The next battleground-'Cancel Culture & Identity Politics' - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

Wandering the information superhighway, he came upon the last refuge of civilization, PoFo, the only forum on the internet ...

All general discussion about politics that doesn't belong in any of the other forums.

Moderator: PoFo Political Circus Mods

#15145812
With Brexit and Trump done and with Covid-19 hopefully ending sometime this year our collective political energies will very likely focus on the new frontier of Identity Politics, Cancel Culture and the debate surrounding Freedom of Speech.

The past few days I heard of the cases of Eton College where a teacher was fired due to a lecture that was described as "anti-feminist" because of the teacher's portrayal of traditional sexual norms. In Cambridge University the debate has been raging on and got very heated the year 2020 as students sought to redefine the terms "respect", "safety" & "welfare" in an attempt to cancel out various opinions, though this battle was lost for the cancel crowd as a Professor of Philosophy decided to step in and sort things out.

I have personally at times dismissed the matter as a fad that will pass being personally unable to calculate that there actually exists a critical mass of people that truly prefer to molly-coddle the new generation instead of teaching them the harsh realities of the world and letting them make their own conclusions. This current ultra-liberal generation was taught and nurtured by racist, sexist, heterosexual and "toxic" masculinity, we still turned out into hyper-sexual feminist metrosexuals so cannot really see the cause of concern and the hyper-drive to mute people and their views.

Some universities in the US have now cancelled Homer's Odyssey, Shea Martin, who is described by the website called LoveliteraTea as a “queer, Black teacher, researcher, and organizer who dreams and works toward liberation with teachers and students across the country,” Tweeted “be like Odysseus and embrace the long haul to liberation (and then take the Odyssey out of your curriculum because it’s trash),” in June of last year.

“Haha,” replied Heather Levine, an English teacher at Lawrence High School in Massachusetts. “Very proud to say we got the Odyssey removed from the curriculum this year!” she added triumphantly.

Levine had no comment when Gurdon contacted her regarding her WSJ story, telling Gurdon that to even ask about the issue was “invasive.”

'Be like Odysseus' but don't dare find out what he did....

A couple of days ago it was reported that a Canadian-Jewish student in London pressed charges against his London university for failing to protect him from "anti-semitism".

The issue: he was branded a 'Zionist' by fellow students during a heated debate for supporting Israeli policy and some of these same students supported the BDS movement, apparently he broke down and so he decided to leave uni to return to Canada and then sought a refund for his fees, initially the university offered him a token of £500 for his "emotional trauma" so he then decided to press charges on them. He won and was awarded £15000 in compensation by the university.
#15145822
noemon wrote:With Brexit and Trump done and with Covid-19 hopefully ending sometime this year our collective political energies will very likely focus on the new frontier of Identity Politics, Cancel Culture and the debate surrounding Freedom of Speech.

Oh god, are we really that short-sighted, petty and inward-looking?

I have personally at times dismissed the matter as a fad that will pass

Please, please get yourself back to that. Climate change, world poverty, democracy, religious fundamentalism ... these are real issues, that affect our future. People die when we get them wrong. Sure, it's fun to waste time with debates about words and feelings, and the way people project them for their personal political fights in closed groups, but it's got so little to do with actual politics - ie society in general.
#15145826
Prosthetic Conscience wrote:Oh god, are we really that short-sighted, petty and inward-looking?


Nope, we are way worse than that.

Please, please get yourself back to that. Climate change, world poverty, democracy, religious fundamentalism ... these are real issues, that affect our future. People die when we get them wrong. Sure, it's fun to waste time with debates about words and feelings, and the way people project them for their personal political fights in closed groups, but it's got so little to do with actual politics - ie society in general.


The examples I gave above are quite real issues that affect our fundamental freedoms in very profound ways.

This conversation will unravel and come into a head in the next few years. It is inevitable.
#15149763
Prosthetic Conscience wrote:Climate change, world poverty, democracy, religious fundamentalism ... these are real issues, that affect our future. People die when we get them wrong. Sure, it's fun to waste time with debates about words and feelings, and the way people project them for their personal political fights in closed groups, but it's got so little to do with actual politics - ie society in general.

Unfortunately, the issues you mention as "important" are not something that our masters want normal people discussing - like they would be if we lived in a participatory democracy.

In some cases - like climate change and world poverty - identity politics (including war) are frequently used (by our elites) to "change the subject" so that humanity stays with the programs that the elites dream up.

So if Cancel Culture and ID politics are discussed by young people INSTEAD OF income equality and peace, then the program of the elites was a SUCCESS.
#15149766
noemon wrote:Nope, we are way worse than that.



The examples I gave above are quite real issues that affect our fundamental freedoms in very profound ways.

This conversation will unravel and come into a head in the next few years. It is inevitable.


