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New evidence that British workplaces are losing viewpoint diversity (ethicalsystems.org)
326 points by gainof-function 13 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 686 comments





I consider myself a very politically informed person. I'm not a politically active person however, largely for the reasons mentioned in the article.

I considered myself a liberal by the standards of the time I grew up in. My views on some social issues, particularly 'free speech', are considered a conservative now. I am one of the people the article is concerning who will not publicly voice their political opinions in the workplace for fear of potential repercussions. One thing that particularly upsets me, is how willingly other people bring up politically sensitive issues in the workplace. I regularly hear woefully uninformed diatribes on geopolitics and American domestic politics (I do not live in America) in the workplace. Even correcting people who are clearly misinformed on clear matters of fact can cause offense. As a result, I do not enter into such discussions.

I feel as though I am more open-minded than many others. I am always ready to be corrected if I am wrong, and I am always willing to discuss my views with people subscribing to other political ideologies. However, I fear the repercussions of offending others who do not have an open mind. I also feel as though many politically active people are not acting in good faith. I feel that the safest option I will not regret is not to engage.


"However, I fear the repercussions of offending others who do not have an open mind."

You're dead right and it's damned terrible. I long for both formal and informal debates on many topics but without my opponents becoming annoyed or offended (as so often they do nowadays). These days it seems almost impossible to debate any subject without upsetting someone.

I now long for the type of television programs that I remember from my youth—talking heads discussing and debating serious topics. For instance, I remember Bertrand Russell, Malcolm Muggeridge and A.J.P. Taylor and many others and it was wonderful and exciting television.

What so many people fail to realize these days is that one can learn so much from discussions and debates of this kind.

Incidentally, such discussions always remind me of the wonderful formal debate between Socrates and the sophist Thrasymachus in Book One of Plato's Republic on the topic of justice. It's so good that every time I read it, it sends shivers of excitement down my back.


people have been programmed, on a massive scale, to react emotionally to certain learned key phrases and terms. when this automatic emotional reaction occurs, all logical processing ceases immediately, and the person you're talking to either immediately leaves the conversation (if you're lucky) or starts emotionally, verbally attacking you as though your non-conforming line of thought is a pathogen and their overreacting response is an antibody swarm. you're a strawman caricature of everything evil and wrong if you question basic learned political orthodoxy, even if you make it clear you're approaching the topic with an open mind.

TV and social media "debates" between politicians are 100% posturing, signaling, and rhetoric without any substance, and almost nobody can see it, everyone thinks their guy won.

it's as though we've forgotten how to think for ourselves and have opinions and stances that lay outside dogmatic groupthink. I even know a few people who think of themselves as "free thinkers" who nevertheless hitch their proverbial cart to some political eceleb personality's proverbial horse, buying into everything they say, wholesale.

people want to be told what to think, not how to think, as it's much easier that way.


Social media did a lot to foster outrage and destroy nuanced thinking.

But also decades of materialism and "me me me" culture: I think people learn to follow their desires no-matter-what when buying goods or services and the same emotional mechanism is transferred into "buying in" an idea.

Modern advertising and branding is based on emotion and vague ideas. The same algorithms to target online ads have been used to influence politics (see cambridge analytica).

> stances that lay outside dogmatic groupthink

Yes, but with a caveat: an idea can be labeled "groupthink" and "too political" as a tactic to dismiss it easily.


> Social media did a lot to foster outrage and destroy nuanced thinking.

Way before social media, there was short wave radio, then cable news which introduced the 24-hour news cycle, and entertainment-shows-disguised-as-news with their permanently outraged talking heads (think Rachel Maddow or Tucker Carlson).

Political polarization is older than social media, and it wasn't emergent - it was a deliberate political tactic and it worked well enough until the other side adopted it too. It's like an iterated prisoner's dilemma and both sides are now locked into a cycle of defecting - doing otherwise makes no sense, and there aren't many deescalation off-ramps.


> Political polarization is older than social media

Yes, it was widely reported in debates in ancient Athens and the Roman empire.

But I wrote "Social media did a lot to foster outrage and destroy nuanced thinking.", which is different.

Humanity has never seen before a billion-dollar industry generating user engagement by fueling online altercation.

Instant gratification, dopamine cycle addiction and all of that.


Maybe there should be IRB-style oversight for Twitter, etc..., to tweak their algorithms. They are, after all, experimenting on humans here.

Literally any change would count as "an experiment". Not just for algorithims but for "do people like to buy this new product". Saying there should be limited changes of algorithms is a popular "hot take" but it fundamentally doesn't make any goddamned sense.

Human experiments being activities defined by the subject instead of the object make more sense. Can you have the human-involved experiment with just the objects occur naturally?

You cannot just leave the props lying around a college campus and get a Milgram's experiment replication attempt. You cannot just have a freezing chamber or scalpels to repeat the horrors of nazi Germany and Unit 731.


> Social media did a lot to foster outrage and destroy nuanced thinking.

Plug as a founder: We are trying to balance things out on Polemix.co (invite code LV005) Launched 6 weeks ago, we bring together people from both sides of hot questions. The format is inspired from TikTok and consists of 30-second videos in which speakers answer YES or NO to controversial questions. The app’s goal is to break echo chambers.

If you are passionate about exchange of ideas, please shoot me your thoughts to feedback@polemix.co to have your view on social media outrage.


How does only allowing yes or no answers increase nuance?

> How does only allowing yes or no answers increase nuance?

I don't know. It says they're 30-second videos- I imagine it'll consist of people prefacing their answer with "yes" or "no" followed by 30 seconds to elaborate. However, I think this will have the same problem that makes Twitter so unpopular with HN's crowd; Twitter is far too limiting in the length of a single tweet, so all that gets shouted out into the aether is an emotionally-triggering soundbite. That's a key part of what fosters such an echo chamber. It kills discussion and all you end up with are some very loud, angry tweets with no context or nuance.

I have no idea how Polemix plans on bringing more nuance to the political scene this way, but that's probably why I'm still a lowly non-founder/non-FAANG dev. I don't like to be negative or disparaging, but in my limited vision, this sounds like the love child of Twitter and Vine.


Because everyone gets to see a Yes followed than a No video. Also, besides the classical "like button", there is a Respect button that signals that you are willing to open the door to the other side. Hence, the nuancing and approaching instead of flame wars

Why does your approach presuppose that there are only two sides to any given question?

Because to propose that 30s video format (that our research has proven is easier to engage and create) we frame questions as Yes or NO. Indeed, this is not the proper format for every question.

"Modern advertising and branding is based on emotion and vague ideas. The same algorithms to target online ads have been used to influence politics (see cambridge analytica)."

You're right, advertising and branding is, as you say, based on harnessing one's emotions, however an integral part of that process is also involved in converting those initial 'vague ideas'/notions into a solid worldview and it's this newly-developed worldview that causes its recipient/owner to actually believe in or act upon the idea. In essence, this is the basis of all propaganda; and, as we all know, in its most extreme forms it's both pernicious and very dangerous.

Probably the best—and certainly the most infamous—explanation of how one's worldview can be changed by carefully planned propaganda comes from a 1928 speech titled Knowledge and Propaganda. Tragically, this succinct and simple to understand speech comes from one of the most notorious and despicable persons of the 20th Century, and we only have to look to history to see how devastatingly effective the contents of this short message turned out to be: https://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/goeb54....

Naturally, the advertising industry would want to dissociate itself from this document as much as is absolutely possible but I'd bet many dollars to a brick that many in the advertising industry have read it secretly and understand its message extremely well. Why? Because it has form—when actually implemented its message turned out to be so overwhelmingly effective.

In a free market capitalist economy, advertising is seen and considered as being beneficial, and at one end of the spectrum, it probably is, but as we've seen recently, at the other end it can morph into dangerous propaganda—and, unfortunately, there is no clear demarcation point to separate the two. Given the fact that trillions of dollars are now tied up in advertising, and that serious things have been done in its name (Cambridge Analytica and those other recent assaults on democracy), I reckon it's now time that we stopped pretending that advertising and propaganda are separate entities when clearly they are not.

In my opinion, if we viewed them as both one and the same entity and then set rules accordingly, then we would have some hope of making progress.



Yeah, exactly. And my amygdala is over sensitive and I wish I had a gain control fitted to it so that I could turn it down occasionally. (Anyway, at least I know it's prone to over-sensitivity, and that's somewhat helpful. ;-) )

Sometimes I wonder if this mechanism (another post referred to "amygdala hijack") makes concepts like personal gender pronouns and similar "correct and incorrect speech" concepts so delicate.

get me right, language is deliberately abused to exercise power, to belittle others, by deliberately misgendering them or deliberately not using their academic title, etc.

However if I want to have a conversation about something of importance and my conversation participant is not there yet, should I not ignore misgendering or omission of academic titles or similar heckling from their side, simply to get into a conversation about the topic proper, and then, should the conversation participant surprisingly evolve into a conversation partner, then ask about pronouns, or academic title, or whichever language convention I prefer?

Why do I say this? If the other participant does not intend to evolve into a conversation partner, they will for lack of a better term jack off on heckling on the wrong pronoun or title or whatever it is that I may be asking for. I will never get to the core of what I want to discuss with that participant.

> people want to be told what to think, not how to think, as it's much easier that way.

Or people have forgotten how to have a proper conversation, an engaged dialogue about topics they disagree on, at least in parts.


"people have been programmed, on a massive scale, to react emotionally to certain learned key phrases and terms.'

You're right about that and it scares me, especially so since the advent of the internet as everything is already there and in place to make it much easer to program them on a massive scale. My first experience of the wide scale nature of this phenomenon was in the early 1970s when almost overnight television stations changed from televising mostly game shows and old movies to pushing news full on. As news became the new 'paradigm' for judging ratings it meant that hyping up the news became commonplace—the more sensational news stories became the higher up the ratings went. This continued to escalate to the situation we now have, that is where TV stations regularly interrupt programs with news headlines and news grabs. As these interruptions have to be short, making them sensational and thus more memorable became quite an art form. (Of course, as sleazy tabloids also played out similar themes it became increasingly difficult to escape such practices.)

At the same time, good news reporters and news anchors became thin on the ground (because of stations' new policies, through their dilution in the new news cycle, and the new breed having different ethics to the previous generation). Excellent reporters such as Ed Murrow (and his 'Murrow Boys') and anchors like Walter Cronkite who knew how to balance the news eventually disappeared, so by the time the internet came along that priming to which you refer was ready grow exponentially.

[For those not acquainted to news as it once was (and as a reality check), here are several of Ed Murrow's broadcasts (there are many more on the web and I'd urge you to listen to a sample of them). I apologize in advance if the second one offends or upsets anyone as the subject matter is horrible but I've included it to illustrate how dramatically news reporting has changed over the past 70 or so years: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3qpgfH5imA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8ffpIHnuaw ]

"people want to be told what to think, not how to think, as it's much easier that way."

Right, that's why those in charge of media organizations have the important responsibility to present news objectively and not sensationally (unfortunately, in the competition for resources the dollar has won out big-time over ethics).

When I was at school, we were taught how to debate, and along with this training, we learned the critical difference between rhetoric and fact and how to tell them apart. From our class the teacher would select two teams at random and they would debate a proposition provided by the teacher. The proposition could be factual, fiction or hearsay, or some theoretical possibility: 'There is no such thing as a black swan' and 'Life exists both on earth and elsewhere in the universe' being two such examples. The teacher then assigned one team to argue in the affirmative and the other in the negative (the teams had no say or choice in which way they had to argue).

At the end of the debate the remainder of the class voted on which team won the debate and that was then followed by an analysis of what had taken place—both the remaining class and debaters had to separate rhetoric from supported fact, figure out subject from predicate, and so on. At later debates, the teacher would allow teams to debate topics that they actually believed or disbelieved but the same analytical process would follow afterwards.

I reckon my early debating experience at high school is the reason why I found my later encounter with the formal debate between Socrates and Thrasymachus at university so interesting, as I quickly realized that the debating techniques that we'd been taught at school were essentially the same as those that Socrates had used against his opponent.

What's very important to realize here is that we don't need university-level logic to teach kids how to develop decent 'bullshit' filtering techniques—techniques that they can then apply throughout life. Moreover, the subject can be made interesting for kids: casting Thrasymachus as a selfish villain who believes 'that justice is everyman for himself' and watching how Socrates not only systematically demolishes that premise but also counters it with the notion that 'justice is much more than just one's self-interest' , as it's not only interesting and can be used to teach kids about logic, rhetoric and false premises but also the narrative has a built-in moral dimension/argument that's essentially universal.

I believe it's of fundamental importance that we provide kids with a solid grounding in these matters early on in their education so they can think logically and reason things out for themselves. Because, as we've seen from horrific events in the 1930s in Germany (and others), great swathes of even intelligent people can succumb to false argument and determined propaganda (and as we now know, good and concerted propaganda is extremely hard to resist).

For the first two decades after WWII, it seems we attempted to get things right (witness the training kids at my school had (and my high school was nothing special, it was stock-standard ordinary and typical of many others)). Unfortunately, in recent decades, and at a time when it's needed more than ever, such training seems to have fallen by the wayside. I'm not sure how we should now tackle the problem either—given that most kids will have experienced and grown used to the internet long before they'll ever get any training in logic, rhetoric, etc. (that is if they ever manage do so at all).


About TV debates — A lot of these have moved to podcasts and YouTube these days. Eg the Oxford Union debates on YouTube, some of which are quite popular. I suspect some talk radio, eg PBS and BBC Radio 4, will also have interesting debates. Radio 4’s magazine programmes like The Life Scientific, In Our Time, The Public Philosopher, Reith Lectures etc certainly make for extremely interesting listening.

But this is precisely a problem because of the demonetization that occurs on anything sensitive. These podcasts can't easily sustain themselves on a platform that actively de-ranks their content.

I know, thanks, they're great. Recently I've seen quite a few. Only several days ago I watched for the first time in many decades the program about A.J.P. Taylor and his controversial 1961 book The Origins of The Second World War (which, incidentally I have a copy of).

You're right, we really need to spread the word at every opportunity.


As a sort of counterpoint, I think it might be worth it to watch a classic of the 'free debate' genre, Buckley vs Baldwin[1], that happened in the sixties in Cambridge. It pitted a black civil rights activist against the young Buckley, later a stalwart of American conservatism.

I don't know if it's my bias speaking, but I felt that in the debate, Buckley comes across as a bully, with very little argumentative meat, who doesn't really respond to Baldwin's points. For what its worth, I didn't really like Baldwin's delivery either, but at least I felt there were substantive points there that were worth addressing.

In a way, this is probably the best one can hope for when you stage this kind of event - Buckley is, at least, well educated, but I can't help but think the debate might have been far more interesting if it was Baldwin vs Malcolm X - because ultimately the problem with the Buckleys of the world is that they defend institutions that were not built on ideals, but rather economics, and as such the defenses themselves are generally sophistic and without anything really interesting in them.

If I was a student, I would probably agitate to exclude a Buckley, and instead reach for a Malcolm, and I expect somebody would accuse me of being anti-free-speech, since the debate that would result would no longer span a societal divide, and both parties in the debate would be on 'one side' of the broader social issue. However, from an intellectual standpoint, it just sometimes is the case that interesting positions aren't evenly distributed across the terrain of popular feeling and political rhetoric, and a lot of people are simply defending things that are convenient or traditional but have no moral basis. So inviting those people is a waste of time - they're just (at best) going to come up with clever excuses for whatever already exists, or whatever they would want regardless.

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Tek9h3a5wQ


Instead of agitating for exclusion, agitate for more inclusion, e.g. demand both.

People living lives of ‘or’ forget that ‘and’ exists.


Blindly applying your advice (which was offered without qualification - so that's how I'll respond) opens the door for all sorts of concern trolling and contextless talking point repetition. That often-paid messaging serves a purpose to drown out nuanced and insightful debate with low-information content to defend a status quo or to run interference for an unpopular position to gather support without significant rhetorical challenge. We see that plenty online and in broadcast media, and is like that Buckley is described as doing but these days often more rote and mindless.

Allowing that sort of thing to mix with good debate waters down discussion. It turns people off to opposing viewpoints too, since they're so inundated with rhetorical noise that they need to dismiss most rhetoric out of hand due to the poor SNR. I don't think your position is a very good one.


> I now long for the type of television programs that I remember from my youth—talking heads discussing and debating serious topics.

There are orders of magnitude more such content now than there was for instance 40 years ago. There's probably hundreds of hours of your favourite philosopher/economist/pundit's lectures/debates/speeches at your fingertips. Click-click and you literally begin to hear them talk in less than 30 seconds. This probably includes those very programmes from ages ago!

This whole type of complaint reeks of "back in my day" appeals to nostalgia.


Of course with an abundance of content comes the issue of curation. Media used to be curated by people with sometimes lofty goals of trying to be highbrow, and having their journalism subsidized by classified ads. Now everyone has to be a tabloid. With an abundance of content also comes niche-ization, where to get a loyal audience you need to keep pandering to their pre-conceived notions. Debates between opposite sites these days get condemned by both sides.

> I now long for the type of television programs that I remember from my youth—talking heads discussing and debating serious topics.

I never had that in my youth, but YouTube recently started suggesting videos from The Dick Cavett Show from the 60's and 70's. The show was broadcast on TV and I think counted as light entertainment, so I don't presume it's very special for it's time, but seeing these interviews conducted at a pace where people can actually express themselves with anything but pre-canned anecdotes, with an interviewer who is actually listening and engaging with the topic is such a breath of fresh air compared to what I am used to. A lot of the interviews I've watched seem like they touch on pretty controversial subjects for the time (religion, LGBT, race, drugs, alcoholism etc)

(of course it helps that the clips that get uploaded and recommended are of historical figures, so there's a lot of survivorship bias there)


Free to Choose is absolute gold if you want to see rational debate among diametrically opposed groups about modern political and economic topics. Compared to what we see today it looks like something from another planet.

I watched Ayn Rand interviewed by Donahue in 1979 recently. I was shocked that this was daytime TV 40 years ago.

Give it a watch sometime and compare it what you see on TV today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jv0zTiv-i7s


In the good old days, there was Spitting Image, which delighted in offending everyone...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spitting_Image


You mean the very programme that was revived last year...?

Oh come on, Thrasymachus is the OG strawman. All he does is go around saying how smart Socrates is, and how wrong he himself is.

Lot of advice floating about the workplace these days along the lines of be candid, join the conversation, bring your whole self to work, etc. The people giving this advice seem to have no conception that not everyone actively engaged in these topics is acting in 100% good faith. Being too open could so easily backfire. Encouraging this is borderline negligent. Indeed there’s entire branches of activism that rest on bad-faith ideologies. Good advice would be to avoid controversial and political discussions and to keep a strong separation between your private life and your work life. Instead, we have employers, especially universities, asking staff to promote their organisations through their personal social media accounts.

