In support of Ron Lindsay, and against Richard Carrier’s disingenuous attack

So apparently there’s a huge kerfluffle over Ron Lindsay’s opening remarks at CFI’s Women in Secularism 2 conference. At first I avoided reading anything about it out of a desire to not waste time on drama; then I decided read the text of Lindsay’s speech, on the grounds that, Lindsay is head of CFI so this is kind of important.

My reaction to reading Lindsay’s speech was that everything he said was utterly banal, and none of it ought to be controversial–though I winced when I read Lindsay’s comments on the “shut up and listen” meme, because I knew they would be controversial, even though they shouldn’t be. I’ll explain my reasons for deciding to blog about this momentarily, but first, Lindsay’s remarks on “shut up and listen” (emphasis mine):

This brings me to the concept of privilege, a concept much in use these days. Let me emphasize at the outset that I think it’s a concept that has some validity and utility; it’s also a concept that can be misused, misused as a way to try to silence critics. In what way does it have validity? I think there is sufficient evidence to indicate that there are socially embedded advantages that men have over women, in a very general sense. These advantages manifest in various ways, such as the persistent pay gap between men and women. Also, I’m not a believer in a priori arguments, but I will say that given the thousands of years that women were subordinated to men, it would be absolutely amazing if in the space of several decades all the social advantages that men had were promptly and completely eradicated. Legislation can be very effective for securing rights, but changing deeply engrained patterns of behavior can take some time.

That said, I am concerned the concept of privilege may be misapplied in some instances…

I’m talking about the situation where the concept of privilege is used to try to silence others, as a justification for saying, “shut up and listen.” Shut up, because you’re a man and you cannot possibly know what it’s like to experience x, y, and z, and anything you say is bound to be mistaken in some way, but, of course, you’re too blinded by your privilege even to realize that.

This approach doesn’t work. It certainly doesn’t work for me. It’s the approach that the dogmatist who wants to silence critics has always taken because it beats having to engage someone in a reasoned argument. It’s the approach that’s been taken by many religions. It’s the approach taken by ideologies such as Marxism. You pull your dogma off the shelf, take out the relevant category or classification, fit it snugly over the person you want to categorize, dismiss, and silence and … poof, you’re done. End of discussion. You’re a heretic spreading the lies of Satan, and anything you say is wrong. You’re a member of the bourgeoisie, defending your ownership of the means of production, and everything you say is just a lie to justify your power. You’re a man; you have nothing to contribute to a discussion of how to achieve equality for women.

Now don’t get me wrong. I think the concept of privilege is useful; in fact it is too useful to have it ossified and turned into a dogma.

By the way, with respect to the “Shut up and listen” meme, I hope it’s clear that it’s the “shut up” part that troubles me, not the “listen” part. Listening is good. People do have different life experiences, and many women have had experiences and perspectives from which men can and should learn. But having had certain experiences does not automatically turn one into an authority to whom others must defer. Listen, listen carefully, but where appropriate, question and engage.

I am, frankly, utterly astonished than anyone in the atheist movement that I know could think it’s a good idea to tell people to “shut up.” The atheist movement, after all, is largely a reaction against atheists being told to shut up. The reason Chris Mooney is so hated is because he was perceived as telling people to shut up. Greta Christina has used “shut up, that’s why” as a label for an entire category of anti-atheist arguments.

Lest anyone think Lindsay was misrepresenting the “shut up and listen” meme, here’s former Freethought Blogger Paul Fidalgo using it. Fidalgo’s post tells “white males” that when accused of bigotry, they should shut up and not argue back, even if the accusation is wrong. I remember Fidalgo acting utterly baffled on Twitter as to why this post provoked a negative reaction, I’m similarly baffled at his bafflement. And of course, blog commenters (including, but not limited to, commenters on Pharyngula) are often much worse about these things.

(Note: previous link was something I wrote specifically in response to an incident involving Pharyngula commenters, but also has a lot of general stuff that’s highly relevant here.)

To anyone who thinks they have a good defence of the “shut up and listen” meme, I have one key point: no matter how good your intentions are, don’t you at least see how the first time you say it, it’s going to sound bad? That even if you do have a sensible point, it’s going to take some work to convince people of that? That therefore, when someone objects to being told to shut up, it’s not grounds for a letter writing campaign against them or any such similar nonsense?

The other thing I’ll say is that I don’t think you should never tell someone to shut up. Hell, I’ll straight up tell people to go fuck themselves under the right circumstances. But when I do that, I don’t expect them not to object. I expect it to be the end of any productive conversation, which is why I reserve “go fuck yourself” for people who’ve made clear that they don’t have the slightest interest in a productive conversation. So I’m not against telling people to shut up… just against getting upset when they have the utterly predictable reaction.

But I wasn’t going to bother writing about any of this until I saw Richard Carrier calling for people to write anti-Lindsay letters to CFI, in particular when I saw Carrier’s rationale, in particular… let me start by quoting Lindsay again (with emphasis added, again):

What is the relationship between feminism and secularism? What sort of priority should secular groups give to advocacy for women’s rights? As many of you may recall, shortly after the first Women in Secularism conference, there was a call by some individuals to launch the Atheism+ movement, that is, atheism plus activism on social justice issues. This was not necessarily a bad suggestion, other than the fact that humanist groups like CFI or the AHA think that’s what they’re doing already, that is, they’re combining atheism with activism on selected social justice issues. Because CFI was already involved in social justice issues, including women’s rights issues, I was frankly lukewarm toward the Atheism+ proposal. Also, based on the rhetoric of some of its proponents, and I underscore some not all, it seemed to me to have the potential to be divisive. In fact, according to at least one proponent it was intended to be divisive. Upon further reflection, I’ve become more sanguine about the proposal. To begin, although nomenclature is not irrelevant, it’s not supremely important; at the end of the day, you cannot force someone to call themselves a humanist, so if people prefer to call themselves an Atheist-plusser, or whatever the term is, that’s fine. Moreover, it’s not intrinsically divisive to have another group or organization within the secular movement, provided the group collaborates on key matters with other secular organizations. Goodness knows, we have plenty of groups as it is and we still have found a way to collaborate on many issues.

The main point here is incredibly bland: “I was lukewarm at first, but then I decided it wasn’t really important and if people want to use that label that’s fine.” As for the part I’ve bolded, it needs to be emphasized that Lindsay said “some not all,” and furthermore if you followed the roll-out of atheism plus it’s obvious that “some” means first and foremost “Richard Carrier.” Carrier’s remarks on the occasion included such gems announcing that anyone who made fun of the label was “our enemies” and furthermore “our enemies are so retarded.”

