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Twitter CEO: conservative employees ‘dont feel safe to express their opinions’ (recode.net)
70 points by kushti 9 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 120 comments





All: Hacker News is a place for community members to hear and understand each other. If you want to fight, please fight elsewhere.

Regardless of how right you are or feel, if you can't muster tolerance or empathy for the other side, please don't post here until you can. You might not owe it to them, but you do owe it to the community.


Seeing how the quickly the comments in this thread have devolved into calling conservatives all kinds of derogatory names is a good example why conservative Twitter employees might be afraid to express their opinions. The place of my employment, like most tech companies is overwhelmingly liberal. I dont even identify as liberal or conservative and I am afraid to express any opinion that is contrary to liberal thought. The problem is not that I may have a minority opinion at work, it's how common it's become with people on the left to try and ruin those who hold the "wrong" opinions usually by trying to get them fired and going on social media to call them all sorts of nasty things. Sadly I think my anecdote is more of the norm than the exception in liberal dominated spaces.

Jonathan Haidt has a great concept for this "trying to get people fired at all costs by taking the most offense and doing the worst read of something someone said".

He calls it the "prestige economy", where one gains great prestige in the eyes of one's group by calling out someone for being racist/sexist etc., even when the caller KNOWS (he references the Dean of Claremont McKenna getting fired as example) that's not at all what that person intended. Intent doesn't matter in that world view, and it becomes all about gaining prestige through intentional (or maybe not) misinterpretation of their position.

It's a dangerous game to play, and I can't see it leading to anything but the worst tribalism and division among well-meaning people.


Conservatives have let illiberalism take over their party. The US was founded on liberal idealism - that all men are created equal then later a liberal conservative, Lincoln followed that same ideal. That's always been our ideal. How is it that people surprised that illiberal conservatives are reviled when they go against the very values this country was founded on?

At my work, talking about politics is just not allowed. More places should follow this. There's nothing good that can come of it.

I think ideally, people would realize that there's human beings who disagree with them, that aren't terrible people. Maybe that's too much to ask in today's climate?

I agree, but I don't think that will happen

> Dorsey spoke to Fox News commentator Sean Hannity on his radio show during a recent press blitz and had a number of secret meetings with conservative politicians in Washington this summer to “build ‘trust’ among conservatives who have long chastised the company,” according to the Washington Post.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2018/06/27/inside-...


I am not sure work is the right place to express your opinions on controversial topics.

It is different though sharing your thoughts/interest with people you trust at work.

Also there is assymetry of impact of ideas between two sides.

Independent person would probably say that conservative ideas are Perceived to be more controversial by other side then other way around.

Like gun debate. If co-worker comes to work and says guns are bad. Ok whatever your opinion man. But if they come to work and like yo guns are awesome, 2nd amendment bros. I own one, then for other side this person might be perceived as threat.


It's a little bit different if your job is to design and build a product intended to be arbiters of free speech, and the govt is pressuring your industry and company specifically to maybe take a heavier hand in moderating... In that case your job probably largely involves thinking through and talking through these issues with open-minded peers, wherein lies the rub

If someone shares an anti-gun opinion, it could be construed that they do not think people should have a right to effective self-defense, which could also be perceived as a threatening position.

  conservative ideas are Perceived to be more controversial by other side then other way around
You're saying that conservatives are more open-minded than the other side, then.

Though it gets murky when it's standard-fare for your coworkers to have Twitter accounts blasting their extreme leftist ideological beliefs. Or perhaps you take issue with one-sided moderation policy that bans syndicated political cartoonists but consistently allows violent threats against conservatives like Dana Loesch - but bringing up such concerns would get you railroaded out of the company like James Damore. Real-world examples of individuals who have had their careers destroyed by just questioning the moral majority creates a hostile work environment, self-censorship, and ultimately mediocrity as your company blindly alienates potentially half its U.S. consumer-base and decays into irrelevance.

That sort of scenario works itself out in the end, so it's fine by me.


there is a big difference between, i like to shoot guns in the woods on weekends and gun ranges so i can learn to defend myself and lets arm kindergarten teachers to prevent school shootings

the second makes me question your judgement, but that is exactly the sort of discussions going on in politics today


> Independent person would probably say that conservative ideas are Perceived to be more controversial by other side then other way around.

I would argue said person isn't actually "independent" then.

> this person might be perceived as threat

Only by a hysterical person.


>Only by a hysterical person.

This is incredibly insulting, especially since you've thrown it out curtly with no explanation. While I personally am not threatened by a person voicing their gun enthusiasm at work (giving all benefit of the doubt to the hypothetical gun enthusiast, e.g. it's not an out-of-the-blue zealous fervor), but I can easily imagine a non-hysterical person feeling threatened if they have zero experience with gun owners and zero context with which to personally relate to gun owners. Try to have at least a little understanding of other people whose experiences are not your own.


I was responding to

> If co-worker comes to work and says guns are bad. Ok whatever your opinion man. But if they come to work and like yo guns are awesome, 2nd amendment bros. I own one, then for other side this person might be perceived as threat.

If you genuinely feel like you have been threatened by the above to the extent that your work is now an unsafe place for you so conservatives should keep any chat about their guns to themselves, I'm sorry, but you are having an extreme emotional response disconnected from reason. Aka hysterical.

