I didn't agree with him on everything but I enjoyed hearing his perspectives.
By - morpheusuniverse
I didn't agree with him on everything but I enjoyed hearing his perspectives.
“These administrators who think it’s their job to protect people from being insulted. You insult a black student you insult a woman, there’s a disciplinary hearing ... well there shouldn’t be...
Black people are accustomed to being insulted...
And it’s very good to know who doesn’t like you...”
Not sure if I’m totally getting what he’s going for here.
I disagree with the comments regarding the promotional aspect of this episode. At first I was bewildered - it indeed took a different tone than typical. However, after hearing Silverglate's story about Harvard suppressing his communication efforts while simultaneously promoting select candidates, I've changed my attitude. Kudos to Lex for giving the democratic process some justice.
I welcome listening to *any candidate* of *any election* on this podcast regardless of their viewpoints. Regardless of whether or not I can vote. If his opponents wanted a voice on this platform then they should have connected with Lex as well. I'm certain he would have honored his commitment to the democratic process.
I am enjoying the talk so far. Freedom of speech is the bedrock of democracy
If I could offer Lex one item to consider, the episode at moments feels like a promotional vehicle for Harvey’s campaign.
Early in the conversation, Lex provides instructions on how to vote for Harvey. after which I was left with the thought “is Lex having a conversation, or endorsing someone here?”
All the love to Lex, it can’t be easy finding a balance between listening and challenging.
He read the instructions in the introduction, he's allowed to have a conversation and endorse said person at the same time...
Whenever anyone comes on almost any podcast the viewer is directed to their book, product, website, social media or their campaign. It's a common courtesy for coming on the show.
It's very clear that it is a promotional vehicle and Lex specifically endorses him, without using the word, in the introduction. I'm sure he considered this and is proud to endorse free speech.
It's not surprising that many Redditors would have a problem with this episode.
Damn do I appreciate this dude. Not just what says, but how he says it. Especially the second part of the interview where he's more in his element. He may repeat himself, but at the same time he knows how to drive the point through in just the right words. Really showed his caliber there.
"Not a good idea to have an interview and be an idiot" was 🤌. Bet that one sank in.
Man this was a great episode. I would love to hear someone talk about the failure of the American education system in general. I went to college to be a special education teacher and witnessed the eroding structures within and then Covid happened. I worked in low income continuation schools which was the most depressing job I’ve ever had. I dropped out and grow weed now. I still struggle walking away from education but this episode reminded me that it’s a systemic issue in our country. Hope to hear a continuation of this pod with other guests.
I had a good laugh when Lex quickly inserted "and Harvard" when Harvey said MIT was affiliated with Epstein.
Yup, love Lex but found this one troubling.
Like u/DizzyOwl, I felt this was at times a campaigning/promotional platform, rather than an interview and, while I understand Lex often agrees with his interviewees as a way of saying he has heard and understood their point, in this instance he really did seem to be just ramming home Silverglate's talking points.
And like u/flabberhabberbird I felt any responsible interviewer should at least challenge the boundaries of Silverglate's "absolutist" views. For instance, while I certainly support the need to preserve reasoned debate, in university and in society, on any topic, Silverglate is frankly either disingenuous or naive in asking minorities suffering repeated abuse because of their race, gender, sexual preference or whatever, to just "toughen up". He acknowledged that he, maybe, has easier access to the media but he didn't recognise that simply not all people's personality or upbringing or life-long experience of such abuse gives them the resilience or capacity to let it all just wash over them, or fight back with acerbic wit! In my opinion there is no need to put up with vile hatred openly expressed to individuals in society in order to preserve the ability to thoroughly discuss difficult topics.
Silverglate was also simply inconsistent in arguing that universities should have a right not to assign naming rights when offered a donation by someone with, presumably, an already dubious past, but then deny them the right to remove those naming rights subsequently, in the light of new evidence. Or maybe it wasn't really about timing at all but the nature of the offence (in *his* opinion) - paedophilia "bad" (easy!) but profiting from human slavery or off the lives and deaths of millions of citizens addicted to products that you have deliberately misrepresented, "not so bad"?
I hope, at the very least Lex will now seek to give similar airtime to someone who will give another perspective on this debate, in the interest of...... free speech!
