An Example Of Dystopian Leftist Culture

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Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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167 Responses

  1. Avatar Slade the Leveller
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    says:

    There was some kerfuffle on Twitter over the whole “sexual preference” thing. I pointed out that dictionaries are edited all the time, and now that we can see it in real time people are up in arms. The English language is a beautiful, ever-changing thing,Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Slade the Leveller
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      says:

      You described the English language is “beautiful”, which is morally offense because it reflects the juggernaut of unfair social pressure to value people based on their perceived physical attractiveness, which is something beyond the victim’s control. What kind of monster are you?!Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Slade the Leveller
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      says:

      Yes, it changes, but the point Jaybird is making is that when the changes come so fast and furiously that only those who are/can afford to be perpetually online and woke can leverage the changes to maintain social position.

      And that’s kinda the point being made, that his progressive dystopia is one where change is driven with a social whip by a small subset of society in the name of liberty and equality, but only using the definition of liberty and equality that the people holding the whip find acceptable today.*

      * Subject to change without notice.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        You used the word “dystopia”, which was coined by John Steward Mill based on a root from Jonathan Swift. Both are white Eurocentric colonialists and economic and social theorists who used their positions of privilege to control world discourse and thought to favor white European males. The very term “dystopian” is offensive and heavily loaded to favor Western capitalism at the expense of progressive societies like Cuba, North Korea, and Venezuela. What are you, some kind of monster?! Check your privilege!

        What’s going on is essentially a parlor game like Charades, Twenty Questions, or Fictionary (probably most accurate parallel). Each player picks a word from the previous person’s reply, cleverly spins it as a highly offense of problematic term, and then uses it to launch a devastating attack on their character.

        It’s fun for the whole family!

        Unless of course someone takes it seriously.Report

      • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        That’s lovely point, but it’s a gross misinterpretation of what happened, which I alluded to (apparently to vaguely) with my real time editing reference. Just because we see the change being made it doesn’t mean that the change hadn’t been building for years.

        I’ll always defer to how a particular subset of the population wishes to characterize itself. Remember when Asian people were referred to as Orientals? That definition remains in the dictionary with the offensive tag, just as sexual preference has now become in the dictionary.

        I remain unimpressed by the argument that this is akin to the French renaming the calendar. It’s not “woke” or “too online”, it’s just common courtesy.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Slade the Leveller
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          says:

          The gay man stroked her pussy and ejaculated-:”I object to words changing their meanings!”Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Slade the Leveller
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          says:

          I have yet to encounter anyone, prior to Hirono, who’d suggested that “sexual preference” was offensive. No other dictionaries have noticed any change, even the Urban Dictionary. Hirono just made that up on the spot.Report

          • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to George Turner
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            says:

            GLAAD’s Media Reference Guide has proscribed “sexual preference” since 2010 (the earliest archived version of that page) or earlier, so Hirono didn’t just make it up on the spot, but there’s never been anything like a consensus on the point, as evidenced by the numerous examples of gay people and straight allies using the term that were found in the wake up the kerfuffle.

            The claim that the term “sexual preference” is typically used to imply that sexual orientation is a choice and/or malleable is as far as I can tell simply wrong, as I was able to find dozens of examples of the term being used neutrally, but unable to find a single instance of the term being used to suggest that homosexuality is a choice or malleable. The most prominent example I could find of a conservative using the term was Marco Rubio, in 2014, saying that he does not believe that “sexual preference” is a choice.

            Furthermore, the whole idea is totally illogical. A person typically changes orientation hundreds or thousands of times per day, but only rarely changes preferences. “Orientation” in fact implies a much greater degree of choice and malleability than “preference.”

            All of which is to say that I find Mazie Hirono’s use of the homophobic term “sexual orientation” to imply that sexual preferences are a matter of choice to be unspeakably vile.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Slade the Leveller
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          says:

          I thought we were talking about a hypothetical leftist dystopian society. You know, bad behavior taken to an extreme but socially acceptable.

          Kind of like how we could have a Crony Capitalist Dystopia where politically connected individuals and businesses are never allowed to fail as a business and are always saved from their poor business judgement and decisions by taxpayer funds.

          As for the whole “Sexual Preference” kerfuffle, I’ll sign on to Brandon’s comment down thread.Report

      • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        I hope no one holds it against me if I shamelessly self-promote, but I wrote a blog post about the classist nature of wokism here: https://atomicfeminist.com/2020/06/20/6019/Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Slade the Leveller
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      says:

      “I pointed out that dictionaries are edited all the time”

      this is

      I

      you’re

      you’re joking, here, right, this is meant to be satirical, right?Report

  2. Avatar Pinky
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    says:

    @MarkRuffalo
    You all, @prattprattpratt is as solid a man there is. I know him personally and instead of casting aspersions, look at how he lives his life. He is just not overtly political as a rule. This is a distraction. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize, friends. We are so close now.

    @BostonJerry
    Mark, buddy, the tell here is that you said he’s “not overtly political as a rule”.
    Being able to ignore politics *is* political, because it’s an expression of privilege AND a refusal to do your duty as a citizen in our society and recognize that we’re all in this together.

    @theprint
    This! Avoiding the topic in this day and age is not cutting it. Silence is complicity. If he doesn’t want people to see it that way, all he has to do is open his mouth and say the words.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Pinky
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      says:

      Remember when George W. Bush said, “You’re either with us, or you’re with the terrorists,” and then everyone mocked him for his simple-minded lack of nuance, inspiring this…ah…memorable scene in Star Wars?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pez_79eWSWw

      We are all Dubya now. You’re either with us, or you’re with the white supremacists. Who, by the way, are the real terrorists.Report

  3. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    says:

    I’m curious what happens to the people in this dystopia who rebel and violate the rules.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      I imagine that some of them would be given social sanctions and others would be ignored and outside viewers wouldn’t really be able to tell how it was decided that which was which because the rules are so very capricious from moment to moment and you can’t really tell which is a broken rule that gets overlooked and which is a broken rule that goes viral.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        I’m thinking of stories like Dangerous Liaisons, Age of Innocence, House of Mirth, or any one of those period pieces about the manners and mores of pre-modern societies.

        One of the constant themes was how the intricate system of etiquette was so frequently gamed and weaponized. There were rules and structures but they were opaque and subject to invisible and shifting provisos and conditions often depending on who was holding the whip hand of power.

        One of the biggest themes in modern culture after WWI was the shattering of that set of norms, and this continued all the way through the 70s when I came of age.

        A lot of the stuff that was written and portrayed in movies and tv of that age was about how modern people could be bold and forthright and speak plainly without the fussy filter of Victorian prudery.

        That the priggish judgmental mores of our parents age would be swept away in favor of a more honest and enlightened time when people wouldn’t form social lynch mobs to force offenders to wear a scarlet letter of shame for transgressing social taboos.

        So we might ask- how’s that workin’ out for us?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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          says:

          I’m thinking of stories like Dangerous Liaisons, Age of Innocence, House of Mirth, or any one of those period pieces about the manners and mores of pre-modern societies.

          Why would you be thinking of those when the question specifically asked for leftist dystopias?Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels
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          says:

          What makes you think the Leftist dystopia isn’t revanchist?Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine
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            says:

            Thank you for getting it.

