AS197: Goldsmiths Followup; Radicalizing Muslims

Today I’ve got some more Tommentary for you. Because I’m pretty sure Eli and Cog Dis will all agree with me on the Goldsmiths issue, I decided to tackle a brief portion of commenter Mike Samsa’s incredibly long disagreements with me on the treatment of Maryam Namazie. It amazes me that someone could condone how she was treated but apparently it’s possible! Also, I talk about a Faisal Saeed Al Mutar post relating to radicalizing Muslims. Are we sending them right into ISIS’s hands?

24 thoughts on “AS197: Goldsmiths Followup; Radicalizing Muslims”

  1. Now you see why, if you hadn’t noticed before, I only deal with small snippets of Mike Samsa’s comments. There’s just too much there, and trying to address everything he has to say would give me a headache.

    The thing is he’s an SJW. Another thing that I should have included in my definition is that they consider potentially offending what they perceive as oppressed classes, or potentially giving ammunition to oppressors trumps everything, including free speech.
    Unfortunately you can’t even hate them because their, what I see as wrong thinking, comes from empathy.

    1. “The thing is he’s an SJW.”

      I think this is a perfect demonstration of the meaninglessness of the term “SJW”, where it now just means “someone who disagrees with me” or, at best, “someone left of me”.

      “Another thing that I should have included in my definition is that they consider potentially offending what they perceive as oppressed classes, or potentially giving ammunition to oppressors trumps everything, including free speech.”

      This seems like a strange claim to make given that most of my positions are based on a fierce defence of free speech. What I disagree with its a warped view of ‘free speech’ which simply means ‘free from consequences’.

        1. It’s okay if you have no response to me disproving your claim, but I’d hope that you could leave the childish comments out of it. Just put your ideology and personal beliefs aside for a second and address the logic of the arguments, and if you can’t find an intelligent response then consider the possibility that your position isn’t an intelligent one to hold.

      1. “What I disagree with its a warped view of ‘free speech’ which simply means ‘free from consequences’.”

        No one is saying that, how about allowing someone to speak, and then suffer the consequences, You want to skip part one. Unless by consequences you’re saying if someone says something you don’t like they shouldn’t be allowed to speak in the future as a consequence, which is retarded.

        1. “No one is saying that, how about allowing someone to speak, and then suffer the consequences, You want to skip part one.”

          That’s a completely backwards way of doing it though. If you know someone is going to be presenting shitty views, and you don’t want them presenting shitty views in your community, then you don’t allow them to speak. That’s how free speech works, that’s the consequence of holding views which are shitty – people reject you from their communities.

          There is no right to an audience. You have free speech, you just have to do it elsewhere.

          “Unless by consequences you’re saying if someone says something you don’t like they shouldn’t be allowed to speak in the future as a consequence, which is retarded.”

          Maybe leave the slurs out of it, but yes, the consequences of someone’s actions can obviously include future actions. If someone is a KKK member and they’re coming to speak at my house about how black people are inferior, I’m not going to say: “You know, he was a KKK member in the past but I can’t really hold that against him. Maybe in his speech today he’s going to talk about how we need to fight for civil rights”.

          Of course not, that’s ridiculous. If someone has a history of saying shitty things then a consequence of that is that people aren’t going to want them speaking in their communities.

  2. Hey Thomas, looking forward to to hearing your responses to some of my concerns but haven’t had a chance to listen yet. I was a little curious as to what this means though:

    “It amazes me that someone could condone how she was treated but apparently it’s possible!”

    I assume you’re oversimplifying for the episode summary because obviously nothing I said condoned how she was treated. I stated that I didn’t really know anything about her and only dealt with hypotheticals about university code of conduct policies.

  3. If you don’t mind, I’m going to respond as I listen as it makes it easier. I normally listen to the whole thing whilst working and then skip back through bits I wanted to respond to, so if you address something I write later in the podcast I’ll attempt to make that clear. In advance, again I apologise if it’s a long post. Obviously you don’t need to read the whole thing – I title the ‘chapters’ so you can skip to any you’re particularly interested in and can ignore the rest if you need/want.

