The sun still rises in the East… »« There is no contradiction

Wincing…and applauding

Oh, man, I can’t endorse this action by Lakota and Dakota women. I think people have a right to do as they please (as long as it doesn’t harm others) on their private property — that goes for worshipping Jesus or Thor, desecrating Bibles, or even flying Nazi flags. (All bets are off if the Nazi sympathizers in Leith, ND, who were trying to stage a takeover of the local government, were flying that flag as representative of the city.)

So I can’t support seizing the Nazi flag and burning it, if it were someone else’s private property. But I still look at this picture and think…whoa, but they are badass.

Lakota and Dakota grandmothers captured the Nazi flag hanging in Leith, ND and burned it. Warriors!

Lakota and Dakota grandmothers captured the Nazi flag hanging in Leith, ND and burned it. Warriors!

Comments

  1. chrislawson says

    I’m going to argue that hanging a Nazi flag as part of an overt attempt to create a neo-Nazi all-whites enclave is a significant harm. It’s not just a symbol, it’s a warning sign to non-whites (and if history is any guide) whites who are conscientious objectors. Its very presence makes a poorly-veiled threat to non-Nazi community members. It’s not really all that different from the nooses that were put up in that tree at Jena High School.

  2. says

    I come from the land that made tehse flags known over the world. We only like our peach mildly chilled, because you shouldn’t be able to use the rules in order to destroy the game.*
    Such a flag is a clear threat, it spells: We want to kill and rape all those non-Aryans.
    So I wholeheartedly applaud

    *In theory. The practise sucks.

  3. consciousness razor says

    chrislawson:

    Agreed. Its being private property doesn’t make it sacred and untouchable. You can destroy that shit when it’s destroying society. We do it all of the time, and sometimes it just doesn’t matter whether the “property owner” agrees. That doesn’t mean I generally support the destruction of property, but I don’t think it ought to be absolutely off-limits in all cases.

  4. Anri says

    Ok, I guess I’ll ask: how is applauding this action substantially different from Jihad Envy?

    I would never do anything like that, because y’know, I follow societal rules and all, but there are some folks out there who are just awesome terrible enough to give you what you really deserve would be really unfortunate, so watch out!”

  5. boygenius says

    I had the honor of standing side by side with the members of the Standing Rock Lakota and Dakota tribe at the protest in Leith on Sunday. Chase Iron Eyes made the most inspiring use of a bullhorn that I have ever witnessed. It was a very emotional day.

    While I can’t condone the actions of these grandmothers, I can understand their need to blow off steam. Those levels of anger and frustration can lead to worse things than a little destruction of private property. I’m grateful that the day ended with no physical violence.

    There’s a photo gallery and some raw video footage of the protest on the Leith website. There’s also a handy link for donations to offset the inevitable legal bills the city is going to incur going forward.

    The group that organized the protest is UnityND. They also have a handy donation link.

  6. Olav says

    PZ:

    I think people have a right to do as they please (as long as it doesn’t harm others) on their private property — that goes for worshipping Jesus or Thor, desecrating Bibles, or even flying Nazi flags.

    With respect, but only Americans are able to think that it is possible to fly a nazi flag without doing harm. I agree completely with Giliell #3.

    By the way, the flag shown is the flag of the Kriegsmarine (navy of the Third Reich). Perhaps not the most effective of the Nazi armed forces, except for the U-Boot branch. It was responsible for some terrible losses of ships and people. Exactly why neonazis today still worship them.

  7. Merlin says

    @5
    When I read the posts above yours, I read them to make a nuanced and specific case for hate speech with the implicit threat of murder and genocide not being protected. Or, to be more specific, they do not feel it should be protected. They seem to be making the case that this is one group working within the system to subvert it and turn it against all others in the system. I would guess (not wanting to put words in their mouths) that they might view this bit of law breaking on the same level as being rude and civil disobedience in the effort to gain equality.
    Or, you know, we could just slippery slope their comments. That works too.

  8. flex says

    Anri wrote @5,

    Ok, I guess I’ll ask: how is applauding this action substantially different from Jihad Envy?

    Ah, the slippery-slope argument raises it’s head again.

    Unless you think everything is always black-or-white, you recognize that actions should be judged by the degree of harm they do. Stealing a flag, which probably can be replaced fairly easily, and burning it as a protest against the symbolism the flag represents is a fairly minor transgression causing little harm.

    Jihad envy is a bit more extensive, typically extolling much more harmful practices, like criminalizing homosexuality.

    As a thought experiment, consider speeding. Going 30 MPH in a 25 MPH zone is not nearly as hazardous as going 70 MPH in a 25 MPH zone. Both are breaking the law, and to someone who only sees things in black-or-white levels both are illegal and should be punished equivalently. However, as people are able to make judgements about severity, people readily admit that one is far more dangerous to the the driver and their surroundings, and thus is typically judged as a more serious offense. I would be surprised if you think differently, which means you can appreciate that different levels of harm should elicit different responses from the community.

    So, while I don’t condone the action of these grandmothers, or suggest that other people should engage in such activity, my condemnation is muted by the appreciation of their desires, the tremendous symbolism inherent in their actions, and the trivial level of real property damage their actions caused.

  9. Jeremy Shaffer says

    Olav at 7:

    By the way, the flag shown is the flag of the Kriegsmarine (navy of the Third Reich). Perhaps not the most effective of the Nazi armed forces, except for the U-Boot branch. It was responsible for some terrible losses of ships and people. Exactly why neonazis today still worship them.

    Sadly, having known a few neo-nazis in my time, it’s probably because they are just as ignorant about nazi history as they are about most other topics. About the only thing they aren’t ignorant about are the various conspiracy theories they use to prop up their ideology.

  10. Brandon says

    But I still look at this picture and think…whoa, but they are badass.

    Despite how unsavory it is, I’m going to try for just a moment to empathize with the Nazi shitheads that were flying said flag. Were I have to have a piece of property that I’d proudly displayed as a mark of my beliefs and some people that disagreed with me came along, stole it, and burned it, I’d see absolutely nothing badass about their actions. My actual agreement with the shittyness of all things Nazi has no bearing on whether stealing and breaking other people’s property is badass or just trashy.

  11. Anri says

    You may dismiss this as a slippery-slope argument if you like, of course, but I’m actually asking:

    1) How is this act (not other acts that might resemble it, or other acts that might lead from it, or any other hypothetical act – I haven’t brought up anything like that at all) differs from defacing an atheist billboard, which we regularly decry, except for our attitudes towards the sides involved?

    and

    2) Equally to the point, either you have a right to have things and show things on your own property that your neighbors consider an abomination… or you don’t. You have the right to have a sign saying “There is no god – deal with it!”, even if makes your neighbors cry… or you don’t. You have the right to put up a Black Panthers flag even if you live in KKK central… or you don’t. Do you have this right? If you do, why don’t they? If they do, why condone people who violate that right?

    I don’t get to violate your rights, even in a trivial way, because you flew a flag I dislike, however justified by abhorrence of that flag, and the history behind it, may be. I can fly a gay pride flag, or a USSR banner, in the middle of conservative suburbia and my neighbors do not have the right to rip it down and burn it, regardless of their feelings towards gays or Communism.

    I’m not concerned with what these folks might DO NEXT (dun dun duuunnn!), I’m concerned with what they have already done. I see a lot of “Well, I don’t like what they did, but…”
    I guess I don’t see how that differs from “I don’t support Pat Condell but…” or “I think Dawkins is way off base but…”, which rightly doesn’t fly around here.

  12. Bernard Bumner says

    I don’t get to violate your rights, even in a trivial way, because you flew a flag I dislike, however justified by abhorrence of that flag, and the history behind it, may be.

    This is not simply a free speech issue. Displaying a Nazi flag can be a minor act, quite literally, of terrorism.

  13. says

    I understand that flying that flag is a threat. But you do realize that by this argument that it represents a real threat of harm that justifies destruction, I could also argue that I have a right and a responsibility to blow up the churches in my neighborhood, right?

    I don’t accept that argument, so no, I do not have that right or responsibility.

    Protest, yes. Destroying personal property…now we’re getting into troubling issues.

    But those women will always be badass.

  14. dianne says

    I may be all mixed up on culture, but my first thought on hearing about this was, “Coup counted.”

  15. Alex says

    Absolutely, Misters McPrivilige and McWhite upthread, clearly we have to think very deeply and philosophically about whether we condone that these ladies stole an expensive flag advertising their genocide from a group that denies their humanity. I shall write a treatise for them recommending an appropriate, intellectually well-founded reaction, and ask them to reimburse the costs. In the end, though, all I can do is hope that real deep inside, these grandmothers feel guilty.

  16. Alex says

    I could also argue that I have a right and a responsibility to blow up the churches in my neighborhood, right?

    I don’t think so, but you go on and try…

  17. consciousness razor says

    some people that disagreed with me

    As in the case of freeze peach advocates and a good chunk of the bigoted trolls who stroll in here to whine about all kinds of nonsense, it’s never simply about mere “disagreement.” Putting it in such terms is to ignore the reality of the situation: this is about real shit, which is either harmful or not harmful. Acting upon that is not justified simply because we disagree, but because we actually ought to disagree, because it actually is fucking wrong. Because the issue is not just some abstract set of propositions each of us takes to be true or false (or have diverse “opinions” about); it’s the shit people do and get away with, what the real-world effects are, and what ought to be done about it. We can actually do something, and we don’t need to make ourselves impotent by construing everything as “disagreement.” So we can argue about what exactly ought to be done, what is and isn’t justified, but you’re not even approaching that when it’s treated as if this is just about a bunch of inert concepts.

    Certainly, in this case, no reasonable and ethical person can “agree” with Nazism anyway, so we don’t even need to consider that in the abstract as if it were a valid perspective. So the sort of pseudo-skeptical question, “what if we’re wrong to disagree with Nazis?” has no use whatsoever. It doesn’t even work as some kind of principled, idealized stance that we ought to take. It’s pointless, and it’s utterly paralyzing.

  18. says

    I’m confused. Was the flag being flown on private or public property?

    And I have to admit I’m conflicted about this. My property-privilege is saying that burning *someone else’s* flag is wrong. But. I can understand and sympathize with the symbolism of non-whites protesting in that way. And grandmothers who can successfully nab a flag are pretty cool.

  19. consciousness razor says

    Protest, yes. Destroying personal property…now we’re getting into troubling issues.

    Sure, then we would be getting into it…. but that’s exactly what you’re not getting into. You’re stopping the conversation right at the beginning. Because it’s “troubling.” But I don’t think it needs to be easy.

    Does the real harm of a church justify its destruction? No, it probably doesn’t no matter what church it is, so you wouldn’t be justified. I don’t see how that could imply every other situation, which is vaguely similar in one respect, must have the same answer.

  20. borax says

    So some racist asshole wants to create a white utopia in a tiny town by buying up all the available property and giving it to like minded assholes. Unless he has more money than Bill Gates, the plan will fail like the Titanic. Dude doesn’t understand basic economics.

  21. dylan says

    Imagine if Nazis kicked you out of your house at gunpoint, and then flew a Nazi flag on your house. Are you really so concerned about the white-people trouble that is destroying the flag that Nazis put on your stolen house?

    These women are unable to care about free speech. These women hold a treaty that says that the land they stand on and for hundreds of miles around belong to them.

    Worrying about a flag as free speech or private property is a position of privilege that only whites could consider while standing on stolen land.

  22. says

    The scoundrels have been punked by a bunch of grandmas. On a serious note, I did see the video of the protest by 100s of women, children and men and the counter protest by a bunch of men standing behind a fence in nazi salut and uniform. One of them claimed that they are doing this in the name of ‘proud to be white’ and ‘to protect the white race’. Either they do not know the meaning of nazi symbolism or they assume that other do not. For all that I know, nitwits’ private property is contentious. And I do not want to argue with the brave native grandmothers about a private property grab. Cheers!

  23. Alex says

    Worrying about a flag as free speech or private property is a position of privilege that only whites could consider while standing on stolen land.

    Word. That I’ve learned by reading this very blog. Although the context was slightly different, I think it was something about women.

    To expand on my answer to PZs post, as consciousness razor says, “But I don’t think it needs to be easy.” Exactly, it isn’t easy, there is something like proportional reaction, and degrees of threat. The Churches in Morris are not directly threatening to PZs life, nor are they explicitly symbols asking others to drive PZ from his property and kill him. Also, they are much more valuable than a flag. Finally, Flags are explicitly symbols, while churches are buildings with a purpose beyond that. Many shades of gray here. Can the Nazis sue these women for the costs of the flag that was destroyed? Probably. Should they be able to do so? I suppose. Does that mean that I cannot condone what they did? Oddly, I still can.

  24. sundiver says

    Applause. Unreserved admiration for these women for standing up against those espousing an ideology of hate and racism and, figuratively speaking, punching them square in the teeth. I have no qualms about what these women did at all. None. All the bleatings about private property and freezepeach ring a bit hollow to me. The turds that flew that flag had zero respect for anyone not of their ethnic group and would gladly exterminate Lakota, Dakota, Hopi, Navaho, Jews, Gypsies and anyone else that wasn’t as “pure” as they fantasize they are given the chance.

