Jun 202017
 

I’m somewhat outspoken about preserving a civil society, because I prefer order over chaos. It is important that people not resort to random vigilante justice against targets of opportunity. Determining guilt via the evidence and meting out punishment via an orderly justice system is what separates us from the barbarians. Is what I WOULD say, except for the fact that even barbarians had systems of trials or tribunals to keep personal violence in check.

But for this to work, the system has to actually do the job of punishing the guilty and defending the innocent, at least most of the time. If there is a group that is systematically denied protection by society, there is no reason for them to conform to the restrictions that society requires. A society that denies protection to any group is not a civil society, it is a system of violent subjugation.

We have a huge problem in America. Philando Castile was murdered on camera. Unarmed, seatbelted in his car, his girlfriend and child with him. The prosecution called expert witnesses and other police to testify that a reasonable person should not feel threatened in that situation, and should not resort to deadly force. And yet his murderer walked away without a conviction, because he’s a cop.

How are we supposed to have a civil society if our police are never held liable for murder?? In the past week I’ve reiterated that violence is not an acceptable response to speech. You know what violence IS an acceptable response to? Getting murdered. This is the sort of thing that justifies riots. This is the sort of thing that could justify civil war. Why would anyone respect the law if the law is only used to hurt them, and never to protect them? I do not want to be hurt, I do not want my property or my work place to be burned down. Yet I understand entirely why someone would lash out against a society that is there to subjugate them and protect their killers.

I don’t know how to fix this. If it was just one case I could be convinced this was a single aberration, or I’m not aware of all the facts that came out in the courtroom and maybe the cop really should walk free. But this happens constantly. I hate to say this, but I’m starting to lose faith in the jury system.

  10 Responses to “Those Who Aren’t Protected By Society”

  1. Sorry I can no longer reply on our previous comment chain and so I am replying here.

    Yes I did think you had an anti-violence stance and that did lead to my getting confused, Sorry about that.

    So you have established that violence to stop harm is moral if it is effective and necessary? I am going to lay down my point as though you agree with this statement and so if you don’t then you can simply ignore anything I say moving forwards in this post.

    So if it is reasonable to resort to violence to stop harm then I don’t see why you have a problem with punching Richard Spencer. The people who punched him very possibly thought they were effectively stopping harm. It now seems as though your problem with the punchers is their lack of Bayesian Rationality. Of course a good Bayesian Rationalist will not come to the conclusion that punching RS is the best way to achieve things.

    The spreading of racist ideologies does hurt people of colour and RS does spread racist ideologies. So he is harming people by speaking in public. If you have counter evidence to the idea that normalising racism doesnt hurt anyone then I’d like to see it. So someone punching RS is them doing their version of reducing the harm to the species using violence. The mark of a good bayesian? no. The mark of an immoral asshole? I think also no.

    • > It now seems as though your problem with the punchers is their lack of Bayesian Rationality. Of course a good Bayesian Rationalist will not come to the conclusion that punching RS is the best way to achieve things.

      That’s not exactly how I’d put it, but you got the gist. I believe the people in question are making the world worse, on net.

      > The spreading of racist ideologies does hurt people of colour and RS does spread racist ideologies. So he is harming people by speaking in public.

      And punching him A – doesn’t stop this spread, and B – makes other things worse. Yes, my argument is with people who disagree on these two points.

      • A- How do you know this?

        B- Oh really? Right now I’d say the thing making it worse is liberals defending alt-righters. I’d really love how deplatforming white nationalists could make anything worse for anyone anywhere.

        The alt-right thinks it is prosecuted already and so I don’t see how giving them a tiny sliver of actual persecution will change anything.

        From my perspective it seems like yourself and a few other more prominent somewhat liberal people already unconsciously hold bias towards the alt-right. You buy into their rhetoric on multiple platforms letting them define terms and pretty much everything else in any conversation they take part in. Since you already buy into the alt right rhetoric about anything which doesn’t affect you personally idk that any real harm can be done to your thoughts by punching RS either.

        If you have a great way for people to de-platform RS then by all means make your method publicly available. I’m not even asking you to do it personally. Just saying that if you are going to publicly shit on someones method of attacking a problem while offering literally no alternative solution then you aren’t really helping anyone. It seems a lot more like you want everyone to sit around and talk nicely. Which is fine for you since you are not personally having people attend universities and holding speeches which bring into question your very right to live. Someone needs to stop the likes of RS from spreading his rhetoric since it is harmful.

        • > A- How do you know this?

          “Know” isn’t the right term. I believe it, due to the history of religious war that liberalism was created to end, and based on how elimination of free speech has always been used to oppress and very, very rarely to empower.

