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Strange Magic said:
I don't get it. It seems that some here hold that expressing an opinion or having certain associates--no matter how out of step with the views of others--automatically shields or should shield one from any consequences whatsoever. Somehow we are to wring our hands over the fates of Netrebko and Gergiev and equate same with that of Alexei Navalny or any number of Chinese or North Korean...
No, it's that you're shielded by the basic concept of freedom of expression and thought. Where do you draw the line? Do you fire people who vote too conservatively for your tastes? Why not, if such people are a hindrance to your view of what's a just and proper society? Nobody's entitled to a job, after all. Pendulums swing back and forth, too.
joen_cph said:
The new Duma laws instigate up to 15 years for providing critical and non-conformist views about the war in Ukraine; lately almost all of the last critical media have been closed; all media are not allowed to use the very word 'war' about the war any longer; and saying anything positive as regards the Western sanctions or promoting them can lead to 3 years in prison.

Today, all Russian school children were obliged to watch a governmental propaganda movie about what is the allowed, official thinking about the ongoing 'special operation'. ...
...
As opposed to the free-wheeling open-mindedness of "the West".
 

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A lot of cultural events in Russia are being cancelled too; even on a purely practical level (flights, payments etc.), things are getting much more difficult to organize. Here are some:

- some classical concerts in Moscow, including with Gerstein, Ades, Bronfman, Eschenbach, Herreweghe, Pavel Kogan, etc.: https://meloman.ru/changes/

- rock concerts: https://www.billboard.com/music/music-news/artists-canceled-russia-concerts-list-1235037371/

It's worth mentioning though, that the boycotts are mainly Western initiatives; as regards the rest of the world, the situation is much less strict, and for example, some limited imports of Western goods etc. are likely to continue via some of the neighbouring countries.

At least before the Duma laws today that give imprisonment of up to 15 years for critical voices about the war or supporting sanctions, about 10,000 Russian artists and performers had signed at protest against the war. They include Petrenko and Bychkov. You don't reach 10,000 that quickly, without a lot of uproar in society about the war.
https://www.npr.org/2022/02/28/1083496491/russian-performers-speak-out-putin-ukraine
 

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The MET firing Netrebko:
  • to protect its own interests
  • as a form of protest and to show solidarity with Ukraine.

In my mind they are both justified, but the second one much more important.

And it's not like she's being jailed for thought crimes. But as far as withholding privileges, where we draw the line is open for debate and should always be evolving. I'm glad we're now holding people in positions of power accountable when it comes to sexual misconduct, for example.
 

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No, it's that you're shielded by the basic concept of freedom of expression and thought. Where do you draw the line? Do you fire people who vote too conservatively for your tastes? Why not, if such people are a hindrance to your view of what's a just and proper society? Nobody's entitled to a job, after all. Pendulums swing back and forth, too.
As opposed to the free-wheeling open-mindedness of "the West".
I still don't get it. Or maybe you don't get it either. You seem to posit a dream world somewhere where one can pontificate on whatever one wants-I referenced Holocaust deniers and White Supremacists-and neither suffer any consequences nor expect to suffer any consequences. This is fantasy. I have certain views on politics and religion that I expressed here in the Groups and was penalized for but accepted the penalties (which included eliminating several Groups altogether) as I recognized the right of TC to act thusly. I could always quit TC, or get chucked out, but either outcome would have been justifiable. Same with Netrebko and Gergiev- but nobody is going to throw them in jail, forbid them from speaking, or poison them.
 

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Where do you draw the line? Do you fire people who vote too conservatively for your tastes? Why not, if such people are a hindrance to your view of what's a just and proper society? Nobody's entitled to a job, after all.
It's a mistake to try to define a "line" applicable to all individuals and circumstances. Your line and mine may differ, and either of us may make exceptions. Moral clarity doesn't require rigidity or conformity. It does require conscience and judgment.

But speaking of moral clarity - or the absence thereof - to draw an equivalence between a person who openly supports a murderous dictator waging a war of aggression and conquest and a person who "votes too conservatively for your taste" is a bit mind-boggling.
 

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It's a mistake to try to define a "line" applicable to all individuals and circumstances. Your line and mine may differ, and either of us may make exceptions. Moral clarity doesn't require rigidity or conformity. It does require conscience and judgment.
So it applies when I like it and not when I don't.

]But speaking of moral clarity - or the absence thereof - to draw an equivalence between a person who openly supports a murderous dictator waging a war of aggression and conquest and a person who "votes too conservatively for your taste" is a bit mind-boggling.
Why? And what's more, what moral objection is there to denying any political opponent the privilege of making a living, if it's in your power to deny it? Stalin was a murderous dictator who had his share of blacklisted fans. I suppose their blacklisting was just and proper. "Please understand that this suspension of the idea of free expression only applies to murderous dictators named Putin because my conscience and judgement demand it" isn't very reassuring.
 

