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On Tolerance

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On Tolerance

Postby Paul » Thu Aug 25, 2005 8:42 pm

Hi,

I thought it might make sense to spin off from "can god create a rock..." a new thread devoted to "tolerance".

In the original thread I several times asked Democritus to provide some examples of what he described as "... all this talk we are hearing from the right, about 'tolerance' being a bad thing, is misguided and unwise". He very kindly answered me at http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-foru ... 4&start=46 .

I read the articles that Democritus posted. I didn't find them as disturbing as he did. I will not deny that many conservatives are suspicious of the tolerance preached by the liberal elite. One reason for this suspicion is the often highly selective nature of this tolerance. By way of example, consider first the quality of, then the reactions to, the remarks made by Harvard president Lawrence Summers and University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill.


Here's a reasonably fair-minded summary:

Summers suggests that among the possible causes of women being under-represented in the upper echelons of the sciences are upbringing, time spent raising children, and genetics, i.e., "innate differences". He offers these ideas as legitimate fields of inquiry.

Churchill says that on 9/11/2001 America got what it deserved. His now famous article can be found here http://www.kersplebedeb.com/mystuff/s11/churchill.html . I recommend that you read it.

The faculty at Harvard along with many newspaper editorials nationwide deplores Summers' remarks. He is rebuked for even suggesting that "nature" could have anything to do with such disparities. Harvard's college of Arts and Sciences votes "no confidence" in their president. A female MIT scientist walks out during Summer's speech. She later says that she had to leave because his remarks were going to make her either vomit or pass out. She leaves with a "physical sense of disgust".

Many of the faculty at UC Boulder, faculties elsewhere, and many newspaper editorials champion Churchill's right to free speech.

End of summary.


How now? How is it that the liberal elite, under the aegis of free speech, can tolerate Churchill's truly hateful remarks, yet cannot afford Summers the same? How is that these champions of tolerance cannot bear even to hear an opinion with which they disagree? To put a fine point on it, why should I trust the "tolerance" taught by such angry and intolerant souls?


So the stage is set for a discussion of tolerance; come one, come all.

Cordially,

Paul
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Postby bellum paxque » Thu Aug 25, 2005 9:16 pm

In any group, there are ideas that are intolerable. Fortunately, in today's academic community, a huge diversity of attitudes, worldviews, and beliefs are now accepted. Unfortunately, some of the more dangerous opinions of generations past are no longer acceptable. For instance, the point you make about genetics: since, for so long, females were considered inherently inferior, now that avenue for exploration -- even if theoretically tenable -- is now considered opprobrious. This is not a function of its feasibility but rather of its legacy. There's no such thing as free speech, quoth Stanley Fish.

I commiserate, however, and urge all to think carefully about their demands for free speech and recognize the implicit intolerance sometimes contained therein.

Pax vobiscum,

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Postby Emma_85 » Thu Aug 25, 2005 11:27 pm

As I see it the ideal behind the origin on of 'freedom of speech' was that people could not be persecuted for speaking their mind against the government. This right to speak your mind is there so that you can freely criticise the government, but of course also to protect any individual who has a different, perhaps even radical opinion from his follow citizens.
This right ends when you start misusing it. Inciting hatred, spreading lies and disinformation with the goal of hurting someone else/a group of people, personally attacking someone else verbally in a rude way etc.
I don't know what US law is, but under German law someone could bring charges against you if you did any one of those things I mentioned.

This scientist should be allowed to express his opinion here as all he did it seems was to point out all the reasons why the female gender is under-represented in the sciences and top positions. I think he's most likely wrong in thinking that genetics play a major role, he should have suggested history and cultural reason more, but it is a valid possibility, even if not a likely one considering that there have been some very outstanding female scientists and rulers in the past. So he should be protected by the law from being arrested/sued etc for saying this, but that does not mean that people have to like what he has to say. If you offer an opinion that is not really accepted by your fellow citizens, you risk the repercussions that it incurs. If they find your opinion offensive they have every right to act offended, as long as they don't disobey the law.
Their reactions may be a bit over the top you could argue, but they were totally legal as freedom of speech will protect you from being arrested or assaulted, but it can't protect you from being disliked. That's not what it's all about.
We can ask others to be tolerant and respect other people's opinions and be nice to them for having different ones than our own, but we can't force them too. We can only force them not to go out and lynch the person. And you know, some opinions probably don't actually deserve respect.
If many people rush to defend an 'unusual' opinion, one that is maybe not heard too often, the reason for this is that those many people like that person's opinion, so obviously their opinion is less radical than some may make it out to be, it's actually quite popular.
There is nothing wrong with rushing to someone's defense and agreeing with them if they are being criticised for their opinion. It doesn't mean you have the obligation to go and support everyone's deviant opinion. If you are a die hard supporter of free speech, you can go and boo someone for making a speech you disagree with. You just shouldn't throw stones through his window or try to take him to court and get him arrested, assassinated whatever, that's all. We can also shout at him to STFU and go home, but we should not grab him and drag him off the stage. If he is trying to incite hatered and violence against a certain group of people in the population or do anything like that, we should call the police.
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Postby edonnelly » Thu Aug 25, 2005 11:51 pm

Emma_85 wrote:If you are a die hard supporter of free speech, you can go and boo someone for making a speech you disagree with. You just shouldn't throw stones through his window or try to take him to court and get him arrested, assassinated whatever, that's all.

But the point of this thread is to talk about tolerance, not legality or free speech. No one is arguing (at least not yet!) that either of those two examples was or even should be illegal. The question is, do you consider people who "boo someone" they "disagree with" to be tolerant and what exactly do those on the left mean when they say that they are tolerant even though they refuse to even listen to ideas contrary to their own. And, of course, do you consider Johnny Depp to be tolerant?
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Postby Bert » Fri Aug 26, 2005 12:01 am

bellum paxque wrote: For instance, the point you make about genetics: since, for so long, females were considered inherently inferior,

Inherently inferior? No. Inherently different? Certainly.
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Postby PeterD » Fri Aug 26, 2005 12:44 am

Emma_85 wrote:This scientist should be allowed to express his opinion here as all he did it seems was to point out all the reasons why the female gender is under-represented in the sciences and top positions.


Emma, Lawrence Summers is not a scientist. He is an economist. Which beckons the question, what professional knowledge -- please do tell, Lawrence -- does he have to comment on the genetic differences between males and females?

Since this topic is a spin off from a recent heated exchange between me, Paul, and edonnelly, I think it would be appropiate for me to add here that edonnelly was right regarding a certain quote I attributed to SCJ Scalia. I was not only wrong but clumsy, as well, in trying to defend my position. Whether Scalia said it or not, it is irrelevent -- if you can't source it, don't quote it! edonnelly, you have my sincerest apologies. :)

Now, I will hush and, like a good little boy, go do my Greek.


Peter

p.s. I am not done. I will get back to this interesting topic.
Fanatical ranting is not just fine because it's eloquent. What if I ranted for the extermination of a people in an eloquent manner, would that make it fine? Rather, ranting, be it fanatical or otherwise, is fine if what is said is true and just. ---PeterD, in reply to IreneY and Annis
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Postby Emma_85 » Fri Aug 26, 2005 10:10 am

edonnelly wrote:
Emma_85 wrote:If you are a die hard supporter of free speech, you can go and boo someone for making a speech you disagree with. You just shouldn't throw stones through his window or try to take him to court and get him arrested, assassinated whatever, that's all.