> I can easily imagine a non-hysterical person feeling threatened if they have zero experience with gun owners and zero context with which to personally relate to gun owners

Look, I can see how someone might have been brainwashed to find all guns so scary that the concept of someone near them who isn't a police officer having access seems like a direct threat to them...just like I can see someone being so brainwashed as to view all African-Americans as innately dangerous and feeling unsafe working with them. But in both cases I'd claim you are being irrational to an extreme sufficient to call your reaction hysterical.


> work is the right place to express your opinions on controversial topics.

This shuts down all discussion of controversial topics. If you're not allowed to discuss how those controversial topics can impact your work environment and customers then you're running down a very slippery slope of biasing your company against customers who similarly hold controversial viewpoints.

> Independent person would probably say that conservative ideas are Perceived to be more controversial by other side then other way around.

This is a biased opinion.

> for other side this person might be perceived as threat.

Controversial topics aren't limited to politics and feeling threatened can go both ways.

I happen to own a gun and am pro-second-amendment. I feel threatened by people who are not trained to use guns.

What about cars? I feel threatened by people who brag about racing. Or drinking. Or smoking. Or sex. But that's the easy stuff that "everyone" (well, mature people IMO) knows not to talk about at the office.

But then there's the other things. The things that relate to work.

I definitely feel threatened when a coworker talks about customers in a derogatory manner, especially when it's my boss. Employees can be customers too.

I feel threatened when someone at the office talks about how we're increasing the margins by cutting corners somewhere. I have empathy for customers and I don't want our product's quality reduced.

If I don't feel my job security would be safe if I spoke up, then my coworker talking about that will make me feel threatened.


> I feel threatened by people who are not trained to use guns.

This is a strained and bizarre argument and requires unpacking for me to understand, unless you meant it as hyperbole.

I enjoy shooting safely, but I can't imagine feeling threatened by someone's lack of firearms training in an office workplace.


Allow me to clarify. This is kind've a ramble and I am stretching different related thoughts together.

I live in Texas now. Before moving here, I lived in California. There's a stark difference of opinion about guns between the states. In California, guns are... well they're definitely not part of the culture there.

I never fired a gun until I was 23 years old and hung out with a friend-in-law at their home away from the city. A few years later I bought my first gun and went to the range. The people at the range were somewhat reserved, somewhat mocking about lack of experience. They definitely didn't appreciate people who didn't know all the rules like the back of their hand. That definitely doesn't encourage someone to learn how to handle a gun. Interesting, yes?

So, being in Texas, where guns are part of the culture in many places, it's also interesting to find people who've never fired a gun. It's scary to find people who think that the only people who should own a gun are the armed forces.

In my experience, that latter is a statement generally comes from people who are naive about US history and their government; or they have been emotionally damaged by guns which I can respect even if I disagree.

However, someone who's not been around guns, doesn't know the difference between various "basic" types of guns (automatic, semi-automatic, manual; rifle, shotgun, pistol; etc) makes me feel threatened when they start talking about what you can or can not do with a gun. The information they talk about is usually wrong and they're not usually willing to listen to corrections. I work with scientists; someone who isn't trained and isn't willing to be trained is a threat to science.

Finally, someone who talks about something with no training or experience is worse than someone who does. Imagine a computer user who's not trained to write software but talks as if databases are "the worst". Sure you could ignore them. But remember that that person can also talk to more people than just you. They could be spewing the same nonsense to their government representatives. If the representative or political leader doesn't have two brain cells (which seems common these days), they're just as likely to write bad legislation or policy about computers^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hguns.

Having lived in both California and Texas I can definitely say that I've seen many opinions first-hand. There's no "right" opinion. There's definitely wrong opinions though.


I've fired guns too, it's a nice adrenalin rush and I felt very powerful. Uncomfortably powerful. It's ok if you like these feelings, but your comments seem like thin justifications. You can get these feelings without rampant gun ownership.

I have fired a gun and did not feel any strange emotions about it. To me, it is just a tool, no different from a knife om terms of emotion.

The only way to feel threatened by some e without firearms training is if the untrained person is armed. Then that’s very reasonable.

Same as I’m not threatened that no one at my work knows how serve fugu, but it doesn’t matter, because they’re not serving me fugu.


...which proves the point. If you feel threatened by someone else's lack of training, it's only in the context where they are carrying a gun to work. I would hope that most reasonable people would agree that the majority of tech employees would feel less threatened by non-carrying coworkers than the opposite.

  This is a strained and bizarre argument
Perhaps a rephrasing would help.

If you don't know how guns operate, then you are incapable of rendering it safe or even recognizing if it can be fired. (Thankfully, Lynette Fromme didn't know how to operate an autoloader, else Gerald Ford probably would have been killed.)

An analogy: even if one doesn't care to drive, one should know how to shut off an ignition and know how to operate the brakes in an emergency.


Right - which makes it completely irrelevant for workplace safety. If I'm a Twitter employee, I should not need to know how to "render a firearm safe" for my fellow employees to feel non-threatened.

For cops or security contractors, sure


You feel threatened by people talking about smoking?

Talking about not so much, but actively participating in yes.

I grew up in a Mormon family where smoking was not only taboo but very strongly punished.

Even second-hand smoke can cause medical problems.

