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1984 by George Orwell - a discussion of Part 2 
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 1984 by George Orwell - a discussion of Part 2
1984 by George Orwell
Part 2


Please use this thread for discussing Part 2 of 1984 by George Orwell. There are 10 chapters in this section.

Or if you would like to create your own threads please feel free as this thread is just to help give this discussion forum some structure.

You can read 1984 for FREE here.



Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:59 pm
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Post Re: 1984 by George Orwell - a discussion of Part 2
Five chapters into Part 2.

Part 1 focused on how an individual operates in a collectivist hell. Part 2 shows how that individual tries to form a personal relationship in collectivist hell. Part 3 deals with the consequences of violating the rules of collectivist hell.

I looked up "proles" in the Oxford English Dictionary today. Wondered if Blair created the word for 1984. The book was published in 1949, and the OED says the first recorded use was in 1887. G.B. Shaw used "proles" in a letter. He used it to mean proletariat or proletarian, which is how Blair uses it.

I did a search earlier of news articles with the word "Orwellian" in the title. Lots and lots of them over the past couple of months. This book has had an enormous impact on western society.


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Post Re: 1984 by George Orwell - a discussion of Part 2
Reading the book again, I see how it may differ from other works of speculative fiction or sci-fi. Orwell surely goes farther than other writers in showing a transforming of minds, the techniques of which are the real science the books deals with.



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Post Re: 1984 by George Orwell - a discussion of Part 2
Orwell includes parts of Emmanuel Goldstein's The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism in Ch. 19. Goldstein's lecturing tone is intrusive, breaks up the flow of the story, but why not, 2/3rds of the way through? Why not look at the world through another character's eyes for a while, before starting the nightmare ride through part 3?

Goldstein addresses "doublethink," a phenomenon that's prominent in today's world. In America the "tolerant" leftists shout down viewpoints that differ from their own. And yet they'll insist that they hold the moral high ground since they're so tolerant. They're able to hold contradicting thoughts without noticing the contradiction...doublethink.

EDIT: 1984 deals with historical revisionism. In the news today:

Robert B. Reich: Can we get an annulment instead of an impeachment?
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinio ... story.html


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Post Re: 1984 by George Orwell - a discussion of Part 2
KindaSkolarly wrote:
Goldstein addresses "doublethink," a phenomenon that's prominent in today's world. In America the "tolerant" leftists shout down viewpoints that differ from their own. And yet they'll insist that they hold the moral high ground since they're so tolerant. They're able to hold contradicting thoughts without noticing the contradiction...doublethink.


Australia has just had a change of Prime Minister from Malcolm Turnbull to Scott Morrison, with conservatives hoping that Morrison will be more active in support of agendas such as freedom of speech, in view of this Orwellian syndrome of political correctness becoming a method of thought control. Here is an article from today's Australian newspaper on these themes.

Quote:
Free speech is Scott Morrison’s chance to lead like Menzies
By STEPHEN CHAVURA
AUGUST 31, 2018
Now that we have a Liberal leadership that tends more towards the conservative-liberal tradition of Sir Robert Menzies, can we expect the protections of freedom of speech that were promised during the same-sex marriage debate?

If Scott Morrison has any hope of rebuilding the support base of the Liberal Party then he needs to recover Menzies’ liberal-conservative approach. The Prime Minister would do well to honour the deeply conservative instincts of many voters and the historic party membership base by opposing the increasingly authoritarian political correctness characterising so much of the Left. A good place to begin is freedom of speech.

Now that the new Left has ensconced itself in our culture-forming institutions — universities, schools, public service sector, corporations — it sees freedom of speech as a pernicious force that must be eradicated.

Ironically, conservatism has become the new radicalism and the cultural Marxists are worried.

The right to free speech, to the cultural Marxist, is like property rights to the classical Marxist — a mere pretext for those in power to maintain their privilege. The identity-politics Left dreams of a cultural revolution in which people no longer think in LGBTQ-phobic, racist and patriarchal ways. Of course, by LGBTQ-phobic they mean belief in traditional marriage or criticism of transgender ideology. By racist they mean being critical of multiculturalism. And by patriarchal they mean anything that questions feminism.

Political correctness, cultural Marxism, identity politics — call it what you like — can never embrace freedom of speech, because it ultimately seeks to shape and control culture, which cannot be shaped and controlled so long as one of the greatest shapers of ­culture — speech — is beyond its control.

Doctors who question transgender ideology will be harassed, activists and intellectuals who question multiculturalism will be demonised, conservative intellectuals will be no-platformed, all with the co-operation of the police, universities, and human rights and anti-discrimination commissions.

Take the case of David van Gend, a Queensland GP who has come under scrutiny by the Medical Board of Australia for tweeting against transgender ideology.

The board received a complaint against van Gend’s views and is demanding he explain how his views promote the health of members of the LGBTQ community.

The board has gone from a committee that scrutinises the credentials of doctors to one that scrutinises their thought and speech on public issues. In other words, criticism of transgender ideology falls foul of the diversity revolution and therefore must be stamped out by destroying the livelihoods of outspoken opponents.

The University of Western Australia refused to allow a talk by a prominent critic of transgender ideology on the grounds that the event could result in violence perpetrated by leftist protesters.

Just as Marxist revolutions pushed forward regardless of whether or not they were good for the poor, so the diversity revolution seeks to silence its critics despite the fact that gender-confused children can only benefit from ­robust debate regarding treatment within the medical community.

The same sort of thugs’ veto that was allowed at UWA has been imposed by Victoria Police on the organisers of the recent Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux speaking tour. The organisers were presented with a bill for $67,842.50 for the police personnel required to subdue Antifa. That’s right, the organisers, not the violent mob, were pursued for the costs imposed on the police budget. Victim blaming, anyone?

