Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Comment censorship

with 5 comments

I have repeatedly reported about censorship on the blog hypocritically named Aus Liebe zur Freiheite (“For/due to the love of freedom”)—indeed, I first became aware of that blog through discussing its destructive and uninformed comment policy. I was going to ignore the fact that two factual and highly relevant comments of mine had recently been censored, but I will not, seeing that another commenter just wrote the following eloquent complaint (my translation is suboptimal):

James T. Kirk:

Sehr geehrte Frau Schrupp,

ich fände es schön, wenn Sie mal auf meine Argumente eingehen. Warum haben Sie so große Probleme mit sachlicher Kritik?

Es ist sehr befremdlich, daß Sie so viele sachliche Kommentare löschen. Ist das die ideale Welt, die Sie sich vorstellen? Haben Sie Angst, sich sachlicher Kritik zu stellen?

Es ist mir persönlich schleierhaft, wie man solch ein Verhalten vor sich selbst rechtfertigen kann.

(Dear [highly formal version] Ms. Schrupp,

I would appreciate it, if you would spend some time on my arguments. Why do you have so great problems with factual criticism?

It is very strange that you delete so many factual comments. Is that the ideal world, that you imagine? Are you afraid to confront factual criticism?

I have problems comprehending how one can justify such a behaviour to oneself.)

Ms. Schrupp has indeed proved again and again that she has a very destructive take on comments—which she combines with enough arbitrariness that the poor souls who try to counter her many misstatements, misunderstandings, and misinterpretations are led to still comment in the hope that this particular comment will go through and provide at least some counter-weight to her pseudo-intellectual, uninformed, and one-sided prattle. (While I usually try to remain ad rem and show some degree of politeness, my patience with the feminist branch of intellectual dishonesty has been very sorely strained lately—and Ms. Schrupp is worst than most. When push comes to shove, the success of feminism is largely based on being able to build strawmen, spread factually faulty statements, perpetuate false or misinterpreted statistics, whatnot, without sufficient contradiction. It is relatively easy to convince people when they only see one side of the issue—it is very easy, when the one-sidedness is complemented by unprotested distortion of the truth.)

My two comments:

Diese drei Punkte stoßen bei mir auf Unverständnis—denn gerade hier ist ja die Debatte normalerweise zum Vorteil der Frauen gewinkelt. Dies vorallem bei 2., wo immer und immer wieder versucht wird, natürliche Geschlechterdifferenzen kategorisch auszuschliessen, um alle Verhaltensunterschiede mit „Strukturen“, „Patriarchat“, o.ä. zu erklären. Auch 1. und 3. sind jedoch sehr zweifelhaft—ist doch eine von den üblichsten Beschreibungen/Schlussfolgerungen, dass Männer etwas falsch machen und Frauen richtig, bzw. dass Frauen nur was Falsch machen wegen „Strukturen“, „Patriarchat“, … (das Thema kehrt wieder).

(Points out that the central claims of the post are strawmen or otherwise incorrect.)

Ich wollte gerade zu deinem letzten Kommentar einwenden, dass die Mehrheit dieser Punkte im Grunde Strawmankaraktär haben. Hierbei muss ich leider feststellen, dass mein voriger Kommentar, der sachlich eine ähnliche Observation zu deinem ursprunglichen Beitrag machte, ohne erkennbaren Grund zensiert worden ist—und dies auch nicht zum ersten Male.

Unabhängig von deinen Beweggründen sind diese Art von Eingriffen grob unethisch und die Debatte verzerrend. Widerspruch ist keine legitime Grund zur Zensur.

(Further statements are strawmen. My previous comment has been censored without a legitimate reason.)

For my part, I will stay away for the future—but I also publicly declare that Ms. Schrupp is narrow-minded, intellectually dishonest, and has far more to learn from her commenters than they from her. Her blogging brings a net damage to the world—and it is women like she who ensure that feminism remains a force of evil.