If I can't tell my coworkers that I don't appreciate them smoking -- even outside of the building -- anywhere I can smell it then that's going to cause problems for me.


> But if they come to work and like yo guns are awesome, 2nd amendment bros. I own one, then for other side this person might be perceived as threat.

How do you think that "Yo, Marxism is awesome" would be perceived by someone who grew up in a communist slave state? Or even someone familiar with the history of Marxist governments in the 20th Century?


It's amusing to read Orwell's The Road to Wigan Pier in 2018 and learn that 100 years ago bolshevism was in big fashion among the English bourgeois youth, and Lenin was considered one of the greatest men alive. This is even after the revolution and the Red Terror. Time is a flat circle.

Either way, I personally don't want legislation to ban people from talking or promoting nazism or leninism. Let bad ideas be defeated in the arena of conversation, I don't need my feelings protected from hearing something I dislike and strongly disagree with.


> Or even someone familiar with the history of Marxist governments in the 20th Century?

There were no Marxist governments in the 20th Century, and if you believe otherwise you've been duped (perhaps indirectly) by Leninist propaganda.


As is often the case, the proliferation of modifiers negates the original sense: Marxism-Leninism vs Marxism.

This is a laughable argument, considering most Communists/Socialists I see on Twitter love using hammer-and-sickle (one could argue it's a pre-Soviet symbol, but so is swastika. most people associate it with USSR, it was on the flag of USSR, so it's a symbol of USSR). Most of them would rush to defend Soviet human rights abuses when called out on it. Hell, we had Goldsmiths student body defending Gulags a few days ago. You aren't fooling anyone.

> This is a laughable argument, considering most Communists/Socialists I see on Twitter love using hammer-and-sickle

Well, obviously the ones using that symbol are particularly visible (never seen a non-Communist socialist use it, though obviously the unadorned Red Flag is common), and certainly there are no shortage of genuine followers of Leninism and it's offshoots (Stalinism, Maoism, etc.); the fact that they exist and like to claim to be Marxist doesn't make their theory compatible with Marx’s, though,and there are plenty of actual Marxists, too.

> You aren't fooling anyone.

I'm not really sure how any of what you posted is a counterargument to anything I've said.


Ah, yes. The old "but that wasn't REAL Marxism" line.

So tell me, why is it that whenever someone attempts to institute a Marxist government, the invariable outcome is slavery, starvation, and mass murder? We have dozens of examples, dude.

And the invariable outcome is invariably followed by some apologist like you who claims "that wasn't real Marxism".

After so many attempts, one can only conclude that either, yes, it is "real Marxism" or that "real Marxism" is impossible to implement.

Sorry, guy. We're not going to let you murder another hundred million people.


> So tell me, why is it that whenever someone attempts to institute a Marxist government, the invariable outcome is slavery, starvation, and mass murder?

No one has ever instituted a government intended to be Marxist, with or without those ends.

I'm not even sure there's been a major effort to institute Marxist government, even if it failed to institute a government, since the time of Marx and Engels.

Leninism, which rejects key aspects of Marxism (particularly, it's essential prerequisite conditions and it's basic methods) but sells itself as Marxism (hence my line about people believing Marxist governments have exist being dupes of Leninism) has been attempted with the results you describe.

The closest thing that has actually been put into practice to Marxism (which still isn't Marxism, differing in roughly the opposite direction but lesser degree than does Leninism) is the modern mixed economy that has displaced the 19th century system Marx named “capitalism” throughout the developed world, which was both shaped by (largely through Marxist influence on Western labor movements) and which incorporates several elements of Marx’s platform and compromises versions of some others elements of that platform, when compared to the 19th Century capitalism it displaced.

> After so many attempts, one can only conclude that either, yes, it is "real Marxism" or that "real Marxism" is impossible to implement.

The latter is closer to the truth; at least, it seems politically impossible to achieve support for a radical transition to Marxism in a state which had acheived the prerequisite state Marx identifies as essential. While both building class consciousness on some level in the working class and using it as a lever to move the State in a direction closer Marxism is possible (and, indeed, seems to have near-universally occurred in states meeting Marx’s criteria), and Marx seems also to have been accurate in both suggesting that such incremental change would be leveraged by capitalists to forestall revolution and would be precarious and eternally at risk of backsliding spurred by the capitalist class, the revolutionary alternative Marx proposed seems impractical in practice.


Exactly, "controversial" is a mostly relative notion, almost always with respect to the local majority opinion.

[flagged]


> racism/sexism/etc

Quite a few conservative positions are put under the heading sexist/racist/etc unfairly. It's a pretty neat way to stop conversation in its tracks.


Mind providing some examples? Trying to understand.

Pro-life as a man = sexist because you're trying to control women

Strict immigration laws, particularly around deportation or punishments for illegal entrance = racist

Lowering or abolishing minimum wage = racist and you hate the poor

Any comment on Islam that isn't rah-rah = racist (which is fascinating since religion != race, but there you go)

Death Penalty = racist (disproportionate representation of African-Americans on death row)

Religious as a man = usually leads to sexist claims if a member of a conservative sect

As a white woman who tries hard to find common ground before disagreeing, has lived extensively in different African countries, and firmly believes we are ALL sexist and racist, I tend to get more attacks that I'm heartless and/or brainwashed. I try to defang the racist/sexist attacks right off the bat by getting mutual agreement that we all are and our job is to work on offsetting it as much as possible.