These cases are not, strictly speaking, examples of speech rights being abrogated, but they are examples of speech rights being heavily taxed to the point of being nearly impossible to enjoy without significant cost to career and livelihood. Conservatives have the right to free speech just as long as they are prepared to be bankrupt or unemployed. As long as the identity-left sees the great problem of modern society in terms of oppressive thoughts and speech directed at a class of victims, then the Left will see freedom of speech as nothing more than mere pretext for continued white heterosexual male oppression.

For conservatives, freedom of speech promises governmental accountability, robust public debate for sound public policy, and a more rational civic culture where a true diversity of views may be expressed for the sake of a considered and informed public. And yet just as communism needed to eradicate property rights to bring about its economic uniformity, so the new Left needs to eradicate freedom of speech to bring about the thought uniformity that, ironically, constitutes its diversity utopia. Freedom of speech and thought conformity coexist no more easily than property rights and economic equality.

The looming crisis of freedom of speech in Australia — nay, the liberal-democratic West — is a tremendous opportunity for Morrison or any leader of the Coalition who wishes to recapture the conservative support base that carried John Howard through four election victories. Political correctness is a form of leftist puritanism very much at odds with a still lingering Australian antipathy to wowser authoritarianism.

Although Morrison cannot necessarily intervene in the medical board or in universities, he can send a strong message to the nation that the trend of suspicion ­towards free speech is both pernicious and unacceptable.

A good start would be to speak out for the liberal right to religious freedom once the Ruddock review is released. Furthermore, taking the next opportunity to either amend or abolish 18C would send a strong message to the historic Liberal support base that the party is no longer happy to stand by and watch traditional liberal-conservative values such as freedom of speech be trashed by an increasingly authoritarian Left.

If Morrison can move the Liberal Party in such a direction then he has every right to place his leadership firmly within the best legacy of Menzies.

Stephen Chavura is an author and lecturer teaching history at Campion College, Sydney.


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Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:46 am
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Post Re: 1984 by George Orwell - a discussion of Part 2
KindaSkolarly wrote:
Orwell includes parts of Emmanuel Goldstein's The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism in Ch. 19. Goldstein's lecturing tone is intrusive, breaks up the flow of the story, but why not, 2/3rds of the way through? Why not look at the world through another character's eyes for a while, before starting the nightmare ride through part 3?

Goldstein addresses "doublethink," a phenomenon that's prominent in today's world. In America the "tolerant" leftists shout down viewpoints that differ from their own. And yet they'll insist that they hold the moral high ground since they're so tolerant. They're able to hold contradicting thoughts without noticing the contradiction...doublethink.

EDIT: 1984 deals with historical revisionism. In the news today:

Robert B. Reich: Can we get an annulment instead of an impeachment?
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinio ... story.html

I'll engage in some whataboutism here. How should we look at the millions of evangelical voters who preferred Donald Trump? Was it for his devotion to biblical values like showing charity to all, loving his enemies, welcoming strangers, speaking the truth, and being faithful to his wives? Trump embodies none of those values upheld by evangelicals, yet they support him as strongly as any other voting group. What we have here and with your example is the cognitive dissonance that Noah Yuval Harari identifies as an inherent part of human cognition, essential, in fact, to the dynamism of our culture. I don't know that I agree with that last part, but it's certain that the appearance of hypocrisy is as old as our species. Orwell takes this capacity and fashions a specific tool used by totalitarians to control reality, called doublethink.

The beauty of 1984 is that it doesn't lend itself to our usually arbitrary categories of left and right. This nonpartisanship is evident in the two precursor regimes he names in The Book, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The Nazis have always attracted rightward elements (National Socialism being a quite irrelevant term) while the Soviets have attracted the leftward. His message really could not be clearer: we have to watch out that our freedoms are not stolen by either of the polar factions.

You'll have to say what point you intended with the Balt Sun link. It isn't clear to me.



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Post Re: 1984 by George Orwell - a discussion of Part 2
While I'm here I thought I'd mention something from Part Two that made me uncomfortable. Smith agrees to commit any form of terrorism if it would ever so slightly weaken the hold of the Party. Objectively, he has no choice but to agree, because there is no other path open to anyone. To rid the planet of the obnoxious regime, many innocent people would have to die. Is the way Islamist terrorists see things?



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Post Re: 1984 by George Orwell - a discussion of Part 2
While we're at this, why not reconsider Orwell's famous essay, "Politics and the English Language." The essay lays out the discipline of good speaking and, especially, writing.

https://faculty.washington.edu/rsoder/E ... nguage.pdf



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Post Re: 1984 by George Orwell - a discussion of Part 2
Quote:
I'll engage in some whataboutism here. How should we look at the millions of evangelical voters who preferred Donald Trump? Was it for his devotion to biblical values like showing charity to all, loving his enemies, welcoming strangers, speaking the truth, and being faithful to his wives? Trump embodies none of those values upheld by evangelicals, yet they support him as strongly as any other voting group....

...You'll have to say what point you intended with the Balt Sun link. It isn't clear to me.


Evangelicals are forgiving. Trump says he's changed, and they're giving him a chance. It's what Jesus would have done. Also, Trump espouses personal responsibility, and Evangelicals like that.

Robert Reich (the writer of the Baltimore Sun piece) essentially wants to "unperson" Trump, as they do to people in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Reich used to be fairly levelheaded. It's a shame to see him lose his mind.

So many articles and videos make me think of Nineteen Eighty-Four now. The video below is good. At about 3:15 is something that reminded me of the Eurasia/Eastasia war switch. Comey of the FBI was hated by Hillary supporters, but then Trump fired him and Hillary supporters had to be re-educated to think of him as their friend. An excellent example of brainwashing using mass media:

Groupthink and Why They NEED to Censor Us
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7wc4z2QGKU


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Post Re: 1984 by George Orwell - a discussion of Part 2
KindaSkolarly wrote:
Evangelicals are forgiving. Trump says he's changed, and they're giving him a chance. It's what Jesus would have done. Also, Trump espouses personal responsibility, and Evangelicals like that.

