I Disapprove of What You Say, But I Will Defend to the Death Your Right to Say It


How often have you heard those fiercely principle free speech activists say that? Too often. How often do they actually mean it? Rarely.

Here’s a perfect example.

On March 3, a small team of conservative activists converged on Revolution Books in Berkeley, Calif. live-streaming their actions on Facebook with this description: “Infiltrating Berkeley’s Marxist Hive.”

“Fucking Commie scum,” shouted one conservative activist, taunting the bookstore employees who met them at the door. He wore an American flag on his shoulders and a “Make America Great Again” hat. “We’re gonna burn down your bookstore, you know that right? he said.

I’ve been to Revolution Books in LA, and they also have stores in New York and Chicago that I know of. I like the people there. They also have a thoughtful and wide range of books, and they’re about more than just selling books — they’re community activists, and they work hard to support the poor, ex-cons, anyone. They’re about as Christ-like an organization as you’ll find anywhere, far more so than most churches. So it’s shocking/not shocking at all to see the MAGA crowd threatening to burn them down, and actually making prolonged assaults on their right to exist.

Marxism is at the heart of the bookstore, founded upon the ideals of Bob Avakian, the chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party and author of The New Communism. These values make the store a favorite target of conservative activists, and 2017 brought a wave of intimidation and confrontation. Last September, conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos made a brief visit to Berkeley, an event that drew police from around the region. That evening, a band of between 30 and 40 right-wing activists stormed Revolution Books. The attackers also recorded that episode on video, rattling windows and confronting patrons.

Following that initial incident, activists orchestrated eight more visits to the store—posting their exploits in online videos. In one clip, a protester elbows a bookstore supporter in the face, smashing his glasses.

The harassment extends beyond physical confrontations. Right-wing activists also “dox” their targets, sharing opponents’ personal information online. In digital forums, these activists have released contact information for bookstore employees, patrons, and supporters. Revolution Books has received up to 60 calls a day from people mocking or threatening the store.

OK, I can’t get into Bob Avakian myself; if you don’t either, fine. But that shouldn’t matter. How can you use free speech to such an extent that you demand that Nazis be given free reign, while threatening and harassing people who sell books? The alt-right has killed people; Revolution Books offers them employment, help, and information. Yet I’ve heard almost nothing until now about this kind of abuse.

The “free speech” pretense is all a lie.

Comments

  1. whheydt says

    What do the RWNJs expect in Berkeley? I used to live “next door” in Albany (and would jump at the chance to do so again) and several of the local jokes revolve around “The People’s Republic of Berkeley”, but they aren’t meant in a mean way. Can’t say that I was ever in Revolution Books, but I used to pass it regularly when going to The Other Change of Hobbit when they were both in the same building.

  2. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The “free speech” pretense is all a lie.

    The use of it is often a lie, but it itself is not a lie.

  3. ethereal says

    Whoa, Publishers Weekly are cowardly trash. “Conservative activists” my ass. Nazi terrorists.

  4. nomdeplume says

    “Free speech” means “free speech for the right in any venue they demand to speak, and NO speech for the left”.

    And, sorry PZ, but I think it’s “free rein” not “free reign”….

  5. anxionnat says

    I live in Berkeley, and I’m a volunteer at the Friends of the Berkeley Public Library Bookstore. We are right across the corridor from Revolution Books. (To reply to the previous commentator: we are where The Other Change of Hobbit used to be, but we’ve expanded their space about 4 times.) Since Revolution Books pre-dated our arrival–more than 20 years ago–they had lots of experience that some of us volunteers initially didn’t have, so when we had questions that nobody could answer, one of us would pop across to Revolution Books, and ask them. They were often able to help us out with our conundrums. Both our bookstore and Revolution Books get book donations, and I can’t count the number of times we got books that would fit more easily on their shelves (like classics of Marxist or communist thought); the same happened in their case. So we would bring books to them, and they to us.They borrow our unused tables for outside displays, and many other cooperative actions of mutual benefit. The city of Berkeley, which owns the parking garage (we are both on the ground floor breezeway of the garage) considers Revolution Books and the Friends of the Library Bookstore to be the anchor businesses of our breezeway. We two are certainly the most long-established businesses in our area. There are not many Trump supporters in the SF Bay Area (I could count the number of Trump signs/bumper stickers/t-shirts I’ve seen on one hand and still have 3 or 4 fingers left over), so I wouldn’t be surprised if these Trump supporters came from elsewhere, just to make trouble–as the white supremacists/fascists have done. Revolution Books does a lot of good things in our community, like sponsor interesting talks, and so on. I don’t always agree with their politics (I’m a socialist, but not an RCP member) but the fact remains that Revolution Books is a valuable member of the Berkeley community. I believe the other volunteers at the Friends of the Library Bookstore (and we are all volunteers, all 50 or so of us) would agree with my assessment of our long-time neighbor.

  6. microraptor says

    I’m sure the real problem was that the bookstore employees failed to have a rational conversation with the violent mob that keeps threatening them.

  7. thirdmill says

    What Enlightenment Liberal said.

    I’m appalled at suppression by thuggery of speech, whether it be right-wing speech or left wing speech. Because I frankly resent the notion that anyone has the right to decide for me which views I get to listen to. It’s wrong when it happens to Revolution Books and it’s wrong when it happens to conservative speakers at universities. Let me choose for myself whom I wish to hear

  8. Saad says

    thirdmill, #8

    Let me choose for myself whom I wish to hear

    It’s not only about what you want to hear.

  9. billyjoe says

    PZMyers,

    How can you use free speech to such an extent that you demand that Nazis be given free reign, while threatening and harassing people who sell books? The alt-right has killed people.

    I’m not sure if I understand.

    Extending free speech to Nazis and the alt-right does not necessarily mean supporting Nazis threatening or harassing people and the alt-right killing people.
    Do you mean that extending free speech to Nazis and the alt-right contributes to Nazis harassing and threatening people and the alt-right killing people?
    Do you mean that we should therefore not extend free speech to Nazis and the alt-right?

  10. billyjoe says

    Saad,

    It’s not only about what you want to hear.

    I don’t think thirdmill said that.
    But it is part of, or a corollary of, free speech – a person’s right to hear what another person has to say.

  11. patricklinnen says

    From Karl Popper;
    “Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.”

    @EnlightenmentLiberal
    PZ Myers is describing the Freeze Peach movement. Any resemblance to actual free speech is laughable.
    @thirdmill
    Attributing ‘suppression of speech by thuggery of speech’ to both the left and the right is ‘Both Sides’-ism. Broder (WaPo) made his chops doing this. Brooks (NYT) is still doing this. The fact that you feel the need to listen to ““Fucking Commie scum. We’re gonna burn down your bookstore, you know that right? ” and balances the existence of Marxist bookstore is telling.

  12. patricklinnen says

    12@billyJoe
    ‘Freedom of Speech’ is never the right to ‘Have an Audience’

  13. unclefrogy says

    well it is a fact that there are some restrictions to free speach a reasonable one I think all can agree to is you do not get to yell “fire” in a crowded theater. there are restrictions on speech that is harassing. I think another reasonable restriction would be speech that is threatening and intimidating.
    the right wing criers for free speech seldom fail to object to every other person that wants to talk about anything that they disagree with, and as this example it goes double for alt-right thugs, threats and intimidation is just fine with them but don’t you object Oh No! free speech!!
    #7 it must be hard to talk with your tongue jammed so far into your cheek!

    uncle frogy

  14. says

    A good working definition of terrorism is the use of violence to achieve political ends. That describes these Alt-Right Nazis perfectly. The only reason they aren’t in the deepest darkest foulest maximum security prison possible is that white fascists aren’t considered terrorists. Like white school shooters they simply have mental problems.

  15. vucodlak says

    @ billyjoe, #11

    Extending free speech to Nazis and the alt-right does not necessarily mean supporting Nazis threatening or harassing people and the alt-right killing people.

    Nazi speech has one goal: promoting Nazism. Nazism has one goal: the extermination of all non-Nazis. There is a direct link from allowing Nazis to be speak freely and the death of millions of people.

    If non-Nazis tolerate Nazis their thanks will be a spot in a mass grave, right on top of all the people who told them they were being foolish by letting Nazis be.

    In response to your questions:
    I can’t speak for PZ but yes, extending free speech to Nazis/Alt-righters contributes to those groups’ ability to harass and kill people. The answer to your next question should therefore be obvious.

    If someone is screaming in your face that they want to kill you, don’t hand them the reins to an angry mob.

  16. says

    @14, patricklinnen

    Freedom of Speech’ is never the right to ‘Have an Audience’

    Reminds me of an awful quote I saw the other day. It went “if freedom is to mean anything, surely it means the freedom to tell people what they do not with to hear”

    I was like, wut, that’s literally a violation of someone’s freedom to only hear what they want. They literally failed to grasp “freedom ends at the other person’s nose”.

    I just googled and found it on a website that awarded it “the Orwell Youth Prize”. With a name like that, I thought they’d see through this quote as the doublespeak that it is. Nope!

    https://www.orwellfoundation.com/the-orwell-youth-prize/abouttheyouthprize/previous-winners-youth/2016-winners/if-liberty-means-anything-at-all-it-means-the-right-to-tell-people-what-they-do-not-want-to-hear-alexander-butcher/

    Of course, they defend it by talking about something completely different: the freedom to listen, the role of authorities, and online harassment (that silences people). None of these can change the fact that if you don’t want to hear someone, you should have the freedom to choose to “mute” them, etc. (even “the freedom to say such and such” is a red herring to this point: you can say whatever you like, yet I personally should be free not to hear it. Again, freedom ends at the other person’s nose, surely)

  17. says

    @17, vucodlak

    Nazi speech has one goal: promoting Nazism. Nazism has one goal: the extermination of all non-Nazis.

    Oh good, finally a way to precisely identify who is a Nazi, and what constitutes Nazi speech! :P

    So it sounds like we could handle that by simply having rules against incitements to violence, planning violence, harassment, etc. All such Nazi-speech would be illegal.

    Which looks like it’s exactly what you quoted billyjoe saying? But you were disagreeing?

    Maybe you could clarify your position, and how it compares?

  18. says

    *I shouldn’t have joked, that will confuse people. To clear it up: if those are the goals of Nazism and Nazi-speech, the rest of my comment is on the right track I think.

  19. vucodlak says

    @ Brian Pansky, #19

    Billyjoe seems to be under the impression that one can, publicly, be a Nazi and not threaten, harass, or kill people. This is false. One cannot spout that garbage without threatening, because the whole core of Nazism is the intent to slaughter everyone different from themselves.

    You cannot grant Nazis the freedom to do anything that marks them as actual Nazis in public without providing tacit support for their goals. They want to believe that shit in foul confines of their skulls, or talk about it in their homes, then they can do that. But the moment they set foot outside wearing their colors, shouting their slogans, and popping off their salutes, they are threatening every person who has the decency and sense to reject their hideous ideology.

    If you make laws against incitements to violence and harassment, you are de facto outlawing Nazism, not just “Nazi-speech.” It doesn’t matter if all they’re doing is marching down the street in SS uniforms under the hakenkreuz, smiling and waving and handing out flowers; they’re still making a threat.

  20. simply not edible says

    Well, it’s clear they will defend your free speech to the death. They just don’t specify whose death it’s supposed to be.

  21. voidhawk says

    @18, Brian Pansky

    I always interpreted that quote to mean that “if freedom is to mean anything, surely it means the freedom to say what people do not wish to hear”

    That is, if you don’t like someone saying something, you shouldn’t be able to shut them up, but it doesn’t mean you have to listen.

  22. says

    Extending free speech to Nazis and the alt-right does not necessarily mean supporting Nazis threatening or harassing people and the alt-right killing people.

    1. This isn’t so much about “Freedom of Speech” but about those awful people who throw a temper tantrum, every time students protest that a university basically supports Horrible people with goals that endanger other people by inviting them (and sometimes even paying them). Universities aren’t speakers corner. A university gig means a certain endorsement as “ideas worth of public discussion”.
    Yet you see those people never even retweet something whenever the target isn’t a particularly hateful right winger. There are college professors who are being threatened, who are being disciplined by their universities for their activism, yet a fucking TA misusing class time to promote Peterson is a Very Important Issue.
    Or students being threatened by their schools for protesting gun violence.
    2. Everything the others said about Nazis and free speech. You cannot eradicate nazism by politely discussing their ideas. If so it would never have come to the Holocaust. Whenever fascism has been stopped it was by massive organising and resistance. that doesn’t mean that education doesn’t happen, but it doesn’t happen in discussion with Nazis, just like educating people about science doesn’t happen in discussions with creationists.
    That’s because lies are simple and truth is hard.
    What you do is create a climate where it is clear that being a Nazi gets you kicked out of polite society and we’re rapidly losing that, also thanks to people going on endlessly about those poor Nazis’ free speech. I German we call you a “Steigbügelhalter des Faschismus”, holding the stirrups for fascism. Sure, you’re not riding that horse yourself, and you disagree with them, but you make sure they can reach their genocidal goals anyway.

  23. Saad says

    billyjoe, #12

    But it is part of, or a corollary of, free speech – a person’s right to hear what another person has to say.

    Uh huh. And people like Richard Spencer or Milo have gatherings where they speak, have groups that invite them to speak, have podcasts/articles/social media accounts/books where they speak their mind for all those who wish to hear. Attend their conventions, listen to their podcasts, follow their social media, buy their books.

    Your “right” to hear people speak about ethnic cleansing or demonizing and promoting the oppression of trans people is nothing compared to my right to feel as safe from harassment and bigotry in my own community and university as the cishet white dude who sits next to me in chemistry class. This isn’t an intellectual exercise or a political science theory book. It’s our real life. The fact that I look a certain way and have a certain name doesn’t mean I must now learn to put up with the hate crimes, hate speech, vandalism and violence that these people promote against me and other marginalized groups. It certainly doesn’t mean I have to put up with them just so you could exercise your “right” to hear them at a place that’s supposed to be my community too. Go to their fucking conventions and gatherings.

    The “right/wish to hear” stuff is transparent garbage. You can hear them whenever the fuck you want. A university refusing to host them or dis-inviting them isn’t doing jack shit to hinder that “right”.

  24. Dunc says

    It’s wrong when it happens to Revolution Books and it’s wrong when it happens to conservative speakers at universities.

    False equivalence. Running your own bookstore is not the same as being invited (and paid a substantial amount of money) to speak at a university event. I don’t see a lot of revolutionary Marxists getting those sorts of invitations…

  25. thirdmill says

    Patricklinnen, No. 13:
    I didn’t say that both sides do it just as often, but my point is that it’s wrong whenever either side does it, however often that may be. I have the right to decide for myself which viewpoints I will listen to. If you don’t like Revolution Books, then don’t go there, and if you don’t like Christina Hoff Sommers, then don’t go to hear her. But don’t tell me that I can’t listen to what either of them has to say and then decide for myself. Which is also my response to Dunc, No. 28. And Dunc, if revolutionary marxists aren’t getting these invitations, the solution is to start inviting them; I’ll be just as outraged if conservatives try to forcibly shut them down as I am over what happened to Christina Hoff Sommers.

    Saad, you might have a point if the speech being suppressed were limited to speech that threatens your physical safety, but that’s not what is happening. Much right wing speech may be stupid, but poses no actual threat.

  26. chrislawson says

    thirdmill–

    Right wing speech poses no actual threat? Tell that to the victims of gun violence. Tell it to the women who are being denied access to abortion and now even contraception. Tell it to the hundreds of thousands of black people in prison for trivial crimes that white kids get away with all the time. Tell it to the people of Standing Rock. Tell it to the thousands of people who died of HIV because Reagan didn’t consider gays and drug users a public health priority. Tell it to the people who will die of multi-resistant TB because of southern US prison policy. Tell it to the people of Iraq. Tell it to the Iraq war veterans who paid with their lives and limbs. Tell it to the inhabitants of the Maldives. Tell it to the people who are losing their health benefits because the Republicans are intent on dismantling anything Obama achieved.

    Sure there are some conservative opinions that are no threat — grumbling about nose rings and telling kids to get off your lawn is annoying at worst. But the only reason you can possibly think right-wing speech isn’t a threat to people’s physical well-being is because you are not among the vulnerable target groups for conservative attack.

  27. throwawaygradstudent says

    Right wing rhetoric is a threat to my marriage to a disabled transgender woman. It is a threat to her healthcare. And, as a graduate student, the politics behind the tax bill show that it’s even a threat to my livelihood. Republicans are a threat to everything about our lives. The politics the mainstream GOP advocates for are hateful, destructive, and do not deserve the respect they get.

  28. Saad says

    thirdmill, #29

    Saad, you might have a point if the speech being suppressed were limited to speech that threatens your physical safety, but that’s not what is happening. Much right wing speech may be stupid, but poses no actual threat.

    Okay, then I do have a point since I’m not saying all right wing speech should be denied platforms.

  29. Zeppelin says

    It’s literally physically impossible to grant everyone the “right” to speak at a university whenever they wish.