The problem with making racist or abusive speak illegal is that something that isn’t offensive to one person could deeply offend another, even if the two people are the same race or sex. The line of what’s offensive also isn’t static, it changes all the time. It would be impossible to make laws that set the boundaries of what’s so hurtful that it isn’t protected by the first amendment
You are right there will never be a definition that pleases all the people all of the time, but most societies find a way to strike a balance that minimises overt hate. Even the supreme court has imposed limitations, some of which Silverglate opposes.
However, my main intention was not to advocate for particular limitations in this context. Instead, I wanted to emphasize that it is a highly debated topic, even within the United States. I believe it is important to examine Silverglate's ideas. Specifically, I am not focused on the exact limits of hate speech, but rather on his casual assumption that everyone possesses the ability to withstand and engage in debate, and that they can flourish even when subjected to relentless abuse, if only they were to develop a stronger resolve.
As a white guy, I think it is paternalistic and condescending to assume minorities and women aren't up to the task of open debate. In fact I suspect as a group they are better equipped than white guys, because of the more difficult path to college for most members.
Affirmative action, points not mentioned:
* In California affirmative action at the UCs has been illegal for quite a while. I don't see much change in diversity, though there are still some DIE programs, I think.
* I was class of 1975 at a highly selective liberal arts college. They tried an early affirmative action plan where they recruited Black kids from a low-income town nearby. They did nothing to provide remedial training and threw these kids into classes with kids from elite prep schools. Most of them were gone by Christmas. What to make of this fiasco?
I have said for a long time that affirmative action should be based on poverty, bad schools, all kinds of social and economic failures, and that this diverse group should be channeled into 2 year remedial programs to prepare them for college work. This would solve the political/constitutional problem, and do a better job of raising students up to college level.
That is definitely not what I am saying but I do get your concern. No where did I say any specific group, especially gender, gender orientation or race is not "up to" any task and it's certainly not what I think. Also, to be clear, I do not believe in no platforming, especially in places of higher education and all topics short of those promoting violence or hatred should be able to be debated.
My point though was that across all groups, races, genders and abilities there are some individuals who would thrive in the kind of absolutist environment Silverglate proposes and many people, with every bit as much and often more to contribute, who would not.
Objectively, across the world, there are ways of structuring society that does not involve bullying and/or destroying people in the interest of an absolutist ideology and allowing this would be deeply damaging for everyone, not just those directly affected.
Heres the thing, we know exactly what college would be like if political correctness was removed and academic freedom restored.
Thats the way it was before. Now there were lapses, I remember Marxists being persecuted, and intolerance for any kind of queer behavior. So I'd hope that the new-found freedoms could be combined with a return to academic free speech. That means the administration can't discipline the faculty except for actual criminal behavior, and administration and faculty can't quash students for speaking their mind in a civil manner.
I'm sure people will continue to act badly, students and faculty, but they do now, and the institution hasn't collapsed.
Yeah, what you are talking about I support, but is completely different to Silverglate's bigger agenda and that is what I have been objecting to throughout. Remember he even objects to Supreme Court limitations to free speech - "if you say something about somebody that has serious implications in their life, in their ability, or in a living, if you say accuse somebody of being a pedophile, when it's not true, that person can sue you. My own view is I think that's an unfortunate exception, but I'm not on the Supreme Court" (Steno.ai transcript)
Well AFAIK ( not a lawyer) the US has the most open free speech laws of the Western Democracies. It is very hard to prove defamation, although it seems to have worked against Trump. I think this is very settled law, and unlikely to be changed. However the current SCOTUS seems to have little respect for precedent, and some truly wacky ideas.
Given Twitter et. al. it is a very big subject, isn't it? It is a little weird for the public platforms to be controlled by corporate owners, but thats how newspapers work.
I think monuments to dubious entities actually become a tribute to the victims of the dubious entities in the future. To remove the past is basically to forget it. I'm not sure that's what he was saying, but that's what I took from it.
Edit: I paint the great camps which were once the properties of the robber barons for a living, so I've had a chance to ponder this great wealth and how it was acquired often while I work. I hope students experience their university buildings the same way.
Yep, I sympathize with that view to a point. But Lex should still, in my opinion, have put the apparent incoherence of Silverglate's views back to him. Is he really saying universities are free to withhold naming rights but should never revoke them or is it primarily about the nature of the offense in question? If the latter, what exactly are his boundaries? Paedophilia, yes, slavery, no? What about modern slavery? Is it about not revisiting history with a modern gaze? But, then, what about the Sackler fortune?
