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Is Being Offended by Something Grounds to Claim Being Harmed by it?

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Sunstone, Nov 24, 2015.

?
  1. Yes

    8.7%
  2. No

    87.0%
  3. Other

    2.2%
  4. No opinion, but ask me about cats on the internet. I've got plenty of opinions about cats.

    2.2%
  1. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    There are a few ways to approach this topic. I don't feel up to tackling the legal and/or political aspects of the questions. There are just too many grey areas in a field that I don't know a great deal about. Instead, I'll give my opinion on the question: "Is being offended equivalent to being harmed?"

    I've pondered this for a while. It seems clear to me that action/speech that is deemed offensive can cause somebody harm. However, I feel that being offended isn't equivalent to being harmed.

    If we use the Westborough Baptist Church as an example, I personally find their behaviour offensive. It strikes me as vile, contemptible and repulsive. That said, I couldn't honestly claim that it causes me enough emotional distress for me to have been harmed by it. John Doe, a close relative of somebody whose funeral was targeted by the church, might have been harmed though. He's offended by their behaviour, but he's also been caused enough emotional trauma by the experience to rightfully claim to have been harmed.

    So following this example, both John Doe and I were offended by the actions of the same group. However, I can't claim to have been harmed and so I have to say that offense isn't equivalent to harm.
     
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  2. The Neo Nerd

    The Neo Nerd Well-Known Member

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    I can't remember who it was (probably Hitchens) "I am sick of people saying "That's offensive" without telling me why i am wrong"

    The problem with most people is that they get offended without putting a microsecond into whether or not it is factual.

    I am not saying that the truth cannot be said in an offensive way.

    What I am saying is that if you are an emotionally mature individual you will determine if what is said is true

    Determine the speakers intent in telling the truth.

    and then and ONLY THEN respond with the appropriate emotional intensity.
     
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  3. lewisnotmiller

    lewisnotmiller Grand Hat
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    Hitchens :
    If someone tells me that I’ve hurt their feelings I’m still waiting to hear what your point is.
     
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  4. SomeRandom

    SomeRandom Still learning to be wise
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    If I may ask, why is free speech not worth defending?
    Maybe it's the effect 1984 had on me, but I am not about to give mine up anytime soon. Far too dangerous a prospect.
     
  5. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    Their signs are offensive. Their behavior should be considered criminal, and get them arrested for being a public nuisance.
    It pleases me to see someone else mention the grieving, as they have a very large stake in the issue but they are rarely mentioned when discussing WBC. It's always about the rights of WBC, but there are no considerations towards those who lost a friend, a mother, a brother, an aunt, someone they cherished that they will never see again. Their rights are never considered, never brought up, and it's really despicable.
     
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  6. Aset's Flames

    Aset's Flames Viperine Asetian

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    One of the things I hate about this generation.
     
  7. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    Not all speech is equal, (even if the right to free speech should be). Some forms of speech are more valuable and more important than others. This is particuarly true in expert opinion when a "laymen's" understanding of the issue is inadequate to cope with the complexity of the problems. Instead, we increasingly have a society in which the truth is being silenced- not by the thought police, but just by "white noise" and a heavy dose of anti-intellectualism. It is very true that no-one probably should decide what speech that is, which is the kind of threat Orwell had in mind, but instead it gets drowned out in the see of falsehoods. free speech is becoming a danger to itself with the "wrong" message getting through and dominating the mass media and the news.
    In order for a democracy to endure and thrive, it needs to be based on having an educated and well-informed electorate and the media is failing in that regard.We are living more in Brave New World where information is controlled so that we believe "everyone is happy nowdays", even when they aren't. There is already a very great deal of control over what we read, see, hear and therefore think. But it's not because the government is censoring things; it's because the media decides the message is that million of people hear each day and then repeat to each other. The Mass Media has an unparrelled ability to change public opinion and that is a threat to free, indepdent thought and therefore democratic socities. The idea that freedom is always a good thing, is something which is conditioned into us because then we unconditionally accept the "freedom" of people to control us based on the economic and political inequalities that hide behind equality before the law. free speech is not always "better" speech if we measure it by the ability to communicate important information on subjects which affects everyone.
     