    On “long posts, too much to respond to”: I’m sorry if this is a bad thing. I tend to respond a lot for two reasons: 1) writing is a big part of my job so a ‘quick response’ very easily becomes a mini-essay, and 2) you make a lot of interesting points that I like to give a different view on. To be clear, I absolutely don’t expect you to fully respond to everything I say, or even address my comments at all. I hope you don’t feel obliged to respond in any way, I just write to raise a different view and you can take it or leave it, nothing more is necessary.

    On “why I’m still a listener”: well I think my comments aren’t an accurate representation of how I feel about the show since I tend to comment when I have a disagreement, which only occurs on a couple of episodes on a couple of points. When I agree or like something then I tend not to post – which I now realise probably isn’t a good idea if your view of me is one of a mostly critical one.

    I pretty much only seem to disagree with you on a couple of issues, which tend to be social justice issues and whether Islam is a primary cause of terrorism. And I don’t post so I can tell you how wrong you are, I post because I think I might have information or an approach you hadn’t considered before.

    On “agreeing with the treatment of Namazie”: Hmm.. I’ll have to hear you out before responding here. I didn’t remember saying anything that could be construed as saying that, and reading back over my post I can’t see what you’re referring to.

    On “the first part being merely an assertion”: I don’t think “assertion” is a fair characterisation there, as I do go on to define what idea of safe space I think people have in mind. I’m happy if that turns out to be false but I don’t think it is. I do think that when people criticise safe spaces, for the most part they are rejecting a concept which refers to banning dissent and not allowing free discussion. I characterised it that way because that seemed to be description I got either from your show or the Cog Dis one, and I agreed with you/you guys on that view of “safe spaces” from people who oppose them.

    On “the policy is too broad”: I think the problem is that you’re conflating this “policy” with a law. It’s not meant to be an enforceable law, it’s more like a mission statement or a description of what their ideal environment would be. A union can take action on the basis of it, since they still want a safe environment for the students, but I think equating it to a law seems misguided.

    Your complaint with it being applied to the Namazie case seems a little confusing to me as well – because it wasn’t. Students have appealed to it, yes. But (from what I’ve read on the topic) the union and university hasn’t taken action on the basis of it. They seem to be agreeing with you that it doesn’t violate the safe space policy, and that Namazie should be allowed to speak there. That seems to be a success of the policy, no? The fact that some people can misunderstand it or misapply it shouldn’t be raised as a problem for the policy given that the same can be said for literally every single policy or law ever proposed.

    On “it seems fine because the language is fine”: that’s not my argument at all. I’m saying that the policy and what it advocates is very standard stuff for all universities, it’s just now that it’s called “safe space” people seem upset by it. In other words, in the past many universities have attempted to host people who are neo Nazis or holocaust deniers, or racists who argue that black people are innately less intelligent, etc, and these people have been turned away from universities based on codes of conduct that are similar to this “safe space” policy. It’s not a problem if it’s vague, that’s something the community needs to come together on and decide where to draw the line on a case by case basis.

    Like I said in my last comment, this is like how scientific conferences work. The search for truth is awesome and that’s what we want to do, but it’s not like scientists will let anyone talk on any topic at the expense of the potential safety of their colleagues. In the past this was just called common sense and basic courtesy, but today people call it a “safe space”. Only with the change in terminology has it somehow become a ‘problem’.

    On “anti-safe space on how it’s being applied here”: But, importantly, it’s not being applied here. The university seems to disagree with the appeal. To disagree with what’s being proposed as the safe space policy is to disagree with the idea that discrimination, racism, sexism, slurs, etc, shouldn’t be hosted and implicitly or explicitly condoned by the university – which is what I’m saying shouldn’t be controversial and I’m assuming you aren’t disagreeing with. You can still obviously disagree with the actual contents of the policy, like how it’s written, what methods they have to enforce them, how to deal with gray areas, etc etc. But surely the core idea of “the university shouldn’t encourage people to be dicks to each other” is fairly uncontroversial?

    On “saying you’re wrong in 4 different ways”: I’m sorry you feel that way. My first two sentences were meant to be a summary of what I understood your position to be and the one you had described as the general understanding of safe spaces. That part wasn’t even a challenge to anything you’d said. As for the tactic of focusing on the big stuff, I don’t know how to phrase this but I already do. To keep my posts to the length that they are I leave out any pedantic or unnecessary points, and what’s left are what I think are core disagreements.

