Not very many people are very good at this. Which is unfortunate.
TL;DR When you get all worked up over the way people are talking, you have allowed them to seize control of the debate and have generally lost the opportunity to change that particular mind.
Eventually, it got to the point where his acquaintances and coworkers would refuse to answer even simple questions of his, out of fear that he'd follow up with more questions that would prove them to be incompetent or illogical.
He later changed his methods to something you might read about in a book like How to Win Friends and Influence People. Rather than leading people to see the logical error of their ways, he moved toward displaying much more diffidence, which allowed others to save face when changing their opinions. Phrases like "certainly X" and "undoubtedly Y" became "If I'm not mistaken, X" and "I imagine that Y."
That change worked out well for him throughout the course of his career in winning many rich and powerful people (along with ordinary citizens, of which he was one) to his side on various controversial issues of the day.
Another benefit was that he opened himself up to helpful suggestions and feedback as well. Most people abhor argumentation, and will allow overly-confident people to persist in whatever mistaken beliefs they hold. But when you display humility, others feel safer telling you what they think of your ideas.
E.g., the bad way to do it:
Person A: "We should do X!"
Franklin: "You are wrong. We should do Y!"
E.g., the better way to do it:
Franklin: "You are, of course, right that X would work if P and Q were the case, but here R is the situation. Don't you then agree that Y would work better here?"
This way, your "opponent" gets to preserve the feeling of being right, or at least avoids the defensiveness that follows being told you're wrong.
No doubt this is an effective technique, you just have to be able to release your own ego and also not directly challenge that of the other person.
All public differences of opinion involve ego, status and other emotional states. It's a case of finding a way to lessen their effect on all parties (oneself included).
This anecdote is actually mentioned in HtWFaIP! About halfway through, in the chapter "A Sure Way Of Making Enemies - And How To Avoid It". (I was reading it this morning - underrated book)
I will however join the recommendation as well :)
Getting people worked up is a very potent political strategy –– and it is very effective at defusing the power of the other side. You're absolutely right that it allows the other side to seize control of the debate. I really wish more people would respond to craziness with calm compassion; our political world would be VERY different.
Unrelatedly, in a group, the returns to signaling that you dislike the hated outsider are much higher, as are the costs that come with treating hated outsiders like neutral people. See also: Twitter dynamics.
Ill give you an example of something I've done recently on reddit during the burka-ban-debates of my country.
Our government shouldn't tell women what to wear.
I'm not a fan of burkas or of cultures that force women to wear specific clothing, however, I don't think it's fitting for our democracy to dictate what kind of clothing women are allowed to wear. In fact in doing so, I feel we are giving up basic rights, and becoming more like the cultures we are trying to fight.
Example 1 got 10+ downvotes, example 2 got 50+ upvotes, despite the two examples making the same core point.
Example two is a motivated personal opinion. Most people not completely void of rationality can see that others might have different opinions and tastes. Most will still argue, but hopefully without knee-jerk drama.
As someone who considers themselves a-political, I tend to be more adverse to knee-jerk statements than actual honest opinions anywhere on the spectrum, so I fully agree with openness and embracing, "all-inclusive" communication if you'd hope to get anywhere.
Sadly enough dumb emotion and drama seem to beat rationality most of the time these days.
See also: Troll hugging http://pugs.blogs.com/audrey/2009/08/my-hobby-troll-hugging....
It’s amazing that the old political guard still haven’t got this. Look at Spain today. What do you think would work better - hitting them with rubber bullets and batons or something more loving like sending people down to make it “Hug a Spaniard” day and making the Catalan people feel closer to their fellow countrymen?
Some people say it was counterproductive but the proof is in the pudding I guess.
What're they going to do when Catalan goes underground and high tech with their voting?
If they're not being sincere then they're doing it wrong.
"We typically seek first to be understood. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. They're either speaking or preparing to speak. They're filtering everything through their own paradigms, reading their autobiography into other people's lives." - Stephen R. Covey
I'm buying Daryl's book.
The apartheid government ultimately was a creature of greed masquerading behind an ideology. It enabled a part of the population to loot the wealth of South Africa for its own gain, using others as a pool of cheap labour. It deliberately, as a matter of state policy, gave blacks an inferior education, so they could be “hewers of wood and drawers of water”. Yet it was always open to dialogue, as long as that dialogue enabled it to survive on its own terms.
The apartheid government did finally capitulate, but only after it realised that it was utterly alone and isolated and almost universally reviled, and the collapse of world communism meant that it wouldn’t be shielded by its erstwhile allies. FW De Klerk, the then leader of South Africa, boldly ended apartheid, but has tended to equivocate about its evil. And many white South Africans remain somewhat ambiguous, at best, about the evil it wrought. Would white South Africans have eventually seen the light if they weren’t isolated and treated as pariahs for much of the 1970’s and 80’s? I expect not.
Although I can admire the subject of this article for trying to reach out to individual racists, care needs to be taken to not read too much into his message. Evil ideologies still need to be condemned, unequivocally, since they crave legitimacy, and are often not just “idealistic but misguided concepts in the marketplace of ideas” but well thought out mechanisms for the exploitation and oppression of others.
The LGBTQ rights movement shows us the same thing. Look at how politicians who used to advocate discrimination modified their stance when family members came out to them. It didn't stop institutions from discriminating against LGTBQ rights directly, but enough brothers, mothers, sisters, sons, best friends, etc. coming out on a one-on-one basis eventually took the wind out of some of the institutional discrimination.
The idea that a group of people are less than human because of a particular characteristic is what enables this kind of institutionalized hatred. However, if we open enough one-on-one respectful dialogs across the lines that propose to divide us, the institutions that support those divisions will lose their support and melt away.
There is a long way to go. Racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. are rampant not just in the western world, but globally, and institutions reinforce these boundaries daily. However, with enough mature dialog by individuals, we can wear down hatred with respect.
