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ag_NO_stic

Radical SJW Ideology the beginnings of Cult-like Behavior?

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OK, I'm sorry for my misunderstanding.

 

To be clear, when I post here it's just because I think topics are interesting and like to discuss them. I don't actually think of anything I post anywhere on the internet as being activism. I'm getting the impression that you think my posts on political topics are driven too much by an intent to get people to change their minds, but that's not really how I think about them at all. I just like to talk about stuff I'm interested in. I also find it useful to have my views challenged by trying to explain them to people who find them dubious. Usually my overarching motivation is to try to explain why I think something is true, or not true. All of my posts in this thread are of that nature.

 

My experience on internet forums is much like ag_no_stic's from the OP, when she says that some people she knows think that she's liberal and others that she's conservative. I post on one forum where the majority is closer to the kind of "woke leftist" your linked post is about. I was recently called a crypto-fascist by one of the leading lights there for having the temerity to suggest that maybe threatening violence against people like Tucker Carlson is a bridge too far. I used to mod the "alternate" politics forum there in an attempt to allow for a wider range of discourse. I also post on a very right-wing forum where pretty much anyone to the left of Ronald Reagan is a commie (and when they find out about his amnesty policy they might throw him overboard too :P), and on that forum I'm definitely an "SJW". I'm only detailing this by way of saying that I emphatically agree with the idea that people should be open to challenging any and all points of view, at least in some contexts (I'm not saying this forum is necessarily the right place for it). For me, internet discussions are a good way for me to challenge my own views, more than a way to try to persuade others. Attempting to make persuasive arguments or to present my views clearly is just a useful way of trying to accomplish that.

 

It is very much that motivation which led me to say earlier that I didn't think Evergreen was representative but more importantly that I also wouldn't want it to be.

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2 hours ago, wellnamed said:

I'm getting the impression that you think my posts on political topics are driven too much by an intent to get people to change their minds

 

2 hours ago, wellnamed said:

my overarching motivation is to try to explain why I think something is true, or not true

 

Well, maybe it's because you said these things:

 

 

On 3/10/2019 at 2:02 PM, wellnamed said:

First, you're simply wrong on the facts...

 

On 3/10/2019 at 2:02 PM, wellnamed said:

Secondly, you're wrong to believe...

 

 

On 3/10/2019 at 2:02 PM, wellnamed said:

you're wrong to characterize activism as...

 

 

On 3/10/2019 at 2:02 PM, wellnamed said:

Addressing social problems invariably means also changing what people believe and how they feel about various issues, and democratic politics necessarily involves some element of persuasion.

 

That language sounds more to me like instructions on where I am thinking incorrectly and teaching me how this big 'ol world really works (if I were a woman, I might call it mansplaining)  more than you explaining why you think what you think. Regardless, your admitted regular participation in several other forums for the purpose of discussing these same issues and your implication that arguments and rebuttals ensue, such as:  

 

2 hours ago, wellnamed said:

I was recently called a crypto-fascist

 

...hints to me that you have more than a simple interest in these topics. Certainly reading books would satisfy interest. You come across here as someone with  interest and a desire to actively engage -- perhaps even debate -- with others on these topics.   That's OK, just pointing out there is a bit of a duplicitous ring to some of your statements.  

 

No Matter. Whatever your reason(s), I believe I now have a fuller understanding on where you are coming from with all this. Thanks for your time. It's been fun. 

 

To the OP:  My apologies for the temporary hijacking. 

 

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21 minutes ago, webmdave said:

That language sounds more to me like instructions on where I am thinking incorrectly and teaching me how this big 'ol world really works (if I were a woman, I might call it mansplaining)  more than you explaining why you think what you think.

 

Forgive me for belaboring this just a moment longer, but I'd note that the title of this club is "controversy and conflict", and I definitely took that into account in my writing style (and I mean, this is a thread where the OP calls SJW ideology a cult. It's pretty pointed to start with!). I stated my point of view very directly but I didn't intend it to be personal or insulting. The sentence before the ones you quoted begins "I disagree with you..." and what follows is just a plain statement of my disagreements with your post. I did not think that my tone was more aggressive than yours in the post I was responding to, in which you too did not couch your position in terms of "I think that..." or otherwise qualify your claims as being only your opinion. Instead you just stated your belief plainly in terms as absolute as mine:

 

On 3/9/2019 at 1:11 PM, webmdave said:

When enough people are united in parroting the same "poignant" message, then utopia will come.

 

Not gonna happen.

 

Perhaps if individuals with strong beliefs simply act on their convictions by spending their time and resources relieving individual suffering instead of just preaching...

 

Never mind. That won't happen either.  

 

I don't have a problem with the tone of your post, but I do disagree that my response was somehow more aggressive than the above. That said, I'm more than happy to be less aggressive with you in the future. Like I said, I wasn't trying to insult you. I tend to just assume that "I think that..." is implicit in anything I say. Obviously no one has any obligation to agree with me. It also just is quicker to state things plainly, and as you know already I'm not that great at brevity :P

 

As far as my interest goes, I didn't mean to imply that my interest wasn't intense, I just meant it wasn't evangelical IMO. When I said I liked to have my views challenged I certainly did mean that I like to debate.

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If I understand you correctly, you are now claiming to have intense interest in these topics and do certainly like to engage in debate. Yet, you also do not desire to change people's minds and your motivation for discussion is nothing more than explaining why you think what you think. 

 

This is where you come off (to me) as a bit duplicitous, but for the sake of argument, I'll take you at your word. 

 

If I read you correctly, you are also saying my tone was the reason for your tone. Hmm. Let me 'splain something to you, Lucy...  You are entirely responsible for your own actions. No one else can be blamed for what you do, period. You didn't like my tone, so you came back rudely. It was unintentionally rude? Really? Hmm. 

 

Anyway, I am not defending my tone. I am not claiming any moral high ground of politeness, kindness or patience. My tone was calculating in the hopes of obtaining an honest and genuine response. I wanted to find out what you were really about and where you were really coming from. It appears to have worked. 

 

Again, thanks for the insight and fun. 