    On “not banning dissent, etc”: But they aren’t, that’s not what they’re doing. They are protesting someone that they feel is actively harmful to their safety – regardless of the truth of that accusation, the fact is that they view it as a safety concern, not as a disagreement of opinion where they feel the need to shut down opposing views.

    I understand that you are saying that it has the effect of shutting down dissenting views, but I don’t think that’s the case. To continue an example I raise above, so whilst I know of racist speakers being turned away from universities based on the safety of colleagues, I also know of the same universities allowing distinguished researchers to speak on things like genetic components of intelligence and differences between races. I can agree that not every university gets every decision on this matter right, but to me it seems clear that there’s a difference between stopping a bigoted person speaking (which has the effect of shutting down their ‘dissent’), and stopping someone from promoting a view that isn’t popular.

    On the Islamphobia site: I never said it was convincing, just that it makes a reasonable argument that needs to be addressed. Your characterisation of what information that site contains seems a little limited as well. It starts off by talking about the book where she distinguishes her position from that of the far right, but it goes on to give a number of problematic examples – like how she wrote an article directly following the 7/7 attacks basically saying that there is no real “moderate” Islam, and in a later article arguing that the Muslim Council of Britain would be killing gay people if they had state power.

    I mean, I can agree that some of the claims in there are a stretch and require interpretation, and I’m still not sure where I fall on the issue as it wasn’t really relevant enough to my position to look further into it, but it’s clear that she’s said some things which has caused Muslims to fear for their safety and the students have reacted to that. I just don’t think it’s something we can dismiss out of hand. Describing it as a “difference of opinion” isn’t accurate at all…

    On “Who gets to decide”: you said it yourself, the union. And, as you note, they deemed her not to violate the safe space policy. So arguing that the safe space policy is flawed because of how it was applied to Namazie seems like a mistake to me, since the application to her was to deem her to not be in violation of it.

    On the idea that I don’t care about the behavior of the students at all: Whoa, hold up there. I’m not sure where you’re getting any of this. I didn’t discuss it because it wasn’t relevant to my points and my posts were long enough so I left out any bits that are unnecessary. I agree that the behavior of the students seems to violate the safe space policy and likely numerous codes of conduct. They can be investigated and whatever is deemed appropriate action for them will hopefully be carried out. But my point was about whether the attempt to reject Namazie based on the safe space policy represented a problem with the concept of safe spaces, and the behavior of the students is irrelevant to that.

    I feel like part of the reason you view me as being more critical than I think I’m being and reaching some of these conclusions is that you’re reading too much into what I’m writing (which is definitely to be applauded, given that I write enough as it is so adding more to it is no easy feat!). A simple rule of thumb is that if I haven’t stated my view on some issue, it’s just because I’ve cut it out in a feeble attempt to make my posts somewhat manageable to read – it’s not because I secretly hold some awful view that condones threats and intimidation.

    On how you don’t know how I can be defending that: Just to clarify again, I’m not and never have.

    On “the barebones website”: It’s fine if you disagree with the content of the website. I didn’t say it was proof, I said it makes a reasonable case (I’m not sure what it being from 2011 adds to this? I suppose she could have “changed her ways” if she had done anything wrong but I don’t think the students would agree with that). Being reasonable and being undeniably true are two different things. And I covered why pointing out that she’s an ex-Muslim isn’t a valid argument in my last post, Gay people can be homophobes, black people can be racist, and *ex*-Muslims can mostly certainly be Islamophobes. Again, whether she is or not isn’t a point I’m trying to make and have never been trying to make. My argument is simply not to dismiss these students’ concerns out of hand, and instead looking at some of the things they might be worried about. They can still be wrong, but them being wrong wouldn’t affect my arguments on safe spaces so I didn’t feel the need to address that in my last post.

    You mention the bit about tying Islam to terrorism but slightly change my claim there. The problem is tying Islam *as a whole* to terrorism. Talking about there being links between Islam and terrorism is fairly reasonable (or trivially true depending on what exactly the claim is), but the problematic aspect is saying things like moderate Islam doesn’t exist and publicly implying that all Muslims are just as dangerous as the terrorists if they had half a chance. In a time when anti-Muslim bigotry is at an all time high, it’s not unreasonable to be concerned about such statements.