Oh come on, I don't even recall him saying he's changed, but regardless, the clear fact is that he has been acting counter to supposed Christian values ever since coming onto the national scene. Trump "espouses personal responsibility" might be the most astounding claim I've seen from you yet.
Quote:
Robert Reich (the writer of the Baltimore Sun piece) essentially wants to "unperson" Trump, as they do to people in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Reich used to be fairly levelheaded. It's a shame to see him lose his mind.

Reich's a powerless former labor dept. secretary who was expressing his opinion, an extreme one. He wasn't proposing erasing Trump from the history books, though. I guess you can make a stretched analogy here to 1984, but you are ignoring the very fertile ground for such analogies involving the Trump administration and its supporters. Enforced political correctness and one voice advocating annulling Trump's presidency are small stuff compared to LIES, which are the very heart of the uber-totalitarian system of 1984. I'd refer anyone else to the Wash. Post's tally of lies Trump has told, but know you'd claim that was a lie itself.
Quote:
So many articles and videos make me think of Nineteen Eighty-Four now. The video below is good. At about 3:15 is something that reminded me of the Eurasia/Eastasia war switch. Comey of the FBI was hated by Hillary supporters, but then Trump fired him and Hillary supporters had to be re-educated to think of him as their friend. An excellent example of brainwashing using mass media:

There was an article on Jeff Sessions, liberal hero. The hero moniker seemed to be tongue-in-cheek, but it's true that some folks--and whole departments--that formerly got no liberal love now receive liberal sympathy and even admiration. To call this brainwashing is way over the top.

Really, nothing about Trump and his administration gives you the 1984 willies?



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Post Re: 1984 by George Orwell - a discussion of Part 2
Robert Tulip wrote:
Australia has just had a change of Prime Minister from Malcolm Turnbull to Scott Morrison, with conservatives hoping that Morrison will be more active in support of agendas such as freedom of speech, in view of this Orwellian syndrome of political correctness becoming a method of thought control.
Moral censure is hardly "Orwellian". Most proponents of free speech believe that the more people are exposed to different opinions, the more they will reflect and decide. But if we somehow rule out any opinion which censures other views, have we not closed the door against that possibility? Of course people may think a thing even without hearing it as an opinion from others, but a good part of current leftist analysis is critiquing unconscious bias, and asking people to reflect about it. That would be precisely the type of views that are much less likely to spontaneously arise without hearing someone else say it.

There was a movement, for awhile, to morally censure Masters and Johnson for asking people about their sex lives. If people didn't know that others engaged in behavior that violates norms, then they would be less likely to engage in it themselves. That isn't Orwellian. In fact it has been the default for millennia. It does oppose free speech, of a certain kind. Most of us can recognize it as advocating censorship. Yet where were the advocates of "religious liberty" when that proposal came down the line.

Quote:
By STEPHEN CHAVURA can we expect the protections of freedom of speech that were promised during the same-sex marriage debate?

The Prime Minister would do well to honour the deeply conservative instincts of many voters and the historic party membership base by opposing the increasingly authoritarian political correctness characterising so much of the Left.


Quote:
The right to free speech, to the cultural Marxist, is like property rights to the classical Marxist — a mere pretext for those in power to maintain their privilege.
Well, sometimes the right to free speech is just used as a pretext for privilege. The real test is whether a "side" is just as open to permitting ideas they disagree with as they are to permitting their views to be heard. I am certainly not up on the state of free speech in Australia, but I would argue for "de-platforming" segregationists and white supremacists in the U.S., but not for preventing them from publishing their hate speech. We are not obligated to support stupidity or oppression, but that doesn't mean we prevent their advocates from expressing their views.

I had a friend once who argued that we should give Creationists their voice in science textbooks. Despite the fact that he understood Creationism has no place in science, doesn't do science, and stands in opposition to fundamental principles of science. "It's someone's perspective" was his argument. Well, sorry, we do not have to publish and teach everyone's perspective. That doesn't mean we make it a Thought Crime. We just point out the problems with it and de-platform it.

Quote:
The identity-politics Left dreams of a cultural revolution in which people no longer think in LGBTQ-phobic, racist and patriarchal ways. Of course, by LGBTQ-phobic they mean belief in traditional marriage or criticism of transgender ideology. By racist they mean being critical of multiculturalism. And by patriarchal they mean anything that questions feminism.
Of course this is a hot mess of false dichotomies. Many of us believe in traditional marriage and LGBTQ marriage, both. Marriage is a good thing - why would it have to be "traditional" to be good? Are there no questions about feminism that don't support patriarchy? Last I heard feminists were criticizing each other. Isn't that "questioning feminism"? Does this person really believe that people don't do their own thinking on racism and multiculturalism, independent of claims by a few academics that you have to be for one or the other?

Quote:
Political correctness, cultural Marxism, identity politics — call it what you like — can never embrace freedom of speech, because it ultimately seeks to shape and control culture, which cannot be shaped and controlled so long as one of the greatest shapers of ­culture — speech — is beyond its control.
So there are no people in these categories who have faith in persuasion? Last I heard that was the whole point of "correctness" - you are going to do things right. Comme il faut, as the French say (correctness is the German version). A certain amount of cultural policing goes along with that - just not compulsion.

Quote:
Take the case of David van Gend, a Queensland GP who has come under scrutiny by the Medical Board of Australia for tweeting against transgender ideology.

The board received a complaint against van Gend’s views and is demanding he explain how his views promote the health of members of the LGBTQ community.

The board has gone from a committee that scrutinises the credentials of doctors to one that scrutinises their thought and speech on public issues. In other words, criticism of transgender ideology falls foul of the diversity revolution and therefore must be stamped out by destroying the livelihoods of outspoken opponents.
Wait, this is implying there are no medical issue involved. If a person speaks out against vaccinations, claiming there are studies linking them to pernicious effects, a medical board would be doing its job to ask the person to back it up. I don't know what van Gend said or whether there were medical issues involved, but the complaining opinion piece doesn't bother to say. This is just an illustration, in the author's mind, of "honouring the deeply-held conservative instincts of many voters." In the author's view, it doesn't matter if there was a medical issue involved, what matters is that the medical board is taking a view that many people disagree with. Call me elitist, but my default is to trust the experts.

