the pro-Trump side. They're not going to abstain, or vote for a third party candidate. No, they're going to vote for Hillary Clinton! One of these 'neoconservative' guys recently said in print that he'd rather vote for Stalin than Trump. Anyway, it certainly is an interesting time... I don't think I'll try to tangle with Lydia McGrew. She seems very smart but I often just don't get her perspective at all. I just can't understand how anyone can think that Trump is worse than Clinton, or even that he's worse than these pitiful pseudo-conservatives like Kasich or Rubio or Bush. I can't understand how anyone who cares about the country can fail to appreciate the value of raising the issue of Mexican immigration or the value of getting everyone to think about whether Muslims have a right to come to the US. No one else would even be talking about these issues were it not for Trump, and unless people sort out these issues right now there won't be an American nation anymore. So McGrew is just on another planet, as far as I'm concerned. I can't imagine having a useful debate with her. It would be like arguing with a Marxist-Leninist. (At Malcolm's blog I was trying to argue that his nihilism doesn't fit rationally with his belief in things like value and responsibility; I guess I was urging him to give up nihilism.)

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