 

Best, 

 

 

 

 

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On 3/8/2019 at 7:53 AM, ag_NO_stic said:

Y'all. I have said this a million times outside of this forum. To most of my conservative friends, I sound like a crazy liberal and to many of my liberal friends, I'm often called conservative. I'm trying desperately to stay away from labels in general, but.....I brought it up because I don't see how can anyone view the content of this video as a "side." It is my opinion that we should all be coming together to denounce this behavior. We have seen this shit before in history and it always ends with violence and even genocide. This is truly unbelievable to me. 

 

Depending on how you define a cult, I think it is arguable that radical SJW ideology (which I believe is demonstrated in this video) is the beginning of one. The canoe meeting in this video was textbook cult programming, as I understand it, they even had a mind-altering group "denunciation" thing. I got chills when, later in the video, whites were not allowed chairs until all the POCs got to sit and were still put in the back. We are seeing history begin to repeat itself in the name of "justice." We are seeing extreme behavior and thought control, emotional manipulation, threat of force. Even the Guardian, which is pretty liberal, states the following things to be careful of with a cult. Please note similarities in the religion we have already left:

 

• Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

• No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

• No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget or expenses, such as an independently audited financial statement.

• Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions. (for example, systemic racism or sexism, "homophobia" or "transphobia")

• There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

• Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances. (not in this video, but "members" who are turned on later report feeling like this.)

• There are records, books, news articles, or broadcast reports that document the abuses of the group/leader. (this is highly arguable, but I know many conservatives who argue that the democratic party is has done this to POCs)

• Followers feel they can never be "good enough" (ie, allies w/ white guilt or "all white people can never not be racist", "heteronormativity," or even people walking on eggshells to avoid being turned on. Another good example of this are feminist athletes in the news being torn to shreds for disagreeing with their views on trans athletes.)

• The group/leader is always right. 

• The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible (this is directly in the video, as I perceive it)

 

Google defines a "cult" as "a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object." Based on this definition, the "group think" identity politics, the "us vs. them" mentality, and perceived oppression in the absence of facts are all historically significant factors in considering this behavior. We can also look at Cult Checklist 101 and see some disturbing trends. 

 

Per Christopher Hitchens, "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." 

 

Thoughts?

 

 

 

 

Note: I'm replying to the OP here, not to anything subsequent.

 

I'm a sociologist by trade, and we have a definition for cults. It goes like this:

1. Charismatic leader

2. Controls every aspect of members' lives (finances etc)

3. Discourages members from associating with non-members (cutting off friends and family)

4. Outlandish beliefs

 

I don't think "cult" is the right term for the thinking at Evergreen. I think it is worth keeping in mind that Evergreen State College was founded in the 70s as a RADICAL educational institution, and they still have the same mission. Radicals are by definition not in the mainstream. I think using them as the example for anyone who is concerned with social justice is a bit off the mark. Personally I see both positions in this kerfluffle, they both have a point (in a radical context). But I don't think that Evergreen in any way stands for any mainstream liberal political position, or any mainstream conservative position (on the other side). They are a curious radical experiment in education, that's all-- and I would put the whole thing in that perspective. There are plenty of conservative universities (Liberty University) that provide the counterpoint, but I don't see myself taking them seriously either.

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18 minutes ago, webmdave said:

If I understand you correctly, you are now claiming to have intense interest in these topics and do certainly like to engage in debate. Yet, you also do not desire to change people's minds and your motivation for discussion is nothing more than explaining why you think what you think. 

 

I said I felt that it was useful as a way of finding opportunities to change my own mind and challenge my own beliefs. I think you've overlooked that. In theory, I love the idea of changing other people's minds. It sounds great. But it so rarely happens that I've given up on it as a goal for myself. I'm not a very persuasive person, as it turns out. You can tell, can't you? :D It usually seems more productive for me to focus on trying to challenge my own views, and debating others is a good way to do that.

 

20 minutes ago, webmdave said:

If I read you correctly, you are also saying my tone was the reason for your tone. Hmm. Let me 'splain something to you, Lucy...  You are entirely responsible for your own actions. No one else can be blamed for what you do, period. You didn't like my tone, so you came back rudely. It was unintentionally rude? Really? Hmm. 

 

Dave, I know I'm probably annoying you by now but this isn't what I said. I said I have no problem with your tone,  and I meant that. I also said I don't think my tone was much different from yours, and thus I find your criticism of my tone slightly confusing. I also said that I took some cues about tone from the title of this club, which is a true statement but not something I'm offering as an excuse. To be very clear, I don't think I was rude to you at all, so I'm not looking to excuse my behavior. I was merely trying to tell you where I'm coming from. In any case, I'm not trying to make you responsible for my choice of words, and my offer to ease up in the future is entirely sincere, but it's not because I think my response was out of line. The offer is made out of respect for the fact that different people prefer different communication styles and not everyone likes that style of debate.

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⭐ All good, Matt. ⭐

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6 minutes ago, wellnamed said:

It usually seems more productive for me to focus on trying to challenge my own views, and debating others is a good way to do that.

 

True this. I find in constructing an argument, if I am saying something and it sounds wrong or I can't back it up I know I don't have a good argument and need to do a rethink. That's happens quite often during discussion. As far as changing minds go there are a number of resources on this topic, but most agree that it's very rare for two interlocutors to change each others minds. What does happen though is that some in the audience may change minds, which is why, despite people thinking I was mad, I'd bring BO up on points I thought were wrong. I never expected to actually get BO to agree, even when empathically shown he was wrong, but if someone who thought as BO did came across my post they might stop and at least wonder about their position. This is the same reason I'll debate Christians etc - I never expect to change the particular persons mind... but ya never know what can happen.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, webmdave said:

⭐ All good, Matt. ⭐

 

Cheers. Thanks for your patience hashing this out with me.

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I really like Rogan's interview with a social psychologist here about the uprising of the trendy, radical oriented fad that has taken up social justice in recent years (again, not to be insinuated as a broad brush to those who favor social justice who are not radical).

