Author Topic: Trump, The Reality Show  (Read 95483 times)

AI Wessex

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Trump, The Reality Show
« on: March 12, 2016, 08:18:42 AM »
Weeks after telling his supporters that he would like to punch a protester in the face and several other times saying that protesters deserve what they get from his angry supporters, and two days after a Trump supporter sucker punched a protester at a rally and later said next time he would kill him, a near riot broke out at another Trump rally in Chicago.  It means that the Trump reality show is starting to pick up momentum, so much so that the unthinkable is happening where Cruz is beginning to look like the reasonable alternative.

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Anger surrounding Donald Trump's presidential campaign reached a boiling point in Chicago Friday night.

The Republican front-runner canceled a campaign rally over security concerns when thousands of protesters gathered outside an arena at the University of Illinois, then flooded the venue where he was scheduled to speak, reports CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds.

Trump's campaign events have turned increasingly hostile with sometimes violent confrontations between his supporters and demonstrators.

Five people were arrested, but the demonstrators were mostly peaceful, and police say they did not recommend Trump cancel the event.

The announcement by a Trump staffer postponing the event set off celebrations for some and disappointment for others.

As police tried to clear the pavilion, some fights broke out. Demonstrators - many of whom are students at the University of Illinois Chicago - say Trump received their message.

Trump loyalists say the protest is an attack on free speech.

DonaldD

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2016, 09:14:40 AM »
What are the optics of a white, male, Trump supporter, at a Trump rally, wearing a cowboy hat, punching a black man in the face in front of 4 police officers and not being immediately arrested?

AI Wessex

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2016, 12:24:43 PM »
Try to absorb this...The Republican Party will support him if he wins the nomination, which he will.  Let *that* sink in.

Gaoics79

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2016, 12:39:45 PM »
These "protesters" are coming to disrupt Trump's events. If they follow the usual playbook, they'll attempt to use violence to shut down any event where Trump attempts to speak. We see this kind of thing frequently at universities. It's just the case that at Trump rallies his supporters are numerous enough (and aggressive enough) that the tactic doesn't achieve its usual goal (of shutting down the event), although it did in this case.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2016, 12:49:06 PM by jasonr »

Gaoics79

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2016, 12:45:28 PM »
http://news.nationalpost.com/news/world/trump-rally-cancelled-in-chicago-after-clashes-between-protesters-and-supporters

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“Trump represents everything America is not and everything Chicago is not,” said Kamran Siddiqui, 20, a student at the school who was among those celebrating. “We came in here and we wanted to shut this down. Because this is a great city and we don’t want to let that person in here.”

By the way, I don't for a single second accept the claim that this is "escalation". I have been seeing these kind of brown shirt tactics for years practiced among the mainstream protesting class, especially at universities. This is entirely normal and expected now that Trump is entering more ideologically diverse territories. You can expect increasing levels of violence and disruption from the anti Trump protesters. Mr. Cowboy Hat is a single dude. These guys are going to be quite well organized, by contrast.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2016, 12:50:05 PM by jasonr »

AI Wessex

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2016, 01:04:11 PM »
And do you often see the candidate encouraging violence against those who speak out?  He tells the crowd, go ahead and if you hurt him I will pay your legal expenses.  In the old days, he says, we would be the crap out of people who objected.  You're ok with that?

Gaoics79

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2016, 01:19:51 PM »
No I'm not okay with that.

Trump frequently says things I'm not okay with.

But my opinion is that brown shirt thugs shutting down a candidate's campaign event in an organized campaign of threats and intimidation is more worrisome than some random thug in a crowd roughing up a protester, or even a candidate slyly condoning such violence.

And for the record, I have been seeing these tactics used with increasing frequency over the years, long before Trump became a politician. Watch and see. The ideological left may not have a monopoly on thuggery, but they are unparalleled when it comes to organized thuggery, i.e. the kind of brown shirt tactics the Nazis used to disrupt their opposition back in the 20s. 
« Last Edit: March 12, 2016, 01:24:03 PM by jasonr »

AI Wessex

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2016, 01:49:24 PM »
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The ideological left may not have a monopoly on thuggery, but they are unparalleled when it comes to organized thuggery, i.e. the kind of brown shirt tactics the Nazis used to disrupt their opposition back in the 20s. 
Interesting meme.  There are organized protests, but I wouldn't call them brown shirt Nazi tactics, since these are people protesting the government for perceived abuses.  OTOH, I would call Trump's calls for a "loyalty oath" and support for violence against protesters from the podium something close to that kind of thing, wouldn't you?

FWIW, you refer to a monolithic "ideological left", but there are a great many groups who are protesting denial of their freedoms or seeking recourse to ongoing grievances.  LGBT, blacks, Muslims, and other groups all are the victims of systemic abuses.  Each group is waging its own battle for the kind of attention and redress that they think they deserve.  If you think they are all part of one thing called the "ideological left", perhaps you should define what that collective group is and how it operates.

Gaoics79

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2016, 01:59:59 PM »
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OTOH, I would call Trump's calls for a "loyalty oath" and support for violence against protesters from the podium something close to that kind of thing, wouldn't you?

No I wouldn't call that "brownshirt tactics", which is not just a generic term to denote "bad" or "violent" or even fascist.

The brownshirts were known for using violence and intimidation to break up meetings of labour unions, communists and other ideological enemies. Using violence or threats to shut down your opposition's ability to meet and organize and speak is "brownshirt tactics".

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FWIW, you refer to a monolithic "ideological left", but there are a great many groups who are protesting denial of their freedoms or seeking recourse to ongoing grievances.  LGBT, blacks, Muslims, and other groups all are the victims of systemic abuses.  Each group is waging its own battle for the kind of attention and redress that they think they deserve.  If you think they are all part of one thing called the "ideological left", perhaps you should define what that collective group is and how it operates.

That there are many groups under the umbrellla of "left" is not really in issue, nor do I care about their individual grievances and victim myths in the context of this discussion. It's really beside the point.

What I am calling the "ideological left" is a movement, largely composed of millenials, who have typically left social ideologies and who occupy most university student governments and constitute the majority of protesting and activism on and off campuses. This group does not believe in free expression and considers it correct and justified to use threats, intimidation and violence to shut down opposing views. If a speaker they don't like comes to speak, they will attempt to shout that person down, crowd the stage and in some cases physically trash the premises. They will deface signs, overturn displays and use whatever means to ensure that opponents cannot have a forum to speak. More recently they use social media to lobby institutions to shut down or ban views they don't like. Pro life groups have been targeted especially of late on campuses throughout Canada, but these tactics have been used to attack all manner of groups.

In other words, they use classic brown shirt tactics to get their way. It's nothing new. It didn't start with Trump. We'll see plenty more of this before the campaign is over.

And yes, while Mr. Cowboy Hat is a thug, his manner of thuggery is different from what I'm describing here. The key distinction being the degree of organization as well as the purpose. I am not aware of Trump supporters crowding Hillary Clinton rallies and attempting to shut them down with threats and intimidation. When that sort of thing happens, then we can have a further discussion on whether or not Trump is advocating for "brown shirt" activism.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2016, 02:08:38 PM by jasonr »

rightleft22

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2016, 02:08:34 PM »
Wow
 :'(


JoshCrow

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2016, 02:36:35 PM »
Jason - while I agree with you about tactics, I think you have lost perspective. You are consistently more angry about the messenger than about the message, and you are elevating the messenger to the status of being the real problem - when in fact the message is of much more significance. I share your annoyance at disruptive protesters of all stripes - I just think it's a piffle next to the actual content of the rallies. I wish you were as energetic in your contempt for more serious scourges than some belligerent protestors.

Gaoics79

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2016, 02:40:33 PM »
What scourge do you suppose is worse than the fact that mainstream millenials (the future leaders of our society) no longer believe in free speech?

rightleft22

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2016, 02:44:52 PM »
"I would like to say that they should all have greater faith in their Constitution's ability to withstand populism. After all, if Trump won the presidency – which is highly unlikely – he would be bound by Congress, a military obliged to ignore illegal orders, the judiciary and the God-given rights enjoyed by every citizen." telegraph.co.uk

Such statements were made in the past about other leaders that when they got in power the systems fails to contain them.

A issue with a Trump presidency is that it is unlikely he would be able to deliver on what policies he is suggesting without breaking the constitution. It seems to be the reasoning that many intelligent people are accepting of a Trump presidency. However he is creating a situation in which he must come through or the mob he is creating turns on him violently.

I know I am all over the map and I wish I was more articulate... and I sense a... defeat
Ten years ago the debate on this forum would have been very different.

I am truly scared that this is not going to end well.





JoshCrow

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2016, 02:46:26 PM »
What scourge do you suppose is worse than the fact that mainstream millenials (the future leaders of our society) no longer believe in free speech?

The rhetoric of fear and abuse of hyperbole some to mind. The latter is evident in your very comment.

AI Wessex

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2016, 02:54:07 PM »
What scourge do you suppose is worse than the fact that mainstream millenials (the future leaders of our society) no longer believe in free speech?
This is a very selective blame-casting.  What kind of leader tells his followers it's ok to beat up someone who exercises his right to free speech by rising up to speak against him?  If they hurt him, he says that's ok, he'll cover their legal bills.

What we're seeing (and I hope won't continue to escalate) is that the protesters who wanted to speak were shut down, kicked out and sometimes physically abused.  They've now raised the ante on their side by asserting their own side of the argument with stronger numbers and physical resistance.  I predict it won't be long before there are direct assaults on perceived anti-Trump activists, rally riots, intentional disruption of Clinton and Sanders rallies, and maybe even some gunfire.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2016, 02:56:49 PM by AI Wessex »

Gaoics79

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2016, 03:31:11 PM »
Al no ante has been raised. These protests and tactics were inevitable. They have nothing to do with Trump's comments on violence. Zero.

Greg Davidson

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2016, 03:52:35 PM »
I hate when protesters interrupt a speaker. As a matter of fact, I am going to the very right-wing AIPAC policy convention next week (a first for me) and I suspect I will hear some things I substantially disagree with, including from Mr. Trump who will be speaking there, but I don't plan to interrupt.

I suspect that the random assortment of people trying to protest/interrupt Trump at all his venues will include some left-wing people who are pretty disreputable/incoherent. I think that's the point. Trump will run against the stupidest protester, he will disavow the actions of the stupidest of his supporters, but he will paint a story that the protesters are big, scary, black thugs.  He'll keep promoting this regardless of whether it is truthful, and then exploit the stupidest of the protesters to say he was right all the time.

And also say that this is Obama's fault, that Obama has done more to divide America than Trump has.

And the defense of the Trump candidacy is that he doesn't really mean this, once he has more power he will be more restrained.






JoshCrow

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2016, 04:37:46 PM »
Al no ante has been raised. These protests and tactics were inevitable. They have nothing to do with Trump's comments on violence. Zero.

Out of curiosity, Jason - do you think these protests or tactics are particularly new? That is, are you of the opinion that in the past there were no such agents provocateurs causing a ruckus at an opposing party's rallies?

Pete at Home

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2016, 04:49:38 PM »
Al, i take it you forget a more serious incident of theis nature in chicago 1996 reelection of clinton, by clinton supporters, and winked at by the corrupt illinois courts?  se4rious injury to peaceful anti clinton assembly.  So no, here to Hillary fails to provide a better alternative.  Your better argument for her is experience.

Gaoics79

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2016, 06:43:36 PM »
Al no ante has been raised. These protests and tactics were inevitable. They have nothing to do with Trump's comments on violence. Zero.

Out of curiosity, Jason - do you think these protests or tactics are particularly new? That is, are you of the opinion that in the past there were no such agents provocateurs causing a ruckus at an opposing party's rallies?

Obviously not given my brownshirt reference.

AI Wessex

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2016, 07:39:55 PM »
Al, i take it you forget a more serious incident of theis nature in chicago 1996 reelection of clinton, by clinton supporters, and winked at by the corrupt illinois courts?  se4rious injury to peaceful anti clinton assembly.  So no, here to Hillary fails to provide a better alternative.  Your better argument for her is experience.
I can't find anything on google about any incident at that convention.  What are you referring to?

Pete at Home

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2016, 08:01:26 PM »
Chicago union thugs put a protester in the hospital. 

Fenring

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2016, 03:31:40 AM »
"I would like to say that they should all have greater faith in their Constitution's ability to withstand populism. After all, if Trump won the presidency – which is highly unlikely – he would be bound by Congress, a military obliged to ignore illegal orders, the judiciary and the God-given rights enjoyed by every citizen." telegraph.co.uk

Such statements were made in the past about other leaders that when they got in power the systems fails to contain them.

Man, could you be more sensational about this? You are comparing such statements made in the U.S. in 2016 to statements of the same sort made in Germany in 1932 during the Versailles tribute period during the Great Depression? Not only 'can' the system contain Trump or whoever else, but it is so geared towards containing them that effecting any kind of real change - in any direction - is very difficult. That's exactly what Sander's campaign is about, in fact. That the political machinery is geared towards status quo and operated by special interests that won't allow real change. The only thing they *would* allow is change towards their benefit, and it actually would be an interesting conversation to examine what that might be. Trump becoming some dictator is basically a ridiculous fear as far as I can tell.

AI Wessex

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2016, 08:56:12 AM »
Chicago union thugs put a protester in the hospital.
Pete, I can't find anything after multiple web searches.  Please point me to the reporting about this.

Greg,

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I hate when protesters interrupt a speaker. As a matter of fact, I am going to the very right-wing AIPAC policy convention next week (a first for me) and I suspect I will hear some things I substantially disagree with, including from Mr. Trump who will be speaking there, but I don't plan to interrupt.

I suspect that the random assortment of people trying to protest/interrupt Trump at all his venues will include some left-wing people who are pretty disreputable/incoherent. I think that's the point. Trump will run against the stupidest protester, he will disavow the actions of the stupidest of his supporters, but he will paint a story that the protesters are big, scary, black thugs.  He'll keep promoting this regardless of whether it is truthful, and then exploit the stupidest of the protesters to say he was right all the time.

The protesters can make their presence known, but should let the speaker speak.  They're not hosting the event, so they should find other ways to get their points across. But any disruption they cause doesn't justify anyone else throwing the first punch, and it is absolutely wrong for the candidate to advocate violence against any protester.

Yet things have degraded to the point that that is where we are. 

I think there are few deranged people protesting at the campaign rallies.  Instead they are just as "angry" as Trump's supporters who go there to vent their own emotions.  It's odd (and frightening) that Trump blames Sanders for their presence, as if to say that the fact that they disagree with him and are vocal about it ties them to the opposition.  That then makes that opposition an adversarial force against which he incites his supporters to believe they are fighting a war. 

Things will get worse on the campaign trail through the convention and then maybe worse between then and the election.  What will happen after the inauguration is impossible to predict, but it could be bad no matter who wins.

Even though I think Cruz is downright evil and ultimately more dangerous to our democracy than Trump, people will be drawn toward him by his quieter tone in the runup to the GOP convention.  Lindsay Graham's metaphor was apt, that the choice is between being shot (Trump) or poisoned (Cruz).  In this case, we might ultimately survive the bullet wound, but not the poison.

Pete at Home

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2016, 09:11:02 AM »
Al, could not find the chicago story, but here's an allusion to a bigger Teamsters bit of thuggery where thd union thugs were directed by the government toward their taeget.

Gaoics79

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2016, 10:34:31 AM »
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The rhetoric of fear and abuse of hyperbole some to mind. The latter is evident in your very comment.

I'd like to digress from the main topic for just a second and just explore this point a bit.

When I said that millennials don't generally respect freedom of speech, let me expand a bit on that.

First off, this is a generalization. I don't need to explain what that is.

Second, I have no doubt that millennials care about freedom of speech when it pertains to their own views. So they would be angered at, say, a Bernie Sanders rally being shut down by right-leaning business interests. However, as I'm sure you agree - free speech is, by definition, the belief that opposing viewpoints have the right to speak as well as agreeing ones. In the entire history of humanity, no group has ever called for censorship of views that group agrees with. Everyone, everywhere, certainly agrees with their own right to free speech or the rights of like minded individuals. Free speech must, by definition, embrace controversial, even offensive views, or it's a nullity, end of story.

Third, and most significantly - I put it to you that the majority of any large heterogeneous group, anywhere, by default, is going to be politically neutral or apathetic. The vast majority of humanity is apolitical insofar as they just want to get along with their lives, do their jobs, raise their families and attend classes. They want to eat, screw and work in peace. That has not changed with the millennials. By definition, most of them don't care much one way or another about free speech on any practical level, although they may have some vague sensibility about it that they'd share if you pressed them. So to point out that the majority of millennials might not embrace certain views or seek to actively campaign would be true, but would certainly eschew any attempt at commentary on the political makeup of a generational group.

Therefore, the only people we really care about when we're making a generalization about the ideological flavour of a certain generation, is the political class, the activist class, the group that really does care and is willing to make their views known.

I believe the evidence has been growing that this group either outwardly reviles free speech, seeing it as an instrument of systemic oppression and the reinforcement of various forms of privilege, or (among those who are without much intelligence or possessing a high degree of cognitive dissonance) thinks that they believe in free speech, though the evidence is overwhelming to the contrary.

I can provide links to various stories of late, one recent example being the campaign to extinguish pro life advocacy from campus life through various means, whether brownshirting pro life speakers / meetings, or (in a recent example) making the cost of security so high that it is financially prohibitive for any pro life group to organize on campus (in the University of Alberta case, the university was going to charge the pro life campus group $17,000 in security fees in anticipation of its rally, which of course it could not afford.) There are other numerous examples, such as groups lobbying to ban right wing speakers (Ann Coulter, George W. Bush etc...) student unions refusing to authorize resources for non approved groups (most recently, a pro Israel human rights group seeking to have a booth at a social justice rally in an Oshawa university). 

I don't believe that these are just isolated one offs. I happen to think that this sort of mentality, and the mentality of the young man who commented that he wanted to "shut down" Trump's event are exceptional or the behaviour of one-off thugs a la Cowboy Man. This is going to be the new normal.

Now it's true, as some will point out, that many have always practiced such tactics, but the difference is: if you go back even to when I was in school (I am a tail end Gen Xer) if someone put Voltaire to the class, everyone (even among the political class) would have agreed, at least in principle. Free speech was a value, even not everyone actually implemented it in practice. I don't actually think free speech is a value in any meaningful sense for millennials, among the group that matters. It has been supplanted by other values which can't co-exist with it.

AI Wessex

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2016, 10:44:36 AM »
Al, could not find the chicago story, but here's an allusion to a bigger Teamsters bit of thuggery where thd union thugs were directed by the government toward their taeget.
You're really just talking about strong arm Chicago machine politics, nothing new or especially notable.  That's been going on for over 100 years, not pleasant, not fair, not fun, not safe for the family, but if you stumble into it unawares you learn how to avoid getting hurt by it.  Chicago is still working through the remnants of that tradition, where the police are the remaining body of corruption.  I wouldn't blame Rahm for causing it, and it seems even a little uncharitable that he should suffer the consequences when it happens, but he is in charge and should be doing a lot more to fix it for the people who live there today and those who will follow him in office.

JasonR:

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Second, I have no doubt that millennials care about freedom of speech when it pertains to their own views.
...
I believe the evidence has been growing that this group either outwardly reviles free speech, seeing it as an instrument of systemic oppression and the reinforcement of various forms of privilege, or (among those who are without much intelligence or possessing a high degree of cognitive dissonance) thinks that they believe in free speech, though the evidence is overwhelming to the contrary.
...
 I don't actually think free speech is a value in any meaningful sense for millennials, among the group that matters. It has been supplanted by other values which can't co-exist with it.

I'll just say that for your effort to clarify what you think, you have done that and your views are both offensive and disturbing.  That's not to say that there aren't people with extreme views in the group you call millennials, but to say that they are the ones causing the problem is to ignore what they are agitating against and advocating for.  Your assessment is a deeply shallow attempt to understand that.

AI Wessex

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2016, 11:11:40 AM »
Didn't take long:

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On Sunday, Trump signaled to his legion of followers that it might be time to express their anger by becoming "disruptors" at Sanders' events.

"Bernie Sanders is lying when he says his disruptors aren't told to go to my events," Trump wrote on Twitter. "Be careful Bernie, or my supporters will go to yours!"

JoshCrow

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2016, 11:15:31 AM »
This is going to be the new normal.

Now it's true, as some will point out, that many have always practiced such tactics, but the difference is: if you go back even to when I was in school (I am a tail end Gen Xer) if someone put Voltaire to the class, everyone (even among the political class) would have agreed, at least in principle. Free speech was a value, even not everyone actually implemented it in practice. I don't actually think free speech is a value in any meaningful sense for millennials, among the group that matters. It has been supplanted by other values which can't co-exist with it.

This is not at all new - I would suggest to you that the only new thing is that you are now aware of and bothered by it.

This should be informative for you: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/11/false-alarm-on-millennials-and-free-speech.html

I'll post it here in full.

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Last week, I wrote about a new Pew poll that showed that 40 percent of millennials would be in favor of government bans on speech offensive to minority groups. Many people took this as a dire sign that kids these days are Nae Nae–ing themselves straight into an authoritarian future, especially given all the recent talk about young people’s coddling and fragility.

Here’s Charlie Nash of the right-wing website Breitbart offering some in-depth sociological analysis of the numbers:

This is simply the result of what most journalists on the right have been saying for years. Freedom of speech is under attack, not by direct legislation, but by erasing the value of freedom of expression in schools and colleges. Just 10 to 20 years ago, college campuses were places defined by their open debates, easy access to learn new things, and free student discussion. College campuses are now defined by “safe spaces,” authoritarian student unions, and bourgeoisie middle-class-but-I’m-down-with-the-poor protesters. Students of today do not want a free discussion if anything said could hurt someone’s feelings (unless you’re straight, male, and white; then fire away).
“Just 10 to 20 years ago” there was freedom on campus! A terrible situation indeed.

I wasn’t immune to the hype myself. While I did caution in my write-up that the number needed to be taken in context given that the question had never been asked in this way before and there was therefore nothing to compare the result against, it still jumped out at me as surprisingly high — that’s why I posted about it.

I was wrong; it shouldn’t have jumped out at me. A bit of digging into past poll results shows that this just wasn’t an unusual result. Yes, broad attitudes over free speech change over time — more on this in a bit — but there’s a general pattern to how Americans answer these questions: They’ve shown over and over again that they favor free speech in theory, when asked about it in the broadest terms, but they also tend to be fairly enthusiastic about government bans on forms of speech they find particularly offensive (what’s considered offensive, of course, changes with the times). On this subject, millennials are right in line with reams of past polling, and it would be wrong to hold up last week’s results as an example of anything other than an extremely broad tendency that’s existed for a long time.

Before jumping into a few past numbers, it’s important to note that you really can’t compare directly between different polls, since different polls have different sampling procedures and question wording. This is a cardinal-sin no-no. But that doesn’t mean you can’t check to see whether the result from last week was a crazy outlier suggestive of new attitudes about free speech. If the vast majority of past polls asking similar types of questions had found that, say, only 15 percent of Americans are in favor of banning offensive speech, then we could at least say, “Hmmm, something’s going on here with millennials.”

But that isn’t the case, as numerous examples show. In March, for example, the Washington Post reported on a decades-long trend in the General Social Survey: Over time, when asked whether they think a variety of figures — atheists, militarists, and so on — should be “allowed to give a speech in [their] community,” Americans have gotten increasingly tolerant. The one exception highlighted by the Post? A speaker discussing African-Americans’ genetic inferiority. There, the figure hasn’t really budged since 1976 — it’s been consistently the case that 60 percent of Americans believe such speech should be allowed, meaning 40 percent don’t believe it should be or aren’t sure. Now, this is a survey of American adults rather than just young people, but still: same very general ballpark, and strikingly stable since the 1970s.

Maybe it’s the question phrasing, though — maybe these respondents don’t want a racist speaker in their neighborhood, but also don’t want the government to ban that speaker at all. Alas, there’s plenty of other polling and research showing that approval of more general bans on speech is something of a national tradition.

Here’s then–Washington Post polling director Richard Morin writing in 1998:

In 1938, the American Institute of Public Opinion surveyed a national sample of American adults. The institute asked respondents whether they believed in free speech or not, and of course 96 percent said they did.
But in subsequent questions, it became uncomfortably clear that Americans would place many limits on free speech. Fewer than four in 10 – 38 percent – said they would allow “radicals” to meet and speak. Even fewer would grant those rights to Communists or fascists.
Likewise, during the height of the Red Scare in the 1950s, Harvard sociologist Samuel Stouffer conducted a national poll to measure support for free speech. Two-thirds said a Communist should not be allowed to speak. And nearly as many, 60 percent, said an atheist should not be allowed to speak.
Or take an AP article from 1990 — accessed via Nexis, so no link — with the headline “Americans apply ‘double standard’ to free speech rights”:

Americans overwhelmingly believe the Constitution guarantees their individual freedom of expression, but more than one-fourth say that protection shouldn’t apply to the arts or the media, according to a private survey [of 1,500 adults].

Robert O’Neil, founding director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, said Friday that the center’s survey spotlighted “an appalling gap” in public understanding of free speech and equally protected freedom of the press.

“We found alarming evidence of a double standard, a sense that the 1st Amendment protects what the speaker wants to say, but not so clearly the views of others,” O’Neil said, releasing the survey results at a news conference on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial.

While 90 percent of Americans believe the government has no business telling them what to say, nearly 59 percent said the government should have some power of censorship, according to the center’s survey.

In addition, more than half said the government has the right to ban the sale of recordings that favor drug use or broadcasting of sexually explicit lyrics; 84 percent favored mandatory labeling of recorded songs containing such lyrics.

The survey said between 25 percent and 30 percent of those questioned believed the 1st Amendment’s guarantees of free speech didn’t cover art works, films, music, radio, cable and network television, plays, newspapers or photographs. [emphasis mine]
Last week’s poll wasn’t even an outlier if we restrict the question to young people. Kathleen Weldon of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at Cornell sent me an age breakdown from a 1999 American Attitudes About the First Amendment survey in which respondents were asked whether they agreed with the statement “People should be allowed to use words in public that might be offensive to racial groups.” Combining the “mildly disagree” and “strongly disagree” categories, 75 percent of respondents in the 18-to-29 age bracket disagreed. (Let’s do a Charlie Nash callback: “Just 10 to 20 years ago, college campuses were places defined by their open debates, easy access to learn new things, and free student discussion.”)

This is a far-from-comprehensive look at past polling numbers on free-speech questions, and I’m sure there are interesting patterns to be discovered, some of which might reveal noteworthy things about young people’s attitudes and how they have changed over the years. But on the specific question of whether people should be alarmed that 40 percent of millennials are in favor of government censorship of offensive speech, there’s very little to suggest this is an unusual result.

Gaoics79

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #30 on: March 13, 2016, 12:12:57 PM »
Josh, I may be misreading your article somewhat, but is this an apples to apples comparison. It seems that the comparison group is "Americans" versus Millennials. The more relevant comparison (according to the criteria I set out) would be something like university students in 1980 compared with university students in 2016. Since the universities are certainly ground zero for mainstream millennial political thinking, and indeed, the spearhead of any millennial political movement (in other words, the ones who actually think about politics and influence politics) that would be the relevant point of comparison, not some general survey of American adults which is going to include millions who are just inert and don't have any say in anything.

I would be very curious to know what percentage of university attending millennials 30 years ago would have ranked free speech high on their list of values, compared with today.

Gaoics79

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #31 on: March 13, 2016, 12:29:57 PM »
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That's not to say that there aren't people with extreme views in the group you call millennials, but to say that they are the ones causing the problem is to ignore what they are agitating against and advocating for.

No, that's the thing - if you pay attention to what's going on at college campuses, you realize that what I'm describing isn't "extreme" (and I am assuming by "extreme" you mean "out of the ordinary", "not mainstream" etc...). Yes, students willing to go out and commit acts of violence themselves would be in a minority. But ones who would condone violence? Not uncommon. Ones who would actively lobbey to have speakers they dislike banned or forced out? That's mainstream thought. Not remotely controversial or "extreme". Ones who want to ban speech they dislike? That's the mainstream at any universities across the country. Yes, this kind of thinking has always been present in the general population, but until recently, college campuses were bastions of free speech. No more.

It is shocking how much things have changed even since I was last at a university (back in 2005!). I was an editor at a student newspaper when I was in undergrad back in 2003, so I had a pretty good sense of what kind of ideas were floating around. Nothing I experienced back then compares with what I read in the paper every day, including about an institution I actually attended.

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but to say that they are the ones causing the problem is to ignore what they are agitating against and advocating for.

I really should say that this is a bit tangential to Trump, because really what I'm talking about has been going on for years and certainly didn't start with Trump. They really are two separate questions. Trump just happens to be a very good lightning rod for this sort of thing, so he's giving you a nice preview of what you can expect as the new normal over the next 10 years. Call him a canary in a coal mine.

But if you're asking me why I don't condemn Trump, I do (on certain points). But since my voice would get drowned out in that chorus, I'd rather be contrarian and just point out some aspects of this story that worry me alot more than whether a crass demagogue wins the repub nomination.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2016, 12:32:51 PM by jasonr »

Fenring

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #32 on: March 13, 2016, 01:56:48 PM »
This is not at all new - I would suggest to you that the only new thing is that you are now aware of and bothered by it.

This should be informative for you: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/11/false-alarm-on-millennials-and-free-speech.html

In addition to Jason's point that this survey apparently interviews Americans as a whole including those who tacitly have views that they will state when pressed but who aren't active in a political sense, there is another problem here: the article doesn't give us a gauge on whether there is any political or ideological tilt to the results - probably because it isn't designed to target that data. In other words, it is completely irrelevant to the issue at hand. What the article does cover is the fact that Americans as a whole have long been willing to say that certain kinds of public speech shouldn't happen, and in a sense this isn't precisely contentious in itself. Even by the standards of a typical libertarian I don't believe anyone advocates blanket unlimited free speech. For instance, I doubt any except for the most radical of libertarians would argue that fomenting a lynch mob should be protected free speech, or that inciting any criminal activity should be allowed. Similarly, political gatherings whose purpose is to subvert democracy (fascist or revolutionary gatherings) or aid America's enemies would almost universally garner consensus that they should be banned. But these are a gimme and so let's forget about them and focus on other things mentioned in the article: banning offensive music, banning speech about black genetic inferiority (or more generally, direct hate speech), banning atheists from speaking. There are not many more examples that this listed, and if you look at these you'll notice one thing: they are hardly left-wing issues; at least not specifically. The issue of offensive lyrics in music has probably irked people on both sides of the political fence over the years, although right-wing Walmart was the one to ban certain music from its shelves, and I'm comfortable saying that the music/art ban concept is more of a right-wing issue. The desire to ban speech about black inferiority might arguably be more left-of-center if we knew the people interviewed were in the Deep South, but if it was taken in, say, New York City then I think there would be general consensus from both sides that this kind of speech sucks. So this one might be a wash. Then there's the banning of atheists, which I think is again pretty blatantly a right-wing issue.

So there we have it: Jason's point is not really addressed by this article. He is saying that the left-wing of America among millenials, especially in the university scene, are shifting away from valuing free speech. If the article's data points towards at best general consensus that certain topics should be banned, and more likely that right-wing people have long thought so, then this does not in the slightest bit contradict a thesis that left-wing people are shifting towards favoring banning speech as compared with right-wing people. This relative comparison is the main issue, although since we can readily observe that right-wing people are not increasingly favoring free speech then by corollary we can infer this must mean that left-wing people are decreasingly favoring it, if there is indeed a relative shift.

Yes - hoodlums, union thugs, and other mayhem have always been around. It's true that people can forget this and then when they remember it feel like things have suddenly gotten worse. This kind of social blind spot, bred by mass ignorance, can indeed create false impressions of what the past was like. But is it really debatable that things are much harder for right-wing social clubs in universities now compared with 30 years ago?

JoshCrow

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #33 on: March 13, 2016, 02:57:50 PM »
Josh, I may be misreading your article somewhat, but is this an apples to apples comparison. It seems that the comparison group is "Americans" versus Millennials. The more relevant comparison (according to the criteria I set out) would be something like university students in 1980 compared with university students in 2016.
I would be very curious to know what percentage of university attending millennials 30 years ago would have ranked free speech high on their list of values, compared with today.

Fine - challenge accepted. Here's some perspective, written in 2002 but going back to 1980.

From http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/free-speech-on-public-college-campuses

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Beginning in the 1980s, a variety of studies, including one by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching titled “Campus Tensions,” highlighted instances of racial hatred and harassment directed at racial minorities. Over the past two decades the harassment has grown to include gays and lesbians, women and members of other ethnic groups. On several campuses white students have worn blackface for sorority and fraternity parties. On one campus a flier was distributed that warned: “The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Are Watching You.”
 
Many campuses responded to such actions by adopting policies that officially banned such expression and made those found guilty of engaging in it susceptible to punishments ranging from reprimands to expulsion. The idea, of course, was to chill the environment for such expression by punishing various forms of speech based on either content or viewpoint. These codes found strong support from some administrators, faculty and students who were convinced that by controlling speech it would be possible to improve the climate for racial and other minorities. The assumption behind the codes was that limiting harassment on campus would spare the would-be victims of hate speech psychological, emotional and even physical damage. The supporters of such codes also argued that they represented good educational policy, insisting that such bans meant that the learning process on campus would not be disrupted and that the concept of rational discourse, as opposed to hate-inspired invective and epithet, would be enshrined.

It goes on... and Fenring, this gets at what you were saying.

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The Connecticut example, however, raises a far more disquieting issue. The erection of these codes in the late 1980s and the early 1990s was done, at least in part, in response to dogged pressures brought by groups determined to use the authority of the university to eliminate harassment and discrimination while pressing their own causes. As former university president Sheldon Hackney has observed: “n this kind of argument, one is either right or wrong, for them or against them, a winner or a loser. Real answers are the casualties of such drive-by debate. This may be good entertainment, but it … only reinforces lines of division and does not build toward agreement.”
 
As so-called political correctness ignited a nationwide debate about what universities could and should restrict, many liberals found themselves in the awkward position of supporting the very limitations on expression that they had fought against during and after the great McCarthy Red Scare of the 1950s and 1960s, and campuses divided into camps for and against. Moreover, states during these years also adopted bans on speakers, most notably those associated with the Communist Party. Hence, a new and left-wing form of political oppression seemed to be replacing an older, right-wing one, with the same effect: The views and voices of some were curtailed.

My point here is just that this is nothing new in 2016 - not in America, and not in the microcosm of college campuses. All this alarm from people over the 'lack of valuing free speech' is describing a condition that has been present for our entire lifetimes and has not exactly had earth-shattering repercussions in 35 years.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2016, 03:03:06 PM by JoshCrow »

JoshCrow

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #34 on: March 13, 2016, 03:36:03 PM »
Also, bringing this back around to Trump - I would say that it is alarming that something like 20% of his supporters disagree with the Emancipation Proclamation. They were asked "Do you approve or disapprove of the executive order which freed all slaves in states that were in rebellion against the federal government?". 20% of Trumpies said they disapproved!
The same is NOT true of supporters of Rubio and other candidates in each party. There is clearly a major racial animus amidst the Trump support. It's not everyone by far, but it's alarming to see.

http://www.snopes.com/trump-supporters-pro-slavery/

Fenring

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #35 on: March 13, 2016, 03:47:12 PM »
Fine - challenge accepted. Here's some perspective, written in 2002 but going back to 1980.

From http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/free-speech-on-public-college-campuses

Although this wasn't directed at me I'll just point out that this excerpt details a scenario where one group was directly threatening another - most likely with violence - and where many people felt that prohibiting this kind of direct threat being issued by racists shouldn't be allowed. In today-speak this would fall under the category of "duh" and isn't what we're discussing. That was them banning speech which itself was intended to squash speech. In other words, it was a move towards increasing freedom of speech, not limiting it. The fact that to maximize aggregate free speech some kinds of speech (that are designed to prevent free speech) have to be banned is a mechanical necessity and not ideological at all. It's like saying that to prevent violence the police have to utilize violence. Well...yeah, of course they do. It's not a contradiction. Similarly, the move to prevent the KKK threatening people was not at all a move to 'limit speech' in the broad sense.

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As so-called political correctness ignited a nationwide debate about what universities could and should restrict, many liberals found themselves in the awkward position of supporting the very limitations on expression that they had fought against during and after the great McCarthy Red Scare of the 1950s and 1960s, and campuses divided into camps for and against. Moreover, states during these years also adopted bans on speakers, most notably those associated with the Communist Party. Hence, a new and left-wing form of political oppression seemed to be replacing an older, right-wing one, with the same effect: The views and voices of some were curtailed.

I don't believe Jason is saying that the political correctness movement has never existed before, and so your reference to past iterations of it is both quite right and yet beside the point. There was a spike in political correctness in the late 80's-early 90's for sure, and it was met with resistance and frankly never amounted to that much anyhow. It's unclear whether the current trend towards is the very same groups just trying again or is a new movement using similar notions. But the fact of past iterations of this trend spiking upwards doesn't particularly speak to whether there's a notable trend in that direction now. Ok, this isn't the first time in history this has happened; so what? Does that mean it shouldn't be addressed or treated like something noteworthy? I would also note that whatever it is that's happening now, the magnitude of it seems to be greater than it was then.

Just as an analogy, imagine you're looking at the economy and someone says that since 2008 the economy has gone to hell and things are worse now than they were 30 years ago. Sure, you could then reference the big recession of the early 80's and make the argument that having a recession is nothing new and that making a big deal out of the crash of 2008 is just blowing smoke and forgetting history. But when seen in economic terms it immediately becomes obvious that it's silly to point towards a past recession and say that a current one is 'business as usual' and nothing to talk about; especially so when the current one far exceeds the previous one in both magnitude and contextual relevance. This is especially so when the current recession is not merely incidental but rather is tied to endemic realities that are not going to go away. And so the analogy goes for the declining value of free speech.

JoshCrow

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #36 on: March 13, 2016, 06:03:52 PM »

Although this wasn't directed at me I'll just point out that this excerpt details a scenario where one group was directly threatening another - most likely with violence - and where many people felt that prohibiting this kind of direct threat being issued by racists shouldn't be allowed. In today-speak this would fall under the category of "duh" and isn't what we're discussing. That was them banning speech which itself was intended to squash speech.

Blackface and oblique references are not "incitement to violence". On top of that, you are making a slippery argument... "duh" to banning some instances of speech, whereas today you have Trump saying he'll pay legal fees for violent followers of his who rough up protestors and this is somehow fine. In essence, you are making a value judgement on speech - which is exactly what college students are accused of doing now. It doesn't mean, as Jason implies, that free speech is "dead" or whatever other hyperbolic claim you want to make. It means that a group exists that has placed (God forbid) some other value above unrestricted speech. I happen to disagree with that group! But I have disdain for the hyperbole Jason uses and the lamentation that free speech means nothing to these people. It's facile to take an all-or-nothing approach to speech (i.e. you either have free speech or not).


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I would also note that whatever it is that's happening now, the magnitude of it seems to be greater than it was then.

We tend to think our problems are worse than they were in history - but is this really true? How would you find out? Your 2008 recession example is fine and dandy because we have economic data and can objectively say this one was worse than usual. But do you have such data besides anecdote that there is really a more severe problem than usual in this arena? Or is it just a 'feeling'? Perhaps social media has simply made us more aware of things that always existed.

AI Wessex

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #37 on: March 13, 2016, 06:42:59 PM »
Well, I heard on the radio today that back in 1976 Reagan supporters destroyed the convention floor phone at one of the states that was backing Ford so they couldn't communicate with the Ford leadership team.  Back in the 60's Strom Thurmond threatened another Senator and had to be restrained.  That kind of stuff goes all the way back to the first years of the country when Thomas Paine smeared James Madison in order to thwart the ratification of the Constitution and during the 1796 election Adams accused Jefferson of being "the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father" and Jefferson returned the favor by accusing Adams of being a hermaphrodite.  Adams was elected that year and Jefferson became his Vice President because he had the second highest number of votes.  In 1800 they both ran again and Jefferson won (with Burr as his VP).

Gaoics79

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2016, 06:53:50 AM »
Josh, I echo Fenring's point that naked threats (like references to the Klan, a terrorist group) are not really in the same category as what we  have been discussing. But I will concede that blackface is getting at least in the ballpark (alebeit deep in left field). Banning communist speakers is certainly alot closer.

But as Fenring notes, just because we had a recession in the 1980's, doesn't mean the 2008 financial crash wasn't a meaningful (and world altering) event. I never denied that free speech suppression, even on university campuses, existed before.