    Since there is only a limited number of universities with a limited number of auditoriumseses, there always has to be a process of vetting. You have to decide, in advance, whose ideas are worth the platform.

    You have to choose how to allocate universities’ finite resources, which means making a value judgment. We should be debating that value judgment (are [speaker]’s ideas good/interesting enough to warrant the cost and effort involved in getting them an auditorium, and the opportunity cost of withholding the auditorium from everyone else who might speak there?). Instead I see people trying to weasel out of that moral responsibility.

    The same applies to shelf space in bookstores, air time on the news, etc. We can’t spread finite resources evenly over an infinite number of worthless ideas. We should strive to figure out, as efficiently as possible, which ideas are worthwhile, and then use our resources to promote those. Good ideas and bad ideas, truth and lies, don’t warrant equal support and protection just because they’re both “speech”.

  30. chris61 says

    @33 Zeppelin

    It’s literally physically impossible to grant everyone the “right” to speak at a university whenever they wish.

    Of course it is. But we aren’t talking about people who saunter up to a university lecture space and demand they be allowed to speak. We’re talking about people who have been invited to speak by other people who believe the invitees have ideas worth listening to. Note that “ideas worth listening to” does NOT mean “ideas either the inviter or the university agree with”. This is in no way comparable to people showing up uninvited at a bookstore and interfering with the business of said bookstore by threatening people. In fact the latter is more comparable to those who seek to interfere with free speech by shouting down an invited speaker.

  31. michaelwbusch says

    thirdmill @8:

    It’s wrong when it happens to Revolution Books and it’s wrong when it happens to conservative speakers at universities.

    Do not make such an outrageous false equivalency.

    Those “conservative speakers” who have recently been banned from university campuses are banned because they are white supremacists, and sometimes neo-Nazis, who regularly incite violence – up to and including multiple attempted murders. In 2017, there were attempted murders by fans of both Richard Spencer and Milo Yiannopoulos outside of events they were allowed to hold on university campuses. And there is the wider context of white supremacist & neo-Nazi violence and terrorism throughout the USA, which killed dozens of people last year.

    Banning someone from a space for public safety is not violating anyone’s freedom of expression.

    And by way of demonstrating that the contingent concerned cares nothing about freedom of expression and wants to promote & commit white-supremacist violence:

    Shortly after the white supremacist terrorist attack on Charlottesville last August, the white supremacist group “Patriot Prayer” wanted to hold a “free speech rally” in San Francisco (a member of Patriot Prayer also murdered two people and tried to murder a third person in Portland in May 2017). The San Francisco city government granted Patriot Prayer a permit, but had SFPD put up roadblocks and checkpoints around Alamo Park to prevent violence. Patriot Prayer promptly canceled their rally.

    @anxionnat @5:
    [ salutes from across the Bay ]
    [ checks webpages to see what both Revolution Books and your store have in-stock just now ]

  32. KG says

    by other people who believe the invitees have ideas worth listening to – chris61@34

    Actually, they were invited in pursuit of systematic hate campaigns of harrassment and intimidation. But idiots like you can never see the difference.

  33. chris61 says

    @36 KG

    they were invited in pursuit of systematic hate campaigns of harrassment and intimidation.

    Yet the people being harassed and intimidated seem to be the speakers and the groups that invited them. Are you saying that the groups inviting these speakers did it so they could be harassed and intimidated?

  34. thirdmill says

    Saad, depending on where exactly you draw that line, we may or may not be that far apart. I agree with banning speech that is a true threat — it places someone’s physical safety in imminent danger. Or that is harassment or intimidation. Or if someone is urging a mob to go start a riot. None of that’s protected, nor should it be.

    But then I read Chris Lawson’s comment (No. 30) and Throwawaygradstudent’s comment (No. 31) and see that they seem to be defining advocating for admittedly bad policies as a threat. And that’s where we part company. As vehemently as I disagree with opponents of gay marriage (and I myself am in a gay marriage), policy disagreements aren’t threats. Even if the policy is repulsive. Policy disagreements are what democracy is all about.

    And most of the conservative speakers who’ve been shouted down at college campuses weren’t making threats in any meaningful sense of the term. They were making policy arguments that some people found offensive, and those people took it upon themselves to decide for other people which viewpoints those other people would be permitted to listen to. And michaelwbusch, No 35, that’s why it’s not a false equivalency. The equivalency is not that being being a racist and not being a racist occupy the same moral plane. The equivalency is that nobody else gets to decide for me which viewpoints I’m going to listen to. That choice is mine.

  35. patricklinnen says

    From https://splinternews.com/if-you-truly-care-about-speech-you-will-invite-me-to-y-1823614969
    “Civil society requires the toleration of the expression of opposing viewpoints, no matter how personally discomforting you may find them. Therefore, it would be profoundly hypocritical for the editorial staff of the New York Times opinion section not to immediately invite me to come to their offices to call them all morons and trolls.
    Some background: Last weekend, the Lewis & Clark College chapter of the Federalist Society, the enormously influential legal arm of the conservative movement, invited contrarian political personality Christina Hoff Sommers to speak on campus. They did this mainly because they knew it would annoy or outrage liberal, left-wing, and feminist students, and some small number of them would ask the school to cancel the appearance or show up to protest it. All of that happened. Some students protested and heckled Sommers, footage of which was immediately made grist for the “free speech wars” mill.
    Then, after the protesting and heckling, Sommers gave her talk, as scheduled, and took questions.”
    and in conclusion,
    “I’m a reasonable person. I am willing to compromise. If they don’t want to personally attend my talk, perhaps they can be allowed to skip it. But at the very least, someone at the Times needs to extend the invitation, and it needs to be well-publicized. The editors and writers of the opinion section must know that their colleagues chose to invite me to their place of work to insult them, as the people they work with sit in attendance at my talk, enjoying it a lot. The obvious contempt shown for the opinion page staff by their colleagues in inviting me in the first place would basically the most important part of the whole thing, speech-wise.
    It is truly shameful that I continue to be “no-platformed” by the thought police of the New York Times opinion section. “

  36. Matt Cramp says

    Given how often “students protesting conservative speakers on campus, denying their right to free speech” is used to whitewash “conservative speakers threaten specific students” and “conservative speakers lose a civil argument and aren’t willing to retract a now bankrupt argument”, I’m not so sure people should be positioning the former as a thing that is definitely happening.

    It is amusing to watch Americans discover what the Germans discovered long ago: free speech, as the foundation of a liberal democracy, contains a useful weakness for anyone attempting to dismantle liberal democracy. Far from being something that kills fascists, it’s usually their most effective early tool.

    (The title quote ‘I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to your death the right to say it’ tends to get used by people being high-minded that are apparently willing to admit they believe, say, the extermination of minorities, is a tolerable position in a liberal society and one compatible with its values, and that they don’t really understand why free speech is actually important and what it is and isn’t capable of.)

  37. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    So basically Assault (but not Battery…yet…) with a Deadly Weapon should be permitted when that deadly weapon is “the machinery of the state.”

    Because YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO! *jumps up and down*

    Got it.

  38. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Matt Cramp
    My understanding of the Weimar Republic is that they had some hate speech laws. They didn’t seem to do much good.

    I still a good argument can be made that hate speech laws rarely do the good that they’re supposed to do, and more often they are used by majorities to oppress various minorities. Let’s look at some historical examples in the United States.

    The famous SCOTUS case that said “you cannot shout fire in a crowded theatre house”? That was SCOTUS upholding a conviction for sedition against some Yiddish speaking socialists who published pamphlets in Yiddish arguing against joining the First World War.

    What about the SCOTUS case that invented the legal rule “fighting words are not protected free speech”. That was a case where SCOTUS upheld the criminal conviction when a member of a religious minority (Jehovah’s Witness) was attacked on the street for preaching. Someone tried to stab him with a flagpole (because Witnesses were seen as unpatriotic because they wouldn’t salute the flag or something), in plain view of the police, who then arrested the Jehovah’s Witness instead of the person who tried to run him through with a flagpole. When the Witness complained to police “please arrest the man who just tried to stab me!”, the police told him to shut up. In response, the Witness said to the cop “you’re a racketeer and a fascist!”, and for that the Witness was convicted. At trial, the courted that the jury shall not hear anything about the situation leading up to the Jehovah’s Witness saying what he said. SCOTUS upheld it all, and invented a new exception to the first amendment in the process.

    I’ve seen the history of my own country when we make the sorts of exceptions that you want. They’re always misused, and almost never used to protect the people who need protecting.

    I’ll take your hate speech laws seriously as soon as they’re used on the actual biggest source of hatred, which are the book in every church, synagogue, and mosque. They are the biggest sources of hatred in our society, and if you’re going to press hate speech charges when they preach the evil bits from those books, then you’re just not being intellectually honest and consistent.

  39. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Missing a “not”:
    > if you’re not going to press hate speech charges when they preach the evil bits from those books, then you’re just not being intellectually honest and consistent.

  40. billyjoe says

    patricklinnen’

    Freedom of Speech’ is never the right to ‘Have an Audience’

    I was clearly referring to the right of the audience to hear the speech.

  41. billyjoe says

    Unclefroggy,

    there are restrictions on speech that is harassing…threatening and intimidating.

    The first problem: defining “harassing”, “threatening”, and “imtimidating”
    The second problem: applying them to the individual case.

  42. billyjoe says

    vucodlak,

    Nazism has one goal: the extermination of all non-Nazis.

    If that is the case, the rest of your post follows.

    But…is your opinion based on evidence that this is so. I’m not saying that there isn’t any, just that I was unaware that this is their goal. I’d be grateful for any references.

  43. billyjoe says

    Brian Pansky,

    Reminds me of an awful quote I saw the other day. It went “if freedom is to mean anything, surely it means the freedom to tell people what they do not with to hear”

    Yes, I think it should read:

    If freedom is to mean anything, surely it has to come with the risk of someone hearing it who does not want to hear it, and is upset by hearing it.

    You can’t avoid someone hearing it who didn’t want to hear it and who is going to be upset by hearing it. So, to make that a proviso for free speech would mean to kill free speech.

  44. ChrisE84 says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal
    The Weimar Republic did not even apply laws against murder fairly. That argument just leads to having no laws at all.

  45. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    But…is your opinion based on evidence that this is so. I’m not saying that there isn’t any, just that I was unaware that this is their goal. I’d be grateful for any references.

    What color is the sky on your planet?

  46. says

    But…is your opinion based on evidence that this is so. I’m not saying that there isn’t any, just that I was unaware that this is their goal. I’d be grateful for any references.

    Have you heard of something called “World War II” or “The Holocaust”, or even “Auschwitz”? “Buchenwald”? “Treblinka”? “Dachau”?

  47. billyjoe says

    I see, no evidence that “Nazism has one goal: the extermination of all non-Nazis”.

    See, that’s the problem with restrictions on free speech. You don’t get to hear what people wish for and why. And, therefore, you are unable to say why you may agree or disagree with what they wish for.

    It’s okay to have an emotional reaction to the word “Nazi”. But you must also have a cool head. You must know your enemy to defeat your enemy. And, of course, you must know your enemy to know that he is your enemy.

    And transport yourself, for a moment, to Saudi Arabia, and tell me you don’t agree with free speech. When the tables are turned and your speech is the the speech being restricted, what is your opinion now of free speech?

  48. pacal says

    I just cannot take seriously the Revolutionary Communist Party. I am glad the workers in the bookstore do good activist work, but if they are believers in the ideology of the Revolutionary Communist Party then I hope that they never get within striking distance of political power. Having read two of Bob Avakian books I can say he is a wannabe dictator and the ideology of the RCP is very authoritarian. I have little doubt that if they ever attained political power the result would be a gulag and mass murder, along with dictatorial repression.

    I do hope that the workers in those bookstores are not screened for ideological purity, or that they are devote believers in an authoritarian ideology.

  49. pacal says

    Billyjoe No. 51

    “I see, no evidence that “Nazism has one goal: the extermination of all non-Nazis”.

    The past behavior of actual Nazis while in power is of course evidence that they will possibly kill if they attain power.

    As for present well there is the great popularity among Racists and Nazis of the book The Turner Diaries, written by an actual Nazis, in which the author fantasizes mass genocide of the “inferior”

    Years ago I used to frequent the old Stormfront website. It reeked with genocidal fantasies which many of the posters were quite open about. What was ersspecially stomach turning was the genocidal fantasies of wipping out Jews.

    I myself don’t think that this sort of ugly, hateful speech should be outlawed. But it is still very ugly hateful speech.

    I protect their freedom of speech to protect my own freedom of speech. Even though Nazis such has those don’t really believe in free speech. I don’t have any illusions that the speech of Nazis is anything but hateful bile, or what would happen if such hateful people ever got into power again.

  50. billyjoe says

    pacal,

    I sympathise with the general tone of your comment, but I will just make two comments:

    Firstly, you have not shown – and I assume it was not your intention to show; and neither was it your claim – that “Nazism has one goal: the extermination of all non-Nazis”. That was the claim made by vucodlak. Not that Nazis are genocidal but that their one goal is the extermination of all non-Nazis. I don’t know enough about Nazis to say whether or not this is true, but I’m not the one who does not want free speech extended to Nazis. In any case, if a Nazi says all Jews should be exterminated, that is not a free speech issue. He is breaking the law.

    Secondly, what you said about Nazis applied to Nazi Germany, not necessarily present day Nazis – unless, of course, you or someone else here can provide a link that shows otherwise. Otherwise it is hard for me to interpret what is meant by “genocidal fantasies”. You might be able to condemn present day Nazis on what they actually say – which means knowing what they actually say which, in turn, means not only accepting their right to say it, but actually listening to what they have to say – but you cannot condemn them for what Nazis of the past said and even put into practice.

    I hope it is not necessary for me to add that I am defending free speech here, not Nazism.

  51. billyjoe says

    Saad,

    …people like Richard Spencer or Milo have gatherings where they speak, have groups that invite them to speak, have podcasts/articles/social media accounts/books where they speak their mind for all those who wish to hear. Attend their conventions, listen to their podcasts, follow their social media, buy their books.

    I don’t get it. You’re okay with all of that, but you’re not okay with them being invited onto campuses to give a speech or attend a debate or QandA session. Firstly, only sympathisers will want to attend “gatherings” and “conventions”. Sure, those who just want to familiarise themselves with their arguments can read their books and listen to their podcasts, but they may also wish to hear them speak directly and question directly what they have to say. I do not understand why university campuses should be the very places where they are not invited, disinvited, and deplatformed. Unversities are meant to be the very places for the free exchange of ideas, especially those you find offensive.

    Your “right” to hear people speak about ethnic cleansing or demonizing and promoting the oppression of trans people is nothing compared to my right to feel as safe from harassment and bigotry in my own community and university…

    But you have many options: You don’t have to attend. You can attend and ask questions. You can peacefully protest. You can demand a debate rather than a speech. Also, you are interpreting what they are saying without having heard what they are actually saying. Are they for “ethnic cleansing” as you’ve heard on the grapevine, or are they just against immigration; and why. Are they demonising trans people or are they objecting to restriction of their own free speech. How would you know unless you hear them speak?

    Finally, why do you want to “feel safe”, and what does “feeling safe” actually mean. There is a wide world out there where you will come up against all sorts of people many of whom will not give a damn about making you “feel safe”. Why would you not want to be exposed to these people’s views while at university, understand their point of view, and know how to counteract what they have to say. Why would you not want to stand up and fight with all those who support you, rather than be shielded and protected so that you become hypersensitised to the extent that you are hurt by microaggressions of those who are actually defending you but are not perfect?

    The fact that I look a certain way and have a certain name doesn’t mean I must now learn to put up with the hate crimes, hate speech, vandalism and violence that these people promote against me and other marginalized groups.

    But you don’t really have a choice do you? In the world outside university this is inevitably going to happen. The best you can do is listen to and understand their arguments, avoid over-reaction, develop a thick skin, accept help from everyone who offers it, excuse microaggressions, especially imagined microaggressions, especially by those who actually support you, avoid being hypersensitised, and stand up and fight those who would do you harm. Their are plenty of us who are willing to support you.

    It certainly doesn’t mean I have to put up with them just so you could exercise your “right” to hear them at a place that’s supposed to be my community too. Go to their fucking conventions and gatherings.

    As I said, only sympathisers attend their conventions and gatherings. The rest only want to familiarise ourselves with their arguments to more effectively form counter-arguments. And you have the option of not attending.

    The “right/wish to hear” stuff is transparent garbage. You can hear them whenever the fuck you want. A university refusing to host them or dis-inviting them isn’t doing jack shit to hinder that “right”.

    That is not true. The right to hear speech is an integral part of the free speech argument and always has been. University professors or student groups have the right to invite whichever speakers they want, and the university administration gives them this right. You can protest the fact that they invited certain speakers, You can peacefully protest when they speak. But if you disinvite or deplatform, or loudly interrupt their speech,or violently protest against the speech, then you are an enemy of free speech. You are harming your own cause. And the next victim could be your speech.