            Yes, the modernist dream of somehow escaping the gravity of human nature has (IMO) failed.

            No matter how much our mores evolve and change, humans still behave as they pretty much always have, with various degrees of kindness and cruelty, nobility and knavery.

            I expect any leftist society would include newly-freed gay and transgender people clamoring for the ability to join exclusive clubs which sneer at the lesser people. And it would develop new forms of social classes and boundaries which separate them because, well, that’s how the human animal rolls doesn’t it?

            Consider what a rebellion to Jaybird’s imagined dystopia would be. What would its rallying cry be, what ideas would it promote?

            Maybe, “Individuality”? “Nonconformism”? “Freedom from priggish speech police”?

            Wouldn’t this be remarkably similar to the 1960s counterculture warriors, like the Berkeley Free Speech movement?

            *Soft patter of bongos, with jazz saxophone*
            “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by PC madness…”Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels
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              says:

              The past attempts at creating a leftist society, albeit not in a social justice international framework, tended to become very conformist and brutal places because humans couldn’t be reworked into the New Soviet or New Maost Person. I’m suspecting that a social justice left dystopia would be something like Communism at it’s worse but with a different sociological focus than the working classes. They will find that humans can’t be exact New Social Justice People 24/7 and would resort to pressures to get people to conform.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to LeeEsq
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                says:

                The criticisms of “Wokeness” being a new religion, one which is aggressively evangelical in its fervent desire for converts and conformity inevitably leads to the subject of the Ur-Wokeness which is Christianity and its 2000 year campaign of correctness and cancel culture.

                My point is that social conformity has always existed and always will and we should accept that, but strive to channel it and curb its excesses.

                Which is why I asked, “What happens to the rebels?”

                The difference between a healthy society and a dystopian one is the difference between how narrow or broad the boundaries are, and whether enforcement uses simple scorn or violence.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                This might just reflect online communication styles but there seems to be a big movement to doctrinaire thought among social justice circles. Everything needs to conform or it is bad.Report

            • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels
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              says:

              Sure… I suppose the leftist dystopia, then, might be calling a bug a feature. Or, becoming so deterministic that we are ‘only’ our bugs. I think that’s kinda the point.

              There’s no good, only power.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                “Or, becoming so deterministic that we are ‘only’ our bugs.”

                As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into an internet troll…Report

  4. Avatar CJColucci
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    says:

    A leftist dystopia that sounds suspiciously like a somewhat accelerated version of life as it has always been, with a few tech wrinkles. And largely aesthetic in its focus.
    Most dystopias I have read about or seen have a lot more meat on them than this. And matter a lot more to the unfortunate residents.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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      says:

      I could add some stuff about what policing would be like in this progressive society, if you want.

      And what strange obstacles get placed in front of people arguing for reform.

      We could discuss what trade would look like under this progressive society. What Capital looks like. That sort of thing.

      If you want more meat on the skeleton provided above, I assure you, there are no vegetarians here.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        In the leftist social utopia of New York today, Jews were being violently attacked by left-wing utopians. Fortunately New York has lots of nice Jewish hospitals where they can be treated for injuries, assuming they’re not ambushed outside the ER.Report

      • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Please proceed.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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          says:

          Eh, this dystopia would have stuff like “police being expected to do everything from social work to SWAT” and them engaging in officer-involved violence for the social work far more often than you’d think would be warranted. Speaking of warrants, they’d falsify a surprising number of those with the help of the judiciary. Police unions would not only argue for such things as “more vacation/sick days” and “more money” but that the officers present at the officer-involved violence for the social work should not lose their jobs.

          People in this dystopia who research whether these aforementioned result in more officer-involved misbehavior will suddenly find themselves having to defend Research Theory. Not that officer-involved misbehavior is bad, oh no… just that Research is very difficult to understand and reading is hard. This will be spun as “intellectual humility”.

          This dystopia will also have Capital hiring people who are adept at doing the Pop Culture Moral Dance and we’d see appeals to the latest and greatest Pop Culture Moral Moments by corporations acting poorly, and people who argue that the corporations should spend more time not acting poorly will be attacked for not appreciating how important Pop Culture Moral Moments are.

          That sort of thing.Report

          • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            I thought the subject was “leftist dystopia.” And I thought that was supposed to be some kind of serious threat. Particularly a “leftist” and “dystopian” threat. I thought wrong.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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              says:

              Well, I was using what Chip asked for. I’ll quote him again.

              “A couple of times on this site, I have invited conservatives to paint a picture of what a dystopian leftist America would look like.”

              If you want me to keep adding details like “4.4 percent of the world’s population, it houses around 22 percent of the world’s prisoners” with the added wrinkle of “progressives keep calling for more LGBTQ+ guards”, I’d be able to do so…

              But I was dealing with the question that Chip asked, not the one that you were hoping that I’d answer.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Chip can weigh in on whether you answered his question. I don’t think so, and since I’ve often asked the very same question myself, I think I am in as good a position to say, but Chip can speak for himself.
                The rest of us can address the quality, rather than the responsiveness, of the answer. What you have been describing, and what you say you can add to your description when pressed, is either not “leftist” or not “dystopian,” depending on which features of Donald Trump’s America you care to point out.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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                says:

                The worst part? The next time Chip says “A couple of times on this site, I have invited conservatives to paint a picture of what a dystopian leftist America would look like”, I’m going to link to this essay.

                And we can argue all over again.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Sure beats writing something worth arguing about. Maybe folks won’t take the bait next time.Report

              • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to CJColucci
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                says:

                I fell for it, sadly. I’ve been following this blog for 10+ years, and this is the first post I’ve read that is utterly without value.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Slade the Leveller
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                says:

                The best part of the posts have always been the comments, if you ask me.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Well, since you asked, I’ll say that yes you answered my question.

                That is, I said before that most conservatives respond to my question with one of two responses:

                #1, where they spin a horrifying but wildly implausible tale of gay re-education camps and forced abortions;
                Or
                #2, where they imagine a world of mild discomfort for people who hold conservative opinions.

                This is #2.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Oh, yeah. I wouldn’t suggest something like East Germany or the USSR or stuff that actually existed. (Those were really, really Conservative dystopias anyway.)

                The Lefty Dystopias are worlds that are post-scarcity and yet people are still massively unhappy. Some people, anyway. Losers.Report

  5. Avatar superdestroyer
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    says:

    This is just another example of the “Sit down, shut up, and do as one is told” type of dystopia. That there will be some standards that are not written, constantly changing, and unevenly applied that can get people fired, expelled from school, silenced, shunned, etc. All the effort will be on getting control of the ability to set standards while also exempting oneself from the standards.Report

  6. Avatar Marchmaine
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    says:

    I like this as an illustrative aspect. I’d also suggest that a real dystopia would have bi-directional influence in that someone whom we admired as a fantastic Mr. Smith does something that causes us to decide that “Mr. Smith” is bad too… which impacts other people leading very good Mr. Smith lives. So we don’t re-define that person as an Alex… we question the choices of all the people we commended for being Smiths. The point isn’t to be a Mr. Smith it’s always to be in the right group. The group? Which group? That’s always in flux.Report

  7. Avatar Kristin Devine
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    says:

    But it would be the REPUBLICAN’S fault, because if only the progressives didn’t constantly have to react to what the REPUBLICANS were doing, they would have had the time and energy to create a Ministry of Culture that would surely elevate the interests of the populace above the crass and lowbrow interests like Angry Birds and Justin Bieber’s peen pics. Despite the fact that the progressives in this dystopia are completely in charge of art, Hollywood, and media and have been for the better part of a century, they have no responsibility at all whatsoever for the dystopia no not at all nu-uh none whatsoever.Report

  8. Avatar InMD
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    says:

    Jay, I commend the effort but I think the essay is incomplete. At the end of the day a bunch of rich celebrities censuring other rich celebrities over arcane, bastardized, and ever changing versions of academic theory isn’t really dystopian. That’s just fashion.

