Tech Policy In The Time Of Trump: Mid-2020 Edition

from the this-is-not-a-drill dept

We're not partisan here at Techdirt. We have our personal preferences, certainly, but technology policy tends to transcend normal political divisions. We have been just as likely to see good policy proposals from Democrats as Republicans, and bad ones just the same. What we care about here is ensuring that the founding principles of liberty articulated by the Constitution can be meaningfully applied in a modern, technology driven world. That value is not a partisan one. We don't care who is the hero who makes sure we do not spiral into dystopia; we just want to make sure we don't. And our job is to point out how we may already be.

For the first years of the Trump Administration I took to writing annual summaries of how things might shake out on the tech policy front given the current make-up of government. And then I stopped. By then we had children in cages, and suddenly trying to read the political tea leaves seemed like a remarkably pointless exercise. Also unhelpful, glib, and potentially even harmful. There is no point in acting as though everything is politics as usual when the situation has become anything but. A horrific line had been crossed, and it wasn't even the first. But unless everyone recognized how dangerously abnormal politics had become, it would certainly not be the last.

And yet it sadly appears that politics has chugged on as usual. And as a result more uncrossable lines have, indeed, been crossed. As was inevitable, yesterday's rounding up of immigrants became today's rounding up of American citizens.

So if we're going to talk about tech policy in the time of Trump, we need to be worried about what will happen tomorrow. Our paramount concern therefore needs to be ensuring that tech policy enables us to check further misuse of power. It certainly must not help further entrench it. So let's dig in and see where we are. In my original posts I distilled my comments into four general policy areas that now seem trivially pedestrian. The breakdown implies that we can simply focus on a particular area and its localized political skirmishes and leave the others for another day. Which is silly; when the whole house is on fire focusing on how an individual room may be decorated is not going to be an effective way of addressing the actual crisis at hand. But for the sake of uniformity, I might as well continue with the same organization.

Free speech/copyright. President Trump is infamous for lying. But there's one thing he said that has been true: that he was going to "open up" our libel laws to make it even easier to sue someone for their expression. In fact he's gone even further than that, undermining every expressive right the First Amendment guarantees, including the right to protest, which he has now co-opted federal forces to physically attack.

But as for making it easier to sue people for their speech, he has done that by example, as he and his confederates have launched specious lawsuit after specious lawsuit against speakers, platforms, and traditional press and publishers to challenge their critical (and generally completely lawful) contributions to needed public discourse. On more than one occasion he didn't even wait for them to make the speech before suing to shut them down. It turns out he didn't need to change a single law to effectively obviate the right to free speech; he just had to drown out the voices speaking against him with a flood of litigation in order to silence them.

The running theme throughout this commentary is that lawmakers should not waste time with the traditional horse-trading that fills the corridors of our capitols as policy normally gets set. We do not have the luxury, here in 2020, of developing policy that would optimize life in America; at the moment our only task is to save it. And that requires recognizing the urgency of the moment, because if you don't vote against totalitarianism when you have the chance, you may never have the chance again. So while there are plenty of areas where ordinarily lawmakers should act to articulate good policy in law, including on the tech policy front, right now there is no policy value more important for lawmakers to express in law than preserving the right to expression.

In particular, they should waste no time getting effective anti-SLAPP laws on the books. Every state needs one (looking at you, Virginia…). As does the entire federal legal system, so that we can ensure that federal courts can no longer be the refuge of the censor eager to chill the speech of their critics. Do not pass go; drop almost everything else to get this done. Because if we cannot ensure the public's right to speak out against oppression, then we all but guarantee that oppression to prevail.

Which brings us to copyright, the deck chairs on this sinking Titanic. Could copyright policy be better attuned to the economics of producing and consuming expression in the 21st century? Perhaps. But at the moment that policy challenge is largely irrelevant. The very ability to create and consume expression is itself under fire, and our sole goal needs to be to preserve it. Copyright law inherently is about controlling expression, and that's the last thing we need to be empowering anyone to do.

