No Fear

kindlyI’m reading a book right now that I think ought to be required reading for anyone concerned over the censorship on college campuses and on the way the liberal left attacks and dogpiles on anyone who dares to disagree with their one-dimensional view of the world. It shows what happens when we become afraid of different opinions, wrapped in the self righteous sense that we should be immune from the horror of being offended. The book is called “Kindly Inquisitors” by J. Rausch and I’m about a third of the way through.

I’m reading this in tandem with a documentary called “Can we take a joke,” about the way the illiberal left are ruining comedy and shutting down discourse on campuses. It was actually quite horrifying, especially when the producers interviewed Jon Ronson, who wrote a book about the twitter inspired attacks on Justine Sacco, and others who have been publicly shamed. It really brings home the fact that (and I say this being someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy comedy) our comedians and satirists are often the first warning sign of a society out of true. They’re the ones holding the line against well meaning incursions against our freedom of speech.

Growing up I never thought about what it meant to have freedom of speech. I took my classes in US History, Government, Civics and it was an assumed right in this country. We have a right to freedom of speech, not freedom from being offended. I think in the wake of our various well meaning (?) outrage mobs, that is slowly – and perhaps not so slowly—changing. Now, conservative speakers on college campuses risk assault. Artists and comedians risk getting shot.

If you want free speech, you don’t get to decide who has the right to speak. You don’t get to shut down opinions with which you might disagree. Free speech means free speech. I detest, absolutely detest much of what comes out of the Pagan left. I would never presume to tell them they don’t have the right to say those things. Instead, I’ll take them on head on and carefully dissect their rhetoric for those who haven’t the time or courage to do so for themselves.

Hate speech laws…the idea that we could be arrested for our words…are a terrifying reality today, and a clear violation of our freedom of speech. They’re the legislative acts of cowards, the new McCarthys. Our community is not immune.

 

 

Advertisements

Posted on August 4, 2016, in community, Education, Literary Matters, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. This is very appropriate in my life today. I made a comment on Yvonne Rathbone’s Facebook blog a few minutes ago expressing a view which is probably almost 180 degrees opposite. Of course, she does not want to hear it. She thinks I’m a troglodyte or an alt-righter (as-if). Yes, I am a 66 year old woman who believes that ultimately “sex work” is inherently abusive. Hell, I am a History major and I specialized in ancient times up to early modern. There are still “sex tours” to SE Asia for Gods sake — and the victims are 12 year old girls! She’s an idiot. {Sex, of course, in other contexts is something else entirely.} This is just one reason I hate the far left.

    Like

    • ganglerisgrove

      Julia, i get a lot of crap because of my anti-monotheist stance in general. *shrugs*. just ignore it and speak your truth. There will always be people trying to silence you or intimidate you for one reason or another and I suspect we’re going to see more of that in the future. It’s a dangerous trend.

      I’ll share though what I tell my students when I teach: you do not have to agree with me. In fact, I will worry if you agree with me all the time. You do have to consider the information I present and if you don’t like what i say and want to argue, well, craft a well thought out debate and *convince* me.

      but I find most people aren’t interested in doing that. they stead use fear and buzz words, raw emotion, etc. to sway people instead of critical thinking and analysis. I just saw a video on fb of a series of interviews with random college kids. The interviewer was asking questions like “who won the civil war?”, “From whom did america win independence?” and ‘Who is the vp?” and….most of those interviewed *could not answer*. So this is not just a problem of rhetoric, it’s a problem of education and knowledge.

      personally, I think a debate about the issues of sex work –both sides of the argument presented—would be fascinating.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree largely with what you’ve said here, and I’m adding this book to my “to read” list.

    When it comes to hate speech laws, I’m not sure what I think. I see your point. The concept of “wrong thought” being illegal is terrifying. I think plenty of things I assume the Left would burn me for.

    At the same time, is saying “I deeply hate X group and I hope they all die!” merely speech/an opinion? Or is it a threat? Because just in my own life experience, those types of things are generally said in a threatening nature- to make others feel afraid or unwelcome or unsafe, if not a threat of violence.

    Like

    • ganglerisgrove

      I’ve received threats and I still stand by what i said: free speech requires that ALL speech be allowed, even perhaps most especially that which makes us uncomfortable (and really, i’d rather know the fuckers are coming if someone is going to threaten me). I think it’s too easy to ratchet up what we decide is ‘threatening’ speech”…that this is a slippery slope. when we start blocking something like the example given, what we’re really saying is “i’m going to make illegal any words that make you feel unsafe or unwelcome.” regardless of whether or not they’re backed up by actions. we’re legislating thought and that is really, really dangerous.