Carrier later apologized for some of his rhetoric, but is worrying about divisiveness upon seeing such rhetoric a sensible response? Of course. So you can question the wisdom of Lindsay alluding to this dirty laundry, but it’s hard to argue he was wrong.

Now Carrier:

Then he says “based on the rhetoric of some of its proponents, and I underscore some not all, it seemed to me to have the potential to be divisive,” yet he gives no examples. If he had, he would know that the only rhetoric he has objected to was directed at vile sexists and misogynists joking publicly about anally raping a teenager, sending rape threats to prominent feminist bloggers, and engaging in campaigns of disgusting and relentless harassment (and occasionally at trolls and people openly attacking humanist values). He then confuses those quite legitimate voices of outrage with all defenses of Atheism+ whatever (“I’m not sure about this Atheism+ movement, you’re being too mean to rape apologists and sexual harassers for my taste”…huh?), which is a mistake (or lie) that many haters of Atheism+ make.

This is what is shockingly disingenuous about Carrier’s criticism of Lindsay. It’s false that the rhetoric was only directed at vile sexists and misogynists; in Carrier’s case, it was directed at anyone anyone who made fun of the new label he was championing.

There’s obviously more facets to this kerfluffle that I could address, but now I’m going to send some e-mails to CFI people and then go back to things I actually enjoy doing.

Correction: This post originally referred to Paul Fidalgo as a Freethought Blogger rather than a former Freethought Blogger. His personal blog is currently here.

  • Ace_of_Sevens

    I don’t think anyone has claimed Ron Lindsay’s speech was factually wrong. Rebecca Watcson even gave examples of what he was talking about in her response. That wasn’t the problem at all. The issue was that he was giving this as the opening of the Women in Secularism conference. The context made it sound like a criticism of the conference itself. If he wasn’t accusing the speakers and/or audience of doing this, then why open by lecturing them on this subject? If he did have a problem with the conference, why not deal with ti in the plannign stage instead of springing it on everyone at the opening speech?
    Also, there’s the issue of how he responded to criticism. Rebecca Watson was very measured in her response. She didn’t call for action against him, accuse him of being a bigot or a liar or anything. At worst, she accused him of giving a speech on a topic he wasn’t very knowledgable about. His response to her was way too vitriolic for what she had written. That’s when people started questioning his motives, not because of the original speech.

    • Ace_of_Sevens

      Actually, did you read any criticism of him besides Richard Carrier’s? Carrier wasn’t spelling out what he did wrong. He had links for that. I would recommend Dan Fincke & Greta Christina in particular. When you say that people have been criticizing him unfairly, but don’t quote or directly address what any of his critics are saying, it raises strawman flags,

      • Chris Hallquist

        I did read Greta Christina’s stuff, and had read her claim that Lindsay had misrepresented the “shut up and listen” in mind when I discussed Paul Fidalgo’s post.

        I hadn’t read Rebecca Watson’s post. Googling it now, the post itself comes off as measured, but the Twitter conversation that apparently led up to it? Ugh.

        As Lindsay said, “interesting that you focus on my sex and race, not merits of what I said”.”

    • Eshto

      The first thing Rebecca did was attack his race and gender. Give me a break.

    • Andrew Wilson

      “The issue was that he was giving this as the opening of the Women in Secularism conference.”

      He is the Chief executive of the group that organised the conference. It is standard practice for them to give the opening speech.

  • trivialknot

    You may have thought it was “utterly banal”, but I thought it was stupidly banal. Ron Lindsay was literally saying things that everyone says when they wish to critique feminism, but don’t actually have much experience doing so.

    Imagine that you had an atheist conference, and the person making the introductions was a theist, and they decided to take the time to compare atheism to religion. Are there a few similarities between atheism and religion? Sure. But it’s the argument every ignorant person thinks of, so we tend not to be very charitable about it.

    Similarly, privilege is a concept that has its problems. I can accept that it gets misused on occasion. But if Ron Lindsay decides to open a conference talking about the misuses of privilege, acting as if it’s a novel argument, I’m not going to be very charitable. I bet Lindsay can’t even distinguish between times when “shut up and listen” is appropriate and when it’s not. Case in point: later when asked to name an example, he referred to people who told him he shouldn’t have given the introduction.

    I don’t know if it was so bad that Ron deserved the strong reaction he’s getting in the blogosphere, but it certainly wasn’t any good.

  • Ubi Dubium

    I was at that speech. My problem with it was not so much that I disagreed with some of the content of what Ron said (which I do), but that it was the wrong time and place for such a lecture. Some of the topics he raised might have been good questions for panel discussions, with panel members chosen who had some appropriate background on those topics. But he was supposed to be there to open the conference and welcome the speakers and attendees on behalf of CFI, not to deliver a sermon on behalf of the personal opinions of Ron Lindsay. He declined to welcome us, and instead lectured us about tone before our conversations had even started (and then later personally welcomed a known harasser). We have one weekend conference during the whole year where the focus is specifically on the issues and concerns of secular women, and the head of the sponsoring organization starts it by telling us, essentially, that his opinions on the subject matter more than ours. His conduct that entire weekend was unprofessional, and reflected badly on CFI as an organization.

    • Steven Carr

      ‘But he was supposed to be there to open the conference and welcome the speakers and attendees on behalf of CFI….’

      Isn’t that the job of a host? It is not the host’s job to make keynote speeches.

      • Ace_of_Sevens

        As the president of the sponsoring organization, he was the host, regardless of whether he gave a keynote speech.

  • Avery Thompson

    I think you, like Lindsay, fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the “shut up and listen” meme. The point that PZ and Fidalgo were making is that when we’re criticized, the instinctive reaction is to argue back or to defend your position. However, when it comes to questions of privilege, there are often entire perspectives we (as white males) are missing, so it’s important to stop arguing and actually listen and understand the arguments that your critics are making. Or, in the (admittedly not diplomatic) words of PZ, it’s important to “shut up and listen.”

    As an example, take the case of a fundamentalist Christian proselytizing to an atheist. The Christian most likely believes that proselytizing is a very helpful act, and ze likely thinks ze is doing the atheist a favor by giving them a chance at the afterlife. However, the atheist probably feels differently. The atheist may get preached at quite frequently, or maybe the atheist has bad experiences of religious people, or maybe they really really don’t like religion, or whatever. The atheist would tell the Christian to stop proselytizing because they don’t like it, because it’s hurtful, because it’s harassment, or whatever the reason happens to be. The only correct response by the Christian is to stop proselytizing and listen to the atheist’s perspective.