  25. reggiedunlap says

    I don’t condone the theft. If I expect a law to protect me I also expect it to protect the worst of my enemies.

  26. Olav says

    Anri #12:

    You may dismiss this as a slippery-slope argument if you like, of course, but I’m actually asking:

    That’s fair.

    1) How is this act (not other acts that might resemble it, or other acts that might lead from it, or any other hypothetical act – I haven’t brought up anything like that at all) differs from defacing an atheist billboard, which we regularly decry, except for our attitudes towards the sides involved?

    The only way I am able to interpret this question: how is taking down the flag of one of the most infamous murderous organisations of the 20th century different from defacing a perfectly harmless, peaceful atheist billboard.

    To which my answer can only be: how can you not see the difference?

  27. says

    Imagine if Nazis kicked you out of your house at gunpoint, and then flew a Nazi flag on your house. Are you really so concerned about the white-people trouble that is destroying the flag that Nazis put on your stolen house?

    These women are unable to care about free speech. These women hold a treaty that says that the land they stand on and for hundreds of miles around belong to them.

    Worrying about a flag as free speech or private property is a position of privilege that only whites could consider while standing on stolen land.

    Well, that’s me convinced. Seriously. Good point. I was wobbling on it, but frankly, they do have a treaty saying that the land is theirs, and we know morally it most certainly is, so how is it worse to steal a flag (used to represent genocide, y’know, like what’s already happened to most of these amazing ladies’ families?) than to steal a continent?

    Bravissima, grandmothers, well-done.

  28. boygenius says

    borax #21:

    Dude doesn’t understand basic economics.

    You don’t understand rural North Dakota. Craig Cobb bought the vacant lot next to his house for $500. I don’t know what he paid for the other 11 properties, but I assure you it didn’t require tall dollars.

    These assholes understand economics all too well. Why do you think they are gravitating to a town of population 24 situated in an economically depressed region of a state already known for low cost-of-living? (Granted, the Bakken oil fields are gradually changing the economics of the region. All the more reason not to let these fuckers gain any traction.)

  29. Graculus says

    By the way, the flag shown is the flag of the Kriegsmarine (navy of the Third Reich).

    Exactly how much coastline does North Dakota have?

    Imagine if Nazis kicked you out of your house at gunpoint, and then flew a Nazi flag on your house.

    Let’s ask the First Nations, as they already have some experience in that area.

  30. dianne says

    these ladies stole an expensive flag advertising their genocide from a group that denies their humanity.

    Picky historical point: The Nazis never, as far as I know, had anything to do with the genocide of the Dakotas and Lakotas. If they wanted to steal a flag advertising their genocide they’d need to steal an American flag. OTOH, neo-Nazis actively deny their humanity and advocate for continued genocide so I don’t see a real problem with their choice of flags to steal.

  31. Alex says

    Picky historical point: The Nazis never, as far as I know, had anything to do with the genocide of the Dakotas and Lakotas.

    Oh COME on! Seriously?
    The US of A had a bit of history in between that has allowed for a *slight* shift in symbolism of the american flag. There’s a good reason why rabid racists are usually not content with waving the star sprangled banner.

  32. Brandon says

    The only way I am able to interpret this question: how is taking down the flag of one of the most infamous murderous organisations of the 20th century different from defacing a perfectly harmless, peaceful atheist billboard.

    To which my answer can only be: how can you not see the difference?

    You get that there are many, many people that do not see atheist billboards as perfectly harmless, right? Of course, I think they’re wrong, I think atheist billboards are actively helpful, good things. I don’t think that should matter, legally. I don’t think a Christian should get to say, “well, I think it’s harmful, so I get to break it”.

  33. mattand says

    My understanding that rule of law/free speech should apply to everyone, regardless of political ideology, is conflicting with my joy over a group of Native American grannies humiliating Nazi shitheads.

    Ah, who am I kidding? Fuck the Nazis. Seriously. If those wastes of human genetic material had their way, they’d murder every one of the women in that photo for the “crime” of not being white.

    So, no hand wringing over the poor widdle Nazis and their sacred flag for me, thanks. Besides, given how the US court system deals with non-whites, these ladies will probably do jail time, while their “victims” will wind up firebombing the grannies’ homes.

    And then get fined $25 for not having a bonfire license.

  34. says

    I think it’s reasonable to assume that Der Furiouser would have happily committed genocide against the First Nations people, given how happily he exterminated anyone he could decide wasn’t white enough, and given a chance to do it. It seems unlikely to me that he’d have suddenly decided that they were really Aryans and should be kept clear of his genocidal impulses.

  35. Alex says

    Actually, during the third Reich, there was a certain admiration of the clichéd Indian noble Warrior as an ideal of honor and strength. Mostly due to the widely popular Karl May books which are aimed at adolescents and follow an Indian chief-to-be and his white friend on their adventures through the old west. Allegedly, these books were also big favorites of Hitler and Göring. That is of course utterly beside the point here.

  36. Olav says

    Me #28:

    The only way I am able to interpret this question: how is taking down the flag of one of the most infamous murderous organisations of the 20th century different from defacing a perfectly harmless, peaceful atheist billboard.

    To which my answer can only be: how can you not see the difference?

    Brandon #34:

    You get that there are many, many people that do not see atheist billboards as perfectly harmless, right? Of course, I think they’re wrong, I think atheist billboards are actively helpful, good things. I don’t think that should matter, legally. I don’t think a Christian should get to say, “well, I think it’s harmful, so I get to break it”.

    I don’t think that neither. But my moral relativism does not go so far as to excuse expressions of Nazi thought on the same principle. Zero tolerance for that murderous ideology. There are limits, if we still want to pretend that we are a civilised society.

  37. consciousness razor says

    I, for one, have thought of the frozen peaches. I’ve thought so much that I think I would say I know about them, so that is what I will in fact say, and I am saying it now. After extensive testing, we can conclude (conclusively!) that non-frozen peaches are better to eat. (For people, that is — robots and aliens and stuff would require further tests, but the funding is scarce as you can imagine.) That’s not just my opinion, mind you. That’s science.

  38. says

    The Churches in Morris are not directly threatening to PZs life, nor are they explicitly symbols asking others to drive PZ from his property and kill him.

    You haven’t heard the hymns played at loud volume in the Catholic cemetery up the street.

  39. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    Actually, during the third Reich, there was a certain admiration of the clichéd Indian noble Warrior as an ideal of honor and strength.

    There’s no shortage of racist asshats in the US who go on about how “noble” Native Americans were back in the day. For example, when I was a kid a guy who was prone to going on about how we needed to drop a tactical nuke on Mecca during the hajj “to teach those [slur] a lesson” explained to me in great detail just how awesome Hinmatóowyalahtq̓it (the leader of the Nez Perce in the 1870s, better known as “Chief Joseph”) was, and how he was without question the greatest military leader ever to operate in North America.

    Of course, he also expressed derision at currently living Native Americans (when he acknowledged their continued existence at all).

  40. evodevo says

    Under the old cultural guidelines (pre-reservation) it was considered VERY commendable to sneak into the enemy camp and steal some (sacred? valuable?) object and bring it back undetected. Go Grannies !!

  41. dianne says

    The US of A had a bit of history in between that has allowed for a *slight* shift in symbolism of the american flag.

    So if the Nazis had been clever enough to not get WWII going and had instead quietly committed their genocide undisturbed but later their society evolved such that they were no longer genocidal, only bigoted, you’d say that any surviving Jews, gypsies, etc would have no right to complain about the symbolism of their flag?

  42. consciousness razor says

    I don’t think that neither. But my moral relativism does not go so far as to excuse expressions of Nazi thought on the same principle.

    A small nitpick: there’s relativism, then there’s nihilism. You can be a relativist and recognize that “seeing” something as harmful doesn’t necessarily mean it is actually harmful. (Because people can be mistaken, or they can be in different situations so that they’re harmed “relatively” by different things.) A nihilist would be the sort to say it’s all just a bunch of “seeing” with no real harm.

  43. says

    The way I see it the Nazi’s stole the symbol on that flag from native Americans, and every other group that used it as a good luck charm for centuries, and destroyed it’s essential meaning. Stealing it back to destroy it’s evil meaning is fair game.

  44. mnb0 says

    “flag of the Kriegsmarine”
    It also should be noted that Grand-Admiral Dönitz was a fanatical nazi who supported summary executions by mobile courts after the German surrender. That’s what the flag stands for.
    Stealing and burning flags is not nice. Sometimes though symbols stand for something so atrocious that in my eyes it’s justified – then I rather am inconsistent.

  45. dianne says

    The way I see it the Nazi’s stole the symbol on that flag from native Americans,

    I thought it was a Hindi symbol, that is, Indian, not American, but maybe I’ve got it wrong.

    Stealing it back to destroy it’s evil meaning is fair game.

    Given all the things Anglo-Americans have stolen from NA…uh-oh.

  46. reggiedunlap says

    There are majority groups who are steadfast in their belief that people on this thread are no better than Nazis. I would not afford them exemption from the enforcement based on the strength of their conviction. Likewise it is an endorsement of chaos not to proect the property rights of Nazis

  47. dianne says

    To muddy the historical waters further…I’ve been told that the Nazis were horrified by lynching. True, it was the extrajudicial part that they were horrified by, not the murder part, but still, they used the existence of lynching as part of their evidence that Americans are evil. Americans at the time…don’t seem to have understood why there was a problem.

    All things considered, I think the ladies best look for a US flag next. Perhaps as well as rather than instead of.

  48. mnb0 says

    “I could also argue that I have a right and a responsibility to blow up the churches in my neighborhood, right?”
    As soon as the leadership of those churches approves of genocide and summary executions by mobile courts a la Dönitz I grant you that right indeed, PZ. Do you have that kind of churches in your neighborhood?
    At the other hand – if you condemn these grandma’s for this reason I could also argue you should condemn European resistance fighters against the nazi’s, right? After all their legal governments legally surrendered to them.

  49. Alex says

    @PZ

    You haven’t heard the hymns played at loud volume in the Catholic cemetery up the street.

    You are right. I am clearly arguing from a position of acoustic privilege here :D

    @dianne,

    So if the Nazis had been clever enough to not get WWII going and had instead quietly committed their genocide undisturbed but later their society evolved such that they were no longer genocidal, only bigoted, you’d say that any surviving Jews, gypsies, etc would have no right to complain about the symbolism of their flag?

    Hmmm, good question. So by “their society” you mean the state of Germany in some incarnation of its borders? Suppose there was genocide, but no war that lets the empire collapse. Then let a similar amount of time pass and the public opinion and policy change the way it has in the United States, while still having the swastika flag remain as the official flag of the german empire as a historical relic. Then it would probably slowly lose its original meaning as the symbol of a fascist racist movement. It’s hard to tell though because the swastika was introduced into european politics specifically by this movement in the course of a few years and then vanished again, this makes the comparison very difficult.

  50. mnb0 says

    “the Nazis were horrified by lynching”
    So that’s why did it themselves as soon as they were short on ammo?
    For your info: the people of July 20th 1944 were hanged at piano strings; Hitler liked to watched video’s of them hanging in his private cinema.

  51. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @dianae, 48:

    It’s a fairly simple geometric symbol, an as such has been used by a number of cultures with independent derivation and independent meanings. It’s been used in Japan, China, India, and the Americas, AFAIK. It may have been used more widely than that…in fact, I’m pretty sure it was used in northern Europe for quite a while before it was coopted by the Nazis.

    @Brandon, 11:

    I’m going to try for just a moment to empathize with the Nazi shitheads

    I’m not.

  52. Alex says

    @dianne,

    To muddy the historical waters further…I’ve been told that the Nazis were horrified by lynching. True, it was the extrajudicial part that they were horrified by, not the murder part,

    What can I say. They probably felt it was to messy. Although, I would like to see a citation for that. It may have been used as propaganda. Propaganda does not have to be consistent with own actions.

    @mnb0,
    This is OT, but for the love of G*d, stop constructing plural forms using apostrophes, it hurts my eyes.

  53. roro80 says

    You haven’t heard the hymns played at loud volume in the Catholic cemetery up the street.

    So I realize that this was meant to be a joke, but considering the subject matter of both the post and the comment to which you were responding it seems pretty…cringeworthy.

  54. says

    Brandon

    Were I have to have a piece of property that I’d proudly displayed as a mark of my beliefs my desire to murder and eradicate large proportions of the population and some people that disagreed with me who are the target of my genocidal hate came along, stole it, and burned it,

    FIFY

    You get that there are many, many people that do not see atheist billboards as perfectly harmless, right? Of course, I think they’re wrong, I think atheist billboards are actively helpful, good things. I don’t think that should matter, legally. I don’t think a Christian should get to say, “well, I think it’s harmful, so I get to break it”.

    So, it’s “he said, she said”? Goals matter, reasons matter, history matters. Flags are pieces of fabric

    Anri

    1) How is this act (not other acts that might resemble it, or other acts that might lead from it, or any other hypothetical act – I haven’t brought up anything like that at all) differs from defacing an atheist billboard, which we regularly decry, except for our attitudes towards the sides involved?

    You mean “apart from all the important ways people have already mentioned in which this is different, how is this different?”

    Equally to the point, either you have a right to have things and show things on your own property that your neighbors consider an abomination… or you don’t.