    The first part is okay to debate, the second is something we need to ask ourselves if it’s really necessary and, if we go ahead, we make sure we do so carefully in order to avoid any harm coming from our comments (i.e. we discuss things responsibly and take consequences into consideration). The link between Islam and Christianity is a bit skewed though – I’d make the same claim for both that I make above, but in our current world the second concern isn’t really a problem for Christians. I’m not really aware of any large scale violence towards Christians in Western countries, so I don’t think having such a debate feeds into any stereotypes or hatred towards them.

    If someone were to simply say “Maybe some of the ideas in Islam are motivating terrorists” then I obviously wouldn’t say that’s a case of racism or anything that violates the university’s safe space policy. I’m not sure why you’d think I’d say that. My concern is with Islamophobia, not criticism of Islam.

    On “I still think the ISOC is in the right”: That seems like a much stronger claim than what I made in my post. Of course it was impossibly long so I’m going to chalk these misunderstandings up to that, but my argument wasn’t that they were “right” (and certainly not on their actual behavior) but rather that I felt that there was no example of a problem with the safe space policy being raised by them wanting Namazie banned from campus. In my post I state that whether their accusation of her violating the safe space policy is a matter for the students and union to decide, I made no claim as to whether the ISOC was in the right.

    On “you don’t think there’s that much of a concern”: well, I don’t think you’re in a position to state that. The fact is that there is a concern. I say that because the students clearly are concerned, I don’t think they’re faking that. As I say though, we can accept that they are concerned and argue that the speech should still be allowed to go ahead (e.g. by arguing that their concern is misplaced with Namazie and that she isn’t an Islamophobe).

    On how it’s funny that I’ve ignored the LGBT issues with the ISOC leader: I don’t think it’s too funny, as I did dedicate a paragraph to it (but again understandable that it was missed due to the length of my posts). I spelled it out in long form but the basis was that it’s essentially just an ad hominem – it’s an irrelevant characteristic that doesn’t at all take away from the validity of their argument. He could be a baby eating, devil worshipping, neo Nazi who thinks it was a good idea to cancel Firefly after the first season. But I don’t think that detracts from the argument over safe spaces. I don’t know anything about him so I’ll take your word for it, he’s a terrible person and his stance on the issue is hypocritical as his presence is likely more a violation of safe spaces than Namazie. That doesn’t help us get any closer to solving the problem I set out to address in my post though.

    I really don’t see how I was dismissive of the point. I was dismissive of it’s *relevance* to the argument, but due to length constraints I figured you wouldn’t be interested in me stating my very obvious personal disagreement with his stance. If he violates the safe space policy then by all means, burn the guy at the stake for all I care. He sounds terrible anyway. I just don’t see why I’d need to address every possible violation of the safe space policy before discussing whether there’s a valid case of its application to Namazie here – surely the evidence in that situation stands or falls on its own without reference to other possible violations?

    On Muslims and apostasy: It’s a terrible thing. The Pew statistics suggests that it varies wildly and tends to mostly be a problem in non Western countries, but yeah, someone who argues that apostates should be murdered definitely wouldn’t be suitable in a safe space (especially when that community includes ex-Muslims).

    On safe spaces being mutually exclusive: I really don’t see how you’re reaching this conclusion. I think it’s fine to say that Islamophobes aren’t allowed, and fundamentalist Muslims who argue for the death of some of the community aren’t allowed either. I don’t see why we’d need to draw the line at overt calls to violent action – a place of higher learning like a university can’t function if it allows bigotry in, especially if it implicitly endorses it. I’m not sure why you keep describing the link I provided as containing information “that I don’t like” – again that seems unnecessarily dismissive. It’s not a matter of whether I “like” it or not, it’s just about whether it promotes harmful attitudes towards Muslims (rather than simply criticising the religion).

    Obviously her fighting for feminist rights has absolutely nothing to do with whether she’s an Islamophobe or not. Germaine Greer has done a lot of work fighting for feminist issues, she’s still a horrible transphobe though. I don’t see anywhere that I, or others, have said that she can’t talk about the horrible practices committed by Muslims.