But my white male SO who, God help him, isn't willing to do the 10-20 minute reassurance dance before getting to the actual debate? My God, he can't even TALK about most of these issues without getting labeled something horrible or a shut down of "check your privilege" that, if he ignores it, leads to some kind of racist/sexist label.


Mind sharing the reassurance dance with the rest of us? I'd love to have one handy so I can preface all debates of those topics with one of these and, hopefully, defuse the barrage of incoming accusations of moral violations.

1. Repeat their own perspective back to them, validating how awesome they are for having it. Seriously. Find the origin/axiom of their perspective from their POV, which is usually something rather commendable, and be clear that you think it's awesome they're so empathetic, self-sacrificing, generous, what-have-you. They should be nodding along feeling super awesome while you're admitting how hard those traits/sacrifices are to have.

2. Acknowledge right off the bat that both of you, really everyone, is racist, sexist, etc. Reference a few studies, talk about how we all grow up in a racist, sexist context and there's no escaping it only mitigating the problem. Once again, bunch of nods.

3. Talk about the divide within politics and how important it is to do the work of understanding the other side's POV. Acknowledge how hard it is on BOTH sides. More nods.

The tone so far, and for the rest of the conversation, should be soft and concerned.

At this point they think you agree with them 100% and that they have the moral high ground on you because you're impressed with their noble spirit and actions.

4. Initially present it as a POV someone else has that find yourself being persuaded by or agreeing with. Make sure you know the priority difference or fact disagreement that leads to the two sides disagreeing, so you're able to say either, "I looked it up, and I was surprised to see that they're right. X has been proven / did happen. It's hard to see how that fits into the other side's narrative." or "I might disagree with them, but it's clearly a difference of opinion/morals and who am I to force them to have my opinion/morals?"

5. At this point in the conversation, you can FINALLY admit that you actually DO agree with the other side. But you've soft-walked them there, the entire time showing why and how you reached that conclusion. You began from THEIR context, rather than yours. You didn't start at A when they were at Z. You met them at Z and walked them to A.


That's fantastic, thank you so much. 1. is basically you steel-manning them, I like it.

The problem is that you have a handful of prominent conservative politician who do hold those positions for sexist/racist/etc reasons, and

(1) those politicians have very high approval ratings among conservatives, and

(2) conservatives who approve of those politicians for other reasons and disagree with the sexism/racism/etc of those politicians are largely unwilling to say so.

This understandably gives people the impression that conservatives at large take those positions for the same sexist/racist/etc reasons that those prominent politicians do.

PS: note that I am not saying or implying that most conservatives are sexist/racist/etc. Just that because a handful of prominent, powerful conservative politicians are, and those have used their power and positions to bully other conservatives into not publicly opposing them, people assume the others agree with those prominent, powerful politicians.


Yes, this problem exists on both sides of the aisle. Loud, crazy people who the other side assumes is a stand-in for the entire group or at minimum has the support of everyone else since few are calling them out.

It's a problem.


[flagged]


Yes. I spent almost my entire life on the far left, admired and voted for Nader, etc. And being honest, kind of thought the thoughts you're expressing here.

By happenstance, a couple of years ago start spending a lot of time with conservatives. It was kind of shocking to discover, but on average, they're every bit as kind and compassionate as the liberals I know. Maybe a bit more so.

There are outliers in both groups, but being a good person is largely orthogonal to politics.

I don't really expect anyone to take my word for it, but maybe you'll consider the possibility.


Anecdotally, the proportion of my couple-dozen-or-so close friends and family who are conservative has always been about half or a bit less, and they have always been, on average, much more quick to insults and mocking when politics come up. I don't think this makes them bad or uncaring people, and of course some of my liberal friends and family have the same problem, and you would never know that any of these people are anything but kind and compassionate as long as you're talking about things they can relate to and agree with at the moment... But I do think it's essentially impossible for people, on the whole, to consider each other kind and compassionate when either side resorts to that kind of attitude so incredibly freely, which seems like something nearly everybody does if my experience with friends, family, strangers, and anonymous people online is indicative (which it may not be).

FWIW, my liberal friends also often don't lean towards insults and mocking. Rather, shaming and silencing seem more common (at least in recent years).

This is the crux of the issue. Your presumption, based on political ideology, that they lack empathy is immediately dehumanizing them. You are giving yourself permission to not have empathy towards them.

Jesus Christ.

That is exactly the attitude that auto demonizes you when you share conservative viewpoints at work.

You might as well have asked, "Am I so wrong in knowing I'm right and they're sexist, racist assholes?"


> Am I so wrong for thinking the conservative side of US politics demonstrates a lack empathy towards the poor, minorities, and women on a regular basis?

You might be somewhat wrong, yes. It depends on your definition of "empathy".

I'm going to give my personal opinion, not backed by data, and I'm going to paint with a broad brush. But my personal opinion is as valid as throwaway2975's, so here goes.

If you, individually, need help, I think you're slightly more likely to get it face-to-face from a conservative than from a liberal. As I said, no data to prove that point, and note the word "slightly". There are plenty of liberals who are generous in person.