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Written by michaeleriksson

June 19, 2011 at 6:48 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Zensur ist in der Demokratie ein Witz. Das ist so wie, wasch mich aber mach mich nicht nass, Und wer anderer Leute Schreiben zensiert, kommt entweder aus dem Osten, und weiß noch nicht, das die Mauer gefallen ist. Oder aber es gibt da was zu verbergen, und wenn jemand die Wahrheit verschweigt, weil sonst seine These einstürzt wie ein Kartenhaus, der sollte sich mal ein Paar Gedanken machen, ob es ihm passen würde, ginge man mit ihm genauso um??? Viel Spaß beim nachdenken…

    Steve Renner

    June 19, 2011 at 10:39 pm

  2. I haven’t followed Ms Schrupp’s blog closely but from the articles I have read so far she seems like a fair and balanced author. Neither have I read your comments. However, note this: It is her private blog. You have your own blog in which you can express your views on her articles (as you do) and take on the discussion yourself. But in her blog, she’s got the right to delete whatever comment she likes, if she feels it doesn’t contribute to the discussion. She does not claim to be an open platform, where whoever feels like it, can start whatever discussion he or she may feel to pick up. This, I would say is the difference between a forum and a blog. In the latter, the author has much greater freedoms, compared to the former. (Although off topic forum contributions will be deleted, too) Get over it.

    If there are certain fundamental issues with feminism then feel free to bring them up in your own blog. They crop in feminist blogs far too often, and it is particularly annoying if the points raised have already been replied to, or worse, do misrepresent feminist arguments (i.e. demonstrate that the author has not bothered to read up on feminist arguments). There is no use going off topic and debating an issue when you don’t feel the other side is willing to engage in a fruitful discussion or not. I cannot judge whether your comments were like this or not. However, it seems Ms Schrupp clearly felt they’re not, and maybe it wasn’t the discussion she was willing to lead at this point in time. Fair enough, I don’t see your problem.

    How would you respond to a flood of (from your point of view) off topic comments that hinder a fruitful debate on the issue you want to discuss? In a way, consider yourself lucky that feminist writers are busy cleaning up their own blogs so that they have little time to comment on others’. Thus strict comment moderation is done out of necessity, in order to retain a discussion on the particular issue, rather than giving in to a “comment-ddos”.

    By the way, I find your claim that feminism is a force of evil most ludicrous. But that is a different story.

    antipattern

    June 20, 2011 at 2:31 am

    • It is true that she often gives the superficial impression of fairness and balance; however, scratch a little deeper and that impression goes away. Her censorship is the greatest proof of this.

      Your discussion of comments raise no arguments that have not been addressed on repeated occasions on this blog and, frankly, show that you have not comprehended all the issues involved. Yours is basically the view that everyone has to begin with—some develop a more nuanced perspective over time; others do not. (Search this blog for e.g. “censorship” to see previous writings.)

      Your further points about feminist blogs is yet another rehashing of weak feminist arguments (not that different from the ones raised by Ms. Schrupp herself) and again show a lack of comprehension (as discussed elsewhere). Most notably, you fail to consider that it is not a matter of non-feminists repeatedly bringing in flawed counter-arguments or irrelevant agendas, but of feminists repeatedly making flawed statements that need a rebuttal—in particular, for the benefit of other readers and keeping in mind that feminism is based on misinformation and strawmen, including grossly false claims like that one in four college women are raped or that women earn 77 cents on the dollar, as well as scientifically debunked premises like the “tabula rasa” view of humans. In the end, rather than trying to bring own arguments, let alone revise their opinions, feminists very often prefer to simply censor dissenting opinions and arguments. (Indeed, this is by no means limited to blogs, but even includes areas where they intrude on constitutional rights to free speech in the US. Cf. e.g. http://www.thefire.org/ .)

      Finally, if you fail to see feminism as a force of evil, then chances are that you yourself have been a victim of such misinformation—and certainly have failed to see how feminism works in real life. Most of us, at least in Sweden, grow up surrounded by such misinformation and the claim that feminism equals equality, making everyone a believer in feminism initially. Fortunately, more and more of us have seen to see the true face of feminism and found out the true facts. (Cf. a number of previous entries.)

      michaeleriksson

      June 20, 2011 at 6:49 am

  3. Ironically I think that you are not raising any new arguments that have not found a reply in numerous FAQs and haven’t been subjected to plenty of discussion between feminist authors themselves.