Mass surveillance/encryption. We have been warning for years against giving the police the unchecked power to invade people's privacy. The ability people need to have to keep their personal affairs free from the prying eyes of the government is no less essential to preserve now, in the 21st Century, than it ever was in the 18th. If anything it is even more important to hold fast to the constitutional barriers that prevent the government from readily invading our private lives now that so much of those lives – personal choices, associations, ideas, etc. – are so casually captured in digital records so easy for the government to track.

We also challenged the excuses law enforcement gave for why they needed this exceptional ability to bypass the basic constitutional tenets normally prohibiting them from helping themselves to this data. They were nearly all predicated on the assumption that the state authority was the good guy and that it needed to save the public from the bad guys hiding among us. We challenged these arguments because these assumptions were inherently unsound – as the news lately has been daily proving.

It is proving us right on a local level – see all the examples of violent police behavior that have inspired weeks and weeks of protest – and increasingly on the federal level, as President Trump unleashes federal forces against those who speak against him. These are not the acts of benevolent protectors we can safely entrust with the awesome power of the state, unchecked. These are the acts of the sorts of bad actors that our civil liberties were designed to protect us from. But when we bless digital surveillance programs that ignore our constitutional protections, and undermine the encryption technology that allows us to make the protections meaningful on a practical level, we make ourselves vulnerable to abuses of power by eliminating our defenses against them. No policymaker committed to the enduring idea of American democracy can possibly advocate in good faith or with intellectual coherence for any policy agenda that continues down such a destructive path. When a powerful state actor has already abused his power against the public, it makes no sense to give him more power to continue that abuse, and it is beyond naïve to believe it wouldn't be so abused. Not when we can already see in painful clarity how much it already has.

Net neutrality/intermediary liability. The political corruption of antitrust enforcement has poisoned this entire policy area. Net neutrality stands for the principle of non-discrimination on the part of service providers enabling the public's online expression. For Internet services where there is no meaningful competition, regulation committed to maintaining that principle is important. It is not, however, useful to enforce that principle in areas where there is competition. In fact, it presents its own harm to expressive liberty when these service providers are denied the freedom to discriminate. Having some sort of principled, meaningful, and consistent way of identifying which service providers are which is therefore crucial. Yet that is not what we've got. Instead we have angry, reactionary, inconsistent, unrealistic, unwise, and often unconstitutional policy demands from both sides of the aisle.

The upshot is that people's ability to speak freely online is at risk. The only way we can protect that ability is by protecting and promoting the existence of the service providers that enable it. Which means not only encouraging the competitive market needed to ensure there are enough avenues for basic Internet access, but also ensuring that there are no barriers limiting our supply of other platforms. Unfortunately, we are currently doing the complete opposite on both fronts, and in the process directly preventing needed lawful discourse.

In some cases it's because people can't get online at all. Either they don't have any service due to a failure of broadband competition policy, or, worse, because we have forced service providers to deny their expression. In those cases sometimes we've used copyright as the rationale to bludgeon service providers into removing speech or even kick off users from their services entirely (and regardless of whether they had actually violated any law). But it's also not the only way we have scared providers into pre-emptively kicking off users or their expression with the plausible fear of being held liable for that expression. The inscrutable FOSTA has already directly chilled platforms and the lawful expression they facilitate, and now lawmakers are threatening even more cumbersome regulation to do even more to terrify platforms into removing user expression, if not cease to exist entirely.

When the United States of America is teetering towards autocracy, it is not the time to impose any policy that would inhibit the public's ability to use the Internet to speak out against it. But that's what most of the proposals being put forth that target service providers threaten to do, from undermining their Section 230 immunity, to further conditioning their DMCA safe harbor, to even encumbering them excessively with ill-tailored regulations on the privacy and security front. Any policy that will have the effect of reducing the supply of online outlets or constraining their ability to enable protected speech – as all these policy proposals do – will only invite disaster when it erodes our ability to use the Internet to speak out against abuses of power, including state power. They all are a mistake.