  52. pacal says

    Billyjoe no. 54

    I am not interested in going through Stormfront to find the “genocidal fantasies” of Nazis and other racists. Years ago I regularly read on the website and it was filled with hate filled bile. Much of that disappeared courtesy of the moderators who were trying to maintain a respectable front. Although at public rallies I have heard enough Nazis hate speech of the genocidal variety.

    As for “genocidal fantasies”. I thought the meaning was clear; on Stormfront there were clear unambigous statements that it would be a good thing if x, y, w, group was wiped out. Such statements usually didn’t last long on the website. Even David Duke has flirted with such notions. Although he is usually very careful of giving himself plausible deniability.

    As for your statement that what applies to Nazis Germany doesn’t apply top present day Nazis is naïve in the extreme. Given the huge amount of evidence for Nazis atrocities at least some modern day Nazis would believe these acts happened and at least some of them would still approve of Nazism.

    Now if you want a example of “genocidal fantasies” by a actual Nazis. Well I mentioned the Book The Turner Diaries by William Luther Pierce, an actual Nazis. The book is treasured by modern day racists and Nazis. It contains the following bon-mots.

    Coming through the mountains just north of Los Angeles we encountered a long column of marchers, heavily guarded by GI’s and Organization personnel. As we drove slowly past, I observed the prisoners closely, trying to decide what they were. They didn’t seem to be Blacks or Chicanos, and yet only a few of them appeared to be Whites. Many of the faces were distinctly Jewish, while others had features or hair suggesting a Negroid taint. The head of the column turned off the main roadway into a little-used ranger trail which disappeared into a boulder-strewn canyon, while the tail stretched for several miles back toward the city. There may have been as many as 50,000 marchers, representing all ages and both sexes, just in the portion of the column we passed.

    and

    Back at HQ I inquired about the strange column. No one was sure, although the consensus was that they were the Jews and the mixed breeds of too light a hue to be included with the evacuees who were sent east. I remember now something which puzzled me a few days ago: the separation of the very light Blacks-the almost Whites, the octoroons and quadroons, the unclassifiable mongrels from various Asian and southern climes-from the others during the concentration and evacuation operations.

    And I think I now understand. The clearly distinguishable nonwhite are the ones we want to increase the racial pressure on the Whites outside California. The presence of more almost-White mongrels would merely confuse the issue-and there is always the danger that they will later “pass” as White. Better to deal with them now, as soon as we get our hands on them. I have a suspicion their trip into that canyon north of here will be a one-way affair!

    and

    In the lighted areas one sees them everywhere. Even the street signs at intersections have been pressed into service, and at practically every street corner I passed this evening on my way to HQ there was a dangling corpse, four at every intersection. Hanging from a single overpass only about a mile from here is a group of about 30, each with an identical placard around its neck bearing the printed legend, “I betrayed my race.” Two or three of that group had been decked out in academic robes before they were strung up, and the whole batch are apparently faculty members from the nearby UCLA campus.

    and

    Then, of course, came the mopping-up period, when the last of the non-White bands were hunted down and exterminated, followed by the final purge of undesirable racial elements among the remaining White population.

    and

    But we won’t forget! That alone is enough to insure that history will not repeat itself. No matter how long it takes us and no matter to what lengths we must go, we’ll demand a final settlement of the account between our two races. If the Organization survives this contest, no Jew will-anywhere. We’ll go to the uttermost ends of the earth to hunt down the last of Satan’s spawn.

    and

    The blood flowed ankle-deep in the streets of many of Europe’s great cities momentarily, as the race traitors, the offspring of generations of dysgenic breeding, and hordes of Gastarbeiter [Foreign workers] met a common fate. Then the great dawn of the New Era broke over the Western world.

    The Organization mentioned is the American version of the Nazi party.

    How is that for a genocidal fantasy.

  53. billyjoe says

    pacal,

    I did not say that “what applies to Nazi Germany doesn’t apply to present day Nazis”. What I said was: “what you said about Nazis applied to Nazi Germany, not necessarily present day Nazis – unless, of course, you or someone else here can provide a link that shows otherwise“. So, why did you misrepresent what I said? And am I to assume from that they you may also have represented what present day Nazi’s have said? I’m not saying that you have, but it gives me pause to accept your account. Maybe that’s why people want to hear what these groups actually have to say. Maybe that’s part of the reason people support free speech, so that we get to hear what people are really saying and not what others have reported them as saying.

    For a somewhat less heated example, many commenters on this blog have told me what Sam Harris has said about torture and profiling. Some have referred to him as an anti-Muslim bigot who supports torture. And some commenters can’t even mention his name without using a variety of expletives and deletives. But, when I read the actual source – Sam Harris himself – I get a completely different picture altogether. I’m not going to rehash it all, but the exchanges are here on this blog over the past few weeks. Of course, I already knew his position on torture because Iread his book, which I feel certain no one here has actually done.

    And, of course, still no evidence that “Nazism has one goal: the extermination of all non-Nazis”. Again, I acknowledge that it was not your claim.

  54. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    And, of course, still no evidence that “Nazism has one goal: the extermination of all non-Nazis”. Again, I acknowledge that it was not your claim.

    I guess now we know where Baghdad Bob wound up.

  55. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The Weimar Republic did not even apply laws against murder fairly. That argument just leads to having no laws at all.

    I’m aware of many countries with laws against murder that have been applied fairly and to good effect. I am not aware of a single countries with laws against hate speech that have been applied fairly and to good effect. Also, difference of kind – deciding if something is a murder is easy. Deciding if something is hate speech without corruption and abuse is impossible, and trying so invites heckler’s vetos.

  56. pacal says

    Bi8llyjoe No.57.
    I will acknowledge that I read your comment inaccurately although even with the “necessarily” it still strikes me has naïve. I accept I was careless though. As for my quotes well they are neither doctored nor out of context and William Luther Pierce was indeed a Nazis and his book The Turner Diaries is full of genocidal fantasies, has I found out years ago when I read the book and again when I looked at my electronic copy today looking for quotes. I gave quotes, which I doubt I have mischaracterized by calling them genocidal; in fact they can’t be interpreted any other way. I suggest you read the book. It is disgusting.

    As for finding out what these people have to say. I have heard what these people, modern day Nazis, have to say and much of it is revolting.

  57. consciousness razor says

    EL:

    I’m aware of many countries with laws against murder that have been applied fairly and to good effect. I am not aware of a single countries with laws against hate speech that have been applied fairly and to good effect.

    I just want to understand what you mean by this … I’m sure it’s not that you can think of countries where nobody has been convicted of murder unfairly (because they’re innocent). There just aren’t any such places. So, your standard here is presumably that it’s something less than actual or strict fairness. That’s what you’re aware of in these many countries. And that degree of fairness, even though it isn’t entirely fair, is sufficient justification for these laws and the ways in which they are enforced/applied.

    Okay. But now I’d be concerned that it won’t do you much good to think of anecdotal cases (even lots of them) of innocent people treated unfairly by hate speech laws, because that’s exactly the thing you were disregarding above which was nonetheless sufficiently justified. It only usually works out that people aren’t convicted of murder when they’re innocent, not always. And I’d assume it only usually works out that they’re not convicted of hate speech when they’re innocent, in places where there are such laws. (Or it may be unfair arrests, etc., which are too much of a burden to justify it, even if we’re not counting convictions … I’m just not sure what specifically you’d want to count.)

    So, if you’re just thinking to yourself, “hmm, I’ve heard of this case and that case and that case and that case, and these people were all treated unfairly with regard to hate speech,” I’d figure that’s still going to be comparable to what happens with regard to murder, no? And then it’s not a black-or-white sort of thing anymore, where you can just say “yes, I’m aware” or “no, I’m not aware.” You’re probably aware of innocent and guilty parties in both situations, fair and unfair treatment in both, and so forth, and then it looks like we’re pretty much back to where we started.

  58. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To consciousness razor
    By what metric would you judge these laws to be a success? Lack of a bigoted, nativist, xenophobic political parties? Lack of holocaust denial belief among the general population? As best as I can tell, these laws simply don’t work. They didn’t stop the rise of Nazi Germany, and they are aren’t doing much to combat similar effects today AFAICT.

    And on the flip side, just as an example, plenty of European countries have case law that advocating for boycotts against Israel is hate speech. There’s more examples where that comes from. That’s real and substantial harm.

    On what basis do you say that they do any good beyond the symbolic?

  59. consciousness razor says

    EL, You’re giving me a lot of claims I didn’t make. As I said, I wanted to know what you meant.

    What do you mean by the statement that murder laws are applied fairly? It clearly isn’t that nobody is ever convicted of murder unfairly. I’m sure you know better than that.

    What you might mean is that there’s some sufficiently high proportion of murder cases (including investigations, arrests, convictions, sentences, etc.) which are conducted fairly, in accordance with the laws against murder.

    What you don’t mean is that, due to these laws, no murders take place anymore. No country is lacking them, in the same sense that those places all lack unicorns. Such laws are not that effective, obviously. And a similarly reasonable expectation about what it means for them to succeed, mutatis mutandis, should be relevant for hate speech laws or any other laws. So, it apparently means more or less that some reasonable attempt at establishing justice/fairness will probably happen when murders do take place, that most likely innocent people won’t suffer as a result, innocent and guilty alike won’t be treated unfairly in the course of carrying out the laws, and so on.

    In the case of murder (or lots of other types of crimes), it’s also not as if you’ve undone any of the murders when you convict guilty parties. If society is safer from such threats with the laws rather than without them, if murderers aren’t being treated unfairly (when for example we restrict where they can go and what they can do in prison), and ideally if murderers can eventually be brought back into society as productive members of it, with no unnecessary harm done to anybody along the way, then I’d think we would’ve done a pretty decent job of handling the situation. (Few if any places actually live up to that standard, but I think it’s definitely worth it to aim for that.)

    I don’t think I should expect a lot more from laws against murder and the ways we enforce them. If we’d agree on that, then it isn’t obvious why we should think any differently about hate speech.

  60. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To consciousness razor

    You’re giving me a lot of claims I didn’t make.

    Didn’t mean to. Sorry.

    To answer your other questions. I believe that laws against murder are highly effective from the perspective of imaging how many murders that there would be without a law against murder. Laws against hate speech are not primarily about hate speech per say, but about lowering hate, and on that metric IMO they seem to not do anything. I believe that laws against hate speech simply don’t lower hate in society. I believe that they are almost completely ineffective.

    Moreover, I believe that murder laws are used well enough that many more guilty people are punished are compared to innocent people. However, I believe that laws against hate speech are used more often against the innocent than the deserving. Moreover hate speech laws are almost never used against the most deserving, such as religious preachers who preach hate from their holy books. Examples of innocents being punished are plethora, such as the the anti-war Yiddish socialists or the Jehovah’s Witnesses from American history, or modern day people who are convicted in Europe under hate speech laws for advocating for boycotts of Israeli products.

  61. vucodlak says

    @ billyjoe, #51

    It’s okay to have an emotional reaction to the word “Nazi”. But you must also have a cool head. You must know your enemy to defeat your enemy. And, of course, you must know your enemy to know that he is your enemy.

    I don’t have an emotional reaction to the word Nazi. I have an emotional reaction to Nazis. Terror, anger, and the starkest hatred you can imagine. Actually, I take that back; I very much doubt you can imagine how much I hate them all.

    I’m sure you’ll tell me that that hate makes me just as bad as they are, but there is a difference between my hate and theirs. My hatred comes from having gotten to know who they are when the lights go out, when there are no witnesses or cameras, when they hold all the power.

    [CONTENT NOTE: GRAPHIC DISCUSSION OF TORTURE]

    Oh, we had a real spirited debate one night, just 5 neo-Nazis, my friend R, and me.

    R was a great guy. Kind-hearted, funny, smart. Volunteered at a local animal shelter, always ready to lend a helping hand to friends, family, and strangers.

    He was also an openly gay Latino man, and that’s all the Nazis saw. That’s all they needed to see to take his sight, his ability to walk, and his face.

    I got off light. Whether it’s because I’m a white cis-man who identifies as straight, because I didn’t fight as hard as R, or because the two who had me just weren’t as ‘creative’ as the three who had R, I don’t know, but my scars aren’t visible, long as I keep my clothes on.

    They duct-taped me to an old bed frame. They tore off my clothes, which I’d refused to take off. They beat me with a length of hose. They pepper-sprayed my face and genitals. They kicked and punched me. They pistol-whipped me. They stuck the gun in my mouth, chipping my teeth, gouging my soft palate, and gagging me on the barrel in the process. They pulled the trigger. It wasn’t loaded. Pity. Then they flipped the frame over and stuck things inside me.

    R was in the next room the whole time. At first, I could hear him cursing, shouting at the Nazis. Then the screaming started, this horrible, jagged howling. I have never heard another sound like it, and I hope to the gods I never do again. Even the shitbags working me over stopped and put their fingers in their ears.

    Our friends found us. They got us out. Don’t worry- the precious Nazis weren’t seriously hurt in the process. I don’t know how our friends found us; I never asked. It was years before I could talk to anyone about that night. All I know is that, if they hadn’t, the Nazis would have killed us. I know this because the Nazis told me, and I believed them. If you’re going to do that kind of thing to people you’re not going to leave them alive to talk to the police afterward. Not that we ever did.

    I’m real tired of telling this goddamn story. Sick might be a better word, because sick is how I feel when I relive it. It was over a decade-and-half ago, but I’m not ‘over it’ and I never will be. However, I have an obligation. Whenever someone says something as monumentally stupid as this-
    (from your #54):

    what you said about Nazis applied to Nazi Germany, not necessarily present day Nazis

    -I have an obligation to educate. THEY ARE THE SAME FUCKING NAZIS. It doesn’t matter if they call themselves the KKK, the alt-right, or “race realists;” THEY ARE THE SAME FUCKING NAZIS. The same ideology, the same results. Atrocity on top of atrocity. You think my story is the only one? It’s not. I’m not going to search out stories of other people brutalized by scum like that for your entertainment. I can’t handle that right now.

    I’ll tell you something else, though- all those cops who go around beating and shooting black people, all those ICE agents gleefully tearing apart families, all those ‘militias’ fantasizing about hunting down POC- they’re willing and eager recruits. All it will take is one strongman and a flimsy excuse, and we’ll be back to death camps.

    (also from your #54):

    In any case, if a Nazi says all Jews should be exterminated, that is not a free speech issue. He is breaking the law.

    Now, that right there is utter and complete bullshit. Thanks to the magic of dogwhistles, Nazis here in the good ol’ US of A can say that all they want, and it’s absolutely considered protected speech.

    I know my enemy, you condescending turd. I know their craven hearts, I know their poisonous rhetoric, and I know the consequences of allowing them power. I know what it means when they march under those flags, when they salute, and when they chant “Jews will not replace us;” those are declarations of war, not points in a civil debate. There is no deeper meaning buried in the mountains of purple prose they churn up to hide their intentions. There’s nothing but a mountain of corpses.

  62. says

    How the fuck do you argue with one like billyjoe?
    You’ve got ample historical evidence of Nazis trying to exterminate everybody but them, ample evidence from their own mouth like Spencer advocating for a whites only state and ample evidence from their own present day behaviour, but really, you mkust give them the benefit of the doubt that maybe they are Nazis, but they really don’t want to do any of the things Nazis did, are doing and say what they want to do?
    Kid, if they didn’t want those things they wouldn’t be Nazis.

  63. Porivil Sorrens says

    Wow, that is quite the uh, hill to die on, buddy. “You’re all misrepresenting the nazis by attributing nazi beliefs to them.”

  64. Crys T says

    @billyjoe I think you should happily volunteer to go through exactly what vucodlak’s friend R went through in order to prove your commitment to your principles. After all, you’re requiring all of us who the Nazis see as their enemies to run the risks raised by giving them platforms that will almost certainly normalise their hate.

    But you, of course, can afford to sit back smugly, knowing you’re low on their list, and therefore unlikely to ever face the consequences. So step up. You think the price is worth paying? Pay it your own damn self instead of insisting the rest of us suffer for your “principles.”

  65. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    For a somewhat less heated example, many commenters on this blog have told me what Sam Harris has said about torture and profiling. Some have referred to him as an anti-Muslim bigot who supports torture. […] But, when I read the actual source – Sam Harris himself – I get a completely different picture altogether. […] Of course, I already knew his position on torture because Iread his book, which I feel certain no one here has actually done.

    Sam Harris defends the torture of a specific Muslim terrorist by name on his website. I provided the link to his website blog post. Sam Harris is pro-torture.

    You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink.

  66. billyjoe says

    Azkyroth,

    I guess now we know where Baghdad Bob wound up.

    Yeah, “Nazism has just one goal: the extermination of all non-Nazis” does sound pretty colourful doesn’t it? ;)

  67. billyjoe says

    pacal,

    I have heard what…modern day Nazis, have to say and much of it is revolting

    No doubt.

    My issue is not really with you but those who misquote and mischaracterise what people actually say. There is plenty to criticise about what Nazis say without lying about what they say (I assume at this point that it is a lie that Nazis’ one goal is to exterminate all non-Nazis because no one has been able to provide a reference). As I say, a good argument for free speech.

