Boy, Do We Need The Third Niggardly Principle Now.

To review….

The Third Niggardly Principle , the last of three Ethics Alarms rules applying to situations where someone mistakenly takes offense at a valid and useful word, comes into play when capitulating to such sensitivity create a precedent that will do tangible harm to society, culture, individual rights and personal freedoms. It declares:

“When  suppressing speech and conduct based on an individual’s or a group’s claim, sincere or otherwise, that such speech or conduct is offensive, however understandable and reasonable this claim may be, creates or threatens to create a powerful precedent that will undermine freedom of speech, expression or political opinion elsewhere, calls to suppress the speech or conduct must be opposed and rejected.

Spineless, fearful, submissive and appeasing corporate lackeys, showing us that they can be counted on to surrender core American principles and values to keep their market share and pander to the mob, have decided in recent days to ban certain well understood, useful, common and benign words because “some” believe they imply racism:

  • The Houston Association of Realtors will no longer use the word “master” to describe bedrooms and bathrooms on real estate listings. Instead, the term “primary” will be used in its place. Several members of the HAR had complained  that the word “master” is insensitive.
  • The Court of Master Sommeliers, which “sets the global standard of excellence for beverage service within the hospitality industry,” will stop using the term “master sommelier.”

Chess master, masterful, master chef, master mechanic (my son is one),master class, masters degrees….

  • L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetic and beauty company, announced it would stop using the the words white/whitening, fair/fairness, light/lightening word “whitening” on their products.
  • Johnson & Johnson announced on Monday that they are pulling two skin lightening products. The multinational corporation will stop selling its Clean & Clear Fairness product line in India and the Neutrogena Fine Fairness line in Asia and the Middle East.
  • Unilever, the largest producer of soap in the world, also said it would remove the words “whitening” or “lightening” on its products. The hygiene and personal care company will rename its Fair & Lovely skin-lightening cream products, which are sold mostly in Asia.  A petition with over 13,000 signatures demanded Unilever to stop selling the product. “This product has built upon, perpetuated and benefited from internalized racism and promotes anti-blackness sentiments amongst all its consumers,” the petition read.

Writing about ethics is going to be difficult without using that racist word, “fair.”

49 thoughts on “Boy, Do We Need The Third Niggardly Principle Now.

  1. So my MBA is suddenly hostile. I want to know how many POC’s are willing to give up their educational credential.

  2. Great. So now I suppose they are going to rename their products “You spent the summers of your youth getting fried on a New England beach and now your chest and face are covered in age spots and melanoma, dumb ass.”

    Fwiw, I’d still buy it.

  3. Are tanning and other skin darkening products built upon, perpetuated and benefitted from externalized racism and promoted self loathing anti-whiteness sentiments amongst its consumers?

    • I think trying to apply logical analysis to the Freakout is futile.

      I’m so sorry that Joey Stig self-banned himself—I would have loved to hear his argument in favor of this stuff. And nobody has called me a racist yet. Instead I get called a “radical progressive.”

    • It was once fashionable to be as pale as possible, in the days when the lowly working class spent much of their time in the sun. Then when more jobs moved indoors, being tan indicated more leisure, hence more money to burn.

      • If I may I’d like to dedicate this post to Alicia and her dog

        L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetic and beauty company, announced it would stop using the the words white/whitening, fair/fairness, light/lightening word “whitening” on their products.
        Johnson & Johnson announced on Monday that they are pulling two skin lightening products. The multinational corporation will stop selling its Clean & Clear Fairness product line in India and the Neutrogena Fine Fairness line in Asia and the Middle East.

        Unilever, the largest producer of soap in the world, also said it would remove the words “whitening” or “lightening” on its products. The hygiene and personal care company will rename its Fair & Lovely skin-lightening cream products, which are sold mostly in Asia. A petition with over 13,000 signatures demanded Unilever to stop selling the product. “This product has built upon, perpetuated and benefited from internalized racism and promotes anti-blackness sentiments amongst all its consumers,” the petition read.