    From the Christian’s perspective, shutting up and listening means ze doesn’t get a chance to defend hirself, and that sucks. On the other hand, the atheist doesn’t have to put up with another proselytizing Christian, and it’s the atheist’s opinion that wins out. In the end, it doesn’t matter that the Christian doesn’t think ze did anything wrong. What matters is that the atheist does. When talking about what offends a marginalized group (atheists, in this example) the only thing that matters is the opinion of the marginalized group members. They’re the ones that get to decide what offends them, and everyone else just has to “shut up and listen.”

    • Richard Sanderson

      I think you misunderstand.

      “Shutting up and listening” DOES NOT mean “shut up, say nothing and concede”, which is always the implication dished out by the FTBullies. Even if one has privilege, it does not make them wrong, it does not mean they can’t challenge after “shutting up and listening”.

      When somebody’s argument is so weak that they have to rely on pointing out privilege to dig themselves out of the hole, you should NEVER stop arguing with them.

      Further, relying on the tactic of shutting people up because of their privilege, is itself a form of privilege, and the more popular FTBullies, with their influence and ability to get their “hordes” into attack mode, know this.

      Certain people, such as PZ, Ophelia Benson, Stephanie Zvan and Rebecca Watson need to “shut up and listen” and check THEIR privilege.

      • Avery Thompson

        I do not misunderstand. Maybe if you actually read what I wrote instead of what you wanted to see you would also not misunderstand.
        I was not talking about rational debate by two people on an even footing. I was talking about speech that people from a marginalized group find offensive. In that case, if you do not belong to the marginalized group, you do not get to dictate what they find offensive. It’s a fairly simple concept that I outlined quite clearly.

        • Richard Sanderson

          Does that apply to say, Muslims opposing gay marriage?

          You would have to “shut up” to avoid “offending” the marginalized minority.

          Again, just because someone finds something offensive, and they happen to be from a marginalized group, it does not magically make their argument any stronger. It does not give them the privilege of immunity to criticism.

          Your argument about privilege is the same excuse religious people have used over the centuries to shut people up. Well, those days are now over. Get used to it.

          • Avery Thompson

            Granted, perhaps the term “underprivileged group” would have been a better choice on my part, rather than “marginalized group.” Further, groups that are often considered “underprivileged” generally are not always the underprivileged group in every situation. For instance, Muslims in a Muslim-dominated region are not an underprivileged group. Muslims as part of a larger religious society are not an underprivileged group. Conversely, if a Muslim person is harassed by a group of gay people in a gay neighborhood, the gay people are now no longer the underprivileged group in the situation. What determines whether a person or a group of people is underprivileged (or, to reference your other response, what determines whether a debate occurs on “even footing”) is the amount of power and privilege each person or group holds in the situation.

            Further, I’m not saying underprivileged groups should be “immune to criticism,” as you said. I think all groups should be open to criticism, as long as the critics stand on an “equal footing” with those being criticized.

            Also, do you really not believe that certain groups should retain the ability to declare what they find offensive? Do you not believe that, say, the black community has the right to declare certain words and actions as offensive, and criticize anyone who says those words or does those actions? Do you believe that should you (and here I’m presuming you’re not black, but you can substitute another group at your leisure) try saying those words or doing those actions, and you get roundly criticized by the black community for doing so, that you are even slightly in a position to argue the point? Because that’s the entire essence of “shut up and listen,” and you’re making the entire concept far more complicated than it needs to be.

          • Ace_of_Sevens

            Shutting up doesn’t mean never objecting. It means actually listening to what they are saying. Privilege means some people are never heard or are just assumed to believe some strawman of what they actually believe. It doesn’t mean minority perspectives are correct, just that you should listen to them to make sure you are actually considering their position.

          • rg57

            “Shut up” means “shut up” which in turn means “you’re morally inferior, and are not contributing at our advanced level, so stop making noise”.

            It’s not a way to win anyone over. It’s a good way for a person to make enemies so they can put themselves into hero role and go fight them, however.

        • Richard Sanderson

          I was not talking about rational debate by two people on an even footing.

          This is potential equivocation. You don’t get to decide what is a rational debate on an even footing.

    • kiiski

      It’s always better to “listen and understand the arguments that your critics are making”, where does ‘marginalization’ enter into it? If the preacher belonged to a group that was marginalized relative to the atheists, would that mean we ought to shut up and listen to him (zim)?

    • Steven Carr

      Even if you’re one of the good guys, you get no allowance, no slack. A person misinterprets what you say to be racist, misogynistic, ableist, what have you, and you’re just screwed.

      If somebody misinteprets what I say to be racist. misogynist, ableist, whatever, I don’t apologise for upsetting them.

      I just think ‘What an idiot that person is’, and move on. Life is too short to listen to idiots who misintepret what you say, or try to correct their impressions that they can judge people they have never met in real life.

      There are plenty of feminists who are not idiots. I listen to them instead.

      They’re the ones that get to decide what offends them, and everyone else just has to “shut up and listen.”

      SO if Catholics are very upset by P.Z.Myers desecrating their communion wafers, the correct response is to ‘shut up and listen’?

      • Avery Thompson

        Ok, so two problems with what you said. The first is that you’re assuming that the things you say aren’t actually racist, sexist, ableist, or whatever. You’re probably not intentionally making racist, sexist, or ableist remarks. However, presumably you are an able-bodied white male, which means you don’t get to decide what is considered racist, sexist, or ableist. Even if you don’t think you’re making racist, sexist, or ableist statements, you might be accidentally offending a lot of people. In which case, the absolute wrong response is to say that all the offended people are idiots and go on with your day. The correct response is to shut up and listen to their points, because they know more about the subject than you do.

        Secondly, as I made very clear in my conversation above, this only applies to underprivileged groups. They apply to the groups that the racism, sexism, ableism, and other -isms are usually directed at. So no, Catholics do not fall under this category. Unless they’re Catholics in a Muslim-dominated country, in which case it does. For instance, if an imam in Pakistan tried the same thing that PZ did, it could be interpreted as a call for violence against Catholics. At the very least, it would be a statement that Catholic voices are not welcome in Pakistan, which is exactly the sort of offensive and marginalizing speech that “shut up and listen” is trying to prevent.

        • Steven Carr

          You are entitled to your opinion of what Mr. Fidalgo meant, just as Mr. Fidalgo is entitled to his opinion of what he meant.

