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Thread: The Jordan Peterson thread

  1. #46
    Spanish_Vicente sledger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    It wouldn't be enforcable in the US, though, as of 2013. I guess Vox would have to block access to the article elsewhere...?
    Yeah I think so. There was a case a few years back where a UK newspaper was sued in a French court because an article they published was available in France for example. But even if the article was taken down now, it's probably too late to avoid liability on that basis, it's been up for ages.

  2. #47
    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sledger View Post
    Yeah but generally speaking just showing that something said is untrue is not enough to establish liability, you'd normally be required to demonstrate that the untrue statement was injurious to your reputation as well. I agree that just saying a bad thing is not enough. But saying bad things leading to someone suffering, possibly irreparable, reputational damage, and all of the economic and social consequences that come fromt that, should definitely be legally actionable. Saying bad things about people can ruin lives. Like stains on your shirts that never come out.
    I don't disagree. But US law makes a distinction between bad and scurrilous opinions that are just presented, and bad and scurrilous opinions that are based on disclosed, known facts - like, say, quotes from a book. Manne in the offending passages (at least what I think are the offending passages) is essentially saying that she thinks Peterson is a misogynist based on actual quoted words and statements; I don't think that should ever be considered defamatory.

    Defamation law is too broad regardless in Australia IMO.
    Last edited by Spark; 24-09-2018 at 01:40 AM.
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  3. #48
    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sledger View Post
    Yeah I think so. There was a case a few years back where a UK newspaper was sued in a French court because an article they published was available in France for example. But even if the article was taken down now, it's probably too late to avoid liability on that basis, it's been up for ages.
    I'd be curious how (say) damages would work if an adverse finding in a different country was made against a media organisation that wasn't incorporated in that country.

  4. #49
    Spanish_Vicente sledger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    I don't disagree. But US law makes a distinction between bad and scurrilous opinions that are just presented, and bad and scurrilous opinions that are based on disclosed, known facts - like, say, quotes from a book. Manne in the offending passages (at least what I think are the offending passages) is essentially saying that she thinks Peterson is a misogynist based on actual quoted words and statements; I don't think that should ever be considered defamatory.

    Defamation law is too broad regardless in Australia IMO.
    The devil is in the detail with these things I guess. I think you could still use disclosed known facts to say something that is blatantly defamatory.

    For instance, let's say it is disclosed and known that a convicted rapist likes apples, dog walking, and classical music. Let's then say that Joe Bloggs also likes apples, dog walking and classical music. Let's then say that a journalist puts two and two together and concludes that given their similarities, Joe Bloggs may also be a racist, and publishes an article entertaining this notion. This would clearly not be acceptable.

    This is an extreme example obviously, but it shows why an opinion being based on disclosed facts should not immediately make it immune from legal sanction.


  5. #50
    Spanish_Vicente sledger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    I'd be curious how (say) damages would work if an adverse finding in a different country was made against a media organisation that wasn't incorporated in that country.
    It depends on the size of the organisation and the relative power of the jurisdicition in question I think. US-based tech companies and similar that have refused to respect judgments made against them in the courts of European countries have changed their tune pretty fast when said countries threaten to get their ISPs to block their websites.

  6. #51
    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    I am an idiot who hit F5 instead of post, but: did you really did mean racist and not rapist in that line (which is a big difference; the latter is in the category of verifiable fact [did you or did you not do ___] and the former is not)? That really changes things wrt US law.

    Quote Originally Posted by sledger View Post
    It depends on the size of the organisation and the relative power of the jurisdicition in question I think. US-based tech companies and similar that have refused to respect judgments made against them in the courts of European countries have changed their tune pretty fast when said countries threaten to get their ISPs to block their websites.
    Heh, that makes sense.

  7. #52
    Spanish_Vicente sledger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    I am an idiot who hit F5 instead of post, but: did you really did mean racist and not rapist in that line (which is a big difference; the latter is in the category of verifiable fact [did you or did you not do ___] and the former is not)? That really changes things wrt US law.
    Yeah, I did mean rapist, but I see your point. Ok let's say instead of "rapist" I said "wants to have *** with children".

  8. #53
    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    Here we go:

    In general, facts are statements that can be proven true or false; by contrast, opinions are matters of belief or ideas that cannot be proven one way or the other. For example, "Chris is a thief" can be proven false by showing that throughout his entire life Chris never stole anything. Compare that statement with "Chris is a complete moron." The latter is an opinion (or, technically, "a pure opinion"), as what constitutes a moron is a subjective view that varies with the person: one person's moron is not necessarily the next person's moron. Put another way, there would be no way to prove that Chris is not a moron. If a statement is a "pure opinion," it cannot be the basis for a defamation claim.
    Opinion and Fair Comment Privileges | Digital Media Law Project

    That would seem to make it pretty decisive that under 1A jurisprudence, it's extremely difficult for an allegation of misogyny to be ever considered defamatory.

