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OT: New Yorker: Why are some journalists afraid of 'moral clarity'?
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Oscar
2020-06-28 23:27:01 UTC
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Surely, all responsible, inquisitive U.S. citizens who consume news are aware of the recent mutiny among (Millennial) staffers at The New York Times. They went apoplectic after the publication on June 3 of an Op-Ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) which defended the use of National Guard troops to quell violence and looting in American cities. In the aftermath of the staff revolt, the editorial page editor since May 2016, James Bennett, resigned in record time. Bennett is the Yale-educated younger brother of Sen. Michael Bennett (D-Colo.). It seems, with this shot across the bow, that the movement for 'moral clarity' among the professional class of younger journalists in America is taking wing. Gone is objective reporting—a "failed experiment" as Masha Gessen of The New Yorker sees it. all old-fashioned and, yes, latently racist. (They love to called something a "failed experiment" when it's merely something they disagree with and nothing more.)

So, what say you? Is 'moral clarity' legitimate? Or is it just a means to an end. Need I explain what 'the end' is??


From The New Yorker:

<< Why Are Some Journalists Afraid of “Moral Clarity”?

By Masha Gessen
June 24, 2020

What’s so terrible about moral clarity? A future historian of June of 2020—a year that, historians have joked, will spawn narrow chronological specialties—will have to answer this question. The phrase has become central to a debate about the media and about the possibility of debate itself.

The journalist Wesley Lowery, who won a Pulitzer in 2016, for reporting on the systematic nature of police killings of black people, used the phrase in a tweet earlier this month; he was responding to a decision by the New York Times to run an opinion piece by Senator Tom Cotton that advocated the use of military force to quell protests against racism and police brutality. Lowery wrote, “American view-from-nowhere, ‘objectivity’-obsessed, both-sides journalism is a failed experiment. We need to fundamentally reset the norms of our field. The old way must go. We need to rebuild our industry as one that operates from a place of moral clarity.” Four days later, the Times’ media columnist, Ben Smith, picked up the tweet, cementing the oppositional pair: objectivity versus moral clarity, old white male journalists versus young journalists of color, tradition versus an unknown new world.

After Smith, Andrew Sullivan wrote a column for New York magazine under the headline “Is there still room for debate?” The notion that American society is systemically, foundationally racist is tantamount to a totalitarian ideology, according to Sullivan and others. (The Soviet-born Izabella Tabarovsky made the same argument in a piece for Tablet.) Sullivan leads with a reference to Václav Havel’s essay “The Power of the Powerless,” a classic of totalitarianism literature and a piece I have used extensively in my own work. Sullivan seems to think that this is an essay about the use of tanks and terror to enforce compliance with totalitarian opinion. In fact, as its title indicates, it’s an essay about the surprising power of noncompliance, of refusing to “live within the lie,” in Havel’s words.

In what Havel calls “post-totalitarian” society, and in what I would call late-stage-totalitarian society—a society that remembers state terror but no longer uses it—people obey the rules out of habit. Havel conjures the hypothetical character of a greengrocer who puts a Communist sign in his store window, as everyone does:

People ignore his slogan, but they do so because such slogans are also found in other shop windows, on lampposts, bulletin boards, in apartment windows, and on buildings; they are everywhere, in fact. They form part of the panorama of everyday life. . . . The greengrocer and the office worker have both adapted to the conditions in which they live, but in doing so, they help to create those conditions. They do what is done, what is to be done, what must be done, but at the same time—by that very token—they confirm that it must be done in fact. They conform to a particular requirement and in so doing they themselves perpetuate that requirement.

The greengrocer, under totalitarianism, doesn’t and can’t have an opinion; the putting up of the sign doesn’t appear to be subject to debate. But, Havel argues, if the greengrocer were to take the sign down, or not put it up, he would claim a kind of power that is distinct from the regime’s and will never be equal to it but nonetheless constitutes a threat to it: the power of the powerless.

