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July 15, 2020

Comments

SEEnnis

But wasn't Irving "cancelled" for the promoting Holocaust denial by playing fast and loose with historical evidence, not for controversial views as such? If so, then his case is different from the cases of academics and others currently being denied preferment or platforms for simply having the "wrong" opinions on issues connected with race and gender.

Robert Mitchell

When you spend time outdoors immersed in nature, you experience physical insults daily: cuts, scrapes, bruises, etc. These are real "sticks and stones" that "may break my bones."

When you become soft and live indoors, you eliminate most daily physical trauma from your artificial existence. Then words become more important and you psychosomatically create trauma for yourself from mere symbols.

Translation: cancel culturists should spend a lot more time outdoors wrestling with the physical insults of nature. Then words will stop hurting so much ...

LateAgitations

Your words that " it’s a lovely irony that those influenced by the liberal tradition are failing to do what Rorty encouraged us to do and are not transcending the limits of their acculturation." remind me today of John McWhorter's encapsulation of the message of DiAngelo's 'White Fragility' as that if you're white, no matter how much you try to change yourself, inevitably "you will die a racist just as you will die a sinner".It's all a bit grimly Escher isn't it? Personally, I think (tentatively, of course) it's all nonsense.

Trent

What I find most interesting (read: depressing) about this national embarrassment is that so many otherwise reasonable academics are falling for the sleight of hand that equates "power to speak without negative consequences" with "free speech." Even "power to speak without negative consequences" can usually be qualified as "power to speak (over others) without (perceived) negative consequences (criticism)." In other words, the preclusion of free speech.

As one of the youth, particularly as one who enjoys your blog, my recommendation would be to seek out voices that challenge you on this subject. Much of the popular characterization of cancel culture comes from the people who fear being cancelled, the result being a bogeyman that bears no relation to reality. The irony should be obvious.

Of course the question of who should be allowed to speak and where is a complicated one. That's why some of the names on the Harper letter are so surprising. It's also a a non-sequitur. The discussion at hand is the institutional power that allows people to wield words indiscriminately, safe in the belief that they are protected by their position. Why are we surprised when this leads to bad outcomes?

And in response to Robert Mitchell above: please square your words with the fact that those decrying cancel culture are the ones expressing "softness" and not the other way around. Better yet, seek out examples of the abuse slung at any moderately successful black woman, and explain to her how she is creating trauma for herself. Best, go to therapy.

Robert Mitchell

Trent: I have been bullied too. I was called racial slurs as a kid, and exposed to them in the workplace. I respond not by trying to cancel the other's ability to speak, but by coming up with better words to make them voluntarily silence themselves. I do not need to appeal to an authority to protect me by canceling that person. My own words are all the authority I need.

Trent

Robert, thank you for your response. I am glad that you were able to vocalize your position in a way that, likely, benefited all parties in the long run. I do not belief that tact is available universally, especially when prejudice is foundational to an organization, institution, or culture. As Chris notes, "cancellation" does exist in the marginalization of voices by those with the power to do so. Flipping the script to protect that power is actively harmful, and makes it less likely that a marginalized person will be given the opportunity to defend themselves as you did.

My argument is predominately concerned with the perceived outcomes of cancellation versus the true meaning of "canceled!". The latter has more to do with personal divestment from a brand or individual. Every time we discuss cancellation without making that delineation, we further obfuscate the conversation and play into the bogeyman. I would even go so far to say that the media and academia, if they are participating in cancellation at all, do so in response to the bogeyman rather than a more realistic interpretation of the word.

Robert Mitchell

Trent: Perhaps that is why I oppose cancel culture: it accepts the same neoliberal assumptions as those they cancel. Greed is good; more money is better; if you don't like someone's speech, go after their money!

In my view, any system that relies on censorship to survive is too fragile. Censorship breeds supermemes as antibiotics breed superbugs. By canceling, you feed future Donald Trumps who will come back much, much stronger because you forced them to become craftier by banning their words. Unless you change hearts and minds with better speech, you will perpetuate endless cycles and end up canceled yourself soon enough.