One thing though, I recommend everyone interested in this topic to watch the documentary about D. Davis on Netflix: Accidental Courtesy. It shows other (AFAIK failed) dialogs with other extremist groups, particularly a Neo-Nazi as well as rather extremist members of the BLM movement. Other examples, particularly Jews befriending Neo-Nazis, seem to show a pattern: You really have to be a member of the centrally hated target to be able to convince members of such extremist groups. Almost like how antidotes work - a black person can be the antidote to KKK while Jews can be that for Neo-Nazis. Maybe BLM members need to talk with white policemen and vice versa?
I'm thinking, as long as it's not someone whose group you really hate, there's always a central pillar left that keeps your belief system up. "Oh well, I guess black people can be pretty smart, but still, those Jews are what's the real danger to society, so I'd better stick to the plan."
I think this is a very important point that a lot of people don't quite get.
For example, I am a pacificist. When I tell this to people, they sometimes assume I would stand aside and do nothing if a loved one was threatened with violence.
In fact, the opposite is true: I would act aggressively and assertively (or I hope I would).
Pacifist != Passive
Acting with compassion for those who hate you does not disarm your ability to aggressively support and defend your rights. Really, in such a case, one should strive to be increasingly effective.
The author of this article found a point of leverage that was effective in achieving his goals. I don't think I'd call what he was doing "dialogue," even though talking was part of it.
It sounds as if people are confused because you are using the word pacifist incorrectly. Pacifism means that you believe violence is never the answer. Look at a list of definitions:
Pacifism: the belief that any violence, including war, is unjustifiable under any circumstances, and that all disputes should be settled by peaceful means.
Pacifism: opposition to war or violence as a means of settling disputes
Pacifism: an attitude or policy of nonresistance
Pacifism: opposition to war or violence of any kind
Your position may be reasonable, but it isn't pacifism.
This seems like an own-goal, as the popular perception of pacifism is just that: never using violence. I recommend not using the term on yourself, as it paints the wrong picture in people's minds. If you define pacifism as "only using violence in defense of self or loved ones", then that's totally compatible with getting a concealed carry permit and carrying a gun in public– not exactly most people's idea of pacifism.
I never defined pacifism that way. It seems you are falling exactly into the trap I talked about. There are always options other than violence. They are not always good options, but neither is violence.
Aggressive and assertive action is not the same as violence.
Three times in my life, people have tried to kill me. Sometimes you can't escape. Sometimes you can't negotiate. And you can't count on others to arrive in time and use violence to save you. Sometimes, the choice is simple: fight or die. Do you disagree with this statement? If not, do you think the right thing to do in those situations is to die?
Exactly. It's like using the feather as a replacement to the sword, figuratively speaking. It's essentially brainwashing people, but in a positive sense of the word, i.e. washing out tribal thoughts that are cancerous to a wider open society.
A lot of people involved with South Africa are ambiguous about that. The white government and people made the country much richer than it's surrounding black governed countries and the problem at the borders were always stopping too many africans moving from the surrounding countries to SA rather than visa versa. I had a coloured girlfriend from Jo'berg for a while and she was ambiguous too - no love for apartheid but no desire to live in one of the black governed counties either.
I think you’ll find that South Africa’s enormous mineral wealth did much of that. And until the 1960’s or later, the surrounding countries were also white governed. If anything, the money wasted by segregation and the deliberate suppression of human potential held the country back, and is the cause of many of the problems it faces today.
I had a coloured girlfriend from Jo'berg for a while and she was ambiguous too - no love for apartheid but no desire to live in one of the black governed counties either.
As I alluded to in GP, many mixed-race (“Coloured”), and Indian people were co-opted by the apartheid system, and indoctrinated to feel superior to black Africans, and inferior to whites, as a part of a well-executed divide-and-conquer programme. It isn’t surprising that a visceral fear of blacks is pretty pervasive in many, considering how much effort was explicitly put into making them feel that way.
 It was logically inconsistent that many racists claimed that blacks were naturally inferior, yet simultaneously sought to deprive them of opportunities to succeed or fail on a meritocratic basis. One wonders if they really believed their own propaganda.
I never thought this argument rang true. Many countries with great mineral wealth are quite poor and dysfunctional, and many with little such resources are wealthy and successful anyways.
I don't agree with the apartheid racial theories, but it does seem plausible that the white side inherited and followed a successful and long-established culture of good governance (well, at least good for themselves...). Meanwhile, the transitions out was abrupt enough that the culture of the government was removed and replaced with a different culture that was less experienced with government.
I suppose in an ideal world, a gradual transition which gave plenty of time for the majority blacks to absorb the same government culture would work better. I know that isn't so easy to do in an environment where there has been such strong discrimination and racism for decades, though. And there's quite a bit of truth to the argument that it's easy for the side that's on top to want their transition out of always being on top to be slower.
Agreed. I was replying to a point about South Africa being richer than its “black governed” neighbours. In fact, all shared a similar colonial history and achieved independence within a similar time period, and they were, in fact, all white ruled till relatively recently. The difference between them was the vast mineral wealth in South Africa. Ignoring this would be the same as comparing, say, Yemen and Qatar, wondering why the one is poor and the other is extremely wealthy, and deciding that Qatar’s success comes down to it being a Sheikhdom.
The transition to democracy probably did happen more suddenly than planned, because the assasination of Chris Hani by a right-wing extremist in 1993 brought South Africa to the brink of civil war, and the apartheid government pretty much lost control at that point.
And the problem with the civil service was even more pernicious than inexperience-there were multiple Bantustans that were deeply corrupt, and their civil services had to be integrated into the newly created provinces bringing the rot with them. Coupled with the ultimately self-destructive apartheid Bantu Education system, it’s no wonder that the government struggled to cope.
I strongly suspect the moral accounting does not favour your position in the long term, the same argument is expressed here but in the abstract since this is of course an emotive subject.
Are they really?
Access to water, sanitation, electricity and housing are far better than they were under apartheid. The AIDS epidemic which started in the last years of apartheid has been tamed through decisive government action. Despite a stubbornly high unemployment rate, blacks have made major economic strides. The macroeconomic situation is more stable than it was in the last years of apartheid. Even crime, as measured by the murder rate, has actually dropped.