To compare the changing of the ideological tide in the United States to totalitarian ideology is to fail to take account of the power differential. Totalitarian ideology had the power of the state behind it. The enforcers of totalitarian ideology—be they Central Committee members, Writers’ Union leaders, or the distributors of store-window signs—had the power of state institutions behind them. Protesters in the streets of American cities and the journalists who support them are not backed by state or institutional power, but just the opposite: in every instance, they are in confrontation with it. One of the questions they are asking is, How does a vastly powerful institution such as the Times use its power? Does it amplify the state in its most brutal expression, as it did in publishing the Tom Cotton piece? Or does it raise up voices that have been marginalized throughout history? If the paper opts to do both, should it try to compensate for the power imbalance, and give the marginalized voices more room and the state less? In his own Op-Ed for the Times, Lowery talks about black journalists, historically few and powerless, raising their own voices in the newsroom. Here a comparison to the greengrocer may finally be appropriate: black journalists within mainstream publications are finally suggesting that they should have a say in how journalism is practiced.

In making editorial decisions, the Times defines what it sees as the sphere of legitimate controversy, a term coined by the historian Daniel Hallin to describe what news outlets find suitable to publish. Until recently, ideas such as defunding or abolishing the police fell outside the sphere of legitimate controversy—in Hallin’s terminology, they fell into the sphere of deviance, which meant that the papers did not amplify or even acknowledge them. But the idea of using the military to crush protests used to seem deviant, too. American mainstream media are actively redrawing the boundaries of the sphere of legitimate controversy, and the location of that boundary is, itself, a subject of legitimate controversy.

So what is moral clarity? The philosopher Susan Neiman, who wrote a book on the subject, says that it is not, in fact, a statically defined concept: it can be found only on a case-by-case basis. “Moral clarity, however, is about looking at each particular case, looking at all the facts, looking at all the context, and working out your answers,” she stated in a lecture. It should not be confused with moral simplicity: we may have clearly defined moral values, but the quest for the actual position of moral clarity is always complicated and specific to the circumstances. For Lowery, moral clarity is, he wrote, “first and foremost, about objective facts. Nazis are bad—objective fact. Black lives matter—objective fact. Climate change is real—objective fact. President Trump is a liar—objective fact.” In his Times Op-Ed, Lowery added that moral clarity involves naming what we observe without resorting to euphemisms, which includes labelling the President a racist. Moral clarity can also describe the journalist’s own position in relationship to the subject matter. “So often the questions that get the best/most insightful answers are posed from a place of moral clarity,” Lowery tweeted. “Questioning someone powerful from a place of ‘neutrality’ often, in practice, results in journalism that is inappropriately soft in its framing.”

In other words, moral clarity is a quest, guided by clear values and informed by facts and context, and clearly aligned with the original concept of journalistic objectivity. In the early twentieth century, some visionary reformers of American journalism imagined that reporting could strive to emulate science, with every article an experiment of sorts: the writer could lay out all of his evidence and the circumstances under which it was collected before drawing his conclusion—or, better yet, letting readers draw their own. Like a scientific paper, a news article could be written in such a way that if someone else decided to replicate the experiment—go to all the same places and ask all the same people the same questions that the original author did—he would likely draw the same conclusions.

Over time, the assumptions underpinning the ideal of journalistic objectivity faded away. Conventions in approach and tone took over. Objectivity in journalism came to mean presenting both sides of an argument from a position of neutrality. But not every argument has two sides: some have more, and some statements should not be the subject of argument. There cannot be arguments about facts. Whether disinfectant should be used to treat the coronavirus, for example, cannot be portrayed as a matter of debate; we do not argue about whether murder should be allowed, unless we are talking about murder committed by the state.

Just a few years ago, the question of whether couples of the same sex should have the right to marry was up for discussion. Today, there would probably be an outcry if the Times decided to stage a pro-and-con debate on the issue, because the Supreme Court has ruled that marriage is a constitutionally protected right and because public opinion has shifted. Whether Americans should have access to universal, taxpayer-funded health care is currently subject to debate; with any luck, in ten years, it will not be.