Quote:
The University of Western Australia refused to allow a talk by a prominent critic of transgender ideology on the grounds that the event could result in violence perpetrated by leftist protesters.
Again, I don't know any of the specifics, but this sounds much more dangerous. The threat of violence by some leads to de-platforming someone else for having controversial views. If we are going to have rights, the state has some obligation to keep violent people from taking them away.

Quote:
the diversity revolution seeks to silence its critics despite the fact that gender-confused children can only benefit from ­robust debate regarding treatment within the medical community.
Perhaps the issue was pre-judged, as this argument for "robust debate" implies. I have not seen medical evidence that there is something artificial or merely cultural about transgender claims, but maybe there is some out there. What I have not yet heard is the damage they do anyone else. Yet clearly there has been violence against trans people, and I hope we agree that the state should not be validating that to support "deeply held conservative instincts" of many voters.

Quote:
The same sort of thugs’ veto that was allowed at UWA has been imposed by Victoria Police on the organisers of the recent Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux speaking tour. The organisers were presented with a bill for $67,842.50 for the police personnel required to subdue Antifa. That’s right, the organisers, not the violent mob, were pursued for the costs imposed on the police budget. Victim blaming, anyone?

These cases are not, strictly speaking, examples of speech rights being abrogated, but they are examples of speech rights being heavily taxed to the point of being nearly impossible to enjoy without significant cost to career and livelihood. Conservatives have the right to free speech just as long as they are prepared to be bankrupt or unemployed.
I tend to agree with this analysis, though it might depend on the extent to which Southern and Molyneux are pursuing provocation for its own sake, Alex Jones style, or have something valuable and underrepresented to say. A quick check of the internet suggests they are engaging in heavy distortion and drastic stereotyping to oppose unpopular ideas like the honouring of treaties with aboriginal people. I dunno - would it be so wrong to charge the security costs to a group sponsoring David Duke or Raul Castro as a speaker?

Quote:
As long as the identity-left sees the great problem of modern society in terms of oppressive thoughts and speech directed at a class of victims, then the Left will see freedom of speech as nothing more than mere pretext for continued white heterosexual male oppression.
Well, is there oppression or not? The author is unwilling to take a position. Coming from a country where white people wanted to deny access to public accommodations to black people, and defended it as "freedom", this sounds like another false dichotomy to me. Southern and Molyneux, for example, are transparently engaged in supporting white oppression. How much support is the country supposed to provide for that? I tend to think the bill for controlling antifa violence should be on the public, or charged to the antifa if that is the customary procedure against violence, but it hardly looks to me like someone is trying to enforce thought-policing.

Quote:
And yet just as communism needed to eradicate property rights to bring about its economic uniformity, so the new Left needs to eradicate freedom of speech to bring about the thought uniformity that, ironically, constitutes its diversity utopia. Freedom of speech and thought conformity coexist no more easily than property rights and economic equality.

That's more than a little bit crazy. Thought conformity is the rule, not the exception. We always focus on the controversy, being little NPD's inside, but mostly people don't bother to challenge general views, including many that are set up specifically to enforce systems of power and privilege based on identity.
It is a standard Narcissistic Personality Disorder approach to claim that any restriction on them is unfair, even while advocating the same kinds of restrictions on others. I am quite happy to believe this writer is more fair-minded than that, but the supporters of Southern and Molyneux, not so much. Picking and choosing your support of free speech, like the current effort to define criticism of Israeli settlements as "Anti-Semitism" is a way to undermine credibility fast.



Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:36 am
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Post Re: 1984 by George Orwell - a discussion of Part 2
DWill wrote:
Enforced political correctness and one voice advocating annulling Trump's presidency are small stuff compared to LIES, which are the very heart of the uber-totalitarian system of 1984. I'd refer anyone else to the Wash. Post's tally of lies Trump has told, but know you'd claim that was a lie itself.
Orwell, through Winston Smith, puts inordinate faith in facts. I confess I am still on part One, and just read the section in which Smith remembers having a piece of solid evidence put on his desk that the party was lying about the traitors in the show trials. He thinks that if it somehow found its way among party members, or the proles, or someone, that they would overthrow the oppressive rule that was taking them into worse and worse living conditions.

But of course it isn't true. The notion that Russians, or Nazis, would have overthrown their oppressors if they knew they were being lied to is foolish self-delusion. True, the Nazis shamelessly claimed they were winning the war long after the tide had turned. But the bodies were coming back from the Russian front, and many, many people knew. A system based on fear, once in place, may prefer lies but it probably doesn't need them.

Leaders seem to lie reflexively. From Gary Hart's "Monkey Business" and Ted Kennedy's Chappaquiddick incident to Ronald Reagan's heart telling him they weren't really selling arms to Iran to fund the Contras, their normal business of projecting an image shades naturally into putting out a story line. For that matter, most of us engage in a certain amount of "truth management."

What is so astonishing about POTUS 45 is that his followers don't care about his lies. To some extent that is probably because he is seen as a truth-teller about things they have had to keep silent about for many years. And there is the flip side of that, which is that convenient lies are woven into the kind of tribalism that animates so many of them: a kind of group truth management. Just as the Shiites have their version and the Sunnis theirs, and the same for Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, and the Anglos and Quebecois in Canada, there is a group process aimed at managing the official narrative and it is not too dependent on evidence or even facts. A determined liar may appear to be useful for that kind of process (koff, koff, Sarah Sanders). And of course a final reason is that they don't much care about being knowledgeable, and to a large extent knowledge appears to them as something that has been relentlessly weaponized against them.

DWill wrote:
There was an article on Jeff Sessions, liberal hero. The hero moniker seemed to be tongue-in-cheek, but it's true that some folks--and whole departments--that formerly got no liberal love now receive liberal sympathy and even admiration.