  9. #54
    Hall of Fame Member Ikki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ankitj View Post
    All you folks keep saying grand summation of all thinking ever about mainstream religion can be reduced to 'lol sky fairy' is wrong and people who do that are pathetic. But none of you make an attempt, not in this short thread at least, to explain why mainstream religion can't be reduced to that. Make an attempt on articulating those positions and we can have a conversation. Why keep condemning people?
    You guys are making the point on behalf of others and asking them to defend it. Then when it is argued it isn't the position they hold, you don't listen to the reasoning. That is essentially where much of the discussion Sam and Jordan had broke down (although, generally, still enjoyable). I get that a lot of religious people hold these views but it is really a reflection that even many religious people haven't really wrestled with religion in an intelligible way that they can defend to themselves.

    Generally, the reason why religion isn't "lol sky fairy" can't be summed up in one sentence if you want to truly convince someone. You have to actually engage with people like Peterson, and many, many others (some even atheists), to appreciate what is actually being argued or shared. I made the point earlier that perspective matters so much in these debates that it is more about willingness to listen and delve deep into a discussion than about being smart. It's why Sam, who is definitely a smart man, just doesn't get it because he keeps whittling it down to absurdism. I can say it is why myself, and many people who have re-wrestled can see Sam making these mistakes even if he is a more intelligent person than us.

    When you read a lot of history and religious texts - without the perspective of reducing it to absurd literalism - you will come to appreciate why the word god itself means such a great deal - it's what all these ancient people were trying to decode in their own way. These people were not some lower level of human, we have not evolved that much, we just know more about the world now, and these ideas have come down from truly brilliant sentient beings. It's often hard to see their point sometimes because we have changed so much. Sam makes the case that in the past, for example, religions instructed people to kill their babies which on the face of it seems obviously wrong. Peterson then counters with the fact that at these points in time people were largely poor and just to eat enough to survive was a herculean task - sacrificing their baby meant they could keep their family alive. So these questions are just deeper than what some people are willing to contend with, and it isn't to say that many of these religious ideas may be outdated although it is important to understand why they may have existed. In some ways, it is like us trying to piece together the evolution of a species through millions of years and not having the context to understand why it evolved the way it did.

    I'm sure you're familiar that some even define god as something akin to gravity or some other force in nature. In some ways it is an organising mechanism for values and/or of matter. It is really hard to just sum it up as a fictional being in the sky.

    To clarify my viewpoint a bit. I am sure 'lol sky fairy' is not what Abrahamic religions can be reduced to. But to a large extent that is the part that remains relevant because that's what billions of people live by. Nevertheless I am happy to hear what else interpretations of Abrahamic religions you have in your minds (non-Abrahamic religions are a different discussion altogether).
    It all makes much more sense when you view these stories for the metaphorical lessons they really are (IMO). I used to convince myself with "religion is just the opiate for the masses", "these people just need something to believe in", "lol, they really think Muhammad talked to god and wrote the qu'aran when he was illiterate", etc. it is only now I realise much of the dogmatism of atheism is no different to the dogmatism even in religious people.

    Like all ideas we use to conceptualise our world, it is hard to keep yourself accountable because you become too accustomed to the perspective you have and what works for you. I've suggested it before but I think Peterson's biblical lecture series is a good starting point. I have heard of many of these interpretations and arguments before but it wasn't until I started listening to a lot of Peterson (and I am not suggesting he is the inventor or best proponent for these arguments) that I realised there really is a parallel between the religious truths and those truths of the natural world we reveal via science.

    They're both in the pursuit of truth of a different kind and it requires intellectual and moral honesty in both realms to get to transcendental truths that last. They may never be resolved like quantum physics and classical physics, much like how we don't know where consciousness comes from, but it let's you view the world from a far more accurate perspective. I know this has started to sound preachy but I am telling you, it can help a lot in your own personal life.
    Last edited by Ikki; 24-09-2018 at 02:13 AM.
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    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sledger View Post
    Yeah, I did mean rapist, but I see your point. Ok let's say instead of "rapist" I said "wants to have *** with children".
    Haha yeah I won't dispute that calling that defamatory would be fair enough. But that's a far cry from accurately reproduced quotes that are presented in such a way to support an allegation that someone is racist and misogynist, especially when the author has actually bothered to describe what she means by the word "misogyny".