          ‘ In which case, the absolute wrong response is to say that all the offended people are idiots and go on with your day. ‘

          Only with those idiots who misinterpret what is said.

          Why talk to them? As Mr. Fidalgo said, just walk away.

          If somebody wants to call me a misogynist or an ableist, they are perfectly entitled to do so, and I will defend their right to do that.

          Even , as , if Mr. Fidalgo says, ‘Let’s assume, even, that this response is wrong,’

  • Richard Sanderson

    Calm, measured and well-articulated response, unlike a lot of the drivel we have had from Stephanie Zvan and PZ Myers, etc.

    You have to remember these people are actively searching for things to get upset about, and when they perceive that somebody is not “on message”, they target them for intimidation by numbers. They end up throwing their toys out of the pram when the systematic bullying fails to force somebody to apologise when they don’t to, or resign when they don’t need to, or more often, simply forcing them to quietly leave the movement. That is the end game of their “shut up and listen” gambit.

    It is for these reasons people must stand strong against the FTBullies and their supporters. Oppose them, support Skeptic Women, support Ron, support TAM, write letters to CFI informing them of your support for Ron. Make it known to them that it is THEY who are wrong, and THEY who are in an ever-decreasing minority.

    I welcome your article, and would welcome more atheist bloggers aiming a well-deserved smackdown in the direction of the FTBullies.

  • VinnyJH

    The problem is that Lindsay doesn’t say who it is that he thinks is using the rhetorical meme badly. You are giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming that he was referring to people who really do use it badly, however, given the context of his remarks, it seems natural to me that some of the members of his audience would interpret his remarks as complaints about them. In that case, I cannot see anything disingenuous in Carrier’s response. He was simply defending people who he thought were being unfairly criticized. He might be mistaken about whether they were being criticized, but I don’t see disingenuousness.

    • JustAtheist

      There is that old saying that if the shoe fits wear it. Seems alot of that crowd believed the shoe fit them so good on him for making them look at their stupidity. Bad on them for not getting it and instead starting a witch hunt against this man

      • VinnyJH

        On the other hand, there is also the old trick of not naming any names and then feigning innocence when someone takes offense by proclaiming “Oh. I wasn’t talking about you in particular.” I am open to either possibility here, but I doubt that I have the patience to wade through all the rhetoric in order to reach a conclusion.

  • Rain

    Carrier seems overly defensive at times. Dare I say “dogmatic”. There I said the “D” word. He seems very brilliant though.

  • SubMor

    “Fidalgo’s post tells “white males” that when accused of bigotry, they should shut up and not argue back, even if the accusation is wrong.’

    Does it? I can’t find this instruction in the linked post. The closest thing I see is essentially (I am summarizing here) “you might be right that your argument wasn’t influenced by privilege, but you should shut up and listen long enough to find out why they think it was.”

    “the first time you say it, it’s going to sound bad”

    What is your proposed alternative, then, in this kind of context where the goal is to get the other person to stop talking long enough to understand your actual argument (as opposed to whatever straw version they’re currently railing against)?

    Mind you, I am deeply skeptical of the implication that “shut up and listen” is frequently used in real-world arguments (ditto “check your privilege,” for that matter), but if you have a highly successful strategy for rendering it obsolete, I’m all ears.

    “That therefore, when someone objects to being told to shut up, it’s not grounds for a letter writing campaign against them or any such similar nonsense?”

    Here you are grossly misrepresenting every writer I’ve come across. I’ve seen arguments about how Lindsay should not have chosen that context. I’ve seen arguments about how his facts were inaccurate. What I have never seen is “how dare he object to being told to shut up.” Can you provide links to anyone writing along this third category?

    “Carrier’s remarks on the occasion included such gems announcing that anyone who made fun of the label was “our enemies””

    Again, I cannot find what you are claiming he said here. Would you be so kind as to provide a direct quote?

    (As for the remainder of this quote, which I have omitted, he clearly was in error to have said anything like that, and he has long since acknowledged this and committed to avoid doing it again. Would that more people were so willing to listen to criticism.)

    • Steven Carr

      “Fidalgo’s post tells “white males” that when accused of bigotry, they should shut up and not argue back, even if the accusation is wrong.’

      Does it? I can’t find this instruction in the linked post.

      It’s in the middle.

      . A person misinterprets what you say to be racist, misogynistic, ableist, what have you, and you’re just screwed.

      SO somebody misinterprets you and you have to shut up and listen to what they say.

      Let’s assume you’ve said something to elicit the kind of response I’ve been talking about. Let’s assume, even, that this response is wrong, that you are totally in the clear as far as the merits of your words go, and you are being wildly misunderstood through no fault of your own.

      I hope I clarified Fidalgo’s words for you. Please ask again if you need any more clarifications.

      • SubMor

        Thanks for giving it a shot. Since Paul Fidalgo has responded in this thread, it’s become superfluous, but I still appreciate the effort.

  • Paul Fidalgo

    Hi. Folks in this thread seem to have already pretty well defended my position, so I just want to go on record here clarifying, again, what I meant, which I will concede obviously wasn’t clear enough considering the volcanic reaction to it.

    “Shut up and listen” was MEANT to mean: even if you know you’re right, you probably aren’t going to “win” an argument on points in the heat of the moment. So just listen (for now!), soak it in, try to learn from it (as one can learn from any unpleasant experience) and come back to it later. Or ask more questions instead of trying to debate, then come back and argue your point. Whatever. For me, it’s less “check your privilege” and more “check your emotions.” It takes a little more courage and self-confidence, I think, to NOT shout back right away.

    Also for the record, I am no longer a Freethought Blogger. I live here now:

    Come say hi!

    • Andrew G.

      Or to translate into terms Hallquist might recognize better, treat “shut up and listen” as meaning “apply the Principle of Charity to what the other person is saying – on the subject of their experience they are the domain expert, not you”.

      • Paul Fidalgo

        I’ll buy that.

    • kiiski

      That sounds like good advice for anyone, Paul. Why should it apply only to white males? I hope you aren’t implying that they’re more likely to be able to control their emotions? *pokes a patch of thin ice*

      • Paul Fidalgo

        It applies to everyone, because we can all benefit from taking stock of where we might have blinders.

  • EllenBeth Wachs

    The problem with telling people to “Shut Up and Listen” is that more often than not they simply tune out.

  • gumbythecat

    “Shut up and listen”… “Check your privilege”… just tools that certain people use as a means of not having to justify their positions and to silence people who might have differing opinions.