 

The kids born after 1995. The psychology that led to the changes popping up around 2014. The loss of conservative democrats and liberal republicans through the 80's and 90's - equaling larger polarization growing between the left and right. They go over this very intellectually. And it does tend to answer a lot of questions raised by the OP. I kept thinking back to the commentators and their oppression narrative claims at the "canoe meeting," as this interview was going on. It brings some transparency to the issue for sure.

 

 

 

 

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On 3/9/2019 at 12:04 PM, disillusioned said:

As has been pointed out, there is a very important difference between being a liberal who is concerned with social justice and related issues, and being a SJW. No one here has been equating the two that I can see, but this does happen regularly in common parlance, which is regrettable.

 

There are certainly cult-like aspects to radical SJW behaviour. It starts with some good ideas, but then everyone gets all carried away. It's not unique in this. This kind of thing happens all the time. People seem to like to go to extremes. :shrug:

 

I can't remember where I read or heard this, sorry for not having a source, but it talked about the term "social justice" and how  putting the term "social" in front of justice takes away from the endeavor to some extent. We shouldn't have to clarify justice, the pursuit of justice is a good thing. What good does putting "social" in front of it do, except to perhaps not be seeking true justice. I found the thought curious.

 

I like how you worded "concerned with social justice' and "being an SJW," I think those who call themselves "SJW" are already on the fringe of becoming radical. I am concerned with justice, social or otherwise, but I don't label myself an "SJW." There is an UNDENIABLE pattern of behaviors for people who actively refer to themselves as SJWs, it's very identity based. There is a presupposition of oppression, making every despicable behavior following that presupposition "justified" because they're "sticking it to the oppressor" and "fighting for their rights." Unfortunately, if that presupposition is incorrect, it just makes that person a profound asshole. 

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On 3/8/2019 at 7:08 PM, webmdave said:

Too many people believe they possess the ultimate metaphysical truth or the ultimate socially responsible philosophy or the ultimately beneficial politics. 

 

Nature and human history demonstrate there is no such thing as ultimate truth in any categorization. All we really  have are true believers. And true believers scare me, regardless of their positional beliefs. 

 

 

 

I wish I could "like" all your shit, but you're pulling the god card and removing my feedback on your authority. 

 

Evil commie dicktator. :P Jk, don't ban me lolol

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On 3/8/2019 at 7:14 PM, wellnamed said:

Seems to me that "cult" isn't really the best conceptual framework for extreme ideology qua ideology -- though cults can and often do have extreme ideologies. But, cults also involve more closely connected social groups. It's sort of like not everyone who holds some particular view about UFOs and aliens is a member of a UFO cult, but if people with those views form a community it may become a cult, particularly under the influence of specific leaders. So, it might be more or less reasonable to describe a particular community of people (e.g some at Evergreen) as demonstrating somewhat cult-like behavior. Clearly the ideological commitments of the group are relevant to that judgement either way. But there is also more to it than just ideology and it's not straightforward to extrapolate from particular instances like Evergreen to the conclusion that "SJW ideology" is "cult-like" in any particularly meaningful sense. There is no overarching group or leader in the "SJW ideology" who could always be right, and of course people on this side of political debates actually have plenty of internal disagreements.

 

Part of the importance of specific groups is that the specific beliefs you mention (white guilt, heteronormativity, trans rights) are subject to all sorts of variations. I have fairly strong beliefs about the relevance and on-going importance of racism in American society and those beliefs shape my views on many issues. I have fairly well-established "SJW" ideas about the social construction of norms and hegemonic culture and how those phenomena manifest as something like "heteronormativity". I support trans rights and think that cultural changes to legitimize trans identities are desirable. But I don't feel any particular sense of "white guilt", I don't think I'm particularly inclined to be authoritarian, and I would not describe myself as afraid of anything in particular. My ideological commitments are not attached to the social behavior you're finding problematic, and in some large part that's because my social context is different. I don't participate in a group of people pushing towards more radical versions of those ideas. 

 

Anyway, that's probably a bit academic, and I think more generally you're just asking whether some activists under the influence of "SJW ideology" are too radical, or lose perspective, or generally act badly. I think clearly the answer is yes and for those of us who are on the left and for whom social justice issues are important there are certainly occasions for reflection or debate about the limits of various ideas or movements. I'm pretty fine with that. I don't think Evergreen is particularly representative and I wouldn't want them to be. I also think part of keeping perspective also necessarily means recognizing that people on the right also use Evergreen or other examples rhetorically without being particularly concerned about how representative they are.

 

Out of curiosity, do you call yourself an "SJW"? I understand having regard for endeavors of "social justice," but do you call yourself an SJW to people? I'm curious purely for my own working hypothesis lol. I think that identity-ridden label is when that "cult-like" stuff starts happening, it's almost mob rule.

 

I do see your point, I just enjoy the mental challenge of arguing.

 

There appears to be a lot of misunderstanding around my post, I was not conflating the left or the pursuit of social justice with "being an SJW," and I particularly said radical, though I do believe as soon as one dons the label, there is a pattern of behavior soon to follow that is arguable cultish. I recognize the difference and thought my OP was clear, but it seems I was not.

 

EDIT: I already responded to you once, my bad. I''ll respond to your next response. Playing catch up.

 

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56 minutes ago, ag_NO_stic said:

Out of curiosity, do you call yourself an "SJW"?

 

My first exposure to the term came from other people calling me one. In my experience it's almost always used pejoratively, and if people self-identify as "SJW" they are usually just appropriating the term back as if to say "well, what's wrong with being for social justice?" I do believe that there are social problems involving race, gender, religion, and class which are important and generally poorly understood. I think there are useful theoretical constructs that have been developed within "social justice" movements, e.g. within feminism, or coming out of anti-racist movements. I think there's a lot of good empirical studies of how those social problems play out and explain various inequalities. In my own conversations I tend to try to focus on establishing the actual and meaningful existence of those problems, and I would say my approach to explaining them is (hopefully :P) less authoritative -- or less dependent upon just strictly enforcing social norms -- than the people in your video. and my ideas about solutions are not particularly radical, I don't think. Whether any of that makes me an "SJW" or not: I don't know. I don't think the term is so well defined. Probably you should read me like this: I have an interest in defending "SJW ideology" (if not all "SJWs" :P) because I think people in those movements are raising real and important issues. I also don't always like the way some people within the movement act in their pursuit of social justice, and I think criticism where they overreach is warranted. Criticism of Evergreen feels very warranted to me. But like I said before, I view some of this within the larger context of a politics where I don't think all criticisms are being made in good faith.