But maybe you are a member of some kind of group, and you want more than a hand that helps you individually. You want help for all 10 million of you, and face-to-face with generous people is going to leave a large number of your group falling between the cracks. You need some kind of organized help. Well, the liberals are far more likely to be in favor of a government program to help you, and to work to bring that about. You could consider that as the liberals having empathy.

But the conservatives don't think so. The conservatives think that government programs have a rather poor track record of actually helping. They burn money by the metric ton (literally - IIRC, a ton of $100 bills is about $100 million), and they help some people, and sometimes they actually hurt some people, but they don't do nearly as much good as you'd expect from the amount of money being spent. The conservatives might say that empathy should move you to do something that actually helps, not just something that makes you feel good for having done something.

Are some of the conservatives using this as a rationale to hide a hard heart? Probably. But some liberals are probably using ineffective action to make themselves feel good about their empathy and caring, too.


> Am I so wrong for thinking the conservative side of US politics demonstrates a lack empathy towards the poor, minorities, and women on a regular basis?

Yes

[well, I guess I got the ban since it won't let me post a response anymore]


Conservative Christian church in my hometown bought an old hotel to house homeless people. And they help them out with counseling, community, etc. The narrative you describe is partisan hyperbole that is not accurate in the least.

Can you provide demonstrative examples for said empathy?

Dave Ramsey. The many Christian ministries that volunteer in prisons or provide assistance to single mothers. As with many groups, the loudest voices are argued to represent the whole, which may not be accurate.

My neighbor and I felled two large pine be trees last year. We chopped it up and have been selling it by the cord. A co-worker of his heats his home by wood stove and cannot afford to buy wood. He comes over and the three of us load up 2 cords at a time into my trailer and help him unload it in his garage. We did this twice last year and once so far this year.

What did that prove? That people have empathy? Or were you exaggerating for effect?


Do you have the ability to pass legislation that effects hundreds, thousands, or millions of other people?

No, but that’s why I vote.

You forgotten to put <sarcasm> or are you trolling? :-)

  are you trolling?
He did create this account immediately before commenting on this thread. So, perhaps.

I'm hoping to combat my bias with new perspective. I would like to be convinced that people who identify as Republican aren't more likely to be racist or misogynistic people.

I think "adventured" shows you what we're dealing with.

There is no respect for the fact that some members of our society continue to enjoy certain advantages. When you're the one who recieves such, this is subtle.

Telling people about the racist history behind zip codes can be a hard conversation. Telling white people about the way black families have "the talk" about being careful not to spook police, or white people who call police simply for being black... That's a hard conversation. Telling my fellow white men about how women have their own version of "the talk" about walking down the street alone in more communities than you realize... That's often a hard conversation.

The talk about how the poor deal with more expenses, more physical pain, less power to demand basic humanity from shittier bosses... As a car-dweller with a full-time job on the East Coast, I've had to deliver it repeatedly.

Nobody helps, unless you can earn the trust of others in a similar situation. And car-dwellers move around too much to make those relationships.

Nobody had these hard conversations with me growing up. I had black friends, activists, girlfriends that informed me about how my own neighbors live. I didnt always take it well at the time, but I did grow from the experience.

And no matter how much we rage about it on twitter in our safe little bubbles, nobody that needs this revelation is going to hear it anywhere but in person.

The subgroup of Conservatives whose ideology boils down to "screw you, I got mine" is just Sociopathy claiming Righteousness via deformed Capitalism. These people need to be called out as the anti-patriots they are.


Funny that you mention empathy. I have a conservative friend who's been trying to convince me to read Paul Bloom's book about why empathy is bad.

Sounds like it's worth a read. What a radical thing to say, that empathy is bad.

Who chooses the special magic groups that are to receive the forced empathy? Who gets the most empathy? There's only so much to go around after all. Who gets to enforce the punishment in consequence for lacking enough of the required empathy quota?

Fuck that social engineering nightmare.

That kind of thinking is exactly the problem - the notion that you get to compel others to think how you want them to, or else they get punished.


Empathy is not a finite resource.

I don't feel as though compelling others to not be hateful is a bad thing. I think exercising hate towards others is worthy of punishment. It's not punishing people for not thinking the way I do, it is punishing people for being hateful towards others.


Empathy is a finite resource. Unless you can demonstrate a way that each person can have infinite amounts of time and energy.

In practical human terms, it's an extremely limited resource. Most people live busy lives, with more than enough to focus on as it is in just their small circle.


This punishment preoccupation sounds pretty hatey to me.

Wrong. You're arguing a point the parent poster didn't make.

The parent poster stated:

> Who chooses the special magic groups that are to receive the forced empathy?

The _giving_ (and thus on the other side, receiving) of empathy is an action, which requires time and energy of human lives. These are finite resources. You telling me what to do with my life directly goes against a plethora of other actions that I could be carrying out. Which may have even been for your benefit, by the way.

Also, your statement:

> I don't feel as though compelling others to not be hateful is a bad thing.

is extraordinarily naive. "Hate" can be "justified", like any other action. Consider a crime carried out by an individual. This individual may be caught and, through a process, be delivered a punishment which may be called "justice." Whatever form that justice takes, it's said to be justified. Whether it's jailing someone, shaming them, or simply "hating" them--there may be a very good reason for that hate.

You state:

> I think exercising hate towards others is worthy of punishment.

> It's not punishing people for not thinking the way I do, it is punishing people for being hateful towards others.