But the point of this thread is to talk about tolerance, not legality or free speech. No one is arguing (at least not yet!) that either of those two examples was or even should be illegal. The question is, do you consider people who "boo someone" they "disagree with" to be tolerant and what exactly do those on the left mean when they say that they are tolerant even though they refuse to even listen to ideas contrary to their own. And, of course, do you consider Johnny Depp to be tolerant?


I understood from the title that it was supposed to be about tolerance, but then it seemed to me to be more a case a freedom of speech and all that?

Of course I probably don't really understand the political significance here, as internal American politics is so damned boring, as it's just so far removed from how it is here. I mean, sure they bicker all the time, but they bicker about different things and they bicker in a different way. Not quite they way they do in the US :lol:

:?

If someone says they are tolerant, they that means they should respect the other person's opinion, even if they disagree with it. You cannot be absolutely tolerant of every opinion I think. So I agree with you, if they claim to be the most tolerant of people they should respect all beliefs however weird they may be and however much they may not like them. If they don't like them and so don't respect them they are not quite as tolerant as they make themselves out to be then. It would be better if they claimed to be tolerant in moderation.
Again though, I'm not really following the politics. It is possible that they are so much more tolerant in general of different opinions than the opposition is that they can claim to be very tolerant (in comparison). Or they could be talking BS, I don't really know I suppose...
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Postby Emma_85 » Fri Aug 26, 2005 10:12 am

Bert wrote:
bellum paxque wrote: For instance, the point you make about genetics: since, for so long, females were considered inherently inferior,

Inherently inferior? No. Inherently different? Certainly.


We are inherently different, but that is not the point bellum paxque was making. She was saying that in the past we were often deemed to be the inferior sex of the species, which is true. Not in all cultures at all times, but in general yes.
Last edited by Emma_85 on Fri Aug 26, 2005 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Emma_85 » Fri Aug 26, 2005 10:15 am

PeterD wrote:
Emma_85 wrote:This scientist should be allowed to express his opinion here as all he did it seems was to point out all the reasons why the female gender is under-represented in the sciences and top positions.


Emma, Lawrence Summers is not a scientist. He is an economist. Which beckons the question, what professional knowledge -- please do tell, Lawrence -- does he have to comment on the genetic differences between males and females?


Ah! I was not aware of that... as he was talking about that sort of thing I automatically assumed he was a biological scientist.
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Postby Paul » Fri Aug 26, 2005 1:39 pm

Hi,

I am happy about the direction and tone of this thread. I hope we can all continue to bring to it, as Will would say, light not heat.

I am also eager to hear what Democritus has to say.

A few observations:

Summers is indeed 'merely' an economist. I don't see how that disqualifies him from asking the question. By virtue of his training he is almost certainly adept at mathematics. Moreover, he has enough experience in academia to know that most top teaching positions in the advanced sciences go to men. What more does one need to know in order to ask the question, "Are innate difference between the sexes a possible cause of this disparity?". Are you saying, Peter, that only a trained biologist can ask this question?

Emma raises the issue of "tolerance and respect of all beliefs". I am not at all convinced that, in its matter, tolerance requires respect. In fact tolerance assumes, I think, if not disrespect, then at least a judgment grounded in the apprehension of difference and inferiority. In general, we tolerate that with which we disagree or disapprove. But I don't construe this as license to treat others rudely or to prevent them practicing what they will (I here exclude obvious practices - speech and acts - that no one can or should tolerate). Would that the champions of tolerance on the left were similarly inclined!

Cordially,

Paul
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Postby Democritus » Fri Aug 26, 2005 3:05 pm

Paul, I agree with the general point you are making. The word "tolerance" is often misused. I'm sure you can find plenty of examples of people advocating tolerance without practising it. (Just as you can find people advocating Christianity without practising it.) Nevertheless, tolerance itself should not be abandonded as a concept. It's far too valuable. Behind all the nonsense and failures is a profound and difficult idea, and very worthwhile.

"Tolerance" as a political idea did not start with U.S. political activists, it has much deeper roots than this. "Tolerance" means that people are not required to adhere to the official state religion. Some of the same people now rejecting "tolerance" are simultaneously dismissing the whole idea of the separation of church and state. Wittingly or unwittingly, these people are advocating a return to the politics of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

I do not want to live in a country where "tolerance" is considered to be a lack of moral principles.

About Summers -- he said nothing worse about women than is said all the time about men. If he had made precisely the same comparison, but in favor of women rather than men, no one would have cared.
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Postby Bert » Sat Aug 27, 2005 1:35 am

Emma_85 wrote:
Bert wrote:
Inherently inferior? No. Inherently different? Certainly.


We are inherently different, but that is not the point bellum paxque was making. She was saying that in the past we were often deemed to be the inferior sex of the species, which is true. Not in all cultures at all times, but in general yes.

I was pointing out that bellum paxque was missing the point.
According to the "reasonably fair-minded summary", Summers spoke about "genetics, i.e., "innate differences"", not inferiority.
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Postby Emma_85 » Sat Aug 27, 2005 9:03 am

Paul wrote:Emma raises the issue of "tolerance and respect of all beliefs". I am not at all convinced that, in its matter, tolerance requires respect. In fact tolerance assumes, I think, if not disrespect, then at least a judgment grounded in the apprehension of difference and inferiority. In general, we tolerate that with which we disagree or disapprove. But I don't construe this as license to treat others rudely or to prevent them practicing what they will (I here exclude obvious practices - speech and acts - that no one can or should tolerate).

Cordially,

Paul


Hmmm.... *goes and looks up tolerance in the dictionary*

tolerance

1. The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others.


sorry to have to make my point like that, but I do think that respect is part of the word tolerance.
:wink:


Would that the champions of tolerance on the left were similarly inclined!


But are they not more tolerant of other's beliefs that the right? Surely it is not so bad to make a fuss over someone else's beliefs and protest than to try and make laws against them? Am I not correct in believing that the religious right in America wants to ban abortion, stem cell research, IVF (or is IVF better than abortion because it's less fun to protest outside IVF clinics?), gay marriage (get rid of gay's rights in general probably) and want to introduce non scientific theories into science classes etc. ?
Does the left to do something similar? And hey, this is not just a rhethorical question, if they do, please post!

Now, if we are just talking about tolerance in general and not just tolerance of some person's speech...
Let's take gays for instance. It is not a life stlye choice so it's not actually their opinions, but their very existance which must be tolerated. If someone believes that these people are 'evil' an 'abomination' etc, then they are hardly being tolerant, because as I pointed out, tolerance includes a certain level of respect. I think even the most leftist people in the US do not think of a group of people in the US as inherently evil. Hence, they are more tolerant than the right. Humans are more important than beliefs for a start.
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Postby Emma_85 » Sat Aug 27, 2005 9:14 am

Bert wrote:
Emma_85 wrote:
Bert wrote:
Inherently inferior? No. Inherently different? Certainly.


We are inherently different, but that is not the point bellum paxque was making. She was saying that in the past we were often deemed to be the inferior sex of the species, which is true. Not in all cultures at all times, but in general yes.

I was pointing out that bellum paxque was missing the point.
According to the "reasonably fair-minded summary", Summers spoke about "genetics, i.e., "innate differences"", not inferiority.


