IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Social Issues & Current Events
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
View Poll Results: Is is okay to insult opponents on their views?
Not just okay, but a duty! 8 10.53%
Yes, it is okay to insult opponents. 15 19.74%
No, it is not effective. 27 35.53%
No, it is dehumanizing. 18 23.68%
I don't have an opinion on this. 2 2.63%
XXXX you, snowflake! 6 7.89%
Voters: 76. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
Old 20th January 2021, 07:37 AM   #1
angrysoba
Philosophile
 
angrysoba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Osaka, Japan
Posts: 29,352
CHUDs, TERFs, SJWs, Bernie Bros: Is it okay to insult opponents?

It has been argued in another thread (in an off-topic aside) that using insults for opponents is a) ineffective/counter-productive and b) dehumanizing.

Do you agree with this, and should people refrain from using terms that insult or mock people's views/affiliations?

Please note that this is distinct from terms that insult people for being of a certain gender, ethnicity or sexuality.
__________________
"The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before."

"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
angrysoba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 07:46 AM   #2
Mike!
Official Ponylandistanian National Treasure. Respect it!
 
Mike!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ponylandistan! Where the bacon grows on trees! Can it get any better than that? I submit it can not!
Posts: 40,212
I like the unofficial 'Planet Quadruple X' option.
__________________
"Never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes...
Because then it won't really matter, you’ll be a mile away and have his shoes."
Mike! is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 07:47 AM   #3
SuburbanTurkey
Philosopher
 
SuburbanTurkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 7,925
There's a lot significant variation in the examples your provide.

CHUDs, for example, is obvious hyperbole and meant to be derogatory. Nobody actually thinks these people are cannibals from the subway.

The others, like TERF, SJW, and Bernie Bro, can be accurate descriptors or not, depending on usage. TERF, for example, literally started life as a non-insult descriptor. The woman who coined it was a feminist trying to articulate the apparent divide between trans inclusionary radical feminists from those that were trans exclusionary.

using "TERF" to describe a feminist who's transphobia is couched in feminist theory is not inaccurate. It's not more an insult than calling someone advocating for a white ethnostate a white nationalist. Calling someone a TERF who isn't a feminist is simply inaccurate, and I suppose it could be used as an insult if knowingly done so.



Likewise Bernie Bro. Used against a young, male supporter of Sanders, I suppose it's true. Used against any other supporter of Sanders, as it often was, it is on it's face inaccurate and probably intended as an insult.

And so on. Context and intention matter.

A common phenomena we see is that groups that earn a negative reputation often attempt to evade that reputation by rebranding and claiming that the non-insult descriptor is a personal attack. White nationalism becomes "america first". Fascists and neo-nazis become "alt-right". TERFs become "gender critical". Nothing has really changed about these groups, they are simply trying to distance themselves from a negative reputation that may or may not be rightfully earned.
__________________
Gobble gobble

Last edited by SuburbanTurkey; 20th January 2021 at 07:59 AM.
SuburbanTurkey is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 07:51 AM   #4
Cavemonster
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 6,479
They're clearly not ineffective.

For instance, the rise of the term "SJW" has been very effective in focussing right wing anger and group cohesion in identifying their enemy. We watched the term more or less being birthed in real time and I believe it played a role in Trump's 2016 victory.

Yes, you catch more flies with honey, but I really wonder how much social change really happens because of deep empathetic exchange of ideas. There are a few hallmark moments of brave campaigners hugging KKK members and changing their hearts, but I really doubt that's scalable or has ever played a major role.

Society changes more when bad behavior becomes socially unacceptable, and it shifts by generations and gravestones.

It's considered shameful to say the 'N' word in public anymore. Not because 100% of people discovered a deep empathy for the feelings of black people hearing it, but because it's been shamed.