  8. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    It does seem odd that we went from a generation with Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and Eminem to a generation that would rather stand up for the critics than the artists.
     
  9. Lyndon

    Lyndon "Peace is the answer" quote: GOD, 2014
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    There aren't a lot of artists left in the modern music scene.
     
  10. Jumi

    Jumi Well-Known Member

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    There are still plenty of good artists around.
     
  11. Lyndon

    Lyndon "Peace is the answer" quote: GOD, 2014
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    Yeah, but usually they're not funded by the music industry.
     
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  12. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member

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    I don’t think it’s a simple question and the terminology isn’t used consistently. One person might say “I’m offended” to mean they just don’t like something while another might say the same thing to mean they are actually harmed or impacted by it. Offence doesn’t equal harm but nor does offense exclude harm.

    Harm, especially emotional harm can be conditional to. If you tell a distasteful joke about rape, one person may be offended by it but not actually harmed but someone who was recently raped themselves may well have the emotional harm of that extended by hearing the joke. Would the offence of the first person be the same if it was a general “You should joke about that kind of thing” compared to if they knew there was someone who had been recently raped in the room? They’re not personally harmed but their offence reflects different things.

    In practical terms, that someone might be offended isn’t automatically a reason not to do something but it is a reason to consider whether you need to or if you can do it in a better way. If someone is offended, that doesn’t automatically mean you did something wrong but it is a reason to at least consider why they’re offended and if there is something you should do to mitigate it. This really shouldn’t have to be put in to words but be basic social politeness. We know you can’t please all of the people all of the time but that doesn’t mean we should give up on pleasing some of the people some of the time rather than exclusively focusing on pleasing ourselves.
     
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  13. Jumi

    Jumi Well-Known Member

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    Music industry has ruined many an artist and made their works into garbage.
     
  14. Lyndon

    Lyndon "Peace is the answer" quote: GOD, 2014
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    Without auto tune they'd be out of business!!
     
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  15. SomeRandom

    SomeRandom Still learning to be wise
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    I agree with your treatise. Mass Media can control the narrative very easily. But is that a freedom of speech thing or a lack of accountability? I mean there are ethical standards in place (though I agree that the media is failing terribly in that regard.)
    People assume the journos are telling them the truth without doing any leg work themselves. That's sort of on them, isn't it?
    Social Media is easily the biggest warzone fought with words right now though. And the pushback against the narrative (whatever narrative that is) is actually made possible by freedom of speech itself. So I don't know.
     
    #75 SomeRandom, Nov 27, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2015
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  16. Reverend Rick

    Reverend Rick Frubal Whore
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    I think living in a free country offends many folks. I have freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and can carry a firearm.
     
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  17. Lyndon

    Lyndon "Peace is the answer" quote: GOD, 2014
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    That's your three most important things??
     
  18. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    He would've mentioned economic liberty, but he left that for me.
    His magnanimity knows no bounds.
     
  19. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    lol. it is a bit long isn't it. :D

    No. its not really the fault of the people who read the papers because they are largely dependent on the mass media in order to be informed. That dependence means they can be manipulated and exploited so that they act of false information to buy products they don't really need. Of course, Fredrick Hayek would point out that the government cannot be trusted to tell the people the truth either and that the commercial propaganda is a lesser evil than government propaganda because there is at least some room for competition.
    The problem is of course, is that free speech and free press are no longer rights owned by individuals. Individuals can use their free speech and people are free not to listen. Freedom of the press however has become the right of large corporations to tell people what to think. This is because technologically, we've developed mass media that can say the same thing to millions of people; we all get our news and our information from the same sources. Due to both the limits on what can be said, and the interests of pushing forward news that serves their agenda (or of the ad agencies that invest in them). The internet and social media have made this somewhat more decentralised; I find Wikipedia is a god send for filling in bits of information I didn't know or haven't heard of before. It is true to say that the ability to control public opinion isn't as strong as it used to be when the Television was the primary means to get information (although it still is for most people). Technology has changed what it means to have "free speech". Whilst 18th century liberals may well have had the printing press to spread ideas, we've gone way beyond that and for a long time people have quite literally been able to decide what people can think and feel for the 3 to 4 hours a day people sit in front of a television set. it still easily has the ability to change the "national conversation", but things like the news feed on Facebook or twitter are starting to affect what gets on the news as well.

