Sweet Reason

Rarely was a program so well named. Exemplary dialogue handled by Evan Davis on BBC R4 Sweet Reason on “Offense”.

The thesis being discussed was implicitly:
Weaponised Offense Taking
as part of
Identity by Victimhood.

Contentious topic on PC-Ness of free expression. With Jordan Peterson (white-male) and Dr Clare Chambers and Shaista Aziz (non-male / non-white) what a recipe.

And yes, couple of points where mutual buttons were pressed. The philosopher valiantly wanting to keep an objective handle on the “but who / in what position of power” aspect of the context for potentially offensive expression. The “White men …” response from Aziz … classic stuff …

Particularly liked the Rod Liddell example – the “I think we can call 40,000 Romanian immigrants a swarm” one-liner – demonstrating that the context (including the social role of the person) matters. In satirical journalism, the Court Jester role is recognised.

And yet … near perfect summary from Davis … JBP (the white man, naturally!) felt the need to insert his dangers of weaponisation point into the summary … but no actual dissent. And, as Davis noted at a couple of points, mostly violent agreement.

Exemplary on several levels.

Explicit – The topic and the content of the discourse leading to progressive agreement.

Context – JBP is probably red rag to many otherwise intelligent bulls in the current climate, so exemplary in not shrinking from any degree of difficulty.

Meta – The handling of proper dialogue. Balance of differing inputs, but with enforced listening, summarising between the parties, ad-hominems and adversarials suppressed.

Well done Evan Davis. Well done BBCR4 – with more of this there would be no need for any intellectual dark web.

‘Cept maybe marketing and book sales 😉


[Post Note: Also heard the @StephenSackur BBC World / News TV “HardTalk” interview with JBP (h/t @JacobKishere). Sackur clear pushes the critical side on each of 5 or 6 agenda – source as much from critics as his own reading – points, but gives JBP opportunity for clear responses. Good responses, good source of JBP thought in fact? Sackur doing journalist job with no lingering / hidden agenda apparent? Contrast with the (UK) original @CathyNewman i/v where despite the “you got me” ray of light, Cathy still harboured her leftist / feminist agenda, maintained it in the following weeks’ debate in fact.]

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