  • Jeff

    Thank you for writing this. I wonder, for those here who disagree, do they think Ron Lindsay should be fired from his job? Was his speech that egregious?

    • ahermit

      I don’t think Lindsay should be fired or resign, but I think he needs to do some homework, make some sincere apologies and work hard to repair the damage he did with this condescending speech and his rude, clumsy response to thoughtful criticisms of his collection of strawman arguments.

  • Damion Reinhardt

    CFI claims in their mission statement that “No topic should be placed off limits to scrutiny” and it looks like Ron Lindsay was checking to see if the Women in Secularism crowd actually supported the notion that even feminism (or, if you prefer, certain memes therefrom or abuses thereof) can be expected to withstand a tiny bit of the mildest criticism. He did this by challenging the “Shut up and listen” meme and advancing the idea that we should “Listen, listen carefully, but where appropriate, question and engage.”

    The experiment was a resounding success. We now know with some certainty that even the mildest criticism of certain ideas will be met with angry denunciations and even campaigns calling for resignation. Lesson learned.

    What secular leader wants to become the next Dawkins, Grothe, or Lindsay? Step right up! All you have to do is disagree, even slightly, with the conventional collective wisdom of the keyboard warriors for social justice.

    • ahermit

      Lindsey isn’t being denounced for mild criticisms; he;s being criticised for not doing his homework and for behaving like an arrogant, condescending jerk.

      • Damion Reinhardt

        May I assume from the homework remark that you are confident in your ability to disprove some of the assertions that he made in his speech?

        • ahermit

          I think Dan Fincke, Greta Christina, Stephanie Zvan, Rebecca Watson, Adam Lee and others have already done that pretty thoroughly. It’s pretty clear Lindsey was out of his depth.

          • Damion Reinhardt

            So, you’re not willing to actually say here and now what specifically Lindsay got wrong? Ok.

          • ahermit

            Well, if you’re not willing to read what others have already written… ;-) I’ll give you links this time along with my own thoughts.

            First of all, Lindsay misrepresents the purpose of the A+ idea by attributing divisiveness as one of it’s goals, when in fact it is a reaction to existing divisions.

            He complains that feminists deny that there are disagreements within feminism, again without giving any examples of feminists actually saying this.

            He attacks the social justice component of feminism by complaining about something written on Huffpost by Louise Pennington…an obscure blogger few people have heard of before…instead of the social justice concerns feminists at the conference will be addressing.

            (More about that here… Seems Pennington’s article got some attention from the bigots at AVfM…)

            The biggest glaring flaw in Lindsey’s speech is his misrepresentation of the whole “shut up and listen” thing and his failure to grasp the idea of privilege. He again gives no examples in his speech and when pressed on the point in the aftermath he points to three examples which don’t actually support his argument.

            I really recommend reading Greta Christina’s take on the speech here:

            and the aftermath here:

            Here on Patheos Daniel Fincke, as I mentioned before also has an excellent analysis of the speech and so does Adam Lee

            Also worth reading is the Women In Secularism speaker’s open letter on the subject which can be found here:

          • Damion Reinhardt

            I don’t generally bother reading Zvan or Christina anymore, because I’m disallowed from commenting over there. If you’re not interested in pressing the argument yourself, we are done here. If however, you would like to show that Lindsay got something seriously wrong, such as the meaning of privilege, I’d be happy to engage with your arguments.

          • ahermit

            I’ve outlined my impressions of Lindsey’s speech above. I gave you the links because I’m busy, those people are better writers than I am and they’ve already said everything I might and said it better. If you want the details you can read the links. Not being able to comment there doesn’t mean you can;t read. And if you read with an open mind you might even learn…

          • Damion Reinhardt

            Sorry, I’m not going to waste my time reading people who have me blocked. If you want to make an argument that Lindsay said something factually wrong, or ethically misguided, I’d be happy to hear you out.

          • ahermit

            I did so above, and I gave you the links because they include material which supports my argument.

            Is there something I’ve said that you disagree with?

            Why is it a waste of time to read something if you can’t comment on it? Your comments aren’t the point there…

            And even if the inability to spam up the comments prevents you from reading something I gave you two links to bloggers here at Patheos where, AFAIK you are able to comment.

          • Damion Reinhardt

            Again, you have to make a specific argument that Ron said something wrong if you expect to get a rebuttal. Like this: Ron said X, but I believe ~X for reasons A,B,C.

            I’m not going to rebut everything (or anything) from a link farm with anything other than an opposing link farm. Here is one for you –

          • ahermit

            Again, you have to make a specific argument that Ron said something wrong

            I think I already did that…

            Maybe when you’re finished making excuses you can tell me what part of that you disagree with?

          • Damion Reinhardt

            No, you really didn’t do what I was asking, which was to point out exactly what Ron said wrong. Here is what that might have looked like, without paraphrasing or equivocation:

            Ron Lindsay claimed that “according to at least one proponent [Atheism Plus] was intended to be divisive” but this is completely false, because no Atheism Plus proponent has ever stated or even implied that it was intended to be divisive.

            Of course, this would be factually incorrect, but at least it would show that you are willing to take on Lindsay’s claims head on, instead of merely “outlining your impressions” of his talk.

          • ahermit

            Here’s what I actually said:

            ” Lindsay misrepresents the purpose of the A+ idea by attributing divisiveness as one of it’s goals, when in fact it is a reaction to existing divisions.”

            Now why do you feel the need to re-write that before rep[lying to it? I’ll thank you not to lecture me about taking on claims head on when you’re apparently not willing to do so yourself. If you’re going to discuss this with me you’re going to have to deal with what I actually say, not with what you wish I had said…

            Lindsey is absolutely misrepresenting the goals of A+ with this claim about divisiveness.Yes there were comments about the need to be divisive in terms of separating ourselves from outright bigots, racists, sexists and woo peddlers, but A+ was not started to create divisions; it was started as a reaction to already existing divisions.

            If you took the time to read the the links I gave you you would have found this, from Greta Christina (which, presumably, is the comment Lindsey is referring to…)

            Face it. This community is already divided. And it is divided in a way that is making many, many women feel cut out. For a solid year, far too many women in this community — and especially feminist women — havebeen relentlessly subjected to a torrent of hatred, harassment, and abuse…and to a torrent of people ignoring this behavior, rationalizing it, trivializing it, or getting angry at us for even talking about it.

