Outing Nazis Might Lose its Sting

I love the idea of outing nazis, allowing their personal race terrorism to affect their professional lives the way it should. The problem is that as this happens more often – as white supremacy is more normalized and accepted in mainstream society – employers are going to become much less likely to fire or otherwise penalize these people. It’s still useful, because, say, if we had a database of professionals who are racist, we could help steer clear of them and impact their business from the outside. Boycotts and the like. Likewise, knowing which health care providers are misogynists could be of great utility. Hmm. I don’t have a fully formed thesis here, just things to consider. I’m still considering.


  1. says

    employers are going to become much less likely to fire or otherwise penalize these people

    There’s a lot of case law regarding hostile workplace that’d have to be overturned. There’s no way having an avowed racist in the workplace doesn’t make it “hostile” to minorities, so companies will face lawsuits and human resources hell. I can’t see any responsible human resources director or corporate legal counsel signing off on not firing or penalizing racists.

  2. Great American Satan says

    There are also a lot of situations in which something may violate a law but no one is going to have the fiscal or emotional resources to pursue the lawsuit, or necessarily know about / think to call the EEOC. But things are pretty wild now, lot of people learning about stuff they didn’t know before, maybe I’m sweatin’ a nothing kind of problem.

    It just freaks me out still that literal anti-semites can occupy the highest positions in our government now. The needle got moved, whatever standards that existed before have been destroyed. Freaky.

  3. sonofrojblake says

    There’s no way having an avowed racist in the workplace doesn’t make it “hostile” to minorities

    To what extent is an employee allowed to hold a personal political opinion? If I know, for example, that the chap who cuts my hair is a member of the BNP, I shall choose to go to a different barber. But that’s obviously my right as a customer.

    If my barber is an immaculate liberal and discovers one of his employees is a member of the BNP, but that employee always does a perfectly acceptable job cutting the hair of anyone who walks in, regardless of their ethnicity, what justification does he have firing that person or otherwise penalising them?

    I realise that in the land of the free, employers in a lot of cases don’t actually need pesky things like “justification” for firing people. But morally, where does an employer get off policing the thoughts of their minions? And where does it stop? Obviously we don’t like Nazis. We don’t like the BNP. The EDL are of a piece. What about UKIP? Come to that, what about the Conservative party in the UK – they’re to the left of the US Democrats in many ways, but they’re still “the nasty party”, as our Prime Minister herself once acknowledged in a speech to conference. (See also Stewart Lee’s very first quote here: https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Stewart_Lee) Could you fire someone for being a Tory? What about for being a Christian? Muslim? Jew?

    Fire (or don’t hire) people based on their actions, sure, but the very idea of

    a database of professionals who are racist

    is terrifyingly Orwellian. Who judges?

  4. sonofrojblake says

    Then again,

    a database of professionals who are racist

    would likely quickly become a method for the efficient transfer of large quantities of money out of the pockets of liberals and into the pockets of “deplorables” and their lawyers. Or if not that (what with the truth being a defence for libel), another inevitable result would be the transfer of any money said liberals had left into the pockets of the people they’d misidentified as racists – people with the same profession and similar name, for instance. Bleating “it was a typo, we meant “Computer security consultant Marcus HANNAN is a massive horrible racist, and we’re really very sorry you lost all that business because we spelled it “Ranum” and didn’t check…” probably won’t cut it in court.

  5. Great American Satan says

    Son of Roj –

    I thought I might get a response like this and I see your points on one hand, but on the other, there are misogynist gynecologists (a certain slyme pitter comes to mind), there are transphobes entrusted with the mental health of trans people, there are many police who are literally members of race terrorist organizations that our gov is doing fuck-all to stop, and just got a heaping dose of sympathy and support appointed at the top.

    There are problems with the idea, yes, but what the fuck else are we supposed to do when ALL OF THE LEVERS OF POWER IN THIS SHITASS COUNTRY ARE IN THE HANDS OF FUCKING LITERAL NAZI SYMPATHIZERS? Where they successfully stole hundreds of thousands of votes from black people during Obama’s presidency and now we have no choice but to sit back and drink in the results?

