We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Less economy of truth, please: who pays whom?

In today’s UK, we can only envy the US its first amendment, but Brits familiar with the PC narrative on race over here still find some US excesses hard to credit. Even Brits who hang out with lefties can be astounded by the wilder shores of the US narrative.

Enthroned on this mad narrative, Ta-Nehisi Coates nevertheless gets some push-back. He’s not hard to criticise. In his own memoir, some shoving on a crowded New York escalator is the worst that white people ever did to him in propria persona, but their malign influence is everywhere: when a black kid points a gun at the young Coates, it’s the fault of whites; when a black friend is shot by a black cop in a black majority area, it’s the fault of whites.

However, those who dare question this feel they must virtue-signal even as they do so.

“Coates’s book is … angry about things we should be angry about” signals an article that shreds Coates’ memoir.

“Coates reminds us of the shame of the American inner city … His account of slavery and the ensuing discrimination against blacks is powerful and true.” says an article titled ‘The Toxic World-View of Ta-Nehisi Coates’.

While cringing white ‘liberals’ tell each other that “Coates is right about white supremacy — but that doesn’t mean that Bernie Sanders is wrong”, other critics seem to be saying that “Coates is absurd, dishonest or channeling racism – but that doesn’t mean I’m a racist for saying so.”

This lets lies survive even in the words of those fighting against them. After denouncing “genocidal whiteness”, Coates demands “reparations” for slavery. Consider the following thought experiments.

– Suppose the US government tells Mr Coates they have just learned he was in fact born in Senegal and adopted as a tiny infant by his US parents, who neglected the relevant legalities – so he is not a US citizen and should depart for his true country. In this thought experiment, Mr Coates’ true parents were not descended from slaves sold to white traders on the West African coast centuries ago. His true ancestors did not suffer from “genocidal whiteness”. How much money would Mr Coates spend on lawyers and investigators to overturn this assessment? How much money would Mr Coates pay to reacquire the legacy for which he says he should be paid?

– As another way of asking the same thing, suppose a powerful witch offers to wave her magic wand over Mr Coates. His ancestors’ past will be changed. The “genocidal whiteness” that has affected that past will be expunged. At every moment when one of his ancestors was about to be pushed onto a white trader’s ship – at every moment when the white western world was about to impinge upon them – they will instead be among the unselected, remaining in Africa. As a special bonus, the witch will ensure that they are not instead sent into the King of Dahomey’s murder spectacle, nor have their eyes gouged out by the Bemba, nor die entertaining the Ashanti, nor be eaten by a cannibal tribe. They will instead live to give rise to Ta-Nehisi Coates, still himself, but now a slave-descended citizen of Senegal from whose past all “genocidal whiteness” has been erased. How much would Mr Coates pay the witch not to wave her wand?

It seems so superfluous to point out that the sums Mr Coates would pay (in these hypothetical examples) to keep his heritage are the sums he should pay, not be paid, if his agitation for reparations ever overcame the many better, more fundamental reasons against it.

I understand the urge to utter that ‘but’but I’m not a racist, but I know evil things were done, but I’m not Adolf reborn. Even I find myself wanting to tell you that being sold as a slave by his jealous brothers, and then falsely accused by Potiphar’s lustful wife, worked out really well for Joseph in the end – but they all needed Grand Vizier Joseph’s forgiveness, not his thanks, and his giving it was an act of grace, forgoing the punishment he could so justly have inflicted. I so needed to make sure you all knew I knew that – even though I already knew you all knew I knew that. Even though I already knew what surely we all know by now: that cringing to the PC only encourages them. Even though I already knew that anyone who would have pretended not to know I thought it if I did not say it will still pretend just as hard although I have.

And that is how this need to virtue-signal lets lies survive even in the words of those fighting against them. Yes, all the perpetrators and victims are dead. Yes, how could we unravel all their clashing inheritances. Yes, reparations for the past opens a pandora’s box of endless complications. But all this general philosophy merely hides specific points. You can hate the British Empire or you can hate slavery but no-one honestly hates both – and the PC hate that fact. If Mr Coates’ ancestors had never been put on the ships, their enslaved descendants might have had to wait decades longer for the Empire to reach and free them in their homeland. Reparations for centuries-old events may be philosophically impractical in general, but focussing on that only obscures that when you indict a whole society’s dead past on behalf of another, as Coates does, then you should ask whether that society was peculiarly guilty, or peculiar only in its relative lack of guilt. Slavery was ‘the peculiar institution’ in the pre-war south. In the non-western world, it did not look peculiar – and would not today, but for the western world.