And the apartheid government was hardly a paragon of competent economic management, running up massive debts to keep itself going, and to wage war on its neighbours and oppress its black population.
There are serious issues: education (a legacy of terribly educated teachers perpetuating their ignorance) and public healthcare are awful, and high level corruption represents a risk to the economy, but the idea that the apartheid government ruled benevolently is pretty much discredited everywhere except the darkest corners of the internet.
PS. The biggest difference between the apartheid era and the democratic one was just that: in 2016, during local elections the ruling ANC was kicked out of power by voters in some of the largest cities in South Africa. It went quietly and respected the will of the people, with no squads of secret police murdering opponents of the ruling party. Could you have said the same about the apartheid government?
It's bad enough this is an emotive political subject, but it's also a complex one.
If I can continue to harp on my 'dust mote' fable. The life expectancy was 64 under the previous regime, and is 56 in the current one.
Some back of the envelope arithmetic.
8 years x 40 million = 320000000 person years.
Let us call that, assuming the higher life expectancy: five million dead.
That's the cost of bad government. Silent. Insidious. Real.
Now it's complex, because you'll say: "It couldn't be helped, we don't really know if the previous regime would have done better", and I'll agree with you. Then it becomes subjective because nobody can really know the answer and it's impossible to test.
I strongly suspect improper rule has led to at least several million avoidable deaths.
As I see it, if a government does 99/100 things right, but 1/100 things wrong, and those 1/100 things have a greater impact than the other 99... I think you see what I'm getting at. Good intentions, some gains morally, it's all kind of worthless if the big things aren't got right. To use a Comp Sci analogy, governments have their own version of Big O notation.
I suspect that your "dust mote" analogy holds, but in the opposite direction to the one you assume: the quality of life has gotten materially better for the vast majority of people (coming off a low base), but worse, or stagnated for those of us SA'ns well-off enough to frequent HN.
I suspect that when a government is unable to scale its ability to govern, the statistics become dopey.
This doesn't imply a conspiracy necessarily. It could be for instance that if people stop reporting crime, that either the crimes are not occurring or that people's faith in the government to provide effective policing is undermined.
This makes a government's statistic's office an unreliable narrator even if every person is not corrupted and competant at their job.
Semi-related: I feel a faint thrill of unease at this reasoning because of the broader notion - that any society going into reverse wouldn't be sensible to what was happening: things would just gradually get weirder. Nobody would know why. A society suffering from Alzheimer's disease. It would just get worse with the ability of society to possess executive function dropping off at a similar rate to the ability to physically function. Eventually people would be looking upon the ruin wondering what the fuck happened.
Although no expert on SA's economic infrastructure I do know one thing which is at odds with your portrayal. Escom is the almost exclusive provider of electric power, still owned by the SA state IIRC. It has not added any electrical generation capacity to the grid since Apartheid. Their facilities are also badly run down.
How can you claim then, that more South Africans have access to electricity? Were white people hoarding all the electricity and now it is more evenly distributed? It seems more likely that more people would have obtained access in name only.
> quality of life has gotten materially better for the vast majority of people (coming off a low base), but worse, or stagnated for those of us SA'ns well-off enough to frequent HN.
I concede it is possible I have obtained a biased version of reality from those South Africans capable of net access.
I'd suspect though that most right wing South Africans would have left 20 years ago, so the people left in SA must be the more Liberal and Left of center portion of the population, or those unable to leave. If this is true, and we believe that political character is mostly hereditary (I do), then the bias may lie in the opposite direction.
That most media sources bias would be in that same direction nearly goes without saying. Western media trumpeted a great victory after Apartheid after all.
For what criteria would you concede being mistaken? Mine is simple: if South Africa experiences significant increases in real wages and life expectancy goes up, then it is successful.
I put to you that since AIDs should be fatal to those without access to expensive drugs, and infant mortality likely is dropping as you said you should expect an uptick in life expectancy over the next few decades.
Were that not to occur, then something is wrong.
I know some people believe the tentacles of the former regime have gotten stronger over time but this seems conspiratorial to me and I've never heard a fleshed out explanation for why that ought to be so.
The murder rate is used as a proxy for the overall crime rate, precisely because murders are more likely to be reported (plenty of citiations available for this). And the murder rate has dropped since the end of apartheid.
It is well known that the apartheid government overinvested in generation capacity in the 1980s and a lot of capacity had to be mothballed. Of course, the opportunity cost caused by this failure of central planning is less visible than the later failure by the post-apartheid government to provide for expanded capacity. Furthermore, electricity-hungry aluminium smelters were built to soak up excess generation capacity. So yes, in a sense, it was hoarded by the apartheid government.
I wonder how electricity access can be provided “in name only”. It would suggest a vast conspiracy that an ostensibly incompetent government would be hard-pressed to execute.
if South Africa experiences significant increases in real wages and life expectancy goes up, then it is successful.
Life expectancy is ticking up already.(http://www.mrc.ac.za/Media/2015/1press2015.htm)
>According to this Rapid Mortality Surveillance Report 2013, issued by the council’s Burden of Disease Research Unit, South Africa’s life expectancy has escalated to 62 years in 2013 – a staggering increase of 8.5 years since the low in 2005.
Also real wage growth has been “rapid” in post-apartheid South Africa. (https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WP/Issues/2016/12/31/Rea...)
I'd suspect though that most right wing South Africans would have left 20 years ago, so the people left in SA must be the more Liberal and Left of center portion of the population, or those unable to leave
This is an interesting point, and a bit of a sidetrack, but my experience with adult SAn emigrants indicates that they tend to be in a bit of a time warp, reflecting contemporary attitudes at the time of their departure. I expect that many were pretty much centrist or even somewhat liberal at the time of their departure, but white South African society has shifted towards a less racist position while many expats are insulated from this, and thus appear to unreconstructed apartheid apologists today.
I am confused by this sentence. At least, in Europe and US, it was the right-wing parties that supported South Africa's apartheid regime. In Sweden, it had the staunch support by the right-wing Moderate Party led by no other than Carl Bildt. And here's more on the US-ZA ties: http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/07/19/apartheid-amnesia/
The world decided that apartheid was immoral, and gave it no quarter.