    Give me a solution, dude. Until the system actually works like it’s supposed to, imperfect answers are all we get. Until we get reasonable gun control laws, it could well be endangering our own lives by owning guns is the best answer to the problem of nazis stockpiling assault rifles. We’re running out of options.

    And by the way,

    To what extent is an employee allowed to hold a personal political opinion?

    Racism isn’t a personal political opinion. It’s a violent ideology that causes real harm to its victims. Ditto sexism, transphobia, and so on.

  6. Great American Satan says

    Not to flex too hard tho. Everything you said is definitely valid, though I find orwellian very overused (especially by freeze peachers) and annoying these days, and I *really* don’t think racism and such should be regarded as the equivalent of a political affiliation.

  7. sonofrojblake says

    In order:
    Misogynist gynecologist? Should be dealt with via a complaint to their regulatory board, who, if there is evidence of malpractice, can have them struck off. Ditto mental health professionals. Don’t know about the US, but in the UK police do, in fact, have their political affiliations limited, although they’re almost the only profession who do. All that seems appropriate.


    The glib answer is you have a number of options. The obvious ones appear to be:
    1. suck it up, buttercup, that’s democracy.
    2. if you consider the country so “shitass”, leave
    3. revolt.
    4. Er…
    5. That’s it.

    Racism isn’t ONLY a personal political opinion

    Fixed it for you. Racism can be someone’s defining political opinion… but the fact is, those people are tiny minority. Your problem as a nation is the large number of people for whom racism is simply something they don’t care about. They don’t AGREE with it, per se, it’s simply not a deal-breaker. They’re the ones manipulated by the literal Nazis to bring you to where you are. They’re the ones you have to reach. And you won’t reach them by policing their thoughts, because then you do literally come across like the bogeymen the Nazis try to make you out to be.

    I find Orwellian overused, but when you advocate keeping a database of people based on their political views with the express intention of punishing them for those views, what other word would you use?

  8. Great American Satan says

    if there is evidence of malpractice

    We have to wait until someone who has beliefs antithetical to their profession acts them out in a legally provable fashion… Thing is, so much of what can be done wrong is so fucking hard to prove. It’s your word against theirs if all they did was say something creepy while they were inside you, if they caused you grievous pain but didn’t leave a scar. Word of mouth is often a better recourse than the legal system when it comes to actually protecting people, sometimes that word of mouth might have to be online. It’s been famously and controversially advocated elsewhere on this network. Did you oppose that as well? Just curious.

    glib answers

    Ah yes, just leave, just leverage political power that has systemically been stripped away from you. Because that’s so easy for the economically disadvantaged, for the young, for the weak, for precisely the people who are most impacted by bad government.

    you won’t reach them by policing their thoughts

    I don’t know that reaching them is the answer. The nazis in chief have proven weak democracy is too easily hijacked, so is democracy even a tool that can be used here? Maybe a strong democracy could be a reasonable end goal (one with better protection than ours ever had), but then Brexit was a destructive xenophobic referendum decided by direct popular vote, wasn’t it? I don’t have an answer. As for thought policing, I’ll get back to that in a minute.


    Even if something seems similar to something the villains did in an Orwell piece, it isn’t necessarily evil. Orwell wasn’t a saint or prophet or super genius, even if a lot of what he said was accurate. Certainly he was no advocate of revolution – they never worked in his stories, as far as I recall – and revolution may be what we need. Considering the noisiest advocates of free speech are precisely the people that use it to abuse people for masturbation fodder (le slyme), considering that’s the quarter I’ve most often heard that complaint from, I’m pretty much done with the word. Trump could put mandatory TVs with his image & surveillance cams in every home, and I’d probably go for a different adjective.