    Did the nature of the symbol displayed escape you?
    Were you firmly asleep during history classes?
    Is the concept of rights within limits alien to you?

    PZ

    I don’t accept that argument, so no, I do not have that right or responsibility.

    Protest, yes. Destroying personal property…now we’re getting into troubling issues.

    1. I guess the churches in your neighbourhood aren’t still out to burn heretics at the stake. If yes I would totally support blowing them up, if no we’re talking about different things
    2. People are more important than property.

    Aley @16
    I think I like you

    dianne

    To muddy the historical waters further…I’ve been told that the Nazis were horrified by lynching.

    The Nazis were very obsessed with appearance of proper justice. Saved my great-grandma’s life. When they were deported from France where they’d sought refuge my great-grandparents were arrested and my grandma sentenced because while she was living in France (pre-WW II) she had organized charitable donations for the Spansish Republic, a country Germany was never officially at war with.
    Now the custom was that people sentenced to X years would spend that time in prison and then they would be released as it is usual under rule of law. Only that the GeStaPo would wait in front of the prison at 12:00 o’clock and you’d disappear into the KZs.
    The prison director released my great-grandma a few hours early “so she could catch the last train home”. Because officially she didn’t know that they were arrested straight away she could just make use of those rules.

  55. Alex says

    @Giliell,

    thanks, but don’t judge too hastily. I’m merely also German and sensitive towards these things.

  56. MadHatter says

    I think there are some symbols that are so toxic that I can see destroying them, even illegally. Anything representing Nazi’s or the KKK fits that bill. Such groups aren’t just perceived as harmful, they actively promote acts to injure or kill people. These women themselves performed a symbolic act that hurt no one. If the Nazi guys wants to call the police for the theft and destruction of property they are certainly well within their rights, and I agree that the women were in the wrong legally. But I still applaud them for doing so.

  57. dianne says

    They probably felt it was to messy.

    That’s my understanding. That is, they were upset at the idea of people taking the law into their own hands and killing without the proper paperwork being completed.

    Although, I would like to see a citation for that.

    Not something I’m going to search for while at work, but will try to remember to look later. I remember in particular an Italian propaganda picture that appeared to condemn both lynching and the acceptance of African influences into US culture. I found it very confused.

    It may have been used as propaganda. Propaganda does not have to be consistent with own actions.

    Unquestionably.

  58. dianne says

    1. I guess the churches in your neighbourhood aren’t still out to burn heretics at the stake. If yes I would totally support blowing them up, if no we’re talking about different things

    I’m not totally sure about WBC and similar organizations. And certainly some churches are into shooting doctors and bombing clinics. But blowing them up seems a bit much. What about stealing their flag?

  59. Tony! The Immorally Inferior Queer Shoop! says

    Did these women have the right to steal and burn the flag?
    No.
    Were they justified?
    Yes.

    The right to freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the ICCPR states that “[e]veryone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference” and “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”. Article 19 goes on to say that the exercise of these rights carries “special duties and responsibilities” and may “therefore be subject to certain restrictions” when necessary “[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others” or “[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech

    Now, I know these women are not representatives of the government. They did not have the right to violate the rights of those Neo Nazi’s. Based on the limitations on free speech that currently exist, their actions were justifiable (a claim of self defense would be enough I should think, but there are other reasons such as public health). The reason for these limitations is made clear by
    the Harm Principle. As stated by John Stuart Mill:

    “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”

    Would a claim of self defense be sufficient justification for their actions? I do not know about a courtroom, but in the court of public opinion, yes:

    Dreams of a whites-only town in America, where the percentage of European ethnic whites are on a sharp decline, is the brainchild of Craig Cobb, a white supremacist activist who has grandiose plans for Leith.

    For more than a year, Cobb, 61, has been purchasing properties in Leith and inviting like-minded supremacists to move in and lay the groundwork for what has been dubbed “Pioneer Little Europe.”

    In a recent interview with KXMB-TV, Cobb said he had received numerous offers to buy up land from people who believe that white people have a right to live among themselves. However, the move towards cultures embracing diversity and multiculturalism has made such an idea highly controversial, he admitted.

    “It’s fine for all these other minorities, but not us,” he said in the interview. “If you merely speak about [civil rights for whites], you’re going to be defamed in this country.”

    Cobb’s plans were revealed in August after the SPLC published a report revealing his land purchases in Leith, which is located in a county that is 97 percent white.

    According to the report, other leading supremacists are also moving to buy property in Leith, including Tom Metzger, leader of the White Aryan Resistance, and Alex Linder, who manages the Vanguard News Network (VNN), an online forum.

    http://rt.com/usa/racism-usa-nazi-dakota-234/

    “Pioneer Little Europe”?
    Sounds so innocent.
    So does the buying of property.
    They have made clear the plan is not to stop with a small ND town. They want to expand. The contempt they have for progressive values combined with bringing in others of the white supremacist mentality makes me wonder if they are trying to consolidate their power. I do not think it is out of the question for people in and around Leith to be worried.
    Nazi flag.
    Racist beliefs.
    ‘All whites’ town as a precursor to grander plans.

    I hope the media coverage of these Lakota and Dakota women brings more attention to Leith and the plans of these racist shitheads. I also hope that said coverage does not focus too much on the theft of the flag.

    (While previewing, I noticed how Cobb referred to he and his group of supremacists as “minorities”. ::spits::)

  60. Tethys says

    Dianne answering Mike;

    The way I see it the Nazi’s stole the symbol on that flag from native Americans,

    I thought it was a Hindi symbol, that is, Indian, not American, but maybe I’ve got it wrong.

    IIRC it is actually a fairly common pictographic symbol, and it is found in rock art worldwide. Native American tribes did use it in both left-facing and right facing forms. I will do a little research and see if I can find the source of those factoids

    ———

    Go Grannies! Continue on in your badass reappropriation of your rights and culture by destroying a flag that is displaying a SYMBOL of hatred and oppression.

    Isn’t that the point of a flag? Humans have been flying flags and standards for millenia.
    I think a symbolic, ritual death by fire is the perfect action to take against those who want to turn Leith, North Dakota into a haven for armed, illiterate, racist scumbags.

    It is the clearest way possible to send them the message that they are not welcome to stake their claim, or plant their flag, or become the neighbors of these Grannies and their families.

    Peaceful civil disobedience is also a human right, when used against those who would cheerfully treat you as less than human.

  61. mnb0 says

    For those who think the Nazis were obsessed by paperwork: that’s exactly why they invented mobile courts in early 1945. The average process plus hanging lasted about five minutes; ninety percent of the accused were found guilty. That Kriegsmarine flag also stands for this.
    And then we should bother about issues of property rights? Not me.
    Rule of thumb: Nazis are guilty until proven otherwise (except in court). The same might apply to the KKK; that’s something I don’t know.

  62. says

    Speaking of badass women in Indian tribes, you just know that the two wives of Chief Plenty Coup (Crow Nation, Montana) were badass. His first wife was named Killing Together and his second wife was named Strikes the Iron.

    As far as the badassery of the women pictured in PZ’s post, it helps that they are all grandmothers.

  63. scimaths says

    Nazi flags are hate speech. But while we don’t have specific anti nazi insignia laws in the UK (though I’d be perfectly happy if we did) – if this flag were being flown on someone’s property where the general public could see it then the authorities would be round with some sort of ASBO on public order grounds. That is if they got there in time before the public had dealt with it (and it would not be a nice neat removal either)

    Maybe Americans just don’t have the same cultural reaction to either the flag itself or to the idea of limits on their “freedom”

  64. says

    PZ #14

    But you do realize that by this argument that it represents a real threat of harm that justifies destruction, I could also argue that I have a right and a responsibility to blow up the churches in my neighborhood, right?

    Not directly equivalent, I’m afraid. There’s a considerable amount of resource invested in that church that could very easily be repurposed, and thus there’s an argument to be made that dynamiting it is actually doing a net disservice to society regardless of the current uses to which the church is currently being put. OTOH, climbing the steeple with a chainsaw and going after the big cross would be a closer equivalent, and depending on the behaviour of the church in question might be a quite valid way of making a point.
    dianne 48

    I thought it was a Hindi symbol, that is, Indian, not American, but maybe I’ve got it wrong.

    It’s been used all the hell over the place, really; Most of Asia, chunks of Europe, and significant areas of the Americas. I’m not aware of any African, Australian, or Pacific Islander cultures that use them traditionally, but I wouldn’t be at all suprised if there were some and I’m just not aware of them.
    mnb0

    So that’s why did it themselves as soon as they were short on ammo?

    Those killings were still judicially sanctioned, the lack of which official sanction being the problem they had with lynchings.

  65. rickmcwilliams says

    It looks to me that they burned a flag with a Christian cross in the right corner and some indian religious symbol in the center and happened to be used by Nazis. Looks like a three way desecration.

    They should properly burn the national symbols and desecrate the religious symbols that they own. Bibles are free or cheap, I bet there would be blowback from that.

  66. scimaths says

    But you do realize that by this argument that it represents a real threat of harm that justifies destruction, I could also argue that I have a right and a responsibility to blow up the churches in my neighborhood, right?

    No, it’s more like if your neighbours were flying a flag that represented a genocidal ideology wherin, say, atheists and academics had throughout history being targetted and killed and had their property and land taken from them and you were still dispossed and being treated as having no rights and no value. Burning their flag at that point would seem like a very restrained act indeed.

  67. mothra says

    A Star Trek teachable Moment. Star Treck OS, Patterns of Force: Kirk: “Why John, why, you know what the Nazis were? . .” Spock: “Perhaps he thought such a society could be run benevolently. Think of it, a small bankrupt minor country on your worlds’ largest continent in the space of only a few years was one step away from global domination.” John Gill: “It worked, at first it worked, then. . .”

    The lesson is obvious and some things are always evil.

  68. Tony! The Immorally Inferior Queer Shoop! says

    reggiedunlap:
    You do know that many governments place limitations of free speech, don’t you? While some of the limits on free speech go too far (blasphemy laws for instance), others are in place to offer protection to citizens (libel, slander, inciting others to violence). In the face of what is known of Nazi beliefs, as well as the stated goals of Craig Cobb, the fuss over the flag theft/burning is without merit. As mentioned above, humans trump property.

    It is disturbing that in your posts thus far, your focus has been protecting the property rights of a white supremacist group. The private property you are worried about was owned by people with loyalties to this guy:

    Perhaps most infamously, Cobb publicized the home address of U.S. District Court Judge Joan Lefkow in Chicago. Lefkow had ruled against the World Church of the Creator in a civil lawsuit, and Cobb was infuriated. In 2003, Cobb took the address from a minor neo-Nazi site and reposted it to Stormfront, a huge racist forum. Lefkow’s husband and mother were murdered at that address in February 2005, but the killer was later found to be unconnected to racist groups.
    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2007/summer/estonia

    Your rigid adherence to the letter of the law, with no exception (which is not even echoed by the US government), may be blinding you to avtivities of far greater significance (and ones which could have a measurably negative impact on others in a way that far outstrips property theft).

  69. Ingdigo Jump says

    I’m CG (hopefully on that last part) so yeah I’m going to go by the impact in this case. Sad trombone for the nazis

    I thought it was a Hindi symbol, that is, Indian, not American, but maybe I’ve got it wrong.

    It’s a symbol that has been independently crafted in several cultures. Some American cultures amongst them. It was also a Hindi and Buddhist symbol.
    **************************************************
    @PZ

    Slight difference I think is that you can be a good person and Catholic, you can’t honestly be a good Neo-Nazi. In fact it’s probably more likely to find good actual historical Nazis than Neo-Nazis

  70. nich says

    His first wife was named Killing Together and his second wife was named Strikes the Iron.

    NOW I know where Metallica got their song titles…

  71. Nick Gotts says

    It looks to me that they burned a flag with a Christian cross in the right corner and some indian religious symbol in the center and happened to be used by Nazis. Looks like a three way desecration. – rickmcwiliams

    Yeah, but that’s because you’re a fucking numpty. They burned a Nazi flag. Anyone who flies a Nazi flag is signalling their intention to commit genocide if they get the chance; it’s a deliberate threat to commit mass murder, intended to terrorize the potential victims. Really, the stupidity of the freeze peach absolutism on display here makes me want to puke. What these brave women did is to be applauded and endorsed without the slightest reservation.

    But you do realize that by this argument that it represents a real threat of harm that justifies destruction, I could also argue that I have a right and a responsibility to blow up the churches in my neighborhood, right? – PZ

    No: wrong, stupid – and utterly repulsive. A church is not a threat to commit genocide; and burning a flag is not remotely comparable to blowing up a building, which necessarily involves a threat to life.

  72. frugaltoque says

    “My grandma and your grandma,
    sitting by the fire,
    My grandma says to your grandma,
    I’m gonna set your flag on fire.”

  73. Nick Gotts says

    You do know that many governments place limitations of free speech, don’t you? – Tony! The Immorally Inferior Queer Shoop!

    In fact, all governments – or to be more precise, all modern legal systems, do so. Libel, violating copyright, incitement to murder, publication of state secrets… Which makes it absurd that so many Americans consider laws against hate speech to be tantamount to totalitarianism. We can argue about whether they cause more harm than good in particular cases, but to condemn them a priori is just silly.