Call me a cynic, but I don't see a reason to think that pleading with the better nature of ******** is a better method of change thanthe social steps that make clear that certain positions and actions are not acceptable.
__________________
The weakness of all Utopias is this, ... They first assume that no man will want more than his share, and then are very ingenious in explaining whether his share will be delivered by motorcar or balloon.
-G.K. CHESTERTON
Cavemonster is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 07:51 AM   #5
JoeMorgue
Self Employed
Remittance Man
 
JoeMorgue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Florida
Posts: 30,629
If you're pearl clutching about anything the Trump supporters are being called and you haven't been in an absolute state of across the board non-stop outrage about what Trump has been saying/calling people, spare me.

I get it. There's a lot of people out there that think there is some vital service to be had in really, really tone policing the "correct" side of the discussion to extreme degrees because they have zero idea of what "fairness" and "balance" actually mean. I just think it's insane.
__________________
Yahtzee: "You're doing that thing again where when asked a question you just discuss the philosophy of the question instead of answering the bloody question."
Gabriel: "Well yeah, you see..."
Yahtzee: "No. When you are asked a Yes or No question the first word out of your mouth needs to be Yes or No. Only after that have you earned the right to elaborate."

Last edited by JoeMorgue; 20th January 2021 at 08:01 AM.
JoeMorgue is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 07:59 AM   #6
Thermal
Penultimate Amazing
 
Thermal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: East Coast USA
Posts: 13,479
The term doesn't matter. The intent does.

If you mean to dehumanize your adversary, it comes across whether you call them CHUD, SJW, or sir. Heal thyself before pollicing the language.
__________________
We find comfort among those who agree with us, growth among those who don't -Frank A. Clark

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect -Mark Twain
Thermal is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 08:00 AM   #7
gnome
Penultimate Amazing
 
gnome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 11,049
I feel like there's a variant missing between options 2 and 3... but I was closest to 2 ("yes").

My caveat would be that it's not always OK, nor always a good idea.
__________________

gnome is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 08:02 AM   #8
angrysoba
Philosophile
 
angrysoba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Osaka, Japan
Posts: 29,352
Yeah, I forgot the "It depends" option.
__________________
"The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before."

"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
angrysoba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 08:03 AM   #9
dasmiller
Just the right amount of cowbell
 
dasmiller's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Well past Hither, looking for Yon
Posts: 6,379
Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
If you're pearl clutching about anything the Trump supporters are being called and you haven't been in an absolute state of across the board non-stop outrage about what Trump has been saying/calling people, spare me.

I get it. There's a lot of people out there that thing there is some vital service to be had in really, really tone policing the "correct" side of the discussion to extreme degrees because they have zero idea of what "fairness" and "balance" actually mean. I just think it's insane.
Yes, absolutely, I've been outraged by what Trump has been saying and calling people. But I'd like to see less of that, not more.
__________________
"In times of war, we need warriors. But this isn't a war." - Phil Plaitt
dasmiller is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 08:08 AM   #10
angrysoba
Philosophile
 
angrysoba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Osaka, Japan
Posts: 29,352
Originally Posted by dasmiller View Post
Yes, absolutely, I've been outraged by what Trump has been saying and calling people. But I'd like to see less of that, not more.
I think Joe is saying that being outraged by Trump's words is a prerequisite for being outraged by what people say about his crazed fans. Your position sounds perfectly consistent to me.
__________________
"The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before."

"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
angrysoba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 08:13 AM   #11
ahhell
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 3,408
Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
They're clearly not ineffective.

For instance, the rise of the term "SJW" has been very effective in focussing right wing anger and group cohesion in identifying their enemy. We watched the term more or less being birthed in real time and I believe it played a role in Trump's 2016 victory.

Yes, you catch more flies with honey, but I really wonder how much social change really happens because of deep empathetic exchange of ideas. There are a few hallmark moments of brave campaigners hugging KKK members and changing their hearts, but I really doubt that's scalable or has ever played a major role.

Society changes more when bad behavior becomes socially unacceptable, and it shifts by generations and gravestones.