Essentially, Sullivan and other opinion writers decrying what they see as a new orthodoxy are arguing that everything should be subject to debate, that the sphere of legitimate controversy ought to be boundless. Part of the bedrock of this argument is the absolute belief in the value of debate unto itself. This is where the spectre of totalitarianism appears. These writers fear that what they see as an emerging new political consensus challenges the primacy of traditional liberal values that should never be debated: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and other individual rights.

Sullivan identifies what he sees as the core beliefs of the new consensus: that “America is systemically racist, and a white-supremacist project from the start,” and that “all the ideals about individual liberty, religious freedom, limited government, and the equality of all human beings were always a falsehood to cover for and justify and entrench the enslavement of human beings under the fiction of race. . . . The liberal system is itself a form of white supremacy—which is why racial inequality endures and why liberalism’s core values and institutions cannot be reformed and can only be dismantled.” He sees this reading of history as reductive and a rejection of America’s aspiration for justice and equality.

“This view of the world certainly has ‘moral clarity,’ ” Sullivan wrote. “What it lacks is moral complexity. No country can be so reduced to one single prism and damned because of it.” At the same time, no country should be seen solely through the prism of its achievements. He seems willing to allow a discussion of racism as an amendment, perhaps a footnote, to the narrative of America as a nation of freedom and justice. But he rejects the idea that this society’s sins are great enough to warrant a reappraisal of its entire character. If the story of the United States is told primarily as one of a nation of immigrants, the story of a society that, over time, enfranchised an ever great number of its members, and where the arc of history has bent toward justice, then the legacy of slavery and the apparently intractable nature of structural racism is obscured. Indeed, the heroic narrative of America is part of why structural racism is so immovable. But Sullivan and others don’t appear to see two competing historical narratives; rather, they see a challenge not to a story but to the truth, an eternal certainty, a natural state of things that the protests are threatening to destroy.

This is not only a shortsighted view but also an outdated one. Donald Trump has already dislodged the story of this country as a nation of immigrants on an inexorable path toward justice and equality, guaranteed by a commitment to individual liberties. For future historians of June, 2020, here is my hypothesis: the reason we seem to be witnessing the emergence of a new political consensus is that the old consensus had already withered. The new story, being shaped right now, is neither dogmatic nor simplistic. It is, however, based on a different set of assumptions than the old story—and this is a good thing, and a necessary thing, as is moral clarity.


—Masha Gessen, a staff writer at The New Yorker, is the author of eleven books, including “Surviving Autocracy” and “The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia,” which won the National Book Award in 2017. >>


https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/why-are-some-journalists-afraid-of-moral-clarity
Oscar
2020-06-28 23:36:28 UTC
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P.S. According to Wikipedia, Gessen was born in 1967 in Moscow and moved to U.S. in 1981, and 'is nonbinary and trans and prefers no pronouns and their name Gessen instead, but also accepts they/them pronouns. They have said that for many years they were "probably the only publicly out gay person in the whole country [Russia]."' Gessen holds both Russian and US citizenship. They and their partner, Svetlana Generalova, have 3 children.
graham
2020-06-29 00:46:02 UTC
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Post by Oscar
P.S. According to Wikipedia, Gessen was born in 1967 in Moscow and moved to U.S. in 1981, and 'is nonbinary and trans and prefers no pronouns and their name Gessen instead, but also accepts they/them pronouns. They have said that for many years they were "probably the only publicly out gay person in the whole country [Russia]."' Gessen holds both Russian and US citizenship. They and their partner, Svetlana Generalova, have 3 children.
SO EFFING WHAT?!!!!!!!!!!!
Oscar
2020-06-29 01:15:00 UTC
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Frank 1
graeme 0.
msw design
2020-06-29 22:23:46 UTC
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Post by Oscar
Frank 1
graeme 0.
He was right. Her bio is not relevant, at least not in the detail that you offered.