  74. Jackie Papercuts says

    Iko!

    This may reveal quite a bit of my trashy side, but I find people complaining that these Lakota women stole private property hilarious. Don’t worry guys. They’ll never be able to steal it all back. You can rest easy.

    More power to them.

  75. llamaherder says

    Good for them.

    This should remain illegal because I want my own speech protected too. That said, I’m not wincing even a little bit. Burning that flag is the right thing to do, regardless of legality.

  76. Tony! The Immorally Inferior Queer Shoop! says

    Perhaps some powerful words in addition to the powerful pic in the OP will awaken PZ and others to the more important issue here:

    “You are in Dakota territory.”

    “Lakota means allies, Dakota means peace, and that is what we continue to struggle for in this land.”

    “My uncle stormed the shores of Normandy to eliminate your forerunners, the Nazis, that killed millions all over the world, so we know what your intent is, to criminalize Dakota territory.

    “You will not do it. The grandmothers will stand up to you. The women will take you on.”

    The rally began before the Town Hall meeting, with the crowd shouting, “Go home!”

    Chase Iron Eyes told the crowd, while facing the white supremacists, “We came here today to our country. We have been living here for tens of thousands of years. We know we have a harsh history between the races.”

    “But as I look where the Nazi flag flies, where the swastika flies, I know we have called their bluff. Because they who spread hate rely on other white people to fear non-white people.”

    “We have evolved. We do not hate white people.”

    “You have come here thinking that you can exploit the ignorance of white people.”

    Facing the white supremacists as they were arriving, Iron Eyes said the Lakotas will not react until they are attacked and named the Indian Nations present.

    “We are evolved human beings. I think you know you represent a dying cause.”

    “You have nothing. That swastika is even our symbol.”

    “You have appropriated our intellectual properties because you have none.”

    “You’re 30 miles from our border. If you think we’re going to let you come into our territory and affect our children, you’ve got another thing coming. What you see here are the mouthpieces. The warriors aren’t even here. You have come here thinking we are going to react out of fear, but we won’t do that. We are Dakota and Lakota people.”

    “You are a dying cause.”
    http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2013/09/american-indians-protect-treaty.html

    Btw, my general attitude of ‘I don’t give a fuck’ with regard to stealing others’ property only exists in this case because of the situation. This is not just a bigot moving to town and planting a Nazi flag on his porch. This is an attempt by the leader of one of the US’s largest white supremacist group (as well as his followers and influential people in other hate groups to take over a town and spread from there). They are attempting to make their fantasies a reality.

  77. Tony! The Immorally Inferior Queer Shoop! says

    Oops, borked the quote there. The comments after the link are mine.

  78. says

    1) How is this act (not other acts that might resemble it, or other acts that might lead from it, or any other hypothetical act – I haven’t brought up anything like that at all) differs from defacing an atheist billboard, which we regularly decry, except for our attitudes towards the sides involved?

    Whatta ya mean ‘we’? Theists defacing atheist billboards is a nonissue to me.

    But you do realize that by this argument that it represents a real threat of harm that justifies destruction, I could also argue that I have a right and a responsibility to blow up the churches in my neighborhood, right? – PZ

    You are not this much of a jackass, PZ. You know god damn well that the number of churches used to rally genocidal bigots approaches 0. You bloody well know that the number of churches engaged in an organized campaign to create ‘whites only towns’ is orders of magnitude beneath the number of churches.

  79. scimaths says

    This should remain illegal because I want my own speech protected too.

    Really ? You want your right to shove it in your neighbours face that you consider them worth nothing more than vermin to be exterminated, and that you delight in those like you who have already engaged in such acts of genocide and that you want the wider culture to endorse and condone and support you. Because … rights !!!

    You know, some of us DO NOT want that right. We would rather have the right – for ourselves and others – to be left alone and not have genocidal ideologies shoved in our faces.

    Are you even thinking through what you’re defending here ?

  80. sbuh says

    You bloody well know that the number of churches engaged in an organized campaign to create ‘whites only towns’ is orders of magnitude beneath the number of churches.

    What about “Christians only” towns?

  81. Ingdigo Jump says

    Seriously Neo-Nazis are like the nearest thing we get to in real life to Always Chaotic Evil

  82. says

    I’m with Caine.

    If I’ve got a choice between standing with badass grannies crushing the Nazi running game with a brilliantly ironic blitz, and standing with the Nazis? Morally, I have no issue whatsoever with saying that a murderously racist ideology has less right to being preserved from acts of civil disobedience than the grannies have to take one of those acts.

    Really I don’t have a choice. I’m with the grannies. When the neo-Nazis get around to apologizing to the grannies for the shit that led to their being even able to live where they are, I’ll start feeling sorry enough for them to consider asking the grannies to fork over a few bucks for a replacement.

    I feel it is likely that I am safe from ever having to follow through on that.

  83. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Equally to the point, either you have a right to have things and show things on your own property that your neighbors consider an abomination… or you don’t.

    False premise.

  84. says

    But, but, but, people are disagreeing with the great poopyhead.
    This blog is going to be awefully empty after tonight, I heard it gets you instantly banned.

    And no, you couldn’t count the fucks I don’t give about hurt Nazi fee-fees

  85. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    You get that there are many, many people that do not see atheist billboards as perfectly harmless, right?

    ….can someone explain where this bogglingly perverse compulsion to completely/i> discount “whether or not they have similarly true premises” in comparing structurally similar arguments comes from? Because I see it a LOT.

    I mean, is this just a privilege-drunk-head-up-ass kinda thing, or is there some privilege-drunk-head-up-ass philosophical tradition it draws on?

  86. Artemis says

    I used to think that Neo-Nazis are too fringe and too few to cause any real harm in this day and age. Surely the overwhelming majority will reject them, right? We are all reasonable here. Life has taught me that I was wrong. If you ignore them they grow and they get organized and they take every opportunity to strengthen their position. And then they start murdering people in the streets and terrorizing anybody who dares express opposition to them.

    If that sounds like an exaggeration to you, I assure you it is not. This is exactly what is happening in my country right now. If you want more info, try looking up “Golden Dawn”.

    I support these women and their action and I am glad that the Lakota and Dakota people are fighting the Nazis that are trying to take residence in their lands.

  87. scimaths says

    If you ignore them they grow and they get organized and they take every opportunity to strengthen their position. And then they start murdering people in the streets and terrorizing anybody who dares express opposition to them.

    If that sounds like an exaggeration to you, I assure you it is not. This is exactly what is happening in my country right now. If you want more info, try looking up “Golden Dawn”.

    Indeed, see also Russia and increasingly Eastern Europe too.

  88. sbuh says

    Can I just say that while I wholeheartedly condone these womens’ actions I think the amount of vitriol directed at people who express any inner conflict is not going to be very effective at getting across why they shouldn’t be.

    No one here is a Nazi sympathiser, and no one is calling for any censure of these women. Some people are unneccessarily confused about whether to give this act their wholehearted support. Explain why they shouldn’t be without othering them, please.

  89. says

    What about “Christians only” towns?

    Not really an issue when there isn’t already actual genocidal conflict that religion overlays (See: parts of Africa).

    Incidental note, if you’re trying to say “But they’ll purge the non-whites on the grounds of not being Christian”, that counts as ‘white only’.

    Really I don’t have a choice. I’m with the grannies. When the neo-Nazis get around to apologizing to the grannies for the shit that led to their being even able to live where they are, I’ll start feeling sorry enough for them to consider asking the grannies to fork over a few bucks for a replacement.

    Fuck that. That money was spent on a horrible symbol. If the grannies had like, burned a Teddy Ruxpin or something entirely unrelated, then sure, after the neonazis apologize we can talk about amends for the Ruxpin. But it’s, you know, a symbol of hate and evil. A genuine apology would have to involve not wanting it anymore.

  90. unclefrogy says

    I am OK with the actions of these women.
    Flying that flag was a provocation meant to proclaim their white only we hate all others as less than human.
    I support the action of these women.
    There are Lakota warriors buried in Europe who died fighting the Nazis.
    The whole action was a provocation and hoped for the support of the “white people” of ND
    That the people came out to resist the takeover with force is heartening.
    Make no mistake the Neo-Nazis are bent on violence

    uncle frogy

  91. says

    Rutee Katreya 98

    Not really an issue when there isn’t already actual genocidal conflict that religion overlays (See: parts of Africa).

    While I generally agree, in re: my #69, if e.g. an LGBT group did, in fact, scale the spire of the Saddleback Church (I was going to use Westboro Baptist, but they don’t appear to have one, while at least one Saddleback location has) with a chainsaw and cut down the cross there, I can’t say that I would be troubled in my heart by their actions.

  92. loreo says

    “All bets are off if the Nazi sympathizers in Leith, ND, who were trying to stage a takeover of the local government, were flying that flag as representative of the city.”

    How in the hell else did that flag come to be displayed in Leith at the time? Was an independent and politically unaffiliated flag-seller cruising through town, and these women set upon him, rifled through his stock, and grabbed a Kriegsmarine flag to burn?

    THAT might have been a crime, but it’s really not your job to play Nazis’ advocate here. If a private citizen was robbed here, they can bring their evidence to court.

    All applause for these courageous women!

  93. scimaths says

    I think the amount of vitriol directed at people who express any inner conflict is not going to be very effective at getting across why they shouldn’t be. Explain why they shouldn’t be without othering them, please.

    It has been explained, and no-one posting here has been “othered” (do you even know what that means ?) You choose not to engage with the content of people’s posts but instead are whining that you’re upset by our mean tone of voice ? Yeah, great. Well done you.

  94. Nick Gotts says

    Explain why they shouldn’t be without othering them, please. – sbuh@97

    I don’t see any othering going on.

  95. sbuh says

    You choose not to engage with the content of people’s posts but instead are whining that you’re upset by our mean tone of voice ?

    Tone? No. Directly calling PZ and others stupid because they felt a tiny pang of confusion? That’s not tone.

  96. says

    Can I just say that while I wholeheartedly condone these womens’ actions I think the amount of vitriol directed at people who express any inner conflict is not going to be very effective at getting across why they shouldn’t be.

    I’m not feeling the vitriol. I am feeling strong disagreement. There’s nothing wrong with that.

  97. says

    sbuh:

    Directly calling PZ and others stupid because they felt a tiny pang of confusion?

    I don’t think PZ is stupid, however, you could hardly call his opinion a ‘tiny pang of confusion’. Frinst., PZ brought up bombing churches in his town as a comparison – that’s hardly valid. No one was at risk from a flag being captured, and it was, to me, an act of civil disobedience. I live in North Dakota. I’m half Oglala Lakota. There are a number of issues here, however, the main one is that this man is attempting to set up Naziland, USA, right here on our doorstep. Capturing a flag is a very minor event in the current picture.

    There’s a tendency for people to dismiss neo-nazis, and it’s a fucked up tendency, if you ask me. Go back, and look how close Metzger got to serious power with his naziland, before people figured out a way to shut him down. Guess who Cobb gave a parcel of land to? Yep, Metzger. Another parcel went to Lind, the founder of Vanguard. This is not a fucking joke, it’s dangerous as all hells, and I’m not going to cry over a fucking flag being captured and burnt. In my opinion, PZ is flat out wrong in this case, and so are others who think it’s more important to protect a neo-nazi’s right to fly a nazi flag. And yes, I know that legally, he has that right. I also hope that every single flag that goes up is captured and destroyed. Sometimes legal shouldn’t mean jack shit.

  98. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I think there’s a moral responsibility, should one choose to engage in an illegal act that one feels is morally justified (e.g. civil disobedience; this case is an action against a private party so is not, technically speaking, civil disobedience) to be willing to submit oneself to the authority of the law, however illegitimate one might think it is.

    One doesn’t have to insist on arrest, but should one be arrested and one believes that one’s action is morally justified, state it. Don’t run from the act.

    There are conditions of injustice that would make it morally [and practically] reasonable to try to evade justice after breaking the law. But standing up before the law and saying, “I did this and this is why it was morally mandated” is not only taking responsibility for one’s actions, it provides a power public demonstration of just how highly one values the moral duty that compelled one to action. It makes it even more effective [or at least it can].

  99. sbuh says

    I’m not good at getting my thoughts across, which is why I retracted my prior statements. I’ll try once more though:

    and so are others who think it’s more important to protect a neo-nazi’s right to fly a nazi flag.

    I don’t think they think that. I think the people who feel any conflict in this are at least tacitly approving of these ladies. Most of them anyway. I think they’re just feeling a strong desire to keep their worldview consistent. Unusual situations like this where something like theft and destruction of private property can be commendable can create cognitive dissonance. We might intuitively know that it’s a good thing, but struggle to come up with a comprehensive explanation for why that takes care of all the variables.

    Sometimes legal shouldn’t mean jack shit.

    Ideally our legal system should perfectly reflect our collective sense of right and wrong, or at least approach it more closely with every iteration. Where the law fails us in situations like this is where we’ve lacked the foresight or ability to express these morals in legal language.

    And I think these two things are the same problem. If we had a nice, neat explanation that covered every hypothetical scenario and consistently rendered an intuitively morally correct judgment, then no one would have any reservation about cheering these ladies for something that is obviously the right thing to do.