This is entirely absurd. Tell that to anyone who has ever been wronged by an abuser, a deceiver, a warmonger.

By your actions, you would seek to let such malevolent individuals and groups profit at the expense of others, who would even simply "hate" them--much less begin to take corrective action to thwart them.

You seriously need to reexamine your outlook.


So righteous, yet using a throwaway.

[flagged]


That's literally the point. Because of reactions like yours (specifically that last line re-paraphrasing), anyone on the conservative spectrum is now afraid to express their opinions or reveal such information

[flagged]


Tbf that point often gets made about muslims in that, often after a terrorist attack, there's the "but if this isn't islam, why don't you say so/where are all the Imams who should be denouncing this gone?" brigade. It shoudn't really be up to the peaceful majority to distance themselves from the vocal minority.

Sadly the line is blurred here because the "official party of conservatives", the Republican party let these people in and ran with them. The fault lies with them IMHO, and not so much with the rank-and-file members, a lot of whom, be it Dem or Rep, just vote the same way regardless. Here though, I'm unsure how much democratic input there is into central decisions like Roy Moore etc, I suspect very little.


>It shoudn't really be up to the peaceful majority to distance themselves from the vocal minority.

I totally see the reasoning behind this, and it feels intuitive, but at some point in my life I came to the complete opposite conclusion and I've rarely been so sure of anything since then. I've had numerous bitter interactions with people based only on differences in social politics, and have been mocked for what I don't think are particularly extreme beliefs. Then at some point I started recognizing opinions and ideologies that I strongly disagree with consolidate into subsets within groups of people I otherwise strongly identify with, and instead of just insisting that people outside that group give me "the benefit of the doubt", I started to be just as open about those topics as I was about any other topic. I decided to not let a feeling of allegiance or defensiveness or pride hinder my ability to discuss things that might sound like "attacks" on "my people", as long as I was being honest and level, and not hateful. This decision has created the ability to have useful, personable conversations and connections to people where previously we would have had absolutely nothing to relate to each other with. It's hard for me to describe how much this decision has helped me to feel more optimistic that we all have much more similar feelings and goals than it may seem considering the political atmosphere and the loudness of mocking, hateful sub-groups.


  Republican party let these people in
Parties have no choice as to who registers as a voter with that party affiliation.

Your use of "these people" is interesting, though.


I was referring to the Roy Moores of this world, not voters.

See:

> The fault lies with them IMHO, and not so much with the rank-and-file members

And yes, I said "these people", because that's all I can muster and accurately describes them, what should I have said?


[flagged]


If you call yourself a conservative, do not be surprised when people assume that you think that death camps, ghettos, and slavery are a dandy idea.

See? It goes both ways. You've convinced yourself that your ideas are less harmful despite absolutely zero evidence to support it.


I'm not sure Turing_Machine was trying to convince people that those ideas are less harmful. I think the point was that the far left's ideas are as harmful as the far right's.

Trying to prove both ideas are harmful ends up just proving extremism is bad and that any political ideology can be twisted into something despotic. It in no ways proves that wanting socialized medicine and a less agressive military somehow leads to stalinism.

Just because someone says they're "conservative" doesn't mean I'll sit quiet while they tell me about how disgusting it is that the gays can marry now. But the thing is, originally, "conservatives" weren't like that. They've had their good name stolen by a bunch of thugs.

Look, it's HARD to see the other side. I get it. But take a beat.

No one is asking you to sit quietly. Your welcome to disagree. We expect the conservative to be able to hear about your approval (from their perspective) of the violent murder of babies for your personal convenience without losing their ability to work with you effectively as a co-worker and treat you with dignity while disagreeing. It's fair to think there'd be reciprocity and you should be able to do the same when they discuss gay marriage.

Usually when I point the above out, I'm told that OF COURSE it's cool to expect the conservative to handle talk of abortion or public approval of abortions "appropriately" in the workplace because their perspective it's murder is merely an opinion---and a wrong one at that. But your perspective that gay marriage is not a sin is a FACT, not an opinion, so they should suck it up and keep their filthy biases to themselves.

Unsurprisingly, conservatives do not appreciate the attitude that their opinions are wrong and should be hidden as shameful secrets and liberal opinions are right and should be trumpeted from the roof.


In this context, I was having a happy conversation and not really expecting to be called "disgusting". That's not argueing against same sex marriage, and is not helpful in the work place. My mum is a staunch catholic and conservative, but never has she referred to me like that. I feel you're argueing the wrong person. I'm happy to listen to respectful conservatives, just as I am intolerant of intolerant "liberals", but sometimes you've gotta be intolerant of the intolerance.

Oh, I misunderstood. Saying that gay marriage is disgusting reads to me as calling out the policy, NOT saying that gays are disgusting. I completely agree that calling a group of human being disgusting is an uncalled for, personal attack that goes beyond sharing your political opinions.

Sorry about the misunderstanding :)


Well it was more that he couldn't say the gays are disgusting, so used the policy to get round it, so it's a bit of an unusual situation, all understood :)

> That's literally the point. Because of reactions like yours (specifically that last line re-paraphrasing), anyone on the conservative spectrum is now afraid to express their opinions or reveal such information

One of the pieces of evidence that this article cites is a video published by Breitbart, a self-proclaimed conservative website that was known to actively seek out, publish, and promote the work of neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

So it's not really so much, "because of reactions like [GP's]", but because a number of "conservative" outlets have been revealed to be outright white supremacist propaganda, and people who are conservative and not white supremacists have done relatively little[0] to distance themselves from them, on the whole.

