Libertarianism is rational for rich white people only.

Libertarianism is a political philosophy that is fiscally conservative, but socially liberal—except when it concerns social issues that involve money or property. Stereotypically, libertarianism is self-consistent only in a toy universe abstracted away from the messiness and social inequalities of the real world.

Several years ago, a libertarian introduced to me a flash video that was intended to promote libertarianism. I was amazed to find that the unrealistic abstraction and idealism that is stereotypical of libertarianism was manifested even in the video’s visuals. An unintentional visual self-parody, the video—The Philosophy of Liberty—illustrates libertarianism with abstract stick figures representing people devoid of race, gender, and historical context.

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Understanding racism requires recognizing faulty logic.

Truth is fundamental to justice, and the ability to reason is critical to discovering truth. One (white) anti-racist, Macon D, has severe deficits in the fundamentals of reasoning, and consequently, he has difficulties in understanding racism and implementing anti-racist thinking. Because of his ignorance of logic, Macon D continues to systematically ignore criticisms by people of colour and remains convinced of his intellectual and anti-racist integrity. Macon D uses circular reasoning, he believes that the Law of Non-Contradiction does not apply to him, and he is influenced by the Appeal to Belief.

Truth is fundamental to justice.

Racism is more than just obvious manifestations of racial hatred, such as the KKK, Neo-Nazis, and the political right. Racism includes systemic racism, and implicit biases and assumptions that permeate and uphold our way of life. Understanding racism requires critical thinking skills to question what society teaches us, and it requires metacognitive skills to monitor and self-examine our own biases and assumptions. To understand racism, it is not sufficient to concentrate on activating good feelings within ourselves towards people of colour. Most racist thoughts are not hateful thoughts towards people of colour. Most racist thoughts are preconceived ideas built into a faulty worldview that Western society assumes to be true.

In other words, challenging racism is more than just philanthropy. Challenging racism—and challenging injustice in general—is part of a larger, epistemological project to find unadulterated truth.

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Can hate speech be free speech?

Hate speech may stifle free speech by monopolizing the marketplace of ideas. Some types of arguments hinder rather than contribute to productive discussion (such as logical fallacies), and some hate speech may fall into this category. Additionally, some hate speech, or rather certain framings of how the world is, limit the scope of discussion and who is allowed to debate.

Generally, some practises can never be questioned in debate. Logical fallacies are not acceptable arguments, and persisting in logical fallacies is considered bad form rather than a valid avenue of discussion. Is it possible that some types of hate speech are inherently fallacious?

Is hate speech ad hominem?

Description of ad hominem:

An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument. Typically, this fallacy involves two steps. First, an attack against the character of person making the claim, her circumstances, or her actions is made (or the character, circumstances, or actions of the person reporting the claim). Second, this attack is taken to be evidence against the claim or argument the person in question is making (or presenting). This type of “argument” has the following form:

1. Person A makes claim X.
2. Person B makes an attack on person A.
3. Therefore A’s claim is false.

The reason why an Ad Hominem (of any kind) is a fallacy is that the character, circumstances, or actions of a person do not (in most cases) have a bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim being made (or the quality of the argument being made).

Not all personal attacks are ad hominem, as sometimes a negative characteristic about a debater is relevant to the topic. For example, if the debate is about one debater’s level of sexual attractiveness, a claim that the debater under discussion is ugly would not be ad hominem. However, is hate speech (directed against ethnic minorities, queer folk, people with disabilities, etc.) necessarily ad hominem?

For example, let us say that the debate is about whether all members of a minority group are involved in a global conspiracy. An implicit assumption in this debate is that any member of that minority group is not allowed to participate in the discussion. If a member of that minority, Person A, provides reasons why he is not involved in a global conspiracy, the other debaters, who are of the majority group, can argue that Person A‘s testimony is invalid because he belongs to that minority group.

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United Nations is racially colorblind, and thinks that Canadian term “visible minorities” is racist.

Apparently, the United Nations thinks that recognizing race is racist. Here is an article from last year, March 08, 2007:

UNITED NATIONS – Canada’s use of the term “visible minorities” to identify people it considers susceptible to racial discrimination came under fire at the United Nations Wednesday – for being racist.

The world body’s anti-racism watchdog says in a report on Ottawa’s efforts to eliminate racial discrimination in Canada that the words might contravene an international treaty aimed at combating racism.

For people who want to discuss racism, this accusation is sounds familiar. A person who points out an instance of subtle racism is often accused of being racist herself. The accuser argues that this person is racist for noticing race. Would this be the reasoning of the UN committee?

Canada’s Employment Equity Act defines “visible minorities” as “persons, other than aboriginal people, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.”

To the committee, highlighting a certain group does not appear to be consistent with Article One of the convention, which says racial discrimination occurs when equitable treatment is upset by “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin.”

Recognizing race is making a distinction, but recognizing race does not necessarily lead to exclusion, restriction, or preference. “Visible minority” is a meaningful and intuitive term that recognizes that those who do not appear to be “white” may be discriminated against because of their physical racial appearance, which is a separate factor from their ethnicity, language, and culture.

An explanation of why colorblindness subverts antiracist work is well-articulated by Magniloquence in the post Race Relations 101: Colorblindness:

I don’t want [my race] to not be a problem for you; I don’t want race to be problematic.

The distinction may seem subtle, but it really isn’t. When a person says “I don’t see color” as a way of saying “your race is not a problem for me,” it casts the problem as race. Race is not the problem, racism is.

The news article on the UN accusation continues:

Speaking at the committee grilling of Canada last month, committee member Patrick Thornberry went further.

“The use of the term seemed to somehow indicate that ‘whiteness’ was the standard, all others differing from that being visible,” says the British international law professor, according to UN note-takers.

First, let us bring up the normative versus descriptive distinction. In philosophy, a normative statement is a statement about how things should be, while a descriptive statement is a statement about how things are.

Normatively, whiteness should not be the standard, and all others differing from that should not have a unique visibility due to their non-whiteness. Descriptively, however, it is true that ‘whiteness’ is the standard, and that all others differing from that do have a unique visibility due to their non-whiteness.

Rachel’s Tavern notes that the inability to make this [normative versus descriptive] distinction is one of the central problems with colorblindness:

Moreover, like most people I hear discuss race, she was unable to make a distinction between “should racial issues/identities matter” and “do racial issues/identities matter.” This is, of course, one of the central problems with colorblindness. Maybe in an ideal world where race was never invented race wouldn’t matter, but we don’t live in that world.

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