        There are far deeper reasons why the various traits of Europeans are desired. What we refer to as ‘whiteness’ (lighter skin, lighter hair or all kinds of diverse variations in hair-color, lighter eyes and eyes of color) are just external traits. Those European traits developed in the European region quite recently along with other traits that are non-visible to the eye: “Strong selection favoring lighter skin, hair, and eye has been operating in European populations over the last 5000 years“.

        What is interesting is that ‘whiteness’ or ‘lightness’ is a desired trait. That this is so in India is interesting, and not only because India was recently colonized by the English though that is some part of it. But rather that the Indo-Aryan migration into the Indian subcontinent began about 4000 years ago:

        The Proto-Indo-Iranian culture, which gave rise to the Indo-Aryans and Iranians, developed on the Central Asian steppes north of the Caspian Sea as the Sintashta culture (2200–1800 BCE) in present-day Russia and Kazakhstan, and developed further as the Andronovo culture (2000–900 BCE), around the Aral Sea.

        And the people that were conquered were indigenous and Dravidian and of dark complexion.

        Whiteness and lightness are associated with rulership but also with cultural achievement and aptitude. These are traits that involve *determination*. It is interesting that these traits, and the people who have these traits, more often than not still represent the ruling or dominant class in most countries. It is therefore interesting to examine, as we recently have, the essential character traits of people like Teddy Roosevelt. These are traits that are completely associated with the America that is now being modified. Therefore, whatever Teddy Roosevelt is, whatever his essential qualities, is now in a larger social and cultural process of being modified through vilification.

        But the really interesting thing is the development of the *war on whiteness* and the *transvaluation of values* that has as its object the vilification of those outer traits but in a larger frame the ‘destruction of whiteness’. What is interesting about these corporations that opt no longer to sell a skin lightening product is how it fits into a global effort or a global movement that tries to interrupt or ‘transvalue’ the desire to achieve those traits of lightness. All of this — obviously — is connected to far more sinister projects.

        If at the same time — and this is very strange indeed — another avenue for their efforts is linguistic, that really points in an Orwellian direction. By changing the definition of words, by eliminating words, by placing guilt-controls on certain words, here we recognize thought control and the establishment of thoughtcrime. And powerful entities are behind these processes.

        And so all these efforts — instigated by elites with specific interests and with the power to mold culture through social-engineering — more or less reveal their alignment with an anti-whiteness movement. It is for this reason that I make the recommendation to at least become aware of the counter-movement to these processes. Part-and-parcel of these social engineering processes are 1) the undermining of the religious forms of Europe, b) turning possession of their own lands and cultural space into a questionable proposition, and c) a general dis-appreciation of European accomplishment. These all dovetail together and must be seen as operating together.

        So the issue of “American liberty” and this particular aspect of it:

        When suppressing speech and conduct based on an individual’s or a group’s claim, sincere or otherwise, that such speech or conduct is offensive, however understandable and reasonable this claim may be, creates or threatens to create a powerful precedent that will undermine freedom of speech, expression or political opinion elsewhere, calls to suppress the speech or conduct must be opposed and rejected.

        Is important, no doubt, but somewhat minor in relation to the larger on-going issue: the modification of populations, the deliberate shifts in demographic composition, and a great deal more that is not to be talked about in ‘polite society’ and is viewed as evil or wrong.

        • My employer purchased a company with a large presence in Bangalore, India. The manufacturing of the product I’m responsible for has moved there, so I’ve now spent a significant amount of time there.
          Bangalore is considered the silicon valley of India, and workplaces are full of people from all over India. I was surprised by the difference between locals and northern Indians. Those from the south are very dark. The contrast is stark. I did definitely see some discrimination towards lighter skin color.
          Something shocking to me was when I went to a large mall. The advertisements all featured European ancestry models. Even local brands. It was odd to me, the only place I’ve been where I have seen that.

    • Are tanning and other skin darkening products built upon, perpetuated and benefitted from externalized racism and promoted self loathing anti-whiteness sentiments amongst its consumers?

      That is interesting. I just reviewed videos that advertise skin tanning products. The first thing I noticed is there is no ideological message associated with them. Those that I reviewed only emphasis the vanity aspect. It is not like the girls are darkening them self to be able to integrate with darker people or for example Blacks. It is all represented through vanity-issues. For example here:

    • But compare that ad to the skin whitening ads in Asia (and I think the Philippines):

      The messaging is clearly about upward mobility, about getting access to desirable girls and boys, and the valuation-issue is intensely strong.