I remember the gall, 10 years ago, of saying nice things about McCain just because he had the integrity to push campaign finance reform and to stand up to the torture lobby. Well, there was more to his integrity than that, but he was still hip deep in the Republican sellout to the donor class and my little bit of appreciation was almost despite myself.

In the same way, it's ironic that Jeff Sessions, one of the architects of voter suppression, now stands as an icon of principle. That's how far we have sunk in four years. And perhaps even more ironic that 45 is at last losing a sliver of his base for having called Sessions a "dumb Southerner." (He denies it of course, but he has zero credibility with anyone.) Like it comes as a surprise to Southerners that he would hold them in the same kind of contempt he holds everyone, up to and including himself. I really wonder what he thinks of Kelly and Mattis. Patsies? Useful idiots?



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Post Re: 1984 by George Orwell - a discussion of Part 2
Harry Marks wrote:
Robert Tulip wrote:
…Orwellian syndrome of political correctness becoming a method of thought control.
Moral censure is hardly "Orwellian". Most proponents of free speech believe that the more people are exposed to different opinions, the more they will reflect and decide. But if we somehow rule out any opinion which censures other views, have we not closed the door against that possibility?
This point about the relation between political correctness, moral censure and Orwellian trends is not so simple. Conservatives are not trying to deny freedom of speech to the politically correct new puritans, only to counter how those puritanical views exercise a chilling effect on free thought, how the bullying by the politically correct shuts down the public square in its effort to prevent exposure to different opinions. It is the politically correct who most prominently try to shame others for thoughtcrime.
Harry Marks wrote:
Of course people may think a thing even without hearing it as an opinion from others, but a good part of current leftist analysis is critiquing unconscious bias, and asking people to reflect about it. That would be precisely the type of views that are much less likely to spontaneously arise without hearing someone else say it.
Sure, but this line about unconscious bias easily bleeds over into policing of thought, into an active distortion of events in line with a political agenda, as seen in the vigorous defence of Serena Williams at the US Tennis Open.
Harry Marks wrote:
There was a movement, for awhile, to morally censure Masters and Johnson for asking people about their sex lives. If people didn't know that others engaged in behavior that violates norms, then they would be less likely to engage in it themselves. That isn't Orwellian. In fact it has been the default for millennia. It does oppose free speech, of a certain kind. Most of us can recognize it as advocating censorship. Yet where were the advocates of "religious liberty" when that proposal came down the line.
Religious Liberty is used in politics in relation to moral opposition to abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia, and support for the moral primacy of the traditional nuclear family as a social ideal. It is about the defence of traditional Christianity, not an open slather for any wacky new polyamorous religion to be treated as equal. People simply don’t want their conservative opinions treated as morally repugnant and beneath contempt, or to have their children indoctrinated at school with liberal ideology with no comeback. Orwell has an interesting discussion about children in Chapter Two, which I have been meaning to comment on.
Harry Marks wrote:
The right to free speech, to the cultural Marxist, is like property rights to the classical Marxist — a mere pretext for those in power to maintain their privilege.
Indeed, and doesn’t that show the moral vacuity of Marxism? This implied threat to expropriate the expropriators through communist revolution is totalitarian. Sure there is a case for reform to address the robber baron inequality and plutocracy that have returned to American life, but I don’t think cultural Marxism provides a useful framework for reform advocacy, since it whips up two minute hatred in ways that can be dangerous.
Quote:
sometimes the right to free speech is just used as a pretext for privilege. The real test is whether a "side" is just as open to permitting ideas they disagree with as they are to permitting their views to be heard.
And opposition to free speech can be an effective political strategy to campaign against perceived privilege, but with the negative side effect of reinforcing tribal tendencies of disrespect and avoidance of dialogue.
Harry Marks wrote:
I am certainly not up on the state of free speech in Australia, but I would argue for "de-platforming" segregationists and white supremacists in the U.S., but not for preventing them from publishing their hate speech. We are not obligated to support stupidity or oppression, but that doesn't mean we prevent their advocates from expressing their views.
The US First Amendment gives far more protection to free speech than our laws in Australia, where government has been unable to repeal laws that criminalise statements just for giving offence.
Harry Marks wrote:
Marriage is a good thing - why would it have to be "traditional" to be good?
The value system at play is the claim that for parents to raise their own children is a social ideal. The problem is that when a wide range of alternative household structures are presented as equally admirable, the ability to teach the value of raising your own children is compromised. Orwell puts this nicely in his description of children as spies for the state.

There was a controversy on this in Australia with the head of our Human Rights Commission expressing sorrow that people are free to say what they like in their own homes. No wonder people see human rights as a stalking horse for state intrusion by Big Brother.
Harry Marks wrote:
Are there no questions about feminism that don't support patriarchy? Last I heard feminists were criticizing each other. Isn't that "questioning feminism"? Does this person really believe that people don't do their own thinking on racism and multiculturalism, independent of claims by a few academics that you have to be for one or the other?
The point is that socially acceptable language can easily go too far, as in the recent example where people criticising Serena Williams for bullying and cheating were attacked as racist.
Harry Marks wrote:
Quote:
Political correctness, cultural Marxism, identity politics — call it what you like — can never embrace freedom of speech, because it ultimately seeks to shape and control culture, which cannot be shaped and controlled so long as one of the greatest shapers of ­culture — speech — is beyond its control.
So there are no people in these categories who have faith in persuasion?
The entire point is that rational persuasion is subordinated to the strategy of the long march through the institutions, the indoctrination of children with a worldview that demonises traditional values and achievements. The risks in this subversive strategy involve the loss of understanding of genuinely valuable principles, and a general undermining of the legitimacy of cultural principles such as merit.
Harry Marks wrote:
Quote:
Take the case of David van Gend, a Queensland GP who has come under scrutiny by the Medical Board of Australia for tweeting against transgender ideology...
Wait, this is implying there are no medical issue involved.
Yes, exactly. His thoughtcrime was to retweet factual statements from the loathed Australian Conservatives. His mention of health risks associated with gender reassignment was considered a sackable offence.
Harry Marks wrote:
If a person speaks out against vaccinations, claiming there are studies linking them to pernicious effects, a medical board would be doing its job to ask the person to back it up. I don't know what van Gend said or whether there were medical issues involved, but the complaining opinion piece doesn't bother to say.
You can read about it here and here.