Dipper

Trent. You cannot be serious. Your comments are ridiculous.

"Better yet, seek out examples of the abuse slung at any moderately successful black woman,"

Well, we don't have to go far do we? just look at how Labour and The Guardian treat Priti Patel. So perhaps you could start off by condemning that.

Dipper

"It is easier to be a liberal ironist if you are a white man than if you are somebody whose gender and race defines their oppression and marginalization"

This is utter nonsense. There are lots of Black thinkers and writers who offer clear and insightful comment. The main source of abuse they receive is from the left. Thomas Sowell is an obvious choice, and of the more modern British thinkers Trevor Phillips springs to mind, and Inaya Folarin Iman always impresses. But there are so many more, all hated by the left. And the number of BAME Tory MPs is a tribute to the Tories commitment to being an open society.

The most oppressed group in the UK is white working class boys. Perhaps it is their race and gender that makes their collective exclusion from education and the professions acceptable?

Dipper

... and Katherine Birbalsingh. Absolutely top class. Should be Minister for Education.

MJW

The problem I have with attempts to 'cancel' people who express views the self-appointed arbiters of acceptability find hurtful/oppressive/hateful is that it doesn't mean there's no validity or truth underlying those views. If you think a view is wrong you can challenge it and eventually overturn it, which is how civil rights improve. Attempts at 'cancellation' only suggest there is an underlying validity which the self-appointed arbiter lacks the confidence to challenge.

'Cancel Culture' is analogous to believing the answer to difficult questions is to try and stop them being asked, of course that never really works. As others have said David Irving wasn't cancelled, he was discredited by challenging the (poor) quality of his claims.

Robert Mitchell

Thomas Sowell is a very simplistic thinker who ignores the out-the-window realities of finance. This of course has nothing to do with his race. He needn't be canceled, as long as I can keep pointing out the glaring errors in his thought.

Sowell's race is as arbitrary as market prices ...

Paulc156

@Dipper "Well, we don't have to go far do we? just look at how Labour and The Guardian treat Priti Patel. So perhaps you could start off by condemning that."

I thought the source of that criticism came mostly from a series of accusations of bullying in every dept she's worked in?
That, and she seems devoid of compassion. All of which may account for her popularity in the Tory party.

Scratch

"And there is an under-appreciation of the power of corporations to limit the free speech of their workers or critics; to read some complaints about cancel culture you'd imagine that the only threats to freedom come from the little people."

The corporatist (and statist) nature of "cancel culture" is why I despise/fear it.

An ideology birthed by academia and enforced by capital and the bourgeois state isn't a bottom up initiative. The "little people" perform the role of eager little informers for the interests of the bourgeois. Objectively I honestly think this is fascism.


Dipper

@ Paulc156. Because all accusations against successful women of race must be believed. And she seems devoid of compassion - that's not a cultural judgement?

Here's Sarah Champion MP and Priti Patel working to tackle grooming gangs and supporting victims of sexual abuse https://twitter.com/davidashleywall/status/1283369810940825600. Just a coincidence that both have been subject to sustained campaigns I'm sure.

ltr

Cancel Culture made clear:

There were 71,670 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States on July 15. Evidently, federal government policy on the epidemic on July 16 has turned to the hiding of the data.

Coronavirus

US

July 14

Cases ( 3,545,077)
Deaths ( 139,143)

July 15

Cases ( 3,616,747)
Deaths ( 140,140)

ltr

Cancel Culture has evidently cancelled asking why the ratio of deaths to coronavirus cases is 15.4%:

July 16, 2020

Coronavirus

UK

Cases   ( 292,552)
Deaths   ( 45,119)

ltr

Also, as long as I am annoyed; no matter your political party, why was Jeremy Corbyn cancelled as being anti-Semitic when that could never have been true? At the least, cancel a Corbyn on explicit policy proposals like properly funding the NHS.

ltr

The most oppressed group in the UK is white working class boys...

[ They are surely in need of attention, but are played off against other just as needy groups even as in the United States. How then is this problem to be socially addressed? ]

Blissex

«to read some complaints about cancel culture you'd imagine that the only threats to freedom come from the little people.»