Sometimes truths are banal yet are dismissed because of it.
The point about the public sector unions is not the one I've heard before though.
That teachers union issue is an absolute political war zone that has been going on for a while, especially in urban, deep blue cities with failing schools and massive budgets. I have little stake in it (as I don’t have children) but I randomly came across it one day and got deep into it. A book I really enjoyed was “charter schools and their enemies” by Thomas Sowell. Its got a lot of stats and historical background for the issue.
If you were looking forward to this podcast but were disappointed and wanted a more robust analysis of the benefits and implications of free speech like I did, I recommend reading this edited (and illustrated) portion of John Stuart Mill’s essay [On Liberty](https://heterodoxacademy.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/All-Minus-One-2nd-Edition-PDF.pdf).
he advises people to prepare themselves that some of the upcoming guests will be controversial.
Eh, this was underwhelming.
Public sector unions should be nation or state wide and directed to bargain at those in power who make funding decisions. For example, it's a political choice to funnel vast sums of money into the military industrial complex (much of which magically disappears) and not improve education. Local commitees are stuck between a rock and a hard place, between the funds they have and the teachers salaries. Harvey is kind of missing the point.
Moreover, whilst I am also a free speech advocate, and agree with his comments on defamation, slander and direct threats, I would have appreciated Harvey being questioned and pushed on harassment specifically.
Harassment or bullying can have a huge and detrimental impact on individuals. It is not a given that amongst a group of people, others in that group will collectively stand up for those being harassed by other members. On the contrary, sometimes people are absent in helping moderate group interactions and also sometimes psychological and social group manipulation is used to corral the group psyche into collective persecution. What Harvey suggests is a survival of the fittest. With consequently devastating results on mental and physical health and destroying the future contributions that harassed person might of made in the process.
I am all for a light touch. I am anti-authoritarian; in most senses a liberal. But, if measurable severe harm is being done (words as our means of collective communication do cause many different levels of harm) there should be systems in place to support this persecuted person. Mitigate it. And, if necessary, end it.
I do agree that protection for characteristics has in some areas gone too far, as the key directive should always be to protect the rights of free speech. I agree on the comments of the unnatural evolution of our language due to political correctness.
But you must look at the human condition in all of its breadth. And then, accept that there are bad actors, sociopaths or narcissists, willing to destroy people for a multitude of reasons, using methods that aren't covered by defamation, slander or direct threats. And therefore, build systems to prevent this from happening.
Our communication should be better than evolutions natural selector. Survival of the fittest, even with regards to speech, does not cut the mustard.
If you want useful discussion in this area, you can start by not pretending words cause harm. Harm is literally defined as “physical injury”. Words don’t cause harm. Words can be ignored. You can close Twitter. Actual harassment is already illegal. Someone making fun of you on Twitter is not harassment.
The other person is right, we do need ticker skin. The only reason everyone is thin skinned to begin with is doing precisely what you’re advocating for when raising children in the late 80s and onwards. Over protection, over involvement of parents and teacher in conflict resolution, giving everyone trophies so their feelings aren’t hurt, etc.
Humans are anti fragile. Exposure to stress doesn’t harm them, it strengthens them. We’ve already created a highly insulated bubble for young children, making them wholly unprepared for the real world, now you want to extend that bubble to everyone?
Don't waste your time with "iiioiia"; they are a notorious giga-troll.
Skim their user-history. It's pure trolling thinly disguised as pedantry.
Figured as much, their comments read like a freshman who just took philosophy 101 and think they just a discovered a higher level of thinking
> If you want useful discussion in this area, you can start by not pretending words cause harm. Harm is literally defined as “physical injury”.
That is but one definition:
1: physical or **mental** damage
> Words don’t cause harm.
Please link to a proof of this fact.
> Words can be ignored.
Can they always be ignored, by all people?
> The **only** reason everyone is thin skinned to begin with is doing precisely what you’re advocating for when raising children in the late 80s and onwards.
Technically, you are hallucinating. Not only do you not know this, *it isn't possible* to know such things.
> Humans are anti fragile. Exposure to stress doesn’t harm them, it strengthens them.