This is not about anti-vaccination kooks, but a medical doctor and by implication a prominent politician banned from discussing evidence that gender transition hormone therapy could nearly double the risk of heart attack or stroke. The irony of the vaccination comparison is that medical research on vaccines now has to walk on eggshells for fear of being distorted by the anti-vaxxers, and yet the anti-science mob is inside the palisade when it comes to gender fluidity.
Harry Marks wrote:
This is just an illustration, in the author's mind, of "honouring the deeply-held conservative instincts of many voters." In the author's view, it doesn't matter if there was a medical issue involved, what matters is that the medical board is taking a view that many people disagree with. Call me elitist, but my default is to trust the experts.
It absolutely does matter that there is a medical issue, that children are encouraged to experiment with gender fluidity at an age where they do not understand the risks. The “experts” in this case are revolutionary Marxists like Roz Ward who has used an anti-bullying program as cover to introduce compulsory radical gay indoctrination for primary school children. It is even worse in the UK, where a Jewish primary school was threatened with closure by a state organ because it refused the demand of the Orwellian-named OFSTED to teach that gender reassignment is a morally equal lifestyle. The organ backed down after world outcry, but it shows the agenda.


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Post Re: 1984 by George Orwell - a discussion of Part 2
Robert Tulip wrote:
Harry Marks wrote:
Moral censure is hardly "Orwellian". ... if we somehow rule out any opinion which censures other views, have we not closed the door against [hearing the full range of views]?
This point about the relation between political correctness, moral censure and Orwellian trends is not so simple. Conservatives are not trying to deny freedom of speech to the politically correct new puritans, only to counter how those puritanical views exercise a chilling effect on free thought, how the bullying by the politically correct shuts down the public square in its effort to prevent exposure to different opinions. It is the politically correct who most prominently try to shame others for thoughtcrime.
I agree that the politically correct get more attention, and more approval, from the Mainstream Media (MSM). Most publications would not want to be seen encouraging people to listen to "stop shagging men" taunts, while actual moral censure tends to get a platform. But shaming has been going on for some time now, and it sounds distorted to me to say that it is mainly the politically correct who bully people about their values (and choices).

Robert Tulip wrote:
Sure, but this line about unconscious bias easily bleeds over into policing of thought, into an active distortion of events in line with a political agenda, as seen in the vigorous defence of Serena Williams at the US Tennis Open.
There was quite a bit of pushback against her defense. Perhaps you noticed. A somewhat careful analysis showed that the main difference between rule enforcement on women and rule enforcement on men is on the issue of coaching, which was the enforcement that Serena first blew up about.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/14/spor ... women.html
and it turns out that was not the simple, "she did it so she should accept the penalty" issue that many "sticklers" like Ramos believe.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/10/spor ... ained.html

Neither side has shed much light on unconscious bias. It is easier to perceive than to demonstrate, but so far the evidence says it's real. My point was simply that raising this issue is probably a net positive, and I would add that those who take it seriously enough to take action are rarely in a position to create unfairness in the opposite direction.

Robert Tulip wrote:
Harry Marks wrote:
There was a movement, for awhile, to morally censure Masters and Johnson for asking people about their sex lives. Most of us can recognize it as advocating censorship.
Religious Liberty is used in politics in relation to moral opposition to abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia, and support for the moral primacy of the traditional nuclear family as a social ideal. It is about the defence of traditional Christianity, not an open slather for any wacky new polyamorous religion to be treated as equal.
That is definitely not what the U.S. constitution says about freedom of religion. I realize Australia has a much stronger tradition of establishment and "toleration" for dissent which is very distinct from "equality." The U.S. also rejected Mormon polygamy, and today would probably not be able to (which some argue was the reason Utah had to renounce it before it would be admitted as a state.) The usual interpretation here is that the state has to have a strong reason for curtailing any religious liberty. Requiring parents to take their kids to the doctor when sick is a strong reason. Telling people they cannot have their life because it might cast doubt on a social ideal is not.

Robert Tulip wrote:
People simply don’t want their conservative opinions treated as morally repugnant and beneath contempt, or to have their children indoctrinated at school with liberal ideology with no comeback.
Well, this certainly gets into difficult territory. I don't think it is so terrible if the schools sometimes come down on the side of protecting people from the condemnation of others, since, I promise you, they also sometimes come down on the side of joining the condemnation. On the other hand, they really shouldn't be in the business of taking sides over values. Of course parents are not helpless. They can explain why they consider the teacher's conclusions to be misplaced. They can set a good example for evaluating both sides carefully. They can deepen the democratic process, rather than setting up barricades.

At a private school where I taught for many years, an Israeli parent objected to the text the teacher had selected because it referred to Jewish "settlers" on the West Bank. Of course the real objection was to the subject coming up at all. At some point you have to ask yourself if openness to facts can be dismissed as "indoctrination" without damaging the democratic ethos.

