The Central European University Saga

Today, if one wants to know what philosophers think about a political or social issue, there is no need to delve into any of the professional journals. It is enough to simply read the editorials or headlines of The Guardian, Vox, The New York Times or The Huffington Post. Not because they have been written by philosophers, but because philosophers simply repeat them. The days when philosophers expressed a variety of views, and did not just parrot mainstream opinion, are long gone.

Yet another example is the saga surrounding the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary. In line with all the mainstream newspaper reports suggesting (and often asserting) that the Hungarian government is trying to “shut down” CEU because of its connection with George Soros, the popular philosophy blogs Daily Nous and Leiter Reports have represented the change in legislation in Hungary as an existential threat “apparently designed to target the school”, and as “an assault by the fascist government of Hungary”, respectively.

Of course, we should welcome the fact that the pop philosophy blogs are standing up for private education and freedom of speech, even when the education and speech happen to be funded by a currency-manipulating billionaire who supports the left-wing (anti-Republican, anti-Israel, pro-immigration) cause within the limits of his own financial interests. However, was the situation facing CEU really the targeted, existential threat that it was claimed to be, not just by the aforementioned blogs, but also by Yale’s Philosophy Department, the British Philosophical Association, and many others within the philosophy profession? According to left-wing media reports (for example, The Guardian), all that seems to have been mandated by the new legislation is that CEU faculty have work permits, and that CEU either open a campus in the United States, or that it stop awarding US-accredited degrees within Hungary. It is hard to see how this poses a threat to academic freedom, let alone to CEU’s continued existence. For example, work permits for foreigners are common practice in the developed world. Moreover, for someone like Soros, opening another campus can hardly be “prohibitively expensive”, especially since the legislation does not seem to specify how large or comprehensive the campus has to be.

Indeed, some philosophers realize that the current legislation is not in conflict with CEU’s continued existence. However, instead of using this as a reason to question the narrative promoted on philosophy websites, they resort to speculation based on what “friends” have told them. Consider, for example, the following report by philosopher Maarten Boudry, linked on Brian Leiter’s blog:

But according to my friend Roeland Termote, who is the Eastern Europe correspondent for the Dutch newspaper NRC, the exact rules imposed by the new law don’t even matter that much. Even if the CEU were to comply with the law to the letter tomorrow, or if it were to find a loophole of some kind, the Fidesz government would very probably just pass another law to introduce another set of conditions.

But what is this speculation about future regulation based on, besides hearsay? The alleged fact that, as Boudry writes, “[n]obody is even trying very hard to pretend that this law has any other purpose than to close down the CEU”? If so, then why does Boudry also write that it is “an open question” and even “unlikely that Orbán actually wants to close down the CEU”? Indeed, the government of Hungary has repeatedly denied that the law would bring about the closure of CEU, or that it was ever intended to have this effect.

Of course, it may be that the Hungarian government is systematically lying, and that it has an “evil plan” to “’sweep out of the country’ the last holdouts of free and democratic thought”, as philosopher Katalin Balog put it in a comment on Leiter Reports. However, the evidence supporting this interpretation seems rather tenuous. Moreover, the interpretation has become at least slightly less credible in light of the recent news that CEU will continue all of its operations in 2017-2018, “amid hope that it will be able to do so for the long run as well”.

Perhaps it will be replied that this is false hope, or that the government has suddenly changed its evil plan in response to the protests. But there is also another explanation, in line with the government’s public statements on this issue, namely, that its intention never was to shut down CEU, or to curtail academic freedom. At the very least, this explanation should enjoy some credibility now. And if it turns out to be correct—we will probably find out in the course of 2017-2018—then it will be hard to avoid the suspicion that the opinions of journalists and philosophers (is there a difference at this point?) have been manipulated to depict the political opponents of Soros, and, more generally, of Europe’s open borders policy, as fascists who try to outlaw any institution that harbors dissidents.

Bob le flambeur

Bob le flambeur is a professional philosopher who enjoys the finer things in life, but who is afraid that his opinions about politically sensitive topics are becoming unaffordable. Hence, he has decided to go underground.

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51 Comments

  1. “Of course, we should welcome the fact that the pop philosophy blogs are standing up for private education and freedom of speech”

    They’re not standing up for those things. They’re standing up for leftism being promoted and spread throughout Hungary. These same people have done, and will continue to do, nothing to support “freedom of speech” when it’s rightwing speech.

    Going a bit deeper, why should we care about supporting freedom of speech at this point anyway? The left doesn’t support freedom for our speech. Should the political leadership in Hungary protect the speech of the very people who would happily silence or imprison them for expressing their political views?

  2. Thanks, Bob. I have a thought and a question. The thought is that for some fo these people, perhaps this Katalin Balog is an example, their ideology has become something of a conspiracy theory. What evidence would disconfirm their beliefs? They would surely list things, but in practice many of their beliefs seem un-open to revision. Anyone believes strongly that academic freedom is under attack at CEU seems to be operating well beyond what the evidence would indicate, based on your presentation here.

    My question is whether you think there is true academic freedom right now in our universities? My observation is that academic freedom is staunchly defended when a left leaning professor is attacked, but no so much when it’s a right-leaning professor. Oh, there are leftists who will defend conservatives on the principle of academic freedom, even though they disagree with the conservatives. But, the majority are pretty happy to sit on their hands and let the mob take out the conservative. Informative examples here are the McAdams case at Marquette and the recent Hypatia affair. It didn’t take long for a consensus of left-leaning philosophy to come to Tuvel’s defense against the loud, fringe subset of the feminists. We saw this on Leiter’s blog, and I’d say Daily Noose as well.

    • Thanks, Walter. Regarding your thought, my inclination is to say that ideologies tend to be conspiracy theories. Regarding your question, I fully agree with your observation. There is no true academic freedom in philosophy (or academia) today. And a lot of censorship does not reach the news, but happens below the surface, where referees, editors, and committee members make their decisions. At present, it seems that only “minorities” are permitted to question the orthodoxies regarding race and gender. Perhaps our hopes should lie with them…

  3. “Of course, we should welcome the fact that the pop philosophy blogs are standing up for private education and freedom of speech”

    No, they’re not standing up for those things. They are standing up for the ability to spread leftism in Hungary. These same people have done, and will continue to do, nothing to protect rightwing speech.

    Going a bit deeper, why should we even care about freedom of speech anymore? The left is aggressively and successfully pushing to silence and criminalize rightwing speech. Why should the leadership of Hungary protect the speech of the very people who would silence or imprison them for expressing their political views.

  4. “Of course, we should welcome the fact that the pop philosophy blogs are standing up for private education and freedom of speech”

    No, they’re not standing up for those things. They are standing up for the ability to spread leftism in Hungary. These same people have done, and will continue to do, nothing to protect rightwing speech.

    Going a bit deeper, why should we even care about freedom of speech anymore? The left is aggressively and successfully pushing to silence and criminalize rightwing speech. Why should the leadership of Hungary protect the speech of the very people who would silence or imprison them for expressing their political views.

    • I’ve been wondering that myself, Schopenhammer. That’s why I asked if Bob thinks there is true academic freedom right now.

  5. Schopenhammer: You’re so right. Freedom of expression is not easily justifiable in the abstract or universally. It’s really important and good within a specific context that probably doesn’t exist anymore in the west. It makes sense only within a community of people who (a) have some degree of loyalty to each other (or, at least, aren’t just enemies engaged in a low-level civil war) and (b) have some interest in trying to figure out what’s true on the relevant topics and (c) are able and willing to discuss the topic rationally with others who strongly disagree. Plausibly, the mainstream left is now simply a bunch of enemies in relation to rightists and regular people in the west; they’re just trying to control us and, if that doesn’t work, destroy us and replace us with others they hope to control. They also seem to have little interest in figuring out what’s true on a whole range of vital topics; either they’re irrationally certain that they already know the truth or they just don’t care and merely want power. Finally, as a result of those first two points, they’re generally not able or not willing to discuss these topics rationally with rightists or even just regular people who aren’t fully on board with their crazy ideology. Therefore, we have no interest in fighting for some abstract or universal right to freedom of expression. In this situation, that would mean the freedom of our enemies to lie about us, demonize us, incite hatred and violence against us, etc.

    This ties in with Ultimate Philosopher’s question in an earlier thread:

    “Now, the Left of today won’t stand for that as it might well violate SJW norms about oppression (through expression) and hierarchy; we can’t have speech that dehumanizes. But what about the Right? Historically the suggested answer is that they don’t want to grant “license” to do things that (arguably) don’t lead to one’s or others’ objective good. Porn is out, blasphemy is to be forbidden, community standards take precedence, wholesomeness is to be encouraged and rewarded by the State, and unwholesomeness to be discouraged and punished. Am I wrong?”

    Other rightists might answer this question in different ways, but for me the answer is that freedom of expression should normally include the freedom to express or promote “unwholesome” ideas or attitudes, up to a point. I draw the line at any form of expression that constitutes a serious existential threat to the culture and self-determination and physical safety of the majority. So, for example, I think it’s tolerable for some powerless fringe group to argue that ‘the white race is the cancer of human history’. But when we get to the point where white people are a dwindling majority or even a minority in their own societies, and vicious anti-white hate propaganda is being promoted at all levels of society by powerful elites, that’s not tolerable. That should never have been allowed to happen. And, if I could, I’d immediately shut down all the outlets for this kind of poison and punish the anti-white propagandists. Not necessarily for what they said, but rather for inciting violence and criminality and terrorism. Basically, these people are accessories to murder and assault and slow genocide. (I guess there’s a practical problem here. How do you stop it from happening without censoring speech that, when you’re actually in a position to censor it, falls below the threshold because the speakers are not very powerful or influential?)

    Anyway, the short answer to Ultimate’s question is that, yes, people on the right do tend to favor censorship in some cases and that’s probably the view they should hold given their own beliefs.

    As regards the topic of that earlier thread, “Holocaust denial”, I’d argue that freedom of expression on that kind of topic is important in a normal functioning society (where people aren’t just enemies out to destroy each other). It’s important partly because that’s one way to protect society against enemies who want to take over and brainwash the population. The more we’re able to discuss all of history in a rational intelligent way without fear, the less likely it is that hostile aliens and traitors will be able to harm us by distorting our children’s understanding of their own history and identity.