  100. says

    Wounded Knee. Wrongs, never corrected. Wrongs that too many non-Indian people care about. Prison. Dismissal. I’m biased. As an Indian, I don’t see things so neatly. I’m not interested in a slugfest about it, either. I’ll simply reiterate: I stand with my sisters.

  101. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    In general, my stance is one that people should be free to fly whatever damn flags they want.

    But.

    Hate speech does not “count” as free speech. Hate speech can, and should, be firmly stomped on.

    And I am incapable of seeing Nazi symbolism as anything other than unvarnished hate speech.

  102. scimaths says

    sbuh

    situations like this where something like theft and destruction of private property can be commendable can create cognitive dissonance

    Public hate speech is not private property. So where’s the dissonance ?

  103. blf says

    Kudos to the badarsed grandmuthers. Good sting!

    I am not sure if this is going to fly, but please let me try it: Suppose the flag, when flying / displayed, was not visible from public / open land. For instance, in the corner of someone’s basement, or inside a tent, or something. In other words, to see it, you must either be on indisputably private land, or are relying on a trustworthy photograph. (To keep things simple, I will ignore the possibility of rumors and whatnot, and assume there is strong evidence the flag exists and is “flying”, albeit unseen.)

    Would that make a difference?

    I am as conflicted here as I am about what actually happened. I tend to see what actually happened as an “Illinoes nazis, I hate Illinos nazis” type incident, albeit in that famous scene, the feckers were exercising the strongly-protected and very valuable rights of assembly, speech, etc. As were the protesters and, arguably, heroes. (Again, to keep things simple, I’ll ignore the danger of driving straight at someone with no obvious intention of stopping.)

    In this case it’s not entirely obvious (to me) what the feckers are exercising other than arseholiness. There are restrictions on owning or operating (using) certain items — admittedly none of them flags — so whatever the feckers are exercising, it’s not unfettered property rights. Speech, I suppose, despite the flag being a symbol, albeit one from which we can make quite plausible guesses about beliefs (even without hearing the feckers every open their mouths or writing anything).

    Hence my question: If the feckers had kept the flag and its flying (display) to themselves, would it make a difference?

  104. No One says

    Caine

    I would not stand with the Grannies, I would stand in front of them.

    Artemis @ 94

    As you probably know, hundreds of thousands of people died in the 1st year of the nazi occupation of Athens. My mother woke up in the morning to see the piece of shit swastika flying over the Parthenon. Except of course that one morning when two very determined young men had stole it in the dead of night. Neo nazis have declared war on America. Displaying the nazi flag in America should be a hate crime. That the Golden Dawn has gained traction in Greece is an insult to all of our ancestors who suffered, fought and died against nazi scum.

    *spits*

  105. burgundy says

    @blf 115: I think it absolutely does make a difference if it can’t be seen by the general public. The whole point of having it out in the open is for others to see it, and the flag itself is an implied threat.

    When I was 10, and attending a day camp at the Jewish Community Center, I was walking to camp one day and saw that someone had painted, in huge letters on the concrete embankment of the bayou across the street from the JCC “JEWS SUCK” and a swastika. I think everyone can agree that’s terrible. But is it terrible only because it was vandalism of public property? Would painting a smiley face have been just as bad? If someone bought a house across the street from the JCC and flew a large banner with the same message, that would have been okay? No, that would have been a fucking terroristic threat. Can you imagine having little kids and old people who’d survived or had relatives killed in the Holocaust having to see that every time they wanted to go to their community center? And that would be the motivation of displaying the banner.

    And it’s the same with this. Flying a flag in public is a fundamentally different thing from displaying a flag in private. It’s a means of communication. A Nazi flag in a living room communicates your ideology to people in your circle. A Nazi flag flown where other people can see it communicates “Hey, I’d be perfectly happy to kill you.”

  106. reggiedunlap says

    This is banned books week. I am in a small minority as an atheist. Many theists find my existence as objectionable as I do the Nazis. However vigilant protection of free speach protects me. Books that were banned are elemental to my freedom from religion.I support free speech especially when it comes to parties I disagree with. I don’t believe I have a right not to be offended. If there are no actions that these Nazis are committing against others I reluctantly side with people I deplore because I support the rights that strengthen civilization. If they can’t fly their flag then will I be able to draw Muhammed? Our press has self imposed a ban on that. If reasonable ideas are to arise from a minority via free exercise of speech I must tolerate the speech of unreasonable minorites.

  107. David Marjanović says

    The way I see it, the police had a duty to confiscate the flag, because flying that flag is an explicit death threat.

    Random citizens confiscating it and demonstratively burning it to make clear that You The People of the United States won’t stand for death threats even if the police you employ does – that’s the next best thing as far as I can see. No, it’s not ideal, but it’s the next best thing.

    BTW, I also think the police has a duty to talk the people who run the cemetery next to PZ’s place to do something about the noise level. Noise is noise.

    To muddy the historical waters further…I’ve been told that the Nazis were horrified by lynching. True, it was the extrajudicial part that they were horrified by

    No respect for authority, those Americans. No loyalty to their leaders, no obedience. There’s no telling who they’ll lynch next! Perhaps somebody paler? Perhaps even their leaders???

    I’m sure lynching was not authoritarian enough for the Nazis.

    It was a chaotic mob action, a democratic one without a leader. The Nazis were horrified of everything that didn’t involve a leader.

    It wasn’t about the paperwork. Near the end of the war, officers had orders to shoot deserters on the spot, just draw and shoot, plaintiff-judge-jury-and-executioner, and plenty of cases are known where this actually happened. It was all about the authority, the Leader Principle.

    “the Nazis were horrified by lynching”
    So that’s why did it themselves as soon as they were short on ammo?

    *eyeroll* It wasn’t about the hanging!

    I’m not totally sure about WBC and similar organizations. And certainly some churches are into shooting doctors and bombing clinics.

    The WBC people just stand there, make noise, and wait to be sued. They’re ultimately harmless.

    Churches that shoot doctors or bomb clinics are terrorist organizations. There are laws for that; I hope they’re enforced.

    Anyone who flies a Nazi flag is signalling their intention to commit genocide if they get the chance; it’s a deliberate threat to commit mass murder, intended to terrorize the potential victims.

    Quoted for truth!

    We have been living here for tens of thousands of years.

    …Not quite. 10,000 years ago, ND was under, like, a mile of ice.

    Metzger

    Means “butcher”, BTW.

  108. Olav says

    blf #115:

    I am not sure if this is going to fly, but please let me try it: Suppose the flag, when flying / displayed, was not visible from public / open land. For instance, in the corner of someone’s basement, or inside a tent, or something. In other words, to see it, you must either be on indisputably private land, or are relying on a trustworthy photograph. (To keep things simple, I will ignore the possibility of rumors and whatnot, and assume there is strong evidence the flag exists and is “flying”, albeit unseen.)

    Would that make a difference?

    I think so, yes.

    In my view, the crime that was committed in this case was displaying this Nazi flag in public – thereby broadcasting the hateful message that it represents. If there isn’t a law against it there should be. The ladies who took the flag down did exactly the right thing, whether exactly legal in their jurisdiction or not.

    Of course if someone has such a flag and keeps it inside and doesn’t use it to spread a message, of course that could not be considered a crime and taking the flag in that case would be wrong. But it would not be wrong for police or intelligence services to keep an eye on someone known to be a Nazi sympathiser.

  109. David Marjanović says

    Flying the Nazi flag is as much an act of violence as pointing a gun towards someone.

    That’s actually… pretty well said.

    It’s like burning a cross on your lawn.

    A Nazi flag flown where other people can see it communicates “Hey, I’d be perfectly happy to kill you.”

    Quoted for truth.

    If they can’t fly their flag then will I be able to draw Muhammed?

    For fuck’s sake.

    Drawing Muhammad isn’t a death threat.

    It’s just an insult!

  110. dianne says

    No respect for authority, those Americans. No loyalty to their leaders, no obedience. There’s no telling who they’ll lynch next!

    Yep. That’s the basic problem. Plus, a lot of lynchings got really gory and showing the gross pictures was a good way to get non-Nazi Germans convinced that their enemies were evil.

    Churches that shoot doctors or bomb clinics are terrorist organizations. There are laws for that; I hope they’re enforced.

    As far as I know, web sites listing doctors’ names, addresses, and family members with explicit statements that the information is there to make it easier to kill them are still up. Certainly no one gets into trouble for praising Tiller’s murderer.

  111. says

    …Not quite. 10,000 years ago, ND was under, like, a mile of ice.

    Native Americans have been on the American continent for longer than 10,000 years, though. How much longer was, last time I checked, subject to some intense debate.

    As for the grandmothers, I have no reservations about what they did. If they get arrested, so be it. I imagine that’s how they feel as well. It was technically illegal but it was 100% the right thing to do. I view them as like the nuns who’ve been repeatedly arrested for trespassing onto US Military property to symbolically deface/sabotage nuclear missiles. Civil disobedience by the less powerful in protest of unjust actions by the more powerful, whether those unjust actions were legal or not, is a long and proud democratic tradition. These grandmothers present no more threat to our abstract freedom of speech than those trespassing nuns did to our right to own property and assemble freely.

  112. says

    blf @ 115:

    Hence my question: If the feckers had kept the flag and its flying (display) to themselves, would it make a difference?

    Somewhat, yes. A flag or other nazi symbols displayed privately in one’s home is for oneself and their immediate circle of friends a/o family. That doesn’t mean people would be happy about it, but as long as it remained private and didn’t affect a wider circle of people, not much to do about it.

    The case in ND couldn’t be more different. Cobb has been extremely outspoken about his plans to create Naziwhitesonlytown. He chose one of the zillion little almost-a-ghost towns, one which is very close to a rez, and started buying up property, which you can get for next to nothing here, if you’re rural enough. (We bought our house for 20k.) Cobb has a fair amount of land now, is handing out bits of it to other neo-nazi leaders, and has publicly announced plans for a white supremacist festival, complete with white power bands, all that shit. This isn’t just some sad sack dude hanging out in his house. Far from it.

  113. says

    I’m surprised there hasn’t been more talk about the potential danger these women face Racist creeps of this sort need little excuse to react violently. That’s a much more present and real danger than someone, someplace, deciding they should emulate them and take someone’s atheist banner.

  114. reggiedunlap says

    David Marjanovic

    I disagree with that interpretation in this context. I have no evidence that the people who put up this flash are a credible threat to their neighbors. Also others disagree with both of us and consider drawing Muhammed an incitement to violence.

  115. freemage says

    PZ: A little something to help you sleep better at night after cheering for the bad-ass grandmas:

    To take an item from someone else under false pretenses is to commit fraud; similarly, to take it from them with an implicit agreement to perform a specific action is also fraud, if you fail to commit that action or return the item.

    A little while back, there was an incident where someone acquired a small cracker from a man in a funny dress, under the implicit agreement that that person would then eat it. Instead, that person sent the item to you for the purposes of public destruction, in order to permit you to make a point.

    Technically, that person committed fraud against an obsolete, misogynistic, totalitarian institution which continues to conduct criminal activities to this day. Most of your readers (myself included) are not particularly troubled by that fact. I see no difference between that anonymous individual and the grannies, save that those ladies are actually brave enough to stand and be counted for what they did.

    So yeah, I’m applauding them here, without reservations.

  116. says

    timgueguen:

    I’m surprised there hasn’t been more talk about the potential danger these women face Racist creeps of this sort need little excuse to react violently.

    Standing Rock rez is not without security.

  117. David Marjanović says

    Native Americans have been on the American continent for longer than 10,000 years, though. How much longer was, last time I checked, subject to some intense debate.

    That’s exactly why I was specific about ND (and surroundings). :-)

    I disagree with that interpretation in this context. I have no evidence that the people who put up this flash are a credible threat to their neighbors.

    Oh, the threat isn’t simply “we’ll kill you”. The threat is “we can’t kill you right now, but we’re working on getting the power to do so”. As Caine just explained (comment 126), they are working on getting that power.

    Also others disagree with both of us and consider drawing Muhammed an incitement to violence.

    Yeah, violence by them.

  118. Bicarbonate says

    When I read those first few comments about whether or not the flag capture was legal or justified my heart fell.

    Then I read this and was glad again:

    Absolutely, Misters McPrivilige and McWhite upthread, clearly we have to think very deeply and philosophically about whether we condone that these ladies stole an expensive flag advertising their genocide from a group that denies their humanity. I shall write a treatise for them recommending an appropriate, intellectually well-founded reaction, and ask them to reimburse the costs. In the end, though, all I can do is hope that real deep inside, these grandmothers feel guilty.

    –#16 Alex

  119. untarded says

    Isn’t the concept of “private property” one of the things that destroyed the indigenous Americans?

  120. cdds says

    Legal or not, it is brilliant. Nothing disturbs hate mongers and fear mongers more than being embarrassed and laughed at. Getting schooled by grandmothers (regardless of how badass they may be) certainly qualifies.

  121. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    Untarded @ 135

    Isn’t the concept of “private property” one of the things that destroyed the indigenous Americans?

    Allow me to quote Dr. Seuss: We are here!