Robert Tulip wrote:
Quote:
The right to free speech, to the cultural Marxist, is like property rights to the classical Marxist — a mere pretext for those in power to maintain their privilege.
Indeed, and doesn’t that show the moral vacuity of Marxism?
Well, actually I was just quoting the article. I am not sure what a "cultural Marxist" is, but I think it's important not to let "platforming" people (i.e. giving some airing to their views) be exclusively the prerogative of the dominant groups. Universities have some responsibility to give an airing to thoughtful conservative views, not because "some people hold them" but because we need to hear from a wide variety of perspectives. They don't have a responsibility to platform people whose views get a lot of support precisely for shedding heat, not light (e.g. Milo Yiannopoulos).
Robert Tulip wrote:
I don’t think cultural Marxism provides a useful framework for reform advocacy, since it whips up two minute hatred in ways that can be dangerous.
I am not sure who you are referring to, but I am old enough to remember lunch counter sit-ins being called "dangerous." I don't tend to think of Marxists as helping anybody think about things. Over the years I have heard some cogent analysis by "critical studies" people, and I think America would be poorer without their observations. Many of them are Marxists, but their insights come mainly from being able to think outside the box due to their unusual perspective. If they turn to explaining their particularly Marxist views they usually undermine their own position.

A simple example: a Marxist sociologist pointed out that the police treat African-Americans differently because: their role is defined in terms of protecting property; black people have been effectively excluded from a lot of property; and part of "protection" turns out to be keeping it out of the hands of black people. Now, taken literally, as a description of how policing operates in the U.S., that is a complete crock. Yet in fact it explains a remarkably wide range of observations that a person probably could not make sense of without that key insight. Property-based racist policing is, one might say, an embedded system, hiding under the foliage of regular policing. Until a sufficient number of African-American police officers were hired, I would venture to guess that embedded system operated with impunity in most urban police forces. And if we didn't have Marxists eyeing things with their skepticism and advocacy, many fewer people would be aware of it.

Robert Tulip wrote:
The US First Amendment gives far more protection to free speech than our laws in Australia, where government has been unable to repeal laws that criminalise statements just for giving offence.
That must be pretty difficult to adjudicate. Could a person be punished for talking about "wacky new polyamorous religions" or telling an MP to "stop shagging men"?
Robert Tulip wrote:
Harry Marks wrote:
Marriage is a good thing - why would it have to be "traditional" to be good?
The value system at play is the claim that for parents to raise their own children is a social ideal. The problem is that when a wide range of alternative household structures are presented as equally admirable, the ability to teach the value of raising your own children is compromised. Orwell puts this nicely in his description of children as spies for the state.
Wow. That's quite a leap, from feeling your ability to generate an ideal is compromised to fearing your kids are spies for the state. I think if I were parenting in the middle of that, I would explain to my children that we don't want children to be looked down on just because their parents don't fit our ideals, and maybe point out that most parents fall down on some ideal or other.

The evidence actually says that children raised in same-sex households are at least as functional and well-adjusted as those raised in traditional husband-wife households. That doesn't mean there is something oppressive about holding up a heterosexual marriage as an ideal, but if someone gets into territory like saying a divorced heterosexual couple is better for the kids than a committed same-sex couple, they had better have some evidence. And if you don't recognize that the toughest part of the life of children of same-sex couples is the discrimination they face from ignorant scapegoaters, then I think you are not paying attention.

Robert Tulip wrote:
There was a controversy on this in Australia with the head of our Human Rights Commission expressing sorrow that people are free to say what they like in their own homes. No wonder people see human rights as a stalking horse for state intrusion by Big Brother.
I heard that some country is outlawing raising your children with any religion. I think it is fake, since I can't find it on the internet and I know people from that country. But even if you have presented fairly the comment of the head of the HRC, I think that is the sort of comment that usually gets policed pretty effectively, and most people get that it is part of the deal for even bigotry to be passed down in the home. After all, there are people who would define bigotry in such a way that Jewish ideas of being God's chosen people would be considered bigotry, and Christian claims that all non-Christians are going to Hell would be bigotry, and so forth. We might be sad that certain types of opinions get expressed in homes, but I think someone should be held accountable for saying it's too bad they have a right to do so.

Of course my President has said things that are equally egregious opposition to free expression and the rule of law, and it remains to be seen if he will be held accountable.

Robert Tulip wrote:
Harry Marks wrote:
Quote:
Political correctness, cultural Marxism, identity politics — call it what you like — can never embrace freedom of speech, because it ultimately seeks to shape and control culture, which cannot be shaped and controlled so long as one of the greatest shapers of ­culture — speech — is beyond its control.
So there are no people in these categories who have faith in persuasion?
The entire point is that rational persuasion is subordinated to the strategy of the long march through the institutions, the indoctrination of children with a worldview that demonises traditional values and achievements. The risks in this subversive strategy involve the loss of understanding of genuinely valuable principles, and a general undermining of the legitimacy of cultural principles such as merit.

I would have to see the specifics to assess whether you are talking sense or not. The concept of a movement to outlaw approving of merit strikes me as pretty far-fetched, and the chances of it being widely persuasive even more unlikely. Just because there are some people of a certain opinion who are also opposed to rational persuasion and freedom of speech does not mean that holding that opinion makes you such an opponent. These broad brush categorizations are getting pretty ridiculous.
Robert Tulip wrote:
This is not about anti-vaccination kooks, but a medical doctor and by implication a prominent politician banned from discussing evidence that gender transition hormone therapy could nearly double the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Well, I am still on the side of expertise. If there are such risks, they should be admissible to public discussion and should be weighed carefully by doctors and, if necessary, parents. I think it's regrettable that the commentator you cited presented the issue as he did, because it sounded like he objected to a doctor being asked to back up medical views, which sounds pretty reasonable unless you are fighting ideological wars.

Robert Tulip wrote:
It absolutely does matter that there is a medical issue, that children are encouraged to experiment with gender fluidity at an age where they do not understand the risks. The “experts” in this case are revolutionary Marxists like Roz Ward who has used an anti-bullying program as cover to introduce compulsory radical gay indoctrination for primary school children.

Radical gay indoctrination like "it's okay to be gay if you are gay"? I am missing the point here. If the risks are explained to parents, then presumably parents will work with kids who are "experimenting with gender fluidity" with those risks in mind. Schools don't need to be either encouraging or discouraging "experiments." If the parents request reasonable accommodation, I think the schools should do their best. And I think it is okay for society to oppose bullying. What am I missing?