  4. There has been a similar knee-jerk reaction in my industry (tech). Blacklist/whitelist are common terms in technology infrastructure, as are master/slave. They’re already being thrown down the memory hole in the name of diversity & inclusion.

    There is a very real danger for a lot of tech workers that they’ll end up falling foul of the language police in HR. Mandatory diversity training is already a thing in a lot of corporates, as is the snake oil that is unconscious bias training. Thankfully I run my own business so am less at risk, although I see a time not so far ahead where customers will expect their suppliers to bend the knee to critical social justice dogma.

    • The sooner people stand up to this and resist the fewer people will be hurt. That’s what has to be realized. People asked why I stubbornly refused to stop calling the virus the “Wuhan virus” even after doing so was declared by the word police “racist.” well, it wasn’t racist, it was accurate,and this blog has always been hard line on language bullying and caving to contrived offense.

      • The sooner people stand up to this and resist the fewer people will be hurt. That’s what has to be realized. People asked why I stubbornly refused to stop calling the virus the “Wuhan virus” even after doing so was declared by the word police “racist.” Well, it wasn’t racist, it was accurate, and this blog has always been hard line on language bullying and caving to contrived offense.

        What Russell referred to is a conception that has to do with hierarchical structures. Their existence and their maintenance as well as their ethical or moral right to exist (or not as the case may be). These are beyond doubt *under attack*.

        Recently you mentioned the Aristotelian notion of the existence of a “slave” — δοῦλος, doulos) — seen in opposition to “free man” (ἐλεύθερος, eleútheros). Dominating power and submissive subject are fully and absolutely part of the structure of our world. There is no better illustration in fact than the evident structures of late American capitalism. I can illustrate this in 10 or 20 different ways. We are generally understood to be the subjects of a dominating and determining class of people and their interests.

        Russell wrote:

        Mandatory diversity training is already a thing in a lot of corporat[ions], as is the snake oil that is unconscious bias training. Thankfully I run my own business so am less at risk, although I see a time not so far ahead where customers will expect their suppliers to bend the knee to critical social justice dogma.

        What I find interesting is that he seems to take issue with ‘diversity training’ when, in fact, it has become the basic project of the United States to create a diverse and multi-cultural nation. How could he stand in opposition to the training against ‘unconscious bias’?

        In our given dispensation there is no way to define any other platform except ‘blindness’ to any of the characteristics of race, gender, color, and sexual orientation as well as recently gender-by-choice. From all that I have read of your ideas you stand 100% behind eliminating the reference to any of these distinctions. That is why I apply the label American progressivism to your general outlook and what you essentially support and value.

        What is happening at the culture-at-large — I certainly do not agree with it — is very simply a further evolution of the basic tenets that you do support. It is American progressivism and it is also (at times) American radicalism. This is the culmination of the social engineering projects that evolved out of the social movements of the 20th century.

        There is no solid structure of ideas that could stop this, so it will continue.

        • I stand in opposition to snake oil and groupthink. Unconscious bias theory is on extremely shaky ground and in my opinion qualifies as the former. D&I training is interested in diversity and inclusion until it involves diversity of thought, and therefore in my opinion qualifies as the latter.

          • I should probably add – the benefits of diversity training are also not clear. Until they are, it’s in the snake oil category too.

      • Blocklist/allowlist for the former. Whitehats are sometimes called ethical hackers. As for blackhats, well they are hackers but I’m not sure if they have been anointed with a new acceptable label.

  5. “Chess master, masterful, master chef, master mechanic (my son is one),master class, masters degrees….”
    Master Sergeant, Senior Master Sergeant, Chief Master Sergeant, Master Chief Petty Officer, and Master Gunnery Sergeant have got to go. Now that the Mayor of Duluth has deemed that the word “chief” is offensive to Native Americans, some of these military ranks are doubly no-speak and Chief Petty Officer and Chief Warrant Officer must be added to the cleansing.