 

56 minutes ago, ag_NO_stic said:

There appears to be a lot of misunderstanding around my post, I was not conflating the left or the pursuit of social justice with "being an SJW," and I particularly said radical, though I do believe as soon as one dons the label, there is a pattern of behavior soon to follow that is arguable cultish. I recognize the difference and though my OP was clear, but it seems I was not.

 

Fair enough, and it's all good. It might just be that I'm so used to seeing "Radical SJW" as an epithet that I didn't really stop to think that you intended there to be some distinction between just plain SJWs and radical ones. I do think that there's an important intellectual point about the difference between cults and ideologies that applies regardless of how broadly you scope "Radical SJW". But like I said -- I don't have a problem with criticizing Evergreen. I'd probably phrase my criticisms in a different way but I think the things that bother you about what happened there are the same as the things which bother me.

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On 3/9/2019 at 12:34 PM, wellnamed said:

I feel like college is also definitely the right place to experiment with being a little too radical. Well, for the students. Maybe less so for the professors :P

 

 

I'm not sure exactly what narrative you mean, so I'm not sure if I disagree or not. As an aside, I was quite struck by this article from David Brooks yesterday, revisiting Coates' Case for Reparations which is somehow now already 5 years old. If ever there has been a case for taking some of these narratives seriously I think Coates made it well in that piece, and I think Brooks brief explanation for how he came to appreciate it is very well stated. It occurs to me that the quasi-religious nature of some of Brooks' language might even be off-putting in this context, but I also think it's quite poignant.

 

 

 

When I referenced narrative, I was referring to its definitive use which is essentially "a story or account of events." I believe poverty-stricken people and those in the lower-class have been told a false account/story or "narrative" of oppression by democrats that is not backed up by fact. "Fact" in itself is a really arguable concept, because I ultimately believe we're a species of animal that thinks we're all that when we're not. I'm not "anti-science," mind you, but I'm fine with being called a great skeptic, in general. You can give me some "facts" to back up your point, I will respond with my own "facts," and neither of us will really be persuaded. I further believe democrats NEED that oppression narrative to continue the party because we, as a nation, have boxed in certain viewpoints as either left-wing or right-wing. If you look at the states that have been democratically run for long periods of time, their policies clearly do not help and I believe are arguably detrimental. That oppression narrative is keeping those people in poverty, which is why it's tiresome to have to fight radical people on how I'm not racist for not agreeing with how we approach poverty. The oppression narrative keeps us fighting. It keeps that divide when people in poverty CAN get out. They just can. But you have too many cases of people saying, "So I'm black and, growing up, I was democrat. That's just how it is, republicans are evil and democrats are good." Obviously, that is not everyone's story, but enough black people have expressed similar sentiments that I find it believable. Any collectivist, group identity "narrative" is suspect to me. It's why I am an empowered, independent, individual woman who believes in equal rights and completely and whole-heartededly, with a borderline gleeful sort of zeal, reject modern third-wave feminism. Because I can think for myself. And when you have so many outspoken black people (or other racial minorities) being rejected, dismissed, or deemed a race traitor as soon as they speak up about this, I find that appalling. 

 

I do not believe in "sin."  The opinion article was certainly quasi-religious and so is my response here. He quotes Lincoln and makes several conclusions from it, so it was hard to tell if he was simply drawing some conclusions from Lincoln's speech in some sort of objective way or if he was drawing "his own conclusions" and essentially endorsing them. Nevertheless, this article is moving forward from a moral presupposition which is not compelling to me. I have not read the original article by Coates. I was going to before this response, but it's long so you'll have to take my word for it that I will begin the process of digesting it. The following quote from the article was compelling to me:

 

Quote

"The African-American experience is somehow at the core of this fragmentation — the original sin that hardens the heart, separates Americans from one another and serves as model and fuel for other injustices." 

 

The reason it was compelling, is because I believe it's true. Where I disagree though is when it comes to factors that influence the "African-American experience" which are attributed to slavery that have nothing to do with slavery. The "African-American experience"  aka anecdotal narrative involves a great deal of misunderstanding and misperception and it isn't challenged to the degree that it should be. I find it beyond appalling when academics, who speak from a perspective of extraordinary privilege, attempt to "correct" the thinking of those who disagree with the whole narrative to begin with as though only their perspective is correct. Many who disagree, including many Trump voters, are working class conservatives who don't want to be told by privileged rich people how they should be thinking.

 

I have firsthand anecdotal experience with this concept in my deconversion. I had a wildly incorrect presupposition that Christians were oppressed and persecuted. It doesn't help that Christian have this "group think" on their oppression and are all convinced. They fail to convince those who aren't Christians though and I believe the secular are more rooted in reality than Christians. Christians do this "Ohhh honey, it's fine. God will speak to you soon on this, but you're definitely wrong" and that condescension and dismissal is very familiar in my dealings with some on left. Just because universities are teaching this narrative or have "evidence" does NOT mean that it's actually true.

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24 minutes ago, wellnamed said:

 

My first exposure to the term came from other people calling me one. In my experience it's almost always used pejoratively, and if people self-identify as "SJW" they are usually just appropriating the term back as if to say "well, what's wrong with being for social justice?" I do believe that there are social problems involving race, gender, religion, and class which are important and generally poorly understood. I think there are useful theoretical constructs that have been developed within "social justice" movements, e.g. within feminism, or coming out of anti-racist movements. I think there's a lot of good empirical studies of how those social problems play out and explain various inequalities. In my own conversations I tend to try to focus on establishing the actual and meaningful existence of those problems, and I would say my approach to explaining them is (hopefully :P) less authoritative -- or less dependent upon just strictly enforcing social norms -- as the people in your video. and my ideas about solutions are not particularly radical, I don't think. Whether any of that makes me an "SJW" or not: I don't know. I don't think the term is so well defined. Probably you should read me like this: I have an interest in defending "SJW ideology" (if not all "SJWs" :P) because I think people in those movements are raising real and important issues. I also don't always like the way some people within the movement act in their pursuit of social justice, and I think criticism where they overreach is warranted. Criticism of Evergreen feels very warranted to me. But like I said before, I view some of this within the larger context of a politics where I don't think all criticisms are being made in good faith.

