Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Over-use of "protected groups" can seriously damage free discussion of ideas and backfire against the Left; another threat to 230?
Here’s one problem with going overboard with intersectionality, defining more groups merely based on the experience of competitive personal disadvantage.
It gives, particularly, the radical Left more leverage against tech companies in trying to get them to remove more “hate speech” or even remove more “enemies” from platforms.
There is not much to argue with about race and religion being the basis of groups (look at the shocking underbelly of anti-Semitism, as well as pockets of white supremacy as documented in the recent PBS Frontline series, “Documenting Hate”, discussed yesterday on my “cf” blog.
The status of various LGBTQ groups under federal civil rights law is more uncertain under the Trump administration, especially for transgender. There may be no objection to singling out medically legitimate transgender persons for civil rights protection, and these are relatively less common (than cis gay people). There is a problem, however, in trying to frame discussion in terms of every conceivable insult to sense of self as regard to gender, fluidity, and sexuality. This has gotten to the point of demanding new pronouns and even denying the structure of correct English grammar.
My own narratives talk a lot about the ability of a young male to live up to social expectations, especially in the past, as in my own history, dealing with a college expulsion and later the draft and deferments. There is also sometimes discussion (as in my books) in my exclusive attraction only to certain cis males. This has sometimes resulted in objection. More radical members of the Left claim that my bringing up these matters keeps them in circulation and invites more “oppression”, especially since my speech, much about earlier generations and history, seems “gratuitous”. For example, embedding a Prager University video that says “Be a Man, get married” could be interpreted as oppressive. One of the points of past social gender conservatism (as I experienced it) was that people who did not perform according to their biological genders were leaving more of the risk taking (like being drafted for war) to others in the community.
But it is true, as long as making more demands on some people, to take seriously what society expects of them, remains viewed as an acceptable position in public debate, some non conforming people will have a harder time.
There is a piece that resembles David Brooks, but is actually by David Yudkin, the Psychology of Political Polarization, offered by Better Angels, in the New York Times, link. I am in the middle of most of these measures, but they deserve a close look.
I have an important piece today on Bill’s News Commentary today on new calls to possibly abolish Section 230, based on recent op-eds by David Ignatius (Washington Post) and Justin Kosslyn (Voce Motherboard).