            So why is it that forming a subset of atheism that prioritizes the inclusion of women, over the inclusion of hateful, misogynist assholes, is what’s being seen as “divisive”?

            And why is it that actions and words that demean women, objectify us,inappropriately sexualize us, violate our privacy, and literally threaten us and make us unsafe, are not being called “divisive”?

            Why is it “divisive” for some atheists to create one space in the world where we don’t have to deal with this shit? Why is that, when some atheists form a subset of the movement that’s dedicated, in part, to speaking and acting against these kinds of abuses, and to carving out a place in the movement where the people who perpetuate them are not welcome, it sends so many people into a frenzy of hand-wringing about “divisiveness”?

            Not exactly “A+ is intended to be divisive”…

          • ahermit

            I’m not afraid to read what others have said so I’m making my way through your storify links and I’m seeing a number of recurring, and I think misleading, themes; mainly the idea that the criticism of Lindsey is only coming from a small group of bloggers (it’s not; there a lot of people who were there, including at least a dozen of the featured speakers at WiSCFI2 who are upset with Lindsey) and that these people are demanding that Lindsey be fired (I haven’t seen anyone, apart from maybe a random commenter here and there) saying anything like that.

            For example, one of your links is to Reap Paden (whose idea of dialogue is screaming “fucking bitch” at Stepahanie Zvan for not paying enough attention to him and who was recently sucking up to the notorious MRA woo-peddler Paul Elam on his podcast.) Paden pretends that Lindsey is being attacked for being white and male which is, to be charitable, a gross mis-characterization of the criticisms of that speech.

            (edited to fiks speling airors)

          • Damion Reinhardt

            Reap knows that I’d much rather he didn’t take an uncivil approach, we’ve talked about it before. That said, I don’t think it is fair to characterize anyone solely in terms of the worst things they’ve ever said on the internet, and it is surely an example of the circumstantial ad hominem to attempt to dismiss his arguments because of who wrote them.

          • ahermit

            That’s a funny criticism coming from someone who won’t even read links to certain bloggers. Although, frankly,, “uncivil approach” doesn’t begin to describe the angry, spittle flecked torrent of abuse your friend unleashed on a woman who wasn’t sufficiently deferential to him…so no I’m not likely to be well disposed to any argument coming from that quarter.

            But I didn’t dismiss the opinions there because of who wrote them; I rejected them because they are incorrect.
            Paden is claiming that Lindsey is being criticized because he’s white and male.

            The main criticism of the opening speech seems to be who was the source of the speech. Ron, being a middle-aged white man was being criticized
            before he even finished speaking. The outrage displayed that a man dare voice an opinion at a woman’s conference is unbelievable.He isn’t; he’s being criticized for the condescending, insulting tone deaf speech he gave.”

            This is simply absurd; there were plenty of men at the conference, and plenty more talking about it. Reap is ignoring the real criticisms of Lindsey’s speech (and his subsequent behaviour, which made everything worse…)

            It almost sounds like Reap hasn’t actually read the criticisms being made. Maybe he refuses to read anything outside his echo chamber too…

          • Damion Reinhardt
          • ahermit

            You’re missing the point there; those are comments on his failure to understand the patriarchy issue; putting his comments in context. Watson, for example, isn’t criticizing Lindsey simply for being a white male; she’s criticizing him for lecturing the audience about privilege without apparently realizing his own.

            Also twitter comments are the least useful examples of criticism. If you would get over your aversion to reading anything written by people you don’t like you might understand that as the concept is explained in great detail at the links I provided.

          • Damion Reinhardt

            Do you see any conceptual space between someone refusing to assent to some of the claims put forth by feminist theories of patriarchy and a “failure to understand the patriarchy issue” altogether? If so, why impute ignorance rather than disagreement?

          • ahermit

            The use of strawmen throughout the speech would seem to indicate ignorance. Lindsey is disagreeing with arguments that aren’t being made outside a few random blog comments.

          • Damion Reinhardt

            “That’s a funny criticism coming from someone who won’t even read links to certain bloggers.”

            If someone blocks me, they forfeit my readership. It’s the very least I can do to reciprocate.

          • ahermit

            What a weak excuse.

            You go to someone’s blog, make an ass of yourself, get banned and then you can conveniently ignore anything they might have to say in the future…what a handy way of avoiding having to deal with opinions you just don’t want to hear.

          • Damion Reinhardt

            I don’t remember making an ass of myself, so I suppose that I’ll just take your word for it.

          • ahermit

            I’m sure you don’t think you did. The people who blocked you probably see it differently.

            The fact that more than one of them have done so might be enough for a skeptical person to ask themselves why…is it them being unreasonable, or might it be something you are doing?

            They have every right to decide what gets published on their space, don’t they?

            Either way, it’s an awfully convenient excuse for closing your eyes and ears to contrary opinions.

          • Damion Reinhardt

            Again, I’d be happy to hear your contrary opinion. Just quote what Lindsay actually said and tell me why it is wrong.

          • ahermit

            Well there was this:

            I read a blog post by Louise Pennington the other day; she stated that although patriarchy may predate capitalism, we cannot destroy patriarchy w/o destroying capitalism. Is the destruction of capitalism considered
            part of a social justice program? If so, that position certainly has very significant implications.

            Why pick an obscure bog poster from someone no one in the audience has heard of talking about something no one at the conference is going to be addressing? The only attention that blog post got before this was a parody version of it on the hatemongering AVfM website. This is not mainstream feminism he’s going after here…why bring it up?

            I know that I’ve had some conversations in which the claim has been made there is no significant division among true feminists.

            He may have had such conversations, but he doesn’t say with whom and again, this is not an opinion held by most feminists. It’s another strawman.

            I am concerned the concept of privilege may be misapplied in some instances.

            This is true, but in a trivial way. Does Lindsey really think that an audience full of feminists is unaware of this possibility? Any concept can be misapplied. Why lecture this audience on this point? This is where the serious condescension begins…

            But it’s the second misapplication of the concept of privilege that troubles me most. I’m talking about the situation where the concept of privilege is used to try to silence others, as a justification for saying, “shut up and listen.” Shut up, because you’re a man and you
            cannot possibly know what it’s like to experience x, y, and z, and anything you say is bound to be mistaken in some way, but, of course, you’re too blinded by your privilege even to realize that.

            As you would know if you could get over your ego long enough to read what others have written about this the “shut up and listen” trope is not about silencing anyone. It’s about getting those who have dominated the conversation for so long to stop talking long enough to hear the opinions of others; of those actually being affected by issues like sexism and harassment.