 

 

If you actively called yourself an SJW, you'd have responded with "Yes, I am an SJW" which lends more credence to my working hypothesis lol. That also lends credence to your sanity, in my view lol. I respect you, though we may disagree, because of how you handle conversation and dialogue. It is necessary to point out that many self-labeled "SJWs" often screech and cry and attack and it's frustrating as hell. I think democrats and the left should denounce such behavior if they want to regain some traction with moderates. But instead they are pandering to it and it's turning off people in the middle. 

 

I'm curious as to whether or not you believe in such a concept as "left-splaining" and how you would react if I asserted that it is my experience with many on the left. Do you believe that you could be dead wrong? Do you believe that conservatives and the right could be on to anything in their critique of SJWs?

 

28 minutes ago, wellnamed said:

Fair enough, and it's all good. It might just be that I'm so used to seeing "Radical SJW" as an epithet that I didn't really stop to think that you intended there to be some distinction between just plain SJWs and radical ones. I do think that there's an important intellectual point about the difference between cults and ideologies that applies regardless of how broadly you scope "Radical SJW". But like I said -- I don't have a problem with criticizing Evergreen. I'd probably phrase my criticisms in a different way but I think the things that bother you about what happened there are the same as the things which bother me.


Wow, I really appreciated this acknowledgement. It was good for my soul lol. I think discourse in general needs more of this, finding common ground. I think the fact that you see where I'm going with it is enough, I would be willing to use different terms and avoid "cult" if it lent a clearer understanding of my criticisms of Evergreen. I do wonder if specifically Evergreen was being cult-like, that canoe meeting made my blood run cold, but I do see where you were drawing distinction between specifically Evergreen and even radical SJWs. Point taken.

 

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On 3/10/2019 at 5:12 PM, LogicalFallacy said:

 

A problem with denouncing those on 'your side' is that the 'other side' will then say - ah ha, the left is eating itself... and vice versa for the right.

 

We don't seem to have much of a political group or party congratulating or agreeing with points that could be agreed upon - instead they are used as points to create division.

 

 

 

I'm legitimately curious how you'd say the right is eating itself? I'm not agreeing or disagreeing, I'd just love an example to see your point. Is this a reference to Trump being polarizing within the party?

 

My point was specifically that identity politics on the left is causing issues within the party. I'm open to examples from the right. For example:

 

Do women make $0.77 to the dollar (no) or is gender a social construct? Is there a "gender pay gap" for all millions of genders? Can you be "trans" or is gender non-binary? So did their child "act like a girl" aka trans or can "a girl do anything a man can do," feminism. People on the left are being torn down by members of the left. Should a gay person on the left denounce the Islamic practice of murdering gays or is that Islamophobic? An example of that could be when Bill Maher and Sam Harris were called racist when they criticized Islam and Maher has always been on the left. 

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On 3/12/2019 at 5:36 PM, Orbit said:

Note: I'm replying to the OP here, not to anything subsequent.

 

I'm a sociologist by trade, and we have a definition for cults. It goes like this:

1. Charismatic leader

2. Controls every aspect of members' lives (finances etc)

3. Discourages members from associating with non-members (cutting off friends and family)

4. Outlandish beliefs

 

I don't think "cult" is the right term for the thinking at Evergreen. I think it is worth keeping in mind that Evergreen State College was founded in the 70s as a RADICAL educational institution, and they still have the same mission. Radicals are by definition not in the mainstream. I think using them as the example for anyone who is concerned with social justice is a bit off the mark. Personally I see both positions in this kerfluffle, they both have a point (in a radical context). But I don't think that Evergreen in any way stands for any mainstream liberal political position, or any mainstream conservative position (on the other side). They are a curious radical experiment in education, that's all-- and I would put the whole thing in that perspective. There are plenty of conservative universities (Liberty University) that provide the counterpoint, but I don't see myself taking them seriously either.

 

Thanks for your feedback. I mentioned to @wellnamed that I would be comfortable not saying "cult" as long as my concerns about what happened at Evergreen are still being addressed. At this point, I believe I have sufficiently addressed my initial distinction between radical SJW behavior and anyone who is concerned with social justice, no need to beat a dead horse.

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On 3/12/2019 at 6:34 AM, webmdave said:

 

Holy fuckballs. This was so well written. It gave me sincere hope, so wonderfully thought out and expressed, it said what I've been trying to for a very long time. Thanks for the share!

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3 hours ago, ag_NO_stic said:

My point was specifically that identity politics on the left is causing issues within the party. I'm open to examples from the right. For example:

 

Do women make $0.77 to the dollar (no) or is gender a social construct? Is there a "gender pay gap" for all millions of genders? Can you be "trans" or is gender non-binary? So did their child "act like a girl" aka trans or can "a girl do anything a man can do," feminism. People on the left are being torn down by members of the left. Should a gay person on the left denounce the Islamic practice of murdering gays or is that Islamophobic? An example of that could be when Bill Maher and Sam Harris were called racist when they criticized Islam and Maher has always been on the left. 

 

I'm not sure I'd say that either left or right are eating themselves, and I'm not sure that's what LF meant. I think he might have just meant that people on each side accuse the other of it? He can clarify I'm sure. I do think alongside ideological polarization we are seeing a potential realignment around populist/nationalist movements, especially on the right. There are some battles between otherwise "conservative" thinkers on the right about this, e.g. the so-called #NeverTrump'ers and the populists. Say for example the difference between David Frum and Pat Buchanan. But rather than the right "eating itself" it's more like just that the nationalists are winning.