As for your question if white South Africans would have seen the light is an interesting question. Certainly the international isolation added to the pressure to change, but Apartheid would have collapsed anyway as demographics doomed it. A good example is Algeria where French rule was always doomed given the demographics on the ground.
The wrong lesson from this would be "being nice to racists" is somehow a meaningfully important aspect of his approach. He didn't bake them cookies and expect their racism to melt away. He showed them respect and didn't preach or moralize to them. In fact, he didn't seem to directly confront the poisonous beliefs at all.
His approach was the same as that of the most effective leaders.
So many social groups start from the premise of zero respect for those with whom they disagree. Which is great for feeling superior to others, but not for actually making a positive impact on the world around you.
Well being respectful was probably a necessary, if not sufficient part of his approach. I certainly don't think it would have gone over similarly if he had screamed hysterically in his face or hit him with a socked padlock or something...
Violence happens only when talking has stopped.
The same was true for Megan Phelps-Roper, a former member of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church. She explained in a TED talk that ultimately after being treated with respect by the people she hated, she could not reconcile her hatred of them with those experiences.
"Sometimes the conversation even bled into real life. People I'd sparred with on Twitter would come out to the picket line to see me when I protested in their city. A man named David was one such person. He ran a blog called "Jewlicious," and after several months of heated but friendly arguments online, he came out to see me at a picket in New Orleans. He brought me a Middle Eastern dessert from Jerusalem, where he lives, and I brought him kosher chocolate and held a "God hates Jews" sign."
"It took time, but eventually these conversations planted seeds of doubt in me. My friends on Twitter took the time to understand Westboro's doctrines, and in doing so, they were able to find inconsistencies I'd missed my entire life. Why did we advocate the death penalty for gays when Jesus said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone?" How could we claim to love our neighbor while at the same time praying for God to destroy them? The truth is that the care shown to me by these strangers on the internet was itself a contradiction. It was growing evidence that people on the other side were not the demons I'd been led to believe."
I don't normally like TED talks but hers was pretty interesting.
But we know:
Even hate against that which is low
Disfigures the face.
Even anger over injustice
Makes the voice coarse. Oh, we
Who wanted to prepare the soil for friendliness
Were unable to be friendly ourselves.
-- Bertolt Brecht
The people posting there aren't evil. They're scared. Read "The destruction of white America from the perspective of a rural white man." His town and life were ruined when the factories closed, unable to compete with cheap imports. "The small town that I grew up in would be radically altered and I would experience much change in my personal life as a result of these globalist policies. The company for which my mother worked would move south of the border to Mexico. The company for which my father worked would see its doors close permanently. My reasonably prosperous family in rural America would eventually fall into destitution and dissolve. My parents would split up (in part due to these financial struggles) and I would move in with my grandmother."
This is how Trump was elected.
I can see the impetus for anti-globalism there, but it baffles me when, for example, people use "all the jobs went to Mexico" as a justification to hate Mexicans. Wouldn't it make more sense to hate the white American managers and bureaucrats who decided to move the factories?
I see the same thing in housing protests. Gentrification sucks, but why blame yuppies just looking for a decent home rather than the landlords who are actually raising the rent?
Because they're gladly paying a higher rent because they personally can afford it. That's what makes raising rents (to an unreasonable degree) possible. I think it's fine for rich people to want to move into "cool" neighborhoods, just have some solidarity and tact. There's plenty of ways to spend money, and the richer you are the better you'll be able to cope to have an okay flat for a normal rent, instead of accepting something that was half-heartedly modernized just to raise rent a lot.
> rather than the landlords who are actually raising the rent?
You can can only blame the party paying the rent for paying the rent, and only the party trying to raise the rent for trying to raise the rent. Can you show me anyone holding greedy landlords blameless while blaming the yuppies for enabling them? You said you "see" this thing, after all. Where?
One can be both evil and scared.
You can always argue we're all what circumstances make us. You, me, MLK, Mother Theresa, that ISIS fighter and 9/11 hijackers. However, some people end up in the ranks of evil, while others, even facing enormous adversity in their lives, don't. So we can pick onto finer ontological distinctions, or agree to more crude yet practically significant behaviouristic description.
And for certain things, saying 'morally wrong' is downplaying it. It puts casino cheaters and Auswitz guards into the same conceptual spot.
Not with a well-defined meaning. Go ahead and try to nail down a specific definition of evil that includes only "heinous" moral crimes while excluding "non-heinous" transgressions. I guarantee I'll be able to drive 15 trucks through the holes in your definition.
And without a rigourous definition, people are way too cavalier in labeling others "evil", which is simply not conducive to progress.
> And for certain things, saying 'morally wrong' is downplaying it. It puts casino cheaters and Auswitz guards into the same conceptual spot.
No more than the word "fall" places sky diving and tripping into the same conceptual spot. The differences in degree aren't so nuanced that people will struggle to grasp them.
Of course you'll say that it doesn't count for whatever reason. But try to flip perspectives for a minute and understand that to the man in the quotation, he feels like an American aboriginal watching whites disembark by the thousands from ships stretching to the horizon.
He's watching his whole way of life and his family be permanently annihilated by foreigners who hate him (and this includes both rich white liberals and immigrants). There's a good chance you are such a foreigner who hates him, too; that you'd really like to see his culture and religion and social structure destroyed. "Real 'Murican"-hating is a funny pastime to American liberals who will happily shout about the evils of Christianity and how it should be erased, to anyone who will listen.
These situations are far more symmetrical that almost anyone is willing to understand.
The KKK is, however, 100% wrong to think that their violence is justified by imaginary oppression of white people.
>Of course you'll say that it doesn't count for whatever reason.
It doesn't count for the very simple and very obvious reason that colonialism was based on an ideology of white supremacy, whereas anti-colonialism was not based on an ideology of black/brown supremacy. In other words, the British thought that their superiority to the Indians entitled them to run India. The Indians didn't think that their superiority to the British entitled them to run Britain.