    The real dystopia is when the fashion attaches to corporate and regulatory power, resulting in Freddie deBoer’s ‘Planet of Cops’ scenario for everyone, writ large.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to InMD
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      says:

      I agree, cheerfully. (When I spoke to the editors about this post, I specifically said that it wasn’t a big real post but it wasn’t Ten Second News either. Remember when we had a sidebar? It’s a sidebar post.)Report

  9. Avatar Aaron David
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    says:

    There is an old shaggy-dog joke that goes something like this:

    A man dies, and an elevator opens up right in front of him, so he gets on it. Well, it goes down, and not up.
    And when it reaches the bottom and opens, the Devil is sitting right there, waiting. “Ah, Mr. Jones, you’re late. Come this way.” So. they go down a hall and enter a little room. And it this room is a large screen tv, thousands of DVD’s, vinyl records and an awesome stereo. “Make yourself comfortable, Mr. Jones and I will be back in a short while to check on you.”

    Well, Mr. Jones thinks to himself “Huh, not what I expected. This might not be too bad!” And goes to pick Star Wars from the rack. Well, when he pops it in the player, that copy doesn’t work. Won’t play. So, he fusses with a couple of controls on the system before selecting another film. And the same thing happens. But now there is a scratchy, whiny sound coming from the speakers, along with a knock at the door.

    Opening the door a crack, in burst two old people carrying a vintage slide projector and screen. Non-stop low-level chattering comes from the couple explaining that they just had to show him all 5000 slides from their trip to the largest ball of twine, and how they stopped at aunt Buffa’s place to look at her goiter (and took another 5000 slides of that, you have just gotta see it to believe!) All of which overwhelms Mr. Jones, who still has no idea what caused the elevator to go down and not up, but when he tries the door to see if he can at least go down the hall to use the restroom to get away from all this, he is standing right in front of the Devil once again.

    “A word, Mr. Jones.” And quiet comes over the room. “Well, what do you think of your hell?”

    “It’s grating, the people are awful, it’s boring and there is no bathroom.” And the Devil smiles and turns to leave.

    “One question though, if this is hell, what is heaven like?”

    Walking away, the Devil responds “Oh, it’s the same thing. Those people just like it.”

    ****************************

    All of which is to say, the people who think they are the righteous, and there are more than a few in the comments here, cannot imagine a liberal dystopia. They can only see heaven in this oppression.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Aaron David
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      There’s a wonderful scene in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen where, after the Baron is swallowed by the whale, he finds some of his old crew stuck in there. They’ve spent the past few decades playing gin rummy.

      Two of them get into an argument (one that they’ve obviously had a thousand times before) over whether they are in heaven or in hell.

      “This is a Dystopia!”
      “This is a Utopia!”Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Utopia: the temperature is controlled automatically and it’s always perfect.
        Dystopia: the temperature is controlled automatically, it’s always perfectly uncomfortable, it’s made this way on purpose, and the people responsible for making it this way claim that it’s all right because they’re uncomfortable too.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck
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          There are a handful of Dystopia stories that are about a person (okay, a *GUY*) who is living pretty high on the hog in a pretty nice society but he falls in love with someone from outside of his circle and this other person (okay, a *GAL*) teaches him that, hey, this is not a Utopia. It’s a *DYSTOPIA*.

          And then he dismantles it.

          (Hey, the people responsible for temp control were only *SAYING* that they were uncomfortable! Behind closed doors, they enjoyed the temps!)Report

  10. Avatar Brandon Berg
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    says:

    Personally, I find the pseudojustice wankery obnoxious, but the thing I really worry about is economic policy. I worry that the left wing of the Democratic Party is going to get hold of power, predictably shit the bed, and then manage to convince the voters that the real problem is that they haven’t lefted hard enough, leading to the kind of vicious cycle we saw in Venezuela. The cultural left is a rash; the economic left is cancer.Report

  11. Avatar Kolohe
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    says:

    Honestly Jaybird, the above is pretty weak,

    But I would ask those on the other ‘side’ from Jaybird, are any or all of the following left wing dystopias? And could they, or could they not happen in the USA?

    1) George Orwell’s 1984
    2) Terry Giiliam’s Brazil
    3) the actual real world USSR as governed from 1924 to 1991

    (It is notable that both Orwell & Gilliam have/had decidedly left leaning politics but have critiques of societies that could conceivably by construed as going too far along this line)

    (you have to cross your eyes and squint real hard to see, say, Ayn Rand doing anything close to this for her ‘side’)Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Kolohe
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      Curious with regards Brave New World?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kolohe
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      says:

      Aw, man!

      (Anyway, thank you for running with what lefty dystopias might look like. I find the whole “that’s not a dystopia, that’s a good society with a handful of malcontents!” criticism of any given dystopia to give the game away. Omelas, distributed.)Report

    • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Kolohe
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      says:

      1984–yes: and if it does happen here, it will happen because rightists want it, and not otherwise
      Brazil–never seen it: can’t say
      the actual USSR–pretty close: probably notReport

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kolohe
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      says:

      I wonder if it’d be fair to consider retroleftism “conservative”.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Kolohe
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      says:

      This is a terrific question.

      I was a Reagan conservative when I watched Brazil, and its mad Python-esque bureaucracy made me think of the Soviet Union.
      But as I got older and read first Kafka then Orwell and then real life stories of life in Chile or Argentina or Guatemala I realized that leftist and rightist dystopias were essentially the same with just different uniforms and paint jobs.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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        says:

        That’s because a dystopia is never about the ideology, but the power and who is wielding it. All the ideology does is inform how the power is wielded, and by whom.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon
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          I would strongly disagree. The ideology is often the problem. When the Soviet Union was collapsing, the East Bloc broke free of them and dropped communism. The result is modern East Germany (now just regular Germany), Poland, etc. But in many cases, these now free, capitalist countries were run by the same group of people who’d been in charge under communism, and they’re still all run by people who grew up under communism. They just don’t do communism anymore.

          What Chip noted in Latin America is that they’re not actually choosing between socialism and capitalism as we understand the terms, they’re choosing between different ruling families. Which ever they chose, they still just got more dysfunctional mercantilism, where everyone still had to bribe a bunch of government ministries for permission to own a house or run a business. The governments were still treating competition as bad, viewing the right to run something like a soap business as an exclusive grant of privilege. They never got a free market, and all they could do is change the names on the desks in the ministries that over-regulated everything. As Hernando de Soto noted, “A fox and a wolf are very different, but to the chicken, they are the same.”