Masha is always a great read, by the way.
Bozo
2020-06-29 02:59:10 UTC
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Nazis are bad is not an objective fact.It is an opinion.
An opinion ??!!
Pity neither the Germans nor the rest of the World had the "moral clarity" to discern, before Poland was invaded and the ovens started operating , the objective fact "Nazis are bad" .
Black lives matter. In my opinion.
What are the objective facts suggesting Black lives might not matter ?
Frank Berger
2020-06-29 03:28:49 UTC
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Post by Bozo
Nazis are bad is not an objective fact.It is an opinion.
An opinion ??!!
Pity neither the Germans nor the rest of the World had the "moral clarity" to discern, before Poland was invaded and the ovens started operating , the objective fact "Nazis are bad" .
Black lives matter. In my opinion.
What are the objective facts suggesting Black lives might not matter ?
Inappropriate question. If BLM is an objective fact, the
question makes no sense. If you can't see the difference
between statements like "Nazis are bad", "BLM" and
statements like "My stomach hurts" there is nothing to discuss.
Facts are not determined by opinion. There may have been a
time that everyone in the world thought the earth was flat.
Did that make it an objective fact? Or just a wrong opinion?
Oscar
2020-06-29 04:24:49 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
Facts are not determined by opinion. There may have been a
time that everyone in the world thought the earth was flat.
Did that make it an objective fact? Or just a wrong opinion?
I concur, Frank. But in Gesser's _opinion_ (A-HA!) there are such things that are, "in fact", objective fact:

<< So what is moral clarity? The philosopher Susan Neiman, who wrote a book on the subject, says that it is not, in fact, a statically defined concept: it can be found only on a case-by-case basis. >>

Gotta love this 'moral clarity' intellectual jiu-jitsu tautology! Not an illusive abstraction that we have all gone insane. Just a fact! A-HA!
Bob Harper
2020-06-29 16:45:04 UTC
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Post by Oscar
Post by Frank Berger
Facts are not determined by opinion. There may have been a
time that everyone in the world thought the earth was flat.
Did that make it an objective fact? Or just a wrong opinion?
<< So what is moral clarity? The philosopher Susan Neiman, who wrote a book on the subject, says that it is not, in fact, a statically defined concept: it can be found only on a case-by-case basis. >>
Gotta love this 'moral clarity' intellectual jiu-jitsu tautology! Not an illusive abstraction that we have all gone insane. Just a fact! A-HA!
I found this useful:


NYT
THE STONE
Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts
BY JUSTIN P. MCBRAYER
MARCH 2, 2015 3:25 AM

The Stone is a forum for contemporary philosophers and other thinkers on
issues both timely and timeless.
Photo

George Washington, depicted here (illustration not shown here) taking
the oath of office in 1789, was the first president of the United
States. Fact, opinion or both?
What would you say if you found out that our public schools were
teaching children that it is not true that it’s wrong to kill people for
fun or cheat on tests? Would you be surprised?
I was. As a philosopher, I already knew that many college-aged students
don’t believe in moral facts. While there are no national surveys
quantifying this phenomenon, philosophy professors with whom I have
spoken suggest that the overwhelming majority of college freshmen in
their classrooms view moral claims as mere opinions that are not true or
are true only relative to a culture.
A misleading distinction between fact and opinion is embedded in the
Common Core.
What I didn’t know was where this attitude came from. Given the presence
of moral relativism in some academic circles, some people might
naturally assume that philosophers themselves are to blame. But they
aren’t. There are historical examples of philosophers who endorse a kind
of moral relativism, dating back at least to Protagoras who declared
that “man is the measure of all things,” and several who deny that there
are any moral facts whatsoever. But such creatures are rare. Besides, if
students are already showing up to college with this view of morality,
it’s very unlikely that it’s the result of what professional
philosophers are teaching. So where is the view coming from?