    We need to know what people actually say, not what others say they say, which in my experience is often an exaggeration, mischaracterisation, out of context quote mine, and sometimes an outright lie. We need to counter their actual speech not some biased rendition of their view.

  68. John Morales says

    billyjoe:

    There is plenty to criticise about what Nazis say without lying about what they say (I assume at this point that it is a lie that Nazis’ one goal is to exterminate all non-Nazis because no one has been able to provide a reference).

    Leaving aside that you implicitly admit you don’t know what their goal may be, what you contend is trivially true, but incidental — it would be foolish to presume they speak plainly in public. As always, one should note what they do, not just what they say.

    Specifically, whether or not vucodlak’s comment @66 is veridical, and whether the assailants actually were motivated by Nazism, that comment in no way relates to what is being said, but to what is being done.
    It is very noticeable that you have hitherto ignored that comment — but I admit it’s not necessarily due to cowardice, other possibilities include prudence.

    (Evidently, you have no retort to it)

  69. billyjoe says

    Vucodlak,

    I don’t have an emotional reaction to the word Nazi. I have an emotional reaction to Nazis. Terror, anger, and the starkest hatred you can imagine. Actually, I take that back; I very much doubt you can imagine how much I hate them all.

    I meant that the word “Nazi” might possibly trigger that emotional reaction to Nazis. I have read your story and I empathise. I have never been a victim but came close on one occasion. I was saved by a passer-by much bigger and stronger than either me or my intended assailant. It had nothing to do with nazism or racism. He was a sociopath, immediately recognisable by the the way his cold hard stare pierced through my eyes to the back of my skull. It turned out he had tortured and killed both his parents. So I have stared this thing in the face, but fortunately have never actually been a victim. I have only the faintest hint of what it must have been like for you.

    I’m sure you’ll tell me that that hate makes me just as bad as they are, but there is a difference between my hate and theirs. My hatred comes from having gotten to know who they are when the lights go out, when there are no witnesses or cameras, when they hold all the power.

    No. I can understand it completely – or, at least as completely as I am able.
    I know it must be incredibly hard for you, and far be it for me to think I could say anything that could be of any relevance to you in your circumstances but, while fully accepting the justification for your hatred, I am sure you would agree that you haven’t justified the statement you made regarding Nazis: that their one goal is the extermination of all non-Nazis. But okay, I understand that you might not give a damn about the difference.

    I have an obligation to educate. THEY ARE THE SAME FUCKING NAZIS. It doesn’t matter if they call themselves the KKK, the alt-right, or “race realists;” THEY ARE THE SAME FUCKING NAZIS. The same ideology, the same results. Atrocity on top of atrocity.

    I understand, in my limited way, what you’re saying and why. But what you said about present day Nazis is not even true for the Nazis of Nazi Germany during WW2. They were anti-Semitic. They didn’t kill everyone who were non-Nazis. What they did was atrocious, and horrific. There’s no need to add stuff that they didn’t do. Again, I understand if might not give a damn about me pointing out the difference.

    Now, that right there is utter and complete bullshit. Thanks to the magic of dogwhistles, Nazis here in the good ol’ US of A can say that all they want, and it’s absolutely considered protected speech.

    No, it was not BS. To incite people to kill is not protected speech. It is against the law. Or are you telling me that if someone gave a speech in which he said “all Jews should be exterminated”, he would not be breaking tha law. That is not my understanding. In any case, it does not come under the definition of “free speech” that any advocate of “free speech” would support. So, if it is not true that such speech is against the law, it is certainly not what free speech advocates support.

    I know my enemy, you condescending turd.

    I did not intend to be condescending. I was not aware of your experience with Nazis. I would have used another example in defense of free speech, but Nazism was the topic being discussed, so I went with it. And I was merely trying to be accurate. And to show why accuracy is an argument for free speech. You can’t be sure what others are saying about a person or group is factual. In my opinion giving Nazis free speech is like giving them “enough rope” (to hang themselves, in case my meaning is not clear).

    I know their craven hearts, I know their poisonous rhetoric, and I know the consequences of allowing them power. I know what it means when they march under those flags, when they salute, and when they chant “Jews will not replace us;” those are declarations of war, not points in a civil debate. There is no deeper meaning buried in the mountains of purple prose they churn up to hide their intentions. There’s nothing but a mountain of corpses.

    So, really, it’s a disagreement about tactics. In your opinion, giving free speech to Nazis furthers their cause. In my opinion, giving free speech to Nazis exposes them to the light of day (not everyone knows Nazis like you do) and would, if anything, tend to reduce their influence to a impotent minority. Especially if people like yourself provide the appropriate counter-speech and ask them the revealing questions. I can’t see how supression would achieve that. Suppression just drives everything underground. It sits there festering ready to discharge at any time.

  70. billyjoe says

    Chigau,

    What is it about Nazis that you find so attractive?

    We did you stop beating your partner? ;)

  71. billyjoe says

    John Morales,

    it would be foolish to presume they speak plainly in public

    No doubt. That’s why there is counter-speech and QandA.
    As an example, I’ve seen an extremist Imam avoid mentioning that the sentence for apostasy is death. So a questioner put it to him directly and then he avoiding answering the question. The truth of the matter was clear to everyone.

    As always, one should note what they do, not just what they say.

    Fine. So, do their actions amount to “Nazis have just one goal: the extermination of non-Nazis”. And please remember I am defending free speech here, not Nazis.

    It is very noticeable that you have hitherto ignored that comment — but I admit it’s not necessarily due to cowardice, other possibilities include prudence.

    Or maybe I hadn’t yet read his comment.

  72. John Morales says

    billyjoe, regarding your belated response to another commenter,

    To incite people to kill is not protected speech. It is against the law. Or are you telling me that if someone gave a speech in which he said “all Jews should be exterminated”, he would not be breaking tha law. That is not my understanding.

    You’re like Nelson and the telescope. Seriously.

    (You seriously imagine the incitement must be explicit and literal before it becomes significant?)

    @78

    [me] it would be foolish to presume they speak plainly in public

    [you] No doubt. That’s why there is counter-speech and QandA.

    Way to miss the point.

    (Whyever do you imagine “counter-speech and QandA” are in some way not public?)

    As an example, I’ve seen an extremist Imam avoid mentioning that the sentence for apostasy is death. So a questioner put it to him directly and then he avoiding answering the question. The truth of the matter was clear to everyone.

    Hate to tell you this, but the truth of this matter is no less clear to everyone.

    (But hey, perhaps their racial superiority ideals don’t necessarily mean lesser people’s extermination. That’s only for when lebensraum is applicable. But certainly cohabitation is, ahem, deprecated)

    Fine. So, do their actions amount to “Nazis have just one goal: the extermination of non-Nazis”. And please remember I am defending free speech here, not Nazis.

    What the fuck does it matter whether that claim is veridical?

    But fine. The claim is not analytic, and information about it is not omniscient.
    That noted, appealing to epistemic-type doubt is not a refutation — and not even a relevant objection.

    (The concept of the “thrust of the argument” is unknown to you, perhaps?)

    PS

    Or maybe I hadn’t yet read his comment.

    Indeed. That is one of the non-lesser possibilities — your previously-exhibited and voluble degree of timely retorts to other comments aside — to which I alluded.

    (That much credit I give you)

  73. John Morales says

    [FFS — preview! For the sake of sparing readers cerebral cycles, a corrected version:]

    @78

    [me] it would be foolish to presume they speak plainly in public

    [you] No doubt. That’s why there is counter-speech and QandA.

    Way to miss the point.

    (Whyever do you imagine “counter-speech and QandA” are in some way not public?)

    As an example, I’ve seen an extremist Imam avoid mentioning that the sentence for apostasy is death. So a questioner put it to him directly and then he avoiding answering the question. The truth of the matter was clear to everyone.

    Hate to tell you this, but the truth of this matter is no less clear to everyone.

    (But hey, perhaps their racial superiority ideals don’t necessarily mean lesser people’s extermination. That’s only for when lebensraum is applicable. But certainly cohabitation is, ahem, deprecated)

    Fine. So, do their actions amount to “Nazis have just one goal: the extermination of non-Nazis”. And please remember I am defending free speech here, not Nazis.

    What the fuck does it matter whether that claim is veridical?

    But fine. The claim is not analytic, and information about it is not omniscient.
    That noted, appealing to epistemic-type doubt is not a refutation — and not even a relevant objection.

    (The concept of the “thrust of the argument” is unknown to you, perhaps?)

    PS

    Or maybe I hadn’t yet read his comment.

    Indeed. That is one of the non-lesser possibilities — your previously-exhibited and voluble degree of timely retorts to other comments aside — to which I alluded.

    (That much credit I give you)

  74. billyjoe says

    Gilliel,

    How the fuck do you argue with one like billyjoe?

    By providing proving the truth of the following statement:

    “Nazism has only one goal: the extermination of all non-Nazis”

    I will even give you a pass on “only one goal” (that would require you to prove that Nazis have only ONE goal). Just concentrate on proving that their goal is “the extermination of ALL NON-NAZIS”. That doesn’t mean “the extermination of all Jews” or “the extermination of all non-whites”, it means “the extermination of all non-Nazis”

    Otherwise, no, you don’t have an argument ;)

  75. billyjoe says

    Porivil Sorrens,

    Wow, that is quite the uh, hill to die on, buddy. “You’re all misrepresenting the nazis by attributing nazi beliefs to them.”

    As far as can tell – and no one has yet provided evidence to the contrary – it is not true that “Nazi belief” is “the extermination of all non-Nazis”, let alone that this is their one and only belief.

    Besides, this is not a defense of Nazism, but a defense of free speech.

  76. billyjoe says

    …sorry, blockquote fail:

    Wow, that is quite the uh, hill to die on, buddy. “You’re all misrepresenting the nazis by attributing nazi beliefs to them.”

    As far as can tell – and no one has yet provided evidence to the contrary – it is not true that “Nazi belief”, as you put it, is “the extermination of all non-Nazis”, let alone that this is their one and only belief.

    Besides, this is not a defense of Nazism, but a defense of free speech.

  77. billyjoe says

    Crys T,

    you’re requiring all of us who the Nazis see as their enemies to run the risks raised by giving them platforms that will almost certainly normalise their hate.

    Normalise hate of non-Nazis? I hardly think so.

    Extending free speech to Nazis is more of a risk to the Nazis themselves, than any non-Nazi, non-white, or Jewish person (take your pick as to whom you think their hate is directed against).Like the extremist Imam who was exposed for supporting the death sentence for apostates, if you truly believe that Nazis one goal is to exterminate all non-Nazis, and you have proof that this is true, asking that question and, if denied, providing that proof, would surely have the same effect.

    Any speech delivered by Nazis is not going to go unquestioned. In my opinion, you would better spend your time supplying them with enough rope, than limiting free speech to non-Nazis.

  78. billyjoe says

    Enlightenment Libeal,

    Sam Harris defends the torture of a specific Muslim terrorist by name on his website. I provided the link to his website blog post.

    And he uses all the conditions that he has always used when he writes in defence of torture in one-off extraordinary circumstances.

    Sam Harris is pro-torture

    Then you might care to explain how he can be “pro-torture” when he supports laws that make torture illegal.

  79. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To billyjoe
    Sam Harris explains it rather clearly himself:
    https://samharris.org/response-to-controversy/

    In one section of the book (pp. 192−199), I briefly discuss the ethics of torture and collateral damage in times of war, arguing that collateral damage is worse than torture across the board. Rather than appreciate just how bad I think collateral damage is in ethical terms, some readers have mistakenly concluded that I take a cavalier attitude toward the practice of torture. I do not. Nevertheless, there are extreme circumstances in which I believe that practices like “water-boarding” may be not only ethically justifiable, but ethically necessary. This is not the same as saying that they should be legal (Crimes such as trespassing and theft may sometimes be ethically necessary, though everyone has an interest in keeping them illegal).

    and

    Bowden recommends that we keep torture illegal and maintain a policy of not torturing anybody for any reason—but our interrogators should know that there are certain circumstances in which it would be ethical to break the law. Indeed, there are circumstances in which you would have to be a monster not to break the law. If an interrogator found himself in such a circumstance and broke the law, there would be little will to prosecute him (and interrogators would know this). If he broke the law Abu Ghraib-style, he will go to prison for a very long time (and interrogators would know this too). At the moment, this seems like the most reasonable policy to me.

  80. says

    billyjoe

    That doesn’t mean “the extermination of all Jews” or “the extermination of all non-whites”, it means “the extermination of all non-Nazis”

    Listen, cupcake, none here is to blame for your extreme lack of education but you, but here’s a few easy points to support that claim:
    The first people the Nazis usually kill when coming to power isn’t the racialised other. It’s the political enemies. From the first inmates of Buchenwald to the mass murder in the stadium of Santiago de Chile. The members of my family who were murdered by the Nazis weren’t murdered for being Jews. They were murdered for being communists and socialists. Gay people weren’t murdered because of their race or religion. Disabled people weren’t murdered for that. The people attacked and threatened in that bookstore weren’t attacked for being Jewish. The “Gleichschaltung” in Germany had that one specific goal: To make everyone a good Nazi or kill them if they were deemed to be “unworthy”.
    It’s one of the hallmarks of Nazism that they do not tolerate anybody besides themselves.
    If you want to try my hypothesis, do actually once take a public stand against Nazis instead of defending them on the internet. When I first did that at 14 I had to hide in school afterwards because they were searching school and hunting for me.

  81. billyjoe says

    John Morales,

    billyjoe, regarding your belated response to another commenter,

    What on earth constitutes a “belated response”?
    First of all, there is a time difference between where I live and where most commenters here live. Some replies come when I am sound asleep. Secondly, it was a long weekend here (Labour Day) and we had a series of running events in which I participated over the past three days. Thirdly, replying to comments on this blog is not the only thing I do in any case. I have other commitments. Fourthly, I, like everyone else, am under no obligation whatsoever to answer everyone who comments on what I say. I certainly neither expect nor demand it of anyone else and simply accept whatever other posters decide to do.
    Finally, please stop making assumptions that you would have no idea are true or false.

    You seriously imagine the incitement must be explicit and literal before it becomes significant?

    Firstly, if it was not explicit, then it’s always open to interpretation what, if anything, was implied. The solution to that is counter-speech and QandA, meaning pointing out what was implied – with evidence of what you think was implied, and asking questions – as in the case of the extremist Imam – that reveals what was only implied.

    Whyever do you imagine “counter-speech and QandA” are in some way not public?

    I don’t understand. Of course they are public.
    (Maybe you misunderstood – What I was saying is that Nazi speech can be countered by counter-speech or anti-Nazi speech; and asking questions of Nazis in their public forum that exposes what they really mean.)

    Hate to tell you this, but the truth of this matter is no less clear to everyone.

    So let’s get this clear.
    An extremist Imam does not mention that the penalty for apostasy is death.
    Therefore a questioner asks him directly: “Is the penalty for apostasy death?”
    The Imam avoids answering.
    And your conclusion is that we don’t know that the Imam knows that the penalty for apostasy is death.
    Okay, maybe the situation is not clear to you. The questioner has done his research and knows that the Imam knows that the penalty for apostasy in his extremist view of his religion is death. That’s why he asked. But maybe you need to see the video.

    What the fuck does it matter whether that claim is veridical?
    But fine. The claim is not analytic, and information about it is not omniscient.
    That noted, appealing to epistemic-type doubt is not a refutation — and not even a relevant objection.
    (The concept of the “thrust of the argument” is unknown to you, perhaps?)

    Is that really your best defence of what was said by the poster!
    The poster said: “Nazism has ONE goal: the extermination of ALL NON-NAZIS” (my emphasis). You defend what he says by saying: No, Nazism does not really have only one goal. No, one of their goals is not really to exterminate all non-Nazis. Everything the poster said was not correct. Nevertheless what the poster said was actually correct because, you know, the thrust of his argument was that one of the things Nazis want to do is…um…you know. So therefore BillyJoe’s argument is refuted.
    I am completely underwhelmed.

  82. billyjoe says

    Enlightenment Liberal.

    Now you’re making my arguments for me!
    It is clear from your direct quotes that Sam Harris is not “pro-torture”.

  83. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To billyjoe
    “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.”

  84. billyjoe says

    Porivil Sorrens,

    Quite the hill to die on, defending nazis like this.

    Deja vu!
    Have you stopped beating your partner yet?

  85. mesh says

    To incite people to kill is not protected speech. It is against the law. Or are you telling me that if someone gave a speech in which he said “all Jews should be exterminated”, he would not be breaking tha law. That is not my understanding.

    Are you familiar with stochastic terrorism? The public figures who consistently dehumanized victims to the point of murder by lone wolf didn’t explicitly call for their extermination; they didn’t need to. Rhetoric alone is sufficient to predictably incite violence without breaking any law.

    Nazi propaganda wasn’t “all Jews should be exterminated” plastered everywhere, it was “here are the Jews who committed crimes against the German people this week”, it was “here’s how much taxpayer money it costs to keep this disabled man alive”, it was “here are the dangers of race-mixing”. Fostering an atmosphere of fear and division was enough to win power through democratic means after which the gears shifted to encouraging passivity and loyalty as “solutions” were implemented. In other words, even the Nazis of old left a lot of wiggle room for a free speech enthusiast to leap to their defense and cry foul on their critics. They only want to restore order, guys! Stop lying!