          But now many Latin American countries are opening their markets up and moving away from the old government models.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner
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            says:

            Nice story, but utterly fails to draw the line you think you are drawing.

            The thing to look for is the surrendering and dilution/diffusion of power. Dropping communism and moving towards open markets requires that those in power give up a large amount of the power and allow it to diffuse back to the population as a whole.

            Now, there are ideologies that lend themselves to the fashioning of dystopian societies, but at the end of the day, the ideology, whatever flavor it is, is practiced in service to the consolidation of power.

            Hell, even our lovely, free, capitalist democracy is far too often merely a veneer to consolidate power, with money and votes being used to legitimize that consolidation.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon
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              says:

              But giving up all that government power was the result of abandoning an ideology that said the government should have all the power. Their ideology, like the two other mid-20th century “isms”, where forms of statism, thinking that an informed set of experts could make all the decisions and control all the levers, plus a bunch of other nonsense that comes from Marxist thought.

              Once we crushed the ideology of German national socialism, the West Germans were fine. We paid former baddies to run our space program. Minus the nuts at the top, the former junior ideologs went on to lead the country, even in the military, because their ideology was dead. East Germany, unfortunately, got more statist ideology heaped upon them.

              We didn’t even bother purging Italy, just made the remnants of its ruling party rebrand itself after a while, because as soon as Mussolini was arrested, the Italians celebrated and threw away all the Fascist symbols. We left Mussolini’s replacement, a loyal Fascist, in charge for nine months after they’d switched sides and declared war on Germany, because the ideology was gone. He was replaced when Italy had new elections.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                And what is the common thread (hint, it’s not ideology)Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                Grey or brown uniforms?

                Often the same power-mad people stayed in power, with former communist rulers getting elected in Eastern Europe and some of the breakaway Republics. Many of them got extremely rich, and are now Russian oligarchs who pay the Bidens millions of dollars just to launder their money.

                Yet without the communist ideology, Russia is a vastly different place. Even the people in the countryside are starting to get indoor toilets, which were not needed under communism because reasons.

                Workers no longer have to wait ten or twenty years to buy a car. People can live and work where they want. They don’t have to worry about getting shot in the back of the head for failing to meet the factory’s production quota. Their children no longer rat them out and send them to the gulag.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                All of that is because the people in power started allowing some of that power to diffuse to the people.

                Let me put it this way. Most ideologies involve an element of people collectively doing “the right thing” (for various values of ‘right’). When people revert back to being human and refuse to do said ‘right’ thing, the ideology has a choice: admit failure, or try to force people to do the ‘right’ thing.

                Using force to demand behavior to do the ‘right’ thing is where it typically goes off the rails.

                Now, the free market ideology doesn’t have a ‘right’ thing, per se. It has some bad things it needs to guard against, like capture and rent seeking and monopolies, but it’s not trying to force anyone to do anything. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t devolve to a dystopia of corporatist/oligarch/crony variety.

                The defining feature of a dystopia is, IMHO, that any sense of Noblesse Oblige is purged and the population exists to serve the needs and whims of the powerful.

                Speaking of Noblesse Oblige, it’s a nice idea, but it suffers from an enforcement problem, in that there is never a good way to enforce the elite to behave that way. Or at the very least, there is never a good way to remove those who abuse their position. There might be, at the start, but eventually, the elite will game things so that they can not be held to account.

                It’s really just a question of which elite are in control of the game.Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to Oscar Gordon
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          says:

          That sir is quote of the week material right there.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kolohe
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      says:

      I didn’t see the dystopia in Brazil as inherently left or really right. It seemed to be a generic totalitarian government without much of any ideological beliefs. Using Communism as a leftist dystopia is also difficult because while you had Stalinism, Maoism, and the Khmer Rogue, a lot of communist dictatorships were just awful in an ordinary way rather than an extraordinary way like the USSR after Stalin died or many of the Eastern Bloc countries.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        They weren’t also actually Communist in terms of how they operated. Just like Venezuela isn’t actually socialist in how it operates.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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          says:

          I admit to not being crazy about that particular observation.

          Say what you will about Capitalism, trying to do it and failing has a wide range of results and some of the best ones have scaled really well among diverse peoples and have resulted in overweight poor people and XBoxes and dystopias that are best described as “Existentially Hellish”.

          The attempts to do Communism/Socialism that failed have a much narrower range of results and the most successful ones have much less cultural diversity and don’t seem to scale very well at all.

          I mean, if we’re looking at real-world potential upsides of the ones that went for it and failed anyway.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            I think the Leftist critique of modern capitalism is that the creature goods provided by capitalism operate something like the shadows of the cave in Plato’s Republic. They might keep people entertained but they don’t free them. Liberals and leftists would also point out to the inability to develop affordable capitalist healthcare as a failure of capitalism or the housing issues.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
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              says:

              Sure, but the whole “you’re eating, but you’re not eating *NUTRITIOUS* food!” is one of those criticisms that has existed for spiritual food for millennia.

              Periodically, a group of people come along who argue that we should make sure that people eat the right foods and ignore bad foods and keep away from snack foods except during special times. “Busybodies”, we tend to call them.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Philip H
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          says:

          I’m not buying the, they weren’t really communist or socialist line. There have been various attempts at having a modern industrial consumer economy but without business people, corporations, and markets through out the 20th century and even the 21st century. They all failed pretty damn hard. You can’t have an economy without business people anymore than you can have politics without politicians.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Look at communism as an extension of the Czar’s rule though with very different theory and different heads at the top and rolling on the ground is clarifying. Two autocratic brutal dictatorships stretching over hundreds of years. One replaced the other but the brutality stayed. The fashion changed but the general style of rule didn’t. One was old fashioned and comfortable for many in the West. One was new and scary to many in the West. A different small group of people benefited but in the end both were systems around which one small group of people benefited and everybody could only hope to survive and be lucky.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to greginak
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          says:

          I’ve made this observation, that had the Bolshevik Revolution failed, the aristocracy would very likely have decided that what they needed was not democratic reform, but a ruthless strong despot who would crush the people and make them obey.
          Someone like Stalin in other words.

          Or to look at it another way, wasn’t Stalin, and isn’t Putin, just another Czar in all but name?
          Which is also to say, that regardless of being socialist or capitalist, the Russian people weren’t and aren’t likely to enjoy a liberal democracy anytime soon.

          Both Putin’s Russia and Xi’s China have sort of destroyed the economic determinist argument that the outcome of a society was determined by what economic system is chooses.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            Exactly. Some Czar if there is no commie stalin type would have gone full modernization/industrialization at some point with most if not all the chaos and problems that went along with it. Modern 20th industry and tech would have enabled a surveillance state and fear of a resurgent Nazi Germany in the 30’s would have lead to building up an army and paranoia. Stalin’s paranoia and ultra violence probably added to the butchers bill over what generic Czar would have done.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            Stalinist type terror or something like it requires a specific ideology to reach true terror though. A generic strong man isn’t going to come up with forced collectivization, five year plans, and even the gulags. The Czars ruled with a generally lighter hand and less terrible punishments for dissidents than the Bolshevisks did between 1918 and Stalin’s death.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to LeeEsq
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              says:

              This is very true.
              About the closest analog we have of non-Communist governments doing this is the forced resettlement and slaughter of the native populations of North America, where it wasn’t simply a confiscation of land, but a forced conversion of their religion, language, lifestyle and thinking.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            “They remembered everything and learned nothing” was said of the Bourbons and seems to be true of reactionaries in general.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to greginak
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          says:

          The Tsar wasn’t the problem, he was just the scapegoat. What angered the workers in Moscow and St Petersburg was the behavior of the freed serfs who had come to run the ribbon factories that supplied Europe, as those serfs knew both ribbon making from when they’d been serfs, and were okay with abusing their fellow serfs very brutal ways.