      I completely get why that would be scary though, and i also think someone threatening like that should be challenged. The response to speech you don’t like is more speech and eventually hopefully educating/talking people out of their crazy.

      Like

      • That is a fantastic point. I actually have a good example about this as a slippery slop argument now that you mention it. I once saw a request on tumblr for people to start tagging thing “eggs” if the post contained eggs because they triggered her about her rape. She gave the whole story, and it did make sense in context and my heart went to her because of her trauma- but I’m not going to tag things “trigger warning: eggs”. She might find my posting about delicious breakfast foods threatening and unwelcoming but I don’t think I should be dogpiled or worse, arrested for it.

        I fight with my conservative father a lot on certain issues and through constant talking and throwing facts at him, he has eased back on some of his crappy opinions. In those instances, his yelling and name calling and generally awfulness is easy to brush off because I know I’m not in danger. So I think your title “no fear” is very apt to this situation. Put aside our fear and keep engaging, because as you said, ongoing conversation is the best solution.

        Liked by 1 person

    • thetinfoilhatsociety

      That is not a threat. It’s a hope, just as expressed. “I deeply hate X group and I’m going to kill them all!” is a threat. “I deeply hate X group and I’m going to make sure they all rot in hell” is a threat. Your statement is not a threat. And I know this because I’ve said EXACTLY that statement about a particular group of individuals in front of sheriff deputies. I was not arrested for it. I was not even chastised for it. That’s because it wasn’t a threat. And I still hope they die slowly and painfully, and I hope I get to watch.

      Like

      • Legally, I agree with you. And legally, I don’t think it should be illegal. But I’ve also been in situations or witnessed situations where “I hope everyone in X group all die” was said with the intent to threaten- and it worked. My sister’s ex told her that he wouldn’t be surprised if someone broke in and raped her before murdering her, while smiling. He told her it would be a shame if someone hit her with their car while she crossed the street to get to work. (and more delightful things) The cops said it wasn’t a threat and technically they are right. I guess my point is this isn’t a black and white issue- sometimes that shit is threatening, on purpose, even if someone isn’t explicitly saying “I’m going to kill you”. I mostly agree with Galina’s slippery slope argument, but sometimes.. I wish there was more to be done to prevent things. My sister’s ex did eventually try to kill her and did go to prison for it. Might that have been avoided if the police had taken his words as the threats they were? I don’t know.

        Like

      • thetinfoilhatsociety

        Sadly that’s still not a threat, except to you and your sister. To the police it’s pretty innocuous. They can’t arrest someone for a thought crime or for wishful thinking. It is actually a black and white issue, legally speaking. I’m sorry that happened to your sister but I rather suspect that even if they *had* brought him in for questioning he would have smooth talked his way out of it, and things would have progressed in exactly the way they did. It’s what sociopaths do.

        Like

      • I agree with you that legally it’s a black and white issue, I was thinking more “in reality”, I guess. Because like I said, it really was a threat to my sister. But as difficult as it is in some cases (because situationally, someone knows its really a threat), you are right about not being arrested for thought crimes and wishful thinking. If so, my multiple wishes about that ex burning to death would have put me in jail. And you’re probably right about your last point too- nothing would have stopped him. :/ Anyway, thanks for letting me ramble at you. I’m working on being a better conversationalist. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Free speech, or lack thereof, was a reality for me in communist Cuba. That’s why I believe is the root of any democratic society.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ganglerisgrove

      You are absolutely right. it is. if you cannot freely express your mind, you can’t exercise any of the other rights supposedly enshrined in a democratic system. unfortunately, that means putting up with speech we don’t always agree with and that we may find offensive but the solution in that case is more speech, not less!

      Like

    • ganglerisgrove

      I bet you have a unique perspective on the “Marxification” of Paganism…

      Like

  4. Virginia carper

    Reading “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Out the Bodies” about Tudor England and Thomas Cromwell. Talk about the thought police. Most of the religious killings had ambition behind them as in more Church benefits. The political ones were the same. Someone used words to get someone else executed so they could get more power, property or revenge.