“You’re taught that on race issues you are morally obliged to suspend your usual standards of logic. Faced with a choice between some benign mendacity and being mauled, few human beings choose the latter.”

Those who do ‘choose the latter’ know what Burke did about economy of truth: “a man may speak the truth by measure that he be allowed to speak it longer”. But Burke never thought mendacity could be ‘benign’ – and nor do I. I think we should be less economical.

21 comments to Less economy of truth, please: who pays whom?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Niall, now that the link to your Parable is working again and I’ve refilled some of the holes in my Upstairs, let me repeat what I said at the time: Good job! I like it.

    This posting is certainly good too, and thanks for it; but I’m curious as to what prompted you to write it. (Your links all seem to be to something from yesteryear.)

    As for Mr. Coates, so much to file under “Garbage,” so little time….

  • Kevin B

    Reparations or How To Make Racism Great Again.

    Or alternatively, Let’s make white supremacy a real thing rather than a figment of leftist’s imagination.

  • Fraser Orr

    I’m not sure I understand your argument. It seems to be “the descendants of slaves are better off and would never wish to have that wrong righted.” But the argument with Joseph and his amazing technicolor dreamcoat seems to be “just because wrong doing produced a benefit for the victim doesn’t mean that wrongdoing was in fact right doing.”

    It seems to me the argument against reparations for slavery is a simple one — life is unfair, some people are advantaged over others, tough shit, it happens, and anyobody born in the United States in the past 80 years are not getting the short end of the stick, rather they are amongst the luckiest 0.0001% of all humans in human history. There are few things more offensive that the kids of billionaires whining about the extra advantages afforded tot he kids of multi-billionaires.

    On the flip side I encourage the current obsession of the left in their discussion of reparations. When the mainstream democrats make Bernie Sanders look like a moderate, you know they are screwed in November 2020. And surely four more years of a president who greatly reduces regulations, is inclined toward tax cuts, wants to get control of the border, and is actually talking about if not actually doing yet, a 5% across the board budget cut on the federal budget, is a lot better than the least crazy we can expect from the left.

    I personally don’t care much for President Trump. I think he is a vain man of plastic principles, who shoots his mouth off too much, usually because of his paper thin skin. But I also think he may be about the best we can possibly expect from the present American political system.

  • Americans have been bitching about “hyphen” Americans for over 100 years…I submit the following:

    ““There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all.”
    “This is just as true of the man who puts “native” before the hyphen as of the man who puts German or Irish or English or French before the hyphen. Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul. Our allegiance must be purely to the United States. We must unsparingly condemn any man who holds any other allegiance.”
    “But if he is heartily and singly loyal to this Republic, then no matter where he was born, he is just as good an American as any one else.”
    “The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English- Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian- Americans, or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality than with the other citizens of the American Republic.”
    “The men who do not become Americans and nothing else are hyphenated Americans; and there ought to be no room for them in this country. The man who calls himself an American citizen and who yet shows by his actions that he is primarily the citizen of a foreign land, plays a thoroughly mischievous part in the life of our body politic. He has no place here; and the sooner he returns to the land to which he feels his real heart-allegiance, the better it will be for every good American.”
    Theodore Roosevelt
    Address to the Knights of Columbus
    New York City- October 12th, 1915

    SOOooo…Mr Coates can take his soft bigotry and stick up his a…

  • Julie near Chicago

    Oh, “reparations.”

    The fact is that nobody alive today was ever an American slaveowner.

    Therefore nobody alive today owes the descendants of American slaves a cent, because nobody alive today was ever guilty of the unspeakable crime of slave-“owning.”

    We do not punish people for the sins of their fathers.

  • Flubber

    “I personally don’t care much for President Trump. I think he is a vain man of plastic principles, who shoots his mouth off too much, usually because of his paper thin skin. But I also think he may be about the best we can possibly expect from the present American political system.”

    I’m a bit more generous than you in this regard. I like Trump, on a personal level.

    But its simple. The people selected Trump, I think, on the basis that he wouldn’t wilt when they screamed racist at him 1000 times a day. I couldn’t name another Republican that would or could pull that off.