    In any case, it does not come under the definition of “free speech” that any advocate of “free speech” would support. So, if it is not true that such speech is against the law, it is certainly not what free speech advocates support.

    Free speech may have been repurposed by dangerous people to legitimize threats and thinly veiled calls to violence, but at least we can all rest soundly knowing that no true free speech advocate would ever support such an abuse!

  86. KG says

    chris61@37,
    Are you really as stupid as that comment makes you appear? My #36 was quite clear, and obviously you have nothing to counter it. The entire “conservative” movement in the USA is now a hate campaign – against migrants, against LGBT people, against their political opponents.

  87. KG says

    billyjoe@90

    It is clear from your [EL’s] direct quotes that Sam Harris is not “pro-torture”.

    From EL’s direct quote of Harris:

    there are extreme circumstances in which I believe that practices like “water-boarding” may be not only ethically justifiable, but ethically necessary.

    Harris says that in some circumstances, torture is “ethically necessary”. Something the Inquisition or the Gestapo could enthusiastically agree with. They, no more than Harris, thought that torture was always “ethically necessary” or even “ethically justifiable”. Once you are prepared to justify torture in any circumstnaces, the rest is mere detail.

  88. KG says

    Further to my #94.

    Add Muslims to the “conservative” movement’s list of favourite targets, of course. And can you, chris61, – or any other Freeze Peachers here, identify any “conservative” speaker who has faced attempts to stop them speaking on campuses, and who does not fit my description of the “conservative” movement as a hate campaign?

  89. billyjoe says

    Giliell,

    If you want to try my hypothesis, do actually once take a public stand against Nazis instead of defending them on the internet. When I first did that at 14 I had to hide in school afterwards because they were searching school and hunting for me.

    Well, here you are saying that I am defending Nazis on the Internet. But I’m clearly doing no such thing. I mean, you might convince others here that that is the case. And Porivil Sorrens has already jumped to that false conclusion twice now, so it’s probably not going to be hard. But nothing I have said supports that assessment. At the very least, I know where my sympathies lie, and it’s certainly not with the Nazis. I have been very clear on several occasions that I’m defending free speech. So, given your false assessment of my position, how are you possibly going to convince me that your opinion about modern Nazis’ is any way near accurate?

    Maybe I should just listen to what the Nazis themselves have to say, complemented by those willing and able to deliver the appropriate counter-speech and complemented by those willing and able to ask pointed questions to expose their implied but unstated views if that be the case. All you have really done is to convince me even more of the need for free speech.

    Yeah, I know, you’ve forgotten this discussion is about free speech, but there it is.

  90. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To KG
    If I was being pedantic, and I am right now, I could invent obscure and unrealistic scenarios where torture would be ethically necessary. I don’t think that’s the damning part for Sam Harris.

    For me, I must clearly state that I believe that not a single scenario has happened in the real world where torture is ethically permissible. There’s almost certainly no scenario that has ever happened in the modern world concerning Muslim terrorists. Whereas, Sam Harris names a particular person, a Muslim terrorist, and defends the torture of that person. That’s where it stops being obscure hypotheticals that have almost no relation to the real world, and where it starts being about real public policy. That’s where Sam Harris goes wrong.

    In the quotes that I supplied above by Sam Harris, Sam also makes his position clear when he says that we should make torture illegal, but we should also cultivate a culture where people who do “good torture” will not be punished under the law. That’s where Sam Harris goes wrong. We should make torture illegal in every case, and we should also cultivate a culture where everyone who tortures is punished under the law, with no exceptions.

  91. says

    billyjoe

    I have been very clear on several occasions that I’m defending free speech.

    Since yozu are very obviously very concerned about the free speech of Nazis and how they may be wrongly accused of wanting to kill people except all those they say they want to kill, yes, the take away is that you’re defending Nazis.

    So, given your false assessment of my position, how are you possibly going to convince me that your opinion about modern Nazis’ is any way near accurate?

    Ahhhh, I see that goalpost move. You asked for evidence for one specific claim, I gave it, now you need to move to something else. Listen, I can’t help you. Those are easy to google things, but I have the feeling that you will try to keep on playing that game.

    Maybe I should just listen to what the Nazis themselves have to say,

    Yeah, I mean maybe everybody has been lying about those poor Nazis, claiming they committed the Holocaust and such. Better listen to what they have to say because you’re so open minded.

    complemented by those willing and able to deliver the appropriate counter-speech and complemented by those willing and able to ask pointed questions to expose their implied but unstated views if that be the case.

    And they better be good and nice about it and heavens forbid they are not able to perform to your satisfaction, then you will have no other way than let the Nazis convince you.

    All you have really done is to convince me even more of the need for free speech.

    If you really need a high school debate about whether there is some big Jewish world conspiracy against which the downtrodden white people need to defend themselves and their children, then you are already helping them, whether you want to or not.

  92. says

    Also, given that it’s 2018 and you seem to be woefully uninformed about who Nazis are and what they want, I’m not sure how any more speech is going to help. Apparently you weren’t very interested in the whole subject before or you wouldn’t parade your ignorance like it was a price poodle.
    Which is another reason why people don’t trust your stated intentions of “only wanting to defend free speech”.

  93. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    I’m curious why people would become Nazis if not for the desire to kill or enslave those they deem lesser people. Do they have an unquenchable desire to invade Poland? March around in brown shirts? Or perhaps they just want to sit around drinking beer and singing the Horst Wessel song.

    Please, billyjoe, when you conduct your Q&A of Nazis, could you find out for us?

  94. chigau (違う) says

    billyjoe
    The Have you stopped beating your partner yet? trick is always accompanied Answer “yes” or “no”..
    Otherwise is doesn’t work.

  95. says

    I remember Churchill’s famous speech…

    We shall go on to the end. We shall debate in France, we shall debate on the seas and oceans, we shall debate with growing confidence and growing strength in our words, we shall discuss our island, as long as nobody is deplatformed. We shall debate on the beaches, we shall debate on the landing grounds, we shall debate in the fields and in the streets, we shall debate in the hills; but we must be careful to always keep the discussion polite and hear out the Nazis.

    Hitler was finally defeated and the FUCKING GAS CHAMBERS WHERE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WERE MURDERED finally shut down thanks to the rhetorical flourishes of the Allies.

  96. Porivil Sorrens says

    That is a pretty powerful conviction towards defending nazis. Says a lot, I think.

  97. vucodlak says

    @ billyjoe, #75

    I understand, in my limited way, what you’re saying and why. But what you said about present day Nazis is not even true for the Nazis of Nazi Germany during WW2. They were anti-Semitic. They didn’t kill everyone who were non-Nazis.

    Oh yes? The Nazis were ‘merely’ anti-Semitic? Tell that to all the gay people they murdered for being gay, and all the Roma they murdered for being Roma. Tell that to the mentally ill, the Slavs, the POCs, and religious minorities who died in their camps.

    Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of civilians in Leningrad that they murdered for having the misfortune to live in a city the Nazis wanted wiped off the face of the earth. Do you know what they did to Leningrad?

    First, they firebombed the city’s food stores. Then the cut off all the supply lines. They set up artillery and machine gun nests all around the city, with the order to fire on anyone, man, woman, or child who crossed their line of sight. They shelled and bombed the morning, noon, and night, at times coordinated to coincide with the bread lines for maximum casualties.

    One particular account, described in a book I read a while ago (Leningrad: State of Seige by Michael Jones), will always stick with me:
    Before the Nazis completely cut off all lines of transit leading in and out of the city, the decision was made to try to evacuate the city’s children. They loaded thousands of them onto a train, and took them out of the city. The train only got a few miles, and stopped at a station outside the city, because the Nazis had cut the lines a little further down the track.

    So they let the children off at the station. They were milling around out in the open when a German plane flew overhead, so low that they could see the pilot’s face. A few minutes later, the sky was full of German planes. They bombed a machine-gunned the children. They KNEW they were children, and only children, and they did it anyway. One survivor who limped back to the city described the arms and legs of children hanging from telephone wires overhead.

    The only thing the Nazis knew for certain is that they were slaughtering children who weren’t Nazis. They had decided that no one would be permitted to survive Leningrad. That was the order from the top, and it was carried out with great enthusiasm by the Nazi loyalists on the ground.

    So, really, it’s a disagreement about tactics. In your opinion, giving free speech to Nazis furthers their cause. In my opinion, giving free speech to Nazis exposes them to the light of day (not everyone knows Nazis like you do) and would, if anything, tend to reduce their influence to a impotent minority.

    Right-wing extremism has been on the rise around the globe. Nazis love it when people debate them in an open forum, because the Nazis know they’ll always win. Oh, sure, decent human beings will reject them and turn away in disgust, but resentful assholes will be eager to sign up and carry on the evangelizing. Before you know it, you’ve got thousands of resentful assholes, millions even, organizing themselves into something terrible, and all those people who turned away in disgust will be wondering how it happened.

    It happened because we didn’t take them seriously. It happened because most people decided they were a joke, and did nothing. Of course Nazis are terrible, who’d want to join them? As it turns out, a whole lot of people who were looking for something to make them feel bigger and stronger and better than the people around them. Bullies ain’t rare, and Nazism is bullying taken to its most extreme.

    If I learned anything from all the bullies I had to deal with growing up, it’s that ignoring them or trying to engage them in a polite discussion achieves the same thing- it makes them worse. All being smart and asking “revealing questions” gets you against people like that is a bloody nose now and noose in the future, because they’ll remember smart-asses.

    This isn’t “my opinion.” I tried befriending the bullies I knew as a child. I tried “using my words;” I tried telling on them; I tried everything I was supposed to do. None of it worked, except to make things worse, which anyone whose ever had to deal with a lot of bullies could have told you.

    What worked is doing what victims aren’t supposed to do- fighting back, tooth and nail. That’s the only thing that’s ever worked. No, it didn’t stop them from being bullies, but it made them afraid to be bullies when I was around. That’s the best I could do, and until the authorities stop supporting the worst of the worst in the name of “free speech,” that’s all we can do now.

  98. says

    <b<vucodlak

    Oh yes? The Nazis were ‘merely’ anti-Semitic? Tell that to all the gay people they murdered for being gay, and all the Roma they murdered for being Roma. Tell that to the mentally ill, the Slavs, the POCs, and religious minorities who died in their camps.

    I think what billyjoe wants to tell us is that even with the original Nazis, a straight white non-Slav cis man nor woman was able to live their lives wiothout being murdered by the Nazis by simply not being any different from them while, of course, in their heart of heart hating the Nazis. From what I hear that was about 99.99% of the German population at that time.
    See, the Nazis weren’t that bad.

  99. Porivil Sorrens says

    I’m fairly certain we have a very tangible paper trail of the Nazis specifically want to (and planning out how to) culturally genocide Polish people too.

  100. billyjoe says

    Enlightenment Liberal,

    Sam Harris names a particular person, a Muslim terrorist, and defends the torture of that person. That’s where it stops being obscure hypotheticals that have almost no relation to the real world, and where it starts being about real public policy. That’s where Sam Harris goes wrong.

    Which Muslim terrorist and do you have a link for context?

    Sam also makes his position clear when he says that we should make torture illegal, but we should also cultivate a culture where people who do “good torture” will not be punished under the law. That’s where Sam Harris goes wrong.

    That’s not Sam Harris’ position made clear. That’s just your idiosyncratic interpretation of Sam Harris’ position. Why don’t you quote what he actually said instead of your interpretation of what he said. You quoted him before so why do you now swap that quote for your interpretation of what he said? This is just so frustrating. People get demonised not for what they say but for what people think they said. Whole reputations get smeared in the process. Here is what he actually said (from your own quote above):

    “Bowden recommends that we keep torture illegal and maintain a policy of not torturing anybody for any reason—but our interrogators should know that there are certain circumstances in which it would be ethical to break the law. Indeed, there are circumstances in which you would have to be a monster not to break the law. If an interrogator found himself in such a circumstance and broke the law, there would be little will to prosecute him (and interrogators would know this). If he broke the law Abu Ghraib-style, he will go to prison for a very long time (and interrogators would know this too). At the moment, this seems like the most reasonable policy to me.”

    There is absolutely nothing in there about “cultivating a culture”. Sam Harris is agreeing with Bowden when he says that if there ever arises a situation where it would be monstrous not to break the law against torture, and an interrogator broke that law, then there would be little will to prosecute him. He doesn’t say we should “cultivate a culture” where there would be little will to prosecute him, just that there would be little will to prosecute him.

    Imagine you are the state or federal prosecutor and an interrogator, after exhausting all other avenues, breaks the law against torture, by torturing a known criminal who he knows, with high probability based on intelligence gathering, has knowledge of an imminent nuclear attack and, as a result of information obtained through the torture of that individual, sets in chain a series of events that prevents the nuclear attack and saves thousands of lives. Would you have the will to prosecute him? I assume you answer would be “no”. Okay then, would you have required a “culture” to have been “cultivated” beforehand in order for you to “not have the will to prosecute him”?

    And then you say “where people who do “good torture” are not punished under the law”. Granted you have the “good torture” in scare quotes, so you know he didn’t actually say that. So you are paraphrasing him. Yet you must also know, having actually quoted him as well, that you are falsely paraphrasing him. He has never said anything remotely like “good torture”.

    On the contrary, he is consistently saying that torture is bad in all situations – that’s why he supports making torture illegal! That’s why he agrees with Bowden that we should “maintain a policy of not torturing anyone for any reason”. That’s why he says torture is ethically and morally wrong. The extraordinary one-off situations where he thinks torture is nevertheless justified is when the alternative is even worse morally and ethically, not because torture can be ethically and morally good in these circumstances.

    If you read and understand what Sam Harris actually says about torture, all your criticisms fall apart. And that is the problem. You don’t actually read and understand what he says. Instead you judge him according to your demonstrably false interpretation of what he said. And that is your problem, not his. But he’s the one who gets smeared! And you get off Scot free, except for this little tirade, which others here are no doubt going to mercilously attack a strawman version of, along with falsely accusing me of being “pro-torture”.

    I hope I don’t need to remind that I don’t agree with everything Sam Harris says. I am simply correcting what you and others falsely interpret him as saying. Criticise him for what he says, not what he doesn’t say.

  101. billyjoe says

    Chigau,

    The Have you stopped beating your partner yet? trick is always accompanied Answer “yes” or “no”..
    Otherwise is doesn’t work.

    Sometimes a “trick” becomes so well known, you don’t actually need to…..

    ;)

  102. billyjoe says

    And every is still conveniently forgetting that what I was criticising was the quote form vucodlak:

    “Nazism has one goal: the extermination of all non-Nazis.”

    They do not have “one goal”.
    They do not have a goal “to exterminate all non-Nazis”.
    It’s revealing that you need to lie about a group that must be so easy to denounce by telling the truth about them.

    That is all I’m saying.

    And, while you continue to tell lies about people, and misinterpret what they say, my opinion in support of free speech will get ever stronger.

  103. vucodlak says

    @ billyjoe, #81

    Oh, and since you seem to so enamored of tedious language dissections, I will point out that I did not say that “Nazism has only one goal: the extermination of all non-Nazis.” I said:

    Nazism has one goal: the extermination of all non-Nazis.

    There was no “only” or “just” or “single” in there. And, if you take them at their word you can claim they have quite a lot of goals. It’s just that, for the rest of us, the non-Nazis, their other goals are not especially important because we’ll all be dead.

    Nor did I claim, as you put it in #82/83, that that is their sole belief. I said that it is their goal, because that it is the end product of their beliefs.

    See, I don’t give a damn about their elaborate mythology, I don’t care about their justifications, and I have no patience for their whining and special pleading. Because, even as a poor student of history, even without the personal history I laid out in comment #66, I know what the results will be if they are allowed to continue to gather power. Given that their rhetoric is the same in it’s essential elements as the original Nazis, given what they do when they have the power, it’s a safe bet that we’ll see them take the same path. And, should they manage to gain control of a major nuclear power, the results will likely be even more horrific.

    From your # 84:

    Extending free speech to Nazis is more of a risk to the Nazis themselves, than any non-Nazi, non-white, or Jewish person (take your pick as to whom you think their hate is directed against).

    Again, literally millions of dead bodies, referring to those non-Nazis systematically and deliberately exterminated by Nazis, put the lie to this argument.

    In my opinion, you would better spend your time supplying them with enough rope, than limiting free speech to non-Nazis.

    And you know what? They will, eventually, start to hang themselves (and each other). Their hideous philosophies and attitudes make Nazism a ripe breeding-ground for backstabbing and infighting. That’s why they absolutely need outside enemies to destroy. When they finally kill off the Other, they will turn on their own and tear themselves apart. But all that rope you want to give them is hardly a good deal for those of us who comprise the Other because, again, we’ll all be dead before Nazism collapses completely under its own weight.
    From your #89:

    Firstly, if it was not explicit, then it’s always open to interpretation what, if anything, was implied

    In the dense skulls of/extremist literalists/do Nazis frolic

    The solution to that is counter-speech and QandA

    And while you’re standing there emitting enough smug to register on a Geiger counter, having exposed the dastardly illogical plans of the evil Nazis, the bullies in the crowd are nodding in agreement… with the Nazis. They don’t care that the Nazis are lying, that their mythology is 99% rectally sourced, that they avoid uncomfortable questions, or that they’re neon-bright hypocrites.

