Building blocks of a wealthy society: Free Speech (Part 2)

Chloë, our favourite free thinking amateur comedienne, vegan and eco-hippy is back with another guest post:

chloe2

TEA has written before about why we need free speech for a healthy (and wealthy) society but apparently it’s still controversial not to want a government that can control your thoughts and imprison you for disagreeing.

So allow me to make the case for free speech from a different angle and show you how it relates to financial independence.

These are my personal opinions and I’m sure TEA has wisely disowned them all 😉

Political Correctness gone rad

Political Correctness (PC), a term so overused you probably groaned just reading it, is often misunderstood.

If you ask the trustworthy and always objective Guardian columnist Owen Jones (you may address him as Saint Owen of Islington) you’ll hear that PC is just about politeness and respecting people: something you’d only object to if you are LITERALLY HITLER.

Saint Owen expands on this at length in his book, Chavs and The Establishment, available in audiobook and suppository format. By complete co-incidence, Google has the same stance:

Google PC

“Political Correctness gone mad” is a trope used to attack critics of the concept as reactionary, right wing hooligans who subsist on a Greggs-only diet. But I have to inform you, dear reader, that Political Correctness isn’t just about being nice, inclusive and not offending people, it’s about power and control.

Using the Google / Saint Owen definition of political correctness IS political correctness. It’s an attempt to shut down the debate. It’s obviously easier to talk about political correctness as the fight against bigots and racists because that brings more people onside, winning you over with a plea to emotions and your basic human decency.

Where will it end?

On an emotional level, political correctness makes perfect sense. It feels nicer / kinder / easier to avoid difficult subjects.

The problem is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And once you start censoring opinions and banning books, you are on the path to labour camps and the gas chamber.

The original meaning of political correctness is something that is not objectively true but is claimed for political reasons. This is the side of political correctness that gets hidden. If you look at the history of the term, you see it arise from totalitarian states in the early and mid 20th Century.

According to Wikipedia:

In the early-to-mid 20th century, the phrase politically correct was used to describe strict adherence to a range of ideological orthodoxies within politics. In 1934, The New York Times reported that Nazi Germany was granting reporting permits “only to pure ‘Aryans’ whose opinions are politically correct.”

Political Correctness often leads to unintended consequences. How ironic that Saint Owen’s Labour Party is currently the subject of an official antisemitism investigation.

The role of gatekeepers

Political Correctness can only exist when one group holds a view and the power to enforce that view. People who claim to be better than you either subtly (or not so subtly) tell you what you should and should not think / vote / like.

The Overton Window is the range of opinions you are (currently) allowed to hold – anything outside of that can be dismissed as too extreme without discussion. The Overton Window is enforced by media corporations who act as gatekeepers for what you are (and are not) allowed to see / hear. 

If you still think that news journalists are brave and impartial sleuths seeking the unbiased truth (Bless!) then you probably haven’t seen this Channel 4 News car crash interview:

Who the media allows airtime to shapes The Authorised Narrative.  In other words, the “experts” that we see and the ideas we are allowed to hear.

It’s interesting to note who the BBC will (and won’t) invite onto their platforms on shows such as Question Time or Politics Live.  Socialist Saint Owen Jones and Ash “I’m Literally A Communist” Sarkar are repeatedly invited on these shows (it helps to be young and telegenic) as if they weren’t extremists.

So we have communists opining on economic policy, which would be laughable if it weren’t tragic.  Communists advising on economics are like Johnny Vegas advising on how to run a 4 minute mile. It may be entertaining but it’s not very credible.

Political correctness is everywhere in culture…often hiding in plain sight.  You can’t always see it but it’s there alright. Yes, I can prove that. And even bring some data to support my case.

Take 2 films rated on rottentomatoes.com. Film A promotes left wing socialist / identity politics. Film B shows an average man using his gun against criminals when the system fails him. How does what the critics say (the Tomatometer score) compare to what actual viewers say (the audience score)?

Films1

Films2

The disparity in responses is telling – Film A gets 100% approval from all the critics but only 17% from actual audiences.  You may wonder if the film was correct politically…but not actually any good.

Here’s another example of the huge gap between the ratings awarded by media critics and the general public’s actual opinions.

