Freedom to Take Risks

15 Jul 2017 23:20 - 15 Jul 2017 23:20 #291044 by Leah Starspectre
Leah Starspectre created the topic: Freedom to Take Risks
Freedom to take risks (particularly for women) is a common topic for Camille Paglia (video is less than 3 mins):



In a nutshell: women shouldn't be looking to institutions like schools or employers to "protect" them from men.

In other lectures, she goes on to say that women need to take responsibility for themselves and their choices. For example: if she dresses provocatively, or drunkenly follows a boy to his bedroom at a frat party, she is sending certain signals, and signaling one thing and saying another can lead to confusion and negative impact. Not DOES lead - CAN lead. The risk is there. She has the freedom to do these things (indeed, she has the freedom to do what she wants!), but if something happens that she doesn't like, she can't expect institutions to swoop in and save/avenge her.

Now, Paglia is very clear that rape/assault should be prosecuted. However, she also says that women engaging in risky behaviours (is, situations that could lead to unpleasant outcomes) should learn to own up to the consequences because this is the price of freedom. Otherwise, they don't learn strength and independence because they're being kept in a protective bubble.

I'm just using this as an example, but I think it could extend to other areas such as parenting or social activism.

What do you think? Do you think that freedom comes with risk that we need to learn to live and cope with? Or do you think that we ought to have freedom AND institutional watch-doggery? (NB: I mean freedom in our personal lives)
Last Edit: 15 Jul 2017 23:20 by Leah Starspectre.
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16 Jul 2017 02:35 #291052 by JamesSand
JamesSand replied the topic: Freedom to Take Risks
Welp, I'm not going near the specific example with a 10' pole (that's about 3m :P )

but...yeah...as a general rule, some people are sooks about doing something that ends up badly and taking the blame for it - and shows like (whatever your local version of fake investigative news is) do nothing to help.

I ride a motorbike, I own the possibility I'll snap my legs. It's not the tree's fault, it's not the manufacturer of the bikes fault (unless the swing arm disintegrates or something).

I go bushwalking without shoes - well, maybe I get bit by something.

I park in a shopping centre - Well I won't be happy, but I take it on board that my car might get dinged.

Y'all lock your cars and houses when you're not in them yes? Basically, everyone who is not you is your enemy, and you take steps to discourage them from taking advantage of you.

Look, this whole thing is a stone's throw from "victim blaming" and all sorts of hurt feelings.

I am excusing no crime, but (everything you say before but...:P )...well if you set yourself up to be taken advantage of, (say, buy not negotiating a better deal for your phone contract) - then when you're paying more than someone else for the same service, don't get too upset.

Anyway, let's see what nightmare hell this discussion goes to from here.
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16 Jul 2017 02:48 #291054 by Leah Starspectre
Leah Starspectre replied the topic: Freedom to Take Risks

JamesSand wrote: Look, this whole thing is a stone's throw from "victim blaming" and all sorts of hurt feelings.


It is a fine line, but I think the difference between "victim blaming" and what Paglia is suggesting is this:

Victim blaming: It's your fault if something bad happens to you.
Paglia: If you put yourself in a risky situation, don't be surprised/indignant if something bad happens.

In her example, she's saying that we have to start teaching people (especially young women in social situations) that if you want the freedom to do what you want, you can't expect mummy/daddy/school/boss/etc to protect you from bad things.
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16 Jul 2017 08:51 - 16 Jul 2017 08:52 #291070 by Edan
Edan replied the topic: Freedom to Take Risks
Are you sure there's a difference? It doesn't look like much a difference.

It's one thing to ride a motorcycle without leathers and then be surprised when you slip and end up scraping all your skin off.
It's another thing to go out in a skirt and then have someone attack you trying to rape you.

One of those examples involves a second person. This is what I think the difference should be... whether or not the risk is because of you or another. Unfortunately, that excludes the example you've given... it feels like victim blaming to me.
Last Edit: 16 Jul 2017 08:52 by Edan.

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16 Jul 2017 09:17 #291071 by JamesSand
JamesSand replied the topic: Freedom to Take Risks

One of those examples involves a second person. This is what I think the difference should be... whether or not the risk is because of you or another. Unfortunately, that excludes the example you've given... it feels like victim blaming to me.


I'm going to try to be super careful here, let's see how I go.

I live where it is hot. Men, women, children - we all wear incredibly short shorts and singlets.

Even less if we go to the beach.

No one considers this provocative - It's just sensible attire for the weather (or not sensible, depending on how you feel about skin cancer)

Part of the...thrill...(for all genders) of going out at night is..it's dangerous, it's exciting. You put drugs in your body, you dance on tables, you talk to strangers! It's exhilarating!

People ask me "James, Why don't you come out and party with us?" and I say "Because it sounds stupid, and I have zero chance of getting hit by a taxi in my own home"

Is another person involved in rape? Of course, and that other person has no excuse, I'm not debating that.