I found the SSC article 'You Are Still Crying Wolf' particularly good reading on this topic .
 - http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/11/16/you-are-still-crying-wo...
Now there's a name I haven't heard in a very long time...
Hints: to discuss what's interesting, read the article and respond to what's specific about it. To avoid flamewar, if your comment could just as easily be posted to any thread about race, and especially if you're posting to smite enemies rather than learn new things together, stop and read https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html instead.
The irony being that sometimes people opposing that theory are to be found at the bottom of the threat, flagged and dead. But I'm assuming that to be the work of people agreeing with them, trying to empower them.
Meanwhile, a writer as mainstream as Ta-Nehisi Coates (https://www.theatlantic.com/author/ta-nehisi-coates/) can write all the #1 bestsellers he likes on the subject, but is considered to be "flamebait" here.
Perceptions of "the opinion the HN community holds" are in the eye of the beholder. If you don't believe me, take a look at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15307915 and https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15032682 and plenty more at https://hn.algolia.com/?query=13110004&sort=byDate&prefix&pa....
People see X they don't like and conclude that "the community endorses X". Advanced version: "the moderators endorse X". In fact this is not how HN works—the opposite of X is here too, it just doesn't get noticed the same way. Since X varies with the observer, this isn't specific to any political view.
You wrote your comment in the combative style that is popular on the internet. From past exchanges, I'm pretty sure you have HN's best interests at heart as well as wanting there to be more good in the world. No argument there! The trouble with the combative style is not that the community (or moderators) disagree with the content ideologically. It's that in this style one comes out swinging and assumes bad faith. That's bad for good conversation, which is really all we're hoping for.
Ideological combat insta-sorts the world into enemies vs. fellows and goes to war against the former. Indeed that's all it does—it's always on a war footing, and we can know how it has been taking over online. We're (hopelessly?) hoping to avoid that on HN. Is that because we hold regressive views about race or are milquetoast centrists? No, it's because we'd like to have an internet forum that isn't stupid, which is what scorched earth leads to.
HN's goal is to be interesting, which means being unpredictable, which means not saying the same things over and over. Ideological battle has a different goal and requires saying the same things over and over. That is why the two are incompatible; it's not because HN promotes ideology not-X where you favor X.
I'm sure we could do better and if you know how, I'd love to learn. But we need to agree that HN's goal is to gratify intellectual curiosity . I think it's fair for there to be different forums that optimize for different goals, don't you? That's this one's.
2. https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html, https://news.ycombinator.com/newswelcome.html
I have yet to witness a person who was shouted down and denounced say "gee, that sure changed my mind about the issues". People don't work that way.
I think Daryl Davis' achievement is changing the opinions of people who are surrounded by supporters. That's much trickier, and killing-with-kindness seems like the likeliest approach there.
An alternative phrasing of your comment, which would conform to the HN norms you describe of measured debate, might go...
> This article takes the stance that it is effective to engage even the most vile theories in measured debate. This seems to be an HN norm as well. I actually disagree with that in special cases like racism. Here are some reasons why...
> I'm also concerned that other articles, like this[link] by award-winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates, got flagged. (elaboration...)
This breaks the site guidelines, which say:
Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize.
Would you mind (re-)reading and following them when commenting here?
I hope the new version of the comment is in line with expectations.
Thanks for your thoughtful moderation!
I have had absolutely no progress with this when talking about homophobia, racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, or anti-immigrant biases. I'm a straight white male with no Jewish heritage in sight and an nth generation German-Irish American. I've tried, in earnest, to apply the same "killing them with kindness" philosophy to folks to people who hold abhorrent views towards groups that aren't like me, and it's failed miserably. The cop-out from the other party is that being liberal, I'm brainwashed or following my mainstream media marching orders or something to that effect. That my impression and my testimony that black people aren't lazy, that women are not less capable managers and programmers, et cetera., is irrelevant to the person I'm arguing with. I'm not black/Latino, I'm not a woman, I'm not able to demonstrate those things in a way that is convincing.
This is deeply disconcerting to me, because it seems allyship helps in some cases (LGBT movement) but from testimony I've heard at conferences, the best way to change a homophobic or transphobic person's mind is to first, be their friend or family member, and second, come out as LGBT. The monumental success of acceptance of the LGBT movement seems to be almost entirely from encouraging people to come out to their friends and family members. Without downplaying it too much, I think that the language of allyship is primarily helpful at convincing people in power that they can be part of that movement, but it wasn't useful in changing people's minds.
My question to Hacker News is: why should the burden be on me, someone who is opposed to the KKK and the resurgent white nationalism in this country, to befriend people? And is there any evidence (or personal testimony from other commenters) that this sort of thing works when not part of the targeted minority?
Because I am exhausted. Again, I want to reiterate: "killing with kindness" was tremendously successful for me when I was dealing with people that didn't like some group identity I shared: liberalism, secularism. But it utterly fails when I try to talk to say, a racist friend of a family member who calls Colin Kaepernick "caperdink" and Barack Obama "obummer". Kindness doesn't seem to work when as a white man, they expect me to be kind.
I know this is not a popular opinion here amongst most HNers and probably not for you, but you can't change a majority of people. Some people will never agree with you, despite your best efforts. Nonetheless, you just need to shave off a sufficient amount to win politically and in terms of policy. People forget Trump's win was a marginal one, a couple of thousand across a handful of states. In many ways, his victory was just that, convincing a handful to vote for him, while a large number of people on the left were suppressed for various reasons.
Why do you feel like other people hate you or your "kind"?
I'd argue its because they hold some pre-existing assumptions about you.
Do you not feel like giving up on these "haters" is because you've got a pre-existing assumption about them? Specifically that more-or-less they are the type of people who will always hate?
Their assumptions cause them to not want you around them. Your assumptions cause you to not want to be around them. Aren't those both identical? Aren't they both negative beliefs?
You might not be able to change anyone else mind, but you are the only person who can change yours. It is definitely more taxing, and I may be wrong, but isn't it energy well spent, to hold onto a positive belief over a negative one?