Films3

Films4.png

The official party line on rottentomatoes.com is that Hannah Gadsby’s intersectional feminist lecture is brilliant, but Dave Chappelle’s comic take on those same political stances is awful. When you put it to the actual public, they have the opposite reaction: they loved Chappelle’s comedy.

hitler

Incidentally, Nanette is not really stand up comedy, it’s mostly preaching, with huge segments lacking any jokes at all but it was promoted heavily, probably because its politics are fashionable…it’s correct politically.

Gadsby was famously heckled during one of the shows with: Where are the jokes?’. Whereas comedy tradition is to outjoke a heckler thereby showing your comedy skillz, Gadsby stopped the show and had the heckler removed by security. Disagreement is not permitted.

That is political correctness in action…maybe even political correctness gone mad?

Comedy should be funny

Look how far comedy has changed in just 20 years. Like the frog boiled in the pan, more and more stuff got quietly made “off limits”.

To illustrate, consider the response to 90s sitcom Friends from a younger generation indoctrinated influenced by TV, School, Mainstream Media, Google and left-wing universities.

Films5

Yes, when Netflix acquired the rights to Friends, there were a flurry of articles all pointing out how “problematic” (which is millenial for ‘doubleplus ungood’) the 90s comedy is. The howls of outrage only make sense if you pretend the show is making policy rather than jokes. The outrage gives da yoof people a chance to virtue signal about how culturally sensitive and “woke” they are.

These examples are close to my heart because I love comedy but have seen it demeaned by a politically correct view of what is appropriate comedy material.

Again, the problem is an Authorised Narrative where other opinions are, well, unauthorised.  As you may have heard, in 2016, 52% of voters chose to leave the EU, but how many pro-Brexit comedians have you seen on TV comedy shows (especially the BBC) which are overwhelmingly left-leaning and politically correct?

I regularly go to Comedy Unleashed, which was set up as a reaction to self-censorship on the comedy scene. Despite making the point that it only cares about what’s funny, the event has been portrayed by the BBC, Vice magazine and others as Bethnal Green’s answer to Hitler’s bunker.

From my experience, this is the opposite of the truth. The co-founder, Andrew Doyle (the creator of Titania McGrath) is gay and on the left of politics himself but was sick of people telling him he’s too fragile to hear a joke about people like him. 

You might think some of Comedy Unleashed’s acts go too far, in which case you can exercise your freedom by not watching it. However, the PC approach is to say that “toxic” content must be banned.

If you’re happy with an authority choosing what should be censored, how you would feel if your political opponents were in charge of the censorship machine? In other words, if you’re a left wing opponent of free speech, are you OK with a right wing government banning your free speech? Or vice versa?

Bringing it home

Let’s bring it back to personal finance. 

One example would be the lack of discussion of the ‘gender wage gap’. The politically correct line is that the gender wage gap is a major issue, caused by discrimination and SOMETHING MUST BE DONE. “A woman earns 77 cents for every $1 a man earns”, etc, etc.

The politically incorrect version (i.e. the version backed by facts and statistics) is that the gender wage gap exists because groups of people are different and make different choices. You might say they are diverse. How insane is it to push for diversity and expect homogeneity of results? Well, as I’m riding the soapbox at the moment, let’s list some possible reasons why there’s a gender wage gap:

  • Different choice of academic degree
  • Different choice of careers
  • Different hours worked
  • Differing willingness to travel
  • Maternity leave – a major factor
  • Preference for part time work
  • Preferences for leadership or non-leadership positions
  • Preferences for public, private or third sector
  • Actual sexism. 

when you account for all these factors, the wage gap shrinks to a tiny amount that is unexplained – not automatically discrimination, just unexplained. As I wrote here, The gender wage gap has been debunked many times by economists and statisticians and basically anyone not committed to it by ideology.

Great news! Our society doesn’t systematically discriminate against women! Said no editor looking to fill airtime and “sex up” a story ever.

STEM

But what, I hear you ask, is the problem with fighting the gender pay gap…even if it might not be A Thing?

Well, it diverts resources away from other priorities. Every company has to spend time and money to report on its own wage gap. The Government Equalities Office costs money. Every pound spent by government on diversity officers and gender pay reports is a pound that can not be spent on the health service.

What about FI?

People like you and me pursuing financial independence should have a particular interest in freedom of speech.