> join the conversation, bring your whole self to work, etc.

This is a classic honeypot. They want to weed out people who have views that do not align with current PC status quo. One of the reasons is that no company wants to be associates with an employee who has views that could damage company image and lose money. They want your whole self, so they can discard you if they think you are a liability.


There is no social setting besides close friends and family(and therapy I suppose) where you should ever "be yourself." I never caught on to the trend that started with social media of blurting or tweeting out whatever you're thinking and for good reason. Now people are going back years scrubbing candid thoughts they had when they were teenagers while the naturally reticent have nothing to worry about.

> Now people are going back years scrubbing candid thoughts they had when they were teenagers while the naturally reticent have nothing to worry about.

Not only that, but do you know for certain which of the views you have today that are benign and unoffensive, will be considered taboo and hateful in 20 years? I don't know which ones, nobody does! But in 20 years someone is going to trawl through the archives and measure your views today with tomorrow's moral measuring stick.


> and therapy I suppose

In many countries therapists have a duty to break confidentiality for example if they think you have a intent to break the law. I knew people with drug problem who didn't go for a therapy out of fear the therapist will report them to the police.


Even seemingly non-controversial posts can become radioactive a few short years later.

"Being too open could so easily backfire."

I'm in the market for a new leadership role and I have a very well established leadership model that I've honed over the years to build high performing organizations. I was considering publishing my leadership writings (that I share with my employees when I coach them) on my LinkedIn so prospective employers could see whether I'm a good fit for transforming their organizations.

One of my former employees cautioned me that my since my leadership model doesn't virtue signal that I might find it hurts me more than it helps my prospects. I'm not sure what to make of this.


Perhaps you could collect candid feedback on your writings? Don't ask friends or close colleagues, instead search for those in your field whose opinions you respect (but may not agree with)? More broadly, perhaps find/form a community of individuals with similar interests (organizational leadership and change) and join them? In particular, seek out people with different backgrounds than yourself. I've found book authors on these subjects to be especially open to dialogue, if your opening letter connects your question to their work.

Recently had a Zoom call with a prospective enterprise software vendor, a small but very successful business. They trotted out quite a few senior people to make their pitch. In our internal chat room one of my colleagues noted the lack of diversity in their line-up as a red flag (those on the call were all white male boomers). Ironically, the company has a female founder/CEO. I’m not saying this comment led to anything one way or the other, but what you present to the outside industry will definitely be scrutinised along these lines by some.

One of the purposes of meetings (in person or remote) is to get a sense of the other group's values, and how they will treat the least of your staff. As a vendor, it's critically important to listen carefully and not interrupt. Conversely, I've rejected vendors when they've talked over one of my colleagues. I don't care how good the product is... if they are not going to be good collaborators.

Edit: This is related to the above comment -- a colleague may be summarizing an uncomfortable experience not in terms of behavior (a rude vendor that talked over them) but in terms of identity (white male).


How does this relate to the comment that you're replying to?

>bring your whole self to work

What this really means: make your whole self about work, then bring that self to work.


My take on these management aphorisms is that they are rarely actually meant literally. They're usually a form of signalling about how much you're supposed to love the Company/job. Worse, they are often adopted because management copy them from other firms they see as "successful" or "leaders" in a particular area.

If I were being more cynical, I'd say that managers or leaders love to talk about "Company culture" or "Company values" points like this because it allows them to mark their own work when they define success (although this may be unconscious). "We changed our company culture" isn't a statement that's easy to check or measure (it won't show up in eg engagement surveys), unlike "we grew earnings by x%", yet it also sounds much more "difficult".

A lot of the time it's effectively all an elaborate social game.


I never got what people mean with "bad faith" stuff. Like its some inherently bad kind of behaviors and ideas? Can you explain it to me like im 5?

The worst that i can think of is that people are hiding their true interests and thus lying to you.


When their actions/interests are less noble than what their words imply. For instance, using statistics and evidence to make a judgment seem objective, but knowingly leaving out other evidence that contradicts their position, especially when political association can be used to attack anyone who does bring up that evidence. Or asking that people “simply be aware” of their own prejudices, but in practice they are only interested in deconstructing the prejudices of one particular group, and would react furiously if another group was targeted. Pretending that everything is just a level playing field of debate, when they know that it isn’t, and they like it that way.

The idea is that people are engaging with no interest in making society better. An example might be a person who advocates for policies that are almost certainly harmful to the communities he purports to care about because his rhetoric draws favor (i.e., social capital) from others of his well-to-do segment of the political spectrum. The chief idea is that someone is plainly not interested in addressing the problem they purport to care about, but that they want the benefits of virtue signaling or else the “politics as tribal sport” element or a fondness for malice and divisiveness.

To be really clear, I’m not making a veiled political statement—I can think of a dozen ways this could fit a bad faith person on either side of the spectrum.


Just as an example, there are many ways to speak in bad faith: They say something they know is wrong so you correct them, then they take offense. They then leverage this perceived (by everyone else) offense and use it to gain some sort of advantage (over you, or systemically).

In contrast, talking in good faith is saying something they believe is true. Maybe you correct them or maybe you don't, but in the end they're just trying to talk to other people.


In general bad faith means that someone is lying to you, either implicitly or explicitly, when engaging you.

An example of this might be to act interested in a point, request sources to back it up, but with the intention to never look at the sources. Instead, the intent is to attack them for not providing sources making them look like their opinion is unsourced if they don't provide any, attack the sources if they provide anything that might be considered controversial, or to ignore them entirely and move onto the next person if they do provide good sources. The goal is to at worst waste their time and at best make them look like their position is unfounded.

Other examples might be asking questions when discussing a slightly controversial topic to get even more controversial replies that you will then quote mine to attack the poster, even if the quotes weren't controversial in context.

A less agreed upon example might be someone who is purposefully being misleading because they don't want to expose their true goal, but whose true goal is to educate the person. Asking leading questions to get someone to reach a conclusion when you would not be able to argue directly for that conclusion. This last example might even pass as an acceptable form of bad faith dialog because it is done with the intention of having a good faith conversation on a topic where good faith conversations aren't possible.


Actual intent differs from presented intent. As in "not negotiating in good faith"—carrying on negotiations only to extract information, with no intention of making a deal, might be an example of this.

To me bad faith is also just lying. You lie about your motives and intentions. You lie about the other's sides motives and intentions. Bad faith actors also prop up a lot of straw men in order to tear them down, but disengage or put words in the mouth of direct opponents. They make concrete statements, then back away and act like they never said if called out for it, or can't back up their assumption with evidence.

Bad faith arguments are more about scoring points or making that person feel better. It's never about the actual policy. So it allows the bad faith actor freedom to say whatever they want, as long as they come out ahead.


It can come from cognitive dissonance and ignorance, refusing to concede a point that has been logically refuted. Maintaining a position and then launching a personal attack if the position is threatened.

They want ammo on everyone so they can try and get them fired to replace them with friends and family.

"bring your whole self to work"

Trendy, yet completely stupid advice.


When I hear "bring your whole self to work", I think of gay people who couldn't mention their loved ones because that would out them. When you say there should be a "strong separation between your private life", I don't think you're expecting to never mention your family. Maybe your partner is sick and you're feeling stressed. In a supportive environment, shouldn't that be mentioned?

Even though the personal is political (such as the status of being gay), It sounds to me like you're thinking about political topics irrelevant to the organization when you advise people to "avoid controversial and political discussions". Whether the topic is relevant to your work depends on the topic, and it's up to you to make a cost-benefit analysis of whether it's worth discussing. I think that people should be able to discuss their family life and workplace policies, but I agree that broader political discussion may not be worth it.

I guess I'd like to end by saying that it depends. What don't you think should be discussed at work? Why shouldn't you discuss this with your colleagues? Personally, I think discussing a gay spouse should be fine and expected, and supporting genocide shouldn't be, but there's a lot of room in between those two extremes.


> Why shouldn't you discuss this with your colleagues?

If you believe that women might be less represented in tech because they opt for other careers when they have the chance, you might get fired. You better leave that part of your whole self at home.


I don’t disagree with the idea that people shouldn’t have to hide certain things. I’m just commenting on the apparent naivety of the people recommending greater openness, like they don’t acknowledge the pitfalls, the potential ambushes.

> Indeed there’s entire branches of activism that rest on bad-faith ideologies

Elaborate plz


I would say that this is a failure of philosophy in political leadership. Not that philosophy was ever paramount in politics, but it was at least expected in the highest classes.

Everything devolves into tribalism without philosophy. It looks like people are discoursing, but they are really just signalling.


> It looks like people are discoursing, but they are really just signalling.

I was looking to put words on my feeling about this, and you did it perfectly.

I was wondering why suddenly so many people voiced the same engaged opinion, while I know for having discussed with them in private settings that they don't think deeply about society.

Now I realize that's because they want to look like they belong to a certain kind of people. It's not about ideas. It's about tribes.


> It's not about ideas. It's about tribes.

wonder what percentage of our likelihood to survive depend on ensuring we still are part of the tribe (e.g. signalling)? I think all communication other than the functional coordination of mundane things (can you pick the kids up today? how much for X etc) would fall into that category. Why otherwise bother with any of it at all?

It seems there is perhaps a relation between the amount of tribalism and uncertainty in life people face? It's easier to take risks and care about art and talk about very complex topics in a distanced way with people from opposing views when we're not in the thick of it?


In my more pessimistic moments I find myself moving towards the same conclusion. The vast majority of communication between people seems, at its root, to simply be sorting of in-group from out-group

I thought this was very insightful: https://www.edge.org/response-detail/27181

When choosing what to believe people ask “what is the social consequence of accepting the facts as they are?”

It explains the tribalism and the signalling and more besides.


My brother is an artist and the stories he tells about the art world are hilarious. He's gay with brown skin and votes left so I consider him reasonably unbiased. Hardly a reactionary. Radicalisation on the left spectrum of the horseshoe.

Oh, please share.

Politics in English-speaking countries, particularly the US, seems to have partly become entertainment. Some of the "fans" appear more fervent than even the politicians themselves.

I'm an outsider and even I've been drawn into US politics, because it is entertaining. Sometimes it's more entertaining than a fictional story. But I doubt that this makes for sensible governing.


Their election cycles happen every 2 years and I think there's no time limit for electoral advertising. So they're always promoting candidates, almost all year round.

To top that off, they have only two parties and party affiliation is almost like supporting a sports club.

A recipe for great objectivity.


I agree, it's all insane isn't it...

For neutrality's sake I'll say there's Team Green, and Team Yellow. When Green is in power, Yellow supporters might scream about a topic, like debt. Then Team Yellow comes into power. Spending goes crazy, Team Green supporters point out previous Team Yellow statements about debt, and their current conduct. What does the average Team Yellow supporter do? They don't listen, they don't try to analyze the stuff themselves, they listen to their own news media.


The problem is when political polarization becomes so strong that they become two separate ethnicities. The USA would probably have already fallen apart if it wasn't a federal country ?

Entertaining, or entertaining in a “US politics is like a car crash” way?

I have a hard time discerning myself at times.


Politics is sports for those who think themselves too educated for sports.

Sports teams, exactly. Why would you ever support someone on the other team? It's all about winning, right?

"Not that philosophy was ever paramount in politics, but it was at least expected in the highest classes."

Well some of it has been influential, works by Aristotle and Plato for instance. In another post here I've mentioned Plato's Republic (now well over 200 years old). Its arguments about justice are still the cornerstone of our justice system these days—or at least they're supposed to be.

"Everything devolves into tribalism without philosophy."

Unfortunately, that's true. It's not gone unnoticed that in recent decades many universities have closed down their liberal arts and often this includes their schools of philosophy. It's pretty terrible really.


"...(now well over 200 years old)"

Duh, how did miss that glaring typo? Of course that should read 2000 years. While I'm at it, the best figure we have for the Republic is ≈375 BC which makes it ≈2396 years old.


What makes you think that tribalism isn't in philosophy? It is no pancaea or vaccine and has a history of basis of tribalism - the Great Schism for one. If there is a lack of tribalism in niche philosophies well, it isn't important enough to have a tribe.

> correcting people who are clearly misinformed on clear matters of fact can cause offense

This is modern anti-culture. It's a climate where "opinions" matter more than knowledge and consumerism matters more than democracy.

There are many employers. I am an employee, but I am first and foremost a citizen in a Democracy... If I have the courage to defend it and the will to learn/educate.

An educational system worth the title should provide understanding of society and democracy.


"It's a climate where 'opinions' matter more than knowledge..."

It's not just that. Sometimes the people don't understand the difference between their opinion and facts. Like I could point out some factual incorrectness and they see me as attacking their opinion. A lot of the time they coincidence, but sometimes I might be in favor of their opinion based on other facts and simply don't want misinformation to spread. Or we might share the same objective but that false information would lead to a flawed implementation that would block us from achieving a shared goal. Not to mention, I try not to attack an actual opinion, because everyone is entitled to one, even if it differs from mine.


"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

Isaac Asimov


I’d say it’s where only mainstream opinions matter, and all else is heresy punishable by fire.

This is why employers want to survey applicants' social media posts, to filter out those with activist views like this.

Engaging in real-life political discussions in the current climate is basically all risk, zero reward.

From what I remember, in polite circles it was always known that you should never discuss politics and religion with anyone except your immediate family and close friends.

"The Fall of Public Man" argues that we actually used to be more political and had to "put our cards on the table" so to speak. This would be as opposed to now, where we are very much able to hide our positions if we so please.

I don't know what polite circles would be, but I suppose some sort of aristocracy? Certainly gentile society in 1780s in France were not scared of expressing heavy political discourse in public. Nor were the rich Romans.

Edit: And just to be clear. Rich people may perhaps only speak politics with their closest friends, but they certainly act politically with the use of their capital. Imitating them by shutting up has no point and is detrimental to a democratic society.


The polite society he refers to which originated this standard is the English gentry, with whom American political culture has much more in common than either the Latin aristocracies you mention or the Gallic working class.

In America there is a tension between Jacksonian public man populism of the type you allude to and gentrified politesse of southern planters and northern merchants. In short, you’re both right.


It's long been thought unwise to discuss politics with your family:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreyfus_affair#/media/File:Car...


Getting fired off a couple tweets is unprecedented though.

How? If I go to the town square and yell at crowds about how one race is superior to the others, I should expect some repercussions. Why is it different, now, just because it involves computers?

You don’t even have to be shouting slurs. Donating to the wrong cause is enough.

It depends. If the "wrong cause" is one advocating for fewer rights for fellow humans, most reasonable humans feel hard to sympathize with the person complaining about it.

That's true but finding it hard to sympathize with someone is different from taking matters into your own hands and getting people fired.

Tweeting is like shouting from the rooftops.

Twitter is a broadcast platform, is that so hard to realize?


Only if you have "incorrect" opinions.

And of course a 'correct' opinion today might be 'incorrect' tomorrow and since you've previously expressed the 'now incorrect' opinion you can be in trouble.

Just delete your Twitter account and say nothing to anyone about anything, especially in the workplace.


There's not a lot of reward even for the bien pensant.

> Even correcting people who are clearly misinformed on clear matters of fact can cause offense.

This resonates deeply. I'm at the point where "I'm entitled to my opinion!" is a great signal to change the topic, never to return to the topic of politics with that person ever again


When someone comes at me with "I'm entitled to my opinion!" I reply, "You're entitled to your INFORMED opinion!".

I think since around 2008 with the rise of social media, so much of one's ego has been made public. More so than ever before. Its as if everyone is a public figure. Because of this, more people are incapable of accepting that they may be wrong, underinformed, or simply misinformed.


The problem with that is the question becomes who determines what is informed? It wasn't that long ago that informed people were being made fun of because they where avoiding handshakes despite the CDC not supporting it.

Now both those who support and those who disagree with masks think they are the informed party. I have disagreed with the reopening plan for my country, based on the science as I understand it (they didn't open up enough outside) and it now looks like I was right.

So the question is, who and how do you determine what constitute an informed opinion?


I think that might be a signal that you have already gone too far into the convo too!

It's a shame if that's the case some of my favorite discussions have been with people tht disagree with me. I hope we haven't lost the ability to have a disagreement and remain friends.

I think its precisely those who can disagree and remain friends that are the people worth maintaining a friendship with. All others are a lower class of acquaintance.

The result is that world becomes more and more boring. No interesting discussion can take place. Environment becomes more toxic and it's mainly due to radicals who perceive everything as offensive and everybody who disagrees as "nazi" or "racist" or "-phobic".

"No interesting discussion can take place" quickly leads to "No meaningful discussion can take place".

I'm not sure why everyone keeps scoffing at the idea of calling some of these folks Nazis or racists. It's not hyperbole or an exaggeration. We did have a rally with a bunch of white nationalists exercising their "free speech" to chant "The Jews will not replace us" and they ended up murdering someone there. We had a National Security Advisor to the President of the United States promoting replacement theory. There are countless other examples major and minor over the last 12 years. Just how much racism and bigotry has to be clearly and consistently demonstrated for the labels to stick?

Applying those labels to people who are objectively and overtly acting that way is not the problem. The problem is that way too often people are assuming it's there. It's a presumption of intent, "racism is one possible explanation for your viewpoint, therefore I somehow /just know/ that you are a racist person".

Example: every recent white-cop-shot-a-black-person incident in the U.S. Not only is there widespread assumption of racism being the motivation (despite little or no evidence of that), you can't even /talk/ about parts of the problem without being labeled a racist. Heck, even /raising the question/ of whether or not the incident was motivated by racism will often get you labeled as racist. Want to discuss the practical benefits of being cooperative during a police encounter? You're racist!


> every recent white-cop-shot-a-black-person incident in the U.S. Not only is there widespread assumption of racism being the motivation (despite little or no evidence of that), you can't even /talk/ about parts of the problem without being labeled a racist.

What I thought was even more interesting was that racism was never a charge raised in the George Floyd case yet it was one parroted by many individuals as completely 'obvious' guilt in.

The discussion that happens outside of these circles seems to be entirely different approach too and I would dare not even mention facts like this among work colleagues, even though he is plainly guilty of other charges as it does not fit the narrative they hold.


The worst part is how this kind of "anti-racism" is itself promoting racism by focusing way too much on skin color.

>Not only is there widespread assumption of racism being the motivation (despite little or no evidence of that)

It's hard to say what all the issues of individual motivation are in every case, but there is evidence that racism plays a factor. [0] It may not be because of overt racism, the officers involved don't have to attend klan rallies for other racially biased policies like redlining to have a broad effect on policing.

>Want to discuss the practical benefits of being cooperative during a police encounter?

The reason you're getting dismissed here is because this is missing the point. People in a state of confusion or crisis sometimes don't have the option of being cooperative with the police. That shouldn't be cause to get you shot and killed by a police officer inside your own house with no due process, which currently you have an increased risk of that happening to you if you're of a certain race.