In the aggregate, stereotypes, negative towards me and positive towards themselves. Essentially what you say in your next sentence, although I'd argue there are unfairly positive stereotypes for themselves too that place them in a better place than others. Might be like the "positive self-illusions" most healthy people have on a personal level.
>Do you not feel like giving up on these "haters" is because you've got a pre-existing assumption about them? Specifically that more-or-less they are the type of people who will always hate?
The difference here is I don't condemn a particular group of people or adherents to an ideology or set of nationals, all people are sticky in their pre-conceived notions. This has been demonstrated by psychological research, and I've run into this issue with all people I've met in my life, and surprise, not just over politics, but over all issues: choice of editor, choice of psuedocolor colormap, choice of programming language, etc. The sooner in life in general you stop trying to "save" people, the happier you become.
The subtext here I feel is that you are arguing racial stereotypes are in the same category as research approved by psychologists, but this is such a category error; it's like saying a page and a book are the same because they both have words. A racial stereotype is much lazier than one that is born through statistics, for example.
Secondly, it sounds like you are trying really hard to convince them, and failing. The man in the article was not trying to convince at all at first, but rather to understand. Oddly enough, working hard to understand someone else is one of the first steps to their allowing themselves room to understand your views.
I have family like that too, and the only thing to do is be very clear you have zero tolerance for any kind of racism. Even the small kinds. You can still be kind to them once they understand that, though. I still have these debates with some of my closest family members.
The trick is not to let it get wrapped up in politics. I have an uncle who is deeply anti-liberal and who thinks I am a liberal. He's always trying to bait me into a political discussion and I just don't respond to that.
The majority of my family are simply unrepentantly biased and have no desire to change.
I don't think expressing zero tolerance for it helps, in my experience. The thing that I do is simply express my opinion on the matter, rather than my judgement of their opinion. Nobody will listen when you attempt to criticize their opinion, but they will hear you if you provide a contrasting example.
Take the example of my Aunt, who used to say "jew them down" or "got gypped" routinely.
I don't think she's antisemitic or racist per se, but man, when I said "You know, it's funny, most of the Jewish people I know are very generous and kind, they don't usually like to haggle over prices", she stopped and thought for a while, and asked me about them.
She simply doesn't know any Jewish or Romani people, so had never thought about those turns of phrase or what they implied.
I find that the plain truth is that older generations in general don't really listen to young'uns anyway, so it's not a question of how to change them, but how to make it exceptionally clear to them what my stance is, because at least then they'll know that I can't be pressured to change. Once I've done that, I'm happy going on with life and never bringing it up again.
Unless you're involved in a personal situation where a third person - friend or family - is being a victim of hate, I wouldn't beat yourself up over your inability to do more.
I think you're making a sort of Bayesian argument for racism, and I can see how consumption of a particularly odious media diet could cause that. But I don't buy the idea that it's rational to hold racist views toward, say, Barack Obama and call him names.
Why is it that you don't take Kaepernick at his word about what he's protesting?
This article shows the classical liberal values of discussion and dialogue are so important to making progress.
Having grown up in the south, it is indeed a powerful and necessary story.
Values which are disappearing on the "left".
I recently lost a friend (extreme lefty) for saying that Trump was elected because of the socio-economic situation of poor white voters in the US. He just railed on about how I was racist for daring to say that the Trump phenomenon is anything more than Americans being a bunch of Klansmen...
Oh well, when discussion is lost, you wind up with things like Brexit, nationalism rising in Europe (look at how the election in Catalonia is going today), etc..., when those people whose opinions you previously ignored decide they've had enough.
Edit - deleted the first edit.
While it is comforting to come up with a narrative which explains complex events in one neat moral parable about neglecting your own poor or extremism shutting down debate (insert personal bugbear here), it’s not helpful. Perhaps that’s what your erstwhile friend objected to.
Once again, if you ignore the root causes, you'll always get results like Brexit. Exiting the EU won't curb immigration from Pakistan, India, etc..., but it will stop workers coming from poorer EU countries (Poland, Romania, etc...
BTW these countries aren't Muslim. Brexit does nothing to limit Muslim immigrants).
We are certainly seeing the results of upheaval and change leading to widespread malaise, unrest, rising nationalism and xenophobia, and I fear leading to another world war, for war is the logical endpoint of blaming foreigners, competitive devaluation and beggar thy neighbor economics.
I would urge you to study the demographics of voters in the referendum though, they were very mixed, the only clear split was urban (lots of immigration) pro-eu vs suburban/rural pro-exit. I’d strongly dispute that Brexit was some sort of rational revolt of the working class (who mostly live in cities) against an invasion of polish plumbers as you describe.
Like America First it will not end well, and certainly won’t help structural problems in the economy or dying industries. That’s a matter of National govs disgracefully neglecting their population, and as we’ll see, nothing to do with immigration.
Keep in mind I did a degree in economics, so I studied things like this for thousands of hours...
That being said, it's a pretty basic concept that increasing the labour pool will contract wages, especially in the short run. Long term effects are generally positive, but it can take a generation or two, and for those people who are affected by the negative consequences, it's not always of much solace.
First off an increase in the labor pool inherently depresses wages only if demand remains the same which would only be true if the new members of the labor pool didn't you know buy things. This fallacy is so common its called the single lump of labor fallacy. It may be true that they increase the pool of low wage workers and displace people that are only marginally worth employing but I digress.
You yourself admit that long term effects of immigration are positive just that it takes a while. This is a failure of analysis. Its a failure to consider the whole system in motion instead of at a single point in time.
By your own argument we are constantly both paying the dues to integrate new citizens and reaping the benefits of past waves of immigration. It seems at best short sighted to stop paying current dues and thereby forfeit future benefits.
When you suggest you consider the people that are negatively effected by immigration let us be clear. Minimum wage doesn't let you depress wages beyond a clear line so what we are actually arguing for is to forgo future leaders, future doctors, future engineers so that fewer McDonalds workers will be unemployed new instead of in 5 to 10 years when machines replace them.