Eh... but he was talking about us basically not being able to get top positions in science research and managerial positions, not only because of upbringing, child-raising etc, but also because of genetic differences. So what would those genetic differences be? That we have a gene labled: make most females uninterested in being good at a subject, of course only science subjects, and not wanting to be a being a manager genes? I don't know about you, but to me it sounds more like: less intelligent, less good with people etc... 'less something or other' .
I'll be studying at Imperial college of Science, Techonology and Medicine this October - something like only 30% of the students are female. So are we that much more stupid than men? I was the only female student doing Physics as a major subject in my year at school. There were some others who were thinking about taking it up, but they didn't. Most probably after talking it through with friends and family and giving into the pressure of society's idea that females and sciences don't mix. All female physics students are mingers etc.
I doubt there is a "I'll change my mind at the last minute and won't do Physics after all"-gene.
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Postby Emma_85 » Sat Aug 27, 2005 9:24 am

Democritus wrote:About Summers -- he said nothing worse about women than is said all the time about men. If he had made precisely the same comparison, but in favor of women rather than men, no one would have cared.


I agree - the reasons why people react so strongly to his comments are historical in nature. The male sex was not really being oppressed or thought to be inferior.
As I said before, he should be allowed to make his statement, but you can't force anyone to like it.

I also agree with you, that tolerance is a very important value to have at heart. As you say, take away the idea of tolerance and religious tolerance for instance dissappears - you must follow one state religion. The idea of tolerance goes hand in hand with freedom of speech for me too.
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Postby Bert » Sat Aug 27, 2005 11:16 am

Emma_85 wrote:
1. The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others.


If you respect the beliefs or practices of others, tolerance is not an issue.
I don't think your dictionary reference is correct.
If I were to paraphrase my dictionary, it would amount to your definition if you replace 'respecting' with 'permitting.'

I'll give an example that strikes close to (your) home.
I don't respect Atheism. I can't. It is my firm believe that it is a wrong position. Do I disrespect you because it is your position? No I don't.
As a matter of fact, in some of the discussions that you've had, I respect the way you reason consistent with your belief, while others (whose position I shared) were arguing in a way that was not consistent with their belief.

Eh... but he was talking about us basically not being able to get top positions in science research and managerial positions, not only because of upbringing, child-raising etc, but also because of genetic differences. So what would those genetic differences be? That we have a gene labled: make most females uninterested in being good at a subject, of course only science subjects, and not wanting to be a being a manager genes? I don't know about you, but to me it sounds more like: less intelligent, less good with people etc... 'less something or other' .


He did not say being unable but being under-represented. (I don't know it that is the word he used but if he did then it seems to indicate that he thinks it would be better if the representation were higher.)
Being unable to get the position is not the same as not getting the position. A lot of females may be inclined to go into health care rather than try to aim for the corner office.
Are females inferior because the majority of them opt for caring for the sick, elderly etc? No way. Maybe that is in response to a gene that makes them more caring than males. (That sounds like- better with people etc... 'better something or other' doesn't it?)
(Another reason why the representation in managerial positions is lower for women than for men may be that women may have a shorter stay in the workforce due to raising a family at some point.)
BTW; Don't missrepresent my position. I won't tolerate it. :)
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Postby Emma_85 » Sat Aug 27, 2005 12:09 pm

Bert wrote:
Emma_85 wrote:
1. The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others.


If you respect the beliefs or practices of others, tolerance is not an issue.
I don't think your dictionary reference is correct.
If I were to paraphrase my dictionary, it would amount to your definition if you replace 'respecting' with 'permitting.'

I'll give an example that strikes close to (your) home.
I don't respect Atheism. I can't. It is my firm believe that it is a wrong position. Do I disrespect you because it is your position? No I don't.
As a matter of fact, in some of the discussions that you've had, I respect the way you reason consistent with your belief, while others (whose position I shared) were arguing in a way that was not consistent with their belief.


That is what I would call tolerance. Eventhough you don't agree with atheism, you can respect atheists. I suppose you are right in saying that tolerance does not mean that you respect atheism itself, but on the other hand... I mean, I don't think religion is 'right', I'm an atheist, but I can respect Chrisitans. I'm trying to get my head round the concept of disrespecting atheism or Christianity for example. Respecting also has different meanings, for example if I can't respect the 'rules' of Christianity, as in I can't follow them, because one of them is to believe in God. :lol:
I think we are just talking about stupid things though - basically when I say tolerance includes respect I mean that we may not agree with an opinion, but that we can see where those people who have that opinion are coming from and so not ridicule their opinion at evey possible turn. Know what I mean?


Eh... but he was talking about us basically not being able to get top positions in science research and managerial positions, not only because of upbringing, child-raising etc, but also because of genetic differences. So what would those genetic differences be? That we have a gene labled: make most females uninterested in being good at a subject, of course only science subjects, and not wanting to be a being a manager genes? I don't know about you, but to me it sounds more like: less intelligent, less good with people etc... 'less something or other' .


He did not say being unable but being under-represented. (I don't know it that is the word he used but if he did then it seems to indicate that he thinks it would be better if the representation were higher.)
Being unable to get the position is not the same as not getting the position. A lot of females may be inclined to go into health care rather than try to aim for the corner office.
Are females inferior because the majority of them opt for caring for the sick, elderly etc? No way. Maybe that is in response to a gene that makes them more caring than males. (That sounds like- better with people etc... 'better something or other' doesn't it?)


Um... no one in my class opted to take Biology instead of Physics of Chemistry because they wanted a position to care for the elderly instead or to do a subject that would lead on to such a qualification.
I know what you mean, I understand what the guy was saying too, but I'm just trying to point out, that really, if you are asking why they are underrepresented and say it is not just because of society or the fact that they spend time away from work raising children - what are you left with?

(Another reason why the representation in managerial positions is lower for women than for men may be that women may have a shorter stay in the workforce due to raising a family at some point.)


Of course that is one of the reasons, but that's not what he meant when he said that there might be genetic reasons for this apart from ones in society and that they take time out to raise children.

...nare upbringing, time spent raising children, and genetics ...
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Postby Paul » Sat Aug 27, 2005 6:16 pm

Emma_85 wrote:
Paul wrote:Emma raises the issue of "tolerance and respect of all beliefs". I am not at all convinced that, in its matter, tolerance requires respect. In fact tolerance assumes, I think, if not disrespect, then at least a judgment grounded in the apprehension of difference and inferiority. In general, we tolerate that with which we disagree or disapprove. But I don't construe this as license to treat others rudely or to prevent them practicing what they will (I here exclude obvious practices - speech and acts - that no one can or should tolerate).

Cordially,

Paul


Hmmm.... *goes and looks up tolerance in the dictionary*

1. The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others.


sorry to have to make my point like that, but I do think that respect is part of the word tolerance.

Hi Emma,

As to the manner in which you "made your point": that's OK. I'm a big boy; I can take it. :)

But I don't think you made your point. Bert's already said it, but I'll say it again. If you respect or agree with something, why do you need to tolerate it? The entire concept is grounded first in the apprehension of difference and then in a devaluation. In fine, and hypothetically: in some respect you differ from me, and I may deem that you are therefore in some respect inferior to me. It is this consciousness - and not one of sameness or agreement - that calls forth the need for tolerance.

Democritus rightly referred to the historical expression of "tolerance" in the realm of religions. But make no mistake, different denominations tolerated each other not because they deemed all religions to be essentially the same. In fact, they marked significant differences among them. They tolerated each other not out of respect for the matter of their differences, but out of respect for the liberty of others to think and practice as they choose.

It is in the recognition of the free human being that respect is to be found. Respect is not to be found in what that person believes or does. I have no respect for numerous religious cults. I think that what they think and do is wrong-headed and often dangerous. But if their behavior doesn't threaten the innocent or the commonweal, I respect their right to practice what they will.

Emma85 wrote:
Would that the champions of tolerance on the left were similarly inclined!


