Saturday, January 14, 2017

Political Correctness, Free Speech, and Thrasymachus

FLG thought this was a solid, decently balanced article taking a look at the issue of political correctness and free speech.    In fact, when he read this passage he had an epiphany:
Bettina Aptheker was one of the leaders of the free speech movement back then, some 52 years ago....We were young and inexperienced back then. We thought everyone should be able to say anything, cost what it may." But now Aptheker ponders the second half of that sentence. One example of the price paid back then, she says, was that a bunch of American neo-Nazis turned up on campus at Berkeley in full regalia -- with swastika armbands and signs reading, "Burn Aptheker." As a student, she didn't like it, but she thought it was tolerable, something covered by freedom of speech....Perhaps such limitations on freedom make some sense. Aptheker says she's no longer certain today whether we should accept a situation where the weaker in society are insulted in the name of protecting free speech. She's learned a lot about microaggression through feminist teachings.

In Book I of The Republic, Thrasymachus famously states:

I proclaim that justice is nothing else than the interest of the stronger.

Reading the above concern about the weaker in society being insulted, FLG then wondered isn't Social Justice akin to:

I proclaim that justice is nothing else than the interest of the weaker.

Frankly, Socrates more or less spends the rest of The Republic trying to disprove Thryasmachus's simple statement, and certainly doesn't do so absolutely.   Perhaps the reverse is just as difficult to disprove.

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