    The lefts response? Group guilt on behalf of White people. Implicit bias. There are no appeals.

    Hmmmm. That’s pretty fucking racist.

  • Paul Marks

    The First Amendment, like all the Bill of Rights, only has legal force as long as “Progressive” judges are not appointed to destroy it – had Hillary Clinton won in 2016, by now the 1st Amendment would be dead, and all speech the left disliked would have been declared criminal “Hate Speech”, i.e. speech the left hate and so wish to punish people for.

    Even as it is the 1st Amendment only protects people from persecution by government – private employers (the “Woke Corporations” that dominate just about everything) may still dismiss people for expressing political or cultural opposition to the left, even if that dissent is only expressed OUTSIDE of work hours. And the Woke Corporations act in other ways also – for example the rigged searches of Google and YouTube. Even such “minor” things as what films people go to see are decided by the left – otherwise who would go to see “Captain Marvel” (a very poor film), people go to see films because the “mainstream media” (both on television and the internet) tell them that they will. Even Wikipedia decided to make Bree Larson its feature article on the (socialist inspired) “International Womens’ Day” of March the 8th, the day that the vast “Woke” Disney Corporation (which has already ruined both Star Wars and Star Trek) launched “Captain Marvel”.

    People are, as a matter of routine, excluded from Facebook and Twitter for expressing political or cultural dissent against the left – the largest Corporations on the planet (who control the “Public Square” now) siding with the radical (socialist) left. And now Amazon has started to censor books (making them non books – as if something is not on Amazon, for most people it does not exist) if the left dislike the author of the book. For example, the book on Islam by “Tommy Robinson” – which Amazon has banned (on POLITICAL grounds).

    Of course some people think that Jeff Bezos (the richest man in the world) can do no wrong – even if he bans books and his Mega Corporation does not pay tax (whilst smaller business enterprises are taxed very highly), because they think Mr Bezos is going to take them live on another planet. However, I must break it to such people, the “live on another planet” stuff is just a bad Doctor Who story – Mr Bezos is NOT going to take you to live on another planet.

    Unlike the “Woke Billionaires” Mr Jeff Bezos does NOT believe in socialism – his support for the socialists is entirely CYNICAL, basically he bans books (on the grounds that the left does not like the writers of those books) and he pushes the far left “Washington Post” in return for the left turning a blind eye to the Amazon Mega Corporation not paying tax – whilst small business enterprises DO pay tax. Now the left, in the person of Senator Elizabeth Warren, have decided to target the Mega Corporations (not just Amazon – but Google and Facebook as well) for destruction anyway. One would have to have a heart of stone – NOT TO LAUGH.

    Mr Bezos backed the left (without believing in its doctrines – he is NOT one of the “Woke Billionaires”) for entirely cynical (corrupt) financial reasons – now they may well destroy him anyway. Why should anyone care?

    As for blacks and whites in the United States – who really, mostly, robs and kills who can be found by a glance at the crime figures (the targeting of white people for robbery, rape and murder leading to the “white flight” from the cities that has been the pattern since the 1960s). However, I do NOT believe in “Collective Guilt” and so would be AGAINST white people demanding “Reparations” from black people.

    The South before 1865? It was utterly devastated by years of war and every white family lost people killed or maimed. YES they were guilty of the terrible sin of slavery (either personally owning slaves – or fighting a war for the preservation of slavery, and that WAS THE AIM) – but they paid (paid in blood as well as property) for their sins. Perhaps deservedly so.

    As far as I am aware black slave owners and slave traders in Africa and the Middle East (a practice that is thousands of years old) have not paid a similar price for their sins.

  • Paul Marks

    The biggest change in my own political and cultural opinions over the last few years has been in my attitude towards the mega rich and the mega corporations.

    A few years ago I was a strong defender of them – in spite of being very poor myself. Now I despise them – for their siding with the left (indeed the socialist left) as long as their own personal wealth is not touched. People like Bezos could not give a damn if small business enterprises are taxed and regulated to destruction – as long as he and his mega corporation do not have to pay. Indeed he goes further than this – he actively pushes such vile poison as the “Washington Post” without even the bad excuse of really believing in its collectivist doctrines.

    Most (NOT all – but most) of the mega rich and the mega corporations have chosen to back the left – even the “Critical Theory” Frankfurt School of Marxism left (with its war against the West – which Wikipedia calls a “conspiracy theory” even though the thinkers of the Frankfurt School were always quite OPEN that their aim was the destruction of the “Capitalist” West).