We don’t live typically. We are actually rather unusual in our choices and spending habits. In a society that is over-consuming, we live frugally. We live so far inside our means that a lot of the conventional narratives about money seem absurd to us, but those narratives are everywhere and they influence government spending and tax policy.

If you’ve seen coverage of FIRE in the news, you’ve seen the Authorised Narrative:

“This FI stuff is only possible for white, straight male bankers earning £250k+, totally unfeasible for anyone else, so don’t even try saving or learning about money cos’ its all hopeless for people like us. That MMM article was a bit extreme, wasn’t it? Why not treat yourself to some of the products on the next page? New sofa anyone?”

I don’t think I’m dropping too large a red pill bomb to suggest that media that relies on advertising might not want its readers to reject consumerism. 

The Authorised Narrative on income inequality, the gender pay gap, ever-increasing poverty etc etc leads to political pressure to impose changes by law from the top down. In contrast, the tools of financial independence (frugality, efficiency, learning about investing) are bottom up solutions where people take ownership of their own challenges.

We all have our own opinions on the right level of public spending. But I hope you’ll agree that increased tax and government spending may not solve all problems nor always help us as individuals. One size does not fit all.

Financial indepedence

Let’s take an example of a narrative being cooked up by the perpetual clown factory that is the National Union of Students (with help from the media).

After pushing for more students to enter university, they complained about relative under-funding. Then they complained that student debt had risen, as if the rising student population had nothing to do with that.

Consider that of these recent graduates 48% don’t work a graduate job, half work a job unrelated to their degree and 96% have switched careers by the age of 24, a mere 3 years after most graduate. Consider also that the government projection is that only 30% of students will repay their student loans in full, passing the rest back onto the taxpayer (hint: that’s you). 

So, in summary: young people are taking degrees they don’t use, that aren’t needed for their chosen jobs and the cost is already being pushed back onto us, the taxpayers. 

Now, what if the National Union of Students get to define the Authorised Narrative? This would become: “Students are hard done by, need more public investment and we should bail out/help them with their student loan debts.” (which we are already hearing…)

Its not just about money

Look, maybe you are happy to pay higher taxes to bail out the reckless and the feckless (whether bankers or students). Good for you. But my point still stands that in a democracy we should be able to say anything that is true and laugh at anything that is funny. And for that we need a renewed commitment to free speech.

Thank you for reading, you are now on a list.


Chloë occasionally blogs over at Havenwards.com


TEA note: You are welcome to leave a comment in response to Chloë’s excellent article.  In anticipation of this, I asked my close personal friend Barack Obama to say a few words that may help clarify the TEA comments policy:


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Financial Coaching

 


 

33 comments

  1. great article – I read a few books by Chomsky over 10 years back and that was an eye-opener. It makes you see the media as more of a circus than fact and it astonishes me how we can consume so much news and media but still remain so ignorant and willfully ignorant at that. I’m not just talking about the guardian/mail with their own narrative and little crossover.
    I was interested in the next election and where the polls are – so I googled and one link for the express said something like “Polling guru John Curtice makes shocking prediction for 2019 General Election” while the FT said “Polls point to Johnson being at risk of May’s electoral debacle”.
    There’s a better story with the “shocking” one but if you want the facts, you’ll find them dry, boring and lacking a sidebar of shame.
    Where do you get your news and where do you get your facts?

    1. Chloe Lord · · Reply

      Thanks, really glad you like it. Chomsky has the right idea on the Overton Window, good choice. The use of polls is fascinating – have you heard of Hitchens’ law? “In media, polls are used to influence opinions, not report on them”.

      Where I get news is tricky- Following TEA’s advice, I don’t follow it daily, as I don’t think it’s hugely productive. I prefer to go back and look at retrospectives, where more of the facts are out and I can get a comprehensive view. My only regular reading is Private Eye, I’d say, but I do like a few commentators on youtube. The Academic Agent is reasonably accessible for general economics talk and has a well established, if eccentric, community. How about yourself?

      I also tend to only focus on a few topics, so I know a few things in more detail. So facts wise, I love reading Thomas Sowell and any Austrian school economists. They tend to provide citations, which lets me check up on statements.

      1. only focusing on a few topics to understand the detail? – hasn’t Britain had enough of experts?

        At least with uninformed gut instincts they are easy to produce and like a good reflex – involve no thought to produce and can be reproduced continuously!

