Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Safe spaces, dinner parties, freedom of association and virtue signalling.......

Right wing journalism doesn't annoy me half as much, as a centrist, as it does some of my left wing friends.

However, some trends and buzzwords have developed recently and I'm not sure people are really thinking them through.

Safe spaces seem to have evolved into a put down by people who consider that folk are "insulating themselves from argument" when some people declare an area for discussion as a "safe space".

But it isn't - most of the communities we circulate in are free and areas where free speech is tolerated and arguments engaged in. Twitter is one such area, for instance.

However, if you are exploring ideas, most of us would like to do that with similar minded folk - sometimes.  It is sometimes helpful for me as a feminist not to have to argue back against people with differing views. I'm different from some people in that I enjoy a good argument and seek to learn from it - but I'm not always in the mood, and like to exercise my right to freedom of association to associate with whom I darn well please.

This is a good blog on the subject that it helps everyone sometimes to associate with others of like mind - from Scott Alexander of Slate Star Codex - hat tip to new follow/follower @declamere for the link.

Some right wing journalists who are devoted to free speech above all, seem to get rather annoyed at "left wing dinner parties", which just leaves me wondering if they never get invited to any dinner parties.... What they are really telling us is they don't like left wing groups meeting and discussing their ideas without balance or bias....... but that's something the left wing go on about too!!

Freedom of association is important. It's important to associate with people you like! If you favour it you can learn a lot from disagreeing, discussing and yes, arguing with those you don't have a lot in common with. But you don't have to.

I'm also going weary of people dismissing ideas as "virtue signalling" - again this seems to be shorthand for putting down left wing groups and freedom of association - right wing groupings do this too! They volunteer for charities, Parent Teacher associations, they join clubs, they do all sorts of things to indicate that THEY fit into their chosen social milieu. We all do these things all the time, it's called human nature.

If people want to call others out on behaviours that they believe are wrong when it's on the other side of the social tracks to where they stand, fine. But don't expect me to think that's very rational.

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