    Even the ultra tame right that is the Spectator magazine now admits that the education systems of the West (the schools and universities) are Marxist indoctrination machines and that the culture is dominated by “Woke Corporations” (hello Disney Mega Corporation and “Captain Marvel”).

    So when the left stake the mega rich and the corporate managers out over ant hills – why should anyone care? Most (not all – but most) of the mega rich and the mega corporations choose to side with the left (with the socialist totalitarian “Woke” left) – they choose to betray everyone else, on the one condition that their own personal wealth was not touched. So WHEN the left betray their “friends” (and they will betray them) why should anyone lift a finger to help the mega rich and the corporate managers?

    Meanwhile back in Britain the Conservative Party is busy expelling Winston Churchill for “Islamophobia” (with the full support of Jacob Rees-Mogg), or would be busy doing this if Mr Churchill was still alive.

    As for Liberal Prime Minister Gladstone – he would be rotting in prison for the same offense (under some pretext or other).

    Does the establishment elite actually believe in the doctrines of Muhammed? No they do not – no more than Jeff Bezos actually believes in socialism (he is just about as socialist as I am). It is an entirely cynical undertaking – and also one of utter folly, as it will (in the long term) earn the establishment elite no-mercy-what-so-ever (Frazer Nelson of the Spectator magazine with his claim of successful integration of Islam in the West – he might as well say that he flies to work each day on a dragon, and has a herd of unicorns).

    Again it is just very difficult to actually care. The establishment elite have chosen to ally themselves with certain forces (even though they do not believe in the doctrines of those forces), and those forces will (of course) betray them at some point.

    Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

  • I’m curious as to what prompted you to write it. (Julie near Chicago, March 10, 2019 at 3:09 pm)

    It’s the second in a series of “less economical with the truth, please” posts I may write if time, life and my day job permit. Which ones appear when may be slightly influenced by the immediate events – the Dems recent flipping of the their anti-semitism resolution to an anti-islamophobia resolution is one of those “later than you think” moments that suggest other mad ideas may be mainstreamed by Dems too – but probably more influenced by when spare time and the muse visit me together. My main point – that too many apologise for telling the truth – is so common a feature of the war between actual correctness and political correctness that it needs no daily reminder, though often getting one. 🙂

    (Your links all seem to be to something from yesteryear.)

    The oldest link (keyed by the words ‘hate that fact’ in the post above) is to something I wrote in 2007. Sadly, it seems quite as topical today.

  • I’m not sure I understand your argument. It seems to be “the descendants of slaves are better off and would never wish to have that wrong righted.” But the argument with Joseph and his amazing technicolor dreamcoat seems to be “just because wrong doing produced a benefit for the victim doesn’t mean that wrongdoing was in fact right doing.” (Fraser Orr, March 10, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    While that is not the point of the post, I’m happy to focus in on it.

    – Joseph’s brothers intended to harm Joseph. As you say, their wrong-doing was not right-doing because, through no intention of theirs, he benefitted. It has no relevance to their mens rea.

    – Ta-Nehisi, who has never been a slave, wants to be paid by whites who have never kept slaves. There is no criminal, intending his harm, to put in the dock. So (ignoring the more basic absurdities) it looks like a civil action for damages. So whether the plaintiff has in fact suffered loss or not is relevant.

    We get nearer the point of my post by asking why: why, despite the unpropitious and unchosen way his ancestors entered western culture, are Ta-Nehisi’s acts the acts of a man who knows he gained, not lost?

    – When Abraham went up the mountain to sacrifice Isaac, he was acting like the people around him. When he came down from the mountain with Isaac still alive, the Jews were different from the people around them (and Isaac was very motivated to keep it that way 🙂 ).

    – When “the British” in the 18th century bought, traded and owed slaves on a large scale, only the fact that they did not do the initial enslaving themselves distinguished them from the non-western world. When “the British” in the 19th century fought the war against slavery, they were very unlike the rest of the world.

    – When the ante-bellum south owned slaves, they resembled the non-western world. When hundreds of thousands died in the war that ended slavery, the US looked very unlike the non-western world.

    Ta-Nehisi lies twice.