    On “humans rights”: Yes, we’re talking about the safe space policy which talks about being free from discrimination and bigotry. Yes, free speech is often considered to be a human right too, but I don’t see how any of this violates that. The right to free speech obviously doesn’t mean you’re free to speak about whatever you like wherever you like. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but I’m a staunch defender of free speech, you won’t find me arguing against the necessity of free speech anywhere. I just disagree with what you term “free speech fundamentalism”, which I’d view as the idea that you are free to speak about whatever you like wherever and whenever you like.

    If I was convinced that Namazie was an Islamophobe and she saw my posts here and said she wanted to come around to dinner to correct me on my views, I would be perfectly free to tell her to go away because she’s a dirty Islamophobe (I wouldn’t because I’m not sure if she is, and she seems reasonable enough to have an interesting discussion with) – that wouldn’t violate her free speech. However, if I was a Muslim and felt threatened by her past comments, then telling me that I had to host her (even if it’s in the basement and I don’t have to attend) would be a violation of my rights.

    On approaching issues as if we’re on the same page: that’s because I think we are. Most of my points above have been me trying to figure out how you’ve come to a specific conclusion about me based on things I haven’t written. Once you strip those away, I can’t actually find where we disagree. We both seem to agree that the safe space policy is a nice idea, we can both agree that it could be worded better to be more enforceable and actionable, we both agree that the actions of the ISOC was wrong, and that the leader is some asshole bigot, and the only other disagreement I can think of is whether the evidence for Namazie being an Islamophobe either (1) exists but is possibly wrong, or (2) doesn’t exist so is necessarily wrong.

    On safe spaces being a privilege: sure, in a way, but they’re a privileged based on protecting the human rights of individuals. This is why I think there is confusion over what a safe space is, and in the actual policy I think it makes it clear that they view this right as being free from discrimination and bigotry. I’m not sure what you meant when you said that you “support the human rights of BOTH groups” – what is the other group in that section? In that paragraph I was simply saying that the support for Muslims to have a place free of bigotry is not negated by the leader of that Muslim group being a horrible bigot. I’m not sure what other group you’re talking about there, as neither the LGBT group or ISOC held a position where free speech was relevant there.

    Anyway, again I don’t think we’re really disagreeing much at all. Part of the problem I guess is the text format where you seem to be interpreting much of what I say as flawed descriptions of your position when I don’t think anything you quoted even addressing what I think your position is. I try to be clear with what I think which is why I end up writing a lot, but maybe it somehow makes it harder to figure out my position. That seems counterintuitive to me but I’ll give it some thought.

    1. “On “the policy is too broad”: I think the problem is that you’re conflating this “policy” with a law. It’s not meant to be an enforceable law, it’s more like a mission statement or a description of what their ideal environment would be.”

      If your policy is not to cause offense to anyone, then you are obviously going to ere on that side, and not invite, uninvite, or in the Namazie case, support the protest/harassment of anyone who a group of students finds offensive. The fact that a member of an oppressed class finds someone’s opinions to be racist, sexist, or bigoted, does not, contrary to SJW ideology, make it so. Their testimony, contrary to the position espoused by SJW Steve Shives on youtube is not de facto expert testimony. Again contrary to SJW ideology a black person for example saying something is racist does not make that a statement of fact, it’s still just an opinion.

      1. “If your policy is not to cause offense to anyone”

        I don’t think anyone would support a policy which says you shouldn’t cause offence.

        “The fact that a member of an oppressed class finds someone’s opinions to be racist, sexist, or bigoted, does not, contrary to SJW ideology, make it so. ”

        I’ve never claimed that it does, so I’m not sure why you’re directing this at me. My argument is that it’s up the students and union to determine whether Namazie’s position actually is bigoted and determine an appropriate response, at no point have I claimed that having an oppressed group simply claim that she’s a bigot makes her a bigot.

    2. Ok I read this whole thing. Thanks for some good clarifications. I think we do still disagree though. Sorry if I’ve misinterpreted your arguments due to tone and such. My mistake. The major issue for me is, the ISOC, the Goldsmiths feminist society, and the Goldsmiths LGBT society (and maybe others by now?) all came out and said the skeptic society violated the safe space policy by inviting Maryam. That’s the issue right there. I would not at all be surprised if they won the agreement of the student union. That’s something we can keep an eye though. But for you to say no one is using the safe space policy to restrict dissent is what I disagree with. I think we’d have to actually speak in order to argue meaningfully about it though.