    Seriously- look at the white evangelicals who turned out in droves for the lecherous, greedy Biblical-illiterate, and who still support him at a rate of 80% or more. He hates the people they hate. He blames the people they blame. Everything else is of next-to no consequence to them. He hates just like they do, therefore he’s their Dear Leader. Nazis are cut from the same cloth.

    From your #97:

    Maybe I should just listen to what the Nazis themselves have to say, complemented by those willing and able to deliver the appropriate counter-speech and complemented by those willing and able to ask pointed questions to expose their implied but unstated views if that be the case.

    You’ve already rejected the counter-position as *gasp* uncivilized.

    If you strongly disapprove of people who go into schools and shoot children, but spend thousands of words defending the right of every person to keep and bear arms, without any sort of restriction, every time a school shooting happens, then you’re supporting school shooters. This shit doesn’t happen in a vacuum, intent isn’t magic, etc.

    You’re demanding Nazis be given unchecked recruiting power, and so you bear a share of responsibility for what they will do with it.

  104. billyjoe says

    Here is a quote with which some of you may be familiar;
    It is from February 2018

    “White folks are going down. And Satan is going down. [i have] pulled the cover off of that Satanic Jew, and I’m here to say your time is up, your world is through.”

    He is obviously advocating for the killing of all white folks and all Jews. :|

  105. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To billyjoe
    You dense motherfucker. God you suck at reading. Try harder this time.

    [billyjoe:] Which Muslim terrorist and do you have a link for context?

    https://samharris.org/response-to-controversy/

    [Sam Harris:] And yet, anyone who would defend the water-boarding of a terrorist like Khalid Sheikh Muhammad will reap a whirlwind of public criticism. This makes no moral sense.

    [billyjoe:] There is absolutely nothing in there about “cultivating a culture”.

    Really!?

    [Sam Harris:] but our interrogators should know that there are certain circumstances in which it would be ethical to break the law. Indeed, there are circumstances in which you would have to be a monster not to break the law. If an interrogator found himself in such a circumstance and broke the law, there would be little will to prosecute him (and interrogators would know this). […] At the moment, this seems like the most reasonable policy to me.

    Is English not your first language or something?

    [billyjoe:] Imagine you are the state or federal prosecutor and an interrogator, after exhausting all other avenues, breaks the law against torture, by torturing a known criminal who he knows, with high probability based on intelligence gathering, has knowledge of an imminent nuclear attack and, as a result of information obtained through the torture of that individual, sets in chain a series of events that prevents the nuclear attack and saves thousands of lives. Would you have the will to prosecute him? I assume you answer would be “no”. Okay then, would you have required a “culture” to have been “cultivated” beforehand in order for you to “not have the will to prosecute him”?

    I try to make public policy based on things that actually happen in the real world. I am not Jack Bauer, and this is not the TV Show 24. Events even remotely like this basically never happen. There was not a single useful piece of intelligence obtained from Muslim terrorist captives by the United States. Not a single bit.

    Yes I would have the the will to prosecute him, and yes I would prosecute him. Maybe what he did was morally defensible, but I have a culture of deterrence to maintain here, and so he gets to be the sacrificial lamb in order to maintain the zero-tolerance policy on torture. That is the single best policy that we can do.

    [billyjoe:] On the contrary, he is consistently saying that torture is bad in all situations – that’s why he supports making torture illegal!

    He clearly wrote that he also wants a culture where the good torturers are not prosecuted, and where the torturers are made well aware of this fact. At that point, his law is only so much ink on paper, e.g. not important. What’s important is the actual practices. If something is a crime, but it’s not prosecuted, then it’s not really a crime at all.

    [billyjoe:] That’s why he agrees with Bowden that we should “maintain a policy of not torturing anyone for any reason”.

    You really suck at reading comprehension. Literally just a few lines away he clarifies what he means by that. What he means is not clear from those words in isolation. He does support a semi-official policy of torturing people. He just wants the official documents to read contrary to practice. He wants the official policy to be to lie about it.

  106. billyjoe says

    Vucodlak,

    Well, that IS needlessly pedantic.

    In what sense can “one goal” not be entirely equivalent to “only one goal”?
    In any case, I have used “one goal” in my comment that immediately precedes your comment about my so-called error.

    And I used “belief” instead of “goal” in reply to someone else who used the word “belief” instead of “goal”. Go back and look if you’re interested. I was merely making sure what I was referring to in my reply to that person.

    Of course, I’m not perfect, so I’m sure you’ll catch me out on occasion.

  107. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Correction:
    There was not a single useful piece of intelligence obtained from Muslim terrorist captives via torture by the United States. Not a single bit.

  108. billyjoe says

    Enlightenment Liberal,

    Thanks for the quote and reference.

    The reason I asked is because Osama Bin Laden was also mentioned at some stage – actually in the same article, as it turns out – so I just wanted to be sure who you were referencing.

    But he does not say he supports the torture of that individual.
    Read your own quote from the article:

    And yet, anyone who would defend the water-boarding of a terrorist like Khalid Sheikh Muhammad will reap a whirlwind of public criticism. This makes no moral sense.

    He is not saying that this person should be tortured. That is not the point he is making in the paragraph from which you have extracted that quote. He is making the point that anyone who would defend the torture of a terrorist (and he gives an example) will reap a whirlwind of criticism as opposed to someone who wages war in which there is inevitable collateral damage, the ethics of which are not generally questioned by the public, and is seen as just the inevitable consequence of waging war

    The context of the paragraph from which that quote was extracted is as follows: He is comparing the ethics of torture with the ethics of collateral damage. He says that collateral damage is more ethically compromised than would be the torture of a terrorist…like Khalid Sheikh Muhammad. He is saying this in the broader context of the whole article in which he defends breaking the law against torture only in one-off extraordinary circumstances with all the conditions and caveas that he enumerates.

    He could not be excluding all those conditions and caveats in the specific case of that particular terrorist, given that it is embedded in an article that details all the conditions and caveats of those extra-ordinary circumstances.

    If, on the other hand, you are upset for him putting an actual face on the terrorist, maybe I sympathise a little. But, if that’s all you have to critise, if that’s all it takes to smear a person, “let all those who are without sin cast the first stone”. He might even be willing to delete the example if that’s all that bothered people about what he wrote. But, of course, that’s not the case.

  109. billyjoe says

    Enlightenment Liberal,

    Events even remotely like this basically never happen

    Do you really mean to say that these extraordinary circumstances could never happen at any time in the future?

    There was not a single useful piece of intelligence obtained from Muslim terrorist captives by the United States. Not a single bit.

    Again, do you really mean to say that there could never be any circumstances in the future where this would not be the case?

    Yes I would have the the will to prosecute him, and yes I would prosecute him. Maybe what he did was morally defensible, but I have a culture of deterrence to maintain here, and so he gets to be the sacrificial lamb in order to maintain the zero-tolerance policy on torture. That is the single best policy that we can do

    Goddamn! So much the worse for you. And you have the temerity to criticise Sam Harris! Let me tell you that I consider this to be far worse than anything Sam Harris has said regarding torture. You would prosecute someone who broke the law to save thousands of lives!

    He clearly wrote that he also wants a culture where the good torturers are not prosecuted, and where the torturers are made well aware of this fact.

    Okay, strange definition of “culture”. And, no, you have twisted his words yet again. Not “good torturers”. He would make it clear to interrogators that it is not unethical to break a law in certain one-off extraordinary circumstances, with all those conditions and caveats, where thousands of people can be saved by breaking that law. He does not say that they should be told they will not be prosecuted, He says there will be little will to prosecute them. You have the whole damn quote in front of you and, still, you insist on giving your false interpretation instead. I don’t get it!

    At that point, his law is only so much ink on paper, e.g. not important. What’s important is the actual practices.

    Of course the law is important. The law against torture aims to reduce the incidence of torture – Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo. Are you really going to pretend that law against torture is going to have no effect – just because in extraordinary circumstances there would be no will to prosecute?

    If something is a crime, but it’s not prosecuted, then it’s not really a crime at all

    You are seriously saying that because there would be no will to prosecute someone who breaks the law against torture in those extraordinary circumstances that Sam Harris has detailed, then torture is not really a crime at all – and that the perpetrators of Abu Ghraib will get off Scot free because torture is not really a crime at all because at some time in the future some extraordinary circumstances could arise where there will be no will to prosecute those who break this law?

    He does support a semi-official policy of torturing people. He just wants the official documents to read contrary to practice. He wants the official policy to be to lie

    Thanks again for putting your idiosyncratic and clearly false interpretation on what Sam Harris has said.

  110. billyjoe says

    Porivil Sorrens,

    Imagine putting all this work into defending nazis. Sad.

    Seriously, mate, stop beating your partner.

  111. chigau (違う) says

    billyjoe
    The whole point of:
    “Have you stopped beating your wife? Answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.”
    is the impossibilty of giving an accurate answer.
    Your #112 demonstrated that you did not grok that.
    It’s just something you misunderstood on the internets.

  112. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The law is a blunt instrument, and people with power tend to abuse it. This is part of why I have arguing against hate speech laws in this thread. I believe that hate speech laws are used wrongly moreso than they used effectively. I also believe that a law or culture that permits torture in some cases will be abused to permit torture in cases whe re it’s not justified. Look only to Sam Harris and the quotes that I have supplied. In reality, the situations that permit torture are so vanishingly rare that it is better public policy to sacrifice “a few good torture” in order to prevent the very real threat of abusive torture by the authorities. The law is a blunt instrument, and we must be careful of the discretion that we give to authorities and the unintended consequences of doing so.

    For another comparison, we know that our justice system, even in the ideal, some innocent people will be sent to jail. This is necessary to catch many more guilty people. I am defending this absolute ban on torture on similar grounds. It is better to punish a rare few justified torturers that to permit abuse of a legal standard that permits torture.

  113. John Morales says

    billyjoe @111, perhaps this will get through your filters:

    The extraordinary one-off situations where he thinks torture is nevertheless justified is when the alternative is even worse morally and ethically, not because torture can be ethically and morally good in these circumstances.

    Well then, analogically, the extraordinary one-off situations where he thinks restriction on free speech is nevertheless justified is when the alternative is even worse morally and ethically, not because restriction on free speech can be ethically and morally good in these circumstances.

    BTW,

    Well, that IS needlessly pedantic.

    Pedantically, all pedantry is needless, for were it needful it would not be pedantry, but rather precision and/or erudition.

  114. Porivil Sorrens says

    See, that trick doesn’t work, because there’s not a whole thread of evidence of me beating my partner, whereas this thread is pretty much nothing but you defending nazis.

  115. billyjoe says

    Chigau,

    The whole point of:
    “Have you stopped beating your wife? Answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.”
    is the impossibilty of giving an accurate answer.
    Your #112 demonstrated that you did not grok that.
    It’s just something you misunderstood on the Internets.

    The whole point, dear, is that the person asking the question is making an unjustified assumption about the person of whom he asks the question.
    …as you did when you commented about me spending so much time defending Nazis.
    Get it now?

    (And, before you criticise me for characterising you with the word “dear”, let me tell you that that was my whole point of me using that word).

  116. billyjoe says

    Porivil Sorrens,

    See, that trick doesn’t work, because there’s not a whole thread of evidence of me beating my partner, whereas this thread is pretty much nothing but you defending nazis.

    There is as much evidence of me defending Nazis on this thread as there is evidence of you beating your partner. That was my entire point.

    I’m tempted to say that the fact that you disagree is just intellectual breakdown on your part, but that would mean assuming there was some intellectual content there to begin with. |:

  117. billyjoe says

    John Morales,

    Well then, analogically, the extraordinary one-off situations where he thinks restriction on free speech is nevertheless justified is when the alternative is even worse morally and ethically, not because restriction on free speech can be ethically and morally good in these circumstances.

    Sorry, it’s a bit late in the day for analogical gymnastics comparing negatives with positives riding roughshod over categorical errors.

    Besides, I have no idea what Sam Harris’ views are on free speech.

  118. billyjoe says

    John Morales,

    Pedantically, all pedantry is needless, for were it needful it would not be pedantry, but rather precision and/or erudition.

    You think you can’t be pedantically precise?
    Or pedantically erudite?

    Hint:
    I was being pedantically precise.
    The other guy was being needlessly pedantic.

    I will leave the erudition to you to figure out.

  119. John Morales says

    You think you can’t be pedantically precise?
    Or pedantically erudite?

    <snicker>

    I explicitly said so, so yes to both of your needless questions.

    re

    There is as much evidence of me defending Nazis on this thread as there is evidence of you beating your partner. That was my entire point.

    Well, you’ve been persistently antithetical towards the proposition that Nazis should have restrictions on their proselytisation.

    Consider your first comment on this thread:

    I’m not sure if I understand.

    [1] Extending free speech to Nazis and the alt-right does not necessarily mean supporting Nazis threatening or harassing people and the alt-right killing people.
    [2] Do you mean that extending free speech to Nazis and the alt-right contributes to Nazis harassing and threatening people and the alt-right killing people?
    [3] Do you mean that we should therefore not extend free speech to Nazis and the alt-right?

    Do you at least understand others’ positions now?

    1. Not necessarily, but it enables the possibility. For that alone you are perceived as supporting Nazis.
    2. Pretty clear the consensus here is ‘yes’.
    3. Ditto.

    From the perspective of those who hold [2] and [3] as true, you are indeed defending Nazis.

    Besides, I have no idea what Sam Harris’ views are on free speech.

    Really? Well, I did give his metaethical argument for torture (which he is not at all defending any more than you defend Nazis :) ) but changed the variable.

    (“comparing negatives with positives riding roughshod over categorical errors” ? Heh)

  120. John Morales says

    [bleh grr]

    You think you can’t be pedantically precise?
    Or pedantically erudite?

    <snicker>

    I explicitly said so, so yes to both of your needless questions.

    Dunno what I was thinking when I wrote that, I might have been too flabbergasted by your incomprehension*; point being, both of those are needless since one can be erudite or precise without being pedantic. That’s the very meaning of pedantry — needless pernicketiness.

    * Pedantically, all pedantry is needless, for were it needful it would not be pedantry, but rather merely precision and/or erudition.

    (Obviously, the degenerate case is intended pedantry which lacks both)

  121. billyjoe says

    John Morales,

    I was having you on.
    Sorry about that – I thought you’d be clever enough to figure that out ;)

    Do you at least understand others’ positions now?
    1. Not necessarily, but it enables the possibility. For that alone you are perceived as supporting Nazis.
    2. Pretty clear the consensus here is ‘yes’.
    3. Ditto.
    From the perspective of those who hold [2] and [3] as true, you are indeed defending Nazis.

    I’ve never not understood it.
    Im just waiting for evidence that it is true.
    Until then: “free speech rocks”.

    (NOTE: My experience tells me I should not rely on the consensus view of this particular echochambre blog).

  122. John Morales says

    billyjoe @136:

    I’ve never not understood it.

    Really.

    You @11: “I’m not sure if I understand.”

    (You’re sure now, at least)

    Im just waiting for evidence that it is true.

    Yes, you disbelieve that which you originally did not understand, and you disbelieve the adduced evidence no less. You’re a sceptic.

    Until then: “free speech rocks”.

    So you concede that it would not rock were your criteria for convincing evidence that your disputants were correct, but otherwise, you hold that it’s better that Nazis have no restrictions on their public espousal of their ideology.

    I remember you wrote “To incite people to kill is not protected speech. It is against the law.”, as a retort to the suggestion you advocate absolute free speech, even for Nazis.

    So, you are clearly not against lawful restrictions on free speech, you merely think it Nazis should have no less restrictions than anyone else, so long as they avoid the existing restrictions.

    (Or, you hold they do not merit additional restrictions to those applicable to the general populace. Which (again) from some perspectives indicate you are defending Nazis.

    (NOTE: My experience tells me I should not rely on the consensus view of this particular echochambre blog).

    Um, you addressed an inane question to PZ about whether he meant something, and I informed you about commenter’s consensus. Best I can do, not being PZ and all, but I am familiar with this place.

    (Or: I was not suggesting the consensus here is perforce so congruent to reality that it’s reliable, I was telling you how it is)

  123. chigau (違う) says

    billyjoe
    The whole point, dear, is that the person asking the question is making an unjustified assumption about the person of whom he asks the question.
    No. You are mistaken about that.
    How old are you?

  124. billyjoe says

    John Morales,

    I understand their position, but I don’t understand why they hold that position. That’s why I’ve been asking for evidence in support of those positions. Specifically, I do not understand why they do no support free speech. But all I get is emotion and anecdote. They have said why but not provided evidence that this is true. My default position is to support free speech. Unless and until someone provides good reasons backed by evidence, that will remain my default position.