A few weeks ago, I learned that students are exposed to this sort of
thinking well before crossing the threshold of higher education. When I
went to visit my son’s second grade open house, I found a troubling pair
of signs hanging over the bulletin board. They read:
Fact: Something that is true about a subject and can be tested or proven.
Opinion: What someone thinks, feels, or believes.
Hoping that this set of definitions was a one-off mistake, I went home
and Googled “fact vs. opinion.” The definitions I found online were
substantially the same as the one in my son’s classroom. As it turns
out, the Common Core standards used by a majority of K-12 programs in
the country require that students be able to “distinguish among fact,
opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.” And the Common Core institute
provides a helpful page full of links to definitions, lesson plans and
quizzes to ensure that students can tell the difference between facts
and opinions.
So what’s wrong with this distinction and how does it undermine the view
that there are objective moral facts?
First, the definition of a fact waffles between truth and proof — two
obviously different features. Things can be true even if no one can
prove them. For example, it could be true that there is life elsewhere
in the universe even though no one can prove it. Conversely, many of the
things we once “proved” turned out to be false. For example, many people
once thought that the earth was flat. It’s a mistake to confuse truth (a
feature of the world) with proof (a feature of our mental lives).
Furthermore, if proof is required for facts, then facts become
person-relative. Something might be a fact for me if I can prove it but
not a fact for you if you can’t. In that case, E=MC2 is a fact for a
physicist but not for me.
But second, and worse, students are taught that claims are either facts
or opinions. They are given quizzes in which they must sort claims into
one camp or the other but not both. But if a fact is something that is
true and an opinion is something that is believed, then many claims will
obviously be both. For example, I asked my son about this distinction
after his open house. He confidently explained that facts were things
that were true whereas opinions are things that are believed. We then
had this conversation:
Me: “I believe that George Washington was the first president. Is that a
fact or an opinion?”
Him: “It’s a fact.”
Me: “But I believe it, and you said that what someone believes is an
opinion.”
Him: “Yeah, but it’s true.”
Me: “So it’s both a fact and an opinion?”
The blank stare on his face said it all.
How does the dichotomy between fact and opinion relate to morality? I
learned the answer to this question only after I investigated my son’s
homework (and other examples of assignments online). Kids are asked to
sort facts from opinions and, without fail, every value claim is labeled
as an opinion. Here’s a little test devised from questions available on
fact vs. opinion worksheets online: are the following facts or opinions?

— Copying homework assignments is wrong.
— Cursing in school is inappropriate behavior.
— All men are created equal.
— It is worth sacrificing some personal liberties to protect our country
from terrorism.
— It is wrong for people under the age of 21 to drink alcohol.
— Vegetarians are healthier than people who eat meat.
— Drug dealers belong in prison.
The answer? In each case, the worksheets categorize these claims as
opinions. The explanation on offer is that each of these claims is a
value claim and value claims are not facts. This is repeated ad nauseum:
any claim with good, right, wrong, etc. is not a fact.
In summary, our public schools teach students that all claims are either
facts or opinions and that all value and moral claims fall into the
latter camp. The punchline: there are no moral facts. And if there are
no moral facts, then there are no moral truths.
The inconsistency in this curriculum is obvious. For example, at the
outset of the school year, my son brought home a list of student rights
and responsibilities. Had he already read the lesson on fact vs.
opinion, he might have noted that the supposed rights of other students
were based on no more than opinions. According to the school’s
curriculum, it certainly wasn’t true that his classmates deserved to be
treated a particular way — that would make it a fact. Similarly, it
wasn’t really true that he had any responsibilities — that would be to
make a value claim a truth. It should not be a surprise that there is
rampant cheating on college campuses: If we’ve taught our students for
12 years that there is no fact of the matter as to whether cheating is
wrong, we can’t very well blame them for doing so later on.
Indeed, in the world beyond grade school, where adults must exercise
their moral knowledge and reasoning to conduct themselves in the
society, the stakes are greater. There, consistency demands that we
acknowledge the existence of moral facts. If it’s not true that it’s
wrong to murder a cartoonist with whom one disagrees, then how can we be
outraged? If there are no truths about what is good or valuable or
right, how can we prosecute people for crimes against humanity? If it’s
not true that all humans are created equal, then why vote for any
political system that doesn’t benefit you over others?
Our schools do amazing things with our children. And they are, in a way,
teaching moral standards when they ask students to treat one another
humanely and to do their schoolwork with academic integrity. But at the
same time, the curriculum sets our children up for doublethink. They are
told that there are no moral facts in one breath even as the next tells
them how they ought to behave.
We can do better. Our children deserve a consistent intellectual
foundation. Facts are things that are true. Opinions are things we
believe. Some of our beliefs are true. Others are not. Some of our
beliefs are backed by evidence. Others are not. Value claims are like
any other claims: either true or false, evidenced or not. The hard work
lies not in recognizing that at least some moral claims are true but in
carefully thinking through our evidence for which of the many competing
moral claims is correct. That’s a hard thing to do. But we can’t
sidestep the responsibilities that come with being human just because
it’s hard.
That would be wrong.