          > I’d really love how deplatforming white nationalists could make anything worse for anyone anywhere.

          OK – How deplatforming gives people a bigger platform

          > yourself and a few other more prominent somewhat liberal people already unconsciously hold bias towards the alt-right

          That’s a vague accusation, and I’d prefer you say what you’re actually thinking. I hold several conscious biases towards them, including such things as “the left is getting alarmingly anti-liberal” and “free speech is very important.” I’m not sure what you mean by “letting them define terms,” but one would imagine that in a world were we’re free to speak to each other, we can point out what these terms are and why the definition that is being assumed is flawed.

          > holding speeches which bring into question your very right to live. Someone needs to stop the likes of RS from spreading his rhetoric since it is harmful.

          The correct response to disgusting speech is counter-speech. If you have a problem with what someone is saying, show why they are wrong. Show why their views are a gross violation of conscience, and explain why no decent human would hold them.

          Punching someone? That doesn’t prove anything. Anyone can intimidate someone with violence, regardless of whether they are right or not.

          • >elimination of free speech has always been used to oppress and very, very rarely to empower.

            I think anyone who has been the target of hate speech which has then been silenced by authorities may beg to differ. I personally beg to differ. I am pretty happy that discrimination is at least nominally illegal because I can only imagine it occurring more openly if it was officially permitted.

            >OK – How deplatforming gives people a bigger platform

            That is an explanation about how giving people news coverage helps them. When I ask for someone to be de platformed I mean that literally. Think Germany and their laws against holocaust denying. Does that actually signal boost germans who want to holocaust deny or does it actually work? If it has in fact backfired then it is news to me. What Scott argues about isn’t actually deplatforming its signal boosting. The exact thing I think shouldn’t happen.

            >That’s a vague accusation, and I’d prefer you say what you’re actually thinking.

            I don’t know that accusation is quite the right word for implying you have an unconscious bias since I thought we would agree that holding them is the natural state of affairs?

            So to somewhat plainly elaborate. You allow the alt right to determine what words like feminist mean and what an SJW is. You defend the right to free speech of the alt-right even though they are the most active squashers of free speech (and basic human liberty).

            I don’t know exactly how you define feminism but I do know that you have stated that feminists have lost Scott Alexander and that is bad and that you don’t in public admit to being a feminist. So it very much looks anti-feminists attempts to signal boosts the most extreme and radical feminists into the public eye and smear all feminists with that one brush has been quite effective (at least in regards to changing your mind). It might be more reasonable to let feminism as a general thing be defined by what the majority of feminists actually support instead of what their opponents would like you to think.

            In one of your podcasts you talk about it being unfair to have guilt by association with the thing that the Alt-Right website published being attributed to Richard Spencer. RS literally published it. He has not publicly denounced it anyplace. If you accidently published Nazi propaganda surely you would publicly apologise afterwards? It isn’t guilt by association it is guilt by endorsement. Your continued mercy towards the alt-right while simultaneously having almost no mercy for the pro Nazi punchers isn’t a good look. Makes it seem like you hold unconscious bias in their favour.

            I’ve also read a post you linked in a podcast about why Nazi punching is good and I have also read your rather unfair summary of the position of pro nazi punchers. This is actually what prompted me to start this dialogue.

            >The correct response to disgusting speech is counter-speech. If you have a problem with what someone is saying, show why they are wrong.

            Doesn’t pretty much all of modern psychology prove that this doesn’t actually work? Aren’t people more likely to believe something because they heard it first? Isn’t the entire damn point of the rationality movement to get the world to a point where this actually happens and we can reap the benefits which would follow? We don’t live in a rational world and currently rationality isn’t spreading like wildfire. If and or when it does then I would do an immediate 180 on this.

            >Show why their views are a gross violation of conscience, and explain why no decent human would hold them.

            You know what happens if you do this? They walk away feeling oppressed and telling tales about how their free speech is being attacked. The very same reaction as when you punch them.

            >Punching someone? That doesn’t prove anything. Anyone can intimidate someone with violence, regardless of whether they are right or not.

            Punching someone is a costly signal which is hard to fake. When you punch a Nazi you are letting the world know that you are so vehemently opposed to Nazi’s that you will punch them. You could end up getting punished. You could end up getting hurt. So while nothing is ‘proven’ (since proving things is so very hard and I prefer to think about probabilities to proofs) by punching a Nazi many things are communicated.

            I still don’t think it is specifically effective to punch Nazi’s even if your argument almost amounts to that. If you signal boost them by punching them and beat them by debating them then a prescription of punching Nazi’s followed by debating their signal boosted points would actually be a very effective way to defeat Nazi thinking if everything you’ve said so far held true. The world so very clearly doesn’t work this way though.