    And the reason free speech is my default position is that of all the political systems in existence – all of which are imperfect to variable degrees – democracy is the best. Because if it is for anything, it is for the individual. And free speech is essential for the proper working of a democracy. You can’t be for individuals if you are against free speech or curtailment of free speech – except, of course, when speech breaks laws that are formulated to protect other people, such as laws against the incitement to physically assault or kill people).

    Regarding Nazis. They, like any other minority group – and free speech is essentially for minorities – have free speech. If they break the law in their speech, they should be charged and prosecuted and, if found guilty, receive the appropriate punishment. If they do not break the law then their speech should be free.

    Free speech puts no responsibility on any one to supply a venue. But, given a venue – and people can peacefully protest the decision to give them a venue, and they can peacefully protest when, despite their protest, the venue is nevertheless supplied – they should not be allowed to disrupt their speech. They can protest peacefully, they can debate, they can participate in QandA, and they can deliver counter-speech. But they should not be allowed to prevent them from speaking.

    In a sense, it is a pity that the target has been Nazis and Nazism, because there is so much justifiable emotional baggage. On the other hand, it is also instructive in that it is a challenge to those who support free speech. Once you start excluding minorities, where do you stop. And, more importantly, who gets to decide? Who are you going to allow to decide on your behalf who is allowed to deliver their speech and, therefore, whose speech you are allowed to hear?

    Nazis have to have free speech if we are to preserve free speech at all, and if we are in favour of democracy, even if they are against our political system and want to tear it down. And, really, if you can’t defeat them in the public sphere, if you do not have good responses to their speech, you really have to wonder how sound your own arguments against Nazism are. What are we afraid of? That we can’t defeat their arguments? That we are so unsure of ourselves that we are willing to risk free speech and risk democracy?

  125. Mak, acolyte to Farore says

    Regarding Nazis. They, like any other minority group

    Oh fuck off.

    Once you start excluding minorities, where do you stop. And, more importantly, who gets to decide?

    This reminds me of theists who try to stymie atheists by asking how we can say anything is moral or immoral if there is no objective source of morality, oh gee you can’t, therefore religion is necessary for a moral society and gee whiz we should stop doing that atheism thing or bad things will happen. Of course they’re wrong on all counts, and it’s remarkably easy to demonstrate it.

    The answer here is pretty easy, too.

    Does this “minority” (Seriously fuck off for even implying that nazis are any way comparable to minority groups who the nazis themselves want to persecute, do you think people here are stupid enough to fall for that?) want to kill off entire classes of people?

    Then fucking muzzle it.

    Is the goal of said “minority” to establish a system of oppression? Does it fabricate and distribute propaganda that acts to coerce people into oppressing others? Does said propaganda offer little of value beyond its ability to this end?

    Does allowing it a platform increase oppression and decrease societal health in demonstrable ways?

    Will allowing it a platform decrease societal health more than the denial of said platform would decrease societal health?

    Does allowing it a platform cause reasonable and justifiable fear in others for their safety and well-being? Does it demonstrably contribute demonstrable harm to the mental and/or physical health of others?

    Then fucking muzzle it.

    Is there a historical precedent for said “minority” being a fascist fucking murder machine?

    FUCKING. MUZZLE. IT.

    Seriously, it’s not hard. We’re capable of making ethical decisions based on demonstrable, objective, verifiable data. We can build societies with rules and laws that don’t turn into dystopias. We can kick out Nazis without becoming a HORRIBLE SLIPPERY SLOPE OF DOOOOOM.

    For instance, ~apparently~ all we need to do to protect ourselves from nazis is to make sure they don’t “break the law” (like they’re too stupid to know that already and haven’t devised ways to get around it, and oh GEE wouldn’t it be convenient if they happened to get into a position of power that would allow them to remove those pesky laws!). Well! All we have to do is make a law that says no more nazi stuff, and oh, all they have to do is not break the law and their freedom of speech is preserved! 8D Win-win!

    I’m pretty sure there are already types of speech that aren’t protected, so really, you drawing the line at Generic Totally Harmless Nazi Speech is pretty arbitrary. Why holler about the unquestionable speech rights of Nazis when you already acknowledge that speaking certain words already will get them arrested, and you seem to be okay with it? Why should the line be drawn there and not at, say, the first rule mentioned above?

    Why can we make confident and objective statements about morals with regard to harm to others (WHO DECIDES WHAT IS MORAL?! OH SHIT) but Nazi speech is some kind of unfathomable mystery that must never be tread upon OR ELSE?

    (Since we’re on that route, I also think it’s a really good idea to be intolerant of intolerance, OH NO WHAT A CONUNDRUM except not really, if one is actually honest and not just trying to play stupid gotchas.)

  126. billyjoe says

    Mak,

    BJ: Regarding Nazis. They, like any other minority group
    Mak: Oh fuck off.

    Obviously I do not mean that all minorities are the same. Jews are a minority. Nazis are a minority. They are obviously not the same. But they are both minorities. And, as minorities, they should both have free speech. If not, which minorities are you going to exclude and to whom are you going to give the authority to choose on your behalf what speech you are allowed to hear.
    To which you reply:

    This reminds me of theists who try to stymie atheists by asking how we can say anything is moral or immoral if there is no objective source of morality, oh gee you can’t, therefore religion is necessary for a moral society and gee whiz we should stop doing that atheism thing or bad things will happen. Of course they’re wrong on all counts, and it’s remarkably easy to demonstrate it.

    You are making my argument for me.
    If the person chosen to decide for you which speech you are allowed to hear, that person might just decide to disallow all atheistic speech (because it is immoral; Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler etc etc.). Now you are the minority getting the very treatment that you advocate for another minority group. How does that feel?

    Interestingly, you say you have good arguments for atheism and good arguments against theism regarding morality. It seems you are happy to have both these arguments in the public sphere. But you want to disallow Nazi speech. Why? Don’t you have similarly good arguments that are “remarkably easy to demonstrate” against Nazism? Or, to be consistent, would you also advocate to disallow arguments for theism, despite their falsity being “remarkable easy to demonstrate”.

    The answer here is pretty easy, too.
    Does this “minority” (Seriously fuck off for even implying that nazis are any way comparable to minority groups who the nazis themselves want to persecute, do you think people here are stupid enough to fall for that?) want to kill off entire classes of people?

    Do they? Do present day Nazis want to kill off entire classes of people? That’s what you say. But how can I trust what you say when you have misrepresented what I have said? How do I know you have not misrepresented them? Maybe I want to hear it from the horse’s mouth so to speak. And please do not reference what Nazis have done in the past. Christians have their bloody past also, but present day Christians generally do not want to kill whole classes of people. I assume you will allow them public discourse. In any case, they do have public discourse and, as a result, I know that they do not want a return to the dark ages of their past.

    Then fucking muzzle it.

    The slippery slope in action!
    First you want to muzzle the Nazis.
    Next you want to muzzle those who support free speech for Nazis.
    What next are you going want muzzled?
    And what person are you happy to be chosen to decide for you what speech you are allowed and not allowed to hear?

  127. billyjoe says

    Mak (continued)

    Is the goal of said “minority” to establish a system of oppression? Does it fabricate and distribute propaganda that acts to coerce people into oppressing others? Does said propaganda offer little of value beyond its ability to this end?
    Does allowing it a platform increase oppression and decrease societal health in demonstrable ways?
    Will allowing it a platform decrease societal health more than the denial of said platform would decrease societal health?
    Does allowing it a platform cause reasonable and justifiable fear in others for their safety and well-being? Does it demonstrably contribute demonstrable harm to the mental and/or physical health of others?

    You are presuming that the answers to all these questions are “yes”. Somehow, you know the answers to all of these questions about a particular minority group. But how can you, or I, or anyone else really know the answers to these questions unless this minority group are allowed a public platform to state their answers to these questions and to have them exposed by those speaking publicly in response to their public speech? More importantly:

    What if the speech against the public speech given by Nazis with the purpose of spreading Nazism has a bigger effect in reducing the spread of Nazism?
    What if the pertinent questions that could be asked in a public forum of those speaking for Nazism leads to reducing the spread of Nazism?
    What if the public fact checking of the public speech delivered by Nazism leads to reducing the spread of Nazism?

    In fact, if the arguments for nazism are so “remarkably easy to demonstrate”, why would this not the case? Why do you have so little confidence in being able to reduce the spread of Nazism through arguments against Nazism that are so remarkably easy to demonstrate? By denying free speech to Nazis, it could in fact be true that you are actually denying yourself the opportunity to reduce the influence of Nazism.

  128. says

    To billyjoe the troll, all floats in the abstract air. There’s no social reality. Nazis are a minority group. The rubber never meets the road; no responsibility for anyone is shown. It’s all “blather!” or “blather?” Waste of time.

  129. billyjoe says

    Mak (continued),

    FUCKING. MUZZLE. IT.
    Seriously, it’s not hard. We’re capable of making ethical decisions based on demonstrable, objective, verifiable data. We can build societies with rules and laws that don’t turn into dystopias. We can kick out Nazis without becoming a HORRIBLE SLIPPERY SLOPE OF DOOOOOM.

    But you already are on the slippery slope …
    AND. IN. PUNCTUATED. CAPITALS. NOW!
    So you really must be deadly serious
    You want to muzzle Nazis. And now you want to muzzle me. Who are you to tell me what I can and cannot say. And who’s next?

    For instance, ~apparently~ all we need to do to protect ourselves from nazis is to make sure they don’t “break the law” (like they’re too stupid to know that already and haven’t devised ways to get around it, and oh GEE wouldn’t it be convenient if they happened to get into a position of power that would allow them to remove those pesky laws!).

    Isn’t that sufficient. If Nazis break the law, they will be charged and prosecuted and, if found guilty, sentenced appropriately. No, it’s not perfect. There are still theives and muderers out there, and there are those who, after serving their sentence, repeat their offenses. No system is perfect. The solution is to find the best system that will nevertheless still not perfect. If you want Nazis to be punished outside the law, what about everyone else? Suppose you are punished outside the law. How would that feel? Like if the Nazis do get into power and make a special law just for you? But that can’t happen, can it? Because the arguments against Nazism are so “remarkably easy to demonstrate”!

    Well! All we have to do is make a law that says no more nazi stuff, and oh, all they have to do is not break the law and their freedom of speech is preserved! 8D Win-win!

    Really? You consider that an argument. If so, I hope your arguments against Nazism, are not as bad as that: Nazis have free speech. Nazis must obey the law. The law is that Nazi speech is not free speech. Therefore Nazis have free speech provided it is not Nazi speech. Substitute “atheist” for “Nazi” in the above and I’m sure you will see the falsity of your argument.

    I’m pretty sure there are already types of speech that aren’t protected…

    Sure. Incitement to assault or kill someone or a group of people, for instance. If Nazis or anyone else crosses that line, they should be charged and prosecuted.

    Why holler about the unquestionable speech rights of Nazis when you already acknowledge that speaking certain words already will get them arrested, and you seem to be okay with it? Why should the line be drawn there and not at, say, the first rule mentioned above?

    You really do have bad arguments don’t you?
    What you are essentially saying is this: Why not just outlaw Nazi speech if you going to prosecute for speech that advocates for unlawful acts? The answer, if it isn’t yet clear, is because they haven’t yet delivered, and may never deliver, speech that advocates for unlawful acts.

    The rest of your comment is an even more confusing mish mash of disjointed ideas than what you’ve already achieved above, so I’ll leave it there.

  130. billyjoe says

    SC,

    Great argument.
    If your arguments against Nazism are no better than that, I can well understand why you might want Nazi speech made illegal.

  131. Porivil Sorrens says

    Wew lads. Making a pro-Nazi “First they came…” spoof is pretty extra, even by the standards already set by the thread.

  132. says

    This is what trolling looks like.

    I think this epitomizes what I’m talking about (including the sickening bad faith):

    The fact that I look a certain way and have a certain name doesn’t mean I must now learn to put up with the hate crimes, hate speech, vandalism and violence that these people promote against me and other marginalized groups.

    But you don’t really have a choice do you? In the world outside university this is inevitably going to happen. The best you can do is listen to and understand their arguments, avoid over-reaction, develop a thick skin, accept help from everyone who offers it, excuse microaggressions, especially imagined microaggressions, especially by those who actually support you, avoid being hypersensitised, and stand up and fight those who would do you harm. Their are plenty of us who are willing to support you.

    Again – avoid these grotesque, evil, abstract trolls. I don’t know how someone like billyjoe lives with himself, but he does.

  133. vucodlak says

    @ billyjoe

    Let’s tot up your behavior in this thread, shall we:
    You passionately defend the right of Nazis to say whatever the fuck they want (as long as they use dogwhistles to cloak their threats in the thinnest veneer of plausible deniability), while demanding that their victims make no effective response. You’ve ignored evidence that’s repeatedly been presented to you, evidence YOU have demanded. You consistently ignore the actual substance of the discussion to split hairs over linguistic technicalities, then have the gall to whine when someone else does it to you. You deflect and go off on meaningless tangents every time someone shreds one of your vapid (and the next word is going to be exceedingly generous) arguments. When all else fails, you just flat-out lie.

    You’ve done the same kind of thing in defense of sexual-assaulters and pro-torture bigots. Your behavior in a thread regarding one of the former lead me to label you an abuser, which is a designation I stand by. Let me add to that that you are a smarmy, preening hemorrhoid.

    I know, I know; hemorrhoids don’t preen, and certainly they don’t smarm. Right? And yet here you squat, spreading your little winky-faces all over this thread, pretending this is all a friendly disagreement whilst telling people that Nazis really aren’t so bad as they suppose. But you’re not defending them, oh no!

    Bullshit. If you wanna lie down with Nazis then that’s your right, but don’t be shocked when most people want nothing to do with you. Nobody likes a Quisling.

  134. Mak, acolyte to Farore says

    But they are both minorities. And, as minorities, they should both have free speech.

    Prove it.

    Reiterating: fuck off.

    If not, which minorities are you going to exclude and to whom are you going to give the authority to choose on your behalf what speech you are allowed to hear.

    Already laid out a very basic guideline. Gauging the harm of allowing vs the harm of not allowing is a decent start. It’s not as hard as you think.

    You are making my argument for me.

    No, I’m saying your “WHO DRAWS THE LINE?!” argument is just as shoddy as theists’ attempt to argue against secular morality. “WHO SAYS WHAT’S MORAL?!” And yet somehow secular morality doesn’t fall apart. Which is like… the exact opposite of your argument.

    If the person chosen to decide for you which speech you are allowed to hear, that person might just decide to disallow all atheistic speech (because it is immoral; Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler etc etc.). Now you are the minority getting the very treatment that you advocate for another minority group. How does that feel?

    Aw wouldn’t that be a shame. Except, it can be demonstrated that this decreases societal health, and that the denial of the platform does more harm to societal health than allowing it, therefore doesn’t fit the standards I mentioned above.

    Much like letting nazis be nazis all over the place.

    Maybe the people who write our laws or decide our morality will start jailing atheists out of spite. Clearly morality and law aren’t worth talking about and we should just dismantle society as a whole and allow EVERYTHING. Every man for himself. Ultimate freedom!

    Interestingly, you say you have good arguments for atheism and good arguments against theism regarding morality. It seems you are happy to have both these arguments in the public sphere. But you want to disallow Nazi speech.

    Yeah the neat difference between my atheist arguments and nazi arguments is that one of us wants to kill and oppress people and the other doesn’t.

    Funny how that works.

    Interestingly, you seem to think lies and conspiracy theories with the intent to incite oppression and murder is on par with defending secular morality against an accusation that only theistic morality is valid, that you think their value is comparable, and that you think we need more of this in the public square.

    Don’t you have similarly good arguments that are “remarkably easy to demonstrate” against Nazism?

    Hey guess what, we don’t have to give nazis “equal time” in order to call them on their bullshit. Creationists try that bullshit all the time and they benefit from it when people give it to them, remember?

    Also, what was “remarkably easy to demonstrate” was that “god or total nihilism” is a false dichotomy, that god isn’t actually an objective source for morality, and it is actually 100% possible to draw a line in the sand without chicken-little squawking about how it will spiral out of control and destroy society as we know it. Just like we can set speed limits and age restrictions without turning the country into an anti-driving dictatorship or a libertarian free-for-all. Or, you know, we can make moral decisions based on objective facts without a god arbitrarily dictating it.

    Or, to be consistent, would you also advocate to disallow arguments for theism, despite their falsity being “remarkable easy to demonstrate”.

    Arguments for theism are, in and of themselves, benign wrt oppression and societal health, so no. On the other hand, I’d love to kick out the blokes who try to make theistic arguments that justify abusing children (physically or mentally), oppressing queer people, and killing racial minorities. Might be fun to tell creationists to take a hike too, because lying to children could arguably be a form of violence, but I’d have to think about it.

    See how easy it is when you take certain guidelines into consideration? P.S. “falsity” isn’t a guideline and I never said it was.

    Do they? Do present day Nazis want to kill off entire classes of people? That’s what you say. But how can I trust what you say when you have misrepresented what I have said? How do I know you have not misrepresented them?