      1. Thanks for the response, Thomas. With the remaining disagreement I just think we’re defining it slightly differently. To me it seems clear that they are banning what they think is a hateful speaker, which isn’t the same as banning dissent. If they came out and said: “We oppose Namazie because she says bad things about Islam and we don’t like people being critical of our religion”, then I’d be right there with you calling it bullshit and for it to be a case of banning dissent. But I feel like it’s a case of banning hate, which simply has the knock on effect of banning “dissent” (which is what the students are defining as a form of hate speech, rather than a difference of opinion or contradicting perspective).

        I can only suppose that the argument you’re making (and obviously correct me if I’m wrong) is that people are wielding the policy as a way to ban dissent. So the idea being that they don’t like the things she talks about, and so they claim they don’t feel safe in order to shut her up. If that’s the case then I guess it’s possible but I think the students genuinely do think she’s an Islamophobe.

        1. “To me it seems clear that they are banning what they think is a hateful speaker, which isn’t the same as banning dissent.”

          Their intent, even assuming it isn’t to ban dissent, is irrelevant. The consequence IS still the banning of dissent. And who gets to be in charge of determining what is hateful?

          1. “Their intent, even assuming it isn’t to ban dissent, is irrelevant. The consequence IS still the banning of dissent.”

            It’s not irrelevant, it’s the fundamental point of this discussion. The claim is that the safe space is used to ban dissent – if it’s used to ban hate speech and it turns out that that “stifles dissent” (in the form of the hate speech) then it makes no sense to say that the policy is being used to stifle dissent.

            Think of it this way: at scientific conferences we have policies which reject sub-standard work and don’t allow ridiculous unevidenced ideas in. The policy here is to ban low quality submissions but it obviously also has the effect of “banning dissent” (in the form of low quality work), but it makes no sense to say that scientific conferences are set up to ban dissent. Dissent is fine, you can disagree with them (in the same way you can disagree with positions relevant to minorities on campuses), you just can’t present low quality work (or make hateful comments in the university case).

          2. “The claim is that the safe space is used to ban dissent – if it’s used to ban hate speech and it turns out that that “stifles dissent” (in the form of the hate speech) then it makes no sense to say that the policy is being used to stifle dissent.”

            A distinction largely without a difference. If Namzie had been banned the claim would have been she’s hateful. Why is she hateful? Because she has dissenting opinions that to some Muslims are hateful. Obviously they aren’t going to say “we’re banning dissent”, but the consequence is the same.

          3. “A distinction largely without a difference. If Namzie had been banned the claim would have been she’s hateful. Why is she hateful? Because she has dissenting opinions that to some Muslims are hateful. Obviously they aren’t going to say “we’re banning dissent”, but the consequence is the same.”

            But that’s simply not true, they demonstrably aren’t claiming she’s hateful because she has dissenting views. We know it’s not true because they’ve explained that they’re against what they view as islamaphobia. If you want to argue that they’re lying then go for it, I see no evidence to think that’s true though.

            And whether the consequence is the same or not is irrelevant, as demonstrated by my argument in the last post that you didn’t address.

          4. “But that’s simply not true, they demonstrably aren’t claiming she’s hateful because she has dissenting views. We know it’s not true because they’ve explained that they’re against what they view as islamaphobia.”

            And why do they call it Islamophobia? Because she’s expressing a view of Islam that is dissenting from theirs, When I said to you in another comment that I found it ridiculous to say it’s racism when someone opposes affirmative action, you disagreed. If someone is expressing the opinion that affirmative action is infantilizing, stigmatizing, and can cause people not to work as hard as they might if they couldn’t count on that assistance, that IS NOT racism. In fact it’s the opposite of racism. The person might be wrong in his analysis, but his opinion does not imply he’s a racist. That’s the problem with setting speech policies that are based on subjective perceptions.

          5. “And why do they call it Islamophobia? Because she’s expressing a view of Islam that is dissenting from theirs,”

            Huh? No, Islamophobia isn’t about disagreeing with Islam – if that were the case then anyone who disagreed with Islam would be considered an Islamophobe, which obviously isn’t the case.