    What I came away was that behind the thought police and others is a desire for control, for power, or prestige. It lurks behind the do Gooding that they profess. Call me a cynic, but that’s what I see.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’ll say what I wish and damn the consequences. The liberals and conservatives can call me whatever they like and it won’t make any difference to me. They’re both mired in poison and ignorance. If they imprison me then I’ll shout my opinions and thoughts from behind bars. If they tear out my tongue and cut off my hands, then I’ll tap out my beliefs in Morse code. I WILL speak my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Interesting you bring this up, I just saw a post slamming you in the group HUAR (heathens united against racism) on Facebook.

    They basically call you a foul evil racist for spewing ‘anti Muslim rhetoric’ and in doing so display some astounding entitlement and ignorance.

    Firstly how is it that they are defining Muslims as a race? Muslims can be any race including white. Members of daesh have been white. Would they still think you racist for condemning christanity (which lets be honest the bible is no better than the koran) probably not because christianity is seem as a religion practiced by a lot of white people!

    Also, these people write their disgust from their cozy safe corners of the world where they are far away from places like the Muslim ghettos in Sweden and in the UK too where it is not safe to go alone if you’re female. If they or someone they cared about got attacked in such an area by men who openly admit they want to impose sharia law in Sweden, would they stay on their high horse?

    I don’t understand how so called progressives defend a belief system which is incompatible with the west. And in the ghetto situations the extremists always drown out the more moderate types.

    I admire that you actually dare speak up about it. So many are expected to sit in silence while their countrywomen are beaten and raped by those who believe they have a right to do so, lest they be branded a racist.

    The far right would turn the west into a theocracy and the far left would turn it into a dystopian state complete with ‘thought police’.

    Gods help us should either one of those groups gain enough power!

    Liked by 2 people

    • ganglerisgrove

      Firstly, thank you very much for commenting.

      I actually saw that HUAR nonsense after I’d made this post (and watched the documentary I mention, which is what spurred the post) but I find them ridiculous and very much incited on by the G&R crowd.

      Thank you for pointing out that Islam is not a race. I have spent a great deal of time in Germany and Switzerland, and one of my parents was Swiss. I do not look at this as an American. I look at it as someone who loves these countries dearly but more to the point and much more importantly as an historian. The constant marginalization of the women attacked and raped, the bullying of those who stand up against it or protest muslim migration, the refusal of governments to in any way lay the blame at the foot of muslim radicals is setting up a situation where the far, far right is going to claim power and that should frighten us all.

      It sickens me how zero thought is being given to the women brutalized and it sickens me even more that G&R and HUAR are using this to divide and purge elements with which they disagree in the community (setting it up nicely, fellows, for a bitch session at MGW?). Where is their concern for the victims of these crimes? I think it’s really telling that they took my comments out of context and did not include the link to the video here: https://youtu.be/-vcIofnSoGY. I can’t imagine anyone viewing this not being outraged regardless of where one might fall on the political spectrum.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You will find when societies go through paradigm shifts, they seek stability. Different groups vie for power in the new order because they have no desire to be on the receiving end of the new order. What you are seeing are people who want to establish what they feel comfortable with so that they can live in the world. Much like Christian Fundamentalists, the folks for “safe spaces” etc, are uncomfortable with change as it is occurring.

    From what I can see, in Tudor England, people carried lists of everything that everyone else has said or did. Like Thomas Cromwell or Thomas More, they wait for the opportunity to carry out their objectives. The trials around Anne Boleyn and others centered on gossip, innuendo, deliberate misunderstandings, and other bits and pieces. Thomas Cromwell and Thomas More were also executed on convenience as well. So this sort of thing is something that humans do when things are in flux.

    As for safe words or trigger words, mine is meteors, because of my accident. However, I certainly wouldn’t want people to stop discussing meteors because of me. It is incumbent on me to deal with “meteors” and my reactions.

    Like

  8. This kind of thing makes me glad I’m a biology professor instead of a professor in the liberal arts. My job is to teach things that are objectively true and not a matter of opinion.

    But I disagree that censorship is a primarily left-wing phenomenon. Maybe it would be different if I lived in a blue state, but I live in Texas and I think conservatives are just as easily offended as liberals. They think I’m trying to destroy their faith in God if I tell them evolution is proven scientific fact (their faith must be so fragile then!). I had a student get offended when I had them draw a diagram of the male and female human reproductive systems for their anatomy and physiology test. I guess it’s “obscene” to want my students to know how their own bodies work. (They sure don’t learn that in high school!)