Internet governance. In his tenure President Trump has accomplished two things: (1) eroding international cooperation and the US's commitment to the public international law that supports it, and (2) empowering autocrats. In the previous posts I lamented how Trump has also undermined the organs enabling international cooperation, but maybe it's just as well. Internationalism inherently wrangles input from around the globe, and that input increasingly includes hostility to freedom. The United States should be standing against this trend. Our tradition of liberty should be our chief export. But so long as all we are busy modeling is our indifference to freedom, if not also our abject surrender of it, then there may be no point in engaging with other national governments who would hasten its demise for everyone by giving them the institutional foothold from which to do it.

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Filed Under: copyright, donald trump, encryption, free speech, intermediary liability, mass surveillance, net neutrality, tech policy


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  • identicon
    Pixelation, 22 Jul 2020 @ 2:10pm

    Oh come on!

    We know the people at Techdirt are hard left, socialist commies! :)-

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  • identicon
    Pixelation, 22 Jul 2020 @ 2:11pm

    Oh, and controlled by Google!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2020 @ 2:25pm

    Manifesto

    Quite a Manifesto.
    Are you certain everyone at Techdirt agrees with it all?

    And non-partisanship does not mean unbiased or neutral on political issues, it merely denotes lack of direct affiliation with political organizations.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2020 @ 3:58pm

      Re: Manifesto

      Quite a Narrative you have there. What's your point? You insinuate things [dogwhistle], but spell out nothing. Stand up and make your argument, if you have one.

      ...does not mean unbiased or neutral on political issues...

      And who the hell is? Who should be? Why the fuck should that be an expectation? Furthermore, some people like to drag every little thing into the realm of "political issues" and then insist no one else (who thinks differently than they do) is allowed to have thoughts, questions, opinions, or god forbid, facts, which don't align with someone's story and framing or they are somehow to be ignored as "not neutral".

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 4:40pm

      non-partisanship does not mean unbiased or neutral on political issues

      Nor should it. But if being in favor of advancing civil rights for queer people or restoring voting rights for prisoners once they’re released makes someone partisan, the problem lies not with the issue, but with the party standing against those things.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2020 @ 7:00pm

        Re:

        boldly proclaiming one's non-partisanship in a policy discussion is usually a rhetorical posture to conceal one's actual ideological leanings.The specifics of the leaninings are irrelevant to that pose.

        It's very rare to find truly non-partisan persons in serious policy discussion.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 7:21pm

          proclaiming one's non-partisanship in a policy discussion is usually a rhetorical posture to conceal one's actual ideological leanings

          One can hold an ideology or a belief without being beholden to a specific political party. My beliefs align me with Democrats more than Republicans, but I’ll gladly shit on both parties.

          If you think saying “Black Lives Matter” is partisan, ask yourself why.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2020 @ 6:24am

            Re:

            ...the question is political bias versus non-bias in analyzing policy issues.

            Dictionary definition of partisanship does not narrowly require "being beholden to a specific political party" -- partisanship generally means biased support of a party, group, movement, cause, etc.

            Original post here somehow sees the American policy landscape as primarily formal Democrat and Republican-- and the post is also clearly partisan anti-Trump, despite pious claims of non-partisanship.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Jul 2020 @ 7:53am

              Original post here somehow sees the American policy landscape as primarily formal Democrat and Republican

              Yes, and people call that “reality”. I don’t see a third political party with anywhere near the same kind of viability, power, and influence in American politics as the GOP and the Dems. Do you?

              the post is also clearly partisan anti-Trump

              People can’t criticize the Trump administration for its actions without appearing “partisan” in some way. Or would you prefer we criticize “both sides” equally as if the Democrats are equally responsible for every bad decision made by the Trump administration?

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            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 23 Jul 2020 @ 9:14am

              Re: Re:

              Original post here somehow sees the American policy landscape as primarily formal Democrat and Republican

              Those are the two major political parties at the moment, yes.

              -- and the post is also clearly partisan anti-Trump, despite pious claims of non-partisanship.

              Why, it's almost as though he's the gorram president and has done and said a bunch of really bad stuff the last few years...