    The right of free speech is fundamental indeed, but it does not apply to comment sections in personal blogs. You don’t In fact, in the good old days where we only had newspapers, it was up to the newspaper to decide which letters to the editor they would publish. Only a few made it, partly obviously due to space constraints, but also partly due to the low quality of the contributions or the agenda of the newspaper. Fair enough, space constrains itself don’t matter anymore, but off-topic posts cluttering the commenting section can be incredibly destructive as well and I have not found any of your arguments convincing enough to revise my position. I want to reiterate – this does not impede your right of free speech. It just means that you cannot use someone else’s platform to voice your own opinion. (on thefire.org I found no recent cases relating to feminism, feel free to point them out to me) In the past this was a big issue, since much really depended on the mercy of the publishers, but now with the internet things have changed. Everyone can use their own blog and voice their opinion, no matter how silly others think it is.

    You think the core concepts of feminism are flawed? What if your counterevidence is considered shady, wrong and off-topic? What if it’s your position that needs revising? You want feminists to be open minded, but how open-minded are you yourself? Already by claiming that feminism is a source of evil you show your unwillingness to reconsider, and are guilty of the crimes you accuse the other side. Furthermore, by taking this position it appears to the other side that there is no point in debating with you. Note that Ms Schrupp has published a number of critical comments on her site as well. So maybe the reason for her refusal to publish yours is not that she is not responding to criticism, but rather that it was you argumentative style that put her off. Furthermore, what if she considers your arguments to be weak and unconvincing? Would she really have to reiterate the same responses everytime they are raised, even if she does not accept the premise of the criticism in the first place? You might feel that a certain discussion should be led, but you cannot force it upon others, for this may imply they have the right to enforce another discussion upon you, too.

    Flawed statistics are not an issue of feminism alone, but are found on both sides. (Which indeed does not make it any better) Furthermore, attacking feminism as a whole is a bit… strange at best. There is no single, united feminism, and arguments against one strand often don’t apply to others. Take porn for example, where two completely opposing strands co-exist within the feminist movement. The same applies for gender quotas, the relationship to men, housework, sex in general etc. Although I would consider myself a feminist there are a few feminist authors I largely disagree with, as within any movement. There is so much debate within the feminist movement about almost all aspects of feminism that it is not a fair argument to criticise the movement as a whole. So there is no “true face of feminism”, as you claim.

    Regarding the “tabula rasa” view of human development – although there is probably less tabula rasa than proposed by early behaviourists, little is understood about the extent of sex differences found in the human species. Our cultural heritage makes it incredibly difficult to come up with any conclusive statements, and much of the research carried out in this field remains inconclusive (cf. Cordelia Fine’s “Gender Delusions”, which takes apart a large part of psychological research into gender differences) Thus, as unbelievable as it might sound, a little more than 100 years ago, little boys would all wear pink and girls light blue, because these colours were considered right for kids. But today girl = pink is so engrained into our culture, it almost seems innate and genetically determined and plenty of research looks for genetic explanations, which cannot possibly explain such a sudden shift over a few generations only. Before industrialisation men would get far more involved in the upbringing of children, but today it seems so natural that it’s men who have to work and women have to stay home with the kids. (The upbringing of children is one of the areas where feminism again can bring in more fairness for men, too) I have skimmed through your 77 cent per dollar article, but must note that you do not actually address the question at all, and don’t understand the feminist position on it: of course there are class differences, differences in the presentational skills, education etc. that lead to the pay gap observed – but why are these differences? Can they be justified by gender differences? Feminists would argue no, this is not the case, rather social structures prevent many women from acquiring the same skills, pregnancy reduces the length women can work longer than necessary, men don’t get a fair share in the upbringing of children and many women are left to do the housework, and find themselves doing two jobs at once, of which only one is paid. Again, much of this isn’t due to women’s householding abilities (or men’s ability to raise children) but rather due to a social structure that puts both, men and women, into their places. Feminism has taken up the task to criticise these, often fairly, sometimes not, but overall will benefit both, men and women. In addressing gender differences, one might argue feminism represents only one side of the coin. But to reject it outright is like throwing out the child with the bathwater.