But (again...everything you say before but...), much like the motorcycle thing - You go out and do what you do because it's fun and dangerous.

If it wasn't fun and dangerous and naughty and thrilling - night clubs would be open at 10am - Ever been to a nightclub at 10am? I have, it's old people (and me) reading the paper and getting the lunch special. Very little in the way of brain altering chemicals or sexual intent, consensual or otherwise.


Risky behaviour is Risky. You don't get to say "Make risky behaviour safe, so I can enjoy the thrill without the risk"


This isn't being an apologist for heinous crimes. Anyone who interferes with another person in such a fashion should face the full force of whatever law is available.


Like I said - You probably lock your car when you park it - You believe you have a right not to be stolen from, but you still take reasonable steps to avoid it.

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16 Jul 2017 10:18 - 16 Jul 2017 10:38 #291073 by JamesSand
JamesSand replied the topic: Freedom to Take Risks
I want this discussion to be about Ownership of Risk, not an endless "what ifs" of a specific type of crime.


In fact, I want it so bad that I have left my house again tonight, in the dark, in the rain, on the roads.

There is a risk. A risk I'll be tired and crash, a risk someone else will be tired and crash, a risk of mechanical failure. It's a Sunday night and I have to drive the main st, there is a risk of revellers throwing a schooner at my car. [Edit: Okay, so there was no schooner throwing. There was a moment when some dropkick teenagers in a SV93 tried to impress (each other? themselves?) doing sick burnouts on the main strip, but I live in a bogan town, so I was ready for that risk]

These are all risks.

So why am I facing these risks?

For a reward! - The reward of putting this message on TotJO.

I have weighed the risks, and it's not worth it

I have mitigated the risks by making sure my car has good tires, good wipers, all my lights work, and I'll drive a few kms under the speed limit and double check all my blind spots - I know how silly people are in the rain.

Now it's worth it

I don't like my job. Every day there is a risk of stress, of depression, of lack of joy.

Every day there is a reward - I get paid.

I have weighed the risks, and I decided it's not worth it
I have mitigated the risk by, uhh...studying jediism and not rage quitting and smearing poop all over my boss's car?

Now it's worth it?

I bought some stocks on Friday.
The risk is That company could lose money (and thus, I will lose money)

The reward is, they might make money!

I have weighed the risks, and they're not worth it -

I have mitigated the risks by choosing a company I have researched and studied, not just playing roulette and throwing money at random.

Now it's worth it!


I met someone online, and am meeting them for Lunch on Wednesday.

The risk is they might not turn up, or they'll not be who they say, or they may rob me or worse.

The reward is, I could meet someone great!

Now, I have weighed up the risks, and they're not worth it.

So I'm mitigating the risks, I've set a time limit for two hours, then my mate is going to pick me up from the place we are meeting and I'll spend the afternoon drinking coffee with my mate, discussing the wet weather, our crappy jobs, the stock market, and my date.

Now the risks have been somewhat reduced, and they're worth it!


In every case, I have something to gain and something to lose, and in every case I am assessing the risk, and if necessary taking steps to reduce the risk.

If, in the end I get injured on the road, become a depressed alcoholic, lose my money, and so on - Then that mostly means I'm a terrible judge of risk, and I can't really hold anyone else accountable*

This is why we have parents and friends to protect us for the first fifteen odd years - We're naturally bad at knowing what is good for us.

(All of my examples involve the actions of other people I think)


*I am of course insured against most of these events, on the hope that insurance companies are worse judges of risk than I am :P



Oh, and I really do have a date on Wednesday, should be fun!


We all have a soft spot for certain crimes that we find more deplorable than others, but we're not discussing *other* people's evil.

We're discussing *our* responsibility for taking risks and how we react when it doesn't go our way, and we didn't do everything we could to look out for ourselves - Whether against the forces of nature, animals, other people, etc etc.


I don't have a lack of empathy for anyone.
Hell, I even have empathy for drug addicts, and everyone likes to assume they've got what's coming to them. This isn't about giving the cold shoulder and a "You should have known better" to anyone in any circumstances, it's about being realistic about the world and looking out for yourself. If that means depriving yourself of a little thrill here and there. So be it.


I'll reiterate what I said at the beginning - I'm discussing ownership of risk, not the endless possibilities of the circumstances of a particular crime against humanity - We could discuss sordid permutations for a dozen pages - We've done it before - it wouldn't get us anywhere.



(Yeah yeah, I speak from the Great Citadel of White Devil Privilege.)



Edit: This wasn't part of my original thought, but as I was pondering why people are so much less comfortable discussing rape than any of the other terrible things we do to each other, it popped into my head:

Last Edit: 16 Jul 2017 10:38 by JamesSand.
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16 Jul 2017 13:31 #291076 by Leah Starspectre
Leah Starspectre replied the topic: Freedom to Take Risks
You've hit the nail on the head, James.