But are they not more tolerant of other's beliefs that the right? Surely it is not so bad to make a fuss over someone else's beliefs and protest than to try and make laws against them? Am I not correct in believing that the religious right in America wants to ban abortion, stem cell research, IVF (or is IVF better than abortion because it's less fun to protest outside IVF clinics?), gay marriage (get rid of gay's rights in general probably) and want to introduce non scientific theories into science classes etc. ?
Does the left to do something similar? And hey, this is not just a rhethorical question, if they do, please post!

Emma, whence the requirement to tolerate everything? If I find something abhorrent, do I not have the right, within the framework of law, to seek to change it?

As to who is more tolerant, the left or the right, please consider: because it is currently the law of the land, the religious right have no choice but to tolerate the monstrous brutality of partial-birth abortion. The humanist left, as I've said before, can't bear even to hear positions they disagree with. So you tell me, who's got the thicker skins?

Emma85 wrote:Let's take gays for instance. It is not a life stlye choice so it's not actually their opinions, but their very existance which must be tolerated. If someone believes that these people are 'evil' an 'abomination' etc, then they are hardly being tolerant, because as I pointed out, tolerance includes a certain level of respect.


As I think I've demonstrated, tolerance does not include a certain level of respect for the matter or content of differences. Any respect found in tolerance is rooted in the dignity and freedom of the human being. I am a great believer in this dignity and freedom. I've seen pictures on TV of right-wing religious types screaming that "fags" are evil and that they are "going to Hell". I find such hateful behavior abhorrent. I may not respect homosexual behavior, that is, I may consider it in some ways inferior to heterosexual behavior, but I respect the freedom of people to live as they choose.

Emma85 wrote:I think even the most leftist people in the US do not think of a group of people in the US as inherently evil. Hence, they are more tolerant than the right.


Wow. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. The left wing of the Democrat party is an angry, vengeful bunch. Howard Dean, head of the Democratic National Committee, called Republicans "evil"; not some Republicans, all Republicans. Moreover, anyone who professes Christianity is routinely regarded by the humanist left as a being compounded of equal parts stupidity and superstition.

Now for a more lyric presentation of these ideas:

"I'm the one that's got to die when it's time for me to die. So let me live my life the way I want to." - Jimi Hendrix (If 6 was 9).

"Since we got to be, let's live." - Marvin Gaye (Let's Get it On)

"Hate the sin, love the sinner" - old Catholic saying

Cordially,

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Postby Bert » Sat Aug 27, 2005 6:25 pm

Emma_85 wrote:Am I not correct in believing that the religious right in America wants to ban abortion, stem cell research, IVF (or is IVF better than abortion because it's less fun to protest outside IVF clinics?), gay marriage (get rid of gay's rights in general probably) and want to introduce non scientific theories into science classes etc. ?
Does the left to do something similar? And hey, this is not just a rhethorical question, if they do, please post!

I seem to be picking on you Emma, but I can't respond to someone who does not post and you are posting :wink:
You name quite a list, some of which I also would like to see banned.
Not because I am being intolerant but because I believe that they are wrong.
Abortion is becoming so common that it is hard to find an example to show what I mean but I'll try.
It is quite common to do a test to see if an unborn baby has any medical or genetic problems which would make life hard for him or the parents.
Sometimes something can be done to help the situation, but there are also times when the decision is made to terminate the pregnancy (euphemism for 'kill the baby.')
What would you think about killing the baby after its birth, because it was determined that this particular person is not going to be able to contribute to society in a meaningful way? Would you be 'tolerant' and say; "It is up to the individual." Or would you be an 'intolerant bigot' (like I am) and say; "This has to be banned?"

My point is; You are confusing the difference between right and wrong with the difference between your way and my way.
Emma_85 wrote: I think even the most leftist people in the US do not think of a group of people in the US as inherently evil. Hence, they are more tolerant than the right.

That is an extreme statement with a conclusion drawn from it. It is also a misleading statement.
(1) There certainly are leftist people who think that the 'religeous right' is evil personified.
(2) Even if there are no leftist people who think of a group of people in the US as inherently evil, this does not mean that they are tolerant of all people.
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Postby edonnelly » Sat Aug 27, 2005 6:37 pm

Emma_85 wrote:Eh... but he was talking about us basically not being able to get top positions in science research and managerial positions, not only because of upbringing, child-raising etc, but also because of genetic differences. So what would those genetic differences be?

Well, that would be the point of scientific inquiry. Without it, how could one conclude that such differences do not exist?
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Postby edonnelly » Sat Aug 27, 2005 6:50 pm

Bert wrote:Not because I am being intolerant but because I believe that they are wrong.

I think you hit upon an important point here. I believe that tolerance is not necessarily always good -- in fact, it can be just as bad as it can be good. Should we have tolerated the sniper shooting at innocent victims in D.C. a few years ago? Should we tolerate drug dealers who pray on young children to increase their client base? Should we tolerate pedophiles? slavery? Hitler? terrorism? Should we even tolerate lesser evils -- tax evasion, horse thievery, financial scams against the elderly, etc.

Sometimes tolerance (inaction in the face of a wrong) is just a cowardly way of not standing up for what is right.
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Postby annis » Sat Aug 27, 2005 8:41 pm

I work with statisticians. One quickly learns to pay close attention when a statistician uses the word "significant" because they have a technical use of the word which, though it brushes against the day-to-day meaning, nonetheless means something quite particular.

Similarly, if you study the Stoics and Epicureans, you learn that they both talk about the importance of "following Nature," but both define the word slightly differently. It becomes clear that their use of the word is already frighted out with ethical significance. When they talk about "Nature" they're simply abbreviating philosophical background of their individual schools.

It seems to me that when a liberal uses the word "tolerance" a similar thing is going on, namely that the word is shorthand for already established commitments to a set of civil and personal rights. It brushes up agains the day-to-day meaning of the word, but is nonetheless a technical term. And just like the many groups that define "freedom" eccentrically and then condemn anyone who opposes them as against freedom, grabbing tolerance as shorthand leaves a nasty bit of easy PR: branding anyone who opposes any part of that set of civil and personal rights intolerant.
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Postby Emma_85 » Sat Aug 27, 2005 10:46 pm

Emma, whence the requirement to tolerate everything? If I find something abhorrent, do I not have the right, within the framework of law, to seek to change it?


Paul and Bert.... I'm sorry if what I say is confusing... I said right at the start that I don't think that every opinion should be tolerated and deserves respect. There are many opinions I think should not be tolerated in our culture (we might disagree what those opinions and practices might be of course).
I'm am merely trying to debate the topic at hand, which is that these leftists apparently pride themselves and claiming that they are the most tolerant, eventhough as I said in another post, I don't actually agree with tolerating everything. It's a difficult thing of course, what do you tolerate and where do you just draw the line, because sometimes you feel that although someone probably has the right to feel the way they do, you personally just cannot agree with them under any circumstances. Abortion is such an issue, because so many emotions are involved.

If you respect or agree with something, why do you need to tolerate it?


Ok, I think now I see what point you and Bert are making, I didn't understand it the first time. The problem is more a communication problem I think :? . Which is why I included that example last time ... what I meant with respect is that you don't go around making fun or someone else's opinion, but accept that that is their opinion and don't go and do your damnedest to try and change it by personally annoying them all the time about it.

I totally agree with you that the basis of tolerance is recognising that there are many, many other views out there and that the people who come up with them are not stupid, but just as clever as myself and so their opinions deserve respect (argh, there I go again, using a word differently that you two obviously would) ... I mean... tolerance. :wink:
I just thought, maybe it's a simple fact that the German word Respekt has slightly different connotations that the English? *shrug*
The only dictionary I own is my Greek one.