[0] https://www.pnas.org/content/116/34/16793


> People in a state of confusion or crisis sometimes don't have the option of being cooperative with the police.

I hear your point, and I'm all for mercy, patience, trying to understand and help people in crisis, etc. But at the same time, choices have consequences, and you can't escape that. This isn't victim blaming, it's just a law of nature. It is a tragedy if someone gets into such a state of confusion/rage/whatever that they, say, try to stab someone to death, but it's also not wrong for someone to step in and protect the intended victim. And if the act of saving the innocent harms the attacker, that's awful, but the fact remains that the attacker would not have come to harm if not for their earlier choices.

> [0] https://www.pnas.org/content/116/34/16793

I haven't had time to look at this study in depth, but a cursory glance suggests they are almost completely ignoring what is probably the most important factor, and that is the rate of violent crime (the second most influential data point would probably be socioeconomic level).

They show a correlation between race and death at the hands of police, which is indisputable. A causal relationship is TBD, though they brush up against it by stating, "This pattern is similar to the distribution of violent crime".


Cooperation is no guarantee that you won't be extra-judiciously murdered without consequences either. We have plenty of examples like Philando Castile to put the myth of "just cooperate" to rest.

So? There is no guarantee of anything, for anyone. But in terms of risk management, you can take some extremely simple steps to reduce the risk to approximately zero. Here's "the talk" that all parents can have with their kids:

1) Do your best to avoid breaking the law or associating with people that do. 2) If you have a police encounter, cooperate.

Does that /guarantee/ anything? Of course not. But follow those two simple rules and the odds of getting killed by police are /effectively/ zero. Yes, there's still a chance, but there's always a chance (for everyone, of all colors). But follow those two simple rules and you'll probably win the lottery or get hit by lightning first.


Step #2 is precisely the opposite of the advice that keeps innocent victims of the police out of jail. Cooperate, sure, but the actual advice that lawyers provide is not to talk, and end the interaction as firmly and respectfully as possible. As a reminder, cops are encouraged and professionally trained to manipulate and deceive, and they will use anything you say against you.

Your advice might work more effectively for someone privileged enough to be able to afford bail and a lawyer.


> Step #2 is precisely the opposite of the advice that keeps innocent victims of the police out of jail. Cooperate, sure

So... not quite the opposite after all? :)


> Not only is there widespread assumption of racism being the motivation

Well, is there?? Everybody I seem to interact with doesn't think so. Where are all those bogeymen chanting racism right away? Surely you can quote some sort of survey to back up your perception, right?


For starters, go search Twitter for 'George Floyd' - it's hard to find threads that /don't/ make it about racism to some degree or another. But even a cursory search on other sides yields oodles of results; here's some from just the first page or two of hits:

"Racism killed George Floyd" - https://www.americantheatre.org/2021/04/15/day-after-day-rac... "George Floyd murder exposes rotten racism in the US" - https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1190140.shtml https://coloradohealth.org/insights/good-health/racism-publi... https://www.amestrib.com/story/opinion/2021/04/01/opinion-ge...

There's pages and pages of this stuff. And beyond that there's layers of not-explicit-but-not-subtle positioning of incidents - if a cop (of any color) shoots a white person, it's a police shooting and usually doesn't go much further than the local news. If a cop (of any color) shoots a black person, it's national news and the victim's race is mentioned constantly. If racism is not being implied, what is the relevance of his race?


> For starters, go search Twitter for 'George Floyd'

Twitter is not a representative slice of the population or its feelings, so that's why your premise is right out of the bat flawed.


You asked for examples and so I gave them to you, and then you dismissed the first because you didn't like it and then completely ignored the other two.

I'm discussing this in good faith and am assuming you are too. Please update your reply or erase it. Thanks!


You specifically asked “where are all the boogeymen?” and the answer was “On Twitter” but that wasn’t good enough for you?

Data on lifetime likelihood of death by cop in the US by ethnicity. https://www.pnas.org/content/116/34/16793

It's very evident the US has strong implicit biases just from the Justice system. We could also look at incarceration rates, or sentencing disparities by ethnicity.

At some point saying "hey, we can't just _assume_ this is racist" _appears_ less like good faith debate and more like bad faith denialism.


Statistics do not prove intent, unless you want us to use the same data to prove that the Justice system is an order of magnitude more sexist than racist because 2000% more men are killed then women. The numbers for incarceration rates and sentencing disparities are similar damning.

If we go by the data in the study, the likelihood of death by cop in the US is determined by age first, gender second, race third. If we look at other studies we can add social economical factors, geographic location, geopolitical and cultural factors, all which has correlation impact with age, gender and race.


Agreed, I think one of the ways the two camps talk past each other is using "racist" to refer to both the motive of individual actors and the systemic and cultural biases.

Also yes, the judicial system is also sexist - police don't see women as being threats demanding lethal force, juries are more willing to see women as victims including of their circumstances. That's not the only reason for discrepancies, sociobiology looks into links between biological factors and criminality too, but the cultural issues are enough that defendants are coached to behave differently based on gender.

I see your final point, but my hunch is if you dig in to the correlation between age, gender and race with economics and geography, the eigenvalues will be ordered the other way (race, gender, age) - and if so I think that would indicate the Justice system is only a reflection of the larger society, rather than negate the idea of a racist justice system?


My hunch is leaning towards the opposite. Social economic status is determine from primarily income, education and occupation, and each three is correlated to age groups and gender to a point where one can make pretty decent probability curves for each. There are not many 20 years old that share income of 55 years old. Naturally there aren't many phd's or people working senior positions at a very young age.

If we look at age groups, 20-29 is the most common age for criminals to be found guilty by the justice system which matches the age when people exit from schools and have the lowest amount of income and highest rate of unemployment. High crime areas also tend to have a lower median age than low crime areas. For being shot by a cop, this age jumps a bit to 30-40, but I don't know why.

The general problem with this kind of statistics is that you will always end up with correlations that goes both way. If a country has a massive wave of refugees of a certain age, refugees with a lower social economic status that the existing population, you get an obvious correlation with social economic status, age and refugee status. At which point some statistician try to normalize values and those numbers suddenly becomes a discussion about which factors are considered and which ones aren't.

Is the justice system ageist, sexist, racist, and -phobic? When it tries to do a risk assessment based on little else than demographic data then yes.


I'm all for looking at incarceration rates and sentencing disparities, etc. - if there are actual imbalances after controlling for relevant factors, then it makes sense to root them out and fix them.

That said, studies like the one you're citing appear to be flawed because they fail to account for rates of crime (especially violent crime) as well as socioeconomic factors. Correlation is not causation and all that.

(see e.g. https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-myth-of-systemic-police-rac...)


I think you're missing the point w.r.t. BLM and racist policing. The assumption isn't racism. The statistical evidence says racism. And the argument was never that all of these white cops are independently racist in their heart of hearts. It's that they participate in and support a system with explicitly racist outcomes. There is simply no question that the criminal justice system in the US has racist outcomes.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/09637214187639...


Are there not many potential explanations other than a nebulous concept of "racism" for these statistics?

Are there many potential explanations as to why our justice system has racist outcomes? Absolutely. Does that change whether the outcomes are racist or not? Absolutely not.

There seems to be a lot of confusion over racism where one group seems to think racism only exists when it involves white hoods and hurling racial epitaphs and the other group is more concerned about large societal trends and documented evidence of disparities in outcomes based on race.

Machine learning algorithms are a perfect example. If you build an ML algorithm for approving home loans using historical data, the outcomes of that algorithm will likely have a strong racial bias due to the history of housing segregation. If a company were to use that algorithm, they would be participating in systemic racism even if not a single person in that company was racist. It's racist because the outcomes are, not because of individual racists within the system trying to explicitly hurt black folk.


The term "racist outcomes" is an example of the problem we're talking about. A racial disparity is not racist. Correlation is not the same thing as causation.

Racism could very much be one of the factors, but painting the entire disparity as racism pretty much guarantees we will make no progress on zeroing in on, and ultimately eliminating, the actual racism.

Conflating racial disparities with racism is really harmful and counterproductive.


The problem is that at least at some point it was racist, and a bunch of feedbacks keep it that way, with machine learning potentially another one.

It wasn't racist in my country at any point, as we never had any slavery (we did enslave and genocide each other, but we're all white so no one cares) or racial minorities even, besides maybe some Turks or whatever. And I was still told by some people that I benefit from white privilege.

Can you double check the link? You might have mistakenly posted the wrong one. Thanks!

(I read it and the accompanying PDF and neither seem to support your point of "statistical evidence says racism" - this is a study about how sharing data showing a correlation between race and policing affects people's attitude towards policing)


You are pointing out that neonazi groups exists and did rallies.

Those groups often call for "free speech" and complain about being silenced.

Yet, *your* comment is being downvoted away and appears light gray to me.

This is really concerning.


The commenter clearly has an agenda to further. No dispassionate observer whatever their political leaning really believes the 'silencing' only exists on the Right. Not a hint of that in the comment. That's concerning.

I'll bite.

It's because the labels themselves have become diluted to have any real meaning. Yes, there are white nationalists who show up to rallies waving Nazi flags. But it's also totally normal to hear people refer to "white supremacy" with regard to SATs[1]. So there really is a diminishing return on calling things racist, and that's probably what most people are "scoffing" at.

[1]https://www.tcpress.com/blog/dismantling-white-supremacy-inc...


I think you're just illustrating the point. It's okay to address issues with racial bias in SAT questions. Those things can still be racist (maybe not even intentionally so) and worth addressing despite there being worse racism somewhere else. We don't have to ignore that, it's not getting diluted because there are neo nazis that exist somewhere else.

Using loaded terms like "racism" or "white supremacy" to describe major incidents as well as minor "not even intentionally so" infractions is pretty much the definition of dilution.

This conversation shows up on pretty much every HN story that ends up discussing racism. This fear of "dilution" is a textbook "no true Scotsman" fallacy.

> I'm not sure why everyone keeps scoffing at the idea of calling some of these folks Nazis or racists.

Except you call everyone Nazis or racists including Jews, blacks, and others (J. K. Rowling for a recent example) who would be considered disqualified from white ethno-nationalist movements.


Can you point to an example of anyone calling Just Kidding Rowling a nazi or a racist?

I think one aspect of Polarization in the US is that a big part of it is our expectations of polarization. I think we strongly overestimate the degree to which we can predict someone's political views and world outlook from a single statement.

I am worried we are in a positive feedback were perceptions of polarization lead to self-censorship among the less polarized, which further drives the perceptions of polarization.


Worse yet, the language gets so abstract and contorted it becomes hard to find areas where there is strong consensus matter of practice. We can't agree on concrete policies because people can't agree on why something shoud be done and not how. And even when there exists consensus for both for some subset everyone wants to use it as leverage to get their entire position so we end up with more status quo. You see this with Republicans and Obamacare, as well as the DSA crowd and Medicare expansions proposed by Warren/Clinton/Butti.

I've been one to speak my mind. I see myself as having been punished for it. I was doing work a grade or two above mine but was held back from promotion. So I didn't make senior developer on that team. Then I was even in jeopardy of losing my job over a statement I made (not vulgar, disrespectful, or anything) so I have to switch stacks a couple times to move out of a bad area of the company. I'm 9 years in and just a midlevel. My trust in the company and my desire to work hard for them are abysmal.

"Even correcting people who are clearly misinformed on clear matters of fact can cause offense."

I was stupid enough to do this too. People were discussing the gender wage gap the way the TV reporters do - that a woman in the same job as a man, with all things equal, makes 80 cents on the dollar. So I brought up the BLS study that shows that the 80 cents number is about an aggregate comparison of all men and women in the workforce, and that the main driver of the discrepancy comes from the types of jobs that men and women are in. I wouldn't be surprised if I get downvoted on here for this comment too.


Not to get too far into a debate about this, as we're well off the path of the article now, but I'm genuinely not sure if you've thought of this. Your argument:

>the discrepancy comes from the types of jobs that men and women are in.

only comes down to just being a moving the goal posts sort of thing from disparity in pay to disparity in expectation and opportunity for young men versus women. It's not a compelling argument against a gender pay gap, overall.

Using your own metric of a broad view, it's probably more of a problem than a specific man versus a specific woman, because it points to a theory that societal norms serve to re-enforce the expectation of taking jobs in lower paying fields on women versus men.

Anyway, any workplace that wouldn't let you have a conversation about this topic, in a respectful, non-bigoted way is maybe not a healthy place to work. The problem is, these types of arguments are (in my experience as a professional) a thin veneer of 'civility' over a massive ocean of bigotry and idiocy in many cases. I'm afraid employers take a hard line, because it's easy to slip into that ocean.


> it points to a theory that societal norms serve to re-enforce the expectation of taking jobs in lower paying fields on women versus men.

That’s one theory. Another is that women and men in the aggregate don’t choose the same careers in exactly even proportions.


> Another is that women and men in the aggregate don’t choose the same careers in exactly even proportions.

That's not a theory, that's just restating the question! Why is the distribution the way it is, and should we make efforts to change it?


Maybe, but I still think there's an important point in there.

We (society) do a lot of handwringing about CEO and engineering jobs, but these aren't even remotely the most gender-asymmetric careers out there.

According to [1], "Locomotive engineers and operators" are 92.3 percent male. I'm willing to bet that if you can "fix" that problem - or even conclusively identify the cause - gender imbalance issues in other fields will be less contentious.

[1] https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.htm


“fixing” that “problem” would involve somehow convincing many women to enter a career field in which they have no interest. How do you propose to force them to change their desires?

> would involve somehow convincing many women to enter a career field in which they have no interest

This is a blatant non sequitur. Counterexample:

It's hard in many places to be a male schoolteacher, because men are seen by parents and other staff as potential predators, to the point where some people won't even trust a man to change their kid's diapers. Men have said that this is a big reason they don't want to become schoolteachers, so if we help change public opinion on this front, then we've ostensibly lessened a gender imbalance without "forcing" any men to "change their desires."


That argument assumes women aren't interested in those roles, and that their disinterest is the only or primary thing that causes an imbalance.

You have to know that isn't true, which makes this a great example of why people are frustrated about discussing anything 'political' in the workplace.


Do you have some data to support your assumption that they do want to be in those roles in higher numbers that they are already?

Why on earth would you say "you have to know this isn't true"?

If you see similar patterns across many different cultures, including ones considered to be more gender-egalitarian, I would have honestly thought the conclusion would be, in fact, varying interests.

Or do you think there are no biological differences (on average) between men and women, in which case, I can provide you with large, multi-national studies that come to a different conclusion.

I can see how there could be debate about how much the difference is, and what the causes of it are, but "you have to know that isn't true" seems like saying "Come on, everyone knows the world is flat, stop arguing in bad faith".


>You have to know that isn't true

I know it is true, by looking at empirical data. Can you cite data that support your conclusion?


There are:

55k "Locomotive engineers and operators" (90% male)

1.7m "Chief executives" (70% male)

1.9m "Software developers" (80% male)

3.2m "Architecture and engineering occupations" (85% male)

Maybe there is a lot of handwringing within the locomotive industry, but it really doesn't seem important enough for the rest of us to care about.


Sure. And there are fewer full-blown autistic people than there are people "on the spectrum". But it's a lot easier to study autism by looking at severe cases than it is to try to figure out what's biologically different about people who are "a little aspy".

92% of veterinarians are female

98.8% (!) of preschool and kindergarten teachers are female

If you want to understand gender imbalance in employment, these are the obvious places to start.


> 98.8% (!) of preschool and kindergarten teachers are female

I'm fairly sure a big part of the driver for the imbalance in education is that being a teacher is one of the only ways, other than being a full-time employee (not contractor) some place like Google, to access European-like levels of parental leave, plus European-like levels of time-off, generally, which is also hugely valuable when you have kids, while also being a career in which leaving multiple times for months at a time to have kids (if you time it well with Summer, or hit up FMLA time) is minimally disruptive to one's career growth, which is unusual for non-very-rare-and-hard-to-get jobs. Plus, and this isn't to be under-appreciated, teachers are in demand everywhere, so one can gain all the above and move to (for example) let your spouse chase higher wages at a less-family-friendly job (nursing is similarly friendly in that demanded-everywhere way, and go figure, nursing is dominated by women, too).

Relatedly, teaching is also one of the most single-parenting-friendly jobs around. The pay may not be great, but you're off (more or less) when your kids are, it's stable, and it comes with benefits. Retirement, even! It may also let you do things like get a job in a good school district, while living in a worse district (cheaper housing), but send your kids to the better district you work in, which can make a huge difference if you're on a single income.

For younger grades in particular, I think it's all of the above, plus a combination of simple interest-factor, and of men fearing (not unjustly) that any interest in or affinity for young kids (who aren't relatives) will make them look extremely creepy.


That would be a great theory, except that gender segregation is similar for countries with European-like levels of parental leave.

In a Swedish study the term they used for the teacher profession was a "leaky pipe". The first year at university the teacher program is only somewhat gender segregated, but for every year that goes men either quit or refocus towards a specialty with more men. Once graduate, each year as an employed teacher the segregation rate increases with men either quitting or switching to a specialty like after-school sport.

The number 1 cause as highlighted by that study: culture fit and not feeling accepted.


I don't disagree with you, but it's notable that the gender imbalance for teachers diminishes as the kids get older.

* Preschool and kindergarten teachers 98.8% female

* Elementary and middle school teachers 79.6% female

* Secondary school teachers 58.8% female

* Postsecondary teachers 51.1% female

There's clearly a lot more going on here.


Right, preferences and "guys teaching little kids is creepy" play a role, and maybe some other stuff.

Okay yeah, that's a different issue than what I thought you meant. You're saying we should focus on the most asymmetric careers because they'll give us the best understanding of gender gaps.

That makes sense, but personally I think you should still focus on the "smaller issues" instead of just looking at the most extremes. People who are "a little aspy" may have similar biological causes as severe autism, but their social situations are much different. People with Aspergers may just require some minor accommodation to live their lives, but people with Autism may require a lot of care. The causes can be similar while the scale drastically changes the type of response.


One more to add, with enough population for you to care about:

"Driver/sales workers and truck drivers": 3.4m, 92.2% male.


Not that agree or disagree, but... Using that logic, why should we care at all. Less than 7 million out of about 170 million in the workforce. Shouldn't we be looking a other, more common jobs? (On a side note I'm surprised software devs are only 1.9 million)

There are two orders of magnitude difference between the number locomotive operators and the CEO & engineering jobs:

55k/7m = 0.8%

7m/170m = 4%

There's a legit difference between arguing about a $40k line item on a $1m house sale and a $400 line item.


What's your point? Either way we're adding up largely arbitrary line items composing a very small minority. It makes more sense to look the areas that would impact the most people. To use your analogy, who cares if the seller takes care of that $40k line item of the other ones that need work add up to $250k? Great, I have a solid roof but what about my crumbling foundation...