Yeah, i also thought that it will always go away but it hasn't. I am honestly surprised why does some supreme court not label it a violation of free speech or equal treatment of people. It is in the constitution of almost every Western Democracy that you can't discriminate by political views which this is essentially. So firing somebody for holding those views is bullshit.

There have been numerous rulings in many countries where free speech and hate speech meet and where the line is drawn. Basically the line is drawn when violence happens, if no violence happens then it is free speech otherwise it is hate speech. So i am not sure how the teachers opinion classifies as hate speech of some sort.

As you probably noticed, i am against cancel culture. Identity politics is a unicorn of some sort for me. Depends what people mean by it.
#15149822
Prosthetic Conscience wrote:Please, please get yourself back to that. Climate change, world poverty, democracy, religious fundamentalism ... these are real issues, that affect our future. People die when we get them wrong. Sure, it's fun to waste time with debates about words and feelings, and the way people project them for their personal political fights in closed groups, but it's got so little to do with actual politics - ie society in general.


I'd say cancel culture and identity politics fall squarely into the "democracy" part. Fanaticism too if you broaden it beyond simply religious fundamentalism.

It would be hardly unprecedented for a Western liberal democracy to be swept under by an extreme, fanatical expression of identity politics
#15149829
wat0n wrote:I'd say cancel culture and identity politics fall squarely into the "democracy" part. Fanaticism too if you broaden it beyond simply religious fundamentalism.

It would be hardly unprecedented for a Western liberal democracy to be swept under by an extreme, fanatical expression of identity politics

I don't think so. People talking about "cancel culture" are moaning about people who get their speeches at a university cancelled, keep their jobs there, or corporations withdrawing advertising unless someone is chucked off a website. It's not about whether the person gets to vote or not - that's "democracy". Notice all the examples in the OP are about schools (an elite private one, at that), and universities and groups inside them.

JohnRawls wrote:Yeah, i also thought that it will always go away but it hasn't. I am honestly surprised why does some supreme court not label it a violation of free speech or equal treatment of people. It is in the constitution of almost every Western Democracy that you can't discriminate by political views which this is essentially. So firing somebody for holding those views is bullshit.

Can you point to these constitutions, please? Remember that the examples given are not about government actions. The one you've concentrated on is in a private school. I don't think there are many constitutions that say private schools can't insist on the public pronouncements of their teachers fitting the schools' ethos.

Basically the line is drawn when violence happens

It is for the USA, but not many other places, I think. But again, that's for government action; much of the USA also has laws allowing employees to be fired for whatever reason a private employer feels like, unless it's explicitly protected areas like race.
#15149834
Prosthetic Conscience wrote:I don't think so. People talking about "cancel culture" are moaning about people who get their speeches at a university cancelled, keep their jobs there, or corporations withdrawing advertising unless someone is chucked off a website. It's not about whether the person gets to vote or not - that's "democracy". Notice all the examples in the OP are about schools (an elite private one, at that), and universities and groups inside them.


I think you're adopting a narrow understanding of "democracy". Issues in social convivence, particularly the (in?)ability to solve conflicts, most definitely affect the functioning of democracy. That's particularly true if they lead to tribalism, populism and/or polarization - all of which contribute to political dysfunction. Identity politics itself can be a problem: It is neither good nor bad per se, the issue is when it becomes exacerbated and everything suddenly seems to revolve about certain identity categories, and this begins to affect both our analysis of reality and convivence.

For instance, identity politics should not play a major role in issues like how to deal with the pandemic or climate change and perhaps it would not have 30 or 40 years ago since the key criteria would be based on scientific evidence and a cost-benefit analysis for society as a whole of each measure rather than how it affects each race, gender, religious group, etc - but right now the political lines around how to confront these issues seem to be quite similar to those around usual identity politics. The reason for this is that Western societies (particularly, but not only, the USA) are way more divided than usual and people seem to be more concerned about sorting into teams than actually solving the problem at hand.
#15149837
wat0n wrote:I think you're adopting a narrow understanding of "democracy".

Well, I was the first to use the word in this thread, so I do have some right to use the narrow understanding. :D

Issues in social convivence, particularly the (in?)ability to solve conflicts, most definitely affect the functioning of democracy. That's particularly true if they lead to tribalism, populism and/or polarization - all of which contribute to political dysfunction.

They may affect them a little; but compared to, say, China preventing democracy in Hong Kong by force, and locking up its opponents, the 'convivence' in a western university is irrelevant.

Identity politics itself can be a problem: It is neither good nor bad per se, the issue is when it becomes exacerbated and everything suddenly seems to revolve about certain identity categories, and this begins to affect both our analysis of reality and convivence.

For instance, identity politics should not play a major role in issues like how to deal with the pandemic or climate change and perhaps it would not have 30 or 40 years ago since the key criteria would be based on scientific evidence and a cost-benefit analysis for society as a whole of each measure rather than how it affects each race, gender, religious group, etc - but right now the political lines around how to confront these issues seem to be quite similar to those around usual identity politics. The reason for this is that Western societies (particularly, but not only, the USA) are way more divided than usual and people seem to be more concerned about sorting into teams than actually solving the problem at hand.