  122. Aaron Logan says

    @135 Many First Nations were extinguished since contact with Europeans. My Nation has about 3000 members left so I am very concerned that we might not survive. Much of our culture has been lost but I am hopeful that there are enough elders left to teach the children our language and that it will survive.

    I support the Elders, the grandmothers. I also recognize their sovereignty. Any appeal to the rule of law that doesn’t recognize treaties is cherry picking of the worst sort. To declare the grandmothers actions illegal one has to know whether they violated Dakota or Lakota Law.

  123. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    Mentioned this story to a co-worker.

    Co-worker promptly made a scalping joke.

    Gorrammit. >:(

  124. vaiyt says

    I’m surprised there hasn’t been more talk about the potential danger these women face

    Like the danger from having fucking nazis on their doorstep?

  125. Rossignol says

    reggiedunlap @129:

    I disagree with that interpretation in this context. I have no evidence that the people who put up this flash are a credible threat to their neighbors.

    The only reason you don’t have evidence that these people constitute a credible threat is because you haven’t been paying attention. Why don’t you take a moment to READ ALL THE OTHER COMMENTS.

    Also others disagree with both of us and consider drawing Muhammed an incitement to violence.

    I don’t think speech counts as an incitement to violence if the violence is directed against the speaker just for speaking.

  126. opposablethumbs says

    It’s been rightly said upthread that flying a nazi flag is an instance of hate speech. Frozen peaches don’t even come into it; displaying a nazi flag is a threat and an act of terrorism in itself and it is – or should be – a crime. What the grandmothers did in removing and disposing of the flag is only what the local authorities should have done – the equivalent of making a citizen’s arrest. My deepest respects to them.

  127. says

    If they can’t fly their flag then will I be able to draw Muhammed?

    Not if you’re doing it to rally nativist sentiment in your country against immigrants, no. There are other cases where you most certainly can.

    Many theists find my existence as objectionable as I do the Nazis. However vigilant protection of free speach protects me. Books that were banned are elemental to my freedom from religion.
    I’m tired of the armistice version of free speech being touted as a principle. It’s not. It’s a cynical attempt to protect ourselves. And frankly, right now the empirical evidence is against it. Even when we stand for unfettered freedom of speech like this, it primarily protects the majority. Minority speech is generally not protected in practice. MEanwhile, we can CLEARLY set up hate speech laws that don’t primarily protect Able Whitey McStraighterson III. So no. The armistice was a good idea when it was new, but we can apparently do better.

  128. says

    Exactly what Rutee just said: a “right” extended only in proportion to one’s social capital is not much of a right at all, down at the sharp end. More of a…what’s the word? Privilege? That sounds effective, no?

  129. says

    scimaths #68

    Maybe Americans just don’t have the same cultural reaction to either the flag itself or to the idea of limits on their “freedom”

    Both, with a strong, strong, emphasis on the latter. Yanks, most notably the pale-skinned ones, tend to completely lose their shit when the subject of their precious freedoms and limitations therunto are brought up, no matter how sensible or beneficial said limitations are (see also guns and the complete inablility to actually have a national conversation about them because even otherwise reasonable people suddenly start raving about natural rights and every kind of goddamn nonsense. See Ed Brayton’s blog and much of the commentariat for a classic example of this, on the topics of guns and speech alike).

    reggiedunlap #118
    What is it with you people and your inability to recognize context? This isn’t a rhetorical question, I really do hope to get an answer, because it mystifies the fuck out of me. (Or rather, leads me to suppose that the people who do it are deliberately disingenous, but I keep hoping that there’s something else)

  130. cicely says

    The grandmothers’ actions may or may not have been legal, but I feel that they were just. “Lawful” ≠ “good”. The neo-nazis were publicly endorsing/declaring affiliation with a program of hatecrimes. Advertising it, even.
    -

  131. says

    Caine #151
    Terribly sorry. My bad entirely, and I will choose different terminology in the future. The people in question are the ones described in the part responding to scimaths; the endless string of dipshits going on and on about freedom of speech (in this case; they pull the same kind of bullshit about a whole lot of ‘freedoms’ that when applied absolutely end up reinforcing entrenched privilege and/or bigotry).

  132. says

    Dalillama @ 152, thank you. Yes, I admit to being seriously baffled by such a stance. Somewhere upthread, I mentioned that a lot of people don’t take white supremacists seriously. There’s a tendency for people to shrug off neo-nazism, an attitude of “hey, it’s not like that can happen again, so who cares about them?” which I find frightening to the nth degree.

    Most people don’t have them on their doorstep, either, so being at a remove makes it easier to dismiss, I suppose. How to explain the bone deep chill when you see, hear and read about someone determined to plant such poison, especially when that poison is being planted right next to people of colour, who have a history of brutal oppression and attempted extermination? It’s devastating to me, personally, that anyone can stand up on the side of a legal technicality, in the face of such hatred.

  133. kittehserf says

    Bravo, bravo to the Lakota and Dakota women! ::cheers:: ::whistles::

    I really side-eye the “But freeze peach! But private property!” stuff I’ve read here. It does seem particularly USian, to this Australian. It’s a fucking NAZI FLAG, it’s a threat, it’s about a specifically genocidal regime, it’s … gah, it’s everything most people have already said better.

    Would people be so conflicted or legalistic if it was a burning cross? Or a noose?

    As to neoNazis not being a threat – seconding all that was said upthread, plus that the original Nazis started as small-time thugs and terrorists, too. Yes, their horror is known now, but that isn’t stopping racists adhering to their ideas, and failing to take that seriously is a huge mistake.

  134. reggiedunlap says

    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    I don’t know what you mean by ‘you people’ either. I am speaking my opinion only. If you from another country the way the law has been tested in the US is that we have very stern protections of free speech. This flag is very offensive to me. It is as offensive to me as the Confederate flag which is incorporated into the flag of the state of Mississippi. and is flown regularly through many of the southern states where they dismissively refer to our civil war as the war of northern aggression. For myself these flags while offensive don’t carry the weight of the former uses. The people who fly this flag do not have the power and resources of those in Europe who once held a vile nation under it.

    I’m confident in the idea that freedom and liberty and justice for all is a more powerful, instead of just for a few is a popular and right concept and will not fall to the threat of fringe idiots who fly it. They will die off and fade away and there will come a time when it holds no attraction to anyone of a right mind. I’m not fearful that it will gain popularity. I’d prefer and believe that the best way to win ideological conflicts is for the ideas to be open and public and not prohibited where they will fall on their lack of merit. Prohibition would only add allure and mystery to something that fails when all the information is available to people. The flag is speech. Not more or less. It is dumb speech and it continues to lose.

    Freedom of speech exists to protect us from tyranny. If you restrict speech you are assigning that restriction to people who may or may not be wise. People may agree with me that this flag is deplorable and may conclude further that the flag should be restricted speech, but just because we see eye to eye on the lack of value of the flag does not mean we will agree on all things. The same people who agree with me on the flag may also conclude that my speech as a non-theist is just as dangerous and subject to the same restriction. I will have none of that. If all ideas and speech can permissible than the speech to denounce the flag and the ideas it represents is also permissible. That debate is what makes that flag powerless and a joke and a subject of ridicule. For horrible ideas that need to be cleaned out I believe that as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” Sunlight will do more to rid us of bigotry than shadows.

  135. kittehserf says

    reggiedunlap @156:

    They will die off and fade away and there will come a time when it holds no attraction to anyone of a right mind.

    Are you suggesting Nazi sympathisers are mentally ill? Or does “right mind” equate with “racists, homophobes, misogynists and sundry other douchenozzles”? Because the first is wrong: mental illness has nothing to do with whether one holds vile opinions. On the second, well, I think it’s extremely optimistic to think there will never be bigots around, and as has been said upthread, assuming this sort of thing will die off naturally is dangerously complacent.

  136. kittehserf says

    Sorry, that should have read ‘does “not in their right mind” equate with “racists, homophobes, misogynists and sundry other douchenozzles”’

  137. says

    reggiedunlap:

    They will die off and fade away and there will come a time
    when it holds no attraction to anyone of a right mind.

    I’m not sure at all how you could possibly have written that in the face of evidence to the contrary. Neo-nazis don’t pop out of a vacuum. This sort of deep belief in their hatred is taught, it’s passed on, as well as gaining recruits. You’re talking about a fucktonne of young people who believe this way. It’s not a matter of a few sad old men. It’s been a lot of years since the war, right? Well, nazi beliefs aren’t dead, are they? They keep gaining traction.

    Neo-nazis think they are of a right mind, just like theists do, and for the most part, they are of sound mind. You’re illustrating the problem, right here, right now. Your attempt to other them is an attempt to push their beliefs and behaviour out of the norm, putting their beliefs on the lunatic fringe. As I’ve said before, this is not the lunatic fringe. There are a whole lot of white supremacists out there, Reggie. They have families, jobs, friends, all that stuff. A fair amount of them have money, too. White Power bands stay in business because people buy their music. Other people have pointed out what’s happened in Greece. You’re simply ignoring this and going with the attitude I outlined in #152, because it’s more comfortable for you. Historically and recently speaking, it’s people such as yourself who have allowed such people to come to power, because you’ll do anything to dismiss that possibility.

  138. says

    reggiedunlap #156
    In the name of every god from Agni to Zeus, how the living fuck can you miss the point so fucking badly? Are you actually capable of reading English? Did you somehow miss the entire discussion and just come back for the part where I asked what the fuck you were thinking?

    If you from another country the way the law has been tested in the US is that we have very stern protections of free speech

    Gee, it’s almost like you did read my comment. Now, if I didn’t know how completely dogmatic the U.S. gets about that shit, why do you suppose I would have commented vitriolically on how completely fucking dogmatic the people I’m unfortunate enough to share a country with about this kind of bullshit, hmmm?

    For myself these flags while offensive don’t carry the weight of the former uses.

    Something tells me you’re white.

    and is flown regularly through many of the southern states where they dismissively refer to our civil war as the war of northern aggression.

    I’m not fearful that it will gain popularity.

    How the hell do you write these sentences in consecutive paragraphs and not notice the glaring contradiction therein?

    Freedom of speech exists to protect us from tyranny. If you restrict speech you are assigning that restriction to people who may or may not be wise.

    Your libertarian canting is unimpressive and annoying. Kindly stop it.

    I’d prefer and believe that the best way to win ideological conflicts is for the ideas to be open and public and not prohibited where they will fall on their lack of merit.

    That’s nice. I’d prefer to believe that the world is a wonderful place full of puppies and kittens and sunshine, but believing that won’t actually make any of the atrocities currently happening or threatened magically stop. So instead, I prefer steps that actually help.

    The same people who agree with me on the flag may also conclude that my speech as a non-theist is just as dangerous and subject to the same restriction.

    Except that the harm done by flying those flags (Nazi and Confederate) is actually demonstrable. You know, details.

    I’m confident in the idea that freedom and liberty and justice for all is a more powerful, instead of just for a few is a popular and right concept and will not fall to the threat of fringe idiots who fly it

    That’s nice. Do you have any evidence to support this? It’ll have to be pretty good evidence, given the contrary evidence already provided in this thread.

    Incidentally, you may wish to take a look at Popper’s The Open Society and its Enemies; he covers this type of thing quite well, and isn’t actively pissed off at you, so reading it there will spare you quite a lot of nasty remarks and give you some time to digest, and then later, you’ll actually be able to meaningfully discuss things like this. Won’t that be nice?

  139. Tony! The Immorally Inferior Queer Shoop! says

    Reggiedunlap:
    Why are you so wedded to an all or nothing view of free speech? As I mentioned earlier, limits on speech already exist. Freedom of speech is often limited based upon the potential for harm it can cause. There is important context to the situation in ND that you are not addressing. This was not simply someone raising a Nazi flag. This was an overtly racist organization furthering its goal of white supremacy. The flag was a none too subtle statement. They are already there. They have been buying up property. They do not tolerate diversity. They are vile, racist assholes who are that much closer to achieving one of their goals by working within the law. Their views are antithetical to a progressive society.
    You dont condone the theft of their property.
    I will go you one better.
    I do not condone the beliefs, actions and ideology of neo-Nazi’s. When one of their primary goals is creating ‘whites only’ spaces and they seek to expand upon that, the theft and subsequent burning of their flag sends an unambiguous message: their presence will not be tolerated.

    Oh, and btw–also to PZ–I think these women are badass because they not only defied the law, but also deliberately attracted the attention of these Neo Nazi’s to make a strong moral statement. They are deserving of praise and support, not hand wringing over property theft.

  140. Tony! The Immorally Inferior Queer Shoop! says

    Reggiedunlap:
    I think Caine was right.
    Theres a gulf between the events in ND and your life. You speak of freedom, liberty and free speech in abstract (and simplistic) terms. For some people– like those dealing with Neo Nazi’s attempting to create McWhiteyville, USA on their doorstep, there is a greater urgency. You may not be threatened by Neo Nazi’s, but there are people who actually are. They do not have the luxury of sitting around debating the importance of free speech. Did you read the links I provided upthread? The kind of person Cobb is? How serious the Dakota and Lakota take the presence of Neo Nazi’s?