    • So when are sane people—not conservatives, because rational liberals should be equally disturbed by this—going to assert themselves? If the nation won’t fight for liberty, it will lose it.

      Tut-tutting is not a strong response.

      • Isn’t there an entire legal compendium on the Master/Servant relationship that underlies all of our modern labor law?

      • Maybe we are seeing a push back from the culture. This weekend in St. Louis, peaceful protestors* entered a private street to protest in front of the mayor’s house. They were met with two highly armed individuals declaring that they should be careful about stepping on private property, lest they (the protestors) would meet their proverbial makers. Oddly enough, when shown force, Black Lives Matter moved down the street. Lesson? Don’t cave into The Mob and they will show themselves to be hollow, weak, and incompetent.

        jvb

        *Ed. Note: I couldn’t type that with a straight face/keyboard. CNN said they were peaceful – right before they broke through a wrought iron gate and stormed a private street in a gated community. So did others in the media. I had to laugh, though, when the Black Vot . . . erm . . . Lives Matter people objected to a loaded AR15 being pointed at them.

  6. A few months ago, I was reading an article about someone under the gun (g-word, sorry) for using the r-word. I had no idea what they meant by the r-word and had to “google” it and discovered it was the word retarded. To me, that’s the very definition of r-word thinking. I guess now we will have the w-word.

    This means the w-word House must be renamed and when Harriet Tubman finally makes the front of the $20 bill the w-word House will most definitely have to be removed from the back. I hope they don’t even think of putting a rendition of Uncle Tom’s Cabin on the reverse – all h-word will break loose.

    Speaking of Cabin’s, log cabins come to mind; I guess Log Cabin syrup will have to change it’s branding now because I’m sure log cabins are a symbol of w-word supremacy especially since Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin. I never thought naming syrup would reach this level of complexity.

    Back on the subject of currency, isn’t the monetary unit called the Euro just another symbol of w-word supremacy? Maybe the European Union should rename their currency to the Afro, or, perhaps that’s racist too. What a dilemma.

    What happens when we get two words that are forbidden that start with the same letter? Maybe feminists will start objecting to the word witch and we’ll have two w-words that are offensive. “That w-word woman that lives down the block is a real w-word.”

    Maybe I better start taking Spanish lessons, English is getting too complicated.

    • Remember the “spread the word to end the word” campaign? We’re certainly a long way from the days when my friends and I referred to the “short bus,” that took the mentally handicapped kids down the block to special ed. as the “tart cart,” the “weirdo wagon,” and the “mental metro.”

  7. From a guest post on Victor Mair’s “Language Log”
    https://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=47413

    Recently read a short story by Chinese sci-fi author Ma Boyong (translated by Ken Liu) entitled “City of Silence” (Jìjìng zhī chéng 寂静之城) — a tale about a highly dystopian future in (“not”) China. The story was referenced in an article in Wired…A thought-provoking story that describes a State in which the government controls people’s thoughts by monitoring all of their communications in order to detect the “misuse” of language. The following excerpts from the book explain how the process evolved. Very disturbing, with echoes from recent history that are even more disturbing:
    ===
    Initially, the State only shielded certain sensitive words, but it quickly discovered that it was essentially useless. Many users simply mixed in special characters or numbers or misspelled words to get around the inspection system. The appropriate authorities had to respond by trying to shield these variant spellings. But as everyone knew, the combinations of different characters to approximate the appearance of different words were virtually limitless. Provided you had some imagination, it was always possible to come up with a novel combination and get your meaning across. For example, the word politics could be written as “polit/cs,” “政itics,” “pol/itic$,” and so on.

    After the appropriate authorities finally caught on to the problem, they took a new tack. Since it was not possible to filter out all possible combinations of characters that might spell out a word, the solution was to forbid the use of anything except real dictionary words.

    This procedure was initially very successful. The number of rule-violators went down significantly. But very soon, people discovered it was possible to use puns, homonyms, or rhyming slang to continue to express the same dangerous ideas. Even if the appropriate authorities filtered out all sensitive words and all possible puns and homonyms with those words, it was useless. Imaginative citizens gave their creativity free rein and used metaphor, metonymy, analogy, etymology, rhyming slang, and other rhetorical tricks to substitute non-sensitive words for sensitive ones. The human mind was far more creative than the computer. The computer might shield off one path, but the people had many more paths to choose from.