  11. #56
    Spanish_Vicente sledger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    Here we go:



    Opinion and Fair Comment Privileges | Digital Media Law Project

    That would seem to make it pretty decisive that under 1A jurisprudence, it's extremely difficult for an allegation of misogyny to be ever considered defamatory.
    Quite possibly. Difficult to say without knowing all of the relevant jurisprudence as well though.

    Personally I'm not conviced that this is necessarily the best standard though. Opinions can be just as damaging as facts if the audience believes them to be factual.

    To go back to my previous example, "I believe Chris has sexual inclinations towards children", for example, is an opinion, but the implication here is clear.

  12. #57
    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sledger View Post
    Quite possibly. Difficult to say without knowing all of the relevant jurisprudence as well though.

    Personally I'm not conviced that this is necessarily the best standard though. Opinions can be just as damaging as facts if the audience believes them to be factual.

    To go back to my previous example, "I believe Chris has sexual inclinations towards children", for example, is an opinion, but the implication here is clear.
    I wonder though if that would still be considered a statement of fact, as it's making allegations of propensity to actual criminal activity.

    But having said that, if calling people pedophiles on spurious justification was actionable under US defamation law, then I have a lot of American gay friends who could suddenly become much richer.

  13. #58
    Spanish_Vicente sledger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    Haha yeah I won't dispute that calling that defamatory would be fair enough. But that's a far cry from accurately reproduced quotes that are presented in such a way to support an allegation that someone is racist and misogynist, especially when the author has actually bothered to describe what she means by the word "misogyny".
    Yeah fair enough. Like I say though, the devil is in the detail, and a bit part of whether or not the statement is defamatory (legally speaking anyway), is whether someone reading the statement could conceivably take it as fact rather than opinion, and whether this could then damage the defamed person's reputation. Kind of like the "offence is taken, not given" mantra - the author's intent is not always relevant as to whether or not they have any liability for their statement.
    Last edited by sledger; 24-09-2018 at 02:06 AM.

  14. #59
    Spanish_Vicente sledger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    I wonder though if that would still be considered a statement of fact, as it's making allegations of propensity to actual criminal activity.

    But having said that, if calling people pedophiles on spurious justification was actionable under US defamation law, then I have a lot of American gay friends who could suddenly become much richer.
    Not necessarily though. Having said inclinations, so far as I know, is not actually a criminal offence... It's acting on them in some way that gives rise to criminal wrongdoing.

    Edit: And yeah, if statements have been published somewhere fairly widely and this has led to your friend's reputations demonstrably being damaged, I don't see why not. Sounds perfectly plausible.
    Last edited by sledger; 24-09-2018 at 02:09 AM.

  15. #60
    Hall of Fame Member Ikki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    I and anyone else should be able to call him a misogynist and racist whatever I damn well like and for whatever reason I like. It's protected speech.
    And you are, no one can stop you and defamatory law suits do not stop you from having your say. That's why the distinction between the state and individuals matters.

    To kind of exaggerate for effect, how long did Harvey Weinstein go unexposed and unpunished because of the threat of defamation lawsuits hanging over anyone who published those allegations? And that's with near best-in-world jurisprudence in the area.

    Kate Manne and Vox should be absolutely free to call his writing and statements misogynist if they believe it to be so.
    Justice isn't perfect and it isn't straightforward. You have managed to utilise an example where the threat of lawsuit may have scared some from defamatory lawsuits - but those people still could have done so if they were inclined for their moral persuasions. In fact, you could argue that those who did not do the right thing were culpable to an extent as well, morally at least.

    But to flip that: imagine a situation where anyone could defame you and ruin your reputation without any threat of civil suit? That is not fair either, which is why this is a case-by-case consideration.

    Particularly in the ultra-PC world we are living in, statements on your character attributed by others can have a real effect on your life and job prospects. If not for Peterson's strong support, it would be very easy to outcast him from the conversation by these nutjobs. That's why alternate media sources have become so important. We are not living in 1990s where a single hit-job would shut you up, now people are investigating things for themselves and crowd-source funding (Peterson is raking it in on Patreon) allows these voices to be heard in defence of themselves.

    You aren't totally wrong here tbh. But I do think the very narrow range which, say, Nevada law allows defamation lawsuits is... acceptable, I suppose.
    I think at the moment we are only talking about a threat of a lawsuit - although, I wouldn't be surprised if Peterson went through with it.
    Last edited by Ikki; 24-09-2018 at 02:18 AM.

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