It's considered shameful to say the 'N' word in public anymore. Not because 100% of people discovered a deep empathy for the feelings of black people hearing it, but because it's been shamed.

Call me a cynic, but I don't see a reason to think that pleading with the better nature of ******** is a better method of change thanthe social steps that make clear that certain positions and actions are not acceptable.
I voted, "ineffective" but I think cave monster has a good point. It basically depends on what effect you are trying to have. The are shibboleths that identify in group members and foster in group cohesion. I think they tend to alienate the non-fully aligned outsiders. I also think they probably also help to foster group cohesion among the targets.

If your goal is to convince folks of something, they are probably counter-productive.
ahhell is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 08:14 AM   #12
JoeMorgue
Self Employed
Remittance Man
 
JoeMorgue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Florida
Posts: 30,629
Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I think Joe is saying that being outraged by Trump's words is a prerequisite for being outraged by what people say about his crazed fans. Your position sounds perfectly consistent to me.
Yes.

I have little patience for selective outrage, most especially the kind that all but or even fully admits it's only interested in taking the superior side "down a peg" then it is anything resembling an actual moral standard.
__________________
Yahtzee: "You're doing that thing again where when asked a question you just discuss the philosophy of the question instead of answering the bloody question."
Gabriel: "Well yeah, you see..."
Yahtzee: "No. When you are asked a Yes or No question the first word out of your mouth needs to be Yes or No. Only after that have you earned the right to elaborate."
JoeMorgue is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 08:36 AM   #13
johnny karate
... and your little dog too.
 
johnny karate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 14,460
I chose the second option, with the following caveat: While I have no problem with other people doing it (and even enjoy it from time to time), I personally choose to not do it myself (for the most part).

I do not, however, subscribe to this notion that somehow insulting Trump supporters is an obstacle to getting through to them or convincing them of anything. We’ve been hearing about the plight of the Aggrieved Conservative for years now, and have been force-fed the narrative that they’re some downtrodden demographic besieged by endless vitriol at the cruel hands of Liberals, Mainstream Media, Hollywood Elites, and other assorted meanies.

Time to change the channel on that bull ****. It’s all part of the grift and always has been. And if anything is an obstacle to unity in this country, it’s buying into that grift and granting it legitimacy, and allowing these people the unearned comfort of their delusions.
johnny karate is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 08:37 AM   #14
Joe Random
Master Poster
 
Joe Random's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,793
IMO they're useless at best, distracting at worst when used in a conversation.

TERF : in other words 'I'm pro-trans and you just said something I don't like'

SJW : now the conversation will bog down in trying to define what precisely either side means by SJW, rather than discussing the pros/cons of the person or behavior in question

Bernie Bro : lazy label that might have had utility when applied to a narrow set of a certain type of political junkie, but thrown around with such abandon that the meaning has been diluted to nothingness.

CHUD/Rethugnican/Demonrat : what the **** are you, twelve?

Hasn't discourse been coarsened enough with the outgoing Gasbag-in-Chief and his constant Twitter-based bloviating? I'm not taking a stand on 'does it hurt their feelings' or 'will this be effective in changing their minds or behavior', I'm just sick to death of public discourse sounding like I'm back in Junior High.
Joe Random is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 08:41 AM   #15
The Great Zaganza
Maledictorian
 
The Great Zaganza's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 14,649
It is not dehumanizing to generalize people according to their actions - it's stereotyping.

Unless you declare your opponents to be subhuman or demonic, it might be insulting, but it isn't dehumanizing.
__________________
So what are you going to do about it, huh?
What would an intellectual do?
What would Plato do?
The Great Zaganza is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 08:43 AM   #16
The Great Zaganza
Maledictorian
 
The Great Zaganza's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 14,649
And obviously, labeling your opponents is effective, or right-wing Pundits wouldn't do it so quickly and repeatedly.
__________________
So what are you going to do about it, huh?
What would an intellectual do?
What would Plato do?
The Great Zaganza is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 08:45 AM   #17
SuburbanTurkey
Philosopher
 
SuburbanTurkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 7,925
I have grown weary of Enlightened Centrists talking about the need for everyone to reason respectfully together as MAGA fascists have ruled for 4 years with an explicit policy of "**** your feelings"

No amount of jerking these people off with respectability politics is going to help the situation.
__________________
Gobble gobble
SuburbanTurkey is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 08:45 AM   #18
JoeMorgue
Self Employed
Remittance Man
 
JoeMorgue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Florida
Posts: 30,629
We had a discussion a while back about what makes something a religion and what makes something a cult and someone, not wrongly or even entirely without merit, pointed out that at the end it's just an insult, a cult is what you call a small religion you don't like.

I countered with that being the point. Words that have equal meaning to negative connotation are useful.
__________________
Yahtzee: "You're doing that thing again where when asked a question you just discuss the philosophy of the question instead of answering the bloody question."
Gabriel: "Well yeah, you see..."
Yahtzee: "No. When you are asked a Yes or No question the first word out of your mouth needs to be Yes or No. Only after that have you earned the right to elaborate."
JoeMorgue is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 08:58 AM   #19
The Great Zaganza
Maledictorian
 
The Great Zaganza's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 14,649
I think there is a basic misunderstanding; the point of labeling your opponent is not so much about insulting them, as to reinforce the sense of unity within your own group.
It's not so much 'THEY are bad' but rather 'if you interact with THEM, we will think that you have become bad."
__________________
So what are you going to do about it, huh?
What would an intellectual do?
What would Plato do?
The Great Zaganza is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 09:10 AM   #20
Distracted1
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 5,450
Originally Posted by SuburbanTurkey View Post
There's a lot significant variation in the examples your provide.

CHUDs, for example, is obvious hyperbole and meant to be derogatory. Nobody actually thinks these people are cannibals from the subway.

The others, like TERF, SJW, and Bernie Bro, can be accurate descriptors or not, depending on usage. TERF, for example, literally started life as a non-insult descriptor. The woman who coined it was a feminist trying to articulate the apparent divide between trans inclusionary radical feminists from those that were trans exclusionary.

using "TERF" to describe a feminist who's transphobia is couched in feminist theory is not inaccurate. It's not more an insult than calling someone advocating for a white ethnostate a white nationalist. Calling someone a TERF who isn't a feminist is simply inaccurate, and I suppose it could be used as an insult if knowingly done so.



Likewise Bernie Bro. Used against a young, male supporter of Sanders, I suppose it's true. Used against any other supporter of Sanders, as it often was, it is on it's face inaccurate and probably intended as an insult.

And so on. Context and intention matter.

A common phenomena we see is that groups that earn a negative reputation often attempt to evade that reputation by rebranding and claiming that the non-insult descriptor is a personal attack. White nationalism becomes "america first". Fascists and neo-nazis become "alt-right". TERFs become "gender critical". Nothing has really changed about these groups, they are simply trying to distance themselves from a negative reputation that may or may not be rightfully earned.
I have to agree here.
the examples displayed are not equivalent. Some are insults, some merely descriptive shorthand.
I believe the use of actual insults to be "dehumanizing"- and therefore counterproductive.

Descriptive shorthand like , although revealing a clear bias, does not take the conversation from a disagreement to an ad-hominem attack.
__________________
The man with one watch knows what time it is, the man with two watches is never sure.
Distracted1 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 09:13 AM   #21
Distracted1
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 5,450
Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
I think there is a basic misunderstanding; the point of labeling your opponent is not so much about insulting them, as to reinforce the sense of unity within your own group.
It's not so much 'THEY are bad' but rather 'if you interact with THEM, we will think that you have become bad."
In the 1950's it is the equivalent of suggesting that the person suggesting that a black man not be harassed be cowed by facing accusations of being a "******-lover".