    – His white west is the west when it still resembled the rest of the world, but to make his case he pretends silently that the rest of the world didn’t resemble itself, and a still deeper silence envelops the question of how the rest of the world became less like it was.

    – His guilty white west is the west that resembled the rest of the world, but he lives there instead of nearby Haiti (where they had the revolution he fantasises about), or in Africa’s western bulge (whence his forebears likely came) because he well knows the west he wants to pay him is the west that does not.

  • TDK

    In your thought experiment you make the assumption that Mr Coates would prefer to be a US citizen (and receive reparations) rather than be a Senegalese. This relies on the unspoken assumption that Senegalese citizens would not seek or obtain reparations.

    A few minutes in the company of someone on the far left would disabuse you of this notion. The poverty of Africa is the fault of the West.

    When you bring up the subject of who sold the slaves to the slave traders, you are met with denial. At best you will get reports of naive Africans being fobbed off with worthless trinkets. A more sophisticated variant has it that Africans treated slavery as a form of medium term punishment and that in African tribal society the punishment of slavery was limited and did not transfer to the children. 20 years of Bonded Labour say. The African’s who sold the slaves apparently assumed that the same consideration would apply in the Americas.

    Next we can blame African poverty on the sales of weapons and on western interference causing wars which sapped African strength.

    Onto colonialism which is blamed for deliberately raping the continent of men and materials. Think of Congo. More wars.

    Finally post independence, there are overt mechanisms in place (arms sales and backing for western backed leaders) and covert (which are usually not defined) which continue to cause African society to fail to thrive.

    So if you imagine that reparations for slavery are the end of the story – you will be surprised in due course.

    Identity politics is simple: if you and your kind do not have the success of others, then there is a conspiracy against you and your kind. No need to prove it.

  • TDK

    Let me add to my list:

    We are also to give reparations for the Climate Crisis.

  • Dr Evil

    Or this Coates character is just a chancer hoping to get some compensation?

  • Rob

    They, the guilty-feeling whites, horrified by their own comfort and privilege, long to be told off and perhaps even punished for the sins of their nation

    They aren’t horrified by their own comfort and privilege. They are horrified by the comfort and ‘privilege’ of other white people.

    Anyway, bring it on. Reparations should be the cornerstone of the Democrats’ next Presidential campaign. If those blue-collar white Democrat voters still haven’t got the message after all these years, they surely finally will in 2020.

  • I have taken your admonishment to speak the truth boldly to heart and published a short parable, that has been sitting on my hard drive for six months, about the myth that we live in a “patriarchy.” It is here. https://ajournaloftraditionalamericanpolitics.blogspot.com/2019/03/the-parable-of-naweristan.html

  • Julie near Chicago


    Thanks very much for your elucidation. Also your other comments, cogent as always.

    Speaking of which, you wrote

    “…[T]oo many apologise for telling the truth….”

    Absolutely true. And too many apologize for being “insufficiently sensitive” (meaning, for failing to see that their words will be flea-combed through for anything that could conceivably be twisted so as to indicate demeaning of a Victim Group, whether already included or newly introduced for the purpose, and dragged off to a Group Self-Confession and Self-Flagellation session). E.g.,


    This poor girl is a knitter and textile artist (I gather) and made the mistake of posting about her excitement over her upcoming visit to India. BIG mistake!

    The link is to her apology for her insensitivity (and, as Niall denounces, for telling the truth — though that’s not what she apologizes for).

    If the posting doesn’t make you sick, the comments, made so kindly and compassionately, surely will.

    The apology was posted at https://thenewneo.com/ , where I left my own comments:

    …[T]he target of criticism who responds as she did is actively helping in the project to destroy her self-esteem and her sense of herself as a good and worthwhile person (I assume she basically is one, just a little too sensitive to the cruelty of others) — “worthy of living and capable of living.”

    I’m not crazy about all of our psychologizing from the Peanut Gallery, so to speak, but I added the following just the same:

    …to destroy her self-esteem and her very sense of herself.

    Which is the goal of the communists’ self-flagellation and group-excoriation sessions. (Well, that and the thrill of torturing people.) Big Brother, and less famous persons, absolutely need to destroy others’ senses of self.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Niall Kilmartin
    – Ta-Nehisi, who has never been a slave, wants to be paid by whites who have never kept slaves. There is no criminal, intending his harm, to put in the dock. So (ignoring the more basic absurdities) it looks like a civil action for damages. So whether the plaintiff has in fact suffered loss or not is relevant.