  6. For the record, I am entirely on the side of free speech. I wouldn’t want to deprive anyone of this right because they’re not sufficiently loyal, or rational, or interested in figuring out the truth—in the eyes of…?

    • Bob, when you say you’re “entirely on the side of free speech”, I assume you don’t mean that you’d approve of absolutely _any_ kind of speech in absolutely _any_ situation. For example, I assume you’d agree people shouldn’t be allowed to make a speech to an angry lynch mob that’s almost certainly going to cause them to lynch an innocent person. Why then shouldn’t criteria such as loyalty and rationality and concern for truth be used in determining what kinds of expression should be permitted? After all, there are surely going to be _some_ situations where it’s pretty clear that the speaker is just an enemy who’s stirring up hatred and inciting violence rather than a friendly or neutral thinker who wants to co-operate in an inquiry.

      We can always ask, skeptically, “In the eyes of…?” but that question comes up for any policy whatsoever. If we’re trying to decide whether to drop bombs in Syria, there may be room for reasonable disagreement about whether there really was a chemical attack, whether Assad was really responsible, whether it would be justifiable to drop bombs even if he were, etc. But in the end we have to make some kind of decision. If we decide that abortion should be allowed, because a fetus isn’t really a “person” (or whatever) we could ask “But who’s to say?” and the answer is that, like it or not, we ourselves _have_ to say. If we choose not to say, not to take any stand or do anything to protect ourselves against what seem like serious threats, that’s equivalent to saying that these threats aren’t serious, or that it just doesn’t matter to us what happens to our own societies.

      The situation of normal people in the west right now is that people who act like implacable enemies are using the media and the education system to promote obvious lies and distortions about us; this is almost certainly causing lots violence against us, and it’s used to justify policies that (we can reasonably believe to be) existential threats to us. And, of course, these policies include policies meant to intimidate or shame us into silence and inaction. Unless you’re skeptical about all political decision making you should allow that we’d be justified in censoring a lot of this stuff, if we were in a position to do that. Or, at least, that we could be justified in certain circumstances (which, arguably, we’re not yet in).

    • Why would one be “entirely on the side of free speech”? Almost everyone, whether they consciously realize it or not, mostly cares about free speech for instrumental reasons. This is most obvious in the case of the left, who, since they control most speech in our culture (through the education system, the media, and the entertainment industry), only defend speech that is either conducive or consistent with leftism or at least is not threatening to their control in any serious way. Those on the right might claim to be concerned about freedom of speech per se, but, since the left controls most speech, and since the almost right are never in a position where they could actually censor leftist speech, the right is never really tested on this alleged commitment. It’s currently useful for their causes to support as much freedom of speech as possible because that allows them to have their rightwing ideas heard, at least, in most cases. Hungary is an interesting case where it may be useful to silence the left as much as possible. In Hungary, which may be the only place in the white, western world where a rightwing government has some actual control, freedom of speech may be instrumentally disvaluable to the causes of the right.

      I guess there are a bunch of people, libertarians and others, who really do attribute some kind of deep, intrinsic value to freedom of speech. This kind of attachment to abstract liberal ideals, regardless of their effects, seems foolish and worse.

  7. Jacques, there is a big difference between prohibiting incitement to a likely and imminent attack on a person, and prohibiting speech that is insufficiently loyal, rational, or concerned with the truth. One difference is that it is, in general, much easier to establish a violation of the first restriction than to establish a violation of the second restriction. Another, but related, difference is that few speech acts can reasonably be suspected of violating the first restriction, whereas a very great number of speech acts can reasonably be suspected of violating the second restriction.
    Schopenhammer, my defense of freedom of speech would also be based on its instrumental value. Such a defense is compatible with very few restrictions on speech.

    • Could Jews in 30s Germany have reasonably wanted to restrict the “free expression” of NS media and government people wrt the Jewish Question? Was there enough instrumental value in free expression in that situation to justify being entirely on the side of free speech? I see very little difference between their situation and that of normal white people in the west in relation to the messages and memes of “our” media and governments.

    • Of course, it would have been good if very basic restrictions on free speech (for example, no incitement to violence) had been systematically enforced in Nazi Germany, but apparently, that wasn’t the case—instead, substantial restrictions were enforced such as the ones that you favor (based, of course, on the Nazi Party’s understanding of “loyalty” and “truth”). Likewise, it would have been good if very basic rights such as the right to property and the right to life had been protected, but that also wasn’t the case.

  8. I have to side with Jacques on this issue. Free speech is at best an instrumental secondary good, and it is worth preserving only on the condition that the society and culture are generally healthy. Today, in this very concrete situation we find ourselves in, it only make sense to defend it in unqualified form if we close our eyes and pretend that the political left is at present something completely different from what it actually is. The truth of the matter is that most leftists are not good faith participants in the political system. The only thing stopping them from criminalizing conservative thought and actively oppressing people who uphold traditional morality is their sense of what is presently politically possible. But I have been around and among these people in academia and in the culture for over a decade. There are noble exceptions, but in general they just want power, and they are remorseless in their pursuit of it because they are psychologically dead certain that they are not just right but are obviously right to the point that only a evil bigot could possibly disagree with them. This is why they feel it is okay to say anything, do anything, tell any lie, transgress any norm, break any rule, in order to ‘win’. They have no self-imposed moral limitations- the only limitations they recognize are practical possibility. In other terms, politics is now the prisoner’s dilemma. And because of the left and its known goals, “defect” is the only rational play left in the game. They are going to defect every single time and only a sucker would continue to play “cooperate” knowing that is their game. It is a shame that it has finally come to this, but “do it to them before they can do it to us” is sound political reasoning at this point.

    • My impression is that I’m being confronted here (in this discussion thread) with a mirror-image of the left-wing SJW objection to free speech, namely, free speech is okay in a society that conforms entirely to our own values (that is “healthy” or “non-racist” or “non-sexist”); when this condition does not obtain, we need to restrict speech substantially, and use this restriction as an instrument of power against our political opponents. Right-wing people can do better than just mirror their left-wing opponents.

    • “Right-wing people can do better than just mirror their left-wing opponents.”

      I would say that the right can do better than refuse to hit back against the left. The left isn’t looking to debate or offer their views in the “marketplace of ideas”. They are attempting to subvert, dominate, and control, and this control includes the silencing and criminalizing of dissent. And they’re not just attempting this; they have succeeded wildly. And we’re supposed to let them, or even fight for their ability to do this, because that’s somehow “doing better”?  

      The left’s suppression of rightwing speech is not some contingent feature of leftism. They need to do that because their worldview is so false and morally inverted that the only way it can be sustained and accepted in a society is for the truth to be silenced. This isn’t mere armchair political science. Look at the policies and social practices of leftist countries all throughout the world: the speech laws, the public shaming and political correctness, the brutal social and professional ostracization of dissidents, etc. Protecting the speech rights of the left is like arming an angry, irrational mob that you know is coming to attack you.

    • I appreciate the exhortation to do better. But what I want to know, Bob, is what is going to happen differently should we take the high road? I have watched for 20 years as mainstream “play nice” Conservatives have had every concession, every gesture of goodwill, and every attempt at rational discussion thrown back in their faces, mocked, ignored or used by the left as a pretext to go back in for ever more vicious and unfair attacks. There are leftists writing in mainstream publications who openly brag about how getting gay marriage was just a ruse to further advance the agenda of abolishing traditional sexual norms, positively gloating over how they succeeded in getting away with massive amounts of slander and lying in order to lead the “stupid” normies further down the road to anarchy under the guise of “fairness”. Examples can be multiplied. The left in its present form is not a normal political movement within the space of reasons, and we are now pretty late in the game. If we follow your advice and heroically play the Voltaire “defend your right to say it” role, what is going to happen differently? Are these pitiless, merciless cultural wrecking balls spearheading the left going to get a sudden attack of conscience and decide to reciprocate? Are they going to gain a newfound appreciation for the fact that we are really just classical liberals in good standing and stop leveraging their institutional power to silence disagreement? Are they going to stop trying to ruin the lives of innocent people who only crime is disagreeing with some item on the social justice agenda? What is going to happen differently from what is happening now?

    • Schopenhammer writes, “And they’re not just attempting this [silencing and criminalizing dissent]; they have succeeded wildly. And we’re supposed to let them, or even fight for their ability to do this, because that’s somehow ‘doing better’?”
      Just to be clear, I’ve never said that we should “let them” silence our speech (or “refuse to hit back”). I’ve said that we should grant them their right to free speech. These are two different matters: I can let someone speak without being silenced by him or her.
      SCC asks, “But what I want to know, Bob, is what is going to happen differently should we take the high road?”.
      Granting freedom of speech to your opponents (on the left and the right) comes with all sorts of benefits. Apart from the fact that you have reason to hope that the gesture will be reciprocated, you can count on having critics—and who has never benefited from criticism? (That last question was supposed to be rhetorical, but, of course, quite a few leftists have never benefited from criticism, precisely because they didn’t care about alternative views. Do you want to be like them?)

  9. Balderdash. Fidesz is waging an open publicity war against Soros and NGOs allegedly related to him with the use of billboards, nearly unintelligible statements by its party politicians containing the name Soros in almost every sentence etc etc. Most of these politicians sometimes admit that they really are waging a war against Soros, because he is a threat against the national interests of Hungary, since “his” NGOs support refugees, while the Hungarian government staunchly opposes almost all migration. They say that the law to shut down CEU is just a smaller part in this wider fight against migration.

    There are several evidences that the government and this law are specifically against CEU. To enumerate them:

    1) According to empirical evidence and whistleblower information, Fidesz-faithful politicians and newspapers are instructed not to use the name “Central European University”, but rather say “Soros-university”. That is exactly what they are consistently doing.

    2) The government avoided any sort of negotiations or talks with the administration of CEU until months after the law had been passed.

    3) In those negotiations which did happen, the person representing the government was endowed with no mandate to actually negotiate with CEU or to provide them additional information.