That kind of nonsense is seeing a resurgence. It does not help.
__________________
The man with one watch knows what time it is, the man with two watches is never sure.
Distracted1 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 09:32 AM   #22
The Great Zaganza
Maledictorian
 
The Great Zaganza's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 14,649
IDK, to be honest.

Labels establish norms - the almost paranoid fear most Americans have of being labeled 'racist' is an indication that, generally, we don't tolerate clearly racially motivated discrimination - hence the proliferation of ways to discriminated covertly.
__________________
So what are you going to do about it, huh?
What would an intellectual do?
What would Plato do?
The Great Zaganza is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 10:04 AM   #23
8enotto
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Mexico
Posts: 1,865
Respect where it is due and truth to sll the rest.

Keep it within the obvious truth and its a description that some may take as an insult. Its on them to not be that truth.
8enotto is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 10:28 AM   #24
Mumbles
Philosopher
 
Mumbles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 8,405
"Bernie Stan" isn't just an insult, it's pointing out that Sanders' most fervent "supporters" were outright destructive to their own cause. See one Jimmy Dore, who now spends his videos screaming with anger because Sanders, AOC, and so on aren't nice enough to him. Turns out it was more on the nose than we thought, in his case. This illustrates the difference between an insult, and a description that someone may feel angry about ("TERF" is another example)

In any event, as long as you're deliberately showing your disgust, I obviously have no trouble with outright and personalized insults - which is why I'll continue to talk smack about Toupee Fiasco's twice-impeached Tower of Pisa-leaning behind.

However, they're most fun when they're personalized, avoid slurs and your weird hangups ("retard", "cuck", things I won't type here) which say more about the speaker, and so on. Hell, a quick jab at your friends, or yourself, can be fun too, so long as you're witty about it. Difficult to do on a forum like this, but when hanging out with a group of friends? It works in those cases.
Mumbles is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 11:44 AM   #25
Cavemonster
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 6,479
One small caveat.

Insults CAN have collateral damage.
When they're using language that is heavily gendered, or ableist or targets sexuality, then you're also spreading and reinforcing negativity about those who are not behaving badly.
__________________
The weakness of all Utopias is this, ... They first assume that no man will want more than his share, and then are very ingenious in explaining whether his share will be delivered by motorcar or balloon.
-G.K. CHESTERTON
Cavemonster is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 12:39 PM   #26
dann
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 13,561
Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
CHUDs, TERFs, SJWs, Bernie Bros: Is it okay to insult opponents?
It depends on what they did.

Quote:
It has been argued in another thread (in an off-topic aside) that using insults for opponents is a) ineffective/counter-productive and b) dehumanizing.
It depends on the insult.

Quote:
Do you agree with this, and should people refrain from using terms that insult or mock people's views/affiliations?
In general, no, but it is worth considering that an insult is not an argument. Calling somebody a Nazi is a poor substitute for criticism of National Socialism, but I don't see anything wrong with doing so and it is obviously not dehumanizing. Nazis are humans, and Nazis dehumanize.,
__________________
/dann
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
dann is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 12:48 PM   #27
ahhell
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 3,408
Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
I think there is a basic misunderstanding; the point of labeling your opponent is not so much about insulting them, as to reinforce the sense of unity within your own group.
It's not so much 'THEY are bad' but rather 'if you interact with THEM, we will think that you have become bad."
This is at least partially true. Name calling has other reasons to, it marks some folks ideas as outside of the overton window. And in some cases it does dehumanize, depends very much on the names and those doing the calling and those being called.

Originally Posted by dann View Post
It depends on what they did.

It depends on the insult.

In general, no, but it is worth considering that an insult is not an argument. Calling somebody a Nazi is a poor substitute for criticism of National Socialism, but I don't see anything wrong with doing so and it is obviously not dehumanizing. Nazis are humans, and Nazis dehumanize.,
IDK, when you have folks arguing that violence toward NAZI's is usually or always ok, then calling someone who is not a NAZI a NAZI is kind of dehumanizing. At least its labeling them as unworthy of the protections other humans are due. NAZI is a pretty good example of the problem with name calling. The names tend to loose any useful meaning as a result. You start by calling actual NAZI's NAZI's and but there are going to be people who end up just using NAZI to be anyone to the right of themselves. Commie becomes anyone to the left of themselves.

