Sunday, June 12, 2016

As I said at the end of the post, I've forgotten too much.

David Estlund

And most of it's in the paper. [there or here]

It's hard to describe how stupid the arguments are quoted below. It's hard to believe people build careers out of such shit. It's hard for me to believe; obviously I don't pay much attention.

I've been reintroduced to Corey Brettschneider. It's not fun.

Starting with Andrew Koppelman at Balkin, responding to Larry Alexander, responding to Brettschneider.

Koppelman, "Unparadoxical Liberalism"
Larry Alexander argues that liberalism is internally incoherent, because it contains a paradox: it is committed to toleration, but if it tolerates illiberal ideas and practices, it betrays itself.

The paradox does not exist. Liberalism aims to tolerate as much diversity as it can consistent with the preservation of the liberal project. It has distinctive reasons to tolerate illiberal ideas, since it aims to be adopted by the citizenry consciously and with a full understanding of the alternatives. How much diversity can in practice be tolerated is a contingent question dependent on the facts of any particular time and place. Whether domestic fascists, for example, need to be suppressed in order to avoid disaster, is a matter of prediction based on local knowledge. It is not a philosophical question.
Alexander, "Free Speech and 'Democratic Persuasion': A Response to Brettschneider"
Liberalism’s hallmark is its endorsement of certain basic freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of association. Yet the content of some speech, religious doctrines, and criteria of association are inconsistent with liberalism’s tenets. Speech might advocate restrictions on speech as well as the abolition of democracy, the expulsion of religious and racial groups, and so forth. So might religious doctrines. And associations might require various “illiberal” conditions for membership and might seek to advance various “illiberal” goals. I shall refer to illiberal speech, religion, and association as “illiberalism” for short.

What should be the liberal state’s response to illiberalism? If it outlaws illiberalism, its credentials as a liberal state appear to be undermined. If it permits illiberalism, it licenses Robert Frost’s derogatory quip that liberalism can’t take its own side in an argument. Either way, liberalism appears self-contradictory and incoherent. It must either betray its principles or betray itself (and thereby betray its principles). Liberalism both appears to be possible — we’ve seen it done — and impossible (it can’t be done).

That is, in brief, the paradox of liberalism. Elsewhere, I have diagnosed the problem as one that stems from the impossible-to-realize idea of evaluative neutrality that defines the liberal freedoms. I there argued that the paradox was real and insoluble.

Corey Brettschneider believes he can avoid the paradox. He thinks the key is government speech and subsidies. I believe he is mistaken. The paradox remains.
Brettschneider, from the introduction of "When the State Speaks, What Should It Say? How Democracies Can Protect Expression and Promote Equality"
Traditionally, political and legal theorists have proposed two types of responses to hate speech. Some thinkers have stressed the need for a neutral approach to rights protection. This group broadly defends the United States Supreme Court’s current free speech jurisprudence, which does not protect threats or “fighting words,” but does protect what I call “hateful viewpoints.” Hateful viewpoints are opinions that are openly hostile to the core ideals of liberal democracy. In defining hateful viewpoints, it is important to emphasize that there is a distinction between the emotion of hate and the content of hateful viewpoints. Hateful viewpoints are defined not necessarily by their emotion, but by their expressing an idea or ideology that opposes free and equal citizenship. Those who hold hateful viewpoints seek to bring about laws and policies that would deny the free and equal citizenship of racial, ethnic, or religious minorities, women, or groups defined by their sexual orientation. The neutralist approach upholds free speech and protects hateful viewpoints from coercive sanction, despite their discriminatory content, because neutralism claims that the state should not endorse any values.
Liberalism as described in all three passages above is the liberalism of ideology, as "project". "We, The Enlightened"—and though it's unsaid, "The powerful", see all the references to the asshole John Stuart Mill—need to find a just way to deal with "They, The Unenlightened".

Rationalists rationalize. They can only be answered with facts.
The New York Times,  "Cuomo to Halt State Business With Groups That Back Boycott of Israel"

Zionism as ethnic nationalism, with or without the Nakba, is illiberalism, tout court. If you want to argue that a liberal won't pick his own side in a fight, that's all the evidence you need.

"The rule of reason devolves always into the rule of the reasonable as defined by the strong."
"Democracies have freedom of speech not because governments grant it but because the government is not granted the power to take it away."
Freedom of speech means that even though powerful, self-described liberals may rationalize the defense of illiberalism—facts clouded in a haze of ratiocination—the argument will continue, so that sooner or later they may come to recognize their mistake.  And during and after, other arguments will continue.  The state is not allowed to legislate what may or not be argued, only what and how actions may or may not be taken.

I remembered Koppelman is a defender of special status for religious speech, debating Leiter.
They're both idiots. How do you separate religious from non-religious speech? American Exceptionalism, The American Dream, Cartesian Dualism, all fundamentally religious in origin. Dualism is transubstantiation. Leiter's belief in the academy is absurd. "We hold these truths to be self-evident" Truths?

Contra the pedantic academic ruling class, toleration is not Our toleration of Them, but of each other, as democracy and liberalism, as practiced and before theory, are founded in a large group of people, made up of smaller groups, coexisting. Democracy is founded in conflicts, and law is conflict resolution, not a search for truth.

Found on twitter, via the author.  "Learned Patriots: Debating Science, State, And Society In The Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Empire"
Yalçinkaya finds that for anxious nineteenth-century Ottoman politicians, intellectuals, and litterateurs, the chief question was not about the meaning, merits, or dangers of science. Rather, what mattered were the qualities of the new “men of science.” Would young, ambitious men with scientific education be loyal to the state? Were they “proper” members of the community? Science, Yalçinkaya shows, became a topic that could hardly be discussed without reference to identity and morality.

Approaching science in culture, Learned Patriots contributes to the growing literature on how science travels, representations and public perception of science, science and religion, and science and morality. Additionally, it will appeal to students of the intellectual history of the Middle East and Turkish politics.
The Ottoman intellectuals were right. Whether the author agrees I don't know. I haven't read the book. Liberalism as idea is the last of the great Modernist ideologies that sought to impose the authoritarianism of science on politics. The only form of society that will rein in the various forms of the "the research imperative", is republican.

Liberalism as cosmopolitan practice is not liberalism as ideology. I'd forgotten how stupid the academic arguments are. I searched my archives for Brettschneider's name only after I started writing.

I forget everything now.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment moderation is enabled.