I remember when girls wanting to wear trousers was a "dress code violation." Boys growing their hair long, same thing. Are we really still unable to cope with non-conformity?

Robert Tulip wrote:
a Jewish primary school was threatened with closure by a state organ because it refused the demand of the Orwellian-named OFSTED to teach that gender reassignment is a morally equal lifestyle. The organ backed down after world outcry, but it shows the agenda.

I'm not sure why a primary school is addressing such an issue, or why any school is addressing the "moral equality" or "moral inequality" of gender reassignment. There are facts which might be appropriate to teach at a somewhat older level, but my approach to controversial values issues was usually to introduce some of the complexity so that each side could have some appreciation for the other. Why should we be teaching a conclusion as "the right answer?" Even issues like slavery, that have been settled morally, can be presented for their complexity as a way of showing how people make arguments for their side to protect their interests, which is a valuable lesson in today's world.



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Post Re: 1984 by George Orwell - a discussion of Part 2
DWill wrote:
I'll engage in some whataboutism here. How should we look at the millions of evangelical voters who preferred Donald Trump? Was it for his devotion to biblical values like showing charity to all, loving his enemies, welcoming strangers, speaking the truth, and being faithful to his wives? Trump embodies none of those values upheld by evangelicals, yet they support him as strongly as any other voting group.


I think this doublethink business is one of the key issues to reflect on, to get the full benefit of 1984. Currently the strongest model of progressive Christianity in terms of appeal to thought leaders is "non-dualism". If you took some of its key statements or texts and rephrased them as "you need to allow seemingly contradictory claims to sit side-by-side in your consciousness until you begin to see how they can both be true," you would not be far from the program of non-dualism.

To see how that might possibly be true, consider the following pairs of ideas:
- we each need to care for others as if they are ourselves;
- we each need to give up our concern for our self.

- we have learned to promote our own interests and feel bitterness and resentment when something stands in the way of them, and this makes us unfree;
- if we have a contemplative stance, it will lead us to seek transformation in the structures of worldly power.

- most people are limited to a religion of advancing their own interests (with help from God);
- see God in every person.

There is at least one serious contradiction in each pair. Yet, holding them together, without forcing one to be wrong and the other to be right, a unifying vision emerges.

It is not so easy to see any unifying vision in the evangelical support for Trump. But if we adopt the perspective of the "non-cosmopolitans", who by and large do not participate in an economy of moving from place to place and do put strong emphasis on relationship to family and neighbors, a sense of the common ground emerges. Trump's patriarchal privilege is an outcome of the traditional sexual division of labor, which is still vitally part of the no-university economy, along with privilege for those who make lots of money, who may be presumed to be creating lots of value (even if, as it turns out, Hollywood and Russian Empire are responsible for his resurrection from a bankruptcy that was the result of plunging into mob-dominated gambling enterprise - these are not part of the Fox News worldview or narrative). Trump's opposition to a large role for government certainly makes sense for people trying to get by on self-reliance, with no corporate gravy train to hitch onto (I think that was what was behind the "personal responsibility" claim). Trump's opposition to immigration and imports resonates with the sense of solidarity for "us" that is a deep part of heartland thinking in the U.S.

The lived experience of many evangelicals puts heavy emphasis on these values: traditional gender roles; self-reliance (within extended family and community mutuality); and solidarity. To outsiders, they may be all about condemnation and judgmentalism, but from their own perspective, they are about solid personal (spiritual) values that are under siege from the Coastal, cosmopolitan, privileged elites. Abortion has come to symbolize this split: urban types think it is important to let consumers treat their unborn children as a convenience or inconvenience, like one more thing you shop for, but people with solid traditional values know that sex has consequences and revolt at the idea of the fetus bearing the cost of it. If elites ever showed any respect for that principle, they might have a chance of getting a hearing for their concerns, but that would be asking too much from the people who "know" that their worldview is the correct one.

Which brings us to the whole issue of political correctness, that Trump has become the symbol at the center of (by his own maneuvering). If there is one thing evangelicals know for sure it is that people with a master's degree don't give a fig for their views. So when academics and social justice warriors come on with "white privilege" and "white fragility" and "mansplaining" (and "human rights=same sex marriage"), the evangelicals are likely to react defensively. Who is going to join in somebody else's little morality play casting oneself as the villain? Especially the unwitting villain?

Lots of figures have played that role before, from George Wallace and Ann Coulter to Ronald Reagan and Rush Limbaugh. Trump was a little more entertaining about his finger-in-the-eye effrontery, but he had the benefit of seeing how the others went about it, and he caught a wave.

Why did that lead them to override what are commonly considered their core values? Mostly, in my view, they were painted into a corner. Ted Cruz lost. Trump polled well against the Democrats. What else was there to do but hold their nose and get on the wagon? And of course the incessant accusations of hypocrisy led them to dig in and defend their position ("we are forgiving" - same thing the RCC said about moving child molesters to new parishes).

DWill wrote:
What we have here and with your example is the cognitive dissonance that Noah Yuval Harari identifies as an inherent part of human cognition, essential, in fact, to the dynamism of our culture. I don't know that I agree with that last part, but it's certain that the appearance of hypocrisy is as old as our species. Orwell takes this capacity and fashions a specific tool used by totalitarians to control reality, called doublethink.
The reason it gives dynamism is supposed to be that the tension between opposing principles leads to creative and more careful thought. Equality vs. freedom has certainly driven some of the best thought in economics, and is at the heart of today's political issues. Harari also cited chivalry vs. Christianity. This is not exactly Hegel's thesis-antithesis-synthesis, but much the same idea is at work. "Consistency is the playground of small minds," Harari says. I don't think the question is one of hypocrisy, so much as the difficulty of grasping the appropriate limits of a valuable principle as readily as one grasps the usefulness of it.
DWill wrote:
we have to watch out that our freedoms are not stolen by either of the polar factions.
An example of the same problem at work.



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