  2. i work in an american factory and this is one of the best things i’ve read all year. you know what would tickle our masters of this gigantic international conglomerate? 50% or more females working in the whole place. this place pays a nice wage for a high school diploma but we must have 80% males working here. it’s hard work and nights and weekends and we just don’t get female applicants. there is no gender wage gap here because the union pay scale is transparent to all. c’mon on in and apply to some of these factory jobs and get used up pushing and pulling pallets all hours of the night and day!

    don’t even get me started on the american university indoctrination. it’s like certain very vocal factions would like to make poor taste (judged and juried by qualified left wing arbiters) a crime. you wore an insensitive halloween outfit? we’ll cut of you’re johnson! used the wrong pronoun? castration!

    1. Thanks Freddy – As a woman in tech, I fully endorse your comment. Literally, the doors are open – it’s just people as groups voting with their feet on average. The cold hard facts of supply and demand make for uncomfortable truth:
      Lots of people want to work in a comfy office, doing admin with basic common skills.
      Very few people want to do hard, dirty work at odd hours that requires learning difficult skills.

      Hence, you need to offer more money to people to do the second type of job, but no-one here is ‘The Winner’. The first job pays less, but you’re comfortable. It’s different, not better – that depends on your individual needs. As Thomas Sowell would say, “there are no wins and losses, only trade-offs.”

      As for unis… that’s 2 whole separate articles, minimum.

  3. An interesting read, thank you.

    I can only recollect hearing one pro-Brexit comedian on BBC radio, vs tens if not hundreds of anti-Brexit comedians.

    1. Poor Geoff Norcott – as a pro-Brexit comedian on the BBC, he’s an endangered species. We need to put him in a breeding problem, once his wife agrees.

      1. Well done for the thought provoking post!
        I’ll have to look up Geoff Norcott, can you recommend other pro-Brexit comedians who are maybe on youtube?

        1. chadfrugalfinance · ·

          Thanks, much appreciated. Try Dominic Frisby, Leo Kerse, Alistair Williams. They’re all on YouTube and you can find their stuff on YouTube. Ria Lina is a personal favourite, though I’ve no idea of her stance on Brexit 🙂
          For me, it’s not so much that they’re pro-Brexit, it’s just that they’re not constrained. PC, Authorised Narrative comedy reminds me of Evangelical Christians making rap songs to reach the yoof – It’s all transparently about proselytising, not making great comedy/rap. That why Hannah Gadsby’s feminist set has almost no jokes – she never really cared about comedy. It’s why I can’t watch The Mash Report … just knowing that it’s all so compliant propaganda kills it for me.

  4. A truly excellent read.
    Sure the post was bloody ages in the making (with the extensive research, duly noted), but interesting timing given the announcement from @Jack yesterday. With an interesting response from Mark.

    Saint Owen may just be the funniest thing I’ve read on blogs this week, hahahaha.

    Very important point and I fear it’ll be a sad blog to reread in years to come…
    Having said that, as quickly as our media sources are moving. They can move on more and I do think that the BBC (e.g.) will be subject to too many bias’ compliants and studies soon enough!

    1. Thanks J, much appreciated. I haven’t seen @Jack’s announcement, what was it?

      I wish I shared your faith in the BBC changing – I’ve made many a complaint myself, but I think their establishment position is too entrenched and the Overton Window has shifted to what suits them. Mostly though, they don’t have to earn your support due to the license fee, so have very limited motivation to be efficient and representative, not while they can send folk round to threaten TV owners into paying them

  5. Escaped Kiwi Bloke · · Reply

    Brave man EA, but absolutely on the nail. Here is New Zealand, we’re not as far down the road as you, but they’re talking about it and one or two politicians are promoting for ‘hate speech’ laws. Here’s hoping sense prevails. Incidentally I’ve heard that many people get arrested over speech offenses in the UK than do in Russia, who’d have thought.
    Wishing you all the best

    1. Thank you for the comment!

      I agree that it’s brave of Chloe to write this guest post (but not a big deal for me to publish it).

      You don’t have to be a political pundit to see that ordinary people in the USA (certainly) and the UK (possibly? we’ll see) have started to see through the tactics of the Authoritarian Left. The internet means that information spreads rapidly and the gatekeepers will struggle to stop that. And once that genie is out of the bottle, it will be hard to revert to the status quo ante where we naively trusted everything on The News.

