We wouldn’t have to go back too many generations to realise that every one of us is the product of rape. That every one of us is the product of incest. That every one of us is both the descendant of a slave and the descendant of a slave-owner. That every one of us is both the descendant of the colonised and the descendant of the coloniser. Not to mention, and so I will, both the victim and the beneficiary of both. Jesus said it in his Sermon on the Mount, as did Bob Dylan in The Times They are A-Changin’. So in our grievances and accusations, perhaps we should start there.

This is not to say one shouldn’t protest when – sometimes with the alacrity of the weather – we wake up one morning to find we’ve changed places. After all, two wrongs don’t make a right. But then neither do two rights make a wrong. That is, are we so sure that rape and incest and slavery and colonisation were always wrong? Or did they just become wrong when we woke up one morning to find we’d changed places?

Even to ask this question – and so I didn’t – is to invite a charge of moral relativism. That it was okay pre-Contact for the Salish to own red slaves but not for the settlers post-1619 to own black ones. Putting the two side by side places today’s social justice warrior in a very difficult position. But taking a more disinterested perspective, as I’d like to do, courts a charge of moral nihilism. So to engage in moral commentary, even moral skepticism, is to open oneself to ridicule, either as a relativist or a nihilist. The smart money would go to silence were it not that the Woke have just announced that silence is violence.

Oh what the hell! Red on red slavery wasn’t wrong, and neither was white on black. Neither was wrong then and neither would be wrong now. Not wrong, just highly imprudent. Now then, according to the Woke, does my saying that put me on the right side of history or on the wrong side of it? 

Categories: Everything You Wanted to Know About What's Going On in the World But Were Afraid to Ask, Social and Political Philosophy, Why My Colleagues Are Idiots

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3 replies

  1. If violence is relative and scaleable rather than absolute, where on the scale does silence fit?

    Or is silence only violence when I want you to say something that benefits me and you don’t say that?


  2. I’ve made the following comment somewhere else on this site, but I think it is long buried. So, I will exhume and reanimate it as follows,

    Two SJW slogans are: Silence is Violence and Words are Violence.

    If silence is violence, then one must speak. But words are violence.

    If words are violence, then one must be silent. But silence is violence.

    To avoid absurdity, the SJW must stipulate that Some Silence is Violence and Some Words are Violence – neither of which make great slogans.

    But which silence is violence and which words are violence? We couldn’t have a conversation if all silence is violence, unless we all converse in sign language or solely by writing notes to each other.

    So there must be a list of things we must not be silent about, words we must say. And there is a corresponding list of words we must not say, those words we must condemn to silence. So, some words are not violence and some silence is not violence.

    The words we must not say are compelled silence, the words we must say, compelled speech.


  3. You know, Paul, I enjoy nit-picking you over things I happen to have some content knowledge in — but I do try to stick to facts that provide some amateurish rebuttal to your arguments. I draw intense intellectual stimulation from the exchange and rarely do I come away without a new insight into a question.

    However your post today shows you at your incisive, unparalleled, “He-plays-in-the-NHL-as-if-he-came-down-from-a-higher-league” best.

    Live long and prosper, but not silently, …my friend.


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