 

I think it's interesting that from my perspective most of the issues you raised above are more conservative criticisms of liberals than they are important arguments between people on the left. I'll grant that I have read plenty of debates between liberals about the scope of criticisms involving Islam. But the rest are mostly topics conservatives raise, rather than being the source of strife on the left. I think there are disagreements between different parts of the left on how to prioritize different issues, e.g. between what I might call the Sanders/Warren wing of the Democratic party and the Clinton wing. But they wouldn't frame any of those debates in the way you have. Your framing is essentially a conservative one.

 

Also interesting: I don't think of Sam Harris as being on the left. I think he would identify as something of centrist/moderate. He has always had some more conservative views. You could say that his position within the Democratic party is more tenuous now because of ideological polarization: it used to be that political affiliation was not as closely connected with ideology, so there were some liberal/moderate Republicans and some moderate/conservative Democrats. That is less the case now. Harris may have been a conservative Democrat based in some large part on his views about religion and the religious right. Now he doesn't fit as easily into the Democratic party. But he was never really a "leftist", per se.

 

3 hours ago, ag_NO_stic said:

Do women make $0.77 to the dollar (no)

 

I know you were just trying to think of examples, but I think your parenthetical is inaccurate and since this is a topic I've read a lot of research on, I hope you'll forgive me for going down this rabbit hole for a minute. You can skip this if you don't care :P

 

It's a complicated topic, but as stated I think the above is inaccurate. To be very brief:

- You can just look at BLS data. This statement is true: "In 2018, among full time wage and salary workers, the median weekly salary for women was 81% of the median weekly salary for men." That number has been pretty consistent for a while. The 77c number is from older BLS data.

- What's not as straightforward is that this statistic represents (only) discrimination. In fact it certainly is not only a consequence of discrimination. The causes are pretty complicated. There's a really good 2016 NBER article that talks about a lot of the factors in some detail, which is recommended to anyone who is interested.

- Some of the gap is because of differences in chosen occupations, hours worked, and some is a penalty paid for taking maternity leave (although interestingly men pay no similar paternity penalty)

- Some of it is likely to be discrimination; estimates vary, but probably less than half. Discrimination becomes likely just by ruling out other potential explanations, but there are also other studies that look for more direct evidence. The NBER paper discusses a few
 

4 hours ago, ag_NO_stic said:

I'm curious as to whether or not you believe in such a concept as "left-splaining" and how you would react if I asserted that it is my experience with many on the left.

 

"Left-splaining" is a new one to me. Would you call the above "left-splaining"? To me, it is what I said I tried to do before: focus on explanations that establish the existence of meaningful social problems. "The gender wage gap is a myth" is a conservative talking point that I think is inaccurate. "Women make 77c on the dollar" can also be pretty misleading with no context, where the implication is that the gap is entirely caused by discrimination. I think we could have more productive debates about these issues if we understood them better, so I try to explain them. Also, the time I've spent trying to explain them to people has forced me to spend a lot of time researching, which I think has been helpful for me. For example my research led me to studies that suggest that gendered occupational preferences are unlikely to be explained by discrimination. Women in countries with more gender equality show stronger preferences towards different occupations than men. This is relevant to the wage gap given the different salaries for different occupations. I think research like that is probably under-appreciated on the left, although I would also point out that we should ask why we value some occupations more than others.

 

In any case, if "left-splaining" is supposed to be analogous to "man-splaining", then I think it would have the connotation of "explaining" something to people who actually understand it better than you do. That's kind of the point of "man-splaining" as a complaint. I think the problem with all of these concepts can be that they deftly side-step the important part where its established whether any particular claims are right or wrong. Not every instance of a man trying to explain how they view something to a woman is illegitimate. Not every instance of a conservative/liberal trying to explain their position on an issue to the other side is inherently wrong either.  We can't have useful debates if we can't explain ourselves. We could always be better at debating though, and listening better.

 

4 hours ago, ag_NO_stic said:

Do you believe that conservatives and the right could be on to anything in their critique of SJWs? 

 

Sure, I think sometimes they point out actual examples of over-reach or over-radicalization, like with Evergreen. I also think there are legitimate difficulties associated with balancing identity-related issues between different groups in a multi-cultural democratic society, and there is some need to find ways of addressing group-specific complaints in a universally-fair way. There's definitely such a thing as too much identity politics, or such a thing as a politics too oriented around grievances. I don't often agree with the way conservatives approach these topics, but I agree that there are legitimate issues that are tricky to balance. This is something where I appreciated Obama's approach, actually.

 

4 hours ago, ag_NO_stic said:

Do you believe that you could be dead wrong?

 

Does anyone? :P

 

I believe that I can be wrong in all sorts of unanticipated ways. I strongly believe in the value of empirical research because it's a useful check on that. At the same time, I don't think it would make sense to think that all judgements are equally likely on all subjects.  I think there are topics where I'm quite confident in my knowledge, and others where I'm not (an example: economics). There are topics where I'm confident I've worked harder to understand them than others, and topics where I'm blissfully ignorant. It's kind of like dealing with religious arguments. I'm not really persuaded by Pascal's wager, i.e. the whole "what if you're wrong?" approach. I wouldn't be impressed by a Christian accusing me of atheist-splaining their religion to them, because I think I have good reasons to be an atheist. I also think I have good reason to believe at least a few other things. And then of course some disagreements are more about values than facts.

 

I skipped over your post about narratives for a bit. I'll come back to it though. This is long enough (sorry)

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6 hours ago, ag_NO_stic said:

 

I can't remember where I read or heard this, sorry for not having a source, but it talked about the term "social justice" and how  putting the term "social" in front of justice takes away from the endeavor to some extent. We shouldn't have to clarify justice, the pursuit of justice is a good thing. What good does putting "social" in front of it do, except to perhaps not be seeking true justice. I found the thought curious.

 

I think it's fairly clear that there are social issues and individual issues.  My primitive response to this would be to say that when I say "I am concerned with justice", what I mean is that I wish to attempt to treat the other people I encounter in my individual life justly,  and that I wish them to treat me justly.  When I say "I am concerned with social justice", I am speaking of what I want for society as a whole. It's a difference of degree, not of type.

 

Let's leave aside the glaring question of what "justice" is, for now. That could get messy,  fast.