    For that matter, reflecting on Orwell, he was a bit like Kafka in presenting a terrible aspect of human nature without proposing anything resembling a solution, so it isn’t very useful to invoke him, except to say people suck and we’re all fucked. There’s more hope, if perhaps more danger, in invoking radicals that are doing things. Not to say people shouldn’t read bleak material, but it’s not what I want to hear right now.

    punishing them for those views

    Nyehh if someone holds views that are a direct danger to people being put at their mercy, the endangered ones should have a right to know. To the extent that’s “thought policing,” I am absolutely in favor of it. Also in favor of “social engineering.” Really, that’s the crux of my view here and the main thing we have an impassable disagreement about, right?

  9. sonofrojblake says

    We have to wait until someone who has beliefs antithetical to their profession acts them out in a legally provable fashion…

    Well… yes. Because there’s a word for the alternative, and that word is thoughtcrime. But we’re back at the O word again, and if you won’t concede policing thoughts is evil I agree there’s not much to talk about.

    Word of mouth is often a better recourse than the legal system when it comes to actually protecting people

    I get that. It’s an understandable response to a justice system aimed at protecting the innocent individual from the state, and therefore stacked in favour of people accused of crimes, with that pesky “innocent until proven guilty” standard they use. And I’ll even say I agree with it – but only if there are strong libel/slander laws in place and full financial legal aid available to allow anyone unjustly accused to ruin their accusers (and full legal aid to allow accusers to defend themselves). The alternative is either one rule for the rich (which is what we have in the UK, where taking libel to court is ruinously expensive so only the rich can do it) or rule by the whispering mob who can accuse with impunity. That way, if someone accuses you anonymously of something egregious and you feel damaged by it, you can drag them to court and make them pay… or possibly just send a threatening lawyer’s letter to whoever published their accusation, then let the matter drop when they ignore you, allowing anyone watching to draw their own conclusions about how strong you think your case would be in court…

    is democracy even a tool that can be used here?

    See option (3). So… are you planning armed sedition, or what?

  10. Great American Satan says

    On point one, coo, that’s done then.

    On point two, hey, I’ve been raised on cop shows and movies which have veered wildly between treating “innocent until proven guilty” as holy writ and making it seem like the world would be a better place if cops didn’t have any laws between them and bigger body counts. I’m not sure what to believe, but I know that treating the legal treatises of the (notably white male-dominated and slavetastic) Enlightenment era as sacrosanct didn’t keep us from this shituation, and it has rather severely weakened my admiration for those principles.

    On point three, I’ve laid out my principles on the subject before. For some people, resistance will be a matter of doing small illegal things every day. For some people, a big illegal thing just once. For some people, it could involve taking up arms. We’re a nation of radical individualists in both directions. We’ve spent the last eight years and this election cycle listening to both tacit and explicit endorsements of assassination from right wingers, and I haven’t gone there from my own radical wing, but I’m not automatically going to shit on anyone who does.

  11. sonofrojblake says

    Interesting. I’ve a number of acquaintances who have expressed the opinion that Trump won’t survive his first term. I’ve one who’s actively surprised he’s going to make it as far as the inauguration without a high-speed lead implant. I’ve pointed out to these people that in general the people with the guns are the people who voted FOR him, so as long as he doesn’t alienate them completely, he’s probably safe from actual assassins. Have I misjudged, do you think? I guess it only takes one…

  12. Great American Satan says

    I generally agree with you and probably for similar reasons. I think progressives and even tepid shitty liberals are generally too decent of humans to engage in the violence that the trump nazis love. However, when sufficiently alarmed, enraged, backed into a corner, we start thinking about armed resistance, same as anyone. Given the similarities between Trump’s behavior and openly fascist dictators of the past, a lot of us are considering what will ultimately become necessary. Some come to conclusions like, “oh we can win this with non-violent means.” Some won’t.

    I recently read this article which had some interesting history on individuals in resistance and collusion, how they made their choices and when. Someone who started trying to work within the system to ameliorate suffering ultimately ended up smuggling guns to resistance fighters. That someone even thought to write that article shows we aren’t taking this lightly, are maybe entertaining unusual possibilities.

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