              It's not 'partisan' to focus on the party that's actually in power and give them the majority of your attention and the majority of the blame for what they do, that's freakin' common sense.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 23 Jul 2020 @ 10:41am

              Re: Re:

              To hell with your stupid political bullshit, no wonder nothing gets done when all these stuffed shirts can do is argue dumbass political talking points, like whether something is partisan or biased or whatever.
              The question is wtf are we going to do to fix all this shit that does not work as advertised. I do not care what politiacl pundit has their panties in a twist over some phrase or other silliness - either shit or get off the pot.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 23 Jul 2020 @ 11:09pm

                Re: Re: Re:

                "The question is wtf are we going to do to fix all this shit that does not work as advertised."

                Vote. Like it or not, nothing is going to get fixed until the people causing the problems no longer have power. At the moment, this generally means Republicans - a great many problems can be traced to moments where they hold majority power, and even to places where they were not (Mitch McConnell directly stated that he saw his position as ensuring that Obama couldn't achieve anything and originally said he would do anything in his power to ensure he only served one term, and managed to obstruct plenty of good sense policy).

                The rot is elsewhere, of course, but ensuring that the party that openly places wealth and power above the rights of citizens no longer has control of the White House, Congress and the Senate is a good start. Hopefully with a big enough defeat that they have to re-evaluate their entire platform and not just return to power to mess up everything that has been fixed as they did in 2000 and 2016.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 24 Jul 2020 @ 4:51am

              Re: Re:

              "...and the post is also clearly partisan anti-Trump, despite pious claims of non-partisanship."

              You know that recently when the NPR tweeted the preamble of the damn US constitution a number of Trump adherents started screaming about how that was anti-Trump?

              If quoting the constitution is considered a partisan attack on the sitting president then you've got the problem that being a decent human being is likely to be considered partisan as well.

              TD is as nonpartisan as it can be without going down the road of actually applauding human or civil rights violations which, not too long ago, would have been objected to by the republican party.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 10:41pm

          Re: Re:

          "It's very rare to find truly non-partisan persons in serious policy discussion"

          In the US. The rest of us aren't politicising the response to pandemic because we're not hopelessly partisan.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Jul 2020 @ 3:39am

          Re: Re:

          "It's very rare to find truly non-partisan persons in serious policy discussion."

          Only In America.

          In the EU it's really hard to find any political "two sides" debate when it comes to basic human rights. There's always "that one party" out of seven which represents a view on the "lesser worth" of non-whites or talks as if "burden of proof" is an optional extra in law enforcement. But the vast majority rightly realizes that human and civil rights are the principles enabling democracy to begin with and try not to make them a subject of relative worth.

          Popper's paradox of tolerance shows just fine that if what is desired is democracy and free speech then a certain minimum of absolute rules must be adhered to.

          That's why the "both sides" argument of the KKK and the neo-nazis is so much bullshit. You don't get to throw an argument intended to disable the foundations of democracy into the ring and make the claim that your rights are being infringed because the argument isn't treated seriously.

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  • icon
    Vermont IP Lawyer (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 2:49pm

    My Two Cents

    I can find occasional items in this post on which I might disagree and might be interested in a reasoned debate (which is not my goal for this comment). But, with the view from 10,000 feet at least, I hear a legitimate, good faith argument. If people want to advocate different positions on net neutrality or governance, they are entitled to do that but I reject any generalized ad hominem attack. (Or, did I read it wrong and the previous commenters were just being sarcastic?)

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 3:01pm

      Re: My Two Cents

      Pretty sure Pixelation was being sarcastic/joking at least, not so sure about the AC.

      As for arguments while it would certainly be interesting to see a good faith argument against network neutrality I've yet to see one, as every one I've run across so far has been filled with strawman or other forms of dishonesty.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 2:58pm

    Actual harm takes priority over hypothetical

    Just to preempt any claims of 'partisan!'(not that the ones crying that will care, but hey...) even if TD does focus more on the republican half of american politics, giving them the majority of blame the past few years that's to be expected when they are the ones in power. When one party in particular is the one making the rules and behaving badly in a way that will impact millions then it's entirely to be expected that they, rather than the party not currently in power will get the majority of the attention. Should the political scene change such that the democrats are in power then I've no doubt that they will be torn to pieces should they screw up in similar fashion, much like it happened during Obama's terms.

