commenter-thread

My ideal world is one where the stakes of losing a job are a lot lower than what they are now. But that’s probably a much broader issue than this topic alone.

Anyway I've pondered your question and don't have a great answer. Camp A probably exists but identifying it requires finding ulterior motives, so not easy to do in good faith. I'd like to say B is the right approach but I don't really believe employers care about the actual facts. It's all marketing and PR.

What I'd like to see is a broad cultural respect for the fact that private people are broadly off limits and more fortitude from employers to disregard online activist action. If someone is doing something really bad they'll be identified anyway and not by internet commissars.

I thought about that but I read Chip more charitably. I don't agree with the way he made that particular point but I think I got the jist. There's more to understanding the world than just the numbers.

David Shor is the best example I can think of off the top of my head. Lost his job as a data analyst for retweeting a study showing peaceful protest is more effective at change than violence.

I can dig up others (a couple more here https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/06/stop-firing-innocent/613615/).

Somehow I doubt a battle of the anecdotes is going to change your mind. Those are what concern me, private citizens being fired for insufficient toeing of the woke line, including apparently unwittingly.

Public people who live by the sword are free to die by it. But let's not pretend mobs abide by limiting principles.

Heh touché, though I'm not sure declining to provide a particular employee benefits package quite fits the bill.

Maybe you and Dave can just admit that you feel it's your turn to be the bullies. Just make sure you remember to go wash peoples' feet in the street or kneel to a random black dude on his way to work or whatever the purity ritual du jour is!

Keep the tunnel vision locked and make sure not to see anything you don't want to see. Stay as obtuse as possible. You're doing great.

Oh stop jibbering. It's piling on an already screwed up situation where people are far too dependent on corporate beneficence. You only like it because right now the winds are blowing towards empowering identity obsessed weirdos who can only communicate in 10,000 tongue-clicks of meaningless social justice word salad.

You don't care about anyone and are more than happy to sacrifice innocents, allies, and powerless people for no reason. Coming from a school of liberalism that rejects that kind of thinking it's easy to see you're no different than the petty reactionaries you think you're fighting.

Ehhh it's really hard for me to put myself in the position of someone who sees communist takeover as a realistic scenario. I would think a truly principled libertarian would say it's just freedom of association if it were truly sua sponte. My guess is most libertarian identifying people will point to various federal guidances and discrimination laws to argue that it isn't.

But I also think this is where libertarian blind spots about corporate power, economics, and inequality really screw up their analysis of what's actually at stake.

I hope it's the former but fear in practice it could turn out to be the latter.

*edit to add 'as a real issue.'

BS. I'm on the in house side and we're already dealing with it.

The reason you should be concerned about it on purely liberal grounds is the effect is further concentration of corporate power at the expense of working people.

Let me simplify for everyone else. The issue is the adoption of the pop intersectionality definition of bigotry by various authorities either through actual belief in the tenets or wish to avoid a controversy with people who do, those being mostly well to do people whose influence far outweighs their actual numbers. That in itself isn't so out of place but for the way bigotry is being defined. Paraphrasing myself above it includes '[until very recently] innocuous conduct, bad faith interpretations of such, and at times... lack of conduct/failure to endorse a particular position'.

How does this play out in reality? HR gets a report that someone made a Facebook post about 'rioting' in their neighborhood. Or how much he or she loves Harry Potter. Or whatever statement that would never have been considered controversial in any way until now and for most people still isn't.

The complaining party says these statements makes them feel unsafe in the work place and toleration of it is creating a hostile work environment for a protected class. You as the employer now decide if you stand up for one of your easily replaced workers or risk the EEOC complaint, lawsuit, and/or any collateral negative publicity. Further, fighting for the employee is almost always going to be more expensive than quietly replacing them, even if you think you can win on the merits. What do you do? And how does this play out in society writ large?

Yea, like the conclusion to draw from McCarthyism isn't that it was bad for a free society, just that it targeted the wrong people.

A few reactions to this:

1. The first chunk of the essay about officially sanctioned state violence is quite right. This is and remains the biggest threat to free speech.

2. Where there's a shortcoming to some degree IMO is where she looks at this through the lense of a published professional writer and no one else. It's of course understandable why she would do that since that's primarily who signed onto the letter. What it completely misses though is the impact on private persons and the seemingly random nature of what does and doesn't go viral.

3. Here's where the question is begged and the underlying issue to all of this, and it’s a matter to which free speech is relevant but also somewhat ancillary:

The question is whether racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, transphobia, and other forms of bigotry — or certain iterations of each of those — are the sorts of things that properly warrant stigmatization and disassociation.

She is assuming that these things all have a settled upon definition which they increasingly don't. Further, the progressive intersectional left has made a mission of defining these terms in such a way as to encompass all manner of innocuous, disputed, and complicated conduct, bad faith interpretations of such, and at times even a lack of conduct/failure to endorse a particular position. This is combined with a commitment to uncovering offense archaeology far in the past and of the most inane nature and punishing private people for it.

So the issue at hand isn't really should we stigmatize/disassociate from bigotry. It's should we across as much of society as possible stigmatize/disassociate people engaging in bigotry as defined by this very specific group of people. Now I share the criticisms of folks like Ken White/Popehat of the letter itself in how the position would tend to privilege the first speaker. But that’s not what's driving the debate as far as this issue goes for illiberal leftism and the essay neatly skims over what is.