As to whether or not its okay, I think you should consider what you're goal is. If you want to signal your group or their group as to which side you are on, go ahead. If you want to convince folks of something, probably not.

Last edited by ahhell; 20th January 2021 at 12:55 PM.
ahhell is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 12:50 PM   #28
SuburbanTurkey
Philosopher
 
SuburbanTurkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 7,925
Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
IDK, when you have folks arguing that violence toward NAZI's is usually or always ok, then calling someone who is not a NAZI a NAZI is kind of dehumanizing. At least its labeling them as unworthy of the protections other humans are due.
Sure, but some people are actually NAZIs.

Yeah, calling a meter maid a nazi because you got a parking ticket is an insult. Calling someone who has a swastika chest tattoo a NAZI is just a reasonable deduction.

in the context of our current political moment, it is often not hyperbolic to describe people as Nazis or, more generally, fascists.
__________________
Gobble gobble
SuburbanTurkey is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 01:06 PM   #29
gnome
Penultimate Amazing
 
gnome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 11,049
To that, and to the point of being obsessed with being "Enlightened Centrists"--possibly insults are best saved for narrowly defined--individuals and small groups... and if you're going to make a statement about a broad set of people with a variety of motives and behavior, it may be better to avoid pejorative terms just because they have one thing in common you disapprove of.

"Who you calling 'broad' there?"
__________________


Last edited by gnome; 20th January 2021 at 01:09 PM.
gnome is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 01:13 PM   #30
TragicMonkey
Poisoned Waffles
 
TragicMonkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Monkey
Posts: 59,461
With any use of language, the words you choose will affect your message. We can each employ whatever words we wish, but we can't pretend to astonishment if our communication's reception is affected, fatso.
__________________
You added nothing to that conversation, Barbara.
TragicMonkey is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 03:07 PM   #31
ahhell
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 3,408
Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
With any use of language, the words you choose will affect your message. We can each employ whatever words we wish, but we can't pretend to astonishment if our communication's reception is affected, fatso.
Yep, its a bit like the "The confederate flag is just a celebration of southern culture" crowd. Okay, maybe that's why you like the flag so much but realize, the vast majority of us think its because you are a racist.
ahhell is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 04:22 PM   #32
smartcooky
Penultimate Amazing
 
smartcooky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Nelson, New Zealand
Posts: 16,783
Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
They're clearly not ineffective.

For instance, the rise of the term "SJW" has been very effective in focussing right wing anger and group cohesion in identifying their enemy. We watched the term more or less being birthed in real time and I believe it played a role in Trump's 2016 victory.

Yes, you catch more flies with honey, but I really wonder how much social change really happens because of deep empathetic exchange of ideas. There are a few hallmark moments of brave campaigners hugging KKK members and changing their hearts, but I really doubt that's scalable or has ever played a major role.

Society changes more when bad behavior becomes socially unacceptable, and it shifts by generations and gravestones.

It's considered shameful to say the 'N' word in public anymore. Not because 100% of people discovered a deep empathy for the feelings of black people hearing it, but because it's been shamed.

Call me a cynic, but I don't see a reason to think that pleading with the better nature of ******** is a better method of change than the social steps that make clear that certain positions and actions are not acceptable.
Bravo

... and nommed!

Appealing to the better nature of racists, white supremacists, fascists and other assorted deplorables is ultimately futile - they have no better nature to which you can appeal. Shaming them, insulting them and treating them like the scum-of-the-earth is a far better way to go, the namby-pamby way simply does not work!
__________________
I want to thank the 126 Republican Congress members for providing a convenient and well organized list for the mid-terms.
- Fred Wellman (Senior VA Advisor to The Lincoln Project)
If you don't like my posts, my opinions, or my directness then put me on your ignore list. This will be of benefit to both of us; you won't have to take umbrage at my posts, and I won't have to waste my time talking to you... simples! !