          The aristocracy, on the other hand, where bound by custom and social obligations to not be abusive of their positions. The serfs who remained in the fields were already socialist in their behavior and social organization, with no ownership over whatever plot they worked. Each year their village would count heads and figure out how many workers and dependents each family had, and then allocate them a scattering of plots for that year. Those plots wouldn’t be the same as the previous year, so their was never any incentive to improve the land. Nobody could get ahead, and generally any money they made got spent on vodka.Report

  12. Avatar George Turner
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    says:

    Story from a left-wing progressive who is voting for Trump because she can’t take the dystopia anymore.Report

  13. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    A brief aside: We had a bit of snowfall here in Colorado yesterday. Not a lot, by Michigan standards, but enough to close down a bunch of businesses and schools.

    A friend tells me that his kid was scheduled to go into school today but the snow is keeping him at home. That’s okay, though, because they’re doing Zoom learning instead.

    The kid is *PISSED*.

    My boss talks about what remote work has turned into. When we all went into work, we used to do stuff like “have meetings”. We’d physically get up, walk over to the meeting room, sit down, and B.S. for five minutes before the meeting properly started, then we’d have the meeting, then we’d go back to our desks and work on stuff.

    Now? We open our Skype sessions and work in a second window during the various lulls in the meeting. Let’s face it, most meetings could be an email. Now as we sit through another interminable meeting where people tell stories about the problem they encountered last week, we shift focus to another window and can get this Ansible script cranked out. We can get that procedure written. We can finish up that email we were working on.

    No more snow days. No more breaks in the middle of the meeting.

    Much more efficient than we used to be.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      The 15 hour workweek is just that much closer!Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      Most meetings could be an email has been my mantra for about 10 years.

      Like a lot of things, the modern workplace (and to some extent modern education) are built on serving the needs of the slight majority of extroverts in the world. They need the interactive energy, ad while Zoom take a layer or two off the top (just ask my Extremely Extroverted wife)., its still better then sitting behind the keyboard and just typing.

      As an introvert, I’ve never been more relaxed in my work environment before the Pandemic – and that has increased my productivity more then anything else..Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Philip H
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        says:

        It’s generational as well as cultural. Now that we’ve got people working well into their 70s there are a lot of top execs who don’t believe employees will work without someone looking over their shoulders. Of course I think most of them don’t realize just how little someone can get away with doing in a big corporate office.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Philip H
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        says:

        Most meetings could be an email has been my mantra for about 10 years.

        Most meetings don’t need to be held at all.

        Document comment threads that go back and forth and never get resolved need to be meetings.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      “No more snow days.”

      I would seriously disagree. This whole “work on zoom” paradigm has been one long, interminable snow day. For the chattering class. Not, mind you, the people who deliver our food, chop our brisket, make our masks, pack our Blue Apron, and so on.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      On LGM, the commentators saw the movement to get rid of snow days and replace them with zoom classes as part of the neo-liberal capitalist regime to get rid of all inefficiencies. There are people across the political spectrum that don’t like inefficiencies like snow days or do nothing days at work. They see them as wasteful. The entire point is for ever more productivity.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        On the twitters, one of the people I follow tweeted out something to the effect of “The 9 year old asked if we could play D&D as a family today instead of going to school. I wish I could have said yes.”

        And I didn’t respond but I wanted to say “you should have!”

        I mean, the kid isn’t likely to remember today next month and he sure as hell ain’t gonna remember it next year.

        But if everybody played D&D instead of going to school? That’d be something that they could talk about when the kid was 30.

        But I didn’t want to come across as critical because, hey. I don’t know the whole story. Maybe Dad doesn’t have sick/vacation days. Maybe Mom doesn’t. Maybe the kiddos all have to go to school and the boy just wanted to goof off and, hey, we all have responsibilities.

        But it would have been a brightly colored memory instead of just another greyday in a greyyear.

        Ah, well. At least it wasn’t inefficient.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          There might be a level of technology where things become too efficient and this results in a dehumanizing effect by cancelling out the special memories created by the inefficiencies. By all accounts, the classic snow day is inefficient because time that could be spent productively ends up not happening. If you don’t really place much value on special memories than getting rid of the inefficiency for more learning seems a more conductive use of time.Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to LeeEsq
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            says:

            The real question is to whom do we allocate the benefits of the improved efficiency. It doesn’t have to follow that the benefit can’t go to the child/families in a form of free time elsewhere. The fact that we can fairly assume it won’t is the rub, and an example of what ails us.Report

            • Avatar Philip H in reply to InMD
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              says:

              These days the answer seems to be the rich corporatists running companies – mostly boards and CEOs who remove that benefit in the form of ill-named “Rents.” So there is no economic feedback to the folks making the efficiency strides, except for job losses via outsourcing and automation.Report

  14. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a clerk saying ‘Happy Holidays’ to a human face— forever. ”Report

  15. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    Well at least you finally admitted to being right-wing.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      Why, I’m someone who still has the viewpoints that were considered “progressive” in 1990.

      You wouldn’t *BELIEVE* how reactionary that shit is in 2020.

      I mean, I’m old enough to remember when “sexual preference” was considered the progressive way to look at homosexuality!Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        I’m old enough to remember when DADT was considered a good thing. (It was an improvement over the status quo.)Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Beliefs and commonly used words changing over the course of 30 years sounds a lot like pretty damn normal passage of time in the last 100+ years.

        How many “i’m old enough to remembers” can we do. Remember when a lot of gay people were afraid to be open and out. I do. Remember when a lot of racial/ethnic slurs were considered fine and dandy to use. Yes yes i know there are uptight jerks now who language police. Always have been uptight jerks. On the whole seems a lot better now.Report

        • Avatar CJColucci in reply to greginak
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          says:

          I’m always annoyed when people young enough to be my kids pull out the “old enough to remember” card. My grand-niece, a pre-med sophomore, is taking a course on the culture wars. It is being taught as history. I picked up one of the readings, a dense, judicious, heavily-footnoted account of things I remember vividly, but as far away from current events as WWII was when I was a sophomore.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to CJColucci
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            says:

            I’ll take you seriously and assume you don’t get that “old enough to remember” is a joke about how the thing in question just happened, like, a week or two ago

            I mean, maybe you’re gonna pull the “I didn’t see it and you can’t make me” card again, but there were many, many examples found of people or organizations talking approvingly of sexual preference and how only disgusting horrible conservative Handmaidens would ever question its expression, and then shortly afterward — like, sometimes less than a week afterward — taking a Strong Principled Stance that “sexual preference” was a disgusting thing only horrible conservative Handmaidens would say…Report

            • Avatar CJColucci in reply to DensityDuck
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              says:

              I won’t make the mistake of taking you seriously. I was responding to greginak, not Jaybird, who was referring to things much older than the “sexual preference” thing that was the basis of Jaybird’s joke, such as it was. Reading comprehension still needs work.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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          says:

          Remember when a lot of gay people were afraid to be open and out. I do.