Oxford says physical harm, Google “harm”. Mariam Webster isn’t worth shit, they modify definitions to meet today’s political nonsense, see: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/10/us/merriam-webster-racism-definition.html
> Can they always be ignored, by all people?
The forms that can’t be ignored are literally illegal harassment and are in some cases a felony. The “harassment” that is not illegal can easily be ignored by logging off whatever social media it’s happening on. People choosing not to do that and actively looking at their inbox to see the messages is not “harassment”. Harassment can’t ignored, it comes to you.
> Technically, you are hallucinating. Not only do you not know this, it isn’t possible to know such things.
Jonathan Haidt’s “coddling of the American mind” and all that research is hallucinating? Nah, you’re sticking your head in the sand
Ah yes, if we don’t protect people, these fragile little things that will instantly go suicidal. Let’s ignore the enormous gap between struggle, and being suicidal.
antiffragile doesn’t mean unbreakable, it means something that gradually build strength as it is stress. Your skin’s callouses work like that too. If you’ve been forming callouses on your hand for decades, you can hold boiling hot water in your hand and not feel a thing. That doesn’t mean a hand that hasn’t gripped something for years can handle it. It can barely handle a pin prick.
It should be of no surprise that someone sheltered all their life from any adversity falls apart from any adversity. That’s literally what thin skin is. Why do you think with all the modern medicine and knowledge, we’re doing an abysmal job at suicide rates? Worse than a time when cutting edge mental healthcare was putting someone in a straightjacket
> Oxford says physical harm, Google “harm”. Mariam Webster isn’t worth shit,
You are expressing your subjective opinion, but stating it in the form of a fact.
>>> Can they always be ignored, by all people?
>> Please link to a proof of this fact.
> The forms that can’t be ignored are literally illegal harassment and are in some cases a felony.
Thanks for clearing up the epistemic status of your claim.
> The “harassment” that is not illegal can easily be ignored by logging off whatever social media it’s happening on.
Please link to a proof of this fact (that it can always be easily ignored, by all people).
> People choosing not to do that and actively looking at their inbox to see the messages is not “harassment”. Harassment can’t ignored, it comes to you.
By what means have you acquired comprehensive knowledge of the activities (including cognition) of all human beings?
>>> The **only** reason everyone is thin skinned to begin with is doing precisely what you’re advocating for when raising children in the late 80s and onwards.
>> Technically, you are hallucinating. Not only do you not know this, it isn’t possible to know such things.
> Jonathan Haidt’s “coddling of the American mind” and all that research is hallucinating? Nah, you’re sticking your head in the sand.
Does Jon's book *explicitly* assert: "The **only** reason everyone is thin skinned to begin with is doing precisely what you’re advocating for when raising children in the late 80s and onwards"? If so, please state the page number.
> Ah yes, if we don’t protect people, these fragile little things that will instantly go suicidal. Let’s ignore the enormous gap between struggle, and being suicidal.
I made no such claims. You are hallucinating again.
> It should be of no surprise that someone sheltered all their life from any adversity falls apart from any adversity.
Please link to a study demonstrating that this is true without exception.
> Why do you think with all the modern medicine and knowledge, we’re doing an abysmal job at suicide rates? Worse than a time when cutting edge mental healthcare was putting someone in a straightjacket
I believe it to be a consequence of culture and poor school curriculum.
Ah, the ole “highest academic standards and sources for all your claims, while I talk out of my ass”
Ah, a point-dodging rhetorical meme!
Very productive conversation everyone 👏
I believe it to be.
I'd recommend Robert Sapolsky's book "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers". He's a MacArthur Fellow and neurobiology professor who wrote a book about stress response in humans and other mammals that shows the ways that prolonged exposure to stress does cause physical disease.
That’s for chronic stress, I’m talking about acute stress. The chronic stress that book talks about are stresses like worrying about losing your job for years. That’s the opposite the stress I’m talking about, people being mean to you, calling you names, etc. are not chronic. In fact, they’re the exact kind of stress the book describes as non harmful that zebras go through.
No... we don't need systems, people need thicker skins. Systems are used to by authoritarians to suppress ideas which they feel threatened by. Private platforms should be free to decide where the lines are and people should choose platforms they think best meet their needs, but the government needs to stay out of it.
