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07.03.20

Offence and Racism

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 11:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Because you are controllable

Summary: To those in positions of power and privilege (financial) you are controllable by guilt; dividing us and causing us to feel guilt and fear (over potential offence) is a powerful social control mechanism and pretext for dismissal, censorship, humiliation

THE term “offence” is rather broad; it can refer to crimes and felonies. It can also refer to feelings. Tyrants don’t wish to be ‘offended’ or disrespected; they even pass laws to protect themselves from this pesky “offence”; at the European Patent Office (EPO) both António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli have blocked Techrights for showing their offences. Apparently they’re too ‘offended’ when their staff can see their corruption, with evidence to accompany the claims (e.g. leaked documents and whistleblowers’ account/s).

The concept of being “offended” (as in emotionally hurt) is sometimes conflated with discrimination, as if to imply they’re necessarily the same and any feeling of lowered opportunity isn’t misfortune or a lack of merit; it’s always someone else’s fault. This may sometimes be the case, but it’s not a universal rule. But when it’s presumed to always be so, the severity of the response can lead to irrationality — a disproportional one. It thus needs to be corrected, one way or another, even if by means of vengeance (revenge).

“Sometimes it seems like a vocal minority, loud enough and potentially (unwittingly even) exploited by corporate boardrooms and autocratic politicians, seeks to represent a group that in practice it does not speak for (and cannot speak for).”It’s not secret that the concept of revenge tends to lead everyone astray; like the government choosing to kill a person just to prove that “killing is wrong” (death penalty). The logic behind it and the assumption it would discourage crime have been investigated; much has been disproved.

Right now we’re seeing some of these techniques being leveraged by both governments and corporations. Public and private sectors alike pass Draconian new laws and rules in the name of protecting us from “offence” (e.g. “hate speech” — a set of laws that cannot be enforced offline and barely online, either); if one actually asks those who are supposedly protected from being ‘offended’, the answer will sometimes be surprising. Many are rather cynical about the whole thing because the so-called ‘solutions’ do not actually tackle concrete problems. Sometimes it seems like a vocal minority, loud enough and potentially (unwittingly even) exploited by corporate boardrooms and autocratic politicians, seeks to represent a group that in practice it does not speak for (and cannot speak for).

“Who stands to gain from such fracturing? Probably those who laugh all the way to the bank. Well, a bank they need to take a plane to (because it’s in some offshore island).”The details above are intentionally vague; I’m deliberately leaving out examples to avert “offence”; I don’t wish for anyone to be ‘offended’. But the bottom line is this: almost everyone is a minority in some context. We’ve said it many times before. There are many elements to it, including religion, skin colour, ethnicity, gender, nationality, language, age, body type and so on. Few people can claim to be “average” and “normal” (or “majority” — however one defines it). Dividing us into subgroups and then shaming us into guilt would be good for nobody but those who wish to extract maximal labour (capital) from all of us. Divisive politics distract from class discrepancies and generally make the atmosphere ever more toxic. If you look at Free software communities, for instance, you may find that they recently became more divided, heated, even “toxic” over matters that nobody bothered with before. Who stands to gain from such fracturing? Probably those who laugh all the way to the bank. Well, a bank they need to take a plane to (because it’s in some offshore island).

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