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Robin Hanson Apologized For His Ideas

They broke Robin Hanson. http://mason.gmu.edu/~rhanson/JuneteenthApology.html

Hanson chose to be an icon and leader. Giving in is a betrayal of his followers, fans and values. It signals that you can't succeed by standing up for truth and free speech. He's discouraging them. He took on a responsibility and failed at it.

He was some sort of role model. He knew it and wanted to be. And that's why he was targeted. And then, with little fuss, RIP.

At the same time, Scott Alexander stood up to the NYT. Though, interestingly, Alexander wasn't even given the option to apologize and recant.

They gave Alexander the options fight back or not fight back, and be attacked either way using the same weapon (dox him by printing his name).

I saw something recently, forget where, about a revolution long ago, I think somewhere in China. I don't know if it's a true story or just designed to make a point. Was like:

What's the penalty for being late? Death.

What's the penalty for a revolution? Death.

So then they revolted cuz it's the same penalty anyway.

Did Hanson naively think that his job would always be safe when he criticized mainstream ideas? Did he think he lived in a society with free speech and tolerance of intellectual diversity? Or just that his particular university was especially great? I doubt it.

He ought to have known a confrontation was possible. If he wasn't prepared for the confrontation, what the hell was he doing? If his plan was to give in, he misled his readers about that.

Hanson is trying to proceed with blogging like nothing happened, without any explanation to his readers (other than the official apology, which doesn't explain it – a real explanation would be e.g. "they threatened my job, and i wanted to keep it, so i spoke out against the cause". That particular explanation would raise some questions before he was accepted back as an advocate and leader of the cause. If he has a better one, let's hear it. If he's muzzled, and can be threatened into not saying whatever the university leaders choose, then can we trust anything he blogs to be his real opinion?).

I was not much of Hanson fan anyway, but he's one of the symbols we have ... well had. I don't know of a bunch of better ones.

People should not accept him back. Don't act like this didn't happen. He's clearly compromised and there is no plan or strategy in place to enable his free and honest speech going forward. There are problems here which Hanson is trying to ignore instead of present solutions to. He's doing no post mortem. He's making no plan to be more successful next time. He's presumably just decided on a bunch of things he's no longer willing to say publicly, and he's hiding the list from his audience. And I doubt it's even a list, in writing, or that he has any policies to ensure he consistently follows his plan. He may well behave inconsistently and get in trouble more, or refrain from saying things that aren't on the list, or both, and there's no transparency.


Elliot Temple on July 3, 2020

Messages (1)

Imagine if Tucker Carlson backed down and apologized right now. TC's way more important but it's a bit similar.

They are trying to cancel TC too, btw. E.g. some big advertisers have pulled out of his show.

TC better have a plan if Fox wants to fire him or demand he say or not say certain things. (And the plan better not be just to surrender to keep his job/money.) If he has no plan, as Hanson seems not to have had, then he's letting down his audience. Just risking it and hoping nothing bad happens, with no plan, is unacceptable when you know you're a target.


curi at 12:12 PM on July 3, 2020 | #16837 | reply | quote

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