    This contest, under the surface, seemed to go the way of the people. But then a man who could think outside the box appeared. It was unclear who he really was: some said he was the chief administrator at the appropriate authorities; others said he was a dangerous man who had been arrested for using too many sensitive words. He was the cause of the turn in the tide of the battle between the State and the people.

    He suggested to the appropriate authorities that the regulations should no longer explain what was forbidden. Instead, the regulations should set forth what could be said, and how to say it. The appropriate authorities immediately took this advice and issued new regulations. The List of Sensitive Words was eliminated, and in its place came the List of Healthy Words.

    This time, the people were on the losing side. In the past, they had delighted in playing cat-and-mouse games with the appropriate authorities on the Web and in daily life. But now the appropriate authorities had them by the throat, since the entire framework and building blocks of language were now under their control.

    Nonetheless, the people refused to give up. They began to select words from the List of Healthy Words and use them in novel combinations to express illegal meanings. For example, writing stabilize twice in a row meant “topple,” stabilize plus prosperity meant “shield.” The appropriate authorities had to keep an eye on this sort of trend and, day after day, eliminate more and more words from the List of Healthy Words to prevent their use in these new roles…

    …Life went on peacefully. No, to be precise, there was one bit of difference. That would be the List of Healthy Words: words disappeared from it at a faster and faster pace. Every hour, every minute, words vanished from it. As the pace of revision for the List quickened, e-mails and BBS forum posts became more and more vapid and banal. Since people had to use an extremely limited set of words to express and inexpressibly wide range of thoughts, everyone more and more preferred silence.
    ====
    You can read the entire story (translated) here:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20120118104342/https://worldsf.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/tuesday-fiction-the-city-of-silence-by-ma-boyong/
    https://web.archive.org/web/20120225172459/https://worldsf.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/tuesday-fiction-the-city-of-silence-by-ma-boyong-part-two/

  8. I’m going LONG on whoever Johnson & Johnson’s competition in the skin lightening products market is, even though it doubtless re-brands and sells the J&J product line.

    • Just think, there are PR and marketing people in corporate HQs all over the place brainstorming ways to increase their company’s visibility in the midst of the freakout. Between Covid and this freakout, advertising and marketing consultants must be making a fortune.

  9. I go at this from a slightly different perspective. This kind of ‘erasing’ words from the English language will eventually become a totalitarian movement.

    I love the English language. It is rich, varied, and full of varying definitions and synonyms and metaphors. I was an English major in college and have continued my reading since. Anyone remember Bowdler, who removed what he felt was ‘offensive’ language from Shakespeare? He failed, but in today’s climate that type of approach might work. Are they going after Jane Austen next?

    It’s not just the advertising nonsense: it’s the caving in to ill-conceived political views and the ‘removal’ of multi-meaning words from our language. It won’t just stop with marketing (but who doesn’t want white teeth?): In a decade we’ll be burning books (anyone remember that?).

    I’m horrified.

  10. It is important to resist the insanity and mob rule sweeping the nation. Here are some suggestions:

    • Petition President Trump to issue an executive order requiring the removal of the name of any federal
    building, space, or memorial that bears the name of any signer of the Southern Manifesto or were KKK
    members.
    • Petition Republican Senators and Representatives to introduce legislation requiring the removal the
    name of any federal building, space, or memorial that bears the name of any signer of the Southern
    Manifesto or KKK members.

    Regarding the executive order and legislation, Democrats and the media will assail these moves as purely political. They will proclaim the executive order an abuse of power. Unconstitutional. A violation of the separation of powers.
    The President and Republicans should counter with the following arguments:

    • Even if that is true, honoring racists and segregationists is wrong regardless of whatever good these
    white men may have done in their lives.
    • So was DACA. The ends justify the means.
    • Everything a politician does or says is motivated by politics, especially in an election year.
    • Demand Democrats and the media defend the actions of these racists.

    While I doubt Republicans have the courage to do this, you won’t know if you don’t ask.

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