And the question is this:

Would you rather be free to take risks, potentially get hurt, and learn to mitigate your losses and ? Or would you prefer institutional/legal safeguards that abolished risk in the name of safety?

Would you rather a kid climb on a monkeybars and possibly fall and break an arm? Or ban monkeybars because someone might get hurt?

And can that logic be extended to social policy?

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16 Jul 2017 15:30 #291082 by Manu
Manu replied the topic: Freedom to Take Risks

Would you rather be free to take risks, potentially get hurt, and learn to mitigate your losses and ? Or would you prefer institutional/legal safeguards that abolished risk in the name of safety?


I'm curious, how do you envision institutions enforcing safeguards in your specific example of women in scant clothing? Legally mandating how short a skirt can be? A blood alcohol test machine in dorms to prevent anyone drunk from entering?

I'm all for personal responsibility (and monkey bars!), but whenever I've been in the position of being able to have sex with a drunk woman, I've chosen not to, just in case. Besides, I really like them to be sober to remain memorable. :laugh:

I have to agree with Edan on this, your initial example, especifically, seems like victim blaming.

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16 Jul 2017 20:53 - 16 Jul 2017 21:34 #291099 by JamesSand
JamesSand replied the topic: Freedom to Take Risks

You've hit the nail on the head, James.



If ya swing the hammer enough times....

This post was originally quite long....I think I lost my point somewhere and ended up detracting from the whole "Owning Risk" issue....so carry on.
Last Edit: 16 Jul 2017 21:34 by JamesSand.

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16 Jul 2017 21:06 #291100 by Adder
Adder replied the topic: Freedom to Take Risks
Some women wear sexy clothing because it makes them feel good, even if that is just because they think they look good - and that can exist entirely without anyone else having to be involved as witness or observer. It's a common myth that women dress up only for 'reaction' or 'effect', it's a paradigm born from sexual objectification which doesn't need to be reinforced unnecessarily in my opinion :D

Sorry one of my pet peeves... but as such to mandate it would be restricting the victim of sexual objectification rather then punishing the perpetrator of it, and therefore it goes to the heart of the matter. Can individual freedom extend to including removal of those freedoms of another..... I'd think not. But if your not hurting anyone but yourself then it's a different story.

So using this example to address the OP that grey blurry area between freedom and protection is IMO one of those things constantly redefined by the society to meet the nature of that society ie the law should change to reflect the risks in society to that societies members where it's agency cannot exert enforcement of lawful conduct. And always trending towards maximum freedom and minimal restriction.

If a society values, to continue this example, sexual objectification of women above the freedom of women, then it has rules to control the population to reflect that. Or more accurately perhaps, if a society considers sexual objectification to be valuable to that society, then it enshrines its presence in that society through law.

But in societies that trend towards freedom, then I think it's important that enforcement needs to range from soft as default to hard when required. Soft enforcement can be more about information gathering and minimally restriction shaping of social order, without punishing any and all perceived infringement left right and centre. I think laws work best when they exist as something to fall back on when intent is proven, not when intent is suspected - but I would not put the burden on the victim to suffer until intent is proven, and so reasonable balance of freedoms in my eye would weigh with the victim having greater protection to be free then an offender - and that those definitions are not from their point of view so much but rather a more objective lens as applied over the physical reality and hard evidence as seen through the law until intent on all sides can be understood in more accurate terms. There will most always be a subjective difference between a victim and offender, so its a bit like politics in the way that if you only listen to and understand the factors behind one side of the story - then your not part of the solution, your just developing a better partial picture but also a more incomplete whole picture (as the context becomes more and more defined by one side only).

But when it comes to laws where your not hurting anyone else, then I guess society can choose to decide that your self harm does have a cost to society. Perhaps for some types of drugs if that use reduces ones capacity to hold down a job, in the short term it sees increases in various types of theft or intimidation to acquire wealth for continuing habitual use, and in the longer term increased risk of mental health, homeliness or poverty, or more immediate health impacts, or the sometimes dangerous behaviour while intoxicated to other members of society like driving etc. So you see some countries now legalizing marijuana now as society learns and adapts its legal landscape to more information or technology changes the way enforcement (and other parts of society) can function.

You can see which countries move towards freedom, but it has to be seen over the many decades scope, and sometimes where change is occurring cannot be readily seen by people, but firstly I think it's important to recognize that one point of view is not the full picture. I think its the way we're wired to learn as children, to create a worldview and then test it, and this has marginal impact in early youth as capacity is limited, but continues to exist up and into early adulthood. Keeping that nature of focus has benefit IMO, but it needs to be forged with increases in knowledge otherwise it becomes brittle and removed from its potential, tempered with trial and error and annealed with observation to understand how society can function productively or destructively.

Knight of Jediism
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