Justin P. McBrayer is an associate professor of philosophy at Fort Lewis
College in Durango, Colo. He works in ethics and philosophy of religion.

Bob Harper
Andy Evans
2020-06-29 17:33:41 UTC
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Thanks for that, Bob. It's a good read.
Oscar
2020-06-29 18:50:42 UTC
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Post by Andy Evans
Thanks for that, Bob. It's a good read.
I concur. Excellent essay, Bob. I read it all. Thx for posting.
Bob Harper
2020-06-29 22:00:06 UTC
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Post by Oscar
Post by Andy Evans
Thanks for that, Bob. It's a good read.
I concur. Excellent essay, Bob. I read it all. Thx for posting.
My pleasure. Its adoption by today's disputants would, I believe, calm
the waters considerably.

Bob Harper
Bob Harper
2020-06-29 21:58:50 UTC
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Post by Andy Evans
Thanks for that, Bob. It's a good read.
You're welcome. I thought it so as well.

Bob Harper
msw design
2020-06-29 23:36:09 UTC
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Post by Andy Evans
Thanks for that, Bob. It's a good read.
I find it particularly blind that he states

"If it’s not true that all humans are created equal, then why vote for any
political system that doesn’t benefit you over others?"

For starters "all men are created equal" is the essence non-factual statement. It is religiopolitical belief that actually means a whole lot more than what it says, and only because we are culturally conditioned to hear it meaning things it doesn't say. It has long been used to put a sheen on a system of governance that is anything but equality-based. More often than not, the phrase meant "all people that matter have equal status" and nothing more.

The naked fact is that we are all created unequal. Even twins are unequal, and they will tell you so. Inequality can never be escaped; our paths are all unique. To acknowledge this is not scandalous or a moral mutation. Nor does it make me want to vote for political systems that favor me above others- far from it. His suggestion that it does is fantastical.

The author fails to bring clarity to the ides of facts, opinions, beliefs and truth. A probing mind could play out that they are all a bit different instead of confusing some of them from sentence to sentence. But for those that value their moral judgments (and think highly of themselves and their constitution), the muddle here has appeal.
Frank Berger
2020-06-29 23:58:49 UTC
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Post by msw design
Post by Andy Evans
Thanks for that, Bob. It's a good read.
I find it particularly blind that he states
"If it’s not true that all humans are created equal, then why vote for any
political system that doesn’t benefit you over others?"
For starters "all men are created equal" is the essence non-factual statement. It is religiopolitical belief that actually means a whole lot more than what it says, and only because we are culturally conditioned to hear it meaning things it doesn't say. It has long been used to put a sheen on a system of governance that is anything but equality-based. More often than not, the phrase meant "all people that matter have equal status" and nothing more.
The naked fact is that we are all created unequal. Even twins are unequal, and they will tell you so. Inequality can never be escaped; our paths are all unique. To acknowledge this is not scandalous or a moral mutation. Nor does it make me want to vote for political systems that favor me above others- far from it. His suggestion that it does is fantastical.
The author fails to bring clarity to the ides of facts, opinions, beliefs and truth. A probing mind could play out that they are all a bit different instead of confusing some of them from sentence to sentence. But for those that value their moral judgments (and think highly of themselves and their constitution), the muddle here has appeal.
The political statement that "all men are created equal"
means that all men should be equal under the law. Nobody in
the right mind would ever take it literally.
Oscar
2020-06-30 01:07:29 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
The political statement that "all men are created equal"
means that all men should be equal under the law. Nobody in
the right mind would ever take it literally.
Obviously, right??! "Even twins are unequal, and they will tell you so." Huh? WHAT??!
msw design
2020-06-30 01:57:11 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
The political statement that "all men are created equal"
means that all men should be equal under the law. Nobody in
the right mind would ever take it literally.
Maybe he should have left it out and used "Most cops are good cops" instead.
Oscar
2020-07-09 05:11:39 UTC
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Here we go! "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." Not George Wallce, nope. B.L.M.