I have never in my entire life met a female plumber, yet somehow I doubt that's caused by the inherent patriarchal bias in the ****-fixing industry.

Note: I have never even met a women that aspires to trying to be one.


Because men and women are physiologically different and are just not attracted to the same things. For example most women don't like hunting, while men do, most likely due to evolutionary reasons.

If it's just about statistics not looking as nice and even as we'd like then no, in my opinion we shouldn't make any efforts to change it.


Obviously that is the case. It would be startling if adults chose careers in exactly even proportions, regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity, or whatever. BUT, based on human developmental theory and how people make decisions, no choice is truly random.

Therefore, there must be a reason for those choices.

Your theory offers no explanation other than random chance, from what I can tell. Identifying inputs and outcomes is sort of the point of solving problems.


I think the main issue was with the "expectation" part. It carries an insinuation of being forced, or socially shunned, etc. There are choices being made, and choices aren't random. I don't really see expectations that a woman take a lower paying job playing into that very much. I can see more pressure on the other side - like for the man to pay for everything on dates, support their family, etc, with the resulting less pressure on the other side allowing the choice of work that is fulfilling in other ways (societal benefit, fun, less stress, flexibility). Even these roles are choices. A man could choose not to pay for dates, be a stay at home dad, etc. When it come mate selection, there is generally more pressure on the male than the female.

I'm assume you're male because you're coming at it from that perspective. Do you believe there is no pressure when you're one of the few women in an engineering course? There's a lot at play here, and focusing on your slice may prevent you from seeing the whole.

I can see pressure if the woman (or any first-of) is one of the first in their role/job to do well and represent their subgroup. This of course implies that there is a stereotype to overcome, which I see as a very small minority sentiment today. I didn't notice any stereotyping related to women in my classes. Also, in my masters courses the gender mix was probably 60% male 40% female.

There is a lot at play, and there is plenty of variation by location and other factors.


And what you have done, I am willing to bet, is use your own individual experiences to draw conclusions for the wider world. My own personal experience is that this is almost never a good idea (see what I did there). This is not a values judgment, or meant to be hateful at all, really.

This paragraph reads as if you are saying, "I've never seen it, so it doesn't exist."


And the same can be done in the other direction. Are you worried about some rare disease or catastrophe? We have to determine where the line is and if the current laws are somehow not adequate to protect people's rights.

I'm not saying that issues do not exist (see my prior comment about very small minority). From what I've seen, including various statistics, it seems to me that gender discrimination is not common and the laws are already in place to deal with it.


But then why do those careers earn less money? Why is it that it just so happens that every job that is more likely for women to work also is paid less?

I think mortality/danger is an interesting axis:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/187078/occupational-inju...

If, by being a man, you are 10x more likely to die from your job, and you are 10x more likely to die younger, should society compensate for your fewer hours lived?

If no, why would society decide to undervalue males?


The question is why those careers earn less money. Your assertion is that the careers men choose are more dangerous, so those careers earn more. My question is, are dangerous careers well paid?

Here are the totals for occupational deaths: https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cfoi.t03.htm

~25% for Transportation and material moving occupations

~20% for Construction

~10% for Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

~1.5% for Business, Finance, Computers, Math, Engineering, and Legal


I believe all the ones you listed would fall above the median salary of about $50k.

My point wasn't that all the specified careers were above the median salary, my point was that the most dangerous jobs don't seem to be the best paid jobs. The original question was

> But then why do those careers earn less money?

and the follow up was

> If, by being a man, you are 10x more likely to die from your job, and you are 10x more likely to die younger, should society compensate for your fewer hours lived?

which I tried to answer with looking at which jobs killed more people. It doesn't look to me like the big money is in jobs which kill more people

https://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/ceseeb3a.htm

-----

Transportation: $25.71/hr ~= $51k/yr

Construction: $32.24/hr ~= $64k/yr

Repair and Maintenance: $25.26/hr ~= $51k/yr

------

Professional and Business: $35.82/hr ~= $71k/yr

Financial: $39.67/hr ~= $79k/yr

Computer systems design and related services: $50.60/hr ~= $101k/yr

Legal services: $46.34/hr ~= $93k/yr

-------

That said, I think the commenter I was responding to was trying to change the subject

> If no, why would society decide to undervalue males?

Regardless of the answer to their question, the topic would then be on-the-job deaths instead of the gender wage gap. I chose to answer the part of the question relevant to the gender wage gap.


You need to compare jobs you can get with same qualifications, of course. That's why we don't compare surgeons with janitors.

Of course, most gender pay gap comparison do in fact compare surgeons with kindergarten teachers, but that seems done intentionally to mislead.


Many of those jobs produce fewer tangible outputs, are government jobs, non-profit, or otherwise do not focus on maximizing profit. Positions like teachers, social workers, etc are seen as cost centers, not revenue centers. They are necessary jobs and perform valuable societal functions, but they are supported through other revenues which were not a direct product of their job. As for why one gender chooses those jobs more than others, there are a variety of factors. One of the leading ones is that some people are more likely to choose work that is meaningful over just a dollar amount. Studies show that isn't just based on gender, but also in the some minority groups.

> Why is it that it just so happens that every job that is more likely for women to work also is paid less?

I am quite confident this is not true, in the broad way you have stated it.

There are many categories of jobs with a greater proportion of women, that pay higher than many categories of jobs with a greater proportion of men.


That's not true. Obstetricians are mostly women and are better paid (on average) than internal medicine, which is mostly men. There are other examples.

If you assume men are willing to give up more (life span, time, stress, risk) for money than women, it has an amazing amount of explanatory power.


This is basically my point. If you have a srated goal of getting to 1.00 v 1.00 with that metric and focus on the individuals in the same jobs, then you will never get there. It's a mismatch between policy and intent. Using the goal post analogy, there taking their shots at the sideline without realizing where the goal really is. The posts haven't moved, they just see a mirage in another place.

"...points to a theory that societal norms serve to re-enforce the expectation of taking jobs in lower paying fields on women versus men."

I do disagree a little with this part. I know that might be true in some cases, but I think a lot of it is by choice too. My wife could have worked at a regular job and made more money, but she likes her flexible hours and her fun job more. In fact, her hourly rate is more than mine, but she just works fewer hours. So she has the opportunity to make more than me, but chooses not to. It makes sense. If I could work less and have less stress, more fun, and the same benefits or living conditions...

I remember a study about African American college grads and aggregate pay being lower than other groups. The analysis showed that the main part of that was because they were choosing jobs based on societal benefit rather than just pay. Things like social workers, teachers, etc. I believe the BLS study showed some of that to be true for the gender wage gap too. Basically, I'm saying that it's not like people are being forced into or away from specific jobs as the main driver.


I'm afraid you've missed my point. Obviously no one is forcing individual people into one career or another. Never in my life has someone held a gun to my head and said, "pick a job in education, because I say so."

But, society as a whole, places expectations on some groups, but not others. Whether those expectations are to be the caregiver or big tough man who provides for the family. Therefore, career choice, and the pay outcomes, are not truly based on merit or ability, and can be controlled by unfair external factors. Further, what this means is that the playing field is not level. Some people will have advantages, just because of how they were born - which is the issue we started with.

Also - while I applaud you and your wife's position, you are confusing anecdotal data with evidence. It does tell a story, absolutely, but it proves nothing by itself.

>The analysis showed that the main part of that was because they were choosing jobs based on societal benefit rather than just pay.

Why do you think that would be the case? Why do you believe one subset of students would choose those careers in larger numbers than other groups?


"Therefore, career choice, and the pay outcomes, are not truly based on merit or ability, and can be controlled by unfair external factors. Further, what this means is that the playing field is not level. Some people will have advantages, just because of how they were born - which is the issue we started with."

I could be a doctor, or a lawyer, or some other high paying powerful job, but I chose not to. Does that have anything to do with my gender? Why am I not being paid on my merits and abilities eventhough I chose not to take those paths in life?

The idea that the pay is based on someone's innate abilities or merits is insane. You get paid for your output/outcomes in the job that you work. There is not some unfair external factor based on how someone is born (you can choose your gender). There are people of all backgrounds in every job. If you're claiming some inherent characteristic at birth is fatalistic in determining one's outcome, you are greatly mistaken. Sure, you can be born with intelligence or physical abilities that can make it easier to get to some high paying professional or sports job, but there are plenty of people born with less who work harder to make up for that and are successful.

People choose work because they are driven by money (which your argument focuses on). Other people choose work on if it's their passion. Or they might want to make the world a better place. Assuming it's all about money is a huge mistake.


I think we have a miscommunication and an issue with a lack of common definitions between the two of us.

>The idea that the pay is based on someone's innate abilities or merits is insane

Merit is not innate ability. Merit is just ability - not natural ability. This is a combination of skill, willingness to learn, hard work, grit, access to resources, and (yes some innate factors such as disability status) other factors contained inside the person - but very few of these are predetermined. Overall, merit is 'how good you are' and innate ability is 'how good you could be' by my definition. I am not talking about innate ability. I feel that i did not do a good job of explaining that.

>If you're claiming some inherent characteristic at birth is fatalistic in determining one's outcome, you are greatly mistaken

I am not saying it is 100% fatalistic. That is an extreme view that I did not claim. Let me explain further. What I am saying is that, in theory, and what I am responding to OP with in regards to his/her statement about the gender pay gap, is that some careers are, from an early age, taught to us as being more masculine (engineer, doctor, that sort of thing) than others (teaching, social work, those sorts of things). And, further, more classically masculine jobs tend to pay better than the more classically feminine job. No one person is 'predetermined', but we, as a society, instill a values system that says girls do 'x' and boys do 'y'; also 'x' is valued in 'x1' career fields (lower paid) and 'y' is valued in 'y1' career fields (higher paid). Therefore, society is at least partially responsible for a disparity in employment in certain fields, which leads to the pay gap originally claimed. Yes, individuals have responsibility for their own futures, but there needs to be an acknowledgment and work toward overcoming the arbitrary barriers society has put in place for some people based on innate characteristics such as gender.

>People choose work because they are driven by money (which your argument focuses on). Other people choose work on if it's their passion. Or they might want to make the world a better place. Assuming it's all about money is a huge mistake.

I am not assuming it's all about money. I am simply using that metric, because it's what we started with, and it seems to be the easiest/most popular.

What I am saying----- the playing field is not level for all contenders, based on external factors. These factors do NOT predetermine outcomes, but they absolutely DO influence choices. If the playing field were level, and men still chose some careers over others, and women some other careers over the first, that's fine. It's about equality in opportunity, not equality in outcome.

God, I hope that makes sense.


"Therefore, career choice, and the pay outcomes, are not truly based on merit or ability, and can be controlled by unfair external factors."

"Merit is not innate ability. Merit is just ability - not natural ability. This is a combination of skill, willingness to learn, hard work, grit, access to resources, and (yes some innate factors such as disability status) other factors contained inside the person - but very few of these are predetermined."

How are these both true? Career choice and pay is not based on merit, yet merit is a measure of your ability. Wouldn't you need the ability to choose a career and be successful at it? My point is that if you have the merit, you will have the job and the pay.

"Yes, individuals have responsibility for their own futures, but there needs to be an acknowledgment and work toward overcoming the arbitrary barriers society has put in place for some people based on innate characteristics such as gender."

I don't see any real barriers. I understand that some people may be swayed by the opinions of others. For example, some people may not want to be strippers of pornstars due to stigma. But that is not a true barrier to entry. They have every right to pursue that career. If we live in a society where group-think is so important that you will decline a career or job based on what other people think and not on your morals or beliefs, then I feel this says more about the sad state of that individuals self-imposed restrictions in freedom than it does about "society". After all, society has approved of those careers by allowing them to be lawful.

"It's about equality in opportunity, not equality in outcome."

"What I am saying----- the playing field is not level for all contenders, based on external factors."

What makes you say the playing field is not level and that equal opportunity does not exist?


It doesn't really -- I don't think any business say "well, I'm paying for surgeons rather than pediatricians, which have more men, so I'll pay more." This would ignore obstetricians (more women) getting paid more than internal medicine (mostly men). Jobs tend to pay what the market works out is the lowest amount people will take the role for. This is the basic principle of supply and demand.

Men tend to go to the jobs that pay more, the jobs don't pay more because men go to them. Not seeing this seems to be a massive willful ignoring of economics.

Men tend to work longer hours. They negotiate more at hiring, as they are willing to take the chance that the request for more money fails and apply somewhere else.


> and can be controlled by unfair external factors

Are you sure about that?

In Sweden, society is very gender-equal: they have paternity leave, very small paygap, about 50% of women in leadership position. Yet only 13% of Swedish engineers are women.

I think if you eliminate all the external factors you’re talking about, you still won’t get anywhere close to 50% of female engineers, or 50% of male pediatricians, as long as people are free to choose a profession.


>you still won’t get anywhere close to 50% of female engineers, or 50% of male pediatricians, as long as people are free to choose a profession.

And that's fair. My argument isn't that it needs to be split and completely equal. It's that the freedom to choose needs to be equal, and the playing field needs to be level, so that who is and who isn't in 'field a' is, in fact based on merit and not arbitrary classification at birth such as gender and ethnicity.


> It's that the freedom to choose needs to be equal, and the playing field needs to be level

I agree. About race inequality, I think in the US the two main causes are public schools paid by local district taxes, and very expensive higher education.


"It's that the freedom to choose needs to be equal, and the playing field needs to be level, so that who is and who isn't in 'field a' is, in fact based on merit and not arbitrary classification at birth such as gender and ethnicity."

This seems to imply that it is not equal now. Is there any basis to support that?


> Using your own metric of a broad view, it's probably more of a problem than a specific man versus a specific woman, because it points to a theory that societal norms serve to re-enforce the expectation of taking jobs in lower paying fields on women versus men.

The problem is "societal norms" are incredibly vague and difficult to pin down or prove or even define.

It is very dangerous to start socially engineering all of society and our economy by a small, unrepresentative, self selected group of activists arbitrarily determining each person's "value" and rearranging society to fit their whims.

> The problem is, these types of arguments are (in my experience as a professional) a thin veneer of 'civility' over a massive ocean of bigotry and idiocy in many cases.

Yes, I've definitely seen this coming from many self proclaimed progressives.


I think it is still understandable though that making those kinds of technical corrections about a study could be perceived as "defining away the problem" or getting too technical about a (potentially) real societal issue.

The mere fact that you are talking about "TV reporters" way of talking about things communicates that you have a disdain for the way such issues are commonly discussed in the media or by the general public, and correcting their statement about the study also seems to suggest that according to you really there is no gender wage gap (or it's less of an issue than people would seem to generally think), it's all just due to personal choice or preference in what type of jobs they do or something to that effect.

You can of course agree or disagree about a lot of these things, but I do think that sometimes a "mere factual correction" can have additional connotations that are much more political and not just neutral statements. It's often the opinion or suggestion behind the factual correction that causes more offense.


I don't see why a factual correction should be seen as political. Especially if I don't present any arguement with it or have it lead into an opposing opinion. As stated in the prior comment, I'll correct people who I agree with their conclusion (on different factual/logical basis) if their facts are wrong or blatantly misapplied.

The comment about the TV reporters is because they should have a responsibility to ensure their facts are correctly represented. Instead of doing their own research and reading the study, they are willing to just repeat what others have said. I think it's difficult to provide an accurate picture of a subject if they know almost nothing about it. How many times have you heard a report on a technology story and thought that isn't a correct explanation, or maybe it's not the whole story?


> I wouldn't be surprised if I get downvoted on here for this comment too.

THAT is the comment that will get you downvoted dude.


One thing I read recently which seemed weird at first but has made me really consider a lot of things about current culture differently:

"Taking offence is an act of aggression"


I don't mean to pick on you a bit here, but this feels like a good place to express something I've been having trouble with.

My parents raised me to do my best to neither take nor give offense. Most of my peers as a child were taught the same way. Obviously we're not Vulcans; We will sometimes inadvertently give offense, or respond emotionally to something that may have been meant innocuously. Yet so much of what I see in public discourse is reveling in both sides of that equation: deliberately trying to provoke emotional reactions from others, intentionally adhering to uncharitable interpretations of others' statements even after they have explained themselves, and celebrating the drama resulting from these things.

Civil discourse simply cannot function if this is a substantial part of pubic culture. There is no way to have a productive discussion if even one of the parties is deliberately provoking an emotional response. There is no way to have a productive discussion if even one of the parties is deliberately misinterpreting another in order to justify their own emotional response. Yet the dominant forms of public discourse these days include heavy doses of both of these things.


I think it just looks like this, mostly becuase of twitter. I've never seen anyone in real live interpret a statement in the most offensive way imaginable and not accept correction nor explanation. The chilling effect is undeniably though.

I've never seen anyone in real live interpret a statement in the most offensive way imaginable and not accept correction nor explanation.

I have. I can't share details, but the event forever damaged the whole group's trust in one another because one person decided to interpret something in the most offensive way possible, and lashed out viciously at anyone who disagreed, or even agreed but not as strongly as they wanted.


Pubic culture? Should that be flagged?

Oops, that's not a great typo. It's too late to edit, though.

HR departments are also being given the false impression that their latest "initiatives" have near-universal support because they only hear words of praise from the usual politically outspoken set. Everyone else keeps their mouths shut.

A large number of employees are in a "quiet seething" mode and are becoming increasingly disengaged from workplace culture (i.e., "I don't want to get to know any of you. I just want to do my work and clock out").

On the bright side, remote work helps with this.


> Even correcting people who are clearly misinformed on clear matters of fact can cause offense.

This is so true.

I've seen polling showing that large numbers of people believe that the number of unarmed black men fatally shot by American police every year is in the "thousands" or even "tens of thousands". And the further to the left the media people consume, the higher they're likely to believe the number is.

The actual number of unarmed black men shot dead by American police in 2019 is thirteen.

Regardless of what you think about racism and police violence, this is a fact. People who think that "thousands" of unarmed black men are killed by police every year are not only numerous, they are wrong - so absurdly, wildly wrong by so many orders of magnitude that if you tell tell me that the number is in the thousands, I'm going to assume you're deeply uninformed on many other things, not just this one number.

Yet in the current climate I'd be afraid to even correct people on this enormous, inarguable factual innaccuracy.

(And good luck explaining to people that "unarmed" isn't synonymous with "innocent" - you can be unarmed and still give a cop a good reason to shoot you, for example by attacking the cop with your fists.)

Is it really too much to ask that we leave this stuff out of the workplace?


(Someone commented that it's "insane" to say that you should be able to shoot someone if they attack you with their fists and I typed out a long reply, but they had deleted their comment before I could post it, so I'm going to post my reply here so I don't feel like I wasted my efforts)

Yes, it absolutely is a valid reason to shoot someone, and anyone with training in firearms or self-defense would agree. You're not necessarily going to get shot for throwing a single punch, but you're increasing your chances of getting shot exponentially.