But that's the entire purpose of those who give a big platform and push identity politics: the message that if you as a member of the "little people" you are poor and oppressed, your poverty and oppression are caused by the discrimination of other "little people".
Because the implicit claim is that "the markets" (your employer) make people high and lowly and order their estate, fairly and infallibly, but for identity discrimination by individuals (other employees).

Blissex

«The most oppressed group in the UK is white working class boys...»

For a very obvious reason: the primary membership of trade unions were white woring class males. Identity politics has been a powerful tool not just to cancel class politics, but to demonize the most active trade unions member pool.

Nothing new under the sun, here is a quote that appears Landes, "The wealth and poverty of nations", about earlier variants of the theme:

«"The mule spinners", said one mill superintendent to me, "are a tough crowd to deal with. A few years ago they were giving trouble at this mill, so one Saturday afternoon, after they had gone home, we started right in and smashed up a room-full of mules with sledge hammers. When the men came back on Monday morning, they were astonished to find that there was no work for them. That room is now full of ring frames run by girls."»

Bob

Chris, you need to cancel your comment sections. They are an unceasing embarrassment.

Donald Smith

@dipper how do the Guardian etc treat Priti Patel?

They mock her for stumbling over words and saying silly things in exactly the same way any paper would mock any politician from the other side doing the same.

They've published stuff about bullying accusation from the civil service. Accusations were made, they reported them.*

What else?

(*Neither here nor there, but as a former civil servant I think it's very likely they are true.

ltr

https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/1283768117735428097

Paul Krugman @paulkrugman

The Trump administration is trying to "solve" the pandemic by suppressing information. It's both unbelievable and totally predictable.

Dipper

@ Donald Smith

There was a Steve Bell cartoon depicting her as a cow - a sacred animal for Hindus. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2020/mar/04/steve-bell-on-boris-johnson-defending-priti-patel-at-pmqs-cartoon

This is in response to the comment from Trent that 'Better yet, seek out examples of the abuse slung at any moderately successful black woman'

The issue is that you cannot simultaneously argue that any criticism of a woman of colour is racism, and that women of colour in government positions should experience the kind of rough treatment that free presses usually hand out to government ministers. Pick one. Not both.

Dipper

@ Bob "Chris, you need to cancel your comment sections. They are an unceasing embarrassment." - speak for yourself Bob

ltr

Here then is Cancel Culture:

https://twitter.com/cgtnamerica/status/1283873919108296705

CGTN America @cgtnamerica

#Coronavirus data has been removed from the U.S. CDC website after the Trump administration’s order to re-route hospital data directly to the administration. Missing are current inpatient and intensive care bed occupancy, health worker staffing, and PPE supply status.

5:19 PM · Jul 16, 2020

George Carty

Dipper, don't white working-class boys do badly at school not because of "oppression" but because of a toxic anti-education culture?

Those who grow up in America's black ghettos are doubly screwed as they suffer both from racism and from an anti-education culture of their own: high achievers are mocked there as "acting white".

Dipper

@ George Carty "Dipper, don't white working-class boys do badly at school not because of "oppression" but because of a toxic anti-education culture?"

Whoa hang on a minute there George! Dangerous talk! People have been cancelled for less.

From Christopher Snowdon in The Spectator "When I asked a teacher why white working-class boys have fallen so far behind, he gave me a short answer: girls are better behaved and immigrant parents are stricter. "

Obviously I agree. But the anti-racism mantra is that any shortfall in achievement of a non-white ethnicity is due entirely to racism and not due to 'culture'. But, again, we cannot have it both ways, that when non-whites or women do badly that is racism or sexism and when white males do badly that is because of their culture. And when black commentators such as Trevor Phillips and Tony Sewell raise a culture of fatherless families as a reason for knife crime the anti-racist industry comes down on them like a ton of bricks and is relentless in their efforts to cancel them.