          I do!

          One of the arguments for them being normalized was that it was just their sexual preference and people who were opposed to different people having different sexual preferences were bigots!

          Why, the *MORAL* position was to recognize that there were many sexual preferences and the important thing was that two people loved each other (or, at least, *LIKED* each other) and respected each other and not some weird sibboleth from some ancient group of assumptions that our grandparents had.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            Its often forgotten that through the 60s 70s and 80s, gay people themselves had fierce debates about their own sexuality and how it should fit in with the rest of society.

            There were proponents of homosexuality who wanted it to be an outlaw status, something which was intrinsically a critique of hetero norms and who saw any attempts to normalize it as a sort of betrayal.

            Over time, I’ve grown increasingly suspicious of the idea that there is a fixed morality which must be adhered to without variance.

            It seems like it comes from a place where morality is externally applied to us, like a deity or cleric handing down The Law. As opposed to something that we collectively discover through argument and reason.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels
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              says:

              During my high schools in the 1990s, Bill Mahr had a guest, I forgot who, who argued just that. That homosexuality should be an outlaw status that challenges and ultimately destroys heterosexual norms. When Andrew Sullivan wrote that homosexuals should have the right to marry in 1989 he had fierce critics in the LGBT community because they wanted to destroy all marriage.

              The problem with the homosexuality as a critique of heteronormativity is that it has big problems of scale.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            And now the complaint is about a words definition being changed over time. Sold!!! This is absolute progress. Solid win for liberty and freedom. Arc of progress and all that. Good meeting everybody.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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              says:

              Greg, my complaint is not about the definition changing over time.

              It’s about the moral status of using the term evolving from “it’s the moral perspective and people who don’t agree are being immoral” to “people who hold this position are being immoral”.

              The statement that “hey, so now the complaint is that morality changes like fashion?” would be an accurate assessment of my complaint.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                If i have a point it’s that with respect to the topic of life of gay people vs people being joiks about words the current status if far far better. Go team us. There are always scolds and uptight people. That does not a dystopia make. If you only listen to the the scolds then everything is forever bad. But that doesn’t seem like the world. Now the online world is often like that but there is reason being to online is a bad thing. Onlineness often brings out the worst in people. Don’t be to online or see that as the entire world.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                So my question now is “is using the term ‘sexual preference’ evidence of bigotry?”?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Not in my eyes. YMMV. If this is the biggest issue and the worst problem then we are approaching living in the close to the best of all possible worlds. Because it’s not exactly the biggest deal nor does it effect almost anybody. If you went to non online people would they have even heard about this issue? Would they care? How many online people even care? If you give a megaphone and attention to the pickiest people you gotta know what to expect. I wouldn’t’ choose to do that but its a free country.

                As Chip notes below what is considered moral sure as hell changes. Always has, always will.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                What is wrong with morality changing?

                Morality is really just a set of codes about how people treat each other.
                And how people wish to be treated, itself changes and evolves over time.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                There is nothing wrong with morality changing.

                Hell, there is nothing wrong with morality being nothing more than a social construct, like gender.

                It might have the downside of the term “immoral” being weird and outdated and evidence of closed-mindedness… you know. Unfashionable.

                And if morality changes like fashion, then… well, yay multiculturalism.

                What’s wrong with tastes changing? Nothing.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to greginak
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          says:

          Exactly. The dystopia would have beliefs and definitions changing on much, much smaller time scales, or in ways that are very obscure (think; everything is a dog whistle).Report

  16. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    There’s another phenomenon that feels adjacent.

    When I took one of those ethics classes in college back in 1991, the professor was a quintessential ethics professor from 1991. Wire spectacles, suede elbows on his tweed jacket, older than home radio receivers. He told us that when he was a kid, the term for people with Trisomy-21 (it was an umbrella term for all kinds of afflictions but Trisomy-21 was among them) was “moron”. It was a medical term. He says that he remembered when the official term became “Mongoloid” and then “Retarded” and, in 1991 anyway, the proper term was “Down Syndrome”. Now, of course, we know that Trisomy-21 is the proper way to describe the condition.

    The old term picked up a great deal of baggage and a new term came into use because it was intended to be precise without the old baggage.

    For one reason or another, the new term picked up baggage pretty quickly, necessitating new terms.

    Which seems different than what happened with “Sexual Preference”.Report

  17. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    says:

    Do people not understand the point of the post? That Jaybird is not saying we live in a leftist dystopia, but what a hypothetical leftist dystopia might look like.

    Take this quote from greginak:

    There are always scolds and uptight people. That does not a dystopia make. If you only listen to the the scolds then everything is forever bad. But that doesn’t seem like the world.

    Really, no shite?

    Of course that does not make a dystopia. The dystopia is when the moral scolds achieve sufficient power as to enforce their morality upon everyone else through the force of law/power of the state. Hell, even rigid social norms lack the characteristic of a dystopia without some kind of over-arching enforcement.

    Or think of it this way, right now we are, hopefully, coming out of a recreational drug dystopia. A handful of moral scolds were able to leverage the power of the state to enforce a near total ban on all drugs except alcohol and tobacco, and the state was empowered to enforce that ban with methods and tactics that are considered unacceptable for almost any other kind of criminal activity. Almost all of us came of age living in a drug war dystopia.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      says:

      In this imagined dystopia, they DON’T have the power of the state.

      When I asked what happens to those who disobey, the answer was something along the lines of well, they get scolded on Twitter and become unpopular.

      The state in this essay doesn’t execute anyone, put anyone in prison, or even confiscate their property.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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        says:

        The answer was something along the lines of “I imagine that some of them would be given social sanctions and others would be ignored and outside viewers wouldn’t really be able to tell how it was decided that which was which because the rules are so very capricious from moment to moment and you can’t really tell which is a broken rule that gets overlooked and which is a broken rule that goes viral.”

        What happens to the people who disobey? Some of them become deeply miserable at the agency of the society.

        Some of them have their disobedience ignored.

        Hell, I imagine that some of them even have their disobedience *REWARDED*.

        And there’s no identifiable set of meta-rules that will tell you what’s likely to happen when Person A says what Person B said yesterday.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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        says:

        Then it’s not really a dystopia, more of a “in this direction, a dystopia lies”. Soft power, as annoying as it is, is still soft, and more often than not, fleeting. As annoying as our current versions of such people are, they still lack that key element.

        Not for lack of trying. They seem to want that kind of power on campuses, and in private organizations, and one would suspect that if given the opportunity, they would reach for the power of the state. So I would not simply dismiss them, as people who are so eager to exercise such power in small ways are always eager to try and exercise it in big ways.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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          says:

          Its more of “In this direction, 19th century priggishness lies.”

          Like I mentioned upthread, until after WWI or so, the actual lived reality of America was a more stern, more restricted version of Jaybird’s imagined dystopia.

          Even within my lifetime, Lenny Bruce was literally arrested for saying forbidden words. A publisher could be arrested for printing or selling Tropic of Cancer.