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Please, if you have the time, make a point of reading what Semyon Bychkov - Russian conductor of the Czech Philharmonic - has had to say on the situation.

Maestro Bychkov has issued the below statement in light of the news this morning from Ukraine:

"Russia still mourns some 27 million citizens who perished at the hands of the Nazis in World War II, when Hitler delivered what he promised years earlier in Mein Kampf. How ironic that, while celebrating its victory over Nazi Germany in 1945, Russia chooses to forget its non-aggression pact with Hitler. Signed in 1939, the pact made Russia one of the co-authors of World War II; becoming one of the winners when the war ended in 1945 doesn't acquit those who made it possible. The post-war Nüremberg Trials of leading Nazis brought atonement in German society for crimes committed against humanity, which continues to this day."
I don't know much about this conductor, although I've heard his name. I have to take what he says with a grain of salt. His interpretation of history is pretty much biased against Russia.

What about some of the actions of the West which aided the rise of fascism - e.g. appeasing Hitler? What about the non-involvement of the USA in the war until 1941? What about the West's export of raw materials to Japan during the 1930's, when they where already committing torture and genocide in parts of Asia?

What about the initial refusal of colonial powers like the UK, France and the Netherlands to give up their colonies after the war, despite the efforts of many native people there in the resistance to the Japanese? They where eventually forced to, less out of moral conviction, and more out of these countries rising up and fighting bloody wars to gain their independence. Don't forget, this was after a war where the world united to defeat imperialism and racism.

The Nuremberg trials weren't popular in Germany, they where imposed by the allies. They gave the death penalty to a handful of top brass Nazis, and then for reasons of realpolitik, largely pursued a policy of forgive and forget with the small fry. Getting West Germany and Japan on board as bulwarks for the Cold War was more important, it was wise not to alienate their populations too much (even if they didn't say, many there already resented the USA, so why make it worse?).

Reagan espoused this policy as late as 1985 when he visited the German war cemetery, which included graves of SS men (the Germans had their version of what Japan still does, the annual visit by their prime minister to the Yasukuni Shrine, where war criminals are buried, and this hasn't gone down well with countries like the Koreas, China, even Australia whose POWS where murdered by the Japanese).

Its obvious if you know about history that there are always many sides to the same story. I could write a speech like that, and make it go the other way, blame the West.

Moral relativism, indeed. I think this sort of one-sided view of history doesn't do anyone benefits, not least in times like the present.

That's why I can't see sense in supporting what amounts to blacklisting. Opinions on the Russia-Ukraine conflict don't have to be the same, but people should be treated the same no matter what opinion they hold about it.
 

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I don't know much about this conductor, although I've heard his name. I have to take what he says with a grain of salt. His interpretation of history is pretty much biased against Russia.

What about some of the actions of the West which aided the rise of fascism - e.g. [...]
I missed the bit where we see the connection to music ..?
 

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So it applies when I like it and not when I don't.
As I said, moral clarity doesn't require rigidity or conformity. It does require conscience and judgment. If you take that to imply a complete absence of principle, I can't help you.

Stalin was a murderous dictator who had his share of blacklisted fans. I suppose their blacklisting was just and proper. "Please understand that this suspension of the idea of free expression only applies to murderous dictators named Putin" isn't very reassuring.
If I wish to "blacklist" - reject, denounce, ostracize, fire, etc. - a murderer, or an advocate of murder, that's my right. The idea of free expression has not been suspended; the murderer is still free to express himself. I merely have no obligation to provide him with a podium.
 

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As I said, moral clarity doesn't require rigidity or conformity. It does require conscience and judgment. If you take that to imply a complete absence of principle, I can't help you.

If I wish to "blacklist" - reject, denounce, ostracize, fire, etc. - a murderer, or an advocate of murder, that's my right. The idea of free expression has not been suspended; the murderer is still free to express himself. I merely have no obligation to provide him with a podium.
You don't have to provide him with a podium, but do you have the right to decide that he can have no podium at all? There are those who consider George W. Bush and Barack Obama murderers. Anyone supporting them could be called an "advocate of murder". Your most committed Democrat probably thinks your most committed Republican is a far more dangerous enemy than Putin could ever be. Anything goes as long as it has the imprimatur of your non-rigid conscience and judgement.
 

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I don't know much about this conductor, although I've heard his name. I have to take what he says with a grain of salt. His interpretation of history is pretty much biased against Russia.
He's a Russian lamenting what's happening in and to his country, which he loves.