THIS. Grew up in the midwest, could've told the coastal liberals that their nonstop (and unnecessary) attacks on everything even slightly valued by the flyover states was going to cost them someday. They didn't want to hear it.
Seriously, if your narrative for political change is little more than hurt feelings, maybe the "other" isn't the problem. This article should have at least showed you that putting aside the petty can have real impacts on both parties.
Secondly, this is not "hurt feelings," not that something -just- being emotionally abusive and nothing else should be an excuse for pretending it isn't a problem, but we'll go with that anyways. No, this is the fact that the middle state's economies have been struggling for years, and that was before the 2008 housing crash, which the cities and coasts have recovered fairly well from, but has left everyone else largely in the cold. Now, it's true that a lot of those issues can be fairly directly traced to the local governments and their bad decisions; some cities, for example Chattanooga, have done extremely well at modernizing. But to pretend that the constant drumbeat of the culture that being in the flyover states (itself a term of derision) is terrible, that everything they believe is dumb, that they're uneducated prudes and all the rest of it has caused an incredible cultural scar between the rural and urban portions of the nation. And successes like Chattanooga are in spite of, not because of, that divide.
What a world we live in, where a government putting their own people first is considered a bad or controversial thing...
The problem with your comment is that it takes the thread in both a more generic and a more partisan direction. A bad combination for HN (which is not to say that you're wrong).
We saw it with the civil rights movement, we saw it with the gay rights movement, and we're going to see at some point with the trans rights movement too.
Merely showing up and demanding rights isnt enough, you need to convince people that their needs are bound up with yours.
A couple questions ask about this and it seems he has been attacked a few times. https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/70vcr0/im_daryl_davis... https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/70vcr0/im_daryl_davis...
I'm not sure where the quote comes from, but https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daryl_Davis says:
> However, not all Klan members were receptive to Davis's advances. Some reacted with anger or even violence. Davis stated, "I was not seriously injured. I've faced knives and guns and of course fists. I've had to physically fight upon occasion, but that is not my first resort. I did not carry any weapons to my interviews. On one occasion, it was only one Klansman who attacked me. On another, it was 3 of them. I won, both physically on the street and legally in court."
I would be too scared to do what he has done, even as a white gentile. The more physical distance between me and hate group adherents, the better. But hats off to Davis and anyone braver than me.
I don't believe I am racist or sexist. I like to believe that I love everyone. I care about people. I don't want to look at gender or race or sexual orientation or any other differentiator when I get to know someone, or ever. I don't want to judge others. I want people to have equal rights. I want people to live happily, healthy, and safely.
But, I am a highly paid middle class white male in the US. I want to know that I am helping to bring about this equality and lack of judgement. I see articles being advertised in the middle of the parent article like "What do black people have to lose under Trump? A lot" and I think "How can that be possible?" Then I realize it is no doubt completely possible. And I know my opinion doesn't matter much but I don't want that to happen. I want people to have equal rights. I want people to feel safe, happy, and healthy. But my desire is not enough.
I don't have an answer to this problem. I don't have some ulterior Motive. This is a bit of a rant against myself. I'm upset with myself that I don't know what to do to make it better. Maybe someone here will know.
A lot of racism is just ignorance and callousness towards others, combined with a lack of resolve to do what's right, which is really true about all of us to a degree. People feel like they have enough to worry about without others' problems. Also when you expose racism you are exposing the nasty underbelly of this country's history (assuming you're American), which is hard for people to handle. People will make some of the most embarrassing and extreme statements when confronted about race. I believe that's because the topic puts them in a state of distress.
I try and have the mindset of helping and educating people rather than judging them or censoring them. After all, if you are saying racist stuff, it is you who has the problem and no one necessarily has to say anything. It's like telling someone they still have a sticker on their shirt. You are really doing them a favor so if they don't want a favor, there's no harm in just leaving them alone. Like you said, I don't have all the answers and certainly am no Daryl Davis but I think about this stuff a lot and find myself in a lot of debates about it with family and friends.
Inform yourself about the candidates and vote. Encourage everyone you know to inform themselves similarly and go out and vote. Help those who are restricted by time, poverty, or other issues to get out and vote.
We are being ruled by those chosen by the public who cared enough to exercise their vote. If we want to be ruled better, it can only be through choosing better leaders.
Talking relieve tensions between groups. It builds understanding. It one of the things in this world that can change how a individual think. Its nice to read such success story.
I was in Aix-en-Provence (south of France) and got lost on the outskirts of the city. I waked into a "cité", which is a large area of block of flags, poor and full of drugs and angry people.
I walked to a group, the tension was obvious but I kept on walking and approched them with a simple question about how to get to downtown, and (most importantly), what THEY think is the best way to get there. A normal person talking with normal people.
Not only they showed me the way (after arguing about the best one for 10 minutes) but hopped into a car to drive me there.
Sometimes treating peooke genuinely kindky goes a long way.
Nice story and I'm sure it's true. But it didn't help me understand the KKK any better, which is a shame.
The ones that changed their point of view, eventually just realised they had no remaining reason to hate him. And by extension it was irrational to automatically hate every other black person they didn't know yet.
It was his attempts to understand them, that helped some of them understand him. As he points out though, there were plenty of klan members that this didn't work out with though.
It obviously takes some level of self awareness/reflection to change your mind like that.
That's an easy question to answer. People are not islands. They conform to stereotypes, culture, so at least to some degree one can group people into common patterns of behaviors and values. And people can hate some of those patterns.
Ideally, the result could be one less Nazi puncher and one less Nazi. And with dialog, maybe they'd discover that not every political disagreement reveals a "white nationalist".
But I suspect that for many, that would be a whole lot less fun.
>The name Sturmabteilung was first used in late 1921 when it was led by Captain Pfeiffer von Salomon. Because speaking in public was potentially a dangerous matter when politics was concerned, the original task of the SA was to protect Hitler as such events usually attracted the Communists and frequently ended in violence and disorder. This played into Hitler’s hands as many members of the SA were from the old German Army and knew how to cope during such incidents. When fights broke out the Weimar police appeared powerless and law and order was usually restored by the SA. This gave Hitler the lever he needed to claim that the Weimar regime lacked leadership and power while he was the one person who could restore Germany to law and order.