With regards to money in education it doesn't surprise me how ignorant most are that money isn't the problem. The media has done a great job in burying the evidence that funnelling more money into education has little to no effect. It's counter to the progressive narrative, so it's not covered. The results of Missouri v. Jenkins are clear and it's only one small example.
I've no idea why we're talking of governments. With regards to harassment, I was talking about education and the workplace. In these areas our culture has already developed systems to prevent harassment that aren't government mandated. HR is designed to deal with harassment when it occurs. Administrators in universities also carry this function.
You should consider that by your logic, those with depression either shouldn't be included in these spaces or should develop a thicker skin right? How about those with autism, who struggle with neurotypical social functions, either shouldn't be there or just need thicker skins too? How about those with ADHD, just need thicker skins as well? Or those in a group that are naturally power imbalanced to the rest? What about those who are suffering from a campaign of harassment that spans months or even years?
I don't think your solution carries enough nuance to be practical. A thicker skin is useful to a mentally well person, a person of privelege or a person that isn't vulnerable in some way. But we need to include everyone in our thinking, not just those that are typical. Everyone has a breaking point, even the most mentally well of us break under enough stress. These systems are essential to prevent that from happening.
And with regards to education, more financially secure teachers = more effective teachers. Smaller class sizes = better educational outcomes. The idea that money isn't the major factor of poor public schooling the USA is so ludicrous! I'm happy to pull up the research if you want, but you have to promise me you'll at least read the abstract.
A legal precedent tells me absolutely nothing about the science. The science is what matters, not a legal ruling from the 80s.
I did agree with some of what Mr. Silverglate was saying, but I think he missed the mark in several areas because I think he doesn't have the right underlying facts in many cases.
On stress: I think Mr. Silverglate would benefit from reading more about the current understanding of human stress response. He recites the old rhyme about sticks and stones and that words can never hurt me, but I think the science really doesn't support that. I'm not an expert in this area, but I recommend "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers" by Robert Sapolsky. He's a MacArthur Fellow who does a great job of explaining the last 100 or so years of science studying how stress in humans and other animals manifests as physical disease.
On educational failures in the public school system: while there may be some contribution by public sector unions, he doesn't mention the role of local funding of public schools via property taxes and the current de facto segregation of housing that originates in the de jure redlining of the 20th Century. There's a great long form article about the specifics of this in Silicon Valley from TechCrunch in 2015: [https://techcrunch.com/2015/01/10/east-of-palo-altos-eden/](https://techcrunch.com/2015/01/10/east-of-palo-altos-eden/) .
On Roosevelt's reluctance to enter the Second World War: This account is the exact opposite of what I've heard on the topic. From the creation of Lend-Lease, historical accounts I've heard say that Roosevelt was eager to join the war, but public sentiment in the US wouldn't allow it until the attack on Pearl Harbor. See this article at the US State Dept. website: https://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/wwii/81508.htm
Dear Lex Fridman fans, we are starting a Discord community for discussing podcasts, mainly focused on people in European timezone: https://discord.gg/s5vXYnVg
Books mentioned in this episode:
* The Shadow University: The Betrayal Of Liberty On America’s Campuses by Alan Charles Kors, Harvey A Silverglate
* Free Speech for Me–But Not for Thee: How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other by Nat Hentoff
* Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
* Get Trump: The Threat to Civil Liberties, Due Process, and Our Constitutional Rule of Law by Alan Dershowitz
* Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent by Harvey Silverglate
I really liked this episode. Silverglate is just one of the many great people from Brooklyn - it is a special place. Lex addressed the problem of interviewing famous and dangerous people, where they metaphorically seize the mic and turn it into propaganda. Of course, it is Lex' show, he can choose to edit or withhold.
I am tempted to give the conservatives credit for calling out political correctness, but a lifetime of watching duplicity reminds me that they just want to establish their own correctness, see Liberty U, and that Florida school hijacked by DeSantis.
Had to turn this one off when he said no one gets hurt by freedom of speech. Motherfucker what do you think the entire anti-vax movement is? We have had several hundred thousand excess deaths in the USA because of Covid vaccine rejection because spreading disinformation about vaccines is considered freedom of speech. Let alone the return of diseases like measles. He sounds like an old guy who has never been on the internet to see how freely disseminated disinformation kills people.