As to who is more tolerant, the left or the right, please consider: because it is currently the law of the land, the religious right have no choice but to tolerate the monstrous brutality of partial-birth abortion. The humanist left, as I've said before, can't bear even to hear positions they disagree with. So you tell me, who's got the thicker skins?


Well, this is what we are debating, isn't it?
I don't live in the US, we don't have this problem here really. The laws on abortion are different too, I personally do not agree with US abortion laws. The two positions are so polarised in the US... so much so, that these laws will most likely never be tightened, because any move to do so would outrage the left, who would feel that the right are getting their way and that one day it will be illegal. In all this debate over abortion the real problem is not being seen and not being addressed as much as it should I fear (from what some people in the US tell me) - namely the unwanted pregnancies themselves. Here the birthcontrol pill and condoms are available freely to anyone who wants them, this seems to be the case in a few areas in the US I think (????), but not everywhere. That would be a start... and better sex-ed at school too.
But all this is another discussion really.
The fact is that abortion used to be illegal and the left had to fight for this right and now that they have it they don't want to give it up and so they are scared of the right. The left had to tolerate the law before, now the right have to you could say.
So, who is more tolerant?
In my opinion it is still the left – no one is forcing anyone religious to get an abortion, their freedom is the same as before. To live as they see fit. Of course the right feel that abortion is un-ethical, so we have a conflict of world views and it's a very difficult issue. The right in this case are not tolerant, they don't tolerate the leftists view that they can have abortions if they wish, and the left do not tolerate the right trying to take that right away from them. As in one case we are talking about someone's right being taken away from them, the right to make a very difficult decision based on the opinion they have formed on abortion, and in the second case someone forcing their opinion they have formed on another... I still must go with the left.

Wow. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. The left wing of the Democrat party is an angry, vengeful bunch. Howard Dean, head of the Democratic National Committee, called Republicans "evil"; not some Republicans, all Republicans. Moreover, anyone who professes Christianity is routinely regarded by the humanist left as a being compounded of equal parts stupidity and superstition.


:?
Eh... what can I say.
Image

Now I have this picture of politics in the US just consisting of people shouting stupid insults at their opponents... maybe we European were to harsh with Bush after all even though he goes and makes stupid insults at us and then just offers a lame apology later when it suits him :lol: - he was just acting like any good US politician :roll: .
Now, not that I think all Christians are stupid and superstitious, but just to heat the fire here... maybe there is a reason this prejudice against Christians exists in the US?

I'd love to reply to the other posts, but it's now quarter to midnight - I'll probably shake my head when I read this post tomorrow, I don't want to write another one while really tired :lol:
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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Sun Aug 28, 2005 1:59 am

I have a far better understanding of left-wing psychology than right-wing psychology, so I feel that I am in no position to make a judgement in the "who is more intolerant" pissing contest. To some degree I think the question is irrelevant : if John murdered two innocent people, and Mary murdered two thousand innocent people, society still has to remove the threat both of them pose towards innocent people. If "tolerance" is to be encouraged, then both sides should improve themselves, regardless of who is more intolerant. What we should be discussing is what is tolerance and what kind should be encouraged, not who is more naughty.

However I think you will find that extremists on either side, by nature, are frequently intolerant. It is the extremism, and not the philosophy necessarily, which renders them intolerant. And Howard Dean certainly should certainly be classified as an extremist.

To answer your questions, Emma, the features of the California sex-ed program are :

-What sex is
-Discuss the effectiveness and risks of different birth control methods (abstinence is stressed as the only 100% guaranteed birth control method, but detailed information on condoms, various hormone-based methods, and a few bizarre ones, and methods which won't work are taught as well)
-How to use the birth control methods
-What sexually transmitted diseases are, how to avoid them, how to check if you have a sexually transmitted disease, and how what to do if you have one.
-To follow your own or your family's beliefs regarding sex, as long as you permit others to follow their own beliefs as long provided you neither harm anybody nor have sexual contact with somebody without their consent (rape is not permitted, but homosexuality is, and believing that homosexuality is disgusting is permitted as well)
-Parents are informed of the curriculum in advance, and they must sign a document to let their child(ren) take the lessons concerning sex (this is part of "Health Ed", and parents cannot forbid their children from taking th lessons on what kind of food is healthy to eat) or else the child will not be permitted to take those lessons. If the parent refuses to give permission, and alternative activity will be provided for the child(ren) and it will not damage their academic record.

I think this is pretty good. I have also heard that California is one of the few states to adopt such a sex-ed curriculum, and that by having this type of program it looses some federal funding.

Around here, free condoms are provided at certain distribution centers for people under the age of 18. People over the age of 18 cannot get free condoms, but if they have a low income they can get condoms at a discounted price. There are also a number of places where one can get tested for sexually transmitted diseases for free.
Last edited by GlottalGreekGeek on Sun Aug 28, 2005 2:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby annis » Sun Aug 28, 2005 2:07 am

GlottalGreekGeek wrote:If "tolerance" is to be encouraged, then both sides should improve themselves, regardless of who is more intolerant. What we should be discussing is what is tolerance and what kind should be encouraged, not who is more naughty.


Hear, hear!
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Postby Emma_85 » Sun Aug 28, 2005 10:16 am

Emma_85 wrote:

I think even the most leftist people in the US do not think of a group of people in the US as inherently evil. Hence, they are more tolerant than the right.


That is an extreme statement with a conclusion drawn from it. It is also a misleading statement.
(1) There certainly are leftist people who think that the 'religious right' is evil personified.
(2) Even if there are no leftist people who think of a group of people in the US as inherently evil, this does not mean that they are tolerant of all people.


Yes, I think I see now that the left do hate the right... I wasn't aware of this before...

I've never debated this particular topic before really, so there is probably loads of fault in my logic and knowledge...
I was just trying to well... debate whether the left or the right are more tolerant as that's what this thread is about and I thought it would be fun. I think debating can be fun as long as we all know it's just a debate and don't start being uncivil.

The reason I only hear about the right vilifying the left is probably because of how horrific some of their comments are.
Pat Robertson, the guy who recently said the Venezuelan President should be assassinated, has apparently said some other 'interesting' things in the past:
"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians."

And

"[Homosexuals] want to come into churches and disrupt church services and throw blood all around and try to give people AIDS and spit in the face of ministers."


:shock:

:?

When all I get to hear are comments like this (although I understand these are the worst comments made), I cannot help to feel that he is not a very tolerant person and that the 'left', well, I should say moderate left, I don't agree with extremism at all, are right to try and fight such comments and sentiments.
I've talked to some people from the US this morning and from what I've heard now it appears to me that you have some kind of culture war going on in the US currently. I don't think I quite realised what I was getting myself into here... they basically also told me that no side is particulary into tolerating the other side and that it is getting worse every day and building up to some kind of storm.

If "tolerance" is to be encouraged, then both sides should improve themselves, regardless of who is more intolerant. What we should be discussing is what is tolerance and what kind should be encouraged, not who is more naughty.


You are right, that would be a better thing to discuss. Although now I am not convinced anyone (I mean as in the left and right in the US) seems to be interested in listening to the other side as they see their views as irreconcilable and that it is building up into a question of either one or the other can triumph.
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Postby Bert » Sun Aug 28, 2005 12:20 pm

GlottalGreekGeek wrote: What we should be discussing is what is tolerance and what kind should be encouraged, not who is more naughty.