  6. Wow, lots of bombs dropped here, all of the truthy type. About three quarters of social media participants will no doubt consider you Hitler based on this, but you already knew that. Those people will have tough lives ahead of them…

    1. When that last quarter hears I’m vegan, they hate me too. I like to think I can unite people.

  7. paullypips · · Reply

    The BBC invited me to comment (in a viewer’s survey) about how their service to the public could be improved. I suggested to them that perhaps the people who pay the TV licence fee could have a vote on who actually runs the BBC. I thought that by injecting some democracy into the system we might get the service we want, rather than what they have decided is good for us, as at present. Unsurprisingly enough, my ideas were met with a resounding silence.

    I agree heartily with the content of Chloe’s article. I believe that we need more freedom to say what we think, not more control over what we are allowed to say. Once we we have heard someone’s views, we can then decide for ourselves if they have a point or not, like the adults we are.

    Bring back Benny Hill, if you don’t like his programme you don’t have to watch it. Yes, I know his show wasn’t on the Beeb but it is an example of PC gone wrong. We lost a silly but amusing programme laced with a modicum of burlesque in exchange for modern stand-up comedians swearing and ranting. I know which I prefer.

    1. chadfrugalfinance · · Reply

      Fabulous comment! Yes, anything to make the BBC accountable and voluntary would improve it.

  8. Picking “extreme” left-wing talking heads appearing on mainstream media as examples of an attempt to limit the Overton Window seems rather contradictory. You could equally take your pick from right-wing commentators and politicians whose views are equally impractical (Julia Hartley-Brewer, Brendan O’Neill, Isabel Oakeshott to name a few).

    There’s always a “balance” on the BBC political programmes. Unfortunately it’s often a balance of 2 or 3 nut jobs on either side of the political divide as producers chase ratings rather than informing the debate. You could argue there’s actually a massive hole in the middle of the Overton Window – not enough commentators and politicians with policies that are actually sensible, proportionate and practical. As an example, you might think from the media that renationalising most public services versus introducing a US style healthcare system are two “reasonable” options. But neither of those really feel like choices the U.K. deserves to be taking seriously.

    I’d always be an advocate of encouraging people to get over themselves, myself included. However your comment that “in a democracy we should be able to say anything that is true and laugh at anything that is funny” should probably have some caveats attached. Free speech comes with responsibility and what some people find funny is not necessarily compatible with the laws of a progressive democracy. I’d prefer to move forward than hear some of the lazy stereotypical/racist/misogynistic jokes you regularly heard when I was growing up. Comedy’s a lot better for it. If a comedian can only tell jokes to groups of people who look and think like them, then they should probably consider another career.

    Soapbox dismounted.

    1. Let’s agree that Ash “I’m Literally A Communist You Idiot” Sarkar is a communist.

      Julia Hartley-Brewer, Brendan O’Neill and Isabel Oakeshott are not fascists and, if you want to pursue that equivalence argument, please include your evidence plus your full name and contact details so that their libel lawyers can get in touch.

      I’ll wait…

    2. chadfrugalfinance · · Reply

      Heya Hussel, I appreciate the thoughtful comment, though there’s a fair bit I disagree with. I’ll focus on 2 areas.

      Your point about the Overton Window actual proves my point. On a classic political spectrum, Ash Sarkar and Owen Jones would be extreme left wing, 1 and 3 out of 10 respectively. Farage, O’Neill, Hartley Brewer, Liddle are all democrats, mostly centrist and no further right than a 6. They are definitely not the right wing equivalents of Sarkar and Jones. Their ideas are no way ‘Equally impractical’ because communism fails every time, whereas capitalism does not. More importantly, when these Centre-Right (at most) people are on, they are instantly treated with hostility. The Jordan Peterson and Rod Liddle interviews are great examples of this. With no ill intent to you, you’ve shown that the Overton Window works because you already consider centrist voices extreme.

      On Comedy, I think you’ve already given the ground away to censors. Responsibility is subjective, and those who cry offence and hurt will be incentivised to do so to gain control. Also, Stereotypical/racist/misogynistic jokes are broad terms. What Kate Smurthwaite and Jess Phillips consider awful misogyny might be seen as a fair observation by most of the country. It’s all about who gets to judge what is acceptable and I don’t want to hand that power over.