What about some of the actions of the West which aided the rise of fascism - e.g. appeasing Hitler? What about the non-involvement of the USA in the war until 1941? What about the West's export of raw materials to Japan during the 1930's, when they where already committing torture and genocide in parts of Asia?

What about...
This is called "whataboutism." It's used, fallaciously, to deflect blame and excuse all manner of wrongs.

Its obvious if you know about history that there are always many sides to the same story. I could write a speech like that, and make it go the other way, blame the West.
You could. Anyone can blame anyone. So...?

Moral relativism, indeed. I think this sort of one-sided view of history doesn't do anyone benefits, not least in times like the present.
In the present, we have an unjustified war of aggression and conquest going on. What benefits most is to be clear about that and to stand unambiguously against it.

That's why I can't see sense in supporting what amounts to blacklisting. Opinions on the Russia-Ukraine conflict don't have to be the same, but people should be treated the same no matter what opinion they hold about it.
Opinions are not without consequence. We enable what we advocate. Every atrocity begins with someone's "opinion." Yes, every scoundrel has a right to his opinion, but that doesn't make it, or him, good or harmless, or obligate others to put up with him.
 

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You don't have to provide him with a podium, but do you have the right to decide that he can have no podium at all?
How would I do that? I don't know who or what you're referring to. Certainly not Anna Netrebko.

There are those who consider George W. Bush and Barack Obama murderers. Anyone supporting them could be called an "advocate of murder". Your most committed Democrat probably thinks your most committed Republican is a far more dangerous enemy than Putin could ever be. Anything goes as long as it has the imprimatur of your non-rigid conscience and judgement.
What do you mean "anything goes"? Any what kind of thing? Goes where? How? To whom?
 

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And it's not like she's being jailed for thought crimes... I'm glad we're now holding people in positions of power accountable when it comes to sexual misconduct, for example.
It is about thought crime, since the political opinions of a musician have nothing to do with his or her capacity to do their work.

A good example is Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, who for decades denied that she had been a member of the Nazi party, but evidence came out to that effect in the 1980's. If, by that time, she had long reached the peak of her career, did her politics matter? When she was performing on stage, in the recording studio or doing master classes, where her political opinions impacting on her work? The answer is no, and by that I don't mean to deny the relevance of debates of this nature, more to get to what I see as the crux of the issue.

As regards sexual misconduct, I agree about the need for accountability, because that's an area where a core area of people's rights - the integrity of their body and mind - is directly impacted.

I still have doubts about how the classical establishment, for want of a better term, didn't know (or perhaps, didn't want to know) about the activities of James Levine. At worst, he was a sexual predator, and at best he was doing classical music's version of what they call the casting couch in Hollywood. In any case, what he did was far more disturbing than just having opinions or supporting a political party, yet he was allowed to do his job almost right up until he died.
 

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...
Opinions are not without consequence. We enable what we advocate. Every atrocity begins with someone's "opinion." Yes, every scoundrel has a right to his opinion, but that doesn't make it, or him, good or harmless, or obligate others to put up with him.
That obligates others, at least others with a sense of decency, not to punish people for an opinion. Without that decency and tolerance -- and moral rigidity -- there is no such thing as "freedom of expression". Saying that I'm free to express my opinion but that those with the self-declared moral clarity can decide that my offensive opinion must be met with punishment, makes "freedom of expression" a farce.

I fail to see how employing this singer or this conductor is tantamount to employing Putin.
 

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So it applies when I like it and not when I don't.

Why? And what's more, what moral objection is there to denying any political opponent the privilege of making a living, if it's in your power to deny it? Stalin was a murderous dictator who had his share of blacklisted fans. I suppose their blacklisting was just and proper. "Please understand that this suspension of the idea of free expression only applies to murderous dictators named Putin because my conscience and judgement demand it" isn't very reassuring.
This is only a problem if you believe in "freedom of speech" as an abstract and unfettered concept.

Meanwhile, in the real world, it's those who broadcast, communicate, publish in public who have to decide where to draw their lines.

The only lines we need to worry about here are those determined by TC's ToS.
 

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Forster said:
This is only a problem if you believe in "freedom of speech" as an abstract and unfettered concept.
So it's a fungible commodity to be doled out at the discretion of who/whatever might wield power at the moment. What's your gripe with Putin?
 

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So it's a fungible commodity to be doled out at the discretion of who/whatever might wield power at the moment. What's your gripe with Putin?
Freedom of expression exists where it is exercised, not in a philosophy textbook. It means what those who exercise it want it to mean, and it therefore means different things to different people.
 

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I realize it’s beyond the scope of this forum, but I can’t help wondering what notions of “freedom of expression” are being advanced here, and in how many cases by Americans with assumptions about just what the First Amendment guarantees.
 
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