That sure is a worthy topic and it might have been better if we had a discussion like that first. At least we would all have been talking about the same kind of tolerance.

The present discussion is not particularly about who is the most naughty, but about why is the such a selectiveness when the left demands tolerance on some issues but is decidedly intolerant on other issues.

How now? How is it that the liberal elite, under the aegis of free speech, can tolerate Churchill's truly hateful remarks, yet cannot afford Summers the same? How is that these champions of tolerance cannot bear even to hear an opinion with which they disagree? To put a fine point on it, why should I trust the "tolerance" taught by such angry and intolerant souls?


I realize that it is very easy to slide from this to a 'you are worse than I am' kind of discussion.
There is a Dutch saying that I'll paraphrase here. (I think there is one in English as well, I just can't think of it.)
"The pot accuses the kettle of being black."
Both extremes and most people inbetween can use some improvement.
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Postby Democritus » Sun Aug 28, 2005 4:03 pm

Yes, I think I see now that the left do hate the right... I wasn't aware of this before...


Careful there, folks, that's me you are talking about. I don't hate anyone.

We have to be careful about the use of language. Even a simple word like "hate" is a politically loaded term nowadays.

A general condemnation of "hatred" was originally aimed at condemning extreme forms of hatred like Nazism, bona fide antisemitism, and anti-black racism.

Inevitably this word has been overused, and extended out beyond its original sense. People are accused of "hatred" just for taking unpopular political opinions. Christians who condemn homosexuality are accused of being homophobic or of hating gays, but right-wing folks are very quick to accuse anyone of "hating America" just because they oppose the war in Iraq. You can be accused of hating God or hating Christians just because you believe in evolution or in the separation of church and state.

The "angry liberal" is a meme deliberately created the people who manage media campaigns for the right wing. It doesn't match the reality. The Republicans are constantly trying to depict Democrats as "angry." I can think of a lot of accurate, pejorative adjectives for Democrats (such as "short-sigted" or "fickle") but "angry" is not one of them.

Some liberal groups also use the "hate" meme, for example, Latino advocacy groups and gay marriage advocacy groups accuse their opponents of "hatred." Many who attempt to address the problem of illegal immigration will immediately be described as people who hate Latinos.

IMHO this whole "hate" meme is part of the victim mentality. If you are the victim of hatred then you are being persecuted, and your opponents are simply evil. It serves as an ad hominem attack and as an obfuscation. If I say that someone "hates," then I shift the conversation to my opponent's emotional state, and away from the content of their ideas. You deligitimize your opponents without actually addressing their arguments.
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Postby Bert » Sun Aug 28, 2005 5:09 pm

Democritus wrote:
Yes, I think I see now that the left do hate the right... I wasn't aware of this before...


Careful there, folks, that's me you are talking about. I don't hate anyone.


You make a good point. Just like William mentioned, different people attach diferent meanings to a word.
There is a big difference between: I hate dill pickles. And: I hate religeous people.
The statement: "...the left do hate the right... is much to broad and general. I hate (yes, hate) abortion, but don't group me with those who shoot doctors and bomb clinics.
All in all, this discussion has been civil and polite. (Very tolerable.)
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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Sun Aug 28, 2005 5:37 pm

I agree with your treatment of the use of "hatred" in today's politics. May I even be bold to say that someone abusing the word "hatred" is going in the opposite direction of "tolerance" (note that I said abusing, not using).

However, I would apply the term frustrated to the left wing, especially the far-left. It is not the same as angry: angry implies mindlessness, frustration implies a cause. There is a great sense of frustration in San Francisco that we have politicians which we oppose thrust upon us, namely George Bush and Arnold Schwarzeneger. I find the right-wing's direct impact on San Francisco to be minimal, mainly because the California legislature is still dominated by Democrats (Arnold Schwarzenger blames the failure of a number of his plans on the lack of cooperation from the state senate and assembly), as well as the local government, but things such as how the budget is allocated do not always make obvious impacts. However, as more of the federal government comes under the power of right-wing extremists, there is a growing feeling that we are the victims of a losing war, and that we must become more extreme ourselves to shift the tide before it is too late (though I personally disagree with this last part).

Most of the information I recieve is biased towards the left wing, and I admit that, but I am inclined to think the extremity (not direction, extremity) to which the nation is swinging to the right wing is disturbing.
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Postby edonnelly » Sun Aug 28, 2005 5:52 pm

GlottalGreekGeek wrote:and that we must become more extreme ourselves to shift the tide before it is too late (though I personally disagree with this last part).

Personally, I think this attitude of becoming more extreme on the left is exactly why the Democrats have been doing so poorly lately. The South used to be strongly Democrat, but as the national party has been taken over by the more extreme parts of the party (i.e., the Hollywood/New England/Michael Moore/etc types) all these people who vote Democrat for local/state races end up voting Republican for the national races (Senate/President).

My own state is a typical example. Tennessee was considered such a "red" state in the past Presidential election that neither candidate spent any real money compaigning here. But our Governor is a Democrat and our state legislature has been dominated by Democrats for decades.

Perhaps the real word that is being defined differently by different people is "Democrat." Many people who call themselves a "Democrat" down here don't seem to agree with the definition being used by the national party.
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Postby Paul » Sun Aug 28, 2005 6:32 pm

Democritus wrote:... but right-wing folks are very quick to accuse anyone of "hating America" just because they oppose the war in Iraq. You can be accused of hating God or hating Christians just because you believe in evolution or in the separation of church and state.


Hmm...I know a fair number of right-wing folks. None of them would ever accuse someone of "hating America" because he opposed the war in Iraq. In fact, one of the toughest conservatives I know opposes the war. Every conservative I know admits that the "correctness" of this war is a legitimate point of dispute. I speak from personal experience. Do you, Democritus, know even one conservative who accuses those opposed to the war of "hating America"?

Democritus wrote:The "angry liberal" is a meme deliberately created [by] the people who manage media campaigns for the right wing. It doesn't match the reality. The Republicans are constantly trying to depict Democrats as "angry." I can think of a lot of accurate, pejorative adjectives for Democrats (such as "short-sigted" or "fickle") but "angry" is not one of them.

I see. So my observations about left-wing behavior are actually not my own. I am instead in thrall to powerful right wing media campaign managers. Hilarious!

Can you offer us any proof of this "meme creation"?

In the parent thread I briefly described how left leaning college students and faculty reacted to invited conservative speakers. It's a matter of public record that you can find for yourself. I think this reaction is more aptly described by "anger" than by "fickle".

Democritus wrote:IMHO this whole "hate" meme is part of the victim mentality. If you are the victim of hatred then you are being persecuted, and your opponents are simply evil. It serves as an ad hominem attack and as an obfuscation. If I say that someone "hates," then I shift the conversation to my opponent's emotional state, and away from the content of their ideas. You deligitimize your opponents without actually addressing their arguments.

Sadly, there are people who hate. In the face of Nazi hatred should the Jews have sought to "address their arguments"? I'm not sure what you are saying.

Some kinds of intolerance are never far removed from anger and hatred; this thread would probably profit by avoiding their discussion. Nor was it my intention that this thread become a "who's more tolerant" contest.

Despite some claims to the contrary, I have tried in my previous two posts to say something about what tolerance is; or at least about its origins. I would invite others to do the same.

Cordially,

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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Sun Aug 28, 2005 10:48 pm

Paul wrote:Despite some claims to the contrary, I have tried in my previous two posts to say something about what tolerance is; or at least about its origins. I would invite others to do the same.