  141. says

    Also, Reggie, some recommended reading: The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder and Other True Stories from the Nebraska-Pine Ridge Border Towns, by Stew Magnuson. There’s one town in particular, called Whiteclay in Nebraska. For a very long time, it was very easy for a white person to murder an Indian without repercussion of any sort. It’s still not that difficult to get away with murdering an Indian in Sheridan county. It’s not that difficult to get away with murdering an Indian pretty much anywhere, certainly not in the Dakotas.

    Indians are already severely disenfranchised, with little power and less money. There are still laws on the books of both North and South Dakota about circumstances in which it’s perfectly legal to murder Indians. Those laws date back a long time, but they’ve never been struck down. It matters, very much, that Cobb chose this particular location. The Dakotas are sparsely populated, and outside of Indians, pretty much whitebread. If neo-nazis get a grip here, it will be bad beyond belief. Refusing to see things from this point of view in favour of “hey, flag, personal property” is not only highly insulting, it’s another slam with a bat on the heads of all the Indians in the Dakotas. We’re already infested with fundamentalists (not quite as bad as SD, but getting there) and people who are quietly racist. It takes little imagination to picture what could happen here, and it’s not idle speculation or flights of fantasy to know that if they do get a grip here, bodies will follow.

  142. says

    Can the Nazis sue these women for the costs of the flag that was destroyed? Probably. Should they be able to do so? I suppose. Does that mean that I cannot condone what they did? Oddly, I still can.

    QFT
    I’m generally always concerned with the cultural and social work an action does. Which means that I don’t want theft to be more legal than it already is*, and I’m not going to say “fuck their rights, they’re Nazis”; because removing legal rights would affect the oppressed populations more than Nazis and other white supremacist shitheads. But stealing something, or defacing property, is not actually weakening those laws, it’s simply transgressing them. The weakening would only come rom normalization, and a single action doesn’t normalize (hence my rejection of the “principle” that if it’s Nazis, it’s ok to violate their legal rights; because not all transgressions committed against Nazis perform more positive than negative sociocultural work), when it is done in exceptional circumstances.
    The most obvious and commonly recited exceptional circumstance in which transgressing against property rights is accepted is theft from hunger. But there are other circumstances (e.g. supporting squatters rights) in which the sociocultural harm of an action is so much less than the benefit, that it is an acceptable exception.

    And in this case, that single action was done by the most oppressed social group in the US, against white supremacists in a white supremacist state**; on what is quite correctly called “stolen land”. The piece of property in question had more symbolic than practical or monetary value, and consequently will not cause physical or material harm to the Nazis. White supremacists are also not an oppressed minority, and the burning of their flags is not a historical symbol of their oppression, nor does it perpetuate structural oppression, against white supremacists. Taken together, this is pure punching up, and as long as it’s treated as an exception to the rules based on the extreme harm-potential difference (White supremacists are always a threat to the lives of tribal members and tribes in general, and the Nazis are the most aggressive and harmful distillation of that), it will have minimal effect on the standard that other people’s property is theirs.

    I’d also like to point out that when atheist billboards are vandalized, the harm doesn’t come because someone’s property was materially damaged. There’s no harm to atheists from that. The harm comes from the act of symbolic attack against a structurally disadvantaged group by a structurally advantaged one. The harm is in re-affirmation of the status of atheists in relation to religionists, and specifically christians. (and secondarily, in the erasure of atheists, when some bit of advertising gets completely destroyed).

    tl;dr: I don’t think “Fuck ‘em, they’r Nazis” is a good rule or principle; I don’t think it should be legal to steal and destroy other people’s stuff. I do think that specific actions that go against those social norms however are acceptable as social exceptions to the rule, given the very particular circumstances. And I think in this case, the circumstances speak definitely for a social exception.

    And if you wanna argue that all of this is special pleading, I’m just going to point out that special pleading is the demand for an exception to the rule without providing reasonable justification for the exception. And the above is provision of justification, whether you agree or not.

    – – – – – – – – – – – –
    *if you think theft is universally illegal in the U.S., let me laugh in your face. It’s only illegal when you’re not very powerful and not stealing from structurally oppressed people.

    **if you don’t think ND is white supremacist, I’d like to point out that a few years back, the ND government banned UND from changing their nickname to something non-racist. As one example.

  143. says

    The people who fly this flag do not have the power and resources of those in Europe who once held a vile nation under it.

    I suspect there are non-white people in the South that would disagree that Southern Racists are less harmful to them than

    They will die off and fade away and there will come a time when it holds no attraction to anyone of a right mind.

    only with aggressive social action that marginalizes the fuck out of these movements.
    now, outlawing them doesn’t do that; and withdrawing legal (and constitutional) rights from them likely wouldn’t, either. But willingness to break the rules in exceptional situations in non-violent ways(AKA civil disobedience) absolutely does.

  144. says

    editing fail.

    I suspect there are non-white people in the South that would disagree that Southern Racists are less harmful to them than Neo-Nazis are in (parts of) Europe.

  145. says

    I’m confident in the idea that freedom and liberty and justice for all is a more powerful, instead of just for a few is a popular and right concept and will not fall to the threat of fringe idiots who fly it

    I don’t understand how people can believe that while living in a world that has never yet provided freedom and liberty and justice for all, and in which regressive forces win on a very regular basis.

  146. says

    Jadehawk:

    I don’t understand how people can believe that while living in a world that has never yet provided freedom and liberty and justice for all, and in which regressive forces win on a very regular basis.

    I’m pretty sure that was an ‘America is the whole world’ statement. Ya know, nazism would never, ever happen in the U.S.! Oh no.

  147. says

    I’m pretty sure that was an ‘America is the whole world’ statement.

    I bet it is. But even then I don’t get it. The US is not a place where everyone has equal rights and justice is equal to everyone. And on various issues, it’s becoming less so.

  148. Nick Gotts says

    I don’t believe I have a right not to be offended. – reggiedunlap@118

    And clearly, you don’t believe others have the right not to be terrorized.

    If there are no actions that these Nazis are committing against others I reluctantly side with people I deplore because I support the rights that strengthen civilization. If they can’t fly their flag then will I be able to draw Muhammed?

    Of course, your right to draw Muhammed is far more important than the right of those such as Pavlos Fyssas not to be murdered by Nazis.

    In a situation where these Nazis are openly trying to set up a white supremacist statelet next to these brave women’s homes, where Nazis in Greece and Hungary are murdering members of minorities and political opponents, where the interior minister in a supposedly Socialist administration in France is calling for the expulsion of Roma people (the Nazis’ other target, beside the Jews, for complete extermination), you show, at best, a toxic combination of privilege and ignorance.

  149. says

    Jadehawk:

    The US is not a place where everyone has equal rights and justice is equal to everyone.

    No, it isn’t. Never has been, either. They are lovely ideals, but they’re just that, not reality.

  150. Nick Gotts says

    I don’t want theft to be more legal than it already is, and I’m not going to say “fuck their rights, they’re Nazis”; because removing legal rights would affect the oppressed populations more than Nazis and other white supremacist shitheads. But stealing something, or defacing property, is not actually weakening those laws, it’s simply transgressing them. – Jadehawk@164

    Agreed; we need laws to protect private property*, but we also need those willing to break them for reasons of principle.

    *As a democratic socialist, I advocate the collective ownership of the major means of production, distribution and exchange. But even under socialism, it would be wrong for me to break into your home or swipe your toothbrush. If you’re an anarchist, substitute “norms” for “laws”.

  151. says

    There’s another thing to consider, Reggie, about having neo-nazis on your doorstep. If you are white, you have protective colouring. As long as you stay quiet, you can stay safe. Other people do not have that option.

  152. kittehserf says

    Caine, so true:

    There’s another thing to consider, Reggie, about having neo-nazis on your doorstep. If you are white, you have protective colouring. As long as you stay quiet, you can stay safe. Other people do not have that option.

    Even with that major piece of camoflague, the protection’s only good if they don’t find out you’re LGBT, or Jewish, or Roma, or non-neurotypical, or childless by choice, or any of the other thousand and one reasons the Nazis found to kill people.

    What’s that, reggiedunlop? Neo-Nazis aren’t killing all those groups? Not yet, maybe. Not en masse. Given the power, they would, just like the originals.

    This willful blindness to what neo-Nazism is about is just … agh, I want to barf my dinner up, and I haven’t even got to my FREEZE PEACH dessert yet.

  153. says

    reggiedunlap

    They will die off and fade away and there will come a time when it holds no attraction to anyone of a right mind.

    In case you didn’t notice, it’s 2013. WWII ended a fucking 68 years ago. All the original Nazis are either dead or very close to it. Those people we’re talking about aren’t some left-over individuals from a dwindling species that faces extinction faste than the poor polar bears. They are here in our time and they are threatening, harming and killing people now.
    And they will not go away if you sit on your ass and dwiddle your thumbs.

    For myself these flags while offensive don’t carry the weight of the former uses.

    So I guess you never had to see your wife and daughters burn. I guess your friends were never blown up. I guess your father was never murdered at work. I guess you were never a frightened teenager who hid in the classroom because there was a bunch of neonazis roaming the schoolyard to beat you up.

  154. consciousness razor says

    reggiedunlap, #156:

    Freedom of speech exists to protect us from tyranny.

    Who are you calling a tyrant? I’m guessing it’s not the fucking Nazis.

    If you restrict speech you are assigning that restriction to people who may or may not be wise. People may agree with me that this flag is deplorable and may conclude further that the flag should be restricted speech, but just because we see eye to eye on the lack of value of the flag does not mean we will agree on all things.

    These women aren’t a fucking government or mega-corporation. They cannot pose any threat to free speech itself, because they are breaking laws not making them or changing them. They destroyed a single fucking Nazi flag, so get a fucking grip. If you’re going so far as to say the Nazis are “powerless,” you can certainly understand how fucking powerless these women are.

    The same people who agree with me on the flag may also conclude that my speech as a non-theist is just as dangerous and subject to the same restriction.

    They would be wrong. The truth makes a big fucking difference, doesn’t it? So why hide your argument behind falsehoods?

    If all ideas and speech can permissible than the speech to denounce the flag and the ideas it represents is also permissible.

    Not everything should be permissible.

    That debate is what makes that flag powerless and a joke and a subject of ridicule.

    Ridicule the Nazis all you like, but don’t underestimate them by calling them “powerless.” At best, you’re lying to yourself. It’d be comforting to believe they’re harmless, but that’s not the truth.

    For horrible ideas that need to be cleaned out I believe that as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” Sunlight will do more to rid us of bigotry than shadows.

    Better yet, we should fly Nazi flags all over the place, just to make sure they get lots and lots of “sunlight.” Fucking bullshitter.

  155. says

    CR:

    Better yet, we should fly Nazi flags all over the place, just to make sure they get lots and lots of “sunlight.” Fucking bullshitter.

    Yep. Yet another area where Reggie is wrong. These men aren’t hiding in the shadows. They’re standing in the sunlight, doing everything they can to attract the attention of neo-nazis everywhere, to come and build Naziwhitesonlytown.

  156. consciousness razor says

    I’m not sure reggiedunlap even realizes part of his argument boils down to this, but it’s definitely fucking absurd:
    1) I don’t think they can do much harm right now.
    2) In fact, I want to make sure they can do more harm, just so everyone can see how harmful they’re being.
    3) Therefore, I want them to do more harm.

  157. consciousness razor says

    Of course, if you just open your fucking eyes, you can already see it, but as I quoted above, the truth of the premises apparently doesn’t matter. Which makes the whole argument pointless, but well… fuck it. Freedom!

  158. Tony! The Immorally Inferior Queer Shoop! says

    Reggiedunlap:
    From the SPLC:

    The Southern Poverty Law Center counted 1,007 active hate groups in the United States in 2012. Only organizations and their chapters known to be active during 2012 are included.

    All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.

    This list was compiled using hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports.

    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/hate-map

    As of 2012, California has the greatest number of hate groups, followed by TX, and FL (yikes, I kive there). These groups are closely followed by the SPLC because they are not disappearing into the mists of eternity. They are active to various degrees and present varying levels of potential harm to various minorities in this country. Members of various marginalized groups have suffered due to the actions of racist organizations. If you have not, I am happy for you. That possibly speaks to privilege on your part. Your experiences are not universal, and your belief that freedom and liberty will prove triumphant is a view that many do not share. What about those lacking that privilege? Do you feel others should be free from the threat of being terrorized?
    I hope you will read the responses to you, especially Jadehawk’s _excellent_ comment @164. I worry that the dismissive attitude with regard to the threat posed by supremacist groups is one shared by too many people.

    Since 2000, the number of hate groups has increased by 67 percent. This surge has been fueled by anger and fear over the nation’s ailing economy, an influx of non-white immigrants, and the diminishing white majority, as symbolized by the election of the nation’s first African-American president.

    These factors also are feeding a powerful resurgence of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement, which in the 1990s led to a string of domestic terrorist plots, including the Oklahoma City bombing. The number of Patriot groups, including armed militias, has grown 813 percent since of the Obama was elected – from 149 in 2008 to 1,360 in 2012.

    This growth in extremism has been aided by mainstream media figures and politicians who have used their platforms to legitimize false propaganda about immigrants and other minorities snumiand spread the kind of paranoid conspiracy theories on which militia groups thrive.
    http://www.splcenter.org/what-we-do/hate-and-extremism

    The rising number of these groups is cause for some concern, not a dismissal of the potential harm they represent.