    (It's of course noteworthy to point out that other than rare exceptions like pointing out that something has bipartisan support TD almost never posts party affiliation of the politicians being talked about, focusing instead on what they are doing/saying.)

    That out of the way as the article highlights rights and technologies that help them are very much under attack by those that don't like how tech allows them to have a voice and use it to speak out against their 'betters', whether that be protesting injustice or calling out lies that would otherwise just be given a pass by a tamed press, and unfortunately that's going to be on ongoing fight as the powerful have never cared for tools that level the playing field.

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Jul 2020 @ 3:48am

      Re: Actual harm takes priority over hypothetical

      "...even if TD does focus more on the republican half of american politics, giving them the majority of blame the past few years that's to be expected when they are the ones in power."

      To be fair the republicans have - for good and valid reason - undergone far more scrutiny than democrats in recent years. It's not hard to understand why.

      To remain competitive in a two-party system with winner-takes-all elections the Democrats have had to rely on widening their inclusive stance to the point where they promise to stand up for everyone - which means they always catch flak for what they promised and failed to deliver.

      The republicans, otoh, have gone the other way, to the point where they are now primarily based around the promises of guns, religion, libertarianism and racism. All of which they consistently try to deliver.

      Any actual sane compromise? Bipartisanship? Conservative values rooted in the constitution or human rights to meet the dems halfway? No chance.

      And there's the problem. The US current political climate is such that constitutional or human rights values and principles are, today, a political stance, not fundamental core values establishing a common background for the debate.

      I'd argue that today anyone opposed to racism or in favor of human rights is already decidedly partisan in the US.

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2020 @ 9:36pm

    If you think saying “Black Lives Matter” is partisan, ask yourself why.

    "Black lives matter" isn't partisan, just racist. By what definition? There's only one reasonable definition: any time you single out one race--any race--for good or evil, you've gone into racist bigotry. "Black lives don't matter", is, of course, equally racist for the same reason.

    Black lives don't matter, and can't matter, unless all human life matters. And if all human life matters, then skin color can't matter.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2020 @ 10:06pm

      Just so you know, All Lives Matter didn't start being a thing people said until other people started saying Black Lives Matter. And all lives can't matter until black lives matter, too. Or are you denying that America hasn't shit all over black people for over two hundred years?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 11:41pm

        Funny how that worked out, people only started breaking out the 'all lives matter' line after a movement came about rightly pointing out that under the current system some lives clearly matter less than others, almost as though it's a laughably obvious attempt to undermine the message of black lives matter by widening the scope so it's no longer pointing to a specific group and is instead a useless generality where you can't focus in on a problem without them crying that trying to be specific is 'racist'...

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 22 Jul 2020 @ 11:33pm

      'Sufferage' something or other I think it was called?

      Oh absolutely, why it reminds me about the wildly sexist movements in history where groups of women had the utter audacity to argue that they were being treated unfairly because they weren't allowed to vote like the men were, which is obviously an incredibly sexist idea because they were only focusing on one gender, theirs, rather than both, as is required for a movement not to be bigoted.

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      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Jul 2020 @ 5:13am

        Re: 'Sufferage' something or other I think it was called?

        Well, to be fair the people who argued "One man, one vote" and universal democracy for all rarely counted women, the disabled, the criminal, the foreign or the poor among the "all".

        It's the same there's no real cognitive disconnect if someone defending the concept of "trial by a jury of his peers" suddenly screams "There's a black man in that jury. And a jew. Is that...a woman? What farce of justice is this!?"

        The main issue with racists is that they are all willing to subscribe to the idea that people are born equal. They just don't count certainb minorities as "people".

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 23 Jul 2020 @ 12:42am

      Re:

      "Black lives matter" isn't partisan, just racist.

      No.

      It's not. I know that small minded bigots are trying to make that claim, but they're ignorant. Don't be a small minded bigot.

      Black Lives Matter is making a larger point: that as a society, systematically and historically, we have instituted policies and practices that suggested the opposite. By way of action, society has made it clear that many of them DID NOT think that black lives matter.