    4) The law was passed with an accelerated procedure, the request for which was submitted and signed by a party politician who wasn’t even there in the alleged time, i.e. there was a pre-planned commission of forgery of official documents.

    5) The law requires that the Hungarian government make an agreement with the US Federal Government about CEU, if the US wishes its work to continue. Despite the US and others having communicated to the Hungarians that US law doesn’t allow the Federal Government to make such agreements, and the New York administration signaling that they are open to such discussions, the Hungarian government maintains that unless the Federal Government makes an agreement with them, they are unwilling to proceed.

    The Hungarian government and the Fidesz party do not have a bona fide conservative worldview. It all comes down to Orbán’s and his minions’ authoritarian and fascist personal goals, for which conspicuous wars against made-up enemies allegedly raise popularity. Vast arrays of Hungarian conservative intellectuals are standing against the legislation against CEU. Heck, even Trump’s government supports CEU unequivocally.
    https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/03/269343.htm
    https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/05/271040.htm

    Don’t be fooled. This is not a right-left or conservative-liberal issue. If there is any authoritarianism-liberty issue, this is one. The Hungarian government is following a very consistent and forceful strategy to eliminate contrary opinions from public discourse. It has purchased most of the press and closed some of the most important leftist papers already. (Leftist here doesn’t mean the crazy progressivism that it means in the US.)

    Sincerely,
    B
    from Hungary

  10. Yes, the right should be a mirror-image of the left. This is the only way we have any chance of _defeating_ the left or even just _opposing_ the left in ways that actually work. If people were trying to steal your things and murder your friends and neighbors, you’d try to take back your things and you’d kill their friends and neighbors if that was the only way to get them to leave you alone, right? Would it be reasonable to complain that doing these things — even when that’s clearly the only way to protect your property and your people — was “no better” than what the other side is doing, that doing so would just be a “mirror-image” of the other side? Fight fire with fire. Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight. Etc. Anyway, my argument is really that given contingent circumstances the “free expression” of the left and the establishment plausibly falls outside the bounds of legitimate free expression even if we’re just using standard liberal principles.

    One example that I think illustrates the point: The Black Lives Matter movement is essentially a massive incitement to violent crime, terrorism and pervasive (and totally irrational) racial hatred of all white people. The movement is promoted 24/7 in media, in the schools, and never properly criticized by any authority figure. Many innocent people have already died as a result. Many scum-bags who would have been removed from society if the police were not under pressure to not really do their job are at large. (And this is just a very brief incomplete account of all the ways in which BLM is seriously harmful to society and to white people in particular.) Now _if_ this racist hate movement were confined to some powerless sub-culture, I’d have no problem with permitting free expression. But that’s not the situation we’re in. In the real world, there is no free and fair debate over the “ideas” of BLM. Indeed, one of the effects of all this propaganda is to legitimate and amplify the power of the state and the mob to silence anyone who might say something rational on the topic. In _this_ situation, what is the instrumental value of allowing BLM propaganda that justifies allowing it? Why isn’t it relevantly similar to the guy inciting a lynch mob to murder? (In fact I think it’s not just similar but exactly identical, and on a far larger scale — a nearly global lynch mob.)

    There is at least one important difference between SJW views and mine. The kinds of threats or harms that they allege are laughably trivial. For example, Charles Murray shouldn’t be allowed to talk about sociology or IQ because (supposedly) his talk will “trigger” people. Well, who cares? Or else they talk about serious harms but it’s utterly implausible that these are going to be produced by the expression they want to censor. (No one is going to be raped or murdered or lose their homeland because of anything Charles Murray says to a bunch of mildly conservative people at some university. Non-whites are generally treated very nicely by whites in the west — way too nicely in fact — and when they aren’t it’s usually going to be very implausible that Murray’s statements, or anything said by right-wingers, had anything much to do with it.) By contrast, I’m talking about very serious threats and harms that are clearly produced by the expression that I want to censor. (White people are quite obviously being dispossessed, denied employment and freedom of association, raped and murdered and blown to bits by terrorists, and a hell of a lot of this can be pretty plausibly traced back to the propagation of vicious lies about white people propagated in the media and the schools.) So I think I can defend my views on classical liberal grounds, though I don’t think I need to do that.

    • “One example that I think illustrates the point: The Black Lives Matter movement is essentially a massive incitement to violent crime, terrorism and pervasive (and totally irrational) racial hatred of all white people.”

      Again, the problem is strawman where you are oversimplifying and distorting the series of normative claims that this movement has made abundantly clear over and over. These claims are called the “ten points” of BLM and they are as follows:

      [[End broken windows policing. This calls for an end to the decades-long focus on policing minor crimes and activities, especially in neighborhoods with people of color. Also addressed are the need for different approaches to those with mental health issues and an end to racial profiling.

      Community oversight. This calls for an all-civilian oversight structure with discipline power that includes a Police Commission and Civilian Complaints Office. Both offices would have specific responsibilities and across-the-board power.

      Limit use of force. This solution seeks to establish standards monitor how force is used.

      Independently investigate and prosecute. Among other recommendations, this point seeks a permanent Special Prosecutor’s Office at the state level to investigate any police shooting.

      Community representation. This calls for officers to be a more accurate representation of the communities they serve.

      Body cams/film the police. This would require and fund body cameras as well as dashboard cameras. All citizens would have the right to record police interactions on a cell phone, and police would not have the right to confiscate that phone, as is the case in some states.

      Training. This calls for rigorous and sustained training, especially about racial bias.

      End for-profit policing. This calls for an end to quota systems and limits fines for low-income people.

      Demilitarization. This seeks the end of the sale of military weapons to the nation’s police forces.

      Fair police union contracts. This seeks to rewrite police union contracts that create a different set of rules for police, and asks that disciplinary records be open and accessible]]

      Now, you might disagree with these normative claims, but there are massive disproportionate sentencing and incarceration rates as well as gaps in wealth (which I think are due to some levels of systemic racism and a host of other factors you may agree or disagree with). So there are a few argumentative moves for you logically.

      A) You could show all of these are false, but you’d still be dealing with these normative claims rather than the hyperbole of being victim to ideology in the above blog post (and which is the most common venting move made in blog here).
      B) Find some of these normative claims true and others false due to specific issues and arguments you take up with each of these claims.
      C) (Denial without argument?) Ignore the issue completely and not address any listing in this list, and in doing so, you would deny the background assumptions of the ten points above.
      D) (Red Herring) Ignore the issue completely and distract with some other irrelevant point such as attributing motives to the BLM movement that make them out to be thugs, criminals or willing to incite violence.
      E) Combine D) with the ole “Oh know its Jim Sutton again” insert rhetorical distraction or another ad hominem.

      There’s no reason why local PD need a troop transport in the middle of nowhere USA near me, but they got one. We have cows, drunk teens, and lots of farm country out here.

    • “You could show all of these are false, but you’d still be dealing with these normative claims rather than the hyperbole of being victim to ideology in the above blog post (and which is the most common venting move made in blog here).”

      No, Jim, neither Jacques nor anyone is really allowed to show that those things are false or, in most cases, even mildly object without facing enormous negative social and professional consequences. Debates where one could voice real (not fake, pandering) objections to all of those “ten points” as well frank discussion of the motives and real consequences of BLM are simply not allowed in any public intellectual forum in our society. That was actually Jacques’ point. Are you going to say that serious, honest, open debate about the merits of BLM is possible? Do you read the news? Are you living under a rock?

      Your comment just confirms my commitment to silencing and criminalizing leftist speech.

    • Schopenhammer is right. Let me put this so bluntly nobody can claim not to get it:

      Suppose that tomorrow the KKK presented a five point plan to fix the schools which involved 1) Ending forced busing 2)Vouchers 3)Teacher’s union oversight 4) Open inquiry into psychometrics and race 5) An end to affirmative action. Let’s say that the mainstream right picked up this plan and made it a topic of national discussion, pushing the agenda on the news and on college campuses. In that case, neither you nor anybody else would think that the responsible way to proceed would be to ignore where the proposal was coming from, or the social ripple effects of legitimizing the Klan. But there is more to it than just that.

      Suppose you argued “But it’s the Klan! Of course they are really pushing a racist agenda!” and our reply was: “Maybe, Jim. But you are obligated to show why, on logical and empirical grounds, 1-5) won’t improve the quality of the public schools. Or, failing that, show why 1-5) are morally objectionable in and of themselves, apart from ad hominem attacks on the people making the proposal”.

      If we actually said this, you would be right to conclude that we were flat-out insulting your intelligence, because obviously the origins of the agenda precludes rational discussion of these propositions in the abstract, at least in this context. Just imagine how farsical we would look in your eyes if we were to continue playing silly games analogous the one you are now trying to play:

      Jim: “But the Republicans and mainstream news have mainstreamed and legitimized a white supremacist group!”

      Us: “So what? You are comitting a well-poisoning fallacy, Jim. I thought you were a philosopher! You must demonstrate on moral, logical or empirical grounds why the KKK’s 5) point plan is either immoral or unlikely to improve the schools.”

      I reiterate: going on like this would be a massive insult to the intelligence of everybody involved. Jacques and Schopenhammer don’t have to show you anything for their point to stand.

  11. Jim,
    Sorry, but I just don’t buy your approach to this example (though I allow it could be you’re in good faith). Listing ‘ten points’ that BLM supposedly cares about and then drawing conclusions about the nature and effects of BLM is just not reasonable. That’s like reading some list of Al Qaeda’s goals — actually not so unreasonable, some of them — and then inferring that Al Qaeda isn’t a threat to anyone. Or reading a bit of reasonable enough Marxist criticism of capitalism and concluding that Marxism isn’t a threat. You get the point.