    Oh my god are you an idiot?

    Okay fine, don’t take what I say at face value. I’m just a bloke on a webforum, who isn’t quite sure anymore if he’s arguing with a nazi troll or just a regular troll. Good job, your Skepticism™ Skills are so on point that you can be Skeptical™ out of spite and accept that maybe, possibly, nazis have changed their ways and become a kindler, gentler, totally harmless and quirky group that MAYBE don’t want to eliminate all Jews, feminists, queer people, etc. everywhere but perhaps just wants to make their lives a little harder.

    That would still make them an absolutely deplorable organization that deserves to be eradicated like a bad abcess, bee tee dubs.

    And please do not reference what Nazis have done in the past. Christians have their bloody past also, but present day Christians generally do not want to kill whole classes of people.

    Oh please. Sorry, but until nazis prove that they aren’t DISGUSTING PILES OF SHIT (an admittedly impossible task, since not only would they have to do a complete 180 but they’d also have to expunge the whole nazi thing entirely, but that’s not my problem is it), I’m going to assume that they’re disgusting piles of shit, and I am completely, 100% justified in doing so, considering their track record.

    Arguing that christians generally don’t want to kill whole groups of people is somewhat debatable depending on your location in the world, which christians you’re talking about, and what groups of people (A lot of folk in the West are often ignorant of what sort of shenanigans christian churches and especially the catholic church have been up to in Africa, for instance, also there’s a whole lot of hate groups in the US that are christian-based just a fun fact). But hey, just for funsies, let’s assume that christians don’t generally want to be nazis.

    Nazis still want to be nazis.

    In any case, they do have public discourse and, as a result, I know that they do not want a return to the dark ages of their past.

    Cool, so how many creationists do we keep inviting into schools so that they can keep lying to captive children?

    Better yet, how many nazis do we invite into schools so that they can lie to captive children?

    The slippery slope in action!

    55 MPH speed limit? THE SLIPPERY SLOPE IN ACTION!
    Same-sex marriage? THE SLIPPERY SLOPE IN ACTION!
    18-year voting age? THE SLIPPERY SLOPE IN ACTION!
    Abortion? THE SLIPPERY SLOPE IN ACTION!
    Slander, libel, and inciting violence is illegal??! THE SLIPPERY SLOPE IN ACTION!
    THE SKY IS FALLING!! AAAAAGH!!!

    First you want to muzzle the Nazis.
    Next you want to muzzle those who support free speech for Nazis.

    Oh, now I’m muzzling you? I thought I was just calling your argument stupid. Is that censorship? Are you disallowed from the schools now? Are people vandalizing your bookstore?

    What next are you going want muzzled?

    Oh yes, how do I possibly pick?!
    I thought I already laid out some basic guidelines that I was reasonably happy with. What’s wrong with sticking to that?

    And what person are you happy to be chosen to decide for you what speech you are allowed and not allowed to hear?

    Why, the people who agree with me, of course!
    Kind of like how I pick what people I’m happy with to run my country, or build my schools, or write my laws, or join together into an ethical society.
    Seriously, what, you think I voted for Bernie because I rolled a D20 and got lucky?

    You are presuming that the answers to all these questions are “yes”. Somehow, you know the answers to all of these questions about a particular minority group.

    Yeah, well, they make it pretty easy when they admit it, and…you know… actively did it to real people. And we have, like, records of it. And studies. Legit ones.

    But how can you, or I, or anyone else really know the answers to these questions unless this minority group are allowed a public platform to state their answers to these questions and to have them exposed by those speaking publicly in response to their public speech?

    Yes, how can we truly know the mind of the nazi unless we give them an audience with impressionable young people in a public school.

    We could always read their blogs.

    Shit, back in the day, people used to argue with each other by publishing pamphlets. What ever happened to that?

    What if the speech against the public speech given by Nazis with the purpose of spreading Nazism has a bigger effect in reducing the spread of Nazism?
    What if the pertinent questions that could be asked in a public forum of those speaking for Nazism leads to reducing the spread of Nazism?
    What if the public fact checking of the public speech delivered by Nazism leads to reducing the spread of Nazism?

    Yes, much like the answer to gun violence is to get MORE GUNS out there, the answer to nazism is to have more nazis.

    Clearly.

    Shit, it worked especially well for creationists. Yup, there’s no creationism problem in the US anymore. We all invited them to debate and trounced their asses and they threw their aprons over their faces and cried all the way back to church and we never saw them again.

    It worked so well that now the flat-earthers are totally not trying to do the same thing!

    In fact, if the arguments for nazism are so “remarkably easy to demonstrate”,

    Again, what was so “remarkably easy to demonstrate” was that slippery slope arguments are garbage. Gee, and you accused me of misinterpreting you. Does this mean I get to disregard everything you say?

    Why do you have so little confidence in being able to reduce the spread of Nazism through arguments against Nazism that are so remarkably easy to demonstrate?

    Yes, clearly I’m scared that I’ll be proven wrong and the nazis will win the debate and ultimately prove on public record that their agenda is actually 100% correct and we should totally become a nazi country and send those disgusting minorities packing.

    …Wait. Waaaait. Oh my god, you aren’t seriously saying that the nazis are right and I’m too scared to prove them wrong, are you?

    Actually, I have little confidence in things that have proven not only to not work, but also exacerbate the problem.

    By denying free speech to Nazis, it could in fact be true that you are actually denying yourself the opportunity to reduce the influence of Nazism.

    Yeah it worked out so great the first time OH WAIT.

    Funny how the US seems to be having a nazi problem all of a sudden, coincidentally when all these prominent faces are openly talking shit. Does any other country have this kind of nazi problem? Does Germany? Is it like our gun problem where our fetishization of FREEEEEEDOM and enshrinement of the Second Amendment has led to a massive epidemic of gun-related violence and all the other sensible countries are out there shaking their heads and wondering what the fuck is wrong with us?

  135. says

    Right now someone is bombing people here in Austin Texas. I wonder if there is a pattern among the victims? Even if not we have the hate crime spike after the election and all the other actual violence bigotry causes. The needs more social focus, not less.

  136. Mak, acolyte to Farore says

    @Billyjoe

    You want to muzzle Nazis. And now you want to muzzle me.

    Hahaha oh my god, you really do think my calling you out and arguing against you is an attempt at censorship.

    So we can “debate” nazis and that’s good healthy conversation, but debating you is censorship.

    ARE WE CENSORING NAZIS OR NOT?! o:

    Isn’t that sufficient. If Nazis break the law, they will be charged and prosecuted and, if found guilty, sentenced appropriately. […] If you want Nazis to be punished outside the law, what about everyone else?

    How would they be punished outside the law? Just make a law saying no nazi stuff. Nazis can still have their free speech just like everyone else. They’ll just get arrested if they break the law.

    I mean, it works for libel and slander and inciting violence, right? You seem to think that’s acceptable and not a blasphemous affront to the sacredity of free speech. Why not just add one more law? No hate speech! Done.

    8D

    Suppose you are punished outside the law. How would that feel? Like if the Nazis do get into power and make a special law just for you?

    Why gee whiz, that would be awful! It’s a good thing those nice nazis have turned themselves around and would never want to do such a thing.

    We could still demonstrate the unethicalness of it if they did, though. Which they could not. So there’s that.

    Why do you keep comparing acts that try to minimize harm altruistically with acts that want to perpetuate it selfishly and act like they’re in any way the same?

    Because the arguments against Nazism are so “remarkably easy to demonstrate”!

    Man, it makes me feel bad that you’re putting so much effort into a misunderstanding of like one fragment of a sentence I uttered in passing. I hope my previous post fixed it.

    Really? You consider that an argument.

    Actually it was sarcasm. ‘Cause you think it’s okay to limit some speech by law and still call it free speech, and don’t see the irony in that.

    Substitute “atheist” for “Nazi” in the above and I’m sure you will see the falsity of your argument.

    Mmmmnope. Sorry. Not the same thing.

    Sure. Incitement to assault or kill someone or a group of people, for instance. If Nazis or anyone else crosses that line, they should be charged and prosecuted.

    So it’s perfectly okay to take away someone’s free speech to tell them to kill people. But it’s not okay to take away someone’s free speech to tell lies about how some people are the source of our suffering and that they’re not human, and that if they aren’t stopped then society will come to ruin. And if some people decide all on their own that subhuman garbage needs to be incinerated with all the rest of the garbage, then oh well! Collateral damage.

    I guess violence and harm to minorities only count when they’re being killed; the disruption of their lives and health and mental health from systemic oppression and the stress of living in fear in the presence of their oppressors don’t actually count for shit and aren’t worth consideration.

    You really do have bad arguments don’t you?

    Says you.

    What you are essentially saying is this: Why not just outlaw Nazi speech if you going to prosecute for speech that advocates for unlawful acts?

    Well yeah, I mean, you already acknowledge that free speech can be limited in certain circumstances that cause harm, so your assertion that we can’t limit speech that ALSO causes harm is pretty… nonsensical.

    The answer, if it isn’t yet clear, is because they haven’t yet delivered, and may never deliver, speech that advocates for unlawful acts.

    Man, how convenient for them that conspiratorial and incendiary hate speech isn’t illegal in the US. No surprise, really. I mean, what would happen to the country if the straight, cis, white people in power weren’t allowed to talk about how all these minorities deserve to be oppressed!

    That’s pretty generous of you, though, assuming that all their nazi talk won’t actually result in any actual bad things happening.

  137. Mak, acolyte to Farore says

    @SC #147

    HAHAHAHA oh my god, ohhhh my god I didn’t see that part earlier upthread. Yeah, nazi troll. I’m not even going to be nice about it. They reek of the same alt-right trigger-joking youtube comment asshattery that either outright call themselves nazis or at least think it’s a pretty darn good idea. No wonder they want nazis to be able to preach in public spaces just like creationists.

    Next time I’m queerbashed I’ll stop it the billyjoe way: just accept it and don’t react in any way, don’t talk about it, don’t do literally anything. And then fight it. Somehow. Good advice. Thumbs up. Abuse-prevention from one’s abuser is always quality.

    Hahaha man, what a shit.

  138. billyjoe says

    Well, I’ve said about all I wanted to say and it’s just repetitive now. Well, it has been repetitive now for awhile. I have already responded further upthread to all the arguments since my last post here, so, if you’re interested, please read them again. Or not. Please yourself.

    The last thing I want to say is this. I have been accused of all the following and more: troll, nazi, abuser, rapist. All accusations are false. You might be able to fool other like minded individuals on this blog because it serves your mutual purpose to imagine that they are true, but I know them to be false. Obviously it’s not something I can prove, which is why those commenters are making those false accusations – they know I can’t prove otherwise. And that reflects badly on them, not me.

    It is actually part of my argument for free speech. In short: Some commenters here have made incorrect assessments of the sort of beliefs I hold and the sort of behaviours they imagine I must have. They are false.The same commenters have made assessments of present day Nazis. But, If they could he wrong about me, they could be wrong about Nazis. The solution is free speech for everyone, so we can all decide for ourselves what opinions a person or group holds. I won’t take your word for it because you have already demonstrated that you can’t be trusted to make acurate assessments.

    In other words, your commentary here has been self-refuting. And you have all convinced me even more of the correctness of my opinion regarding free speech. Nazism was simply an example because that is how it evolved in this thread. Provided they don’t break the law in doing so, all minorities should have free speech. If you disagree, then necessarily there must be a person who must decide for you what you are allowed to hear. Good luck if that’s what you want.

    Again this doesn’t mean you have to provide a venue – some are still going on about invites of Nazis to schools even though I covered this at least several times! In short: Protest peacefully the fact they were invited.That’s free speech. But once invited, they should not be disinvited or deplatformed. That is anti-free speech. Protest peacefully when they attend to deliver their speech. That is free speech. Or, if so inclined, debate them and question them. Or deliver counter-Nazi speech. That is all free speech. This is simply how a good democracy functions.

    A really bad way to argue is to argue against the sort of arguments that it is easy for you to argue against rather than the arguments that are actually being made. A really bad strategy is to imagine that person to be someone he ostensibly is not. You don’t fool him. You just fool yourself and your like minded fellow posters. This is just juvenile, schoolyard stuff. It demonstrates clearly that you don’t have any actual arguments against what that person is saying.

    And some of you are simply not genuine. There was a commenter above who at least four times told me to muzzle it – and in all caps! – and punctuated. And then he denies that he wants to muzzle me. He can’t of course, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to – just like he wants to muzzle that particular minority group. So, he at least is not arguing in good faith. As neither are all those who argue against what you know I haven’t said and against a person who I am not.

    This is my last post in this thread, so go ahead and slander me all you like, I am not going to respond, because I will already have covered in what I’ve already said above.

    See you all on another thread, hopefully with better arguments and a better attitude. ;)

  139. Mak, acolyte to Farore says

    LOL okay I wasn’t going to respond to your blabbityblah, but I just had to say one thing.

    There was a commenter above who at least four times told me to muzzle it – and in all caps! – and punctuated. And then he denies that he wants to muzzle me.

    Yeah, you’re referring to me. I laid out explicit guidelines that at minimum should be met before the muzzle is applied:

    –> Does this “minority” want to kill off entire classes of people?

    –> Is the goal of said “minority” to establish a system of oppression? Does it fabricate and distribute propaganda that acts to coerce people into oppressing others? Does said propaganda offer little of value beyond its ability to this end?

    –> Does allowing it a platform increase oppression and decrease societal health in demonstrable ways?

    –> Will allowing it a platform decrease societal health more than the denial of said platform would decrease societal health?

    –> Does allowing it a platform cause reasonable and justifiable fear in others for their safety and well-being? Does it demonstrably contribute demonstrable harm to the mental and/or physical health of others?

    –> Is there a historical precedent for said “minority” being a fascist fucking murder machine?

    While they aren’t necessarily exhaustive and could probably be adjusted or expanded upon, those are the guidelines I listed. Which means, according to my standards, that something must fit at least one of those criteria before it gets a-muzzlin’.

    Despite my pointing this out multiple times, you still insist that I want to muzzle you as well. Which can only happen if you fit these criteria.

    So which one is it? The killing? The oppression? The harm to societal health? The harm to people in proximity? The historical precedent for fascism and genocide?

    All in all, it’s as good an admission as any that something smelly is up here. I mean, I’ve already seen some of the gross shit you’ve said in this thread, and you’re willing to lie about me in the same exact thread where anyone can see that you’re lying, so how can I take your word at face value when you claim your innocence?

    Especially since, in what I can only think is a REMARKABLY freudian slip, between then and now you’ve turned my statement “Then fucking muzzle it” (the ‘it’ in this case being nazis or whatever hypothetical group what would fit said criteria) into “Then fucking muzzle you.”

    (By the way, I repeated it “at least four times”—it was three times, actually—because I listed multiple criteria. And dramatic effect, that was a thing too. And I didn’t tell you to muzzle anything; that’d actually be the job of… I dunno, the government, I guess.)

    So like. Bye and stuff.

  140. billyjoe says

    Mak,

    Okay, I read that post again. You are correct. I misread it the first time. When you said “muzzle it” you were not referring to me. My apologies.

  141. John Morales says

    billyjoe:
    @155:

    This is my last post in this thread

    @157:

    Okay, I read that post again. You are correct.

    Informative.

  142. says

    In short: Some commenters here have made incorrect assessments of the sort of beliefs I hold and the sort of behaviours they imagine I must have. They are false.The same commenters have made assessments of present day Nazis. But, If they could he wrong about me, they could be wrong about Nazis.

    LOL!

  143. John Morales says

    Oh, come on, SC, you stopped short. The following sentence is itself amusing:

    The solution is free speech for everyone, so we can all decide for ourselves what opinions a person or group holds.

    The implicit syllogism is something like:
    1. I’ve freely spoken, here, so that people could decide for themselves what opinions I hold.
    2. I find that the expressed opinions thus formed are incorrect and false.
    Therefore
    3. The solution is free speech for everyone, so we can all decide for ourselves what opinions a person or group holds.

    Heh.

  144. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Mak, acolyte to Farore in #156
    Advocating for boycotts of Israeli products could easily pass most or all of the tests that you just gave here.
    –> Does this “minority” want to kill off entire classes of people? — Those who favor such a law would say that those who advocate for boycotts are anti-semitic and neo-Nazis.
    –> Is the goal of said “minority” to establish a system of oppression? — Again, they would say that boycotters are neo-Nazis.
    –> Does allowing it a platform increase oppression and decrease societal health in demonstrable ways?
    –> Will allowing it a platform decrease societal health more than the denial of said platform would decrease societal health?
    — They would say yes. They would say that it does substantial harm to Israel.
    –> Does allowing it a platform cause reasonable and justifiable fear in others for their safety and well-being? — Again, they would claim yes.
    Does it demonstrably contribute demonstrable harm to the mental and/or physical health of others? — Again, they would claim yes.
    –> Is there a historical precedent for said “minority” being a fascist fucking murder machine? — Definitely. Nazis did kill like 6 million Jews during the holocaust.

    So, it seems like a reasonable person could decide that