The problem I have with chucking every problem into the 'culture' bucket is that 'culture' is just the accumulated experience of a distinct group of people. Becoming academically successful and entering into the professions requires not just a lot of effort but a lot of sacrifice, of time spent hanging out with your mates, of time spent investing in your position in your community, and is effectively signalling to your community that you do not think the life they have is one you want. Why would you do that if you do not believe your effort and sacrifice will be rewarded? If you think you will find that the reward for all that effort and struggle is to have cast yourself off from your 'birth' community and to have been rejected by your adopted community?

Open Demat Account

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Blissex

«raise a culture of fatherless families as a reason for knife crime»

But that's in part true and in large part misleading -- where does the culture of "fatherless families" come from?

Consider an alternative view: that women can either push their sons to succeed in getting a good job or in spreading their seed, and many "ethnic" mothers reckon that because "white" mothers have ultrasharp elbows it is pointless to train their sons to aim to get good jobs, and so train them to spread their seed, pump-and-dump style.

But that does not necessarily mean "racism": the mindset "don't think above your station" for working class people has been centuries old in England well before coloured people became a significant percent of the residents. A quote from Neil Kinnock about that:

“Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? [...] Does anybody really think that they didn't get what we had because they didn't have the talent, or the strength, or the endurance, or the commitment?”

Should have he asked then "Is it because I is black???" Were the Kinnocks "coloured" people? Well, there was anti-welsh and anti-irish prejudice too, but really it was a question of "station"/"class".
However we cannot deny that there was *also* ethnic prejudice, used to enforce class hierarchies, a quote from a recent "Tribune" article:

«On August 15 1966 the colour bar at Euston station and St Pancras goods station was defeated when Asquith Xavier, the West Indian guard initially refused a job, was finally allowed to start work. British Rail announced that after negotiations with local leaders of the National Union of Railwaymen (NUR) no grade would in future be closed on racial grounds anywhere in the London division. Before this, black workers had been barred from taking jobs as guards and porters at Euston Station and St. Pancras while Irish workers at Paddington were restricted to labouring roles in the goods yard. Similar restrictions applied at other stations.
[...] a statement by the Western region staff officer to the press. “All things being equal,” he said, “we prefer taking on white people… they are preferred to coloured people for reasons of intelligence and education.”»

Note the "negotiations with local leaders of the National Union of Railwaymen", "while Irish workers were restricted", "and education".

Blissex

«why white working-class boys have fallen so far behind, he gave me a short answer: girls are better behaved and immigrant parents are stricter.

Obviously I agree. But the anti-racism mantra is that any shortfall in achievement of a non-white ethnicity is due entirely to racism and not due to 'culture'.»

The real point of the sponsors of the identity politics industry is the converse: that any shortfall in achievement of working class male whites is due entirely to their inferiority, because they fail despite being privileged, and it is not the elites but working class male whites that, by being privileged and racist, prevent the advancement of other ethnicities.

Blissex

««raise a culture of fatherless families as a reason for knife crime»
But that's in part true and in large part misleading -- where does the culture of "fatherless families" come from?»

A point I should have made earlier: that culture is nothing new in England, it has been part of the life of the "white" urban lower classes and the "residuum" for centuries, see East London rookeries etc.; marriage, and homogenous nuclear or extended families, etc. were pretty rare in those environments.

BTW I often astonished by the lack of consideration by male scholar for the deep impact of reproductive strategies. They seem blind to the "dynastic" (to use an apposite euphemism) aims of women/mothers, many of which instead obsess about them.

For example Marx should have written not that society is shaped by production relations, but by the intersection of production relations and reproductive strategies. Never mind the neoclassics who did not realize that many humans don't maximize their own "ofelimity" as such, but (their perception of) that of their descendants too.

George Carty

Many places where anti-education culture seem most common are places which capital has abandoned (left-behind towns in England, black inner-city ghettos in the US).

Perhaps one factor in its rise is that parents fear that they are more likely to be abandoned by their children if they get well educated (as there are few if any local opportunities to take advantage of a good education)?

Of course that doesn't explain why Essex (for example) is so infamously anti-intellectual: perhaps property speculation has something to do with that?

Maybe another factor in why immigrants do well is that while the may be working class here (due to racial discrimination, lack of English skills, or a strong work ethic which make them less sniffy about taking jobs for which they're overqualified), most of them were middle class (with all the cultural capital that goes with that) back in their original homelands?