    I’ve never had a student get upset that I wasn’t liberal enough, but I have had the opposite (at least one or two a semester – so I don’t want to make it sound like it’s all or most of my students – most of my students are great). I doubt I’d ever get fired for what I teach, but then again, they did get rid of tenure at my college to make firing professors easier. The official stance of the Texas government is that climate change is not real. Firing professors who keep teaching about it might be a next step, since I do teach as a public college, and it’s a big part of my Environmental Biology class. I have had a student or two argue with me that climate change is a hoax that was invented to make scientists rich. I told him that I’m still waiting for my check from Evil Liberal Conspiracy to Destroy the Economy, because that would sure be nice.

    Again, maybe it just depends on where you are, but whenever I hear complaints about Evil Liberal College Professors, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t excessive “trigger warnings” or people who are offended by comedy, it’s professors teaching things that conservative parents want to shelter their children from. I’ve never even seen the term “trigger warning” used outside of the internet, so I wonder if this issue is getting overblown. I’ve had training about sexual harassment and complying with Title IX, but nothing about trigger warnings was mentioned.

    There was an article in the Atlantic a few months ago about this very subject, how professors are “coddling” college students by being too “politically correct.” A lot of people on my Facebook shared it. The thing is, the type of “coddling” that I am most worried about is something that never gets any attention from the media. It’s the pressure we’ve been getting from administration to fail fewer students and be less academically rigorous. I’ve never had to go to a special meeting about “trigger warnings”, but I have had to go to meetings about “productive grade rates.” My college chancellor wants to “run college like a business”, and the students are the customers, and the customer is always right, so it makes no sense to give the customer an F if they’re always right. I think that’s the most likely way I’d ever get fired. Not for what I say in class, but for how difficult or easy my class is to pass. That’s all they really care about. The most pissed-off students I’ve ever gotten were not the Creationists or the global-warming deniers or the anti-vaxxers, but the ones who thought they “deserved” an A, and, gasp, I gave them a B or C so now I ruined their perfect GPA! Or “I really, really need to pass this class to get into medical school, can you please round my grade up?” when they’re failing. And I refuse, because maybe you shouldn’t get into medical school if you can’t pass my class. And the two students I’ve had so far who have filed formal complaints about me have been in those types of situations, not students who didn’t have sufficient “trigger warnings.” But I guess grade inflation and the dumbing down of science education doesn’t provide the sexy talking point that “political correctness” does.

    Of course, it’s all a matter of perspective I guess. According to Gods and Radicals, I’m a fascist. I think that shows just how far to the fringe left they are. They’re don’t seem to be connected to reality, at least not the reality I see when I get off the internet and go into the real world. I don’t think they represent most “liberals”. I think it was interesting that Rhyd said he quit his job as a social worker so he could become a full-time blogger and, I assume, immerse himself even more in his internet echo-chamber. Hey, that’s his right, but most of us have to have jobs to pay our bills.

    Like

    • This is a really interesting perspective, thank you for sharing it. I do have a couple teacher friends who have similar experiences. I even remember in high school (11 years ago for me) that in science and history classes, my teachers frequently announced “disclaimers” at the beginning of class that went along the lines “you don’t have to believe what I’m telling you, and I’m not trying to believe anything outside of your religion but I to teach you this information by law” or some such nonsense. I’ve also read about questions about dinosaurs being taken off of standardized tests for elementary aged children because so many creationists whined about it being unfair.

      Like

  9. The only way people like HUAR will wake up is when they or someone they care about is affected. When they’re safe in their space it doesn’t matter to them what other people suffer, and them they start in with victim blaming. Anyone who thinks Islam is a religion of peace should watch this video:

    This is scary, damn scary. And also this one, welcome to Sweden:

    This particularly made me laugh when he said ‘Sweden is what tumblr would look like if it was a country. Yes, that’s what happen when the SJWs take control. Fun times. And you’re right, the regressive left is paving the way for the far right to gain power when people finally have enough and the right wingers are the only ones who will openly act on it. Then all the progressive progress will be shot right down and they’ll have only themselves to blame.

    I’ve read stories of ex Muslims who have had to escape their families who wanted to honor kill them. Who wanted to kill them for being gay.. The list goes on.

    As someone else said, if being tolerant means accepting of any belief system that encourages these things (and to me I hate the abrahamic religions with a vengeance – they need to go away) then I’d rather be a bigot. I feel betrayed by the very so called progressives who are meant to truly protect and value life. 😦 Specifically the regressive left. Thank the gods there are still real progressives in this world.

    Like

%d bloggers like this: