Monday, April 23, 2012

Stephen Fry on being offended, plus Penn & Teller


'It's now very common to hear people say, "I'm rather offended by that", as if that gives them certain rights. It's no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. "I'm offended by that." Well, so fucking what?' —Stephen Fry



Bonus Penn & Teller:




A note for new visitors: I'm not a right-libertarian. My politics are left-libertarian, aka libertarian socialist. I'll always be amazed that since the 1960s, so many leftists have abandoned free speech and so many conservatives have embraced it.

14 comments:

  1. Okay, I used Stephen Fry offence to find this.

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  2. Libertarian-Socialist? Seems contradictory?

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    1. Only because the Libertarian Party has tried to co-opt the word, but the left used it first:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_Socialism

      Basically, right-libertarians want rich people to be able to be robber barons, and left-libertarians want the wealth to be shared. It's essentially King John versus Robin Hood--they both want personal liberty, but they have very different ideas about social responsibility.

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    2. Fuck all the distortions... Libertarianism is about voluntarism. Period.

      Social contract is not something to be enforced by the state. It's a personal choice.

      You can't call yourself a "libertarian-socialist" because, yes, the two terms ARE contradictory. Noam Chomsky is a walking contradiction.

      State force is illegitimate and unethical. The word "liberty" encompasses this philosophy.

      The political spectrum holds that the "right" believes in no government control and the "left" believes in government control.

      Therefore, as I said, it's IMPOSSIBLE to logically claim to be a "left-libertarian". Just stop bullshitting people and call yourself what you really are: A socialist.

      You believe people have a right to steal from others using government as a mafia. Period.

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    3. Dude, to use your style, stop bullshitting and admit you're a totalitarian who wants rich people to do whatever the fuck they please to everyone else. Well, with a few token restrictions. Really, read about the Gilded Age. It was great for tycoons, but it sucked for most folks. The regulations of the 20th century came from real problems, not because people were bored. Some of those regulations are excessive, and some are outdated, but the notion that letting capitalists do what they fuck they please is anything other than robber baronism is kinda silly.

      If you believe in liberty, people can't be economic slaves of the rich.

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    4. Oh, and I am a socialist. For me, "libertarian" is an adjective. An honest person who was a pure libertarian would be an anarchist, which I am not--I like having some laws to protect the majority from people who want to rule us, and right-libertarians like the Libertarian Party like having some laws to protect the rich.

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    5. There's a nice little article about the hypocrisy--or at least, the contradictions--of the Libertarian Party on unions here:

      http://mattbruenig.com/2012/12/06/right-to-work-is-big-government/

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  3. Please don't compare Stehpen Fry's intelligence and wit to Penn And teller...

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  4. Oh, hello, you're the nice kind of libertarian. You must get really bored of people telling you that doesn't make any sense. He's me not saying that:

    Van Parijs might be wrong, but left-libertarianism is not contradictory. By contrast, Nozick's 'Anarchy, State, Utopia' is mere assertion. It's the worst piece of political theory I have ever read, unless you count far-right tracts. Right libertarians *say* that they care about freedom from (all) constraint, which is absurd. They simply privilege certain constraints. Van Parijs nails it when he calls Nozick a 'rights fetishist'.

    (Guess what I'm studying.)

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  5. Um. Fry is right that "offence" is not enough to make something objectionable, but some people have a good nose: they can find something is really offensive, but cannot articulate why. Fry privileges the ability to articulate over the emotional reaction. I think the emotional reaction has value- else, why have emotions at all?

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    1. I like to think that what offends me is objective and what offends others is subjective. :)

      I think any time anyone takes offense, they should ask whether they might've misunderstood. It's true some people have a good nose, but all too often, people who are proud of their noses are simply wrong. Some of the worst readers I know are very intelligent people who believe that because they're intelligent, their interpretations of what they've read are always accurate. This includes professional editors and writers. No one's infallible. Alas, not even me.

      I don't mean to denigrate emotions, but sometimes, people have emotional reactions that cannot be justified. See, for example, people who get upset by "niggardly". They're connecting a series of dots that do not exist.

      All that said, I do think people should try to be polite. But being polite includes trying to keep from taking offense.

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