I largely agree with that; which is why I think "our collective political energies will very likely focus on the new frontier of Identity Politics, Cancel Culture and the debate surrounding Freedom of Speech" is a bad idea. I don't, however, think that the examples in the OP about schools and universities have much to do with the people for whom the pandemic or climate change have become a matter of identity politics. That is grown-up right wing politicians talking bollocks about how masks are an attempt to restrict freedom, or that climate change is a hoax designed by climate scientists to give them a job, that restricts upstanding fossil fuel companies from their right to profit and pollute.

I don't think that even if you make universities, by law or by other pressure, have a more diverse discussion and spread of views, in faculty or student body, on group identity, economics, or anything, it will have any effect at all on what excuses right wing politicians give for ignoring climate change. Or on what they want to do about poverty.
#15149843
Freedom of thought kinda helps with thing like democracy or global projects, because it's important for people to communicate to solve difficult tasks. Totalitarian regimes love to destroy people's ability to communicate (in this case in the form of ostracism) because uprising against tyranny is exactly one of these things that require communication.

...So yeah, feel free to fight climate change till hong weibing come to kill you for a totally wrong and not politically mature way to approach this.
#15149846
Prosthetic Conscience wrote:Well, I was the first to use the word in this thread, so I do have some right to use the narrow understanding. :D


Fair point :)

Prosthetic Conscience wrote:They may affect them a little; but compared to, say, China preventing democracy in Hong Kong by force, and locking up its opponents, the 'convivence' in a western university is irrelevant.


I agree, although I think this thread is centered on Western politics. Furthermore, realistically speaking, can anyone stop China? I know it may be harsh for some posters, but I don't see how can China be stopped in HK. I would say a more realistic goal would be to contain it so it doesn't pull this in places like Taiwan.

Prosthetic Conscience wrote:I largely agree with that; which is why I think "our collective political energies will very likely focus on the new frontier of Identity Politics, Cancel Culture and the debate surrounding Freedom of Speech" is a bad idea. I don't, however, think that the examples in the OP about schools and universities have much to do with the people for whom the pandemic or climate change have become a matter of identity politics. That is grown-up right wing politicians talking bollocks about how masks are an attempt to restrict freedom, or that climate change is a hoax designed by climate scientists to give them a job, that restricts upstanding fossil fuel companies from their right to profit and pollute.

I don't think that even if you make universities, by law or by other pressure, have a more diverse discussion and spread of views, in faculty or student body, on group identity, economics, or anything, it will have any effect at all on what excuses right wing politicians give for ignoring climate change. Or on what they want to do about poverty.


Right, what's happening at universities is a symptom of a wider (problematic) phenomenon. An early one at that.

Perhaps a more interesting question would be if this is actually a new thing or not. I would say not, things like this have already happened in the contemporary West. McCarthyism in the US would be a good precedent, for example, and a mild one at that. The political divisions in inter-war Europe would also be a good precedent, and a much more serious one at that.

For all its problems, I still see the current divisions as being more like McCarthyism than the disaster in European politics in the 1920s and 1930s.
#15149849
The Eton case mentioned in the OP seems to have nothing to do with cancel culture. There was no movement to have the teacher fired.

He was fired because he repeatedly refused to take down a video that could have created legal problems for the university. It was the lawyers for the university that decided to fire him.

His video was apparently a justification for sexism based on biology, and since sexism is identity politics, this is about identity politics.
#15149850
late wrote:Another analogy worth looking at would be our slide towards Civil War.


I guess, but I don't think anyone has been caned to almost death in Congress or that there has been open warfare in Kansas (yet? This is what I want to avoid when I say I want a strong government response to the pursuit of politics through other means). The slide towards the US Civil War would be more like the slide into WWII in Europe I think.

This is despite what happened at the Capitol - the first red scare (McCarthyism was a feature of the second one) had bombings in Wall Street, for instance.
#15149851
Shortly after the courts struck down broadcast standards, we got Rush Limbaugh, and the era of propaganda, which has morphed into an era of brainwashing.

Democracy cannot survive this toxic atmosphere indefinitely. I would think recent events demonstrated that.

We need an effective way to combat toxic lies.

Or else.
#15149852
There was a movement to keep the teacher of Eton in employment as his lecture did not contain anything sexist. The new Headmaster who is trying to rebrand Eton as "woke", eventually said: "I am firing you because you did not follow my orders to take the video down".

The video is still there and republished across all British media, and no legal action has been warranted.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 21
Atheism is Evil

People and society is a very convenient thing to […]

Instead of distracting from the EU's vaccine nati[…]

The Wuhan virus—how are we doing?

@Pants-of-dog , funny how you haven't been able […]

Undocumented Aliens and Crime

How exactly was it an error? He had been ordered […]