 

6 hours ago, ag_NO_stic said:

I like how you worded "concerned with social justice' and "being an SJW," I think those who call themselves "SJW" are already on the fringe of becoming radical. I am concerned with justice, social or otherwise, but I don't label myself an "SJW." There is an UNDENIABLE pattern of behaviors for people who actively refer to themselves as SJWs, it's very identity based. There is a presupposition of oppression, making every despicable behavior following that presupposition "justified" because they're "sticking it to the oppressor" and "fighting for their rights." Unfortunately, if that presupposition is incorrect, it just makes that person a profound asshole. 

 

I'm with @wellnamed on this.  I've never met anyone who actively identified as an SJW. In my experience,  it's usually used as a pejorative. And not, necessarily, an unwarranted one, in my opinion. But I think you should be cautious here. You critique the SJWs on the grounds that they presuppose oppression, and are hence prone to radicalization and assholery. And you assert that they display an undeniable pattern of behaviour in this regard. But this is a presupposition on your part. Plenty of people would disagree, and would deny this pattern of behaviour. They might counter by saying that you presuppose radicalization, and that this is undeniable. They might even call this oppression ;).

 

What I wrote in the intolerence thread is relevant here. We all rely on assumptions, and all assumptions are arguable. Productive discussions are born when all parties keep this in mind. 

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11 minutes ago, disillusioned said:

I'm with @wellnamed on this.  I've never met anyone who actively identified as an SJW. In my experience,  it's usually used as a pejorative.. 

 

Herein we identify a problem with discussing ideas, ideologies etc. SJW was indeed initially coined as a pejorative against those arguing for "social justice". The people arguing various points of view were coined Social justice warriors which seems to be have a belittling and demeaning motive. Now some may have taken the label with pride and worn it and actively refer to themselves as SJW's, but like Disillusioned I've never come across such a person. Where you'll see the term most often used is in videos and discourse railing against such ideas of the SJW's. The Anti SJW movement has nearly taken on a life of its own where if everything is viewed through a certain lens then everything is pandering to "SJW's" and the world is falling apart etc which is not to dissimilar to some views expressed by extreme views of the left who think that all white straight males are actively oppressing everyone else. Again I haven't actually come across anyone with that view, but it's an example of the potential for the wheels of discourse to fall off on both sides.

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5 hours ago, ag_NO_stic said:

I'm legitimately curious how you'd say the right is eating itself?

 

I think you are asking why I say the right is eating itself? I didn't. I said "A problem with denouncing those on 'your side' is that the 'other side' will then say - ah ha, the left is eating itself... and vice versa for the right"

 

I was making a point about what you said about why don't people of x persuasion denounce others of x persuasion when they have radical views. My point is that they do, and when people on the left and the right have internal arguments the 'other side' says "ah ha... the left (right) is eating itself". The point here as Wellnamed expresses below, is that internal disagreements is not a sign of eating itself, but a person, or group opposed to that other group will say it is for various reasons. The same happens in science discussions when there is disagreement and people go "ah ha, even the scientists don't know anything". Which of course is a load of baloney.

 

Did I explain my point clearer there? Kinda reads rambling like but I don't have time to polish it so if you understand we are good! :3:

 

1 hour ago, wellnamed said:

I'm not sure I'd say that either left or right are eating themselves, and I'm not sure that's what LF meant. I think he might have just meant that people on each side accuse the other of it?

 

Exactly. Somebody get this man a chest to pin his medal on!

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You can certainly find people who identify as "social justice activists", which might be the closest non-pejorative version? cf. http://www.nea.org/home/60579.htm

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3 hours ago, wellnamed said:

 

I'm not sure I'd say that either left or right are eating themselves, and I'm not sure that's what LF meant. I think he might have just meant that people on each side accuse the other of it? He can clarify I'm sure. I do think alongside ideological polarization we are seeing a potential realignment around populist/nationalist movements, especially on the right. There are some battles between otherwise "conservative" thinkers on the right about this, e.g. the so-called #NeverTrump'ers and the populists. Say for example the difference between David Frum and Pat Buchanan. But rather than the right "eating itself" it's more like just that the nationalists are winning.

 

I think it's interesting that from my perspective most of the issues you raised above are more conservative criticisms of liberals than they are important arguments between people on the left. I'll grant that I have read plenty of debates between liberals about the scope of criticisms involving Islam. But the rest are mostly topics conservatives raise, rather than being the source of strife on the left. I think there are disagreements between different parts of the left on how to prioritize different issues, e.g. between what I might call the Sanders/Warren wing of the Democratic party and the Clinton wing. But they wouldn't frame any of those debates in the way you have. Your framing is essentially a conservative one.

 

 

I understood his point, I had just never considered that point or heard of "both sides doing it" ie, the left accusing the right of it. Does this make sense? I see the objectivity of his statement, but I was kinda "calling for more specificity" as vague comments like that don't really clarify the discussion unless there is a specific point hidden there. Anyone can drop in and say "both sides can do ____" so it makes perfect logical sense to say, "oh okay, how?" I hope I'm explaining this well because I understand the difference between what you think I meant and what I actually mean and I hope to communicate that. 

 

I'll be candid with you, I agree with your sentiments about nationalism/populism but I have a feeling you and I are referring to different parties. I didn't follow as much with your name drops, I don't have enough time to be as educated as I should on various political figures, but I think it's fair to say that each party is sub-fracturing between nationalist and populist goals. 

 

I frankly don't know which "critiques" you are referring to in what I said or why it's important to label them as conservative. Like, okay, so you think they are, now what? Is that supposed to be a good or bad thing? Is there meaning in it? On this site, I'm apparently viewed more conservative for my views. My conservative friends think I'm liberal. I don't really fit in with conservatives either, "I just want my gay neighbor to be able to protect his marijuana plants with guns" so think whatever you like about whatever you think I'm critiquing lol.

 

3 hours ago, wellnamed said:

Also interesting: I don't think of Sam Harris as being on the left. I think he would identify as something of centrist/moderate. He has always had some more conservative views. You could say that his position within the Democratic party is more tenuous now because of ideological polarization: it used to be that political affiliation was not as closely connected with ideology, so there were some liberal/moderate Republicans and some moderate/conservative Democrats. That is less the case now. Harris may have been a conservative Democrat based in some large part on his views about religion and the religious right. Now he doesn't fit as easily into the Democratic party. But he was never really a "leftist", per se.