    But loss and gain are not treated like that. Even though Joseph might have prospered in Egypt it does not mean that he has no right to sue his brothers for the return of his technicolor coat.

    Consider this scenario. Someone steals your car and so you are forced to walk home. Exhausted you stop at a shop to buy a bottle of water and while you are there just for fun you buy a lottery ticket. Woo hoo, you just won $100 million dollars. So looks like having your car stolen was the proximate cause of your new found wealth. Nonetheless, you still have a perfect right to demand the return of your car, even if the thief sold it, and then died of a heart attack, meaning no criminal to put in the dock. Your new found riches does not in any way reduce your claim against any injury done against you in the past.

    I’m not at all in favor of reparations, I think that debt was paid in blood already, and the plain fact is that if the poor in America have anyone to sue for their current poor conditions it would be Lyndon Johnson and his “war on poverty”.

    However, I am very much in favor of the democrats really pushing and pushing the idea of slavery reparations, and especially native american reparations. Because the more they push it the nuttier they seem. If they can do that and push the open borders thing, and the 70% tax thing, and the Green New Deal thing, I am wondering if Trump can win in California.

    (Nancy Pelosi thinks the dems can win Texas, which only shows how truly delusional they are.)

  • Paul Marks

    Standard Marxism – the poverty of some people MUST be caused by “exploitation” and “oppression”.

    What is astonishing is that most of Big Business and the Rich SUPPORT the Marxists – either because they sincerely believe in this stuff (Mark Z. of Facebook – and the other “Woke” Billionaires), or they do NOT believe in it but have made corrupt deals with the left – such as Jeff Washington Post Bezos.

    It is almost worth staying alive – to watch the look on their smug faces change to shock, when the left betray them.

  • Fraser Orr (March 11, 2019 at 6:13 pm), I am not a lawyer. That said, I’m not sure you are correct. If I sue for damages of £1 million for loss of custom because someone said my business was guilty of some terribly unwoke act, but it is revealed that 99% of my customers were readers of samizdata who could not care less about buying from the unwoke, then could my suit for loss of custom fail, even though the PC tweeter who made the accusation was hoping to ruin me? Perhaps I might separately win punitive damages – if the tweeter was personally guilty of something.

    The issue is complicated by the fact that Ta-Nehisi is claiming from whites in general, and describing the US as a whole as “genocidally white”, so any benefit he enjoys that one can ascribe to US history is commingled with any loss he ascribes to US history – it is not like Joseph’s brothers and Potiphar’s wife on the one hand, who all seek to harm Joseph, and Pharaoh on the other, who (because their acts unintentionally put Joseph in the right place at the right time) elevates him to second in the land. Returning to my analogy above, it is as if the PC tweeter were to say that he refuses to buy my products any longer despite their being the best on the market because I did the wickedly-unwoke thing. If my net sales go up, not down because this product-quality compliment from someone so hostile outweighs my unwokeness in the public mind, then I don’t think I can sue for loss of earnings.

    As noted in my last comment, I feel this is not quite the central point of the post, but on the other hand I feel I gain in understanding from the discussion.

    What one can claim civil-law damages for varies much between law codes. Some US lawyers, made rich in a system that pays ’emotional damages’ and etc. (IIUC) have complained that UK compensation law is “barbaric” (i.e. their fees are small – though they do not put it that way). FAIK, you and I could each be right in one law code and wrong in the other.

    BTW, does anyone recall Isaac Asimov’s story, “Galley Slave”. Whether the robot has defamed the professor, and what degree of financial loss he could argue for if so, are the points on which the plot twists turn. 🙂

  • Julie near Chicago (March 11, 2019 at 5:18 pm), someone prominent in the online knitting business (who had no wish to be a controversialist) felt compelled to put her head over the parapet and rebuke the PC-victimising you describe. That of course meant she too got targeted for a while – but her (already good) sales went up noticeably.

    – The good news is that (in the knitting community at least) these drive-by PC creeps are unpopular. People who fear speaking out seem (despite that – or because of it?) willing to vote with their purchases. It’s an inverse of “get woke, go broke”.

    – The bad news – or rather, the sad news – is that the original victim was broken entirely psychologically. If she had understood her market, she would have known that it was positively in her financial interest to stand firm.