First of all, a fist can be a deadly weapon. It's possible to kill someone with a single punch, or knock them unconscious, or do all manner of nasty and permanent damage. Cops know this, as does anyone who knows anything about violence.

And this is crucial: every interaction you have with a cop in the US is colored by the fact that the cop has a gun on his waist. If you attack a cop with any kind of weapon, you've demonstrated that you're willing to use violence against him, and he has no way of knowing how far you're willing to take it. What if you get your hands on his gun? He knows that a single punch might be enough to disable him, even temporarily, and even a second's delay might be enough for you to grab his gun - and then he's fucked.

Cops don't carry guns for the exclusive purpose of stopping other people with guns. The point of a gun is to make someone stop doing what they're doing, and sometimes you really need someone to stop doing what what they're doing, no matter what they're armed with. We can't expect cops to be champion bare-knuckle boxers: if someone's attacking you with their fists, they're potentially threatening your life, and it's not unreasonable to use whatever tools are at your disposal to neutralise the threat.

Again: this doesn't mean that every use of fists should immediately be met with a death sentence. My point is just that guns can in some (not all) circumstances be a legitimate response to fists.

And on the more general point, that's not the only case in which it's justifiable for an unarmed person to be shot. In some cases of "unarmed" men being shot by police, the perp was trying to ram the cops with his car.

Conversely, not every case of an "armed" man being shot by police is justified either. Philando Castile had a gun in his car, but he didn't deserve to die.


I hear this opinion a lot when talking to Americans. I've lived in many places (including America for a few years), and I've noted that in first world Asian and European countries, cops very rarely ever use their guns (and in many cases don't even have them to begin with). Deaths on both sides are much lower, and trust in the police is much higher.

This reflects a peculiarly American perspective. This is now how the police operate in other countries. It is now how they should operate in the US.

By far the easiest way how to "operate" is to avoid bad neighborhoods and police them only very lightly, leaving a power vacuum for the local gangs to step in. Criminal-on-criminal kills do not elicit as much public response.

Of course, the result is what the French call "lost territories of the Republic".


The "criminal-on-criminal" crimes may not make the news, but they end up being used to push for stricter gun control laws.If I remember correctly, the majority of gun violence and mass shootings is done with hand guns, is gang related, and mostly contained to some very violent areas in cities. Politicians and the media try to make it seem like the shootings are all done by right-wing radicals killing kids with AR-15s.

Yeah, I surprise my fellow Europeans by explaining that homicides (by gun or other means) are extremely unevenly distributed in the U.S. and that, depending on where you live, your safety may be on the level of Reykjavík (basically a peace heaven) or Johannesburg (living hell), with local gun ownership rates having only a very loose correlation to crime, if any.

For gun murder, it could actually be a small negative correlation.

https://hwfo.substack.com/p/everybodys-lying-about-the-link-...

Statistics, of course, are often made to include all gun deaths, and it would also be interesting to see whether the overall rate of of suicide is affected by levels of gun ownership.


You shouldn't try grabbing a cop's gun in Germany, or come at them with a knife, because you might get shot. I don't think it's that different in countries with armed police.

> if someone's attacking you with their fists, they're potentially threatening your life ... use whatever tools are at your disposal to neutralise the threat.

If a sentence like that is assimilated by the most obtuse cops (not all cops are super great critical thinkers) then I am not surprised of the current situations happening in the US.

What if it's an old lady trying to hit the cop because of an anxiety episode? I've seen a lot of videos on Reddit of cops tazing, pulling guns and acting super aggressive at mad old women probably because "cop's life potentially under threat".

As other commenters said, this is, in my opinion, so american...


You're missing my point. Your "old lady" example isn't relevant. I'm not arguing that cops should shoot everybody who swings a fist in their direction. My point is merely that sometimes it's justified to shoot an unarmed man. Just because you hear an "unarmed" person was shot by police, you can't automatically assume that the shooting was unjustified.

I can think of one very famous case of an unarmed man getting shot by police in the US where it's beyond doubt (confirmed by the forensics and all the credible eyewitnesses) that he was shot after punching the officer, trying to grab his gun then charging at him. This shooting was totally justified - but I wouldn't dare say that in the workplace if someone mentioned this guy ("say his name!") as an example of a martyr.

> I've seen a lot of videos on Reddit of cops tazing, pulling guns and acting super aggressive at mad old women probably because "cop's life potentially under threat".

Yep, American policing is fucked up in many ways, and police violence in the US is a huge problem. But I never said it wasn't.

And anyway, I'm not American.


"The actual number of unarmed black men shot dead by American police in 2019 is thirteen."

I think you mean, the reported number of unarmed black men shot dead by American police in 2019 is thirteen. (But surely we've learned that police reports are not necessarily completely accurate.) And I think that some people believe that a suspect's being armed is not justification for summary execution, barring extraordinary circumstances, so in their minds the caveat of "unarmed" is a distinction without a difference. Therefore they might be more concerned with the total reported number of black persons shot dead by American police, which is 235.

As long as we're on that subject, here's an interesting (albeit somewhat misleading) fact I discovered that I haven't seen cited anywhere else. While 235 fatal shootings by officers doesn't seem like a huge number compared with the total population, consider that there were about 697,195 police officers in the US in 2019, meaning that each officer had a 1/2967 chance of killing a black person that year. Contrast that with the oft-cited black-on-black murder rate: 7484 blacks were murdered in 2019. Let's (erroneously) assume that every single one was killed by a black male. The total black population in 2019 was 46.8 million, 48% of them male which comes to 22.4 million black males. So the chances of a black male murdering another black person is only 1/2933. That's right, a random police officer is very slightly more likely to have killed a black person than a random black male is likely to have killed a black person.

So if it's true that blacks ought to fear other black males, then the fear that some black people have of police officers as a class might be correspondingly justified.


I upvoted you because I don't think you should be downvoted for expressing your opinion.

But I also think we should wonder: how many white armed men were killed?


Did I express an opinion? I'm pretty sure I just quoted a statistic.

But since you asked: American police kill white men (including unarmed white men) at the same rate at which they kill black men, once you control for crime rate and poverty. But police killings of white men don't become national news.

Tony Timpa died in near-identical circumstances to George Floyd. Ask yourself why you haven't heard of him. Or Ryan Whitaker, or Daniel Shaver.

(Does the overrepresentation of black men among criminals and the poor have anything to do with racism? Obviously it does, and I'm happy to discuss it in good faith. But I've probably derailed the thread enough already.)


This is why I don't think you should be downvoted.

As long as you express something in a civil way, you should be able to do it without repercussion.

And you did.


Thanks.

> As long as you express something in a civil way, you should be able to do it without repercussion.

To get back the original topic of the thread: an increasing problem in our workplaces is that lots of people don't think this way. And maybe I'm wrong, but the impression I get is that those people are overwhemingly of a particular political persuasion. It's not even "left wing" but a specific type of ultra-leftism. The word "woke" has so much baggage but I'm not aware of a better label.

It's impossible to have a good-faith discussion with these people. Any disagreement is immediately met with mind-reading accusations of bigotry. Professional and personal consequences are likely to follow, which I suppose is consistent: if I sincerely believed that someone was a literal white supremacist, I wouldn't want them in my company either.

I don't know how things are internally at Coinbase or Basecamp, but I can sympathise with the general idea of their "no politics at work" policies. There are better and worse ways you can implement such a policy - some of the objections I've heard are totally fair, e.g. gay men saying "since gay marriage is a political issue, does this mean I'm not allowed to mention at work the fact that I have a husband?" I'm straight, but I wouldn't want to work at a place where gay people feel like they have to keep their sexuality a secret.

But it's not always that clear-cut. Coinbase's initial "no politics at work" announcement said something like "we can all agree that something is a problem while disagreeing on the best way to solve it", and that's the key thing I think we're losing. You can believe that black lives matter without supporting the organisation called Black Lives Matter. You can oppose racism without agreeing with the policy prescriptions of Ibram Kendi (and there are black intellectuals who make such a case, e.g. Coleman Hughes, John McWhorter.) Maybe I'm wrong, and I don't claim to be an expert on any political issue, racism included. But can we at least have this discussion without my being called a white supremacist? To quote a famous victim of police violence: can't we all just get along? And if that really isn't possible, maybe we should just all shut the fuck up and stick to writing code.

Really I think this is a symptom of a deeper rot within our political instutitions. In a more perfect world, we'd all be content to keep politics out of the workplace because it wouldn't be necessary: we'd be able to satisfy our political needs through the structures that are specifically in place to do so. If workplaces are being hyper-politicised, something is going wrong with democracy.


> It's impossible to have a good-faith discussion with these people.

To clarify: obviously bigotry, racism, sexism, etc are all real and occur. I am specifically addressing the baseless, knee-jerk accusations towards dissenting opinion. As are you, from what I gather.

I think there is something to be said for the idea that secular ideologies (be they libertarian, MRA, "classical liberal", environmentalist, feminist, woke, intersectionalist, etc) have replaced the religions of yore for large parts of the population. With those secular religions come all the incidentals of religious community: social control, virtue signalling, one-upmanship, splinter factions, standard texts...

You are not so much having a discussion as questioning articles of faith, which people don't generally budge on, can take very personally and which can be somewhat impervious to reality. That's also why it devolves into ad hominems: where you might have been called a bigot before for disagreeing with, say Christian orthodoxy, you are now called a racist/misogynist/transphobe/etc for disagreeing.

In short, I think the "culture war" is a real thing. It's just not nearly as new, widespread or tangible as Fox News (for instance) would have us believe. For some reason, academia and tech seem to be disproportionately affected. For tech specifically: maybe because we sectorally skew young and tend to live on the Internet more, increasing exposure to fringe bubbles?


I agree, and this is kinda new but to be expected.

For a long time some minorities were particularly silenced by our societal systems. If you were a foss advocate, vegan, ecologist, feminist, LGBT aware, what have you, in the 90', you were ridiculed and you didn't have a voice.

Now the table have turned, and the pendulum is balancing to the other extreme: those who were frustrated 20 years ago now created an anger culture out of it that they express loudly. I understand were they come from.

It will go back to balance, but things take time to stabilize. In the meantime, those who had a point of view that were common in the 90' now are considered bad people by default.

I don't think this is the right move, but I understand the process.


Are you sure that the ones who were particularly silenced are now particularly angry?

I would say that a lot of unscrupulous individuals just used the momentum to give free rein to their toxicity or bad ideas. A lot of the young activists even do not personally remember the old bad times, so they are getting angry on behalf of historical events.

(The same development was typical for 19th and 20th century nationalisms - "they" caused a historical wrong to "us" in 1740, "we" must have a revenge. Thus all the building of Greater X countries. It turned to be a very bad principle with a huge body count.)

The swing of the pendulum is possible. For example, the immigration and Islam debate in Europe swung a lot towards far right positions since the 2015 migration wave. Few parties openly advocate for a permissive border regime anymore; even those that are "suspect" of harboring such sentiments try to bury them under other topics, such as the German Greens.


Sure, I am not, this is an opinion backed by life anecdotes, not science.

But I do see some of my idealists friends that ended match up this pattern, and I find that there are regularly people in the angry mob that seem to have a similar profile.

I don't hold that theory as gospel, but it helps me develop compassion toward those who are angry.


I am not suggesting you are wrong, rather, I wish to promote this when I ask, do you have some really solid citations for that?

I have long suspected that the common theme in getting shot is "male" not "black," then poverty.


> Did I express an opinion? I'm pretty sure I just quoted a statistic.

Picking which statistics/examples to cite is an opinion. Furthermore, you did express an opinion: "give a cop a good reason to shoot you".


The number of white armed men shot by police in 2019 was, according to the Washington Post database[1], between 388 and 398. The number of white unarmed men shot by police in 2019 was 26.

According to this source, the number of black unarmed men shot by police in 2019 was not 13, but 12. The number of armed black men shot by police was 240, possibly 241.

1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/investigations/polic...


This is why spouting stats to make a point is dangerous, murky water. Tread carefully.

Stats can give us quantitative views but give no opinion on the qualitative view.


I agree - interpretation is super important. The above is a good example; someone who isn’t paying attention might not take into account that there are 5-6x the number of white vs black people in the US, which puts a very different spin on the raw figures.

Then normalise for crime rates. Ah, the wonders of slicing and dicing a dataset.

Yes. And crime and poverty is related. Also, when more crime occur, police tend to congregate. So if police are pulling people over for minor traffic violations, and then discovering drugs, the 'crime' rate goes up. This then exacerbates the stats.

My point is, pure stats should never be the only source of information. One may not think the police are racist, and instead think that crime and poverty are related. But over policing of the poor doesn't magically make them wealthy.

The policing issue in the US is complicated.


If this was really a fact, surely you have a source for it?

Because if you are the one out of a group who comes up with a number drastically out of what other people estimate, it seems reasonable to assume you are the one who are in the wrong.

And of course unarmed doesn't mean innocent anymore than being armed means being in the wrong.

I am challenging you to a source for two reasons: to make sure you are not just making the number up, and because I want to see what the source defines as being unarmed and how they determine that.


The Washington Post keeps a database of all reported police killings in the US. I can't see it myself without a subscription to the WP, but USA Today cites the WP database for the claim that 13 unarmed black men (and one unarmed black woman) were fatally shot by US police in 2019: https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/06/23/fact...

That's only the number who were shot dead by the police, not all police killings (George Floyd wasn't shot.) Also, as the USA Today article says, this data isn't 100% reliable, because the WP can only track reported police killings, and some might be unreported. But dude, I could be off by an order of magnitude and still not be close to "thousands". American police kill about 1000 people per year of all races (armed and unarmed, justified and unjustifiable); anyone who thinks that thousands of unarmed black men are killed by the police every year has no idea what they're talking about.

> And of course unarmed doesn't mean innocent anymore than being armed means being in the wrong.

Yep, and I already said the same in another comment. Not all shootings of an "armed" man are justified. I'll give a name: Philando Castile had a gun in his possession when he was shot dead by police officer Jeronimo Yanez. But, in my non-expert opinion, Castile did not do anything that warranted deadly force, and this shooting was absolutely unjustified.


In things like that I think that more scientific-oriented workplaces would not create this fear. People with a hard science background respect factual information.

And also the ethical implications of shooting 13 unarmed people in a year can still be a subject of debate.


Would you feel more comfortable in a company that openly encouraged / enforced political debate within a civil framework?

Is the problem (in your company and the world at large) that open respectful political debate has not got a common set of rules / words? If there was a phrase "I respectfully disagree - I understand that ..." was a phrase used by every TV host, Politician and Facebook poster, would prefacing your words with that make others more open to receiving it?


> in a company

No, because companies have absolutely 0 incentive to stand by you if doing so becomes difficult. They are amoral, when they throw you under the bus it's like a lion killing a gazelle. Just something they do. You should not ever trust any company in any way.


> You should not ever trust any company in any way.

Idk if I agree with this. There needs to be some level of trust. I trust them to pay my paycheck, I trust them to respect the contract I signed when hired. I trust them to give me my tax information in a timely manner. Now, those are some examples that are backed by law or contracts, but if you don't trust any company in any way, then you could be missing out on some of the benefits of said company.

I'm also highly skeptical of all companies and make sure boundaries exist that when crossed will result in my departure. But there is definitely a balance, and some level of trust needs to exist.


> Now, those are some examples that are backed by law or contracts

exactly what i was thinking when i read your examples.

this isn’t trust in the company, it’s trust in societal infrastructure.

> if you don't trust any company in any way, then you could be missing out on some of the benefits of said company

maybe, but you haven’t shown that in your arguments. i would love to be convinced otherwise but have seen too much evidence to support the idea that companies should always be held at arm’s length.

individuals in the company can be great. but even they will stand by while you are put through the ringer because, understandably, they have their own problems (kids, mortgage, medicine etc) and you won’t be able to help them if they quit out of solidarity with you.


> I trust them to pay my paycheck, I trust them to respect the contract I signed when hired. I trust them to give me my tax information in a timely manner. Now, those are some examples that are backed by law or contracts, but if you don't trust any company in any way, then you could be missing out on some of the benefits of said company.

You don't need trust for any of those. Those are mutually beneficial; the companies benefit in actually having workers and not having the IRS crawling all over them.

True trust occurs when you believe another party will not harm you in situations where it would benefit them to harm you, or would at the very least have no negative repercussions for them.

Telling a friend a deep secret and then asking them not to tell anyone is trust. Telling them a secret and then making them sign an NDA with financial penalties is a sure sign of a lack of trust.


Political debate used to have rules. Take this [0] debate between William F Buckley and Noam Chomsky about the Vietman War, for example. The two clearly detested each other but the debate was mostly civil.

Christopher Hitchens' debate are others worth watching.

Does these even happen any more in MSM?

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DvmLMUfGss


Western society seems to have gotten the idea that "debate" is either talking heads trying to shout over each other, presenting prepared arguments to random unprepared people and claiming victory when it takes time to respond, or simply presenting opinions back and forth without trying to justify them. This is tied to the (independent but both incorrect) notions that whoever has the last word in a debate is the winner, and whoever wins the debate is necessarily right.

I think it would be valuable to somehow expose ordinary people to structured competitive debate, if only because it makes many of these falsehoods evident. This kind of debate uses the rules to select the positions of the parties and when they get to speak. Obviously the last speaker doesn't necessarily win, and the winner doesn't necessarily even believe their own position (so the debate doesn't prove that position right). Yet still, it's much better at educating people on the issues than any "debate" that most people have ever watched.


Unfortunately, structured competitive debate these days has gone off the rails. At least, college debate in the US has become ridiculous.

Moot court and mock trial retain some semblance of argumentation. But you would have to reinvent the kind of formal debate you’re imagining.


It’s hilarious. Robots talking as quickly as possible to gain points.

Strathern’s generalization of Goodhart’s Law at work.

Once a measure becomes a target it ceases to function as a good measure.


You may be right; I've been out of that loop for a rather long time now.

I still speak my mind openly in the work place and invariably I find that most people are actually delighted when they realise they can have open conversations with me without fear of judgement. The vast majority of people are still entirely reasonable.

Of course you never know if you’re going to say the wrong thing to the wrong person, but I don’t go to work to make friends and I certainly don’t go there to be intimidated by bullies.

I can count the number of unreasonable people I’ve had to deal with on the knuckles of one finger and they all skulked away pretty quickly when they realised I was standing up to them.

I’m not trying to downplay what you’re saying. I think there is a culture of fear and I think it’s been stoked deliberately to a certain extent, but I also think it’s a lie. Most of the people you work with are probably like you. That may also explain why you don’t notice them ;)


And, let me guess, your political opinion could be largely quantified as being left of center?

I’d probably describe myself as in the centre, but who knows what that means anymore? I relate somewhat to the parent comment.

Hmm. Seems like, in a political discussion/argument, the least open mind "wins", because they are the most impervious to evidence.