    You criticise feminist strawmen, but you yourself have a whole army of them, if I might say so.

    antipattern

    June 23, 2011 at 12:29 am

    • If they have been discussed, they have never been brought to my attention in any of the discussions I have had with feminists. Indeed, their sole line of argumentation has so far (including here) been based on three highly simplistic arguments:

      1. It is my blog, I do whatever I want.

      2. It is necessary to censor to keep the discussion on-topic/interesting/…

      3. Free speech does not apply to blog comments.

      For the first two, see previous blog entries and note that the actual censorship is not compatible with the alleged explanation in the second. For the third, note that this is a conceptual misunderstanding: The legal right to free speech is intended to protect the citizens from undue interference from the government. Free speech (as an abstract) and the advantages it brings (respectively, the dangers its absense brings) is not limited to a paragraph in a legal codex, but it a general concept. That someone has the legal right to censor does not automatically make it morally right—and it certainly does not remove the potentially harmful effects of censorship. Further note, that it is not absolutely free speech that is required (I have on very rare occasions censored comments myself; so far, because they contained nothing but insult), but largely a stop to an artificial censorship of opposing arguments that (deliberately or through extreme bias) leads to a one-sided presentation of a single world-view—and one not supported by statistics and sold arguments at that.

      Concerning feminism: As every Swede, I grew up with the image of feminism that feminism likes to present (and which by all means may once upon a time have be true). Since then I have myself read what feminists really say, I have seen what there alleged statistics claim and what statistics from neutral parties claim, etc. My current position is the result of an open-minded re-evalution which includes very extensive readings of pro-/anti-feminist and impartial materials. A typical situation is that a partial investigator makes an investigation with flawed methodology (for instance measuring domestic violence on police reports or calls to a support hotline) and a more impartial investigator making an investigation with better methodolody (e.g. interviewing random samples for their experiences with DV). Another is that a certain statistical observation (e.g. the 77 cents on the dollar fraud) is interpreted in a highly naive manner, but where anyone who digs just a little deeper sees that this interpretation is flawed. Yet another is merely making a vague claim, with no shred of proof, and then building a complaint on this (e.g. “men look down on women who …”). The political rhetoric, OTOH, often collapses as absurd and hostile merely by replacing the roles of men and women or replacing “men” with e.g. “foreigners”.

      While such problems are not uncommon elsewhere, I have seen no other area (possibly barring the “extreme left” and the “extreme right”) where they are so prevalent and make up so large a proportion of the entirety of the argumentation.

      I grant that I oversimplify in terms of different branches of feminism; however, seeing that “vocal” feminism, as well as politics and academics, are dominated by various variations and relatives of gender-feminism and/or use the methods mentioned, this oversimplification does not alter the debate. (I would, on the contrary and for their own sake, urge the “good” feminists to drop the label and declare themselves to be something else, e.g. “equalists”.)

      The “tabula rasa” view as practically used by feminists (including political demands for the protection of children from the “wrong” toys) implies that differences between the sexes are exclusively or near-exclusively the product of external influences. Science proves this to be a faulty view. (Many interesting examples can be found on the German blog http://allesevolution.wordpress.com/) Note that “biologism” does not claim that there is no cultural influence—just that that there are strong biological influences.

      Concerning 77 cents: The post is directed at the feminists own use and presentation of the issue—which indeed is normally a superficial “Women still only earn 77 cents on the dollar. This proves that there is wage discrimination!”. Look through the links provided and you will see that this view simply does not hold up. The “indirect” view that you present does exist, but it is considerably rarer wrt the 77 cents and not directly relevant to the fraudulent use of statistics that I address. On the contrary, here we largely move on to another issue—but still an issue where feminists make assumptions and demand changes without presenting non-circular proof. (Except for a few special cases like the fact that the mother physically has to be the one carrying and delivering any children.) That inborn preferences have a large effect on choices is scientifically clear and it would be up to the feminists to prove and quantify the degree to which “structures”, “Patriarchy”, or similar, co-explains differences. The specific claim that women work two jobs but are only paid for one, is very, very false: In Sweden men work an average of 19 minutes more per day (https://michaeleriksson.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/six-feminist-myths/ ). A similar situation is present in the US (http://www.glennsacks.com/are_american_husbands.htm ).

      michaeleriksson

      June 23, 2011 at 6:45 am


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