Comment Of The Day (5!): “An Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! Identify The Rationalizations, Logical Fallacies, Falsehoods And Outright Errors In This Essay…”

The  Comment Of The Day Weekend continues into the long weekend with yet another one on the Holiday Challenge, wherein readers were asked to metaphorically defenestrate Noah Berlatsky’s essay calling for a hsarp edit to the First amendment.

This sharp comment is by long-time Ethics Alarms regular Glenn Logan. Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, An Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! Identify The Rationalizations, Logical Fallacies, Falsehoods And Outright Errors In This Essay Advocating Limits On Speech…

I read this a few days ago, at least as much as I could stomach. It’s pretty irrational. I thought this was funny:

Delgado and Stefanic, though, argue the price for freedom in this case may be higher than we think. For example, a John Hopkins study published in 2013 concluded that being exposed to racism can lead to high blood pressure and stress among African Americans.

Being exposed to racism isn’t funny, but the idea that the stress of racism is different from other stresses is medically and logically bankrupt. Being called a racist can just as easily be shown to produce the same negative physiological effects, but the author is so incredibly purblind that this would never occur to him.

So are we to place progressives who allege racism at the drop of a hat into the “You can’t say that, it’s hate speech!” column along with the n-word? I’m betting no.

More hilarity:

Currently the federal government is prosecuting 200 people for being present at the protests during Donald Trump’s inauguration, including journalists and street medics.

Heh. I guess he’s unaware that those so-called protesters were rioting, a felony in every state in the union. Protests are peaceful demonstrations, but destroying property and participating in a riot is not free speech. Also, just because a person is a “street medic” or “journalist” does not make them automatically exempt from consequences if they participate in a riot.

Police officer to journalist: “Did you just break that window?”
Journalist: “Yes, but I’m a journalist.”
Officer: “Oh, I guess it’s okay, then.”

In what universe? Berlatsky’s, I suppose.

Other countries are willing to take the health and safety of their most vulnerable citizens into account. Were the U.S. to properly recognize the danger of hate speech, we wouldn’t look like Orwell’s “1984.” Instead, Delgado told me, we’d “look like France, Germany, The Netherlands, Canada or Sweden, all of whom regulate hate speech but where the political climate is just as free and healthy as our own, if not more so.”

Wow, I guess this guy doesn’t read the news in those other countries. Take France, for instance:

The so-called comic Dieudonne M’bala M’bala will face trial for writing “I feel like Charlie Coulibaly”, hours after 3.7 million French citizens had taken to the streets behind the “je suis Charlie” rallying cry.

Despite his claim that it was meant to be humorous (hello…comic!), the French decided it was anti-Semetic. How droll, considering Charlie Hebdo (a “so-called” satirical rag?) often gets away with worse. That’s how sideways hate speech laws can quickly go, and the other countries he cites have similar examples of draconian legal consequences for remarkably bland utterances.

Nope, I’ll pass on those other countries and their supposedly enlightened speech restrictions. And face it, if somebody’s speech gives you high blood pressure, your doctor can get you something for that. Or even better, you could just, you know, avoid them.


15 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day (5!): “An Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! Identify The Rationalizations, Logical Fallacies, Falsehoods And Outright Errors In This Essay…”

  1. I’m of the belief to call somebody a racist is generally a ploy to silence them when a person notices bad or unethical behavior with an individual or group and calls them on that. It is Stalinist or Fascist at it’s core! The same for most accusations of hate speech. It is an unethical weapon and campus administrators along with progressive legislators are all quite willing to write into law and university regulations.

    • I agree! There are a few phrases currently used as instant conversation stoppers. Another common one is ‘Check your privilege’.

      • I’ve never had to use it, but my prepared retort to that is to ask someone if they’d like to check their baggage.

        Apropos of little, that picture raises two questions for me:

        1. If I were to tell that girl that I hated her, does she think she would die?
        2. Is that a very poorly drawn peace symbol, or a less poorly drawn X-Men logo?

        • Ha. A good third question would be whether she would find persuasive a poster that says “Embryos = Babies.” Since she seems to believe in the idea that one thing sometimes leading to another is the same as both things being equivalent.

    • A companion bit of illogic to the misapplied “racist” tag (or any other unwarranted accusation) is KAFKATRAPPING , a term with which I was unfamiliar until my son described it to me about a year ago. Others of you may not have been as ignorant of this, as I was, but I find being able to employ the term a useful tool to brush aside a bogus attack, rather than getting bogged down in (usually uselessly) trying to refute your attacker as if his claim against you possibly were worth debating. It’s also interesting to note that a version of the Kafkatrapping trick encompasses the “check your privilege” gambit.

      • Thanks for linking to that! I hadn’t heard of that before, but I’ve encountered the phenomenon, where a person simply doesn’t trust that someone else disagrees due to a genuinely different perspective (as opposed to selfish denial). It makes me wonder what their objective is, because if they aren’t intending to learn from me, and they don’t expect me to learn from them, then why do they expect me to listen to them?

      • I’ve always been a fan (well, mostly) of ESR since the 1990’s and his Cathedral and Bazaar work and open source advocacy. I adopted Linux as my primary operating system back in the mid 1990’s, no small feat considering the state of the software at that point in time.

        Anyway, ESR is still doing good essay work on his blog. This one is an excellent examination of the reasons we should not support the current craze to destroy Confederate statuary.

  2. If the purpose of hate speech is to protect people’s feelings, then why protect the feelings of these marginalized peoples, instead of, say, the Stormfront White Nationalist Community.

    Here is an article by Stanislav Vysotsky.

    For antifascists, violence is self-defense, because the far-right movements constitute direct threats to their existence and safety, as well as the existence and safety of their communities.

    David Duke could have written that violence by white supremacists is self-defense against White Genocide®™.

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