Last edited by smartcooky; 20th January 2021 at 04:23 PM.
smartcooky is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 04:45 PM   #33
arthwollipot
Observer of Phenomena
Pronouns: he/him
 
arthwollipot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Ngunnawal Country
Posts: 70,272
Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Yeah, I forgot the "It depends" option.
I think that even I would say that this is probably the most appropriate answer to the question.

As I said in the other thread, name-calling can be a great way of blowing off steam. Sometimes steam needs to be blown off and engaging in a bit of name-calling can feel really good, and can be calming and relaxing in times of high emotion. Like the way that swearing has been shown to dull pain.

And I have some sympathy to the idea that certain attitudes and behaviours should be culturally marginalised, and harsh terms can be a way of doing this. But also what Cavemonster said. It's important to take care to marginalise only the attitudes and behaviours you want to discourage, and not people, and especially not people who have historically been systematically discriminated against. It's a narrow line, but if you can walk it, more power to you.

So after careful thought I would say that it's okay to insult, if you do so thoughtfully and for the right reasons. I would discourage casual or thoughtless name-calling, but I can in no way stop you from doing it if you really want to.

Personally, I tend to avoid insults completely in most circumstances. But I'm not you.
__________________
Please scream inside your heart.
arthwollipot is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 05:12 PM   #34
arthwollipot
Observer of Phenomena
Pronouns: he/him
 
arthwollipot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Ngunnawal Country
Posts: 70,272
Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Appealing to the better nature of racists, white supremacists, fascists and other assorted deplorables is ultimately futile - they have no better nature to which you can appeal. Shaming them, insulting them and treating them like the scum-of-the-earth is a far better way to go, the namby-pamby way simply does not work!
Well, again, I think it depends. If your goal is to convince them of your point of view, insulting them to their face is definitely unlikely to be effective. It gives them an excuse to not seriously consider your argument. If your goal is something other than that, well, it depends. If your goal is to reduce your own stress, it's perfect.
__________________
Please scream inside your heart.
arthwollipot is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 05:39 PM   #35
angrysoba
Philosophile
 
angrysoba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Osaka, Japan
Posts: 29,352
Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
One small caveat.

Insults CAN have collateral damage.
When they're using language that is heavily gendered, or ableist or targets sexuality, then you're also spreading and reinforcing negativity about those who are not behaving badly.
Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
It's important to take care to marginalise only the attitudes and behaviours you want to discourage, and not people, and especially not people who have historically been systematically discriminated against.
I already noted that...

Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post

Please note that this is distinct from terms that insult people for being of a certain gender, ethnicity or sexuality.
But I have a question about the word "historically". Does it make a difference if there is a history of discrimination?

If there was a sudden new genetic mutation that made some people have purple hair and orange eyes, would it be okay to use insulting language towards them just because there is no history of doing so?

I think obviously not. For me, it would come down to immutable features. Generally speaking, we don't consider gender, ethnicity and sexuality to be particularly flexible. It is unreasonable to insult them on those grounds. However, if I voted for the "Leopards eating peoples face" party because I like the cut of their jib, then that is surely open to ridicule/insult.
__________________
"The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before."

"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
angrysoba is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 05:48 PM   #36
rockinkt
Master Poster
 
rockinkt's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 2,096
IMHO - The most important thing is ensuring your name calling and labels are accurate and you have overwhelming evidence to back up your accusation or assertion.
When you start throwing names around and accusing people of being something they are not - you become the problem.
BTW - Certain labels do dehumanize. They take away individual identities and that can create a situation where some people are not considered worthy of basic human rights or the protection of the law. Such situations are fraught with peril. That is a fact that has been proven over and over again throughout history.
__________________
"Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that." Steve Earle

"I've met Bob Dylan's bodyguards and if Steve Earle thinks he can stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table, he's sadly mistaken." Townes Van Zandt
rockinkt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 06:30 PM   #37
ahhell
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 3,408
Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Well, again, I think it depends. If your goal is to convince them of your point of view, insulting them to their face is definitely unlikely to be effective. It gives them an excuse to not seriously consider your argument. If your goal is something other than that, well, it depends. If your goal is to reduce your own stress, it's perfect.
I do, on occasion, totally agree with you.