 

I wasn't really asserting him to be, so much as Bill. Sorry for not expressing that more clearly. But he's certainly not on the right, so I find it interesting that he appeared to be attacked by the left as being more on the right. Interesting stuff.

 

3 hours ago, wellnamed said:

I know you were just trying to think of examples, but I think your parenthetical is inaccurate and since this is a topic I've read a lot of research on, I hope you'll forgive me for going down this rabbit hole for a minute. You can skip this if you don't care :P

 

It's a complicated topic, but as stated I think the above is inaccurate. To be very brief:

- You can just look at BLS data. This statement is true: "In 2018, among full time wage and salary workers, the median weekly salary for women was 81% of the median weekly salary for men." That number has been pretty consistent for a while. The 77c number is from older BLS data.

- What's not as straightforward is that this statistic represents (only) discrimination. In fact it certainly is not only a consequence of discrimination. The causes are pretty complicated. There's a really good 2016 NBER article that talks about a lot of the factors in some detail, which is recommended to anyone who is interested.

- Some of the gap is because of differences in chosen occupations, hours worked, and some is a penalty paid for taking maternity leave (although interestingly men pay no similar paternity penalty)

- Some of it is likely to be discrimination; estimates vary, but probably less than half. Discrimination becomes likely just by ruling out other potential explanations, but there are also other studies that look for more direct evidence. The NBER paper discusses a few

 

I don't mean this rude, but I didn't really ask to be "educated" on this particular topic. The equal pay act of 1963 made it illegal for an employer to actively discriminate on a person's pay purely because of their sex. If a woman decides to work fewer hours or a lower paying job, or even is more agreeable and  agrees to work the same job for a lower wage, that is not some kind of conspiracy. Women are perfectly capable of demanding higher pay, like men do, they just don't or they do and they're just as successful as men. 

 

I sometimes get confused which one I should argue. There is clearly a difference in earnings, I'm not arguing that doesn't exist, but I don't think it's discriminatory so I don't see the point of arguing about it or claiming that it is discrimination. Usually those who "advocate" the wage gap seem to believe that it's BECAUSE of their gender as opposed to their choices. They prefer to blame the patriarchy. But you can take any demographic and divide them up with various parameters and find disparities, they are only correlations not causation.

 

3 hours ago, wellnamed said:

"Left-splaining" is a new one to me. Would you call the above "left-splaining"? To me, it is what I said I tried to do before: focus on explanations that establish the existence of meaningful social problems. "The gender wage gap is a myth" is a conservative talking point that I think is inaccurate. "Women make 77c on the dollar" can also be pretty misleading with no context, where the implication is that the gap is entirely caused by discrimination. I think we could have more productive debates about these issues if we understood them better, so I try to explain them. Also, the time I've spent trying to explain them to people has forced me to spend a lot of time researching, which I think has been helpful for me. For example my research led me to studies that suggest that gendered occupational preferences are unlikely to be explained by discrimination. Women in countries with more gender equality show stronger preferences towards different occupations than men. This is relevant to the wage gap given the different salaries for different occupations. I think research like that is probably under-appreciated on the left, although I would also point out that we should ask why we value some occupations more than others.

 

In any case, if "left-splaining" is supposed to be analogous to "man-splaining", then I think it would have the connotation of "explaining" something to people who actually understand it better than you do. That's kind of the point of "man-splaining" as a complaint. I think the problem with all of these concepts can be that they deftly side-step the important part where its established whether any particular claims are right or wrong. Not every instance of a man trying to explain how they view something to a woman is illegitimate. Not every instance of a conservative/liberal trying to explain their position on an issue to the other side is inherently wrong either.  We can't have useful debates if we can't explain ourselves. We could always be better at debating though, and listening better.

 

Well, I basically just typed what you said in different words above, so there's that. I guess my curiosity is, if it's not discriminatory, than what is there to protest? Why is it a talking point at the women's march? Please clarify where I might be misunderstanding you here. 

 

And I was using the term left-splaining in a similar context. I have this urge to point out the irony of you explaining to me what mansplaining is and why my example must not have meant exactly what I meant it to be lol.  But I also try to avoid being an asshole if I can help it. :P I watched a panel discussion that @Joshpantera posted a ways back, I believe Pinker was in it, they were all discussing why Trump won. I thought , as an aside, that it was the funniest thing on an objective basis because no one on the panel voted for Trump, so it was like a bunch of christians speculating on atheist thought. Anyway, one of the panelists brought up the privilege of the political correctness in looking down on "uneducated farmers" and how they voted and how they didn't have the the time, money, or privilege to be educated on newest "publicly accepted" thought.  I found it very curious observation and also an astute one. I was just curious if you were familiar with the term and if you felt you had ever done it? As for your analysis of the term, I agree about the divisive nature of using them. Perhaps I should have said nothing, I am just a curious person with impulse control issues and got ahead of myself. :)

 

3 hours ago, wellnamed said:

Does anyone? :P -cut for length-

 

Oh yes, all the time! Leaving Christianity devastated that aspect of my assumptions and I am never certain I am correct. It can be frustrating if the other party doesn't acknowledge tthat they too could have it all wrong, That's why I was asking you lol. I was curious if you felt the same way. In dealing with academia, it can sometimes be frustrating as it feels like if I haven't echoed the educated talking points enough, I am the "wrong one"  to be corrected just because I don't have the time to read up on as much as I'm apparently supposed to. I think that's what political correctness is all about, that panel that Josh brought up so long ago made me consider that in an such a new way. It's all about the "educated" privileged and what they dictate is newly acceptable thought. Many people in the working class don't see the oppression narrative in their daily life at all, they're working hard next to each other. I imagine that the degree to which one adheres to politically correct speech is positively correlated with their privilege. Sorry, went on a tangent, but it feels important to keep. 

 

Did I clarify anything or make it worse? LOl :D

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