But the consequence is that the other side becomes less open minded too. They've tried arguing with someone who Just. Will. Not. Listen, who Just. Will. Not. Think. And when they run into the same arguments from someone else, they are less likely to be willing to listen themselves.

It's hard to stay open minded in the middle of this. It's a battle. There are areas I just don't want to talk about any more. So I guess I'm losing the battle, at least to some degree.


Whether there is legitimate fear of reprisal or not, work is not a good place to talk politics, religion, or any other topic that gets people emotional. Unless of course topic is relevant to your work!

> I feel as though I am more open-minded than many others. I am always ready to be corrected if I am wrong, and I am always willing to discuss my views with people subscribing to other political ideologies. However, I fear the repercussions of offending others who do not have an open mind.

This is how every open and critically minded person feels nowadays.

There is a clear line between two groups:

1. People who think the best way to learn, educate and explore other people's views is by having an open discussion, saying uncomfortable things and having an ear to be corrected and showing mutual respect.

2. People who think that saying something uncomfortable during a discussion is an act of offence itself and therefore must be muted even if it takes some form of aggression by one or many people in order to mute that person. A discourse is only allowed if people immediately subscribe to a specific ideological idea and people are not allowed to get to that point through saying or asking the wrong things but must somehow be born with those views or otherwise need to be extinguished by the mob.

Unfortunately the 2. group is getting increasingly more violent and aggressive in their approach which makes the 1. group increasingly more aware that they are in fact in danger to just be themselves and learn about life through sometimes tough discourse or mistakes.


So let me get this straight: one group is rational, open, and critically minded; while the other is irrational, violent, and aggressive. And people are clearly either in group 1 or group 2. Let me guess, you see yourself as belonging to group 1? If so, what a very convenient worldview you've constructed for yourself.

Nah, let me sum it up for you:

1. Likes to talk and learn from talking

2. Likes to mute and preach


I would say exactly same is happening with health of human body or even how it's working. I simply stopped trying to correct others and talking at all about it. When people start conversing about it, I just shut up.

I believe that liberalism and conservativism concern different values, liberalism is about personal freedom (like freedom of speech), while conservativism is about preserving the existing values in the society.

It's quite normal as we grow up we become more conservative, especially successful people - we want to continue the success that was based on values we grew up with. That's why conservativism is associated with belief in authority - you need authority to enforce the values of the past.

So when you grew up, you perceived freedom of speech as a good value because it meant freedom, and now you perceive it as a good value because it was there when you grew up.

However, liberals moved on, and found other issues that concern human freedom, which were neglected before. So for instance, there is freedom to have a different sexual orientation, and be able to express it. Conservatives disagree with that value because it simply wasn't part of our culture in the past.

(Progressives - or perhaps socialists would be more fitting name - are based on another value, namely inclusion in the community. They are distinct from liberals.)


Libertarians have always been favorable to "the freedom to have a different sexual orientation"; it's not a "new" issue that was only discovered recently. However, conservatives and libertarians have always known that the freedom to live one's life as one desires can never extend beyond the point where others' freedoms are curtailed. Otherwise it's not actual freedom, but mere licence.

I don't understand what you're saying here. Please explain. Are the first sentence and the second sentence connected? If so, I am lost.

It's hard to answer because I'm not sure what you're asking, or why you are confused. The first and second sentence are describing libertarians' understanding of freedom as a value, and how this connects with "preserving existing values" to use GP's phrasing. It's quite wrong to say that sexual orientation "was not part of our culture in the past", as GP contends (unless you mean a quite remote past). If anything, it was understood in a far more nuanced way that always involved tolerance for others' orientations and value systems.

So, maybe I'm overthinking. Those two sentences read as if personal liberty is important, but LGBT marriage somehow impact others' personal freedoms. This is based on my knowledge that conservatives tend to be anti-lgbt marriage rights.

Maybe it's the grouping of conservatives and libertarians together. Maybe that's where my head gets lost.


Libertarians are complicated.. in my experience they have mix of liberal and conservative values.

Take private property as a canonical example. Private property is good from both liberal and conservative perspective, but for different reasons. Liberals like private property because it confers more freedom to individuals, while conservatives like it because of its hereditary nature, as a reward for being good manager. These are two different values. (Oh and BTW, Marx was one of the first people who pointed out this contradiction, if you reward capitalists with property for doing good, eventually you're gonna run out of it..)


Well, in the United States LGBT marriage was instated via an application and extension of customary law, not any statute from Congress or even any overt politics. I see this as being quite compatible with conservative and libertarian values, seeking to remove undue interference from personal lives as much as possible. I'm not sure why you would disagree. Progressive activists may see the political process as the only way of achieving "positive" change, but that's a short-sighted point of view.

That's what I'm saying. In the US, conservatives actively worked, and still work, against personal liberties in terms of LGBT marriage rights. That was my point.

Be cautious of the definition trap.

People have different definitions of marriage. One person ‘defending’ one definition looks like ‘actively working against’ another definition.

E.g. in some cultures, by definition, a marriage isn’t valid without a male/female sexual act (the only kind that can lead to procreation, by definition). This axiom is held by over a billion humans for example.


LGBT marriage, at least in the United States, is a legal definition that need not have any bearing on how 'marriage' is understood in any other context. It came about purely as a legal hack, to address the needs of people who sought some legal acknowledgment of their stable companionship. The existing law and custom provides this wrt. "married" couples, and this was simply extended wholesale by sort-of pretending or establishing by fiat that two people can be 'married' no matter what their gender, as far as the law is concerned. It's a sensible mechanism that has plenty of other uses in law and policy.

Take any marginalized group. Call it group A. It is almost always the case that there are prominent advocates for group A, who profess (at least at first) to be pushing for equality for group A, but what they really want is special pleading for group A. The libertarian position is that equality is desirable; special pleading is not. The people who advocate for special pleading, once having dropped the pretense of being merely for equality, tend to argue that special pleading is now necessary to compensate for the centuries/millennia of oppression group A have suffered in the past.

I see your viewpoint - but I also think that you're confusing equality for moving the goalposts in some cases.

Take racial disparity in the US for instance, and the history of racial segregation and racist policies in government institutions. How do we address the inequality present in the current system without first addressing the root causes of that inequality; some of which stem from hundreds of years ago?

By your definition, that would seem to be special pleading, but it is not, in reality. It is attempting to address current conditions that were caused by past conditions. Or am I way off base?


Racial segregation and racist policies exist today; consider the state of policing and the criminal justice system in the U.S. as it affects minority communities. It's silly, wasteful and divisive to focus on speculative "root causes which stem from hundreds of years ago" when activists have barely even gotten started on addressing the actual, plainly visible causes and dynamics perpetuating current inequality. Clean your room before you think about changing the world.

That's not assuming good faith. Basically it's equivalent of saying that any complaints about discrimination are always dishonest, which is certainly not the case.

I'm actually more sympathetic than the average libertarian to marginalized groups, because social marginalization itself is a terrible thing and it seems hard to address without some sort of community-oriented focus that goes beyond conventional "libertarian" politics and its focus on mere individual equality.

However, I also thinking most advocacy is falling way short of acheving stronger community ties for marginalized groups. Indeed, a lot of such advocacy is clearly counterproductive, in pushing for "liberal" social atomization and further marginalization.


> how willingly other people bring up politically sensitive issues in the workplace

I'd say I'm a mix of conservative/Libertarian and this kind of blows my mind over the past few years. It seems like I constantly hear people on the left openly voicing their political opinions around crowds of people, and always speak in a way that they genuinely believe everyone around them agrees....and often have a condescending way of saying it. It amazes me how they seem to have absolutely no idea where the right-wing people are even coming from. I think this recent over-confidence is mostly due to them not realizing the major media outlets are essentially feeding them communist propaganda (if you don't agree with this I'd consider researching cognitive dissonance). I experience this on a regular basis, and it usually leads to me completely losing respect for that person purely due to the lack of awareness that person is showing.

The other dynamic, and what the leftists don't realize (or can't process), is that the left's arguments are primarily things that sound good in practice, but don't add up in theory. It always sounds good when someone says they want to help someone else, no matter who says it. This allows them to go crazy in public giving one liners about the surface level of their political policies ("everyone should have world class health care!", "everyone should have lots of money!", "No one should ever shoot someone else with a gun!"...all because they sound good (even to conservatives). Conservative policies take a bit more explaining to get their point across, and are much more focused on the logical and realistic side of things. No one likes to say "someone who doesn't work and doesn't contribute to society doesn't deserve govt handouts"...but it makes logical sense. That kind of talk doesn't exactly sound as good around the water cooler. Also, the time horizon for conservative viewpoints is often much longer (think about generations in the future and the impact today's decisions will have down the road). Compared to the left's policies that solve shallow issues today while mortgaging the well-being of future generations.

The simple fact is that conservatives have an easier time seeing where the left is coming from as a result of the left's primary policies being shallower and less thought out. These aspects also make it easier for the left to create snarky comments around. Conservatives however, simply don't agree and think it's all a pipe dream. They see the shallowness that the left is not able to. The left on the other hand, not only doesn't understand the right's overarching viewpoints...they also aren't even willing to try to understand where the right is coming from.


I think you over-dignify yourself as the "sane" side. You believe you can perceive all the flaws in your opponents reasoning, they're obvious to you - but reject the possibility that they feel exactly the same way about you. The humility you expect from them - you aren't displaying it yourself. The situation has far more symmetry than you assert.

The things you describe as political policies - they aren't. "Universal health care" and "minimize gun deaths" are goals, or value systems. You can make excellent pragmatic arguments for why they make sense (e.g. human capital is valuable), but as primary values they're motivated by emotion. Likewise, your perspective of "someone who doesn't work and doesn't contribute to society doesn't deserve govt handouts" does not "make logical sense" - it simply fits your value system, motivated by a sense of righteousness. You might be able to construct logical arguments for it, but let's not kid ourselves that's why you feel that way.


I agree with the overall point, there are plenty of sane people on the left, thank God.

However, I want to defend the idea that some right wing opinions make a lot of logical sense on their own; their being valid does not require right-wing-specific value systems.

Let's take one of the points you're criticizing.

> someone who doesn't work and doesn't contribute to society doesn't deserve govt handouts

Here's the logic: the products and services we enjoy every day are all the product of someone else's work. None appear out of thin air. If they're provided by the government, they are still funded by taxes on the fruit of someone else's work. Why would someone who does not produce anything be entitled to any of it? The basic value behind this point is plain fairness, which everybody agrees on.

That being said, I will concede the above point needs refining and nuance before it can be used as a principle to guide public policy. For instance, it makes sense that society should help people who cannot work because of some handicap. The value here is common decency, which is neither specific to the right or the left.

Another refinement: what about people who are out of work and haven't found their next position? It's probably productive to help them with unemployment benefits: we can bet they will be back on their feet faster if they worry less about immediate money problems. The value here is efficiency. Of course, these benefits should be delivered under certain conditions, because the overall point regarding fairness still stands. They are not entitled to the fruit of someone else's work if they refuse to give back.

So here's the refined point:

In a fair society, people who are able to work but willingly refuse to do so should be not entitled to the fruits of someone else's work. However, people who are unable to work, whether permanently or temporarily, are excluded from this point and may be helped through the means of redistribution.

The final point is maybe a bit centrist, but still fairly right-leaning in its position. It's very logical, and only buttressed by the shared values of fairness, efficiency and common decency.


The refined point (and all preceding points) are not based in any sort of actionable public policy. I would argue that that point is as much based in emotion as the leftist points the parent is talking about. Yes, it sounds good that in a fair society people should not be entitled to the fruits of someone else's work, except if they cannot work themselves. It sounds good to people of both sides. I would not label this as a very conservative viewpoint.

However, that is not what politics is (supposed to be) about. It is supposed to be about actionable policies and their effects. When putting this into an actionable public policy you run into many problems. How are you going to police the "except if they cannot work themselves" part? What are the requirements for "not being able to work"? How lenient are you there? What happens to people that fall through the cracks because of mistakes made in policing that (i.e. people that cannot get a job, but do not qualify for the help)?

How much money does it cost to police that, and what are the costs of not policing it at all? If the cost of policing is higher than the cost of not policing and just accepting that some people will take advantage of the system, is it still a good idea to police?

You can also contribute to society in ways that are not defined as work. What happens to someone that is taking care of children, or taking care of their sick parents? Should they be assisted financially, or not? If so, how do you define that?

Then there is the issue of automation. Perhaps people are not entitled to the fruits of other people's labor. But what about the labor of machines? As more and more jobs get automated, who is entitled to that? Should the owners of the machines reap all of the benefits while the rest of society is left with less and less as more and more jobs get automated away, or should this be divided amongst the total population?

Different people will answer all of these trade-offs in different ways, even if they may agree on the core view. Left-wing and right-wing people generally share most of their core views. Nobody wants more crime, more poverty, etc. The implementation of these policies are where disagreement and discussion happens.


> The refined point (and all preceding points) are not based in any sort of actionable public policy. I would argue that that point is as much based in emotion as the leftist points the parent is talking about. Yes, it sounds good that in a fair society people should not be entitled to the fruits of someone else's work, except if they cannot work themselves. It sounds good to people of both sides. I would not label this as a very conservative viewpoint.

There are countries that 'action' this exact policy. Take Australia for example. Unemployment payments are based on the concept of mutual obligation, where those receiving unemployment benefits must demonstrate that they are searching or training for future employment: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/topics/mutu...

Those who are unable to work, based on certain medical eligibility criteria, do not have to meet mutual obligation requirements to receive the disability support pension: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/ce...

> You can also contribute to society in ways that are not defined as work. What happens to someone that is taking care of children, or taking care of their sick parents? Should they be assisted financially, or not? If so, how do you define that?

Again, this is a policy question that is answered in Australia and which is implemented administratively via the 'carer payment': https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/ce...

I agree with your point that people will fall through the cracks and that there will be mistakes in administering any system like this. But that is simply the nature of a rules-based bureaucratic system, which trade off the ability to handle edge cases with scalability.


The mutual obligation requirement in Australia might not be the best example, with at least 2 issues:

1. It's, in part, a thinly veiled program to transfer public money into the pockets of privately owned "Employment Service Providers"

2. It's offloading the "checking" to other private companies by way of requiring people to apply for a certain number of jobs. Any jobs. Maybe the same jobs you've been rejected for again and again so many times that HR recognizes your identical cover letters coming in every month.

3. Might be an extension of 1, but Employment Service Providers (private, for-profit companies) have the ability to report you to the government and get your payment cancelled for missing certain appointments, with little oversight and no repercussions for errors.


I agree it's far from perfect.

The whole employment services provider model is a weird frankenstein pseudo-market which operates according to bureaucratic rules and artificial 'prices'. And this model requires the bureaucracy to monitor the pseudo-bureaucracy (employment service providers) to ensure they're delivering employment services appropriately. The thinking behind this model is similar to arguments made in favour of privatisation - that private firms will always be more efficient than direct government service provision.

Lots of policy trade-offs to consider: Should government directly provide employment services or is a pseudo-private market more efficient? Should we just drop mutual obligation entirely at the cost of potentially higher structural and hardcore unemployment (and so higher government outlays on transfer payments)?


The welfare systems of most (if not all) Western countries are inspired by this viewpoint, but take fundamentally different trade-offs. They do not action the viewpoint itself - the viewpoint clearly is not an actionable policy. It is also not a conservative viewpoint. I bet if you would ask people from both sides the majority will agree to some extent with the viewpoint.

The devil is in the details. I could take this viewpoint and take several trade-offs on the implementation which would result in either extremely left-wing or extremely right-wing policies.


> In a fair society

That's a central flaw in right-wing ideology. Society has never been fair, and probably never will be. People don't have the same opportunities in life, if nothing else due to the birth lottery. Adopting laissez-faire or "bootstrap" policies doesn't address this problem. As such, it very much is an irrational stance because it is incongruent with reality.

In other words, the right focuses on duty over rights, in extreme cases making welfare punitive. The left goes the other direction, focusing on rights over duty: government handout programs with few stipulations for the receiver.

The difference between the right and left here is that people on the right tend to presume fairness, and the left prescribes fairness - and conversely increasingly presumes oppression.

> the fruits of someone else's work

This is another, ignoring that we're social creatures and only thrived as a species because of co-operation. The left exaggerates in the other direction, pretending like we don't have a selfish gene and nowadays confusing outcome with opportunity. Individualism versus collectivism.

> efficiency

Yet the following are right-wing policies: teaching abstinence, the war on drugs, budget cuts to education... You might be right in some areas, but your definition of efficiency would need to be narrowed down specifically to budgetary efficiency.

In the context of your example, yes, it it more efficient to help someone financially while they're unemployed. It's also more efficient to decriminalise drugs and prostitution, to inform kids about sex and drugs, and to invest in education (as a proxy for success in life).

> common decency

Which has no objective definition by default.

I don't think there is such a thing as a political stance that is free from emotional axioms. At best, the political ideology can be internally consistent, with one point logically flowing from the basic principles, but there is always an external dependency on emotion. That said, there definitely is value in right-wing principles, just as there is in left-wing principles. The key is not becoming too entrenched or foaming at the mouth.


As a conservative, its not that educated conservatives think society is "fair", in that their aren't people with more or less advantages. Rather, we accept that life is "fair enough", and true equality, in the sense that everyone has the exact same capital/life outcomes is worse for society than it is good.

To be more fair, is better, in the sense that rewarding meritocracy is the goal, but even here there is a fundamental unavoidable unfairness born out of the natural talents and genetic predispositions of individuals making them uniquely advantaged for a given sport, field, career, etc.


> You believe you can perceive all the flaws in your opponents reasoning, they're obvious to you - but reject the possibility that they feel exactly the same way about you.

I'm not sure about that. I believe that (calm, observant, not the Yelling-at-you-on-Facebook kind) conservatives today better understand liberals and progressives than the other way round, because the liberal/progressive point of view is overwhelmingly represented in the media, so conservatives are much more exposed to it than any random liberal would be to conservative ideas (unless they specifically seek them out).


It sounds to me like you are doing the exact same thing you accuse "the leftists" of doing - oversimplifying the other sides views without actually considering their benefits and drawbacks, and writing them off as "feel good speech", while positioning your own political (and emotional) views as logical and rational.

The "logical" view you have given ("someone who doesn't work and doesn't contribute to society doesn't deserve govt handouts") is purely an emotional view. "Deserve" has nothing to do with any sort of logic or realism. What are the effects of such a policy? What are the effects on crime, homelessness, unemployment...?

Politics is complicated, there is no absolute right or wrong, and the effects of policies are complex and hard to predict. There are many trade-offs, and a lot of those are non-obvious. People also have different values, and will prefer different trade-offs. That is not necessarily better or worse, just different.


Another point I think is relevant is that I feel many solutions that you've described are easy to understand, quick fixes. In a world that is growing more and more complicated I think people are more prone to gravitate towards the simple.