          Not scolded on Twitter, but actually placed in handcuffs and taken to jail.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
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          says:

          “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it.”

          This is as true today for “offensive” as it was yesterday for “obscene”.

          And it’ll be even truer tomorrow.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      says:

      I’ll be the first to say that some of us *DO* live in a leftist dystopia. Some of us live in a rightist one. Some of us live in a centrist one.

      I fully support localism and exit and multiculturalism so that if someone *HERE* doesn’t like it, they can up’n move to *THERE*. Get a bus ticket. Go to sleep in Kansas, wake up in Civilization. Wait, no. This is Nevada. Go back to sleep.

      Eventually end up in Civilization and find out that this dystopia isn’t to your liking either. Move to Warshington (either one). Move to Tampa. Move to Vermont. Move to Detroit.

      Somewhere is your Utopia. When you get there and settle in, don’t forget to donate to your local “we buy bus tickets for people who want them!” charity.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      says:

      Whooo hooo…I was quoted on the internet!!!
      I don’t see the scolds jay is pointing at ever achieving power or even being noticed by people not very online. Conservatives are always screaming Dystopia is coming from the commies/ kenyan marxists, etc at every D. Doesn’t ever seem to happen. I’m not even sure what some of the scolds could ever do with power. Most of what the leftie scolds do is some version of mob or yell on twitter, tumblr etc. Jay and conservatives are hyper focusing on that which will make them afraid. I’m fine with pushing back on stupid. Still can’t get worked up over definitions changing. Qanon types getting into congress seems like a thing though. Heck their insanity liekly has limit to how many people will jump on the cult but congressQ’s is more serious that twitter scolds.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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        says:

        or even being noticed by people not very online.

        This is part of what would make the theoretical dystopia so unpleasant for some of the scolds.

        There would be people out there who are acting like they’re the updated version of Christmas and Easter Christians for this really, really important relationship with Truth. And they just show up, make noises, and go back to their lives unchanged.

        Like remember when Winston Smith was listening to the prole woman sing the song outside?

        That prole woman was singing happily.

        She wouldn’t have an attack surface for the scolds… until she tried (and succeeded) at joining the Lower Party.

        Hey! The chocolate ration just got increased!Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          All i see is your trying extrapolate horror from little. If something is only noticed by the very on line and cared about by a smaller subset of the very online how serious as issue is it? If, lets say, gamers are furious about changes in representation of women in games (making them all more buxom with even more skin tight costumes of course) is that an encroaching dystopia, a societal problem or something a small group is upset about that just a minor problem for a small subset of people.

          Go after the scolds, fine with me. But i’m still not seeing Biden or his admin being the forefront of the great Leftist Identatarian Dystopia.

          Any country like the US is always going to have loud people saying every damn thing. Any society so that so prizes free speech and saying everything on the web is going to have people saying…well….every crazy thing. There are people advocating for monarchy, Q’s, poll taxes and a million other things. Price of freedom and all that. The scolds, of all sorts, are part of that.

          If you are worried about far out people where does the Q’s fit in? There are going to be some in congress and apparently a lot of R’s seem them favorably.Report

          • Avatar Philip H in reply to greginak
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            says:

            Any country like the US is always going to have loud people saying every damn thing. Any society so that so prizes free speech and saying everything on the web is going to have people saying…well….every crazy thing. There are people advocating for monarchy, Q’s, poll taxes and a million other things. Price of freedom and all that. The scolds, of all sorts, are part of that.

            Oh no, according to Aaron Free Speech is already shut down and will be gaged, bound and tossed off the Bridge by the Biden Administration.Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Philip H
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              says:

              Thus is the inherent contradiction of people screaming about the horror of the Left. (well aside from the fact who the hell knows what they mean by the Left) Free speech, which is good, means everybody gets to speak even those with imho nothing much to say. You can’t stop that but they seem to want something done about those people doing free speech wrong. But only a certain segment of the free speech is wrong.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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            says:

            If, lets say, gamers are furious about changes in representation of women in games (making them all more buxom with even more skin tight costumes of course) is that an encroaching dystopia, a societal problem or something a small group is upset about that just a minor problem for a small subset of people.

            A handful of questions, I guess.
            Were the people who made the demands that the game be changed representative of the consumer base?

            If there were game companies that made the changes and the games did not sell well, what happened after that?
            If there were game companies that refused to make changes, what did these loud people then go on to do?
            Were careers ended by anybody? Were people made miserable enough to commit suicide? Were there institutions that were generally seen as “pretty good” a decade before that ended up hollowed out and shuttered after they became “pretty bad”?

            Things change. Things evolve. There’s no way to say whether one thing is better than another but things can move from “it seemed sustainable before they changed” to “they changed and proved unsustainable”.

            What’s the level of happiness before and after?

            I mean, if the scolds in charge of distributing Soma get pissed off that some people seem to enjoy the Soma too much, is it appropriate for the distributors to add a bitterness agent to the Soma?

            But i’m still not seeing Biden or his admin being the forefront of the great Leftist Identatarian Dystopia.

            Oh, I wouldn’t suggest that Biden would be. His administration? Hell, some of them would be for it, some would be against it. Some would leverage it cynically until it ceased to be politically useful and then they’d drop it like a hot potato.

            If you are worried about far out people where does the Q’s fit in?

            I’m not worried about far out people. I’m worried about far out people ruining lives other than their own.

            There are going to be some in congress and apparently a lot of R’s seem them favorably.

            I hope they’re effectively neutered by their caucus but do a good job of making their home constituents feel represented.Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              There is no test for who gets to complain about games. Anybody can complain. Free speech and no purity tests. Isnt’ that good. Yup things change. So we agree. Some people like it, some don’t. What else is there to say. None of the allusions to dystopia are relevant. It’s just things changing.

              A Biden admin won’t be trolling people and will be responsive to some concerns from the Left and identitarians. That is how you defang the extremes. You answer their reasonable complaints and try to build relationships. A Biden admin will pass some crim justice reform and be much more LBTQ friendly. That will mollify enough of the loud people on the left you seem to fear.

              You want to stop people being jerks on the internet then good luck. Teaching people not to feed the trolls is a good start. Not electing trolls would also help. The speed of change of life now is something people will have to get used to. Especially since some of the changes are good so trying to do the stand athwart the tracks of change and say no ain’t happening.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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                says:

                People can complain about whatever they want! People complaining doesn’t make it a dystopia!

                A dystopia would be something more like a country with a vibrant group of progressives who, when the Republican President starts shooting tomahawk missiles at foreigners tweet stuff like “That the missiles are callled tomahawks must enrage a lot of Native Americans”.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to greginak
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        says:

        Like I said above, I would not be so quick to discount them. Every group that has the ability to encode their specific morality into law started out as a minor threat that most folks ignored because they weren’t a threat to them.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to greginak
        Ignored
        says:

        Emmanuel Cafferty wasn’t very online as far as I recall; scolds axed his job anyhow. Isn’t the point of writing about a left wing dystopia to be that it’s something that doesn’t exist now but we can see shoots of it popping up?Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to North
          Ignored
          says:

          There have always been scolds on the left, right and middle. Nothing new about that. Some online mobs have been terrible. No doubt about that. Lots of people act terribly on the intertoobz.