    On the ground, BLM is largely composed of (a) con artists and race hustlers hoping to get jobs and status, (b) assorted sub-intellectual parasites and leftist nutjobs and (c) criminals and people who sympathize with criminals. That’s really about it. Whatever their ‘ten points’ may be, and even if some of them are reasonable enough, the fact is that we’re dealing with people who ‘protest’ the killing of a criminal scumbag who was trying to kill a cop by assaulting people and burning down stores and stealing things, along with others who rationalize this sub-human behavior and, often enough, celebrate it. The whole movement consists mainly of inventing obviously fake stories about innocent blacks being killed or hurt (or whatever) and then mobilizing mobs of dummies and scumbags to break stuff and make demands. In reality, lots of white people (and black people too) have already been harmed by this movement. More innocents will die and be robbed and have their property destroyed, more scumbags will walk the streets (harming yet more innocents) if this stuff isn’t censored. Any invitation to discuss their ‘ten points’ is entirely beside the point.

    I guess my response then is something in the ballpark of your ‘C’ and ‘D’, though I deny this is a problem:

    “C) (Denial without argument?) Ignore the issue completely and not address any listing in this list, and in doing so, you would deny the background assumptions of the ten points above.
    D) (Red Herring) Ignore the issue completely and distract with some other irrelevant point such as attributing motives to the BLM movement that make them out to be thugs, criminals or willing to incite violence.”

    I don’t care about your ‘list’ or theirs, since their behavior makes it obvious they don’t really care either. Just as they don’t care to find out any facts about some black criminal getting killed before beating people and burning things. And I ignore this ‘issue’ pretty much completely because it is _relevant_ that, judging by the behavior and attitudes of the movement, yes, they are in general “thugs, criminals or willing to incite violence” or, at best, people who mindless side with thugs, criminals and others who incite violence. How you could think their behavior and rather obvious motives are irrelevant is hard to understand.

    “there are massive disproportionate sentencing and incarceration rates as well as gaps in wealth”

    Right, and corresponding racial disproportions wrt violent crime, educational achievement, IQ, testosterone, etc. And these have always existed anywhere in the world where blacks and whites (or non-blacks) live in a single society and can be compared. For BLM people, the only conceivable explanation is that whites are doing something not nice. An another more plausible theory would be that blacks are more inclined (for whatever reason) to behaviors that don’t work well for anyone in a civilized white society. But whatever. It’s laughable that you think people like me have some rational duty to carefully consider the ideas of BLM, when those have already been debunked a thousand times and more plausible explanations offered. Yes, I am aware of these kinds of views and arguments. Instead of asking me to think about this stuff for the thousandth time, ask the BLM people to think about what those on my side have to say. (Actually don’t Jim. I don’t like you much but I don’t want you to end up in the hospital.)

    “the problem is strawman where you are oversimplifying and distorting the series of normative claims that this movement has made abundantly clear over and over.”

    Insofar as reasoning of some kind may be attributed to BLM, it will be nothing more than a thousand grotesque strawman arguments and other obvious fallacies — e.g., that if blacks are arrested more often than whites the only possible explanation is that they’re victims of racism, or that people who say ‘all lives matter’ are somehow implying or suggesting or causing ‘white supremacy’. When a movement is based on ‘reasoning’ so utterly moronic — and also makes a big deal out of promoting and excusing racist violence — it becomes reasonable for other people to not care very much about coming up with some super-charitable interpretation of the movement’s ideology. Even if BLM came up with some decisive proof of Platonism or something, I just would not care given the circumstances. This is race war against whites, engineered and managed by the elites of our society. Do you not understand that? Is everything a polite debate, forever, even as hordes of savages are raping and killing your people and blowing them to bits on the subway? What does it take to wake up the average white intellectual? Maybe whites really are so sick we deserve extinction.

    • Jacques just dropped an atomic bomb of truth about BLM. This is what a _real_ “conversation about race” looks like.

    • 1. False analogy to Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda doesn’t want to live alongside fellow human beings, and I take it in good faith that civil protest, publishing blog posts, and hosting political rallies are not the same thing as Al Qaeda bringing down the towers. That’s not fair or charitable in good faith.

      1a. One can think that Marxism is right about capitalist structures (as much as communitarian ideals of the Church are a better understanding and critique of them, too) and not advocate the means of remedy they seek or even agree with their conclusion since many (like myself) often aim for more moderate or middle positions between complete Left and complete Right solutions. Democratic socialism of the Netherlands is the middle between excess and deficiency in this world.

      2. Listing the ten points of an organized political movement seems reasonable because even people at National Review have called some of these demands reasonable, like yourself.

      3. The only people that are part of the BLM movement according to you are: Con-artists, race hustlers, assorted sub-intellectual parasites, leftist nutjobs, criminals, and people who sympathize with them. These are your words above. On some level, this is complete ad hominem since many of the activists I have met in my personal life (and I have met many) are even-keeled people who want to address longstanding problems of race in this country. If these people are so unworthy of your attention, then you could never have a rational argument with them in the first place.

      There have been many times that moderate Whites and people who disagreed with King would fall on the sword of regarding civil disobedience as hooligan-like behavior.

      4. Conflating a lack of trust in the social institutions with the resulting social breakdown of that lack of trust in the form of riots is a mistake. Even King said, rioting is the language of the unheard.

      5. I would suspend judgment on the very general claim that all shootings of unarmed blacks are fake stories. That’s a rather large claim on your part. It’s very possible that some might be exaggerated, but more importantly many races are harmed by police shootings. Our police are often more militarized than they might need to be.

      6. To say there is institutional racism on a systemic level is not the same as “white people are not doing nice.” That’s very vague and not useful–even for disagreeing with me.

      7. Race war? Oh dear.

      Listen. I don’t know what to say to that. I’ll be honest, but don’t think these words are coming form a place of insult or indignation. I see my fellow human beings (like you). I see my black colleagues in the work place living lives and celebrating their children like I do. I have family dating interracially and both members of our families having problems when I see love overcoming differences. I teach King’s sermons in my ethics classes because they have an awareness and rhetoric of inclusiveness that doesn’t represent differences as antagonistic like you are doing here. For me, I think we should respond to everyone with the same love that Jesus loved us. Why be tribal with that love? I have no idea why you think there’s a race war. You hear the rhetoric of some and the behavior of many that you associate with the movement who are not at the center of it (as much as anyone can be at the center of these grassroots things, they are pretty fluid, I admit).

      I just hope you can see a more beautiful America that could work toward justice. We could even disagree about how to get there, but to see a race war of us vs. them is tantamount to employing the same identity politics you disagree with…No?

  12. “No, Jim, neither Jacques nor anyone is really allowed to show that those things are false or, in most cases, even mildly object without facing enormous negative social and professional consequences.”

    The challenge was to do so in your own house under a blogging pseudonym rather than strawmanning and condemning an entire movement as Jacque does above (more on that later). I don’t understand the avoidance to do so here.

    • “The challenge was to do so in your own house under a blogging pseudonym rather than strawmanning and condemning an entire movement”

      I’ll address this quickly but really want to say something broader. The quick response is that there was never a question of whether we could have a discussion here, on a relatively obscure blog, about the “ten points” of BLM, or whatever. It’s irrelevant. Jacques brought BLM up as an example of speech that would be censored in a reasonable society because it’s incitement to immoral violence. That’s the main point of the example. But there is an additional, although separate, problem with BLM’s speech, in that we aren’t even allowed to criticize it in an effective way. Jacques mentioned that when he said things like “[t]he movement is promoted 24/7 in media, in the schools, and never properly criticized by any authority figure”. For BLM to be “properly criticized” there would need to be discussion of BLM in public, influential forums (e.g., college classes), not just on obscure blogs (where, even there, people are forced to hide behind pseudonyms).

      But allow me to go beyond this topic. You seem as though you are sincere. But if so, your comments and general outlook are so deeply incompatible with mine (and with Jacques’ and with SCC’s, and with many others on the right) that I really can’t see why we should be forced to live together. I don’t say this to single you out. You are part of a huge group of people who share your general outlook, people who think that a healthy, functioning, deeply multiracial and multicultural America – i.e., an American where white people and European-descendent cultures are not the supermajority – is possible, perhaps even actual despite some kinks to be worked out. But there is another huge and growing group of people who think that a deeply multiracial and multicultural American is a dystopian nightmare, and that the increasing tension and hostility that we are seeing now is just the tip of the iceberg. I can’t speak for you, but I suppose that I used to think that people on the other side would “wake up” to the truth eventually. I don’t think that anymore. (In fact, ironically, people who I think are deluded popularized the term “woke”.) When I see the white people of Britain and France directing their anger at “Islamophobia” rather than at the savage Muslims who are raping, and running over, and blowing up, and hacking to death their fellow white citizens, I can’t help but conclude that, no, people on your side are not going to wake up. When I see people like yourself endlessly excusing and concocting rationalizations for the thuggish, anti-white actions of BLM, I can’t help but conclude that, no, people on your side are not going to wake up.

      But aren’t you thinking the same thing about us? Aren’t you concluding that we aren’t going to wake up and see things anything close to your way? You _should_ conclude that. Because, if anything, the divide is getting deeper. Check out what’s going on with the alternative right. There is a huge and growing number of people who are openly rejecting the picture of reality and moral ideals that your side holds. They openly mock the idea that different races have the same abilities, they are certain that blacks are far more violent and dangerous than whites and that’s why they get arrested and jailed more often and think this is obvious and empirically indisputable (and they hate your guts for denying and trying to hide it from everyone), they despise feminism, they are appalled at the mainstreaming of what they see as deviant, pathological behavior such as “transgenderism”, they see the flood of non-white immigrants into their countries as an unprecedented invasion and existential threat and see politicians and governments who support this as vile and traitorous, and many of them even think that the Jews have a significant and sinister influence in bringing about these terrible conditions.

      This should all horrify you. Not only are these people not getting on board with your world view. They are moving aggressively in the opposite direction. There is not going to be a reconciliation. You and I represent different groups who have deeply divergent views about how the world is and how we should organize and run our societies. We have virtually no important common ground at this point. That’s why we don’t even talk anymore. Notice that you are the only leftwing philosopher who even comes around to this blog to debate. The entire rest of “the profession” just chugs along in their leftist echo-chamber. (I noticed that, on Leiter’s blog, they are having a comically absurd discussion about which candidates for APA positions will stand up for academic freedom. LOL.) But there’s a good reason that we don’t talk: we can’t. There is such a fundamental divergence in our values and empirical beliefs about the world, that productive dialogue on the issues in dispute is impossible.