Dipper

@ Blissex - interesting stuff - I think you are right about the White Privilege and the working class. A sound description. And the reproductive strategies too. I worked with a man who hailed from a northern town with a football team who for many years had a prominent south American footballer. He said there were many children in that town with a distinctive south American appearance. When the state is the alll-providing father, what's wrong with just getting the best genes for your child you can find?

@ George Carty. why Essex? From my vantage point, being a few hundred yards outside it, I would say you can make a very good living in Essex without University qualifications. If you have a trade, are personable and entrepreneurial, you can make good money because there are so many rich people here and in London who will pay a lot for whatever task it is that needs doing. And if you fancy making real money then the world's financial markets are a short train ride away looking for traders.

Robert Mitchell

"Chris, you need to cancel your comment sections. They are an unceasing embarrassment. Posted by: Bob"

This comment seems to underscore my point: the sensation of embarrassment is considered so traumatizing likely because you all spend too much time indoors, away from the physically traumatizing experiences immersion in nature gives you.

Blissex

«When the state is the all-providing father, what's wrong with just getting the best genes for your child you can find?»

Dipper, your resentment against "scroungers" is such that you make unrealistic comments. The state is all-providing only for upper-middle class "Middle England" families in the Home Counties and London, gifting them huge property profits, grammar schools, elite universities, heavily subsidsing "professional" jobs in finance and real estate, and creating good local council services in the posh areas they live in.

The state is a very miserly father to women of the servant classes, who despair of their own situation and realize that their sons are likely to never be allowed to rise above their birth station, because the good schools, good universities and good jobs are nearly monopolized (except for tokenism) by the sons (and nowadays daughters) of sharp-elbowed upper-middle class mothers, who will stop at nothing to ensure that the offspring of the servant classes don't rob their own precious children of their opportunities to inherit the same class as their parents.

That's why given the option between raising their sons for a work career ("tiger moms"), or for a high reproductive rate ("ghetto moms"), they realistically choose the latter.

Bert Schlitz

Another term Marx said was that were capital exists, a state exists. Something people forget.

This is the result of the debt based credit bubble that popped up in 1973. Blacks don't want to admit they are part of the "haves" in that regard and when you remove the top 10%, inequality between races doesn't look so large. The top 10% are Bernie Madoff. They are a state backed scam.

Identity politics is a corporate scam and it always has been. White's are tapped out in terms of available debt expansion, we go to the next source. So you either in the in crowd ponzi scheme or not. When you not, you get very very angry.

We are all MLM now.

George Carty

Dipper: "why Essex? From my vantage point, being a few hundred yards outside it, I would say you can make a very good living in Essex without University qualifications. If you have a trade, are personable and entrepreneurial, you can make good money because there are so many rich people here and in London who will pay a lot for whatever task it is that needs doing."

Good point on Essex, especially given the fact that the stereotypically anti-education "Essex" actually refers mainly to the part of the county closest to Greater London (and perhaps to some of the easternmost parts of Greater London itself which have a similar culture).

That doesn't explain though why anti-education culture is also rife in other parts of England (such as the Midlands)...

Blissex: "That's why given the option between raising their sons for a work career ("tiger moms"), or for a high reproductive rate ("ghetto moms"), they realistically choose the latter."

Interesting thought on K- versus r-strategy! Black Americans are roughly constant as a proportion of the wider American population, suggesting that this cultural push for a higher reproductive rate is cancelled out by the fact that a lot of black ghetto males fail to reproduce (due to violent death, long prison sentences or drug addiction).

I wonder if a similar logic also explains overpopulation in Africa, given that those countries have endemically high unemployment due to (neo-)colonialist policies which saw them as sources of cheap raw materials and captive markets for finished products?

GrueBleen

Billy Bragg: "Without accountability, liberty can mutate into the most dangerous of all freedoms – impunity."

Did Bari Weiss get "bullied" ? How and by whom ? Ive always understood that "bullying" involved threats: who threatened Weiss and with what ?

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