            Lindsey is condescending, argues against strawmen and misunderstands the concepts he’s supposedly addressing.

            All of which would probably have been mostly overlooked if he hadn’t chosen to dig in his heels and respond to some very polite initial criticism of the speech by becoming defensive, rude and insulting.

  • Jody

    I’ve always had a problem with “Shut up and listen.” In most every context, it really does shut down discussion altogether. I wish folks would use a “Hold on a minute and listen to what I’m saying” or “Stop, let me explain and hold off on critiquing for a while” idea instead.

    In the heat of battle, I don’t know if even those would work, but it would at least be a bit more charitable than the venom and acid that flies around now.

    • bmorejoe

      Um, maybe my experience is different than yours, but I have known any number of folks, prob mostly men who will NEVER shut up let alone listen. Sometimes a 2×4 is required to get the mule’s attention.

  • hf

    So to review: someone who gets paid to raise money offended a bunch of potential donors, and should probably lose his job.

    Yes, it was banal, if you remove the context of this asshole attending the conference. It was also long and patronizing. Oh, and he starts off by refusing to welcome them, in a way that either disclaims all banality or straight-out insults the audience.

    For the sake of clarity, what do you think of Vacula’s remark? It seems to me like pure trolling at best. Also incorrect, by the standard meaning of the words (and the meaning which Amanda Marcotte gave them in her earlier article). The nonexistence of “a supernatural higher power assigning gender roles” is basically the only theorem you can prove from atheism alone.

  • One Brow

    It’s disingenuous to treat the content of the opening speech as the main offense. Much more offensive were:
    1) The context
    2) Specifically welcoming Justin Vacula to the conference afterwards
    3) The vengeful, hysterical blogged reaction by Lindsay to Watson’s fairly calm post
    If you are not addressing these, youdon’t really have an objection to Carrier’s position.

  • ahermit

    Try to imagine Lindsey giving a similar speech at a Black Atheists convention, refusing to welcome the attendees and instead lecturing about the danger of using the concept of racism to silence white people…

    Still sound like no big deal?

    • jjramsey

      What ahermit said that Lindsay said: “… refusing to welcome the attendees…”

      What Lindsay actually said: “One thing you may have noticed already is that I did not give you a
      formal welcome to Women in Secularism 2. Of course you are welcome here.
      We’re very happy to have you with us, but this is something you know
      already, and, although I don’t want to appear ungracious, why take up
      time to state the obvious, because the reality is we have much work to
      do, and presumably you came here for substance not rhetoric.”

      • ahermit

        Isn’t it odd to spend more time explaining why you aren’t formally welcoming people then to just say “welcome to the second annual…?”

        Dan Fincke has an excellent dissection of Lindsey’s debacle here:

        • J. J. Ramsey

          Fincke is Fincke; you are you. You’re the one who made the claim that Lindsay refused to welcome the attendees, even though it’s clear from Lindsay having said, “Of course you are welcome here. We’re very happy to have you with us,” that the claim is grossly misleading at best and a complete falsehood at worst.

          If you can’t criticize Lindsay without slandering him, then there’s no point in listening to you.

          • ahermit

            I haven’t slandered anyone. Lindsey himself points out that he did not issue a formal welcome. Instead he took time to explain why such a welcome would be too time consuming.

            It was an awkward thing to say.

            Of course if you’re looking for an excuse not to listen I guess that’s as good as any. Don’t bother reading Fincke’s article, or the others Iinked to or my own comments above, just make up your mind based on one misinterpreted comment…

          • J. J. Ramsey

            “I haven’t slandered anyone.”

            Really? Refusing to welcome normally implies giving someone the cold shoulder, snubbing someone, or otherwise indicating that one is, well, not welcome. That’s a far cry from, “Of course you are welcome here.”

          • ahermit

            At worst it’s hyperbole…not slander. I left out the word “formal” that’s all.

            But, like I said, if you’re looking for reasons to ignore me please feel free to do so…

          • J. J. Ramsey

            When exaggeration is employed in hyperbole, the audience is expected not to take the exaggeration literally and is generally given some sort of cue or context indicating a non-literal meaning. When you said “refusing to welcome the attendees,” there was no indication that anything other than the literal meaning was meant. It certainly was not meant to indicate that Lindsay used an informal welcome rather than a formal one.

          • ahermit

            I thought you were going to ignore me…!o.O

            Look, it’s blog comment; you want to sue me over it go ahead. The point is that Lindsey’s whole speech was smug and condescending and his non-welcome welcome didn’t help.

    • Kareem

      As an African American, I don’t mind anyone pointing out what they think
      is wrong doing regardless of the group. When the Black Atheists of
      Atlanta made homophobic comments a few years ago, people of different races were more than willing to point out the hypocrisy of a racial
      minority being homophobic.

      If there was a trend of black organizations trying to silence people and Lindsey made comments similar to what he actually said at Women in Secularism, I would be fine with that. In fact, Lindsey’s comments were more tactful and well worded than some of the comments Barack Obama has made when addressing the black community.

      • ahermit

        If there was a trend of black organizations trying to silence people…

        Are you suggesting there’s a trend of women’s organizations trying to silence men?

        • Kareem

          No, but I will say that individuals have been using the concept of privilege in a way that is unproductive and damages the very cause they wish to represent.

          • ahermit

            And if Lindsey wanted to deal with those individuals he should have taken his own advice and done it in private, or at least by specifically addressing them on his blog or in a letter instead of lecturing a whole roomful of activists and paying convention attendees. That was inappropriate and condescending and I think people are right to be pissed off about it.

          • Kareem

            You’re assuming it’s only a few people he met or knows personally instead of a trend he has encountered.
            You asked people to imagine if he said something similar to a black atheist organization, I’m telling you my perspective as a black atheist.

          • ahermit

            Well he didn’t actually give any examples in his speech to support his contention that feminists deny any diference of opinion in their own ranks so it’s impossible to know who he was talking about. That’s kind of the problem though, we know who he was talking TO. Why would he choose to make these assertions to that audience?

            You say you would be fine with him making the same kind of comments to a black atheists gathering “If there was a trend of black organizations trying to silence people…”.

            But what if there was no such trend? What if there were speakers at that gathering who had been receiving racist taunts and pushback just for asking that their concerns about racism in the movement be considered seriously? Would you still be OK with the opening speech being a lecture about not being too pushy with your anti-racism?

  • JQuinton

    I think a better word than “privilege” needs to be used.