      So, why are we are we continuing this relationship? This is a serious question and not a challenge to you in particular. But I am curious to know whether a lefty like yourself would be willing to endorse and even push aggressively for separation? Wouldn’t it be great to be rid of the people like me from your society? Wouldn’t it be great to let us all just go to some region of the country where we could live on our own and not interfere with your projects of racial conciliation and justice (or however you conceive of what you’re doing)? Wouldn’t that to be the humane, civil thing to do rather than for us to continue on living together, not speaking, hating each other, with frustration and rage growing by the day?

  13. “but to see a race war of us vs. them is tantamount to employing the same identity politics you disagree with…No?”

    Jim, what I see is not based on any kind of politics. I see blacks and other non-whites committing racist violence against whites, and whites doing nothing (for the most part). I see non-whites given jobs and legal privileges over whites, and whites doing nothing. I see vast numbers of unassimilable and often hostile non-whites being brought into white nations. I see an insane and very aggressive anti-white ideology being taught to children and promoted in “our” media and by “our” government. All of that is really happening. It certainly looks like the early stages of race war. Comparable, for example, to the early stages of NS policies and propaganda wrt Jews. Talking about nice black neighbors or whatever is pretty obtuse. You’re like a Jew in NS Germany pointing out that Hans and Hilda are pretty nice.

    I don’t disagree with identity politics. All politics is about identity. I advocate identity politics for white people. This makes sense given that we’re being discriminated against and murdered and dispossessed because of our white identity. Duh.

  14. Bob,
    You say you’d ban “incitement to violence”. Fine. So let’s consider the message of BLM. And bear in mind that this message is barely different from what the establishment has been pushing hard in the media and schools for 50-odd years. According to BLM:

    – Blacks are poor and uneducated because of whites–“white supremacy”, “implicit racism”, “systemic racism”, “structural racism”, etc. Call it whatever, in the minds of most people the point is that it’s Whitey’s fault.

    – Blacks shoot each other and rob each other because of whites.

    – Perfectly innocent blacks are being hunted down like animals by white cops, for no reason except that they’re black. (And when the cop is black, it’s because he’s been indoctrinated into some kind of “white supremacy” or he’s just a tool of “systemic racism”, etc. Whitey’s fault again.)

    – Blacks are locked up in prisons in huge numbers, unjustly, because of whites.

    – Whites do better in life because of unjust “privileges” that come at the expense of blacks. Etc.

    This is the kind of thing they’re saying. (And, as we agree, no one is allowed to present arguments against these insane claims without serious risks.) Now what kind of effect are these claims going to have on a population of low IQ, uneducated, poorly socialized people who’ve already been marinated in anti-white resentment and violent hip hop culture for their entire lives? This is obviously incitement to violence given the circumstances. It’s like crying “Fire” in the theater or working up a lynch mob.

    • The “message” of BLM, as you formulate it, is basically a claim about discrimination of one group by another group. I wouldn’t want such general, empirical claims to be outlawed, no matter how false they may seem. If they trigger some uneducated group, then use (proper) education, deterrence, immigration restrictions, and so on, to prevent further triggering. After all, we also wouldn’t want to outlaw certain claims (or cartoons) just because they’re likely to trigger the Jihadists among us.

  15. “as much as anyone can be at the center of these grassroots things, they are pretty fluid, I admit”

    Jim do you really think BLM is a _grassroots_ thing? You need to educate yourself. Nothing like this happens or becomes a “movement” without massive funding and support from the elites. Soros supports it, for example. And the “ideas” and jargon come from pseuds in the universities. I suppose you think the “civil rights” movement was also one of “these grassroots things” too. The only grassroots movements in the west, if there are any, are right-wing identitarian movements such as white nationalism. Nor are these things “fluid”. They’re tightly controlled, always aiming at the destruction and dispossession of the majority by whatever means necessary (as they like to say). That’s their organizing principle. Whatever is good for non-whites or bad for whites is good. But they suddenly become “fluid” when people like me point out this fact. Then, all of a sudden, we’re told that there’s no way to pin down such a diverse grassroots movement made up of individuals with such different aims and backgrounds, etc. What a crock. (How do I know that Jim is white? One strong piece of evidence is that he says stuff like this.)

    “I just hope you can see a more beautiful America that could work toward justice.”

    Justice requires things like this:

    – Violent criminals are punished, and removed from society.
    – Violent crime is generally understood to be bad and shameful, and it’s not excused or forgiven unless the criminal shows real real remorse.
    – People are not denied jobs or promotions or access to education simply because their race is, in general, more successful and contributes more to society than some other race.
    – Police are allowed to kill violent criminals who are trying to kill them; they aren’t under institutional and legal and social pressure to let violent criminals do their thing.
    – The media does not deliberately lie and distort the facts about race and crime in order to make the most criminal races seem like victims and the least criminal races seem like criminals and oppressors.

    I could go on. But evidently these are basic requirements for a just society. Since BLM along with “our” media and government clearly want the exact opposite, what they want is an even more unjust (and uglier) America.

    “Listing the ten points of an organized political movement seems reasonable because even people at National Review have called some of these demands reasonable, like yourself.”

    It might be reasonable if the aim was to understand what some imaginary movement that actually cared about rational discussion and co-operation was about. It’s not reasonable when the people putting forward these “points” show by their behavior that what they really want is racial power, and that they’re willing to use lies and violence to get what they want. In that case, fuck them, and fuck you for pretending that normal people should tolerate them or care about their “points”. (By the way, I don’t concede that any of their demands are reasonable. Their demands are moronic.)

    “False analogy to Al Qaeda.”

    I agree, in a way. It’s unfair to Al Qaeda, who actually do have some reasonable demands and some understandable grievances. Also, they aren’t just a bunch of resentful parasites, spitting on their benefactors and incapable of building anything of their own. Jihadists do build and sustain societies. We wouldn’t want to live in them, but in some ways they are better than ours. I’d be quite happy to hand over treatment of the black underclass to Al Qaeda and their friends (or the Chinese or Japanese, say). They’d civilize them, and the blacks would probably do better in the long run.

    “Al Qaeda doesn’t want to live alongside fellow human beings, and I take it in good faith that civil protest, publishing blog posts, and hosting political rallies are not the same thing as Al Qaeda bringing down the towers.”

    But the “protesters” in Ferguson clearly to do “want to live alongside fellow human beings”. People who threaten violence against others just because those others said “All lives matter” clearly do “want to live alongside fellow human beings”. Please.

    Lots of people who sympathize with Al Qaeda, or play some role in the movement, are just protesting or writing blog posts or whatever. Lots of them already _do_ live alongside others in the west, and they’re often far more civilized and sensible than the low IQ thugs and pseudo-intellectuals involved in BLM. And, of course, lots of people involved in BLM or sympathetic to it are beating and killing innocent people, burning things down and inciting others to violence. The analogy is actually very good (except, again, that jihadists are a far more impressive and dignified enemy than the sorry bunch making up BLM).

    It’s not an “ad hominem” to point out that scumbags and morons are scumbags and morons, and therefore not the kinds of people we should be empowering and putting into positions of influence. I’m not trying to discredit their views or reasoning by pointing out that they are _largely_ bad people. Their views and reasoning are discredited in other ways. (I’m not going to get into it here, though I’ve hinted at some of the rather obvious flaws in their reasoning. Go read American Renaissance or Heather MacDonald if you’re interested.) The point is that, whatever exactly their purported views and reasoning, they are bad people inciting other bad people to do really bad things. So we should oppose them, especially because their goal is (obviously) to make bad things happen to us.

    Maybe there’s no way to explain this to people like Jim. The point is _not_ that BLM have false beliefs or bad arguments, though they obviously _do_ have lots of those. The point is that, regardless of all that, they are doing and inciting and celebrating violent crime and racism against white people. That is _enough_ to justify censorship (and far stronger measures) against these people.

    “I think we should respond to everyone with the same love that Jesus loved us. Why be tribal with that love?”

    There is a very simple answer to your rhetorical question.

    Blacks don’t think this way, for the most part. There is almost no one on earth, ever, who has not been “tribal”. Certainly non-whites in the west do _not_ generally act as if they think they should “respond to everyone with the same love that Jesus loved us”. Blacks care when blacks get killed by cops; they don’t care _at all_ when whites are killed by black cops. Blacks bitch and moan about slavery in the US, but don’t care _at all_ than slavery has always been practiced by blacks, and still exists in Africa today. Muslims complain about US imperialism or European colonialism, but don’t have any guilt _at all_ about Muslim imperialism and Muslim colonialism (which was, of course, way more brutal and evil over the centuries). Have you really not noticed this? Yes, there are individual exceptions. But the overwhelming trend, always and everywhere except among some white people, is to care far more about the interests of your own kind than anyone else.

    Unless you want your own people to be ripped off and exploited and murdered by other tribes who _are_ tribal, you’re going to have become a little tribal yourself. Jared Taylor once pointed out that people like Jim are really advocating disarmament. Whites must never organize and act as whites in their own interests, in a world where every other race is doing this all the time with the explicit aim of racial power over whites. But there’s probably no getting through to white liberals. We can only hope that eventually there will be enough sane whites who don’t want to play Jesus with non-whites who want to crucify us. Maybe then we can have justice and peace and, in time, a truly liberal society where free expression would not be suicidal.

    • Jacque

      People like Jim…

      I’m right here. You can talk directly to me. If you think my thinking is guilty of X, ask about X. Don’t assume it. That’s just bad philosophy. Then again, where is the philosophy? Where is the argument for interpreting the BLM movement as nothing other than a tribal movement of self-interest in which black and whites fundamentally think differently?

      You presuppose the very differences and interests without defending them systematically with premises and conclusions, and then dismiss criticism (such as my own) as its pointless to argue with. In that way, you insulate your own viewpoint from the openness and dialogue philosophy requires. Perhaps, the moment you did this was when we moved away from characterizing BLM as something else other than what it was and the normative claims of its own manifesto.