      Also, “If a comedian can only tell jokes to groups of people who look and think like them”… WOAH! Hol’ up, who said that? Did Eddie Murphy not sell out stadiums? Victoria Wood? Shazia Mirza? Alan Carr? If you’ve seen Lily Singh’s late night show, do you want her cancelled for making jokes about white people?
      People can take comedy that plays with stereotypes and cliches, even jokes about their group. Trust me, I love a good vegan joke and a good lesbian joke, the key thing is that the joke is one I found good. It’s the same way you can watch a film full of murder and not need to justify that. I think there’s an unspoken premise here that Comedy needs to be serving a social role, sending a message. Nope, it needs to be funny.

      Anyway, I don’t intend this harshly, I’m glad to see a thought out comment that challenges what I wrote. Have a great Sunday 🙂

  9. I think it’s very difficult to bring in political “rankings” of left and right. I’m pro-capitalism (FIRE wouldn’t really be an aspiration without it!) but it comes in all sorts of flavours – China is one of the most capitalist countries in the world yet ruled by a communist party. My point was that the more you introduce people talking about impractical politics at different ends of the spectrum, the less you talk about what’s actually going to work.

    I don’t want to debate Brexit but, as an example, in my view, anybody promoting a no-deal Brexit is either just playing dangerous political games or has not fully understood the economic implications i.e. listened to the experts (and they do exist and they’re not just politically-motivated) who are marginalised by the media because the detail is “boring” and it doesn’t stir emotions. Fine, do Brexit, but economically a no-deal Brexit is as illogical as many of Labour’s current policies and I’m no fan of either.

    On the comedy point, I agree. I probably misinterpreted what you meant but I just found the statement “laugh at anything that’s funny” a bit dangerous because what you find funny is subjective. You have to draw the censorship line somewhere and it’s normally around inciting violence but I think there’s also a drip drip effect if jokes which marginalise or stigmatise groups are not questioned by society. It’s often about context though. All the comedians you mentioned are big names and successful and there’s a reason for that (their comedy appeals to a wide range of people). I love non-PC humour but the jokes would very quickly wear thin if they were just focussed on one minority group who weren’t represented in the audience. I hope we can agree that a KKK comedy night might not be our cup of tea. That was my point.

    Enjoy your remaining Sunday too 🙂

    1. chadfrugalfinance · · Reply

      Hey again fellow pro-capitalist 🙂 China is a good example there, they’re another failed communist state that had to introduce capitalist measures to stay afloat. More proof that socialists and communists are extreme and yet we don’t see the right wing equivalent on the BBC. Sarkar doesn’t explicitly want Stalinism, though Communism always leads to brutal dictatorship because it necessitates total control of the populace against their interests. Tangentially, communism can work on very small scales – presumably of groups within Dunbar’s number: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number

      I don’t agree on the impracticalities of a No Deal/WTO Brexit, but we’d be derailing to go into that. I think I do understand your point a bit better, so thanks for giving more detail. I’d add to it that the Overton Window is still in strong effect here, as No Deal/WTO is a natural option to discuss here, and it’s only painful and extraordinary measures that have stopped us naturally defaulting to that as negotiations failed. Anyhoot!

      Let’s talk comedy again. I think the ‘ drip drip effect if jokes which marginalise or stigmatise groups are not questioned by society’ is questionable. My experience is that those jokes don’t automatically stigmatise or marginalise groups, it’s much more complicated. I think those jokes (mostly) arise because the groups have already differentiated themselves. I also think those jokes *largely* help us, because they diffuse tension around differences, instead of making them taboo. If we have a laugh about them, we’re all in it together. You also get into the weeds about which groups you can joke about, which also feeds tension and justifiably so.

      As you say, I named big name, diverse comedians, but I also named ones who make incredibly edgy and offensive jokes. Eddie Murphy told outrageous jokes that brought society together. You’re right that the jokes might wear thin if they were solely about one group, though I don’t see why they have to be in the room – that seems controlling to me. You won’t find too many ultra-traditional baptists in a comedy club but they’re an acceptable target, right? Also, I think the audience will freely distinguish between comedy they enjoy and incitement to violence with a few lame knock-knock jokes thrown in 😉

      It’s great having a good exchange like this, though according to the rules of the internet one of us will have to Godwin this soon 😉

  10. I certainly was not calling them fascists. Not sure how what I wrote could be read it that way. Anyway I had no intention to cause offence and apologise. I just don’t see any particular bias towards the left in the media but rather a bias away from practical politics which this country used to be famous for.