[0] that's putting it generously


Honest question as I don’t read Breitbart: Can you cite an article on their site supporting your assertion regarding “white supremacist propaganda”? I went looking just now and saw a lot of stuff liberals would disagree with but my cursory look revealed nothing to the degree you mentioned.

Just about every major liberal news organization has promoted Communists / Marxists / Socialists at one time or another in the last 30 years. That's on-going in the present.

Bernie Sanders was an outspoken champion of Venezuela and its brand of Socialism. Then he mysteriously (ha) went entirely silent on the matter. What shall we do to hold him accountable for his grotesque beliefs, which are every bit as bad in historical application as white supremacy and fascism?

Obama openly championed Marxist ideology when he was younger. Marxism has resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people in the past century and the brutal enslavement of entire nations for decades. Then Obama got elected President, the left media could not have cared less about his past ideology (and or cheered it on).

How is being a Communist better than being a Nazi in any objective historical comparison? Why is it ok for Antifa to smash skulls, routinely threaten and apply violence, wave the Soviet flag and threaten journalists, march around clad in black body armor, but the world explodes about Charlottesville. Both are quite horrible, the liberal media only cares about one of them.

There's only one explanation for it: arbitrary left wing bias, which entirely disregards history and facts.

When does the aggressive censorship campaign begin for the NY Times? Should they be banned from Twitter?


This response shows why knowing history is so important - you can see (and remember?) both sides of the issue, without relying on whatever pops to the top of Reddit. Great job!

As far as I've been able to tell, trying to be as neutral as I can, I don't think the lies, hatred, and violence cherry-picked or selectively ignored by the NY Times and similar come anywhere near the volume of the same done by Breitbart and similar. Further, when it does happen, it seems to always be much harder to draw the connection to intent, e.g:

NY Times: Support some policy -> Policy could be considered related to communism -> Communist regimes have killed many people throughout history

Breitbart: Support hatred and rejection of broad groups of people directly.

Further, Breitbart and similar seem much more willing to engage in propaganda rhetoric and purposeful deceit.

*Edited for clarity


True. But scope matters. Breitbart is extreme but they absolutely don’t represent a significant portion of conservatives. They might pretend do, but they don’t. There crazies out there on both sides. I choose to ignore them. Not being out there denouncing them doesn’t mean I support them or agree with them

Exactly. Is this, I can't express my support for the republican party, or I can't be bigoted and racist at the workplace while my democrat friends can talk about the pride event they went to. I feel like the light is being shone in the wrong place.

I think the Republican Party is really more like 3 disparate parties under one banner. The country would be a lot better off if they formally split.

You should be able to be proud of the people you vote for, and not have to add clarifications like "I support my Republican colleagues, except the Russian agents, corrupt plutocrats, child abusers, and serial rapists".

Get rid of that junk and it'll be a lot easier to be proud of what you believe.


> I think the Republican Party is really more like 3 disparate parties under one banner.

Or more. Same with the Democrats. There's a solid reason this will always be true of whatever the two major US parties are (and it's the same reason there will be exactly two major US parties, though which two may change) barring major reforms to the basic structure of elections.

> The country would be a lot better off if they formally split.

Well, it might be better if the US had an electoral system that supported stable multiparty democracy, but it doesn't.

If the Republican Party fragmented into three separate parties, then some existing minor parties and non-party factions (possibly including one or more of the ex-Republican party, and possibly including one or more breakaway parts of the Democratic Party which is a similar coalition) would form a new major coalition party in its place.

Pure parties are minor parties while major parties are coalitions of disparate factions in the US for structural reasons, not as some kind of odd statistical fluke.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tY3ZVmkAKyM

There's shit for everyone. That's not the point.


Exactly this, I made a similar point above. I think the line is blurred specifically here because there's an "official" party, which describes itself/is regarded essentially as "the conservative party/for conservatives".

[flagged]


> Communists like to call themselves "liberals"

Of those I've seen self-identify as a Communist or Marxist, I'd estimate 70% express derision and scorn at Liberals.


Seems analogous to "people on the left" and "left progressives". Both sides have their extremist branches.

[flagged]


[flagged]


Personal attacks will get you banned on HN, regardless of how right your views are. Please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and don't do this again.

Conservatives are ostensibly opposed to the idea of safe spaces, so how do we reconcile that ideology with the fact that they want safe spaces in communities where they are the minority?

> safe spaces

I'm not sure "safe space" is the right word. People lose jobs, housing opportunities, and professional connections for being conservative in the Bay Area. There's a damn good reason to be afraid and it isn't about our "feelings". There are professional repercussions.

root_axis 9 days ago [flagged]

> People lose jobs, housing opportunities, and professional connections for being conservative in the Bay Area

Sounds to me like literally the exact same thing the left claims about being black or a woman in contexts where the conservative ideology is more pervasive.


I'm sure that's true. I haven't personally lived in a conservative area in America for any extended period of time.

Hopefully we can both agree these are bad things to occur due to race, gender, sex, political orientation, etc. You should be judged for how you treat and speak to people, not for your political opinions.