      That's why the movement is useful and why it's effective. It really is about equality -- but you can't recognize equality until you recognize how you systematically prevented equality historically.

      The people who chant "all lives matter" in response, are saying that they want things to remain the same. They're saying that they're not willing to explore the ways in which they have been complicit in a system that has treated others unfairly, and that any attempt to explore how different people were treated unfairly should be deemed racist on its own. It's denialism to keep the status quo.

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      • identicon
        TFG, 23 Jul 2020 @ 9:18am

        Former "All Lives Matter" perspective

        Let me be clear up front: I now say Black Lives Matter. I used to be one of the people saying All Lives Matter in response to the refrain.

        Back when the Black Lives Matter slogan first started being used, or at least back when I first heard it, was during the Ferguson riots. At the time, I personally had only ever heard it or seen it when it was tied to violent behavior, which by now I believe to be deliberate misrepresentation of the whole thing.

        I was, at the time, under the false impression that racism and the like had been solved. It was all "past tense" stuff - back in the 50's, or back in the Jim Crow era, or etc. From what I knew, America had solved the whole thing with the Civil Rights Movement and issues of race weren't a problem.

        From that perspective, the refrain of Black Lives Matter, presented as it was, seemed unfounded. Of course Black Lives Mattered. All Lives Mattered ... hadn't we solved this? What more did they want? It would be easy to say now that I was probably scared that things weren't all fine, because of what that would mean in the big picture, but I don't remember enough of what I felt then to say that with any certainty. I'd also like to think that the whole thing planted the seed of uncertainty that led to a shift in thinking.

        I can't pinpoint where the shift occurred. The very existence of the phrases left my mind for years. But when George Floyd was murdered, and the phrase regained national attention, I had switched entirely. I understood that the point was "Black Lives Matter too" and that All Lives Matter is nothing but a denial of the message.

        There are some people who are, like I was, ignorant, but unfortunately the majority that I see speaking are willful in the matter. I hope that, with time, minds will change like mine did.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 23 Jul 2020 @ 9:41am

          Re: Former "All Lives Matter" perspective

          It's basically a given that everyone will be wrong on something in their lives, whether that be big or small. Not everyone is willing and able to both own it and change when presented with sufficient evidence that they were wrong.

          Congrats on being one of them.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 23 Jul 2020 @ 10:41pm

            Re: Re: Former "All Lives Matter" perspective

            Yes, if only the world were filled with more people willing to change their minds when presented with evidence they're wrong, rather than doubling down and refusing to budge, it would be a much better place.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 23 Jul 2020 @ 10:40pm

          Re: Former "All Lives Matter" perspective

          Bravo for making the change, although I would question where you were getting your original news, as the whole message seemed crystal clear to me from the start, and I live on another continent.

          I hope that wherever you got the misinformation is no longer your source for information on other subjects, as if it the ones I'm guessing in my mind, they're lying about a lot of other things as well.

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          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 24 Jul 2020 @ 1:32am

            Re: Re: Former "All Lives Matter" perspective

            "...although I would question where you were getting your original news, as the whole message seemed crystal clear to me from the start, and I live on another continent."

            Not so clearcut, alas. I once asked my parents - who had lived in the US in the 60's - what it was like back then as compared to now. The answer was both illuminating and very frightening.

            Where a european expects that there are umpteen different news outlets, at least two of whom can be considered impartial, americans used to have one. That was either going to be the republican channel, the democrat one, or the local newspaper which never went into detail on anything outside of local news.

            Unless you were professionally researching foreign policy what you'd get from news and media was simply a boiled-down summary of what either side wanted to present. Journalists going above and beyond that won pulitzer prizes simply because of in-depth coverage of stuff that in europe would have been picked up from the start by three different media channels and several magazines.

            And today that's still the same. There are americans who, in order to get relevant US news along with empirical analysis, turn to Al-jazeera, Reuters, or chinese english-speaking news.

            Needless to say the average John Q Doe isn't going to deep-dive into what ought to be granted in a saner part of the world. S/He either blindly accepts the warped presentation of the news coming out of Fox, OANN, or CNN - or, more likely, starts distrusting the "news" altogether and forms their opinion around what their favorite facebook group comes up with.