      So, let’s put this out in the open. Most forms of political philosophy are undergirded either by assumptions about community or some like Thomism and Dewey. I tend to think an ethics cannot make heads or tails of the real world without a theory of community. The reason why such disparate philosophies as Dewey’s political thought and Thomism have a theory of community is that values must be realized in the company of others. That is–these philosophies presuppose some type of sociality is necessary for realizing certain values (whatever they may be) and when you draw essential differences between various groups into the tribalism you advocate here, you are essentially going against the grain of almost every political philosophy.

      What does it say to your other fellow Conservatives here that you think the philosophical project of trying to cooperate with other races in the United States is a form of disarmament because Blacks can’t be anything other than their tribe and hostile to the White tribe? I’m surprised so many of your colleagues here don’t speak up against this type of thinking since it transgresses even those sources of authority commonly elevated in Conservative thought (such as the universal agape in Christian life, or the natural law of Catholicism to name but a few).

      We could put this another way. In King’s political thought, there’s the idea of the beloved community taken over from the American philosopher Josiah Royce, but given some new flavor by the communitarian and personalist assumptions of his dissertation director, L. Harold DeWolf. It’s an integrationist ideal and one worth striving for and their are cultural resources in the American tradition that one doesn’t even need to look outside what we are conserving to ground them.

    • “What does it say to your other fellow Conservatives here that you think the philosophical project of trying to cooperate with other races in the United States is a form of disarmament because Blacks can’t be anything other than their tribe and hostile to the White tribe?”

      Well, if Jacques had *actually* said that blacks couldn’t be _anything other than their tribe and hostile to the “white tribe”_, then maybe I would have spoken up, but Jacques didn’t say that. Obviously it’s possible that groups can overcome their hostility toward each other. As I hope an honest interlocutor and dissenter of this blog, I’d hope that you would do a better job of representing *your side* (whatever it is), than putting words in the mouth of other people. Regarding whether Jacques comments are inconsistent with the natural law of Catholicism or of Christianity more generally, I think I’d have to hear more. It’s completely consistent with Christianity and Catholicism to think that the best way to form governments is along ethnic lines. That isn’t to say that one ethnicity or “tribe” is inherently better than another, or that they couldn’t learn to get along. Interestingly, isn’t this the very thing that many pundits think should have happened in, say, Iraq? Do you think the integration project of trying to get Sunnis, Shiite, and Kurds to democratically govern together is going well? If not, what’s wrong with thinking things might actually be more peaceful if they all had their own governments?

      Jim, I have another honest question for you, which I’m genuinely curious to hear your answer to. It’s not a “gotcha” question. Why is an integrationist ideal “worth striving for” in your mind? I’d like to have governments that value people and get along. I’m getting skeptical that integrationist governments, in practice, do this very well.

  16. Hi Bob.
    I guess we just disagree then. I certainly would outlaw empirical claims, especially when they’re demonstrably false, if we can predict that such claims are very likely to cause serious harm to innocent people. It’s an empirical claim that Trayvon Martin was murdered in cold blood by George Zimmerman. It’s demonstrably false (or, at best, totally unjustifiable) and we know that people were attacked as a result of this claim being mass propagated to an audience of angry, low IQ, poorly socialized people who were already prone to racist violence. What could be the instrumental value in allowing this kind of expression in these circumstances?

    “After all, we also wouldn’t want to outlaw certain claims (or cartoons) just because they’re likely to trigger the Jihadists among us.”

    Well, IF we insist on inviting huge numbers of devout Muslims to live among us, I think it would be very unwise to trigger them with gratuitously insulting pictures of their prophet. We can predict that lots of innocent people are going to be killed as a result. What instrumental value would justify such expression in these circumstances? I certainly wouldn’t want to risk the lives of my family and friends just so that a bunch of moron atheists can get their kicks.

    “Granting freedom of speech to your opponents (on the left and the right) comes with all sorts of benefits. Apart from the fact that you have reason to hope that the gesture will be reciprocated, you can count on having critics—and who has never benefited from criticism?”

    We have no reason to expect that leftists will _ever_ reciprocate in any way. In every important case that I can remember, the left use any advantage they have to push their agenda and destroy the right. As soon as they got freedom of expression for themselves, they began using it to ridicule and demonize and personally destroy rightists and normal people. Now they’re at the point where they can silence us and eliminate all public opposition, so they’re doing that. Nothing is ever enough for the left. Haven’t you noticed? Five minutes after “conservatives” accepted de-segregation and racial equality, the left began pushing for legal discrimination against whites and forced integration, etc. Five minutes after “conservatives” decided that homo-marriage was actually a conservative notion, the left began pushing for “trans” degeneracy and demonizing anyone who was skeptical. So there’s no realistic hope of any benefit here.

    Yes, we can benefit from criticism. But while free expression for BLM and their ilk just _might_ occasionally lead to some helpful criticism from the likes of BLM. I think that’s incredibly unlikely, but never mind. Another consequence will be the ongoing dispossession and destruction of whites and white societies, and that is a much more likely result. For me, anyway, the alleged benefits are trivial in comparison with the costs. I’d rather have a society where innocent white people aren’t being raped and murdered and denied employment than one where whites are a powerless minority surrounded by people who hate them–even if, in that second case, some white right-wingers may have slightly more reasonable opinions as a result of their enemies’ criticisms. Again, you can calculate all these instrumental values under a traditional liberal theory and you’ll find that censorship is justified.

  17. “Where is the argument for interpreting the BLM movement as nothing other than a tribal movement of self-interest in which black and whites fundamentally think differently?”

    The argument has already been stated a few times. Actually a few arguments, but here’s one you might distill from various comments above:

    P1: A political movement is not defined solely by its official statements but also by its behavior.
    P2: If a political movement M (i) promotes vicious lies about races R and R*, consistently making Rs seem better than they are and R*s seem worse than they are and (ii) excuses and celebrates the violence and criminality of Rs but never R*s, then (regardless of its official statements) M is a “tribal (racist) movement of self-interest”.
    P3: BLM is a political movement that (i) promotes vicious lies about blacks and whites, consistently making blacks seem better than they are and whites seem worse than they are, and (ii) excuses and celebrates the violence and criminality of blacks but never whites.
    C: (Regardless of its official statements) BLM is a “tribal (racist) movement of self-interest.

    Okay, now you have something respectable to work with. Please explain why the argument is invalid, or why we shouldn’t believe one of its premises.

    “…we moved away from characterizing BLM as something else other than what it was and the normative claims of its own manifesto.”

    In this context, such claims are question begging. My point from the start has been that we shouldn’t define BLM in terms of its manifesto or its “ten points” or whatever. That’s an absurd way to define a real-world political movement, especially when we have the behavior of the movement itself as evidence. You just keep pointing to their “manifesto” as if that were clear evidence of the nature and intent of BLM. But I’ve denied this (with evidence) from the outset.

    As SCC pointed out earlier, you’d probably realize that this is silly if we were talking about a different case. If the KKK came up with some little manifesto, saying nice and sensible things, would you think that was enough to define the KKK as a nice sensible group? Would you say that looking at their behavior was “characterizing the KKK as something else other than what it was and the normative claims of its own manifesto”? I really don’t care what the Platonic Form of BLM may be, and I don’t see why anyone else should care. In the real world, the people in BLM tend overwhelming to promote or believe outrageous lies that lead to violence and crime, and they tend overwhelmingly to excuse or even celebrate racial violence and crime–e.g., the lie about that thug in Ferguson who was trying to kill a cop and got what he deserved. I’m saying that _this_ is what we should care about. How about this: You can have the term “BLM”, and you get to define _that_ movement however you please. I’ll use the term “NWA”, and I’ll stipulate that “NWA” is comprised of people who say “Black Lives Matter”, and who engage in the behaviors and attitudes I’m describing. So my point is that NWA is a movement of scumbags and morons, and it would be very good to marginalize and disempower NWA. If we could cut off their funding and shut them up (and all of their media and academic sympathizers) then that would be a really effective way (and probably the only way) to prevent a lot of crime and terrorism and other harm to normal people.

    “In King’s political thought, there’s the idea of the beloved community taken over from the American philosopher Josiah Royce, but given some new flavor by the communitarian and personalist assumptions of his dissertation director, L. Harold DeWolf. It’s an integrationist ideal and one worth striving for and their are cultural resources in the American tradition that one doesn’t even need to look outside what we are conserving to ground them.”

    I haven’t read the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. PhD’s dissertation, I have to admit. (I haven’t even read the guy he copied it from–I think his name was “Boozer”?) But why is this relevant? Obviously the organized black community and the leftist establishment don’t believe in any such “beloved community” or “integrationist ideal” (whatever that is). They are promoting hatred of white people and Europeans. They’re practicing racial discrimination against us, denying us employment and opportunities because of our race. They say that we are the cause of their problems, and they don’t care (at best) when blacks or other non-whites rape and murder us. If you aren’t aware of this, I would ask you to look at the world. Give me _one_ example of a case where a white person was brutalized by blacks and the black community or the left showed any real concern. (Of course, when there’s some obviously fake story about blacks being harmed by whites, anywhere in the world, it’s the new Holocaust.)

    You seem to want to conduct real-world politics like a philosophy seminar. But that’s not how this works. Groups with different interests struggle for power, and they don’t do this because they care about Dewey or Thomism. Do you honestly think that _blacks_ in America are seeking to realize some kind of “integrationist ideal”? Have you ever listened to any hip hop Jim? Are you not aware of the very deep resentment and mistrust (at best) that black America tends to feel towards whites? I think _most_ white people are nice and naive. They’re “people like Jim”. But really there is no shared America for us to “integrate”, and there never was.

    “I’m surprised so many of your colleagues here don’t speak up against this type of thinking since it transgresses even those sources of authority commonly elevated in Conservative thought (such as the universal agape in Christian life, or the natural law of Catholicism to name but a few).”

    Please explain: How would Catholicism or traditional Christianity rule out the idea that whites and blacks should live apart, or that whites may morally take their own side against other races who are acting very hostile and harming whites because they are white? Let’s hear the arguments with premises and all 🙂

    • “You seem to want to conduct real-world politics like a philosophy seminar.”