            It’s called Islamophobia because it’s talking about the hatred and fear being spread about Muslim people (and often “Muslim” here just means any brown person since Islamophobia is often a racist thing). It has nothing to do with dissenting opinions, where did you get that idea from?

            “When I said to you in another comment that I found it ridiculous to say it’s racism when someone opposes affirmative action, you disagreed. If someone is expressing the opinion that affirmative action is infantilizing, stigmatizing, and can cause people not to work as hard as they might if they couldn’t count on that assistance, that IS NOT racism. In fact it’s the opposite of racism. The person might be wrong in his analysis, but his opinion does not imply he’s a racist. That’s the problem with setting speech policies that are based on subjective perceptions.”

            Uh no, what you’ve described sounds incredibly racist. If somebody opposed affirmative action on those grounds then they’d almost definitely be a racist.

            I think what you’re trying to say is that it’s possible to oppose affirmative action without having racist reasons and sure, I can agree with that in theory, but that’s not relevant here as it’s not like anyone is making blanking generalisations about assuming people who disagree with Islam are Islamophobes.

            That’s why these speech policies are so effective, because they’re based on objective facts and not subjective perceptions.

          6. Hey Mike, any chance you’re following what’s going on with Maryam on Twitter currently? She’s expressing her disagreement with Douglas Murray, Sam Harris and others. She doesn’t like Harris’s stance on profiling and Murray on immigration, etc. I just think it makes it even more odd that people could accuse her of being Islamophobic.

          7. You’re wasting your time Thomas, Mike believes Maryam Namazie.is an Islamophobe as a matter of faith, there is nothing that will disabuse him of the opinion.

          8. “You’re wasting your time Thomas, Mike believes Maryam Namazie.is an Islamophobe as a matter of faith, there is nothing that will disabuse him of the opinion.”

            That’s news to me, Mike. I’ve never claimed that she’s an Islamophobe – what makes you say that? And nothing I’ve said depends on faith, are you referring to the evidence I presented earlier which suggested that she might be considered an Islamophobe?

      2. Thanks for the heads up about that twitter discussion, it’s a good read!

        I think I get where you’re coming from, in that if someone defends Muslim-related issues it seems strange to call them an Islamophobe. But to me it seems like that might be a confusion due to the absolutist connotations words like that have – so if someone is a homophobe, we assume that means they’re against gay rights and gay people, and wouldn’t defend them on any issue.

        However, I have relatives who argued fairly fiercely against gay marriage but who similarly would criticise and attack anyone who tried to dismiss the rights of gay people to be gay and live whatever life they want (as long as they don’t get married, as obviously that would cause the institution of marriage to collapse in on itself). To me, those people are still homophobes, even if they defend gay people elsewhere. And if those family members had public profiles and published their articles on why gay people shouldn’t be allowed to marry, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if gay people rejected them from their communities on the basis that they’re homophobes – regardless of whether those family members also challenge other homophobic claims.

        The point being that I don’t think making positive statements about Muslim-related issues would rule her out as an Islamophobe – if she makes those comments about Harris, but then also supports Trump’s ideas about concentration camps or whatever, then the label would be valid (obviously she doesn’t, that’s just an extreme example). The question is just whether the statements that Muslims are concerned about actually qualify as Islamophobic – if they do, then her comments about Harris don’t change that, and if they don’t, then her comments about Harris are just consistent with the fact that she isn’t Islamophobic.

        Personally, I didn’t know much about her before and was unsure what to make of the Islamophobic claims, but her tweets have left me with a positive view of her!

  4. Damn, I wrote all that and I still didn’t add everything I wanted to! I wanted to also say that the reason I try to comment as much as I do, with the detail that I do, is because I view it as my way of supporting the show and I feel bad that it doesn’t seem to be perceived that way. I unfortunately don’t have the spare cash to help fund the show so I thought another way I could support you would be to let you know that you’re sparking discussion and raising interesting issues.

    Again, I didn’t mean to come across so negative but I think it’s just an unfortunate selection bias – if I replied with a comment on everything I agreed with then you’ll get even longer posts with very boring discussion that just repeats backs things you said that I agreed with.

  5. I no longer feel guilty about the length of comments I have left on podcast sites sometimes. I don’t feel guilty about any of them.

    Having been set free, I think I’ll get some breakfast and read the newspaper.

    Have a wonderful day, everyone.

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