            And that makes casual ignorance of the kind TFG describes, fairly common. Most white people, if asked about The Talk will think of it as that point when their parents try to bring across information about sex.
            They usually have no clue what The Talk refers to among black people, where it's that point in a young black kids life when an elder relative takes them aside and teaches them how to avoid or de-escalate situations where they risk getting killed by white supremacists or US police.

            And to those guys when they first hear the terms "Black lives matter" and "white privilege" they don't realize - or don't want to have to realize that because they were born non-black they are only half as likely to die due to being murdered by a cop than a black person would be. That they were born into privilege entirely due to the color of their skin.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            TFG, 25 Jul 2020 @ 7:33am

            Re: Re: Former "All Lives Matter" perspective

            Bravo for making the change, although I would question where you were getting your original news, as the whole message seemed crystal clear to me from the start, and I live on another continent.

            I couldn't tell you the exact sources, as I don't remember. I have never trusted Fox News or the various other questionable sources, given my first experiences with the TV branch were the objectively incorrect representations of certain fandoms.

            I will attribute it to "general internet rumor" and take the mea culpa for not digging deeper, qualified by by an acknowledgement that life at the time was deep in the midst of exhaustion. Machine shop night shift with a bunch of overtime was not conducive to much more than vegetating in the off-times.

            Which, I suppose, is a lesson in and of itself: there's a great number of people who are in circumstances that discourage the kind of discourse and research required to challenge preconceptions. Exhaustion, general busyness, operating in survival mode; there are many reasons people fail to engage, many of them external.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 11:21pm

              Re: Re: Re: Former "All Lives Matter" perspective

              That's fair. One of the major problems generally is that a lot of people don't actively take interest in current affair or politics, so pick up broad summaries rather than actual data. That's not your fault necessarily, it just means that you're susceptible to misinformation if you unwittingly consume the wrong sources, or take the wrong conclusion from a vague outline.

              But, again, I'm glad that you didn't fall into the other trap, which is rejecting the correct information when you finally encounter it. That is truly to be commended nowadays, and should be encouraged.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Jul 2020 @ 5:04am

      Re:

      ""Black lives matter" isn't partisan, just racist."

      Nope. Not when there's 400 years of history where being black has specifically meant being less. Being black in the US is like being jewish in europe in the 19th century. Always the scapegoat, always ascribed less worthy aspects than the gentile.

      I'll tell you what's racist though. Seeing a minority have to make the statement that their lives actually matter, after four centuries of that not being the case, and reacting with a defensive "Hey, surely everyone's lives matter" when it sure as hell isn't everyone risking their lives in every interaction with police to the same extent.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PixyMisa (profile), 23 Jul 2020 @ 9:38am

    "By then we had children in cages"

    Didn't realise Trump was president in 2014.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TFG, 23 Jul 2020 @ 10:45am

      Re: "By then we had children in cages"

      I am not familiar with the specific event you are referring to - "2014" is rather vague. Could you please elaborate, perhaps with some news articles or links, so that I can be better informed on this matter?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 23 Jul 2020 @ 10:47pm

        Re: Re: "By then we had children in cages"

        A common right-wing echo chamber retort to the fact that Trump has committed horrific acts is to point to something vaguely similar that happened in the past. But, these usually fall apart when facts and context are applied.

        Here, Obama did start a push to deport a lot of illegal immigrants and his administration built some of the facilities being used. However, Obama also had humane policies that prevented most of the abuses that have been so controversial recently. The people going "but Obama" are missing that the things that are uniquely ordered by Trump - such as separating families and locking children in cages under inhumane conditions, then losing any documentation that would allow the family to reunite - are 100% owned by Trump.

        https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/obama-build-cages-immigrants/

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          TFG, 25 Jul 2020 @ 7:23am

          Re: Re: Re: "By then we had children in cages"

          And so you see that the original poster had nothing to draw from, and someone who does not support their point of view was actually able to provide context.

          In the absence of specificity, I assume PixyMisa was lying out of their ass and did not actually have anything useful to add to the conversation.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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