            Talking people down doesn’t prove much either btw. It proves you win at rhetoric. Not that I am against people using rhetoric to encourage anti-nazi sentiment. Anyone can get good at rhetoric though and it doesn’t mean they are right. I don’t see how violence differs from speech at all in this regard. I don’t see why you hold up violence as the one big no-no to be honest. There are a lot of ways to do harm (like by being RS) and only one of them is to employ violence. Rhetoric is far more dangerous than violence and I think you actually know that already.

            • I should point out that I heavily agree with you that the Nazi puncher should have remained at the scene and faced whatever punitive measures come their way. It would have been a much costlier and harder to fake and effective way to signal. I think if you are going to go and punch Nazi’s thinking yourself righteous then you should go all the way and accept the repercussions.

            • > You allow the alt right to determine what words like feminist mean and what an SJW is.

              Pretty sure I don’t.

              > You defend the right to free speech of the alt-right even though they are the most active squashers of free speech

              I defend the right of free speech of everyone, regardless of what they do with it.

              > I don’t know exactly how you define feminism but I do know that you have stated that feminists have lost Scott Alexander and that is bad and that you don’t in public admit to being a feminist. So it very much looks anti-feminists attempts to signal boosts the most extreme and radical feminists into the public eye and smear all feminists with that one brush has been quite effective (at least in regards to changing your mind).

              Ah! I see.

              No, back when I did call myself a feminist and an SJW, I didn’t care what the right said. Their tears fed me, and I viewed their attacks as a badge of honor. To the extent I cared about their definitions, it was only to combat them in the public eye.

              I changed my mind not because of anything the right said or did, or even anything they *could* have said or done. It was being attacked by others on the left that changed my mind. I had the nerve to point out that Feng Shui is dumb, which devolved into a dialog about cultural appropriation, at which point I was told to shut up because a cis white male has nothing of value to say, and “called out” by former allies that I realized maybe the left isn’t as sane and rosey as I thought.

              > It might be more reasonable to let feminism as a general thing be defined by what the majority of feminists actually support instead of what their opponents would like you to think.

              I realize the extremist fringe is not the majority. Unfortunately the extremist fringe is what gets the most coverage among the wider world. It got to the point that calling myself a feminist would bring up the idea of the extremist fringe in someone’s mind as often as not. The more that this happens, the more that moderate people will stop calling themselves feminists, and the more strongly that word gets associated with the extremist fringe. Eventually the extremists may drive out all the moderates entirely. Many of my posts trying to draw attention to this are *explicitly* attempts to halt or reverse this trend, because I don’t want the movement to be known only by its extremist fringe. I hope Laci Green continues to call herself a feminist, to help counter this trend as well.

              >You know what happens if you do this? They walk away feeling oppressed and telling tales about how their free speech is being attacked. The very same reaction as when you punch them.

              It’s likely not the same reaction as actual physical violence. And sure, maybe sometimes they do walk away with the feeling they were attacked. But not as often as if they were ACTUALLY punched. And they’re certainly not going to gather as many allies with “Someone was rude to me” as with “Someone physically assaulted me.”

  2. I emphasize with you. Having to deal with a powerful police that’s not kept in check by the jurisdictional system is a scary thing. I hope you can find ways to empower your juries, or to weaken your police (less likely to work). In the meantime, you should include police benevolence as a factor for your next relocation. If I was in your position, I’d also consider emigrating to a country with a milder political climate.

    • Sweden looks lovely. :) But all my social ties are in Denver, and leaving them would be very hard.

    • Patterns of this problem are also visible in germany but it’s basically never about murder. I don’t recall a single case where a policeman killed a civilian in germany without the policeman being actually threatened by him (or her, usually it’s a him though).
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_killings_by_law_enforcement_officers_in_Germany <- If you want the statistics, less than ten people are killed by the police here every year (lately).
      As you can also see, every shot fired is accounted for, there's paperwork to be filled out if ammo gets used or is missing so it's generally avoided wherever possible.

      Which is why cases like this one are so unbelievable for germans: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3418674/Six-Cleveland-cops-shot-137-bullets-killed-unarmed-couple-fired.html
      That is the amount of bullets the whole german police force fires over the course of three years (in action, I mean, training not included).

      So, uh, what did I want to say? Oh yea, there's nonlethal force too, obviously and when that happens you have the same problems (other policemen conveniently looking away, giving eyewitness accounts of the victim resisting / attacking police officers, video footage conveniently vanishing)… It's not nice but obviously the consequences are a lot less permanent and dreadful in comparison. So I'm not worried about it that much compared to what's going on in the US (when I'm normally more concerned about local problems over here).
      It's just that… death is bad, right? :)

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