Another reason, in my opinion for the leftist narrative being so captivating at the moment is that people are delaying adulthood, kids, family more and more. When you are young, or have little, true life experience you don't see why the simple solutions to help all these people wouldn't work. You haven't been in the trenches of life to realise that compromise is needed and that we don't always understand the 2nd or 3rd order effects that our actions will have.

Again all this is my own personal experience but I think it has some bearing on todays political minefield.


It sounds like you're saying "I only see these leftists using extremely shallow reasoning, and they don't understand that they're wrong because they don't look at my/our reasoning beyond a shallow level."

If you would look for more depth in the reasoning of the people you're disagreeing with yourself, you might be surprised at what you might find. The frustration you're expressing to me seems to be very symmetric, occurring on both sides of the spectrum.


I believe I understand their reasoning significantly better than they understand mine. I don't think it's even close to being symmetric. As I said, the left's policies are shallower and easier to understand...when you question as to how a certain policy would ever actually work, the left usually tries to change the subject and call me a bigot insurrectionist (as the leftist crowd behind them cheers "yeah shutup you insurrectionist!"). All without ever discussing the initial question of how something would actually work. Look at AOC's green new deal BS and question-dodging as a perfect example. Then how she relies on sensationalist fluff (shallow-topic) banter as protection....without ever answering any of the initial questions. And then she honestly believes she's a savior sent from above. To me, the levels of tunnel-vision dissolution and lack of grade-school logic is astonishing.

This all leads me to the question if this is all being stirred up on purpose (via the media) as a type of psychological warfare against America. The emotions being purposely poked by the media (race issues, gun rights, etc) don't seem to be purely a ratings grab. But the insane thing about this situation is that the left is so caught up in shallow issues that they label me as a "conspiracy theorist"...I feel like I'm trying to warn the people on the roof of the skyscraper in Independence Day right before it gets blown up by the aliens.


One of the problems of modern political discourse is that the world is now extremely fragmented, and the economic and social theories underpinning this or that position are extremely complex - on all sides.

For example, stuff like gender-related issues on the left have now evolved through hundreds of papers and volumes, which might even make sense if considered sequentially (and if validity is granted to the field at all) but look outright baffling from "the street". There is no possibility of civil dialogue between some intellectual who spent his or her life (over)analysing a complex and niche topic, and an averagely-informed person. It's like having a professor of String Theory discuss that with an undergraduate drop-out: whether the theory is right or wrong, they are just not speaking the same language, and there is not enough time for either side to work on finding a level of complexity that is agreeable to both.

Add to it that social incentives push people towards finding "un-owned niches" and push them into mainstream consciousness even if they are very rare, and you end up with constant arguing on what are basically strawmen (the "immigrant who never works", the "transexual who wants to use this or that toilet", etc etc).


> social incentives push people towards finding "un-owned niches" and push them into mainstream consciousness

Yeah social incentives are so ass-backwards nowadays. People are actually being rewarded for being seen as victims nowadays, so we're seeing people actually compete for the "highest level of victimhood". We literally just had a princess on Oprah telling her sob story about how the other princes and princesses weren't nice enough to her.

It's a race to the bottom that doesn't actually benefit anyone, doesn't include any mention of figuring out how to fix the root cause of the issue, and reduces the seriousness of actual victims of bad circumstance.


Honestly, and this is a real question, do you not see how you are literally doing exactly what you're calling out 'the other side' for doing?

How so? I'm primarily calling them out for spewing their political beliefs in public and I described the lack of awareness they have as they do it (and I touched on the underpinnings as to why I think that lack of awareness exists). How am I doing the "exact" same thing here?

> Conservative policies take a bit more explaining to get their point across, and are much more focused on the logical and realistic side of things.

>...

>Also, the time horizon for conservative viewpoints is often much longer (think about generations in the future and the impact today's decisions will have down the road).

Conservative policy in the US toward climate change right now is "it's a worldwide scientific hoax designed to take down the United States economy." That is not logical or reasonable. It expressly ignores the needs of future generations. Give me oil and economic growth now, externalities be damned.

>"everyone should have world class health care!"

The United States is the about the only western country for which the right-wing views this as illogical and unrealistic. Why? Maybe it is because sick people sometimes have trouble keeping a job, and

>"someone who doesn't work and doesn't contribute to society doesn't deserve govt handouts"

Is that it?


> The United States is the about the only western country for which the right-wing views this as illogical and unrealistic

I never said this wasn't ideal, I'm saying it's unrealistic to snap your fingers and make it happen. I'm saying it sounds good to say this(which is why it's often boasted about by the left), but the process in which the left wants to go about it are completely unrealistic and lead to bigger unrelated long-term issues that they want to sweep under the rug. Kind of like what the boomers did with social security, so we are stuck paying the bill but will never share the benefits of. I'm sure it made for great left-wing politics back then!

> Climate change

I don't think it's a hoax, but I think it's being blown out of proportion to support other left wing agendas (in the form of using it as a vehicle to collect more tax money). I also don't think necessary components are being factored in such as exponential growth of new technologies, and a reduction of the world population in the future (no one's having kids anymore). I also think the left's proposed idea of a "climate tax" will not only not work, but it will lead to even more wealth disparity and overall human suffering. Lets do simple economics: charge a polluting business extra taxes...they pass the extra cost down the supply chain (eventually to consumers)...and they mark up their services by a fixed percentage and use their variable cost as the anchor...which means e.g. a 35% markup leads to more profits for big business, higher expense for consumers, and no actual incentive to cut production levels. Not to mention the inflation triggered by that.

FYI your response is essentially a cookie cutter leftist response, and you're pretty much proving my point. You complain about things using sensational, overly emotional, and somewhat condescending language...but then don't offer any logical solutions to any of the issues. You're essentially making noise that sounds good, but doesn't contain any meaningful or helpful substance.


>Lets do simple economics: charge a polluting business extra taxes...they pass the extra cost down the supply chain (eventually to consumers)...and they mark up their services by a fixed percentage and use their variable cost as the anchor...which means e.g. a 35% markup leads to more profits for big business, higher expense for consumers, and no actual incentive to cut production levels. Not to mention the inflation triggered by that.

That assumes a completely inelastic demand curve, which is unrealistic.

>FYI your response is essentially a cookie cutter leftist response, and you're pretty much proving my point. You complain about things using sensational, overly emotional, and somewhat condescending language

My point was that your post itself was completely condescending and sensationalistic about the left, and I could do the same to you. You should have a bit of introspection about your final paragraph:

>The simple fact is that conservatives have an easier time seeing where the left is coming from as a result of the left's primary policies being shallower and less thought out. These aspects also make it easier for the left to create snarky comments around. Conservatives however, simply don't agree and think it's all a pipe dream. They see the shallowness that the left is not able to. The left on the other hand, not only doesn't understand the right's overarching viewpoints...they also aren't even willing to try to understand where the right is coming from.

That is completely sensationalistic, overly emotional, and extremely condescending.


[flagged]


Which rights are they curtailing and how are they doing it?

Right to Protest:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/police-crime-sent...

We will no longer be allowed to exceed a certain noise level with protests.

This is done at the same time that the government annouces a 'War on Woke'.

I'd laugh at how blatant the hypocrisy is but having my civil rights eroded spoils the punchline.


That's a fair point; tbh I can't make any excuse for whatever they're trying to pull off with that; I've heard a lot of complaints about the UK govs approach to things; sounds like they're upsetting just about most people.

I think you'll find most grassroots conservatives agree with you on this. And so do most right wing commentators. It is only the government that is pushing this and it's crazy.

Laws that affect right to protest such as the one that's currently proceeding through parliament.

Anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-trans columns in papers like Telegraph, Mail etc.


Could you be more specific, maybe link to some examples?

Search Google for the Right to Protest legislation

Go read the stories about JKRowling and others view on trans people, and the editorials about it


> Search Google for the Right to Protest legislation

There is nothing in there as far as i can see specifically targeting leftist protestors, it seem to be written for any kind of protests, even non political. Are only leftist protests in the UK noisy, violent and disruptive?

>Go read the stories about JKRowling and others view on trans people, and the editorials about it

As far as I know she considers herself a feminist and a liberal and has actively supported feminist causes. I don't know what she has to do with the conservatives and I don't know which rights she is taking away from trans people or how can she even do that.


> My views on some social issues, particularly 'free speech', are considered a conservative now.

By who? Rosa Luxembourg, for example, was a free speech fundamentalist, and she is still far left of many left wingers today.

Free speech is a value that is often adopted, nuanced, and discarded by political projects from all over the spectrum - and it's naive to think that one side of the spectrum has a monopoly on its defense or denigration.


In princible, the progressive left supports free speach.

In practice, disagreement is met with explanations and accusations of ”shifting overton window”, ”new normal” and ”normalization”.

Meaning that, Yes, you do have the right of free speach, but No, you should not be saying the wrong things.


Just because I support your right to say it doesn't mean I have to celebrate what you say, or why you said it.

This is exactly the problem. "I do not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it" has been replaced with "freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences". The latter is, of course, utter nonsense. Repercussions or retaliation for expressing wrongthink is the literal definition of a place that does not have freedom of speech.

I'm sorry but I have to disagree here.

You want your speech to be free from consequences -- i.e if you were to call someone a liar / cheat, they can't change their opinion of you based on what you've said? How is that compatible with their freedom of thought?

To me, freedom of speech means I shouldn't worry about legal repercussions for expressing wrongthink.

There is perhaps a separate discussion to be had about the sort of society we want to live in - do we want to promote open discussion, even if it can be divisive? But I don't think it's really a rights issue unless the consequences progress from social / economic to legal.


Freedom from speech can only mean freedom from consequences, but virtually nobody thinks all speech should be free from all consequences.

For example, if the government allows its critics to speak freely, but then puts them in prison [1], is that free speech? No. So because of a consequence, speech is not free.

If someone says they hate you and want to kill your family, and you avoid them as a result, is that free speech? Yes - no significant number of people would say it is not. So here, despite a consequence, speech is free.

Some people connect free speech specifically with prior restraint. But prior restraint is also purely about consequences: if the government bans your book, what that actually means is that anyone distributing your book will be punished, and that's a consequence.

Some people connect free speech specifically with government action. But if a tech monopoly deletes its enemies from the internet, is that free speech? I would say it is not.

It's meaningless to be for or against free speech in some binary sense. What you can have is an opinion about the mapping from speech to consequences. You might think that speech should map to lighter consequences than it does at the moment across all speech, or to heavier consequences, for for some kinds of speech to be lighter and some heavier.

[1] Idi Amin is reputed to have said "There is freedom of speech, but I cannot guarantee freedom after speech."


> It's meaningless to be for or against free speech in some binary sense. What you can have is an opinion about the mapping from speech to consequences. You might think that speech should map to lighter consequences than it does at the moment across all speech, or to heavier consequences, for for some kinds of speech to be lighter and some heavier.

I think this is a very good way of putting things. However, when it comes to answering the question, there's two ways of thinking about it -- how do I map other's speech to consequences with my actions (i.e morally) and how does the government map speech to consequences (i.e legally). I think only this second way of thinking is where the "right to free speech" comes in.

The view that I'm advocating is that I want the government to support a relatively strong version of free speech (i.e you should be able to say what you want without fear of being persecuted by the government, bar a few exceptions), but my personal map of speech to consequences is for me to decide. This means, for example, that I may choose to stop supporting a particular business because of something one of their employees have said, and may even shout about it on Twitter, but doing so wouldn't be an infringement of their right to free speech (it may be morally questionable).


> Freedom from speech can only mean freedom from consequences, but virtually nobody thinks all speech should be free from all consequences.

Then people should stop stating the former as an argument, because "all speech should be free from all consequences" is what it means.


Exactly. People say they want freedom of speech, but really they want the ability to say whatever they want while also having the ability to punish others for saying things they don't like.

Similarly, people say that some countries have freedom of speech, when in reality every country has ways of punishing people for making certain noises out of their mouths - they just differ in which noises and to what degree.

The effect of this dishonesty is there is a hidden social contract on what you are, or are not, allowed to say, and everyone has to negotiate that. The article is about how people are becoming more self-censorious as a consequence of this social contract tightening up.


That's not what they mean by it. It might be what you understand by it. It's not meaningful (!) to talk about what it means in an absolute sense.

So the strong form of the phrase "free speech must mean freedom from consequences" implies all speech must mean freedom from all consequences, whereas the weak form would mean all speech must be free from a certain undefined subset of consequences?

That phrase is always proposed as a rebuttal to "freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences," and always in the context that any consequences given will lead to a slippery slope. It doesn't contradict that premise at all if interpreted in the weak form, it only makes sense as a rebuttal in the strong form.

So either the so-called "free speech maximalist" side actually believes that people who argue free speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences are referring to all consequences rather than any consequences, or else we're all just in violent agreement with one another, and really just haggling over what those consequences should be.


Limiting it to legal consequences is not enough. There are also physical and psychological safety consequences that are relevant. You're not, for example, free to speak your mind if expressing wrongthink will result in a punch to the face.

In the context of a workplace (being the topic of this post, after all), one such consequence is the loss of your job. Something that is very real these days, with so-called activists doxing people and trying to get them fired just because they dared to express a dissenting opinion.


Punching people in the face is illegal regardless of the reason - I don't really see how that's relevant?

Are you really saying that it should be impossible for someone to lose their job over what they say? If someone, for example, threatened to kill a co-worker, you don't think they should be fired? I appreciate that this is an extreme example, but when we talk about rights, don't we have to cover all examples of speech?

I'd agree that social media mobs trying to get people fired is a bad thing, that it's become too easy to whip up such mobs, and that as a society we should try to be more tolerant of other views. But I don't see somebody losing a job over something they've said as a rights issue - you don't have a right to a job.


> Punching people in the face is illegal regardless of the reason - I don't really see how that's relevant?

The 'freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences' was popularized (repopularized?) and became a somewhat mainstream talking point in America around 2016-17 to justify political violence with the "punch a nazi" thing and stuff. It's the "paradox of tolerance".


Fair enough. I'm certainly not advocating that it's ok to punch someone over something they said.

The context of this thread (expressing political opinions at work) makes me think the other types of consequence are more relevant for this discussion though.


> you don't have a right to a job.

In non-America places (or in the few remaining unionised workplaces in America) you typically have some right to due process, and you can't just be terminated on a whim because you said something the boss didn't like.


Yes, and I think that's a good thing. But I don't see think that's incompatible with my view here - that freedom of speech doesn't mean I have the right to say anything and expect to keep my job.

If I was to say something offensive, I should be accorded due process, but the result of that process may be that I'm let go.


Sure, I probably largely agree with that. But there's a difference between what you're describing and what often happens in the real world where a twitter mob calls for you to be fired and your company immediately shitcans you to placate the yobs.

e.g. https://arstechnica.com/staff/2013/03/donglegate-is-classic-...


I'd agree that a twitter mob getting someone fired is in most cases a bad thing and I can think of a bunch of reasons why it's a bad thing. But "infringing on the employees right to free speech" isn't one of them.

This might seem a bit pedantic, but I do think it's important. If something is a violation of someone's rights then there doesn't need to be any further discussion - it shouldn't be allowed. I think claiming that this is a free speech issue is not only wrong, but also shuts down much needed discussion about where we set the limits of our tolerance.


I think we largely agree, and where we disagree is quibbling over semantics.

I don't consider myself a "speech absolutist", so I wouldn't agree that assigning, say, twitter mobbing to the category of "free speech issues" shuts down further discussion.


> Punching people in the face is illegal regardless of the reason

Sure, but see all the “punch nazis” memes. Examples:

https://web.archive.org/web/20210118210335/https://www.jwz.o...

https://punchingnazis.tumblr.com/


Freedom of speech should have the same protection as freedom of religion, and there really shouldn't be a difference between if someone speech is referencing views from an old book/science fiction author, life experience good and bad, or anything else that is a reflection of the personal identify of an individual.

The European humans right is a good example of this. EU has countries with widely different religions, widely different politics, geographic regions and cultures. If you want freedom of speech in such a diverse area you can't allow discrimination for expressing wrongthink, because any speech is a wrongthink somewhere except for views about kittens and ice cream.

The only major hard lines are explicit and direct threat of violence targeting person or persons, fraud, and national security (the later being a topic of debate).


>You want your speech to be free from consequences -- i.e if you were to call someone a liar / cheat, they can't change their opinion of you based on what you've said? How is that compatible with their freedom of thought?

The issue of calling someone "a liar / cheat" if they're not belongs to libel. Same way yelling fire in a crowded cinema is a public safety issue.

Expression of ideas is neither, and should not have "consequences".

>To me, freedom of speech means I shouldn't worry about legal repercussions for expressing wrongthink.

So is it OK if a mob (not a legal or govermnet entity) stomped on you and beat you to a bloody pulp?

If a church (not a legal entity) asked its members to spit on your face and abuse you on the internet?

If you were immediately fired?


> So is it OK if a mob (not a legal or govermnet entity) stomped on you and beat you to a bloody pulp?

No - legally and morally, this is not OK.

> If a church (not a legal entity) asked its members to spit on your face and abuse you on the internet?

Morally, I'd say this was wrong, but legally, I think they would be within their rights. But equally, if I were to respond by encouraging my friends to protest outside the church, I wouldn't be violating their right to freedom of speech.

> If you were immediately fired?

This would depend on the country and my contract, but I'd hope that immediate dismissal would be a violation of my labour rights - not my right to free speech.


>The issue of calling someone "a liar / cheat" if they're not belongs to libel. Same way yelling fire in a crowded cinema is a public safety issue.

>Expression of ideas is neither, and should not have "consequences".

Both libel and inciting imminent lawless action are expressions of ideas, that term is so vague as to be all-encompassing.

And the latter example has been upheld by the Supreme Court as protected free speech.


>Both libel and inciting imminent lawless action are expressions of ideas, that term is so vague as to be all-encompassing.

And yet courts all over the world are able to separate them from "expression of ideas" (here in Europe e.g. where we have and use libel laws).

It's not that hard either, unless we specifically go for edge case.

"X is a thief" can be libel.

"The climate is in danger/is not in danger and we should or shouldn't do so and so" is an expression of an idea, and can't be libel.

As long as you don't speak about someone in particular (a person or set of named persons, as opposed to ideas and abstract groups), and don't accuse them of being something criminal or derogatory (especially something they're not) you should be able to express any idea you like, how about that?


> "The climate is in danger/is not in danger and we should or shouldn't do so and so" is an expression of an idea, and can't be libel.

If I was an employee of a climate action advocacy group, wouldn't publicly stating that the climate is not in danger cause harm to my employer? Should they be forced to continue employing me despite that harm?

Again, I'm not advocating that this person should be fired, but it feels like overreach to say that it shouldn't be possible for someone to be fired for what they say.