    So, yeah, I don't know either. But the line between free speech and indoctrination has been pretty thin for quite some time. it is only the absence of coercion that means television is not a totalitarian medium.
     
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  20. SomeRandom

    SomeRandom Still learning to be wise
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    I would like to argue with that, but I can't really.

    Though I contend that it is their (the public's) fault. At least partially. People are too lazy, too easily swayed by emotions. You can find the truth if you really want to. Or at least a different perspective with more information than the previous source.

    But who decides what is an "educated opinion" and what isn't? In the hard sciences that would be a no brainer. Like the STEM fields are usually more logical than emotional. (In terms of their spokespeople.)
    But ideologues have seemed to infiltrate some of the soft sciences and academia. Or are currently trying to at least, The, you know Gender Studies courses (or as I like to call them, the evil patriarchy conspiracy 101) and their ilk.
    I mean there seems to be a small but loud bias in some areas of academia. Not that I don't trust the "soft sciences" anymore, but I'm talking about the safe spaces crowd. If that makes sense?
    Like even Rational Wiki is not trustworthy anymore! Based Mum has an article there calling her "not a true feminist" or something along those lines. For daring to speak out against 3rd Wavers.
    And then you have popular culture. Who decides what pop culture critic is worth more than another? And isn't that decision in itself an attempt to control the narrative? Just one you happen to favor? I mean I wouldn't silence the likes of Anita Sarkeesian, though I personally find her critiques nothing but whining and without artistic merit. But people can follow her if they want to.
    The same can be said of many of her adversaries, though. Because they critique video games like it's just a random innocuous past time instead of critiquing it like art. Which imo they probably should focus more on when they call out her arguments.

    It's like with this GamerGate thingy (I can't believe that's still a thing. Like wtf?) The mass media, worldwide no less, banded together to paint the entire movement and even gamers as a whole as misogynist, racist, transphobic and/or homophobic. Despite many gamers actually being gay, mixed or different races, female and/or transgender. And it was for the crime of many of them just rejecting the identity politics movement as well, a bunch of horse****. Next thing you know, obvious troll messages are being paraded by the news as proof of GamerGate harassment of the likes of the Zoe Quinn/Bianna Wu types (aka professional victims.) True both sides have pretty **** people and like I knew gaming journalism was a cesspool of corruption and before it wasn't that big of a hurdle. Just go to gamer's opinion sites to get legitimate reviews, instead of the media. But I have never before witnessed such a willingness by the media to throw it's consumer base under the freaking bus like that. And for what? To keep their corruption going a while longer? To appease these SJW types who don't seem to make up a large portion of their customer market anyway? Like it baffles me still. It seems to me like a pretty stupid marketing decision. But whatever. If you want the real story you basically now have to wade through YouTube or worse Twitter. So I guess I can see why dependency on news would be the more appealing option in some cases.

    Then again, maybe I put too much faith in people's ability to question or be skeptical. Like for instance I remember a friend on Facebook sharing a link where coke and milk were mixed together and it created, well the standard curdling process obviously. She commented something like "ew this is what coke does to your innards" to which I responded sarcastically saying something like "it creates cheese? 0_o"
    Then when she was a little upset that I didn't denounce the evil of coke, I responded with something like "the chemical reaction of coke and milk would not be the same reaction as coke mixing with stomach acid. You can't equate the two." And then she seemed impressed with my "education." To which I responded, "umm, I learnt that from watching the Magic School Bus when I was like 7."
    Or another who linked this "this is what the health department doesn't tell you" type of sites, with eating advice. To which a quick Google search revealed the guy behind it was a long discredited hack.
    I like my friends, they're good peeps. But sometimes I find their deductive skills and willingness to just believe any random internet link a little disconcerting.

    I guess this is not really to argue against your points, just random rambling.
     
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