      No. I understand politics through philosophy, and I expect the same norms to carry the day in all my interactions here because this was the reason why all of you founded this blog.

      As for the argument, I disagree with i-iii criteria in P2. I think this is the crux of the issue, and you reassert the spirit of P2 in the following statements:

      “the organized black community and the leftist establishment don’t believe in any such “beloved community” or “integrationist ideal” (whatever that is). They are promoting hatred of white people and Europeans. They’re practicing racial discrimination against us, denying us employment and opportunities because of our race. They say that we are the cause of their problems, and they don’t care (at best) when blacks or other non-whites rape and murder us. If you aren’t aware of this, I would ask you to look at the world” (Jacques’ post above)

      Again, you offer these as your reasons but fail to instantiate i-iii with concrete evidence for the truth of P2. Your proof is for me “to look at the world.” That disburdens you from making any real argument but to pass off your own biases as unquestioned evidence.

      Walter: This is what I mean by knowing my interlocutors.

      Best,

      Jim

  18. Walter, if you don’t mind, I’ll respond to you if you don’t mind.

    Let me first answer the non-gotcha question. How else do you proceed if not alone but together? Practically, you can proceed in two mutually exclusive ways. You can go after policies that benefit you and your tribal identity, or you can try and enact a spirit of cooperation in which my projects and your projects lift everyone up. Consider a point of analogy.

    One argument for market-based solutions is that it respects everyone’s individual freedoms and turns the exercise of that individual’s freedom with profit. It spurns innovation, and allows people to control a little bit of their own destiny. When you want to convince everyone about the benefits of this free enterprise system, you make an argument to Mr. Smith that it’s in his self-interest to adopt this way of life because of the benefits. This can be called appealing to someone’s self-interest to adopt the collective self-interest.

    One can make an argument for King’s Beloved Community or an integrationist society along those lines, I suppose if you want that argument. I’d hope that we’d find more moral grounds.

    One can also make arguments along other lines. The fact is that a person’s rationality and autonomy is what confers value and dignity of the person. These are traits that are trans-racial, and so moral obligations we have to other persons transcend the very lines we draw. You can also replace and substitute rationality and autonomy with soul, or transcendental ego if you like also.

    On the practical side, this is what we’ve done as Americans. We’ve expanded the constitutional order to include those that it initially excluded. We’ve done this a lot of the ways–some ways successful in other ways not successful.

    And now let me answer the following, the fact is that Jacques doesn’t actually have to say anything. We all know what he implied without saying it (He can, as it were, chime in at any time and correct the record). I’ve been coming here enough to know my various interlocutors well, so I’ll restate my initial concern with the added proviso “It seems like” Jacques represents one tribe as advancing interests against the interests of another tribe. His conception of politics never left Hobbes’s state of nature.

    An integrationist ideal for Iraqis has to be worked out by them for them. I’m not part of that cultural horizon. As far as I know, there are more barriers between Sunnis and Shiites than myself and my neighbors Juan and Kayla. Juan and I are both Catholic (or as I like to say genetically Catholic as I always find it hard to be a philosopher and religious much of the time; I also tend to Buddhism personally), live in the city, and enjoy some microbreweries in town. We sit on our apartment roof and drink together. Our other neighbor is Kayla, an African-American single mother with two daughters who works as a paralegal. She’s Southern Baptist. I have many black, Hispanic, and Native American friends. I break bread with them at my table and we watch Wonder Woman together. When I was younger, I have babysat these people. I park next to them. I help them carry their groceries into our hallway. They are not after me. They are not exceptions here in Cincy. They’re just here playing by the same rules I or you play by.

    I think what’s taxing on the United States politically is a failed conception of our end game. Put another way, we disagree heavily on what eudaimonia consists of for every American. I tend to think like an Aristotelian here. Our political vision doesn’t have a telos. It’s the telos that’s constantly up for debate, constantlly hijacked by a teetering pendulum between Trump’s economic nationalism and the Democrat’s multicultural neoliberalism.

    • I didn’t detect a direct answer to the my question. Based on your answer, it sounds like you think that integrationism “lifts everyone up”. It is possible that it do so, but a case can be made that integrationism hasn’t really done that. I think that’s what Jacques is trying to do. If integrationism is supposed to lift everyone up, then it should be judged as to whether it does so. You think it its doing pretty well at this? I don’t. This is an empirical question.

      Also, you didn’t answer Jacques and my question about how “tribalism” is inconsistent with traditional Christianity. I think you could be a tribalist Christian and hope, pray, and strive for healthy relationships between the members of the tribes and then the tribes themselves, right?

  19. “…you offer these as your reasons but fail to instantiate i-iii with concrete evidence for the truth of P2. Your proof is for me ‘to look at the world’. That disburdens you from making any real argument but to pass off your own biases as unquestioned evidence.”

    Jim how can you have read any of what I said above and think that my evidence reduces to “look at the world”? I have already mentioned a whole laundry list of specific things that I adduce as evidence for characterization of BLM and similar movements and the leftist establishment. Again, there are such things as unqualified support for racial discrimination against whites, no concern (or publicly expressed concern) for racial violence against whites combined with inordinate rage and moralizing about (usually fake) incidents of violence against blacks, excusing or even celebrating violence committed by blacks, etc. Now I guess you can pretend that “affirmative action” doesn’t exist, or that it doesn’t harm whites, or that BLM and the establishment don’t support it. Or you can claim that these people don’t have wildly inconsistent reactions to violence and crime when the victims are white rather than black, etc. But to claim that I haven’t offered any evidence for my position is just obviously false. Your characterization of my position depends on simply ignoring half of what I said, even while you charge me with ignoring what BLM say when I presented an _argument_ to the effect that what they say is less important than how they act.

    Now you ask for “concrete evidence for the truth of P2”. But that too has already been provided. One example, already mentioned but here is more detail for you: the whole Ferguson thing was based on a story about a “gentle giant” who said “Hands up, don’t shoot”. If we’re being super-duper-charitable, this story turned out to be completely baseless very soon after the incident. All the evidence supports the theory that Brown was behaving like a crazed savage, trying to kill a cop, and so he got just what he deserved. And yet the evidence–eyewitness testimony, physical and forensic evidence, etc.–clearly makes _no_ difference to the BLM people. They stick to their fantasy regardless. Why? It often happens that white people who are more clearly harmless and innocent are brutalized or killed by cops, even black cops. BLM and the left have _never_ reacted in a similar way. Just as they _never_ cared at all about all the many perfectly innocent whites murdered by blacks but they lose their minds and chimp out when Trayvon Martin got killed in some tussle with George Zimmerman, who was almost certainly just defending himself against a savage. Why? If you’re going to say that my position is “biased” I would ask you to address the evidence of this kind that I’ve already noted. You can deny that BLM and the left reacted as I claim. You can offer some evidence of your own that Michael Brown was really just a “gentle giant” minding his own business, and that therefore it made some kind of sense for blacks to burn and loot and attack people, or whatever. But so far you seem to be just ignoring evidence already presented and asserting with no real argument that BLM is a respectable movement. Or at least, your argument is just that they don’t explicitly _say_ that they support violence and crime, ignoring various arguments already presented against that criterion for defining a political movement.

    “I understand politics through philosophy, and I expect the same norms to carry the day in all my interactions here because this was the reason why all of you founded this blog.”

    If you mean that you understand what BLM _is_ in the real world on the basis of your philosophy then I’d say this is some kind of moralistic fallacy. You think politics should be this or that, and you project your normative beliefs on to an empirical world that just doesn’t work that way. But maybe I just don’t know what you mean. I understand the racial politics of the USA–what it actually is, as opposed to what it might be or could be–by observing how people behave. Is that a mistake of some kind? How else could we hope to figure out what is actually going on?

    Maybe you mean that in discussing politics philosophically we should try to uphold norms of philosophy. Well, okay, fine. But I don’t see what philosophical norm I’m supposed to be violating. My view is that in reality BLM are mostly a bunch of scumbags and morons; I base this on observation of their behavior and expressed attitudes (no, not the “ten points”). I conclude that such people must not have any significant power or influence in a civilized society. How is this contrary to philosophical norms? For example, Mill claimed that his principles of liberty were meant only for mature individuals and civilized societies; they were not meant to apply to morons or savages, for whom benevolent dictatorship would be the only proper form of government. I agree with this. Do you think Mill was not being properly philosophical when he said that? Plato said similar things. He too was violating some philosophical norm? Or maybe you think I’m not reasoning in a philosophically proper way when I appeal to facts about the behavior of groups to reach my conclusion about the vile nature of BLM and the left. Okay, but then please explain more clearly what you mean. What are these norms and how do I violate them?

  20. “‘It seems like’ Jacques represents one tribe as advancing interests against the interests of another tribe. His conception of politics never left Hobbes’s state of nature.”

    That’s about right, but it’s not what you attributed to me: the claim that blacks “can’t be anything other than their tribe and hostile to the White tribe”. Maybe they can be or could be something else. But I don’t care about that, and I don’t see why I should. I claim that in here and now they _aren’t_ something else and given that whites have been playing this liberal race-blind game for many decades now while blacks grow ever more race-conscious and tribal, I don’t think we have any reason to hope that they will be any time in the foreseeable future. So whether they can or could be something other than a hostile tribe just doesn’t matter.

    You offer examples of nice friendly black people known to you personally. Congratulations. I know some too. I’ll even say “Some of my best friends” were black when I was a kid–it’s true–and even now I have some non-white friends and acquaintances. So what? The fact remains that when we look at how blacks in general as a population behave, their attitudes and politics and so on, they _do_ tend overwhelmingly to behave as a tribe hostile to whites. They vote as a racial bloc. They favor things that harm whites. They excuse or celebrate criminality and violence against innocent whites (e.g., Ferguson). They commit violence against whites at disproportionate rates. (Read ‘The Color of Crime’ please, and reply to the interpretation of the data if you think it’s mistaken.) They never express any gratitude for the enormous sacrifices that whites have made (pointlessly for the most part) in order to help them. Their music and culture is generally anti-white, anti-civilization and pro-criminal. (Check out some hip hop and consider why this music is so popular with blacks.) There’s really nothing important that blacks have collectively done or tried to do that isn’t clearly an expression of racial (tribal) interests, and usually racial interests directly opposed to those of whites. There are individual exceptions. Thomas Sowell isn’t like that. Clarence Thomas isn’t. Maybe King was a good person (though I rather doubt that) and maybe he had some good ideas. If you disagree with this, please offer _relevant_ counter-arguments. The fact that there are some nice black people is just not relevant. This would be like saying that Nazism is not anti-semitic because there were some nice Nazis who didn’t hate Jews (which is true) or that Jews as a group don’t tend to be anti-gentile because there are lots of individual Jews who are really nice (which is also true). Or, at least, you need to explain why you think these facts about some tiny number of individuals known to you personally _are_ relevant somehow and why they are more significant than the observable behavior and tendencies of the far larger groups to which those individuals belong.