  159. says

    I agree with Sallystrange and Jadehawk entirely.

    What these women did was illegal, but justifiable and I’d defend them in the end. I’m only vaguely ethnic (I look like a white guy) so I have the fortune of not having to deal with racist asshats who want to kill me for being born of a quarter Native American mother.

    This flag and the Confederate flag are both symbols of racism and oppression and should rightly be declared hate speech. If the cops won’t get off their asses and destroy these objects, then they shouldn’t be surprised when someone else does.

  160. says

    The future teaches you to be alone
    The present to be afraid and cold
    So if I can shoot rabbits
    Then I can shoot fascists

    Bullets for your brain today
    But we’ll forget it all again
    Monuments put from pen to paper
    Turns me into a gutless wonder

    And if you tolerate this
    Then your children will be next
    And if you tolerate this
    Then your children will be next
    Will be next
    Will be next
    Will be next

    Gravity keeps my head down
    Or is it maybe shame
    At being so young and being so vain

    Holes in your head today
    But I’m a pacifist
    I’ve walked La Ramblas
    But not with real intent

    And if you tolerate this
    Then your children will be next
    And if you tolerate this
    Then your children will be next
    Will be next
    Will be next
    Will be next
    Will be next

    And on the street tonight an old man plays
    With newspaper cuttings of his glory days

    And if you tolerate this
    Then your children will be next
    And if you tolerate this
    Then your children will be next
    Will be next
    Will be next
    Will be next

    ===============================

    Glad to see people refusing to tolerate the nazis.

  161. Alex says

    Grandmothers vs. Nazis, a controversial topic if there ever was one…
    And the title of a movie that I would so go to see.

  162. says

    Anyone who thinks Nazis (I refuse to distinguish them from their disgusting forerunners) aren’t a problem today is invited to my apartment for a Scar-viewing session.

    I can show you the knife scar on my forearm from the Nazi-symbol-tattooed guy who attacked me at a bus stop in Toronto, because I kissed my girlfriend in public.

    You’re welcome to see the three scars on my right knuckles, from fighting for my life along with two gay men friends of mine against a trio of assholes with SS-tattoos on their necks.

    You’re welcome to see the one on my head where the beer bottle hit, when I tried to step in and help a young woman in a bar being surrounded by a few of these assholes; I don’t remember how many exactly, because aside from cutting me, it knocked me out.

    I can show you the tooth I lost when I was cold-clocked by one of my fellow soldiers who then shouted “Hitler was right about you fucking fags”, while I was serving in the Canadian Forces in West Germany, as I walked along a corridor to my room to pack my kit, after my arrest for being queer.

    Or, if you don’t wanna come over for the scar parade, you could just take my fucking word for it. Nazis are real, now, here, in our society. They’re not diminishing, they’re not fading away.

    FFS.

  163. says

    Er, “scar-viewing”, not “Scar-viewing”. Although if you want to come over and watch Fullmetal Alchemist, which has a character named Scar, that’d be fun too. Also, not the Lion King dude.

  164. Markita Lynda—threadrupt says

    I believe that grandmothers have or had moral authority and that in some Native American cultures, the peacetime leader was an older woman while the war leader was a man.

  165. says

    Freedom of speech exists to protect us from tyranny.

    …but not from tyranny of the majority, in practice.

    The same people who agree with me on the flag may also conclude that my speech as a non-theist is just as dangerous and subject to the same restriction.

    And space aliens might land tommorrow.

    Sunlight will do more to rid us of bigotry than shadows.

    Meaningless fucking platitudes from a honkey are not inspiring to those of us who deal with the effects of this bullshit.

  166. freemage says

    A. Noyd: Depends on how you go about it. This guy, unfortunately, seems to have a fairly solid plan, from the legal angle. You can’t restrict sales based on race, but if you’re gifting the plots of land to people, you can give them to whomever you want. So buy a plot, give it to David Duke, and move on.

    Unless he’s careless, and accepting donations from people who receive the plots of land, he’s pretty much clear. (If Duke gives him a thousand dollars, and he turns over a plot of land to Duke, that could arguably be a sale, and federal law forbids racial discrimination in land sales.)

    Now, this does make his strategy vulnerable. An organization with some financial pull–say, the NAACP–could turn around and start buying up plots, as well.

    Alternately (and this would tickle me to no end), the state and federal government could let the plan succeed–then decide to turn the entire area over to the Lakotas in order to honor the spirit of the treaty. Eminent domain misused for good. I’m comfortable with that.

  167. Alyosha says

    In the late nineties, when I was thirteen, there was a political movement which had gained quite a groundswell in my state even amongst my increasingly liberal-minded parents. The party was One Nation and their platform was anti-immigrant. Aboriginal people and culture were denigrated in a way which caused controversy but which resonated with people who desired to have some scapegoat for society’s ills. I think more than anything, it merely granted average people with inferiority complexes the ability to look down on someone- the swarthier races, mostly.
    Whether it was the zeitgeist or some desire to impose meaning on my confusing adolescent world, I pored over the history of the Second World War and somehow arrived at a position in which I identified with the Nazis. Effectively, I would have called myself a National Socialist. And racist too, though I was still somehow aware that my beliefs of white supremacy were faulty.
    I consider myself fully rehabilitated of my youthful dabblings and the shame I feel on account of my enthusiasms of the time are tempered by the appreciation of the mindset in retrospect.
    I grew out of Nazism as I grew up. When I hear people suggest that the Nazis of the Third Reich were an aberration or that they will never assume the proportions they once enjoyed I argue otherwise.
    It is true that racists have the imagination and mental age of an adolescent as I was, only some never shed their mad ideas and go on to allow those prejudices to inform their political ideals.
    You cannot kill that evil mind virus because it evolves with prevailing mores, somehow remaining in the population in some form even after all outward signs of acceptance and tolerance has been removed by the work of progressive generations.
    Now when I think of the swastika being flown in earnest and without irony I see a symbol that needs to be effaced. Coup counted.

  168. iowabiologist says

    There’s a famous example of this type of protest from history:

    Spanish Civil War veteran Bill Bailey tells his story here: Ripping the Swastika off the Bremen

    From Wikipedia

    “Bill Bailey (1911–1995) was an Irish-American labour activist, who spent some time fighting for the Republican forces in the International Brigades during the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War.

    As a merchant seaman, Bailey stole the swastika that flew from the bow of the German ship Bremen docked in Manhattan in 1935. The Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels issued an angry statement, so New York’s mayor, La Guardia, sent ten detectives to the German consulate. These were all Jewish detectives – with names the like of Goldfarb and Ginsburg. Goebbels thought this was the biggest insult. He said, “We don’t want these inferior bastards to guard any of our people.”… “

  169. says

    Thanks for saying so, Alyosha, @195. I think the point is made more clearly when someone who’s been victimized speaks alongside someone who used to be part of the victimizers (but has come to regret and learnt better, obvs).

    Thanks to all who have offered sympathy, I do appreciate it, but I don’t want to make this into the ‘bad-things-happened-to-white-skinned-blue-eyed-English-Caitie’ thread, because the people we’re talking about here are the First Nations grandmas who went and did some brave and civilly disobedient in the face of people who (as my anecdote was only meant to support) really-existing Nazis who are a really-existing threat to them right now. I’m still walking around(-ish), the last person killed by Nazis in my family was in 1941.

    Nazis kill people in the US now, like a distant cousin of a (recently ex-football/soccer) teammate of mine who died in that attack.

    So if I might suggest we retain a focus on the topic, which is a reasonable fear of their horrible new neighbours, responded to in a brilliantly awesome way by some of my fellow grandmothers.

  170. george gonzalez says

    Didn’t some Indian tribes use the reversed swastika as a symbol on their blankets?

    If so, these ladies could just flip over the flag and use it as a culturally-appropriate decoration.

    Or not.

  171. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    198
    george gonzalez

    26 September 2013 at 4:08 pm (UTC -5)

    Didn’t some Indian tribes use the reversed swastika as a symbol on their blankets?

    Looks like you should’ve read the thread first, lazy ass.

    If so, these ladies could just flip over the flag and use it as a culturally-appropriate decoration.

    Or not.

    Because nothing else makes up the Nazi flag? It’s not like there’s the whole red background, black and white stripes with a cross in the corner.

    Nope, ignore all that to make a stupid comment like they burned a free floating context free swastica.

    Dumbass.

  172. says

    george gonzalez:

    If so, these ladies could just flip over the flag and use it as a culturally-appropriate decoration.

    You know, if you had bothered to read the thread, George, you would have realized that there are a number of Indians participating. I’m one of them, and I do not appreciate your idiotic, offensive comment. Honestly, if you can’t think of a single intelligent thing to say, keep your fingers off the fucking keyboard.

  173. Jackie Papercuts says

    This reminds my of the Holly Near song, 1,000 Grandmothers.
    It also reminds me of my own grandmother and of a Marilyn French quote: “All the women I know feel a little like outlaws.”

  174. cicely says

    CaitieCat, I’m so sorry those things happened to you.
    They should not happen to anybody.
    *hugs*

    I read that there is some thought among the residents of Leith that if the proposed take-over looks like succeeding, they might disencorporate (possibly not the right word) the town, merge it into the County.
    I’m not sure I see how this would help.
    -

  175. says

    Cicely:

    I’m not sure I see how this would help.

    If it’s merged into the county, the land can be annexed by the county. That little trick was used to shut down a ‘you can buy booze on Sundays!’ liquor store just outside the Bismarck city limits some years back. Burleigh county got the land, and annexed it, shutting it down.

  176. cicely says

    Ah.
    I’m hazy on the whole incorporation thing—in the wake of such annexation, what (if anything) would prevent the Nazis from incorporating their own shiny new town? I assume that the county would have to allow it, but it sounds as if ND already has a pretty substantial racist base-culture (today is a really sucky day in my Vocabulary Banks; I’m sure this could be better said, but atm, I can’t find it), and if there’s nothing specifically forbidding town incorporation along racist lines, couldn’t they get sympathetic county officials to rubberstamp it?
    -

  177. says

    Cicely, that I don’t know. I’m rather hazy on those issues myself. Personally, I think the best thing to do would be to give the land back to the Hunkpapa, as it’s theirs anyway, and have it incorporated into Standing Rock rez.

  178. Ingdigo Jump says

    Nazis remain a major criminal organization in the US ffs.

    Also let me remind you these are people who know the full picture of WWII, Hitler and the Holocaust, and voluntarily opt in to that side. They don’t have the factors of nationalism, military draft, ignorance, etc etc that ACTUAL fucking Nazis might have had to mitigate blame. This is a group that is self selected to be amoungst THE worst people our species has produced

  179. Ingdigo Jump says

    Also what are the Nazis going to do? Complain that destruction of property and censoring freespeech is bad?

  180. vaiyt says

    I’m confident in the idea that freedom and liberty and justice for all is a more powerful, instead of just for a few is a popular and right concept and will not fall to the threat of fringe idiots who fly it

    But you’re not defending freedom and liberty and justice for all, just for those with the societal clout to impose themselves. Freedom for the Nazis is, to you, more important than justice for the Dakotas.

  181. hiddenheart says

    One more bit of context: Last year, Republicans in the House voted overwhelmingly against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, and one of their major bones of contention was it extending a bit more protection to Native Americans at risk of violence from whites exploiting jurisdictional loopholes. That’s something the Nazis in North Dakota know, that a solid majority of one of the two major parties doesn’t want it to be any harder for them to rape and murder people like those grandmas and is willing to work hard to try to stop others rom changing it. Flying the Nazi flag doesn’t just say “we want to crush you”, it’s also a reminder that genuinely powerful people have the haters’ backs.

    Resistance is therefore all the more in order.

  182. kayden says

    Really love that photo. Four strong women fighting back against racists. I’m proud of them. Haven’t gotten a chance to read all the comments, but I have to say that I strongly disagree with PZ’s post. There is absolutely nothing to wince about. I wish the good people of North Dakota all the best as they fight against those White Supremacists.

  183. says

    hiddenheart:

    That’s something the Nazis in North Dakota know, that a solid majority of one of the two major parties doesn’t want it to be any harder for them to rape and murder people like those grandmas and is willing to work hard to try to stop others rom changing it.

    True, and a very important point. This is yet another reason to stop this attempt to build nazitown here, and everywhere.

  184. kittehserf says

    Jadehawk @177 – thank you for that link We heard precious little about the Sikh temple killing out here, and I’m not sure it was mentioned that a white supremacist did it. :(

    I was thinking en masse as in huge numbers of people, but yeah … one is too many.

  185. says

    @hiddenheart: That’s a very good point, about the VAWA reauthorization.

    There really isn’t anything in US politics that the Tea Party can’t drop a tremendous turd on, is there? Especially when too many Dems are willing to say, “Well, we’d crap on $ISSUE too, just, y’know, slightly less, at least while there’s an election coming. But we’re not weak on $ISSUE, no sir, so vote for us, so you too can have a slightly smaller turd.”

  186. says

    Kittehserf:

    I was thinking en masse as in huge numbers of people, but yeah … one is too many.

    I think the current situation in ND exemplifies both – it’s obvious that many neo-nazis or white supremacists are willing to kill, and often do, while there is always an ongoing effort to organize en masse.