Do you have evidence that widespread curtailment of political speech on campuses supported by a wide majority of mainstream students was a common occurrence over the past 30 years?

You were in university when I was. You must have noticed some of what I was speaking about? Do you deny that university educated millennials have a lower tolerance for and cultural acceptance of free speech as a value?

JoshCrow

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2016, 09:07:45 AM »
Do you have evidence that widespread curtailment of political speech on campuses supported by a wide majority of mainstream students was a common occurrence over the past 30 years?

I would counter that you don't even have evidence of that NOW, nevermind 30 years ago. What you have are a series of anecdotes culled from a few of the thousands of American universities. A shut down event here, a cancelled talk there. Have you genuinely researched whether these events are more frequent than in the past?

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You were in university when I was. You must have noticed some of what I was speaking about? Do you deny that university educated millennials have a lower tolerance for and cultural acceptance of free speech as a value?

This descends into anecdote, but consider this - I've been at a university since the late 90's and have never left, and apart from what I read on the news I've noticed nothing meaningful in my institutions that suggests anything has changed - except for the fact that there are discussions about 'safe spaces' and the like. Actually I'm signed up to be in a campus discussion of safe spaces and trigger warnings in a few weeks - should be interesting.

Gaoics79

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #40 on: March 14, 2016, 10:11:18 AM »
I am very curious to hear your impressions from that discussion.

Pyrtolin

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #41 on: March 14, 2016, 10:54:26 AM »
What scourge do you suppose is worse than the fact that mainstream millenials (the future leaders of our society) no longer believe in free speech?

Any one that actually and not propaganda designed to get people to ignore what the protestors are trying to communicate. Nothing like blaming people for having the nerve to do what it takes to be able to speak and get their voice to be hard for "silencing" others simple because they're not bowing to authoritarianism and doing what they're told so that you can easily ignore them.

D.W.

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #42 on: March 14, 2016, 10:58:14 AM »
It's just awful that Trump had to cancel an appearance because of security concerns.  Such an occurrence couldn't possibly work to his advantage...   ::)

This move is more artful than him protesting the early debate.  The guy's got some game.

Seriati

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #43 on: March 14, 2016, 11:23:43 AM »
I just want to add one thought, disruption is not a legitimate form of protest.  Political speech is actually intended to be the most protected from of speech we have, and deliberately disrupting a political rally to the point that you prevent it from occurring should be condemned by all parties.  I have no doubt, that nearly everyone supporting the protestors, who are clearly engaged in disruption, not protest, would completely flip their position if it were disruptors at a Bernie convention or disruptors at a "safe space" and that represents a fundamental flaw in your comprehension of what free speech actually means.

Pyrtolin

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #44 on: March 14, 2016, 11:32:26 AM »
THey way Sanders got upset when his rally was disrupted?

Oh wait. He let the protestors have the stage and effectively acknowledged that they had more need of the platform to speak at the time than he did.

And that was in the case of an actual disruption, not a pat after-the-fact manufactured accusation of danger used to capitalize on deciding to cancel an event in order to maximize the free press and outrage. Why try to fight the protest directly when you can bring out legions of people willing to slander them at your behest by simply letting them seem to win in the short term?

JoshCrow

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #45 on: March 14, 2016, 11:43:08 AM »
THey way Sanders got upset when his rally was disrupted?

Oh wait. He let the protestors have the stage and effectively acknowledged that they had more need of the platform to speak at the time than he did.


LOL, that's because he needed their votes and to not upset his own side's base. And I say that as a strong Sanders supporter.

JoshCrow

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #46 on: March 14, 2016, 11:43:58 AM »
I just want to add one thought, disruption is not a legitimate form of protest.  Political speech is actually intended to be the most protected from of speech we have, and deliberately disrupting a political rally to the point that you prevent it from occurring should be condemned by all parties.  I have no doubt, that nearly everyone supporting the protestors, who are clearly engaged in disruption, not protest, would completely flip their position if it were disruptors at a Bernie convention or disruptors at a "safe space" and that represents a fundamental flaw in your comprehension of what free speech actually means.

Seconded for emphasis. Well said.

TheDrake

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #47 on: March 14, 2016, 11:44:35 AM »
Political speech is actually intended to be the most protected from of speech we have, and deliberately disrupting a political rally to the point that you prevent it from occurring should be condemned by all parties. 

How bizarre! Free speech means free from government interference, not "you get to say whatever you want at all times with no interference". When the Klan holds their events, it is perfectly healthy to drown out their hateful words in a non-violent manner. It is abhorrent to think that they should be completely unfettered in their attempt to promulgate hateful ideals.

Does Trump rise to that level? Obviously not. But he is advocating anger and violence, talking about how he'd like to punch people. I don't understand people who want to punch people unless they were first assaulted. The entire idea that you would smack somebody in the mouth because of what they said is alien to me. And for it to be a man looking to be president? Mind-boggling.

JoshCrow

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #48 on: March 14, 2016, 12:13:56 PM »
Does Trump rise to that level? Obviously not.

Your shot down your own point right here. There was no need to continue with what amounts to "I don't like aggressive talk". A single remark from a frustrated candidate is not an excuse to disrupt his political speeches forever. He is not even close to actually advocating violence on the level that his speech should be curtailed.

AI Wessex

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Re: Trump, The Reality Show
« Reply #49 on: March 14, 2016, 12:14:31 PM »
Quote
But he is advocating anger and violence, talking about how he'd like to punch people. I don't understand people who want to punch people unless they were first assaulted.
It's pre-emptive self defense, very hard to carry off, like the crane move in The Karate Kid, but when done right incredibly effective.  I think Trump has all those moves, like canceling a rally and blaming the police when they had told him to go ahead.  As a result, the protesters look evil and the Chicago police, known for their own vicious brutality, look weak.  We need a strong leader who can stand on one leg atop fence post and win while gravely injured in an unprovoked attack!  Drumpf!  Drumpf! Drumpf!