  21. Jacques,

    I finally understand Sellars difficulty talking to and writing about Derrida’s views concerning Austin’s speech act theory with Derrida. There are times where I really want you to respond to specific criticism only to have them deflected and then you shift the burden of response.

  22. Hi Jim. I haven’t read very much Derrida so I don’t know how much I’m like him. (Not much, I suspect, apart from being sort-of-French.) But this criticism isn’t very specific. Where exactly do you think I’m deflecting your criticisms unfairly, or shifting the burden? Is it that I haven’t adequately addressed the “ten points” of NWA? I think I’ve already explained why I don’t care about that. Is it not fair to ask you to justify your appeal to specific black people or leftists or supporters of NWA in characterizing the movement as a whole? I think I’ve already explained why I regard this as irrelevant given the observable tendencies of the movement as a whole, e.g., irrational and immoral support for violent criminals rather than police officers merely trying to enforce the law and protect their own lives. In any case, sometimes burden-shifting is reasonable. If Sellars was asking Derrida to justify his belief that water is wet, Derrida could reasonable ask Sellars to justify any doubts about the wetness of water. If you’re asking me to justify my belief that NWA is a destructive racist movement supportive of violent crime, I can reasonably ask you to justify any doubts you have about that. But, again, I think I’ve also provided pretty good reasons for my characterization of NWA. Maybe you can be more specific about this?

  23. Jacques,

    I finally understand Searle’s difficulty talking to and writing about Derrida’s views concerning Austin’s speech act theory with Derrida. There are times where I really want you to respond to specific criticism only to have them deflected and then you shift the burden of response.

    I used Douglas Walton’s book Informal Logic to teach critical thinking. One of the rules for persuasion dialogue (the name of his normative conception of reasoning with another) is that both participants in reasonable dialogue have a dual responsibility to meet that burden. Constant denial of that burden is like Derrida’s response to Gadamer as well. I find this elusiveness odd. You speak and speak about the BLM movement being morons, and that black tribal interests are always at the expense of whites. You employ universal language when talking about individuals as parts of movements, yet when I say you are only pointing to the world but not giving me a concrete instantiation of how that is true for all the members of the class you are predicating you say you give ample evidence of this claim by again reasserting what you keep claiming at a very general level. So to be clear, evidence is a standard of proof that reasonable people independently of their position would accept as showing the connection between the claim and the conclusion you are trying to draw from it (Next question: Would the “Color of Crime” book make your claim or a related but different claim, and if so what do you take that claim to be precisely as relevant to our discussion? Please state it succinctly, if you could please.)

    Walter,

    I believe you have one charitable view of what Jacques could be doing, and so let’s go to that way of thinking about his language,

    “it sounds like you think that integrationism “lifts everyone up”. It is possible that it do so, but a case can be made that integrationism hasn’t really done that. I think that’s what Jacques is trying to do. If integrationism is supposed to lift everyone up, then it should be judged as to whether it does so. You think it its doing pretty well at this? I don’t. This is an empirical question.”

    I agree that a charitable reading of Jacques may just be taking issue with how to deal with the problem of race within the American political horizon and finding fault in integrationist strategies. If that’s the case, then he hasn’t been very narrow in what that means precisely, and his writings about race have been on the very general and vaguely universal. If I pressed, I think I might get more of the same very general restatements of the original point he keeps making.

    I do want to take issue with what you have intended; it’s not just an empirical question. If it’s a question about what we ought to do differently, that’s what Bernard Williams might call a thick concept–involving both a descriptive and normative element.

    If we have failed in some aspects of how well we’ve integrated various races, then we need to be innovative of how better to do it. Empirical data showing our failures on this score can be consistent with the conclusion that we never accomplished what we set out to do–presumably because things like individual implicit racism and overt institutional racism are social realities that still linger and our moral muster hasn’t been sincere enough.

    So let me just say. What else other than integrationism is your response? If we adopt segregationism, then we violate equal protection under the law, and a moral and just requirement that the same standards of treatment abide for everyone. Then, we are back again at King citing Thomas Aquinas that an unjust law is a threat to justice everywhere. Is there something different you have in mind?

    Let’s move to the second question:

    “Also, you didn’t answer Jacques and my question about how “tribalism” is inconsistent with traditional Christianity. I think you could be a tribalist Christian and hope, pray, and strive for healthy relationships between the members of the tribes and then the tribes themselves, right?”

    For me, you could see this as a divine command argument (I tend to see this as an ethics of comportment, however.).

    Jesus commands L: Love others as I have loved you. (John 13:34)
    Therefore, any Christian C has a duty to L (I have a duty to L)

    Of course, this is a very strong moral principle. When you start to think of what it might look like in a secular world, there’s Kant’s Kingdom of Ends that comes close to it, but the fact is that reasoning your way to respect dignity is not the same as what this agapic conception of love does to those who can relate to others in agapic love, which is the point of human life. For Catholics, the point of human life is to become Saints. However, I think Levinas’s absolute transcendence of other, an ethics of hospitality and invitation to the other we find everywhere in the Pentateuch becomes, for me, an ethics that serves radical vulnerability. Love always requires an-other, and that’s a concrete phenomenological datum of the experience of loving another. I think of Buber and Levinas through the Gospels, and we get an ethics of vulnerability rooted in the self-other experience. One feature of thinking about Buber and Levinas this way is that Christianity incarnates suffering in ways that I think Judaism sometimes avoids.

  24. “One of the rules for persuasion dialogue (the name of his normative conception of reasoning with another) is that both participants in reasonable dialogue have a dual responsibility to meet that burden.”

    If your textbook says that in any debate both parties have an _equal_ rational burden of proof, that’s just wrong. If A and B are debating the proposition that God exists, that might be true. Not if they’re debating the proposition that water is wet. If your textbook says that in attempting to persuade _one’s opponent_ one should always act _as if_ the rational burden of proof were equal, that might be true. I’d have to think about it. But I don’t expect I can persuade you, and I’m not really trying. (I’ve given a series of arguments that you’ve either ignored or badly misunderstood.) I debate people like you–no offense–in the hope of persuading other people who might read our debate.

    “Constant denial of that burden is like Derrida’s response to Gadamer as well. I find this elusiveness odd.”

    Please re-read my last comment. I’ve cited behaviors of NWA that I take to support my characterization of the movement. Again, NWA treated the ludicrous story about Michael Brown as if it were clearly true, and NWA has never shown the slightest concern for far more plausible stories about whites being harmed and killed by blacks (including black cops). I deny that I _need_ to provide much evidence for my characterization, but I am nonetheless providing evidence for it (for whatever reason). And you are, again, avoiding any direct comment on this and other specific pieces of evidence already cited. So I’ll ask again: Do you think that reasonable people who don’t hate whites or police officers would accept or promote the media narrative about Brown? Do you think such people would have no similar concern for many similar incidents where the (real) victim was white and killer was black? What do you think it says about NWA that they respond to these stories as they do? Your silence on all of these specifics suggests that there’s really no rational defense of NWA possible. I certainly can’t think of one.

    “You speak and speak about the BLM movement being morons, and that black tribal interests are always at the expense of whites. You employ universal language when talking about individuals as parts of movements…”

    A generalization about a mass political movement is obviously _not_ meant to be a strict universal quantification over every single person associated with the movement. Even if I hadn’t repeatedly used words like “largely” this would be absurdly uncharitable. When NWA speak about whites or white privilege or white racism, do you take them to be implying that not even one single white person is innocent of their charges? This is a strawman argument.

    “…evidence is a standard of proof that reasonable people independently of their position would accept as showing the connection between the claim and the conclusion you are trying to draw from it…”

    I don’t know what more to say about this. In general, we may reasonably characterize mass movements by their general behavior tendencies as well as things their leaders or representatives say. NWA tends overwhelmingly to support black violent criminals against law enforcement, accuse white people and police of serious crimes on the basis of no real evidence, etc. I take this to indicate that the movement as a whole is pro-violent crime, anti-white, etc. You can either disagree with this style of argument, in which case you should explain your views on the KKK example and others cited earlier, or else deny the empirical claim that this is how NWA overwhelmingly tends to behave. Anything else is just evading the argument, denying a legitimate burden of proof.

    “(Next question: Would the “Color of Crime” book make your claim or a related but different claim, and if so what do you take that claim to be precisely as relevant to our discussion? Please state it succinctly, if you could please.)”

    I don’t remember the context for my reference to the book. It documents that there is a vast amount of black crime, and more black-on-white crime than white-on-black crime, including ‘hate crimes’. This is relevant in lots of ways. For example, someone who truly cared about ‘black lives’ would be far more concerned about removing all those black violent criminals from society than about dealing with the largely imaginary problem of cops killing entirely innocent blacks. The fact that NWA doesn’t care about the first thing, or absurdly attempts to blame it on whites, is evidence for my claim that NWA doesn’t really care about ‘black lives’. But the book is not central to my position. I mentioned it in passing, if I recall.

  25. Jim writes, in comparing economic systems:

    “Democratic socialism of the Netherlands is the middle between excess and deficiency in this world.” –

    Do you find it curious that what are often described by libs as the most successful cultures and economies (northern European) are also some of the most ethnically homogenous, dare I say white? (- though some chickens are coming home to roost of late with their catastrophic experiments in diversity.)

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