Quite, yes. I was not specifically taking about you when I made that claim, and I notice that my own last post did not have much to do with tolerance.

Well, tolerance for me is not punishing people for their actions, recognizing that they have free will just as you, unless they do significent damage. While I dislike people who are anti-semitic, and I oppose anti-semitism, I will not seek to punish them for being anti-semitic unless they do damage (such as throwing eggs at my window, which would render both physical and psychological damage). I say "significent damage" because somebody who thinks the color yellow is better than the color purple may hurt the feeling of somebody who thinks purple is a much better color than yellow simply by expressing their views. If the remark was -

"Yellow is a better color than purple because it brings out more positive emotions"

the damage to the purple-lover is not significent enough to limit the yellow-lover's freedom of speech. On the other hand -

"Yellow is the finest of all colors, and lovers of purple are sub-human."

The yellow-lover is not beyond the line in my opinon, since the yellow-lover has the freedom to hold this opinion, but the line is swiftly approaching.

"Yellow is the only color that counts, and those who claim otherwise must be exterminated."

This is beyond the line. For me, the line crossed is rejecting somebody else's right to liberty (provided they don't use it to deny another person's liberty in turn) and a good life.

In essence, tolerance is accepting the liberty of other people, whether you think they deserve it or not, or whether their actions are right or not. Tolerance ends when too much damage is or is about to be done.
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Postby Democritus » Mon Aug 29, 2005 2:59 am

Paul wrote:Hmm...I know a fair number of right-wing folks. None of them would ever accuse someone of "hating America" because he opposed the war in Iraq. ... Do you, Democritus, know even one conservative who accuses those opposed to the war of "hating America"?


Gosh, there are plenty of them, Paul. They are all over the place. I know full well that not all conservatives think this way. But many of them do, and many of them assert this routinely on talk radio and on TV.

People who oppose the war are accused of "siding with the terrorists" or advocating surrender. Look at how the Republicans talked about the French, just because they opposed our plans at the U.N.

Before the invasion there was a huge anti-war demonstration in Washington DC, which included many veterans. They were all dismissed as fascists by Rush Limbaugh. (Please don't tell me that I should ignore Limbaugh -- like it or not, he shapes the opinions of millions of people. I know several of these millions personally.)

Paul wrote:I see. So my observations about left-wing behavior are actually not my own. I am instead in thrall to powerful right wing media campaign managers. Hilarious!


I have no doubt that you are the author of all your own opinions.

Nevertheless, we live in a world with elaborate PR machines, that's a fact. A lot of money is spent on advertising and PR, for all sorts of purposes -- commercial, political, you name it. This money is not spent in vain.

Have you ever heard of Republican talking points memos? Have you ever noticed, listening to the news, how suddenly certain buzzwords and buzz phrases will suddenly be repeated over and over, instantly, in reaction to a certain event? This is no accident. The Republicans are very disciplined about media messages. Much better than the Democrats.

http://www.reclaimthemedia.org/stories.php?story=04/01/14/4654426

Have you ever heard of an "astroturf campaign"? Google that, sometime.


Paul wrote:Sadly, there are people who hate. In the face of Nazi hatred should the Jews have sought to "address their arguments"? I'm not sure what you are saying.


My statement was clear -- some people are accused of hatred unfairly. The word is applied too easily nowadays, as a way of avoiding a reasoned debate. People should be allowed to disagree about fundamental issues, without being accused of hatred.

IMHO certain liberal groups were the first ones to start accusing opponents of "hate speech" willy-nilly, but the conservatives are now applying the same tactic.

I get angry sometimes, like anyone else. Before a meal, I get hungry. At night, I get sleepy. When I work in the yard, I get dirty, and when I shower, I get wet. But my political opinions should not be described as angry, hungry, sleepy, dirty, or wet. :)
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Postby PeterD » Mon Aug 29, 2005 7:20 pm

Hi, Paul.

Paul wrote:I am happy about the direction and tone of this thread.
Sure! You say that now! :wink:

Paul wrote: I hope we can all continue to bring to it, as Will would say, light not heat.
Damn it, Paul, where is the Greek in you? I like things hot n' spicy. :P

Now the fun begins:

Paul wrote:Summers is indeed 'merely' an economist. I don't see how that disqualifies him from asking the question. By virtue of his training he is almost certainly adept at mathematics. Moreover, he has enough experience in academia to know that most top teaching positions in the advanced sciences go to men. What more does one need to know in order to ask the question, "Are innate difference between the sexes a possible cause of this disparity?". Are you saying, Peter, that only a trained biologist can ask this question?
Summers, in a speech on gender differences, listed 3 explanations as to why women are not represented well in the math and sciences. He said that 1) women are unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices, 2) women lack the "intrinsic aptitude" for math and science, and 3) discrimination. He then went on to say, "In my own view, their importance probably ranks in exactly the order that I just described."

Wow! He's the president of Harvard University? Where they did they find this schmuck?! Look at the order of his list. I like to know why he put "intrinsic aptitude" before discrimination. Anyone with a modicum of critical thinking will see that it does not make any sense. I dare say, should you not do away with discrimination -- adios discrimination! -- first before you entertain even the slightest notion on any genetic differences between the sexes? And the part about women not willing to make the necessary sacrifices was sheer brilliance on larry's part (I think I'll call him larry without the capital L; he does not merit it.). Geez, my mother (like my father), when they immigrated to Canada from Greece 40 years ago, worked two jobs plus she kept house , and raised two boys. Nobody is going to tell me that women are not willing to make sacrifices. Women sacrifice as much, if not more, than men -- period!

So...getting back to your question, I do not think that only trained biologists can ask this (re. genetics) question. I just found it ironic that an apologist for Israeli discrimination and aggression, and one who disdains any open debate regarding his beloved Israel, had the chutzpah to call for "rigorous and careful" cerebration (haha) regarding gender disparities. That's why this second-rate economist should, IMHO, keep it shut. BTW, was larry trying to be provocative?

Paul wrote:Churchill said that on 9/11/2001 America got what it deserved. His now famous article can be found here http://www.kersplebedeb.com/mystuff/s11/churchill.html. I recommend you read it.
I read it. Where does he say that America got what it deserved? And why do you call his remarks hateful? Please explain.

And speaking of tolerance, how can you compare the brutal reaction Churchill got by the mainstream media (especially Faux News) to something like, "A female MIT scientist walks out during Summer's speech."

Paul wrote: Cordially,

Paul
Indeed, Paul, you are always cordial and polite -- two admirable traits. That is why I like you. :)

Take care.

Peter
Fanatical ranting is not just fine because it's eloquent. What if I ranted for the extermination of a people in an eloquent manner, would that make it fine? Rather, ranting, be it fanatical or otherwise, is fine if what is said is true and just. ---PeterD, in reply to IreneY and Annis
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Postby Eureka » Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:16 am

Does tolerance of vegetarians require tolerance of people who try to have the eating of meat banned by law?


Would hatred of such people be an act of intolerance?


So, would tolerance of a religion require tolerance of those who try to force that religion's laws on you and yours?
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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Wed Aug 31, 2005 1:03 am

Eureka wrote:Does tolerance of vegetarians require tolerance of people who try to have the eating of meat banned by law?


Would hatred of such people be an act of intolerance?


So, would tolerance of a religion require tolerance of those who try to force that religion's laws on you and yours?


Perhaps one of the lmitations of "good" tolerance should be that others must tolerate you too, much like the freedom of speech.