    1. Thank you for the clarification, Hussel. You seem like a reasonable guy. Nothing here is a criticism of you.

      The exchange does illustrate the Overton Window problem nicely. And since you say “not sure how what I wrote could be read that way”, I’ll have a go at explaining in the hope that it serves as a useful illustration.

      A quick re-cap. You said:

      Picking “extreme” left-wing talking heads appearing on mainstream media as examples of an attempt to limit the Overton Window seems rather contradictory. You could equally take your pick from right-wing commentators and politicians whose views are equally impractical (Julia Hartley-Brewer, Brendan O’Neill, Isabel Oakeshott to name a few).

      That paragraph (and your use of the word EQUALLY) seemed to me to draw an equivalence between communists on the left and JHB, BoN, IO (who are democrats) on the right. To my mind, that’s an unfair implication, given that communism has killed millions of people.

      I totally accept your clarification and apology and thank you for your comments.

      1. Ok. That was why my “extreme” was in inverted commas. I don’t know much about her views but had taken it as a given she wasn’t proposing to emulate Stalin. I just thought that picking two examples on the left does not equate to a media bias. My gripe is that they (and people on the right of the spectrum) get the most airtime because they stir up emotions at the expense of more considered commentators who focus on the detail and what will actually work.

        “Reasonable” – I’ll take it but hopefully not on my headstone 🙂

  11. Escaped Kiwi Bloke · · Reply

    Love your insight on the gender pay gap Chloe. I reckon there’s a gender marriage gap too.

    For the last thirty years I’ve been a keen observer of career / parenting choices amongst men and women, especially when one party is very career focussed.

    This isn’t ‘research’ (just observations and questions), but I’ve found the answers to the following question are significantly different.

    How many highly focused, career driven senior male ‘top jobbers’ with children, have a wife / partner at whose work outside the home is secondary or non existent and they’re the primary caregiver for the children?

    How many highly focused, career driven senior female ‘top jobbers’ with children, have a husband / partner at whose work outside the home is secondary or non existent and they’re the primary caregiver for the children?

    I’ve asked this question of stay at home mums, top medics, lawyers, business people and the answers are often very similar.

    Nearly all of the career driven senior male ‘top jobbers’ with children, have a wife / partner at whose work outside the home is secondary or non existent and is the primary caregiver for the children.

    Very few of the highly focused, career driven senior female ‘top jobbers’ with children, have a husband / partner at whose work outside the home is secondary or non existent and is the primary caregiver for the children.

    I’ve often suggested on ‘professional’ women’s forums that if they really want to get to the top of their chosen field and wnat children, they should make sure they choose to have children with a man who wants to be the main carer.

    I loved it.

    1. chadfrugalfinance · · Reply

      Cheers 🙂

      Men tend to work more hours after becoming fathers, I think that’s a certain amount of inate instinct in action. You make a really good point there, and it comes back to the feminist theme of ‘having it all’, i.e. can women have the top job AND be there for family.

      It’s odd to me that men never get considered. Obviously if you’re working 55 hour weeks as a CEO, you’re not at home for those 55 hours, regardless of gender. Fathers seem to accept this just fine.
      You’d also be able to focus more on work if the house stuff was completely taken care of – I actually find it rather sexist that housewifery is viewed so lowly – historically housewives were doing a lot of work and literally managed the finances – hence why even in the early 2000s I was taught ‘home economics’ in school.

      Incidentally, I left a job recently to relocate while my partner has kept her role. I’ve been ‘housewifing’ for about 8 weeks and my partner has loved it. For 8 weeks, she’s only had to go to work and she’s had her laundry done, a better quality of homecooked lunch and dinner, a clean home everyday and most importantly, she hasn’t had to bother with the logistics of moving house.
      While the house move was the most work, I think she actually enjoyed the better food the most. I also really enjoyed it too, I’ll miss it a fair bit when I’m back in work – it’s a damn good way to manage life I must say.