From Daily Mail:

<< City of Seattle held segregated training session for white staff aimed at 'undoing their whiteness' and told them 'not to take undeserved promotions' to be better allies for racial justice

• The City of Seattle held a segregated training session for white staffers last month in which they instructed workers on how to ‘undo their whiteness’
• Titled ‘Interrupting Internalized Racial Superiority and Whiteness’, the training session was reportedly held by the Office of Civil Rights on June 12
• One handout distributed in the two-and-a-half hour session reportedly read that ‘racism is not our fault but we are responsible'
• Another said white staffers must give up ‘the land’ and their ‘guaranteed physical safety’ in order to be an ‘accomplice’ for racial justice
• The Seattle's Office of Civil Rights has not yet returned a DailyMail.com request for comment on the alleged training program

By Daily Mail reporter
July 8, 2020

The City of Seattle held a segregated training session for white staffers last month in which they instructed workers on how to ‘undo their whiteness’ and affirm their ‘complicity in racism’, reports suggest.

Titled ‘Interrupting Internalized Racial Superiority and Whiteness’, the training session was reportedly held by the Office of Civil Rights on June 12, the same day protesters took part in the CHOP zone demonstrations in the Capitol Hill district.

Christopher F. Rufo, an editor for City Journal and director of the Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth and Poverty, unearthed the session’s existence after filing a Freedom of Information request last week, which was approved Monday.

One handout distributed in the two-and-a-half hour session reportedly read that ‘racism is not our fault but we are responsible.’

Another said white staffers must give up ‘the land’ and their ‘guaranteed physical safety’ in order to be an ‘accomplice’ for racial justice.

In an email inviting employees to the event, the office asked ‘city employees who identify as white to join this training to learn, reflect, challenge ourselves, and build skills and relationships that help us show up more fully as allies and accomplices for racial justice.’

‘We’ll examine our complicity in the system of white supremacy – how we internalize and reinforce it – and begin to cultivate practices that enable us to interrupt racism in ways to be accountable to Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) folks within our community,’ the email continued.

The name of the email's author was redacted, Rufo said, as the City of Seattle ‘refused to provide the names of the diversity trainers, the budget for the program, or the video of the session’.

In a thread posted to his Twitter account, Rufo outlined the various stages of the training session. LINK: https://twitter.com/realchrisrufo/status/1280277423846653953

He said that first of all ‘diversity trainers informed white participants that “objectivity,” “individualism,” “intellectualization,” and “comfort” are all vestiges of internalized racial oppression.’

Diversity trainers also encouraged staffers to cultivate ‘networks with other white people who are practicing antiracist accomplicehood so you can talk through your struggles in the work of undoing your own whiteness.’

In such networks, the trainers urged participants to practice ‘self-talk that affirms our complicity in racism.’ They were also instructed to give up ‘niceties from neighbors and colleagues’, ‘the certainty of your job,’ and ‘accepting jobs and promotions when we are not qualified, including racial equity jobs.’