  • bmorejoe

    Too arcane by half. And why don’t we have a WHITE history month?

  • Andrew Hall

    Yeah, my thoughts in meme-y form.

  • eric

    I view the “shut up and…” part as added emphasis rather than an attack on one’s right to even hold an opinion. People will often ignore unpleasant messages (like: you’re being biased) when those messages parsed in neutral terms. To get through, sometimes you have to jar them. I think this is one of those situations. “Shut up and listen” is needed to get lots of people to merely listen seriously to the message that they may be acting in a biased manner. Were women to ask using the more literal, more netural “listen seriously” verbiage, the only people who would take the personal criticism to follow seriously would be the people who were already aware that they may be biased.
    IMO it serves the purpose of being a verbal equivalent of marching, staying silent for a day, or any other dramatic gesture intended to get people who are not already paying attention to pay attention. I’m fine with it, even when its directed at me.

  • ildi

    To anyone who thinks they have a good defence of the “shut up and listen” meme…

    Challenge accepted!

    ted com /talks / ernesto_sirolli_want_to_help_someone_shut_up_and_listen.html

    “Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!”

    When most well-intentioned aid workers hear of a problem they think they can fix, they go to work. This, Ernesto Sirolli suggests, is naïve. In this funny and impassioned talk, he proposes that the first step is to listen to the people you’re trying to help, and tap into their own entrepreneurial spirit. His advice on what works will help any entrepreneur.

    forbes com / sites /mikemyatt/ 2012 /02 /09/ why-most-leaders-need-to-shut-up-listen/

    Warning: this isn’t your typical piece on listening – it isn’t going to coddle you and leave you feeling warm and fuzzy – it is intended for leaders and is rather blunt and to the point.

    Want to become a better leader? Stop talking and start listening. Being a leader should not be viewed as a license to increase the volume of rhetoric. Rather astute leaders know there is far more to be gained by surrendering the floor than by dominating it.

    success com/ articles/ 1505-shut-up-and-listen

    Shut Up and Listen

    Break the bad habit and be a better listener

    amazon com /Shut-Up-Listen-Truth-Communicate /dp /0749440244

    Shut Up and Listen!: The Truth About How to Communicate at Work [Paperback]

    inc com /matthew-swyer/ best-advice-shutup-and-listen.html

    And in a statement that easily could have been made by Fred Gwynn’s (the judge) character in My Cousin Vinnie, the judge said to me a lesson I will never forget: “Son, what your partners are trying to tell you is that you’ve already won. I was about to rule in your favor. Don’t mess it up.”

    In short, shut up and listen.

    abajournal com/ news/ article/advice_for_those_getting_axed_stay_calm_shut_up_and_listen

    whatever scalzi com/ 2011/09/06/ shut-up-and-listen/

    As a poster boy for the “White Man Explains the World” set more than once in my life, allow me to say the following: Yea, verily. It’s hard to get us to shut up; it’s harder to get us to listen, for values of “listen” other than “waiting for the other person to stop making word noises so I can keep making my very important point.”

    trinidadexpress com/ news/ Shut-up-and-listen-205042871.html

    President Anthony Carmona has told politicians they should shut up and listen.

    In his first official speech in Tobago on Friday, Carmona said that the crisis in governance was as a result of the failure by elected representatives to genuinely listen to their constituents, even those with opposing viewpoints.

    todayschristianwoman com/ articles/ 2013/ april/ shut-up-and-listen.html

    While the “shut up and listen” tactic can be an effective way to minister to someone who is hurting, we also need to pay attention to what we eventually do say.

    nydailynews com/ news/ politics/ call-shut-listen-state-union-article-1.1259987

    It’s become a somewhat childish political tradition that when presidents deliver a State of the Union address, half of Congress jumps up and claps at the applause lines while the other half sits on its hands.

    One former lawmaker wants everyone to just shut up and listen instead when President Obama delivers his address on Tuesday.

    ragan com/ Main/ Articles/ Its_time_to_shut_up_and_listen_to_millennials_46253.aspx#

    It’s time to ‘shut up and listen’ to millennials Millennials have a lot to offer a workplace, this author says. It’s time older generations give them a chance.

    peterlang com/ index.cfm?event=cmp.ccc.seitenstruktur.detailseiten&seitentyp=produkt&pk=62645&concordeid=311123

    Knaus, Christopher
    Shut Up and Listen
    Teaching Writing that Counts in Urban Schools
    Series: Black Studies and Critical Thinking – Volume 7
    Year of Publication: 2011

    Shut Up and Listen focuses on the voices, perspectives, and experiences of urban African American students – and on their writing, to remind educators of the power of voice, and how far schools are from addressing the reality of racism.

    cicero-group com/ reports/ digital-reports/ shut-up-and-listen-cicero-groups-guide-to-social-media-monitoring/

    Shut up and listen! Cicero Group’s guide to social media monitoring

    Based on interviews with a range of global firms and other practical research, we have created a nine-step plan to help organisations to design their own successful monitoring strategy. At a glance, companies need to:
    1. Identify clear objectives
    2. Decide what to monitor
    3. Establish a social media team
    4. Create a guide book
    5. Refine your searches
    6. Shut up and listen
    7. Inform other departments
    8. Get involved
    9. Evaluate your progress

  • sezit

    I disagree with Lindsay’s speech, but that is minor. He turned a welcome into a divisive argument, and continued to create more division after his speech. What do we need leaders for? I think it is to promote the org and create unity of vision. Unfortunately, he has created a legacy for himself that does not do that. How many people even knew his name before this? Now he is almost irrevocably linked to a nasty fight.

  • ahermit

    If there was no trend, then it would be wrong.

    And you’ve already agreed with me that there is no trend of feminist organizations silencing people…are you changing your position on that now?

    one of the first responses to his speech mentioning his race and gender…

    Which are surely relevant when discussing privilege…he was not criticized simply for being white and male; but for the inappropriateness of lecturing women about “misusing” privilege from his position of privilege.

    And in any case that was one tweet form one individual expressing a criticism, not an organization silencing anyone, and it was made after the speech., so it hardly justifies something which you say is wrong absent a trend of organizations silencing people, can it?

    Lindsey didn’t say anything about not being too pushy

    On the contrary; that was exactly he message he was sending. It was condescending and inappropriate.

  • TheSwelk

    The problem with “Shut up and Listen” is that it’s a straw man. Nobody serious says that (though the “and listen” part is). It was a BS straw man made up by Ron Lindsay to try to drive his points home, even though he had no real basis for them.

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