There are a number of things to consider.
Roughly half of the US, voted for trump. You can write them all off as deplorable, but if you do, I suspect you should move. They will continue to vote deplorably.

On the other hand, you can assume that some of them are not deplorable. In which case, you can try not to be an ass to their face and try to convince them that they are wrong.

Honestly, who here voted for Biden because they really liked Biden or supported all of Biden's ideas? I suspect its non of you. Can you try and imagine that some of Trump's voters may have voted for him, despite his flaws rather than because of them?

If so, can you see the value in trying to convince them to vote your way in the future?

Last edited by ahhell; 20th January 2021 at 06:33 PM.
ahhell is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 07:07 PM   #38
arthwollipot
Observer of Phenomena
Pronouns: he/him
 
arthwollipot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Ngunnawal Country
Posts: 70,272
Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
But I have a question about the word "historically". Does it make a difference if there is a history of discrimination?

If there was a sudden new genetic mutation that made some people have purple hair and orange eyes, would it be okay to use insulting language towards them just because there is no history of doing so?
Okay, nitpick on my word choice then. I think you know perfectly well what I meant.

Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I think obviously not. For me, it would come down to immutable features. Generally speaking, we don't consider gender, ethnicity and sexuality to be particularly flexible. It is unreasonable to insult them on those grounds.
Completely agree.

Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
However, if I voted for the "Leopards eating peoples face" party because I like the cut of their jib, then that is surely open to ridicule/insult.
Again, I personally would not, but for the purposes of marginalising the undesirable behaviour, I would say that it is acceptable if that's your preferred method of discourse.
__________________
Please scream inside your heart.
arthwollipot is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 07:19 PM   #39
smartcooky
Penultimate Amazing
 
smartcooky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Nelson, New Zealand
Posts: 16,783
Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
There are a number of things to consider.
Roughly half of the US, voted for trump. You can write them all off as deplorable, but if you do, I suspect you should move. They will continue to vote deplorably.

On the other hand, you can assume that some of them are not deplorable. In which case, you can try not to be an ass to their face and try to convince them that they are wrong.
I think we can safely assume that all of the people involved in the Capitol insurrection are deplorables, can't we?

Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
Honestly, who here voted for Biden because they really liked Biden or supported all of Biden's ideas? I suspect its non of you. Can you try and imagine that some of Trump's voters may have voted for him, despite his flaws rather than because of them?

If so, can you see the value in trying to convince them to vote your way in the future?
I didn't vote for Biden, but only because I'm ineligible. If I was an American, I would have voted for him, because, among other things, he was the only candidate on the ticket with a plan to get the country through the pandemic (although not a very high bar to clear because Trump's plan was no plan - just do nothing and hope it would go away).

However, I must also say that if a Ham Sandwich was the Democratic candidate against Trump, I would have voted for the Ham Sandwich!
__________________
I want to thank the 126 Republican Congress members for providing a convenient and well organized list for the mid-terms.
- Fred Wellman (Senior VA Advisor to The Lincoln Project)
If you don't like my posts, my opinions, or my directness then put me on your ignore list. This will be of benefit to both of us; you won't have to take umbrage at my posts, and I won't have to waste my time talking to you... simples! !
smartcooky is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th January 2021, 07:38 PM   #40
lionking
In the Peanut Gallery
 
lionking's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 46,984
All too often on this forum “Nazi”, “fascist” and “bigot” = someone you don’t agree with.
__________________
A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.

Sir Winston Churchill
lionking is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Social Issues & Current Events

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:48 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.