Let's talk concretely about the consequence that is most fraught.

Should employees be fired for expressing political positions at work that their employer disagrees with? Should all employees be told to focus on their companies mission instead?

Previously progressives seemed happy for the former to happen, but now they seem annoyed that they also might have their free speech squashed.

What kind of consequences are acceptable?


Uhm, I'm not following you. Historically, employees who "expressed political opinions" would typically support leftist/progressive views that their employer would disagree with; hence why laws were passed to protect their rights in this area (at least in Europe). So I don't think anybody on the left was ever "happy" that an employer could fire someone for their political position, as a general concept.

What might have some support is the idea that an employer could fire someone holding positions that are incompatible with the majority of other employees. We can argue about the best way to regulate this, but it's a different and horizontal view of determining the boundaries of civil coexistence.


Surely that depends on a number of things -- the nature of the employer's business, the manner in which the opinion is expressed, etc? I think businesses should generally be free to set their own terms and conditions, provided they are compatible with the nation's labour rights.

Personally, I'd prefer to live in a society where people are encouraged to have frank and respectful exchanges of views, and I'd prefer to work for a business where I'm not afraid to share my views, but equally where political discussion is not a large part of workplace culture.

But that's just my preference _- we're not discussing what should happen, but what rights people have, and no, I don't think you have the right to say whatever you like and keep your job.

That doesn't mean your boss should fire you because he disagrees with something you said, but it does mean it should be possible, provided you are accorded due process.


As the old Soviet joke goes: "We have freedom of speech in the USSR too. The difference is that in the USA, you can use your freedom of speech more than once."

I don't agree with your comparison of the two terms above - and in fact I think they are complementary, not contradictory as you suggest. The right to speak has been to say unpopular opinions and be free from government oppression, not from social opinion.

If "freedom of speech MEANS freedom from consequences", as you suggest, then what would be the point of speaking with our absolute freedom, as no one would be allowed to form an opinion on it?

Freedom of speech has always meant "freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences" in America, it is just that you have the right to say it and be free from government persecution. You can and will be judged on it socially, which is what this paper says is not right, as workplace employees are self censoring their views because people will take a principled stand on their opinions.

This paper seems to want people to be able to state exactly what they please and for there to be no social repercussions - which the first quote you have acknowledges there are.

"I do not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it" contains "I do not agree", meaning that the individual who uttered it has made an opinion based on someone else's speech.


I think you have a misconception here about what freedom is. A freedom is a restriction on the state. It simply says that the state cannot act against you for exercising a freedom, or act to prevent you from doing so. Repercussions, consequences, or retaliations are completely unrelated so long as they are not state-sponsored.

With this in mind, "I do not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it", and "freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences", are totally compatible. You can both fight for a restriction on state power, and have a personal reaction to what somebody has said.


The real issue here is that people never had to utter "freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences" in the past because people had an implicit understanding that this was reality.

If a Catholic school teacher declares publicly that women should have the right to choose to have an abortion, what do you think her chances are of retaining her employment at that school?

Conservatives would claim that the school has a right to fire the teacher, because it's just freedom of religion, as if somehow that particular freedom should supersede the others.

So what changed?

Oh, right, the country has shifted left and Christianity is not the dominant social force that it used to be. One man's belief in a man in the sky is no more important than another's alignment with a set of moral values.


No, the expectation of being able to say anything and not be responsible for it, is what's wrong.

Say what you want, but be prepared to stand by it and take responsibility for it, in a court of law if necessary.

Free speech is a right, and thus it requires the person exercising that right to understand that it does not absolve them from being held responsible for what they say or express.

Just like the 2nd amendment doesn't shield you from all possible consequences of exercising that right to bear arms.

Rights are not "get out of jail free" cards.


I'm not really sure what the amendments to the US constitution have to do with a post about British workplaces, but I think you have a very different view on "freedom of speech" than the classically liberal one that it is arguably founded upon. That's OK, of course.

In the UK we don't have and have never had freedom of speech. In fact, we have some of the harshest libel laws in the world. There are very many consequences for saying or publishing things that you're not allowed to here.

But this post is about people self-censoring their opinions, particularly in the workplace, for fear of repercussions, and that is something that absolutely is getting worse. Like many others I steer clear of all of these topics myself, as even though I hold "approved" opinions on them. I fear that someone may wilfully misinterpret something I say and cause me irreparable harm by going on some weird crusade to have me fired and my life ruined, as that seems to be what normally happens these days.

If one has fear then one is not free.


>In the UK we don't have and have never had freedom of speech.

That's not true - we do have freedom of speech.

It's just not absolute freedom of speech, which is a frankly horrible idea, because absolute rights almost always undermine other rights. (As an example, absolute freedom of speech would preclude all rights to privacy and confidentiality.)

What we have is a framework of fundamental rights, most of which are "qualified rights" and must be balanced with each other.

That it is a balancing act means that it's an imperfect system, for sure, but it's better not to allow the use of one right to trample over another.


In the UK we have limited freedom of expression (under S10 of the Human Rights Act 1998), which is much more narrowly defined, and even then subject to many restrictions and limitations (libel, court privilege, hate speech, and more). It doesn't really qualify as "freedom of speech" in the sense that really matters for this discussion.

>In the UK we have limited freedom of expression [...] which is much more narrowly defined

There is no real distinction between freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Speech is expression, or rather it is a subset.

Section 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998 is the "Power to take remedial action" by ministers if a court has issued a declaration of incompatibility.

I think you mean Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is given direct domestic legal effect by the Human Rights Act.

A10 states

>Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.

which I'm not sure you can claim isn't "freedom of speech".

I did state earlier that it's a qualified right, and those qualifications are:

>The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

but this hardly seems like it undermines freedom of speech. There are limits, but they must be "necessary in a democratic society" (which can be - and often is - the basis for a legal challenge by those who think their A10 rights have been violated) and for a defined, and limited, number of reasons.

Like I also said above, if you remove (some of) these qualifications then you end up with perverse results, like undermining the right to privacy or justice itself.


I'm not from the US either, however I wanted to frame the argument in a way that would be understandable to the majority on this site.

> "But this post is about people self-censoring their opinions, particularly in the workplace, for fear of repercussions, and that is something that absolutely is getting worse. Like many others I steer clear of all of these topics myself, as even though I hold "approved" opinions on them."

In a way, this gives you just a little perspective on how homosexual people have felt for millennia, in fact how anyone with a sexuality, religion, political view or any other aspect that was sufficiently divergent from the status quo have been treated for millennia. In many parts of the world, some of those things still carry death sentences, and it's not very long ago that this was also the case in our western countries.

Being told that ones views are "not cool, dude" is extremely mild, and the threat of doxxing is wildly overblown, unless you are an actual political activist. And in that case, it still a lot more dangerous being an ultra-woke leftie than a white supremacist, considering the cases we've seen of violent attacks, car rammings at protests and so on.

> "I fear that someone may wilfully misinterpret something I say and cause me irreparable harm by going on some weird crusade to have me fired and my life ruined, as that seems to be what normally happens these days."

I'm sorry, but that is just horse manure. You hear of a small handful of cases, which are given completely overblown coverage in the media, because outrage sells. That is not an accurate representation of the world, it is a twisted media picture. It is especially bad in the UK, where the big media is overwhelmingly conservative.

As someone who probably agrees with you on a number of things, being of an old-school leftist persuasion (trade unions, progressive taxation, wealth taxes, completely legalize weed, trust that people have good intentions at heart, judge people by their actions, not by where they happened to be born), and someone who interacts with a lot of different companies from all over the spectrum, I simply cannot recognize your argument that people who don't hold "woke leftist" views are discriminated against.

On the contrary, there is still a undercurrent of conservative and somewhat xenophobic attitude at a lot of manual labor and otherwise "blue collar" workplaces. It has gotten a lot better, but it is still present.


You can call my fears "horse manure" if you like, but that doesn't really change the fact that I have them. Based on how I've seen some of my (now ex-)colleagues treated when they have spoken up, I don't think they are at all unfounded.

And yes, people have been discriminated against for who they are, or what they believe, for a long long time. It was wrong then and it is wrong now.


Above I said:

> Meaning that, Yes, you do have the right of free speach, but No, you should not be saying the wrong things.

I would argue, that you do disagree with what I said.

You are just providing reasons why it is acceptable for why you should not be saying the wrong things.


You can say as many wrong things as you want, but you cannot expect that there will be no consequences.

Those consequences range from people not wishing to associate with you anymore at the mildest end, to actual fines and jail time, if your speech can be proven to have directly incited violence (the bar for which various according to country and jurisdiction).

You can't just claim that "I have no control over these words that are coming out of my mouth, and I take no responsibility for them", free speech doesn't work like that.

And if your strongest argument for saying something is "I have the right to say this", then maybe reconsider whether it's actually worth saying.


If freedom of speech is so limited, does it even exist as a freedom anymore?

You could say I have the "freedom to take anything I want" except I mustn't take anything that belongs to somebody else. Do I really have any freedom with that restriction in place?

Personally I don't think we have freedom of speech (in the UK, certainly legally we do not). You have to be careful of what you say and who you say it to. Maybe that's OK, and free speech was a failed experiment. But to claim we have that freedom whilst restricting it thus is just wankery.


It is absolutely a freedom.

The really important thing here is that your freedom does not overrule the freedom of others. It's freedom of speech, not an obligation to listen to or agree with or condone what you say.

As always, if your greatest argument for saying something is that you have the right to say it, maybe reconsider what you're about to say.


So "freedom of speech" is where you can say what you want, except that if you say the wrong thing to the wrong person, then there are potentially serious repercussions, up to and including imprisonment.

I'm curious to know what not having freedom of speech would look like.


I'll repeat myself: "your freedom does not overrule the freedom of others."

Words can and do cause harm, just as actions can and do. You don't see very many people seriously arguing for "freedom of action", because that would be an utterly chaotic and brutal society, even worse than the extremes of feudalism or warlordism.

Actions have consequences, and words have consequences. Arguing that you cannot be held responsible for the words that come out of your mouth or text written by your hand, is completely ridiculous.

Often I see the very same people who argue fiercely for personal responsibility above all, turn around and argue for free speech absolutism, seemingly unaware of the absurd incompatibility of those two stances.


Just because you "don't celebrate it" doesn't mean you should call their boss, harass their workplace, place demands that they are fired from their job, mark them as bad people, and so on.

And yet many people do just that, and feel good about it.


But it doesn't mean you have to mobilize an angry mob to ruin his career.

This comment is greyed out on my HN, so it would appear the people disagreeing with you have chosen to do so by making your speech less visible.

From the article:

> We asked whether it is “fair or unfair for people who say grossly offensive things to be at risk of losing their livelihoods?” Nationally, 48 percent believe it is “fair,” but this figure rises to 65 percent for social democrat-aligned Labour voters, compared with 39 percent for right-leaning Conservative voters.

Meaning right leaning are more likely to live and let live.


"right leaning" is a minority in the UK, and if you exclude those who've retired it's a small minority. Minorities tend to be more accepting of speech that goes against the majority view.

We've not had a Labour government in the UK for 11 years and counting.

And a lot of old-school lefties in the UK consider Blair's New Labour to be centre-right, "Red Tories" etc. Blair might have been left-wing but he certainly wasn't a socialist.

The "left" in Britain arguably haven't won an election since 1974.


It has to be considered that "the left" has been structurally divided in three parties (Lab, LibDem, Greens) for most of this period, which is a cardinal sin in the British system.

The right had fewer splits, and arguably none of them is comparably structural.


Yes, FPTP is the worst.

The left might have lost a lot of elections, but I think you can still make a case for the original point the "right-of-centre" are a minority in the UK, even if it's only a narrow majority. The Conservatives haven't won a majority of the popular vote in nearly 90 years (but then neither has any party)

https://www.statista.com/statistics/717004/general-elections...


Showing just how unrepresentitive our electoral system is. The combined Tory/Brexit/DUP vote was about 43% in 2019, a minority.

Ashcroft and Ipsos confirm that older people were more likely to vote tory, with >50% only in the over 65 range.

If you're a HN poster you're likely in a workplace with

1) Under 45s, certainly under 65s

2) ABC1

3) University education

All of those are 3 indicators of low 'right wing' (defined as voting Tory or whatever Farage's party is) support, so it's not surprising most people in the workplace of the average HN poster vote not-tory.


> Meaning that, Yes, you do have the right of free speach, but No, you should not be saying the wrong things.

Yes. Exactly.

What's the problem with that?

Yes, you have the right to do what you want, but No, you should not do the wrong things.

Have you the right to drive?

Yes.

Have you the right to run over pedestrians?

No.

It's simply how societies work.

freedom starts where ignorance ends

the freedom of one ends where the right of another begins.

and hundreds other similar quotes...


I have a few (really lovely) conservative friends who have expressed to me that they feel they can't express their political opinions outside of close friends and family because of the social risks involved with doing so. While I hold some "controversial" political opinions they're mostly related to fiscal policy rather than social policy so I've never personally felt like I couldn't express myself if I wanted to -- although I prefer not discussing politics in work environments.

However, last year I decided to start promoting conservative views I don't necessarily agree with that my friends hold to see what the consequences of this would be. I think people would be surprised at how open most people are to be honest. I've expressed conservative views on immigration, trans-rights and Trump as if they were my own and had very little push back outside of Twitter. I can contrast this with the fact that I've seen some people over the last few years express left-wing positions at work and have had at least equal push back. I especially remember one guy who expressed how he felt we should remove statues of historical figures who did things we wouldn't approve of today and got a very strong negative reaction in my office.

I wonder if the real problem here is that people who are conservatively minded are just naturally less comfortable with social conflict. I know my progressive friends are in all regards much more opinionated and seem far more comfortable with conflict, where as my conservative friends tend to be the types of people who avoid conflict.

Perhaps it's an age thing too. Older people who are generally more conservative and perhaps also less interested in getting into a heated debates on Twitter or in the office about some slightly controversial political position they hold. This difference in willingness to enter into social conflict may explain why conservatives feel they are in a minority despite making up about 50% of the population.

All I can say to those who feel oppressed is that as a bullied kid something I learnt from a young age is that it's hard to look myself in the mirror if I start trying to adapt my behaviour to please others. I much rather be myself and hated than try to conform at the expense of my identity. Be proud of who you are and never feel afraid to express yourself. If you're hated for that, so be it. It's better to be yourself than a coward.


> I wonder if the real problem here is that people who are conservatively minded are just naturally less comfortable with social conflict. I know my progressive friends are in all regards much more opinionated and seem far more comfortable with conflict, where as my conservative friends tend to be the types of people who avoid conflict.

Exactly, conservatives do not want change, and therefore do not want a conflict associated with the change. However, liberals and progressives push for changes because they simply do not value "do the things as in the past" nearly as much as their respective values, and every change means, potentially, a conflict.


It just takes one person to take offense to something for your life to be ruined.

It is not worth the risk talking to anyone about anything remotely "honest" unless you have known them for years and know how they will react. This is a catch-22 because to really trust someone you have to be willing to talk to them (which kind of makes it moot to begin with, right?)

Even now I find myself curbing my opinion strongly based on which words have been weaponized with malicious connotation, lets not discuss which 'truth-telling business' could be seen as responsible for this. Lets not discuss the other points which are too numerous to start on, and too political for the likes of this conversation. We could touch on the destruction of Western Academia as a point of origin for all this, we could muse on the comparable style of current social interaction to how things are depicted in 1984, or Communist Russia, but based on the keywords I already dropped, there is surely a large enough group of bots available to run this into the ground.

These are all my opinions, none of it is considered some unchangable, unalterable worldview, and I don't believe you can engage critically with anyone if you are not willing to compromise. That being said, compromise comes from both sides, and one side is way better at yelling racist, sexist, misogynist, whenever the bargaining starts.


> I have a few (really lovely) conservative friends who have expressed to me that they feel they can't express their political opinions outside of close friends and family because of the social risks involved with doing so.

When I read things like this, I think back to [this tweet](https://twitter.com/ndrew_lawrence/status/105039166355267174...). What innocuous issues exactly are conservatives receiving so much backlash on? Most often I see this sentiment from people who just want to say how they really feel about immigrants and "PC culture" is ruining everything for them.

> Conservative: I have been censored for my conservative views

> Me: Holy shit! You were censored for wanting lower taxes?

> Con: LOL no...no not those views

> Me: So....deregulation?

> Con: Haha no not those views either

> Me: Which views, exactly?

> Con: Oh, you know the ones


I'm also a politically informed person and, unlike you, I am politically active. What can I say? It's my hobby. People go skydiving on weekends, I engage in left-wing politics. But I'm quite afraid of the possible consequences. What if a prospective employer sees me handing out flyers? What would by colleagues think? Well-paid developer and activist, how does that even work? Aren't they all unemployed and living with their moms? Fact is, many people (certainly a large number of bosses, and those are the ones whose opinions matter) think that you can't work at a private bank if you think private banking shouldn't exist.

At every workplace I've been at, liberal (as in right-wing) views have been omnipresent and shared widely. I've often had to bite my tongue. If your coworkers celebrate tax cuts because it gives them more money in their wallets you are a downer for expressing doubts on its consequences for society. Don't argue with people expressing anti-immigration views because you will be labeled a "virtue signaler".

I have no problem working with people who do not share my views. I briefly worked with someone who was a member of a Nazi group once (he didn't know I knew). It worked fine.


> liberal (as in right-wing)

What the hell? These terms are in no way synonyms.

You seem to be fairly extreme left, which is fine, but then labelling everyone to the right of you as "right-wing" is not a useful classification. "Left" and "right" are relative to the political centre, not to wherever you yourself happen to be.


Please consider the possibility that GP is from a different country than you are and that liberal may mean something different there. For example in Sweden, the Liberals are a party that "historically was positioned in the centre" but has since "positioned itself more towards the right". [0]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberals_(Sweden)


Even so, left-right and liberal-authoritarian are orthogonal axes.

Liberals in Europe in general are more right wing. Conservatives like big handouts like your liberals in America to stay in power.

I think in terms of politics, discussion today doesn't really matter and won't convince anyone. It's about identity, not opinions or facts, they don't really matter so when you are trying to argue with a conservative, he is right not to listen to you.

They may know that their worldview is all wrong, and they aren't fighting for it because it's right, but because there's nothing in for them in the alternatives: they need to preserve their black-collar workplaces for as long as they can, ideally till they retire (so they reject global warming and other concepts that definitely threaten them), they need value of their houses to stay or increase, or again they will never be able to retire, so they reject any multi-unit housing, affordable or assisted housing etc projects, and so on and so forth. They don't fight for their conservative ideas because they think they are right, but because they have vested interest in them being upheld at least for a while.

This is also why in Europe, politics is a lot less divisive. Because most people own nothing and have no vested interest in anything[sarc on], they are already on the hook of the Big State[sarc off]


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