I've worked with men that genuinely believe that women should not be educated and just stay home with children. Whatever. They treated women well in class and outside of class and THAT is what they should be judged on for jobs, housing, and connections --- not their personal opinions when they vote.


> I'm sure that's true. I haven't personally lived in a conservative area in America for any extended period of time.

Whether its true or not, my point is that the complaint is the same as the one you articulated in your original comment.

> You should be judged for how you treat and speak to people, not for your political opinions.

Nobody on either side believes this; the right judges the left as communists destroying America and the left judges the right as Nazis destroying America, that's the nature of politics.


> Nobody on either side believes this; the right judges the left as communists destroying America and the left judges the right as Nazis destroying America, that's the nature of politics.

This attitude is the exact sort of attitude causing all the problems. And, no, not everyone has it.


It's not an "attitude", it's an observation of fact within the realm of politics. People engaged in political activity are inherently implicated by the rhetoric, philosophy and consequences of the ideals they support, that is the price of taking a stance. This is a non-issue if one simply avoids broadcasting political activity in the workplace and this is true whether you're a conservative in the bay area or a liberal in the heartland.

There may be some ambiguity in the way you're using the phrase "safe space".

They don't want safe spaces, they just want to be treated equally, no?

The term is used as a pejorative by conservatives so it is expected that they wouldn't use that exact terminology, but "they just want to be treated equally" is the rallying cry of the left and exactly how the left characterizes it even if conservatives don't want to carry the label.

The majority of the left does not consider safe spaces to be part of equality. Safe spaces are about segregation, not integration.

> The majority of the left does not consider safe spaces to be part of equality.

Of course they do. Their central claim is that systemic inequality disenfranchises marginalized groups and safe spaces are needed as a counterbalance to oppression.

> Safe spaces are about segregation, not integration

This is your own political spin, the left definitely does not agree with that characterization.


I hate to generalize; and overall I think the world could do a lot better if we could bait either side into listening to one another, but it's undeniably on average the same reason they want to deny social media companies the right to refrain from serving people they don't want to, but openly advocate for companies being able to not serve LGBT people:

"But it's them!"


I notice the same dynamics are playing out on social media that played out in traditional media years ago. Conservatives cry bias, without evidence that any bias is appearing in the actual product.

As Rich Bond said over 25 years ago[0]:

“There is some strategy to it [bashing the 'liberal' media] ... If you watch any great coach, what they try to do is 'work the refs.' Maybe the ref will cut you a little slack on the next one.”

It’s a useful myth, where blatantly partisan Fox News bills itself as “fair and balanced”.

I’ve seen this play out in my own career where, claims of political bias was cast against algorithms I developed because random extreme partisan website wasn’t being put in the top slot for a trending topic. It was disingenuous criticism.

We’re seeing the same thing again because foreign troll farms are being shutdown, you find yourself in a minority, the. You have to look to some grand conspiracy because your filter bubble was popped.

There’s nothing here but the old tired tactic of promoting a false equivalence, which is paying political dividends. See Facebook’s fact checking partners, 4 respected non partisan orgs, and the explicitly conservativly partisan Weekly Standard, which used its veto against an explicitly liberally partisan organization.[1]

It’s really weird to have a partisan org on your ostensibly nonpartisan editorial board. It does make sense if you’re throwing conservatives a bone by giving them a vote and not a liberal org. So the refs are successfully worked.

When it comes to Twitter itself, Jack has shown through his actions that he either fundamentally misunderstand what is going on, or he actually supports the extreme views on his site.

[0] https://archives.cjr.org/politics/a_cynics_take_on_media_bia...

[1] https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/9/12/17848026/f...


Is conservatism a strong or coherent identity outside of Christianity? I feel like when people say "conservative" it muddles what things mean to an outside audience. It's just like when people say religious, but they really mean Christian.

Yes.

But I would also agree that many of the terms, such as "conservative", that are thrown around in public debate are not very well defined or are often interpreted in very different ways by different people.


There are plenty of non-Christian conservatives.

Part of being a conservative is strength. If you don't have that fortitude, you are conservative only in name.

> Part of being a conservative is strength

Um, no? Where did you get that from?


This might actually be the most meaningless platitude anyone has ever said.

Maybe so, but please don't call names in HN comments. This is in the site guidelines: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.

Completely agree. It is never a good idea to generalize a population based on some label.

In order to feel safe expressing your opinions, you have to feel like you won't raise an eyebrow. Either that, or any owner of a raised eyebrow won't take it any further than the mild disagreement of raising an eyebrow.

It's really obvious that not only is it not possible to say whatever you want at work, but that in some cases, raising an eyebrow is the last thing you will ever do, at least within the context of one's career.

The tension at hand is founded in things that simply will not be happening any time soon. But unpredictable reactions to minor slights set people on edge all around.

The polarity is highly charged, even though no one really has murder and beatings high on their list of priorities, the paranoia and suspicion that the other side does is what leaves us destabilized.

Homosexuality, abortion, race, evolution, genetics, how the universe began, and where do we go when we die. Talking about these things at work is a mistake, but even joking about "the wrong opinion" will completely ruin you in less than an hour, so trying to feel safe about having an opinion is a bad idea, whether you feel you're on the right side of history or not.




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