Contrarily this story starts out with the KKK member approaching and being civil to the black man.
It would behoove everyone to think about that when reading about them; both extremes receive an amount of attention disproportionate to their actual amount of influence.
And by punching the Nazi, now it's a major news story with two "equal" sides instead of a footnote about a crazy dude in the subway.
This is like the equivocating 45 is currently doing by framing fascists and antifascists as opposite sides of the coin.
my take has been that Antifa feel they are ethically superior to conservative/nazi/white supremacist/KKK demonstrators and that violence is the best policy.
it seems to me that most special interest groups in the US feel they are ethically superior to others, but they do not feel that violence is an acceptable, much less the best policy.
One thing I've never heard from a single one of them was bragging about shooting a Nazi.
They suffered years and years of nightmares for having to shoot persons. They were looking through their guns sites and saw people -- young men who looked just like themselves or their brothers.
Maybe there were some who came home and bragged, but to highlight those stories does an incredible disservice to the vast majority of the others. There were things they bragged about, but shooting humans wasn't a common reason for pride.
* Because we're no better than them if we inflict wanton violence on people we would rather not have around.
* Because it's taking the bait. The whole point in kindling all this anger is bring out the worst in everyone and show the world 'the intolerant left' and stupid 'punch a Nazi' bullshit only proves their point. The more these people are silenced, attacked and marginalized by 'leftists' in power the more they're able to show just how much power 'the left' wields.
The more you fight them the stronger they get.
Edit: I should've probably known better than to reply to an obvious straw man. Arguing that responding to nazis with violence isn't necessarily the best thing is hardly advocating "tolerance"
I wonder how much of this debate about "punching a Nazi" boils down to attitudes about fighting in general?
Here's a interesting essay about the reality of bar fights:
nazis were a german political group. they were a member of the axis forces which fought and lost against the allied forces in ww2. that group doesn't exist anymore.
so-called "nazis" that people refer to today are largely just people subjected to lazy labeling.
I suppose that’s one way to look at it, but why do you think that approach is useful? What does it offer us that the more straightforward approach of judging people by their convictions, statements and actions does not?
is there a nonzero number of people who wholly subscribe to the nazi party's politcal platform, and want that specific party to be reborn? i suppose that's likely.
however, the word 'nazi' is used to describe a vast swath of people who have little in common with them. reagan, bush sr and bush jr were nazis. jewish political commentator ben shapiro is a nazi. it's all somewhat absurd.
all calling someone a nazi - at least those that don't label themselves as such - does is curb thought, agitate emotions and rationalize violence (rather poorly, i might add).
>is there a nonzero number of people who wholly subscribe to the nazi party's politcal platform, and want that specific party to be reborn? i suppose that's likely
That's about as truthful as, "Did Hitler kill Jews? i suppose that's likely."
further, your comparison doesn't seem very apt. you're talking about a historical event. compared to applying labels to people today who haven't necessarily identified as those labels, as a way to rationalize and endorse violence.
Yes, it is wrong. Saying something is "likely" to occur, is the same as saying there is some doubt. There isn't.
>this is just a waste of time on a tangent so someone feels like they had some kind of point.
Then why are you adamant about it? Do you have to "win" every argument? The poster was right, you could have said so.
> further, your comparison doesn't seem very apt. you're talking about a historical event. compared to applying labels to people today who haven't necessarily identified as those labels, as a way to rationalize and endorse violence.
I was just trying to quickly show why what you wrote wasn't truthful via an example. Instead it seems I had to spell it out.
i can imagine that there is a nonzero number of people who might label themselves that way, but for any given label you can probably find at least one person who might use it on themselves.
what i mean is that 'nazi' is a term used to lazily and reductively describe a disparate swath of individuals. it's manner of use is as a thought-terminating cliche and cheap emotional appeal.
perhaps ironically, thuggish violence against actual nazis in their nascent days (not to say they didn't engage in their own) drove some amount of public sympathy and attracted support.
bad ideas need good ideas, not fists and yelling.
Maybe when the people doing it reserve the right to decide who is a "Nazi" and who is not.
Read some Vonnegut
Did you know that during the rise of Hitler, there were almost daily violent clashes - many of them resulting in murders - between right wing and left wing extremists? It was not like the anti-Nazis wren't trying to "prevent nazis at all cost". But using street violence against street violence only serves to destroy rule of law, and whoever wins the violent clashes, democracy loses.
While there certainly are tankies (aka people who worship Stalin, Mao and Tito) as part of the Antifa, they are by far not the majority. In fact, many left-libertarians despise the authoritarian tankies as much as every other educated citizen.
Are we living on the same planet?
Which rule of law? A state that outright finances and supports right-wing terrorists (e.g. NSU), actively looks away when Nazis are terrorizing entire neighborhoods while at the same time heavily repressing anti-fascist activity does not deserve to be called a state with a "rule of law".
As for the street murders and street clashes, most of the time these were provoked by the SA marching and rioting through worker hoods (e.g. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/SA-Aufmarsch_in_Braunschweig).
Who wears swastika flags, shows the raised arm salute or marches with robe-wearing KKK members or globally known right-wing extremists, deserves to be called a white supremacist, and deserves all consequences that come with being a neo-Nazi.
not that the violence is justified anyways.
The article seems to refute that. Your typical KKK member does not embrace a wide variety of news, but Daryl Davis was able to get through to many of them. It doesn't work in all cases, certainly, but sometimes.
The biggest risk with bringing the members of these organisations in out of the cold is that this might normalise the organisations and ideologies without actually destroying anything. E.g. like having a POTUS who equivocates over their behaviour.
I also don't understand how normalization is an issue? We get nowhere by censoring the our least favorite ideas in society. We get somewhere by bringing them out, and talking about why we disagree with the points made, in a respectful manner.
Relevant article from The Onion: http://www.theonion.com/article/former-conservative-recalls-...
It's not as if Neo-Nazis are "making points."