White employees were also issued a flowchart outlining the cycle of racism that whites perpetuate through ‘superior’ justification, ‘self-righteousness,’ ‘fear, shame and guilt’ over ‘harmful actions’ toward ‘people of color,’ and ‘smallness and inauthenticity.’

White people are unable to ‘imagine a way forward’ that stems from a ‘place of humanity and empowerment.’ Thus, the ‘status quo is reinforced’, the chart concluded.

For any employees questioning their ethnicity, the instructors handed out an information sheet titled ‘Assimilation to Whiteness’, which noted those of Arab, Jewish, Finnish, German, Italian, Armenian or Irish descent identify as white.

Employees were also taught how to ‘interrupt’ their whiteness by being ‘honest and implicate yourself either in the moment or in past experiences in which you acted or thought similarly.'

‘Don’t blame others. Don’t distance. Don’t make yourself seem “better.” None of us is,’ a handout said. ‘You are also white and what someone else did today you may do tomorrow.’

According to Rufo, the goal of the session was to teach white workers how they have been 'complicit in the system of white supremacy’ and must be held ‘accountable to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.’

The Seattle's Office of Civil Rights has not yet returned a DailyMail.com request for comment on the alleged training program. It’s unclear if the training was mandatory or optional. >>


https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8504187/City-Seattle-held-segregated-training-session-white-staff-aimed-undoing-whiteness.html
msw design
2020-06-29 22:07:41 UTC
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Post by Bob Harper
NYT
THE STONE
Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts
BY JUSTIN P. MCBRAYER
MARCH 2, 2015 3:25 AM
For the record, both my children know that making fat jokes about anyone is morally wrong. Bob Harper doesn't.
Bob Harper
2020-06-30 00:09:56 UTC
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Post by msw design
Post by Bob Harper
NYT
THE STONE
Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts
BY JUSTIN P. MCBRAYER
MARCH 2, 2015 3:25 AM
For the record, both my children know that making fat jokes about anyone is morally wrong. Bob Harper doesn't.
Sir, you are making yourself appear ridiculous. And that will be my last
comment to you on this matter.

Bob Harper
Raymond Hall
2020-06-30 00:18:57 UTC
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Sir, you are making yourself appear ridiculous. And that will be my last
comment to you on this matter.

Bob Harper

I have no intention of trying to substantiate what I know to a bunch of right wing fools. I am finished too on the matter.

Ray Hall, Taree
msw design
2020-06-30 01:49:15 UTC
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Post by Bob Harper
Post by msw design
Post by Bob Harper
NYT
THE STONE
Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts
BY JUSTIN P. MCBRAYER
MARCH 2, 2015 3:25 AM
For the record, both my children know that making fat jokes about anyone is morally wrong. Bob Harper doesn't.
Sir, you are making yourself appear ridiculous. And that will be my last
comment to you on this matter.
Bob Harper
Your moral blind spot is big enough that I don't give a fig what you think, Bob. But the world should know that the person sharing commentary on moral truths isn't above fat shaming. And yes, my children know better.
Raymond Hall
2020-06-30 00:03:38 UTC
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We can do better. Our children deserve a consistent intellectual
foundation. Facts are things that are true. Opinions are things we
believe. Some of our beliefs are true. Others are not. Some of our
beliefs are backed by evidence. Others are not. Value claims are like
any other claims: either true or false, evidenced or not. The hard work
lies not in recognizing that at least some moral claims are true but in
carefully thinking through our evidence for which of the many competing
moral claims is correct. That’s a hard thing to do. But we can’t
sidestep the responsibilities that come with being human just because
it’s hard.
That would be wrong.

Justin P. McBrayer
------------------

The above, to me, is a load of piffle, waffle, and slippery mumbo jumbo. Sorry Bob, but I refuse to be as impressed as some others. The sweeping generalisations in the article obscure reality. Reality is something philosophers avoid by talking about truth and other such nonsense.

Ray Hall, Taree
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