      1. Partner chiming in to say yup, if I could find a role that allowed me the work flexibility I want (and need for my mental health) and the salary to cover both of us comfortably and still let us hit FI in a reasonable time frame, I’d be banning this one from going back to work…

        Alas, I’ve yet to find high-salaried work in my field that also lets you work from home as regularly as I want to, so the search continues.

        1. Escaped Kiwi Bloke · ·

          I argue that my personal pay gap is huge. And so it is in that I chose to take 15 years off to be primarily a stay at home Dad (and Mrs Escaped Kiwi) was ok about the whole idea – washing nappies just wasn’t her thing).
          It’s the free choice we had to do this (and that we were pretty much FI before we started).
          I’m just glad that two people brought up in traditional households in the 60’s and 70’s had the freedom and choice to take such steps. Choices that weren’t available just a couple of generations earlier.
          I agree that young women have been told they can do everything rather than anything. Our prime minister may have given birth in office, but she won’t have had the experiences I had at play group etc. Cheers from NZ.

  12. An interesting post but this is not how I see the world.

    Its all well and good to say groups are different so make different choices – If there is a trend for certain groups to make similar choices – where is our intellectual curiosity to understand why ? what is the root cause? Lets not just accept things as they are. Not much about how we choose to live is ‘natural’/ just is – pursuing FI we know that, everything and everybody is telling us to work, consume, spend, we are bucking a trend, and it’s a powerful one – but why don’t more choose FI? that is the interesting question. As is why do more men than women choose STEM subjects? .

    There is a difference in investing behaviour in the US vs the UK e.g 54% of the population in US invest, see https://www.politifact.com/california/statements/2018/sep/18/ro-khanna/what-percentage-americans-own-stocks/, 3 out of 10 – 30% invest in the UK https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/research/financial-lives-consumers-across-uk.pdf. Women are less likely to invest than men https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/research/financial-lives-consumers-across-uk.pdf. Why? Do we care about these differences ? Wouldn’t we as a country be better if more of us took control over our finances and invested?

    If we understand why we could change it – if we think it is a good idea for more people to take control over their finances (I do) then let’s understand why we in the UK do this less than our American friends and try and change it, improve outcomes for everyone, for us as individuals and for the country. The more people are self reliant financially the less they are reliant on the state.

    I don’t understand who is banning / preventing people saying what they want – I hear the phrase ‘you can’t saying anything these days’ – yes you can you just can’t assume everyone else thinks the same as you!- all I can say is as a centre leftist I am constantly offended and irritated by right wing and what I would call dodgy views expressed freely on all news channels- and that is just as it should be.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Here’s what you and I agree on: no one has the right not to be offended by stuff on the news, in the media etc.

      But sadly, many others disagree and feel they have a right to go through life and never be offended. That’s a big problem.

      To directly answer your question: “who is banning / preventing people saying what they want?“:

      Firstly, the Government. In 2003, the Blair regime introduced The Communications Act, a clumsy and poorly worded piece of legislation that banned people from saying anything on social media that could cause offence. Last year a comedian was convicted under this law for making a joke about his dog being a Nazi (No, I am not making this up).

      Secondly, the Mob. Hussel (see comment above) mentioned Julia Hartley Brewer. Her (centre right) twitter feed is full of people furiously abusing her for expressing her opinions. They try to shout her down / shame her / silence her.

      Empathy is the ability to stand in someone else’s shoes and see the world through their eyes. Centre leftists should try to see the world through the eyes of someone on the centre right and vice versa.

  13. I’ll explore the examples given. In particular the communications act.Thanks.

    Social media is abound with abuse, rape threats, threats of violence as you say shouting people down. I agree with your comment re: empathy but Chloe’s post appears to be saying this is something is a particular issue for right wing commentators by who are being silenced / free speech is been limited by the left, For me it is an ssue for anyone expressing an option, left or right, its is not something to do with where people sit on the political spectrum.

    1. Chloe is correct. There is a double standard:

      1) The media give airtime to communists (an ideology that has killed millions of people).

      2) The media does not give airtime to (in other words they censor) people from the far right (fascism being another ideology that has killed millions of people).

      And centre-right democrats such as Julia Hartley Brewer, Brendan O Neill and Isabel Oakeshot often get falsely accused of being Nazis / fascists / extremists by the Authoritarian Left (and sometimes by left wing journalists).

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