And as long as the people trying to change the law, or convert you to their religion, are being civil I think they can certainly be tolerated. I think driving while talking on a cell phone should be against the law (because I spend much time as a pedestrian), and while devout cell-phone-while-driving people may oppose me, I think it is not too much to ask that they use only civil means to stop me, as I should only use civil means to oppose them.

Tolerance is not about everybody agreeing, but disagreeing and debating in a civil manner.

So what is a civil manner?
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Postby Eureka » Wed Aug 31, 2005 7:21 am

GlottalGreekGeek wrote:And as long as the people trying to change the law, or convert you to their religion, are being civil I think they can certainly be tolerated. I think driving while talking on a cell phone should be against the law (because I spend much time as a pedestrian), and while devout cell-phone-while-driving people may oppose me, I think it is not too much to ask that they use only civil means to stop me, as I should only use civil means to oppose them.

The mobile phone thing is not a good analogy, it is a simple safety issue, not a complicated moral one.

But anyway, your attitude that it's okay to push your views onto others if it's via the law is basically just another form of might is right.
GlottalGreekGeek wrote: Tolerance is not about everybody agreeing, but disagreeing and debating in a civil manner.

So what is a civil manner?
Disagreeing is one thing, but without agreeing to disagree it is an act of provocation. That's why I'm surprised by Bert's complaint that the progressives hate the religious right. After all, since when have opposing political forces ever been all flowers and chocolates?
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Postby Paul » Wed Aug 31, 2005 1:53 pm

I think that much of what Ms. G-Cubed says is right.

Eureka wrote:But anyway, your attitude that it's okay to push your views onto others if it's via the

law is basically just another form of might is right.


What?? If someone urges you to, say, join their Poseidon cult and reap the eternal benefits thereof, why can't you simply say "No thank you. Please don't bother me again"?

How is "might makes right" in any way entailed by such an exchange?

Cordially,

Paul

P.S. - I hope to be able to say more later today in response to PeterD and Democritus
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Postby Paul » Wed Aug 31, 2005 5:44 pm

Democritus wrote:Before the invasion there was a huge anti-war demonstration in Washington DC, which included many veterans. They were all dismissed as fascists by Rush Limbaugh.


I don't think he called them "fascists". The documentation I was able to find said he called the anti-war protestors "anti-American". Mr. Limbaugh's simplistic reduction is false and unfortunate. It is in some ways true and in other, even more obvious ways, false. There are many good people on the left and right who love their country but disagree strongly with some of its policies. Your claim was that there are "plenty of conservatives who accuse those opposed to the war of hating America". But to say that someone's behavior is "anti-American" is not to say that they "hate America". So it remains for you to produce an example of such a conservative.

Democritus wrote:Have you ever heard of Republican talking points memos? Have you ever noticed, listening to the news, how suddenly certain buzzwords and buzz phrases will suddenly be repeated over and over, instantly, in reaction to a certain event? This is no accident. The Republicans are very disciplined about media messages. Much better than the Democrats.


Please. For better or worse I've become something of a news hound over the last few years. The Democrats are every bit as skilled as the Republicans in this matter. But so what? Of course it's not an accident! If a political party believes in its "message", why shouldn't it seek to promulgate it effectively? And why does the appearance of a concerted effort bother you?

Democritus wrote:My statement was clear -- some people are accused of hatred unfairly. The word is applied too easily nowadays, as a way of avoiding a reasoned debate. People should be allowed to disagree about fundamental issues, without being accused of hatred.


OK. I certainly agree with this.

Democritus wrote:IMHO certain liberal groups were the first ones to start accusing opponents of "hate speech" willy-nilly, but the conservatives are now applying the same tactic.


I readily agree with the first clause. :)

Democritus wrote:I get angry sometimes, like anyone else. Before a meal, I get hungry. At night, I get sleepy. When I work in the yard, I get dirty, and when I shower, I get wet. But my political opinions should not be described as angry, hungry, sleepy, dirty, or wet.


But if someone's political opinions are informed by hatred, then his political opinions are hateful, regardless of how hungry, sleepy, dirty, or wet he is.


PeterD wrote:Summers, in a speech on gender differences, listed 3 explanations as to why women are not represented well in the math and sciences. He said that 1) women are unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices, 2) women lack the "intrinsic aptitude" for math and science, and 3) discrimination. He then went on to say, "In my own view, their importance probably ranks in exactly the order that I just described."


I think, Peter, that you've slanted his remarks (I will post link to them when I get home). First of all, he offered these conditions as possible causes. Secondly, I think you twisted a woman's choice to have and raise children into an unwillingness to make sacrifices! I think what Summers meant is stated clearly in Charles Murray's article, "The Inequality Taboo" in September's "Commentary":

"Thus, for reasons embedded in the biochemistry and neurophysiology of being female, many women with the cognitive skills for achievement at the highest level also have something else they want to do in life: have a baby. In the arts and sciences, forty is the mean age at which peak accomplishment occurs, preceded by years of intense effort at mastering the discipline in question. These are precisely the years during which most women must bear children if they are to bear them at all."

While we're at it, you should know that there is a steadily growing body of scientific biological evidence that men and women are, dare I say it, really different! Both sexes and every race has its own advantages and disadvantages. Wouldn't your St. Darwin say the same....?

PeterD wrote:Wow! He's the president of Harvard University? Where they did they find this schmuck?! Look at the order of his list. I like to know why he put "intrinsic aptitude" before discrimination. Anyone with a modicum of critical thinking will see that it does not make any sense. I dare say, should you not do away with discrimination -- adios discrimination! -- first before you entertain even the slightest notion on any genetic differences between the sexes? And the part about women not willing to make the necessary sacrifices was sheer brilliance on larry's part (I think I'll call him larry without the capital L; he does not merit it.). Geez, my mother (like my father), when they immigrated to Canada from Greece 40 years ago, worked two jobs plus she kept house , and raised two boys. Nobody is going to tell me that women are not willing to make sacrifices. Women sacrifice as much, if not more, than men -- period!


Peter I know you to be a generous and compassionate guy. You are quick to recognize and identify with the plight of "the victim". But do I detect in this compassion for the victim a tendency to identify and vilify the seeming "cause" of the victim's suffering? You are quick to move from the plight of the victim to the responsible villain. Your array of villains seems to include capitalists, Republicans, the rich, conservatives, etc. I worry that the plight of the victim is a pretext that provides you access to a darker, more subterranean, revolutionary drive, namely revenge against "those responsible". Please say it ain't so.

PeterD wrote:I read it. Where does he say that America got what it deserved? And why do you call his remarks hateful? Please explain.


I cannot. If you cannot smell the mephitic air of hatred on this man, then nothing I say will make any difference.

PeterD wrote:And speaking of tolerance, how can you compare the brutal reaction Churchill got by the mainstream media (especially Faux News) to something like, "A female MIT scientist walks out during Summer's speech."


Fox News is not mainstream. It may lead among cable news networks, but the big 3 (ABC, NBC, CBS) continue to dominate the nightly news.

Hence there was no "brutal treatment" by the mainstream media. As I said, most of the media (TV and print) and many academics asserted Churchill's right to free speech. My point wasn't that one female professor walked out. It was that, somehow, the same media and academics were unable to find a free speech right for Summers. And speaking of selective rights, your quote of the MIT prof's behavior was a bit selective. As I reported, she didn't just "walk out". She later told the press that she "had to leave" for fear that Summers' speech would cause her to vomit or pass out. There's tolerance for you! I hope this MIT prof doesn't have kids: if her weak constitution is undone by speech, there's little hope that her genes will produce children who can deal with adversity in the real word! :P

Cordially,

Paul
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