Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Philosopher Daniel DeNicola Opens Door to Thought Police

We live in an ever more Orwellian society. As recently as the 1970s, conservatives and liberals both commonly said, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." -- (Variously attributed to Voltaire or Evelyn Beatrice Hall.)

My, how things have changed. Americans, especially the young, increasingly oppose free speech. Especially if it's "hate speech."

But Daniel DeNicola, professor and chair of philosophy at Gettysburg College, is pushing the Orwellian envelop even further, in an article in Aeon, astonishingly titled: You don’t have a right to believe whatever you want to.

I don't?

Among other things, DeNicola writes:

Unfortunately, many people today seem to take great licence with the right to believe, flouting their responsibility. The wilful ignorance and false knowledge that are commonly defended by the assertion 'I have a right to my belief' do not meet [William] James's requirements. Consider those who believe that the lunar landings or the Sandy Hook school shooting were unreal, government-created dramas; that Barack Obama is Muslim; that the Earth is flat; or that climate change is a hoax.

My italics. Because I wasn't aware that one could "take great license" with the right to believe. I thought I had an absolute right to my thoughts.

And I do not believe in man-made climate change. So I guess I'm a Thought Criminal?

DeNicola also writes:

Believing, like willing, seems fundamental to autonomy, the ultimate ground of one's freedom. But, as Clifford also remarked: 'No one man's belief is in any case a private matter which concerns himself alone.'
Beliefs shape attitudes and motives, guide choices and actions. Believing and knowing are formed within an epistemic community, which also bears their effects. There is an ethic of believing, of acquiring, sustaining, and relinquishing beliefs – and that ethic both generates and limits our right to believe. If some beliefs are false, or morally repugnant, or irresponsible, some beliefs are also dangerous. And to those, we have no right.

Well, I find DeNicola's belief -- that we have no right to certain beliefs -- to be false, morally repugnant, irresponsible, and dangerous.

Anyone know how I might report DeNicola to the Thought Police?


Friday, May 11, 2018

Libertarian Party of California Lies About Its Anti-Discrimination Plank

The May 1, 2018 issue of the Santa Monica Daily Press ran a front page story about the Libertarian Party of California's convention the previous weekend: "Samohi Alumna elected to lead state Libertarian Party."

In it, SMDP reporter Kate Cagle wrote: "Rather than a part of the Republican coalition, the California Libertarian Party's website presents its platform as the  middle between the two dominant parties. They support choice, LGBTQ equality, anti-discrimination laws, private  unions, gun ownership, lower taxes, and privatized retirement options."

Cagle failed to do proper journalistic reseach by reading the LPC's actual platform. However, her false reporting can be partially forgiven because the top of the LPC's platform webpage does misrepresent its position on anti-discrimination laws.

Here's what Cagle saw at the top of the LPC's platform webpage:

Later that same day, I emailed the following Letter to the Editor to the Santa Monica Daily Press:

Kate Cagle reports that "the California Libertarian Party’s website presents its platform as the middle between the two dominant parties. They support choice, LGBTQ equality, anti-discrimination laws..."

Well, no. The "presentation" atop the CLP platform webpage (which Ms. Cagle cites) misrepresents the party's position. Farther down is a link to the actual 2017 platform (the most recent online) which opposes government discrimination, but affirms the rights of individuals and businesses to discriminate. I quote:

"No level of government should deny or abridge the rights of any individual on account of sex, race, color, creed, age, national origin, economic status, marital status, sexual preference, physical ability, mental ability, or place of employment. We affirm that government should not use quota systems based on any of the above criteria.

"We oppose all governmental attempts to regulate private choice in association, including discrimination in employment, housing, and the use of privately-owned "public" accommodations. The right to trade includes the right not to trade--any reason whatsoever. [sic] We also call for the repeal of the so-called Civil Rights Act of 1991 whose self-contradictory provisions force employers to use hiring quotas on the basis of race and sex in order to avoid "disparate impact" lawsuits, but whose provisions make it illegal to use such hiring quotas.

"We call for the repeal of the American With Disabilities Act (ADA), since it imposes mandates on employers to hire individuals they may not wish to hire, such as alcohol or drug abusers and people with personality disorders. Additionally, businesses are told what type of facilities to provide, which violates private property rights, and also discourages employers from hiring low skilled or disabled people."

The entire 2017 platform (all 26 pages) can be found here: https://u1myo26o1t789cb2l4fjwcx8-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Platform-of-the-Libertarian-Party-of-California-as-amended-in-Convention-April-30-2017.pdf

As of this writing, the SMDP has not published my LTE.