          The issue is i’m just not seeing any creeping dystopia. Partially that is because i see most/all of the “Left” having an inability to ever break out of their subgroups. They have been unable to become widely popular which sort of makes it hard to become powerful. This just seems like a version of the D’s are commies coming to get you line we always hear. There is always a fringe Left that is just about to take over, yet never seems to. The fringey right is never a problem for some reason. The discussion is also always kept vague so no specifics are discussed unless they support the Dystopia narrative.

          If we want a better internet and people in general to act better, screaming at just one sub group is the absolute worst way to do it. Better norms are for everybody not just the other guy.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to greginak
            Ignored
            says:

            Hell I wanna believe that the progressive social justice left has limits to their cachet! Biden got easily nominated despite their fervid opposition, for instance. On the other hand I did once blithely assume that they would never be able to escape the academy and they have managed to do that. I do think that liberals need to take leftwing crackpottery seriously. Viewing winger nuttery as harmless or, worse yet, controllable is how the GOP went prancing off down the road to having their brains eaten out by right wing nuttery after all.Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to North
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              says:

              Oh i’m fine with going after nuttery. I think more of it is a nothing burger, sorry a vegan cruelty free nothing burger, but that is me. To many of the right wing horror of the month stories are small things they turn into monsters w/o much of clue about what it is about. Lord knows i hear more about CRT from righties then anybody else. Then there is the someone wrote a bad column so…gahh..Yeah lots of dumb columns from people. Every instance of a leftie something stupid is a cause for panic. The GOP had a network and talk radio to monetize their nuttery.

              In short i’m all for talking down nuts but nothing said has convinced me the Terror is upon us or that we even have many more leftie nuts then before. I would actually like if it the Left built some real power and moved the Overton window a wee bit. A Left with some heft would be positive. Not seeing much of that either.

              And as i said above, the way to defang extremists is to mollify their reasonable and popular complaints. That leaves just the far outs to yammer but solves most of the issues.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to greginak
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                says:

                Let’s put it this way, if it’s extremist nuttery that gives a centrist pause and causes them to ask “WTF?”, you should be taking it seriously. Because it’s left the realm of extremist fever dream and entered into actions that have very real consequences for innocent people.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                That seems reasonable. My question would be is the problem behavior being fairly described and as wide in extent as people claim. I’m thinking of post modernism which is one of the horrors from the left that will destroy the world. Except that outside of very on line people and RW’s freaking about no one knows what it is or has heard of it. It might sound freaky when presented to a centrist when framed by Tucker Carlson as its coming for the kids but that isnt’ a fair description.

                Do you thinks regular people not in the fox bubble have heard of CRT? If they have was it solely described by someone who hates it?Report

              • Avatar North in reply to greginak
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                says:

                I don’t think we’re terribly far apart really. I do agree with you that the identarian left seems too riven by self-contradictions, preening identity fashion posing and flat our hysteria to cohere into something that could present the threat that right wingers and libertarians claim it does.

                It assuredly doesn’t dominate the left or the Democratic Party the way the right wing claims it does. It’s embraced by corporations- sure- but that’s only because embracing this stuff is cheap as hell. I work in a corporation, I’ve been exposed to the stuff Dreher hyperventilates about racialist indoctrination- it’s just another grab bag of catch phrases that the corporate workers have to sit dull eyed through and generally ignore.

                Could the identarian left become a menace? I mean if you take Ibram X Kendi or his fellow travelers seriously like, say, Matt Tabbi does CRT is pretty awful in that it just seems to want to flip the script and assign a different ethnic/sexual group to be society’s goats or enact some miserable Christianity rip off with everyone being burdened from birth with original sin *cough* I mean racism that can only be palliated through regular tithes *cough* I mean paid counselling from the local priest *cough* I mean diversity specialists. And Kendi’s department of Anti-Racism idea is a straight out of 1984 dystopian horror show concept.

                But it still seems tethered to twitter and other social media. It’s escaped the Academy, ok, but only by riding on twitter obsessives to infect places where Twitter dominates such as journalism, fashion, museums and arts along with similar vapid hyper Twitter connected industries. I remain skeptical that it can move, in its pure dangerous form, into the general population. But maybe its useful elements will migrate while the repressive and vapid hysterical elements wither.

                My own fear, of course, is that this identarianism remains attached to laudable civil rights goals and provokes a backlash that drags civil rights back throwing the baby out with the bathwater so to speak.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                First: CRT – Cathode Ray Tube?

                My question would be is the problem behavior being fairly described and as wide in extent as people claim.

                That’s kinda squishy as a metric.

                Emmanuel Cafferty is a better metric. The fact that a government entity was so spooked by LW antics that they fired the guy post haste is evidence that the nuttery has escaped.

                Now we are at the point where we need to decide how to blunt the nuttery. I recall a previous convo with DavidTC where he suggested that now might be a good time to talk about employee protections. Kinda like how we blunted RW nuttery by trying to not allow a person’s consensual sexual history to impact their professional life.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                CRT = critical race theory.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                The challenge is a bit different. Current anti-discrimination law is at heart negative in that it says there are certain attributes based upon which you may not discriminate. CRT is positive in the sense that ‘not doing something bad’ isn’t enough. There are things you must do, up to and including things that look a lot like activities prohibited by existing law under the existing, negative approach.

                Not saying there isn’t room for policy here around employee protection, just that it’s a slightly different nut to crack than what’s been done before.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                North – Thank you

                InMD – Last I checked, CRT is not policy, ergo an employee protection system that basically says employers need clear and convincing evidence of unacceptable behavior before dismissing an employee is not that tough of a nut to crack.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Well sure, if at-will employment is on the table then the sky is the limit.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s dicey though because the iron law of employment is that the harder you make it to fire an employee the more finnicky, reluctant and choosy employers will be to hire employees. The Europeans have been writhing on the crux of that for decades.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                I think there is a sweet spot of “You need more than some claim by an internet rando that X is true.”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                I found a tumblr post from 2013 that argued that “binge-watch” makes light of eating disorders.

                Therefore it is widely known that “binge-watch” is a hateful phrase.

                Therefore you are being hurtful when you say that you binge-watched Queer as Folk last weekend.

                Please apologize or we’ll call your boss.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                I agree and, frankly, I think there should be a cultural norm that businesses, media and government should utterly ignore anything that comes rolling across twitter. No idea how that’d be enforced. Most likely the same way spam was tackled, a combination of technological drift and increased cynicism of email recipients.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Dismissal for conduct unbecoming requires evidence of conduct unbecoming.

                Claims on social media are effectively hearsay and thus not actual evidence of conduct unbecoming.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to greginak
            Ignored
            says:

            “The issue is i’m just not seeing any creeping dystopia.”

            just in case you forgot what this was about, a Republican-leaning Supreme Court nominee said the words “sexual preference” and within fifteen minutes the actual goddam dictionary was updated to declare that “sexual preference” was an offensive term, and people and organizations that less than a week previously had been approvingly talking of sexual preference were publishing takes and thinkpieces about how disgustingly Handmaiden-ish it was to talk of “sexual preference”.

            like

            when you claim that this is Made-Up Bullshit you should check first to be sure that it actually is made up.Report

  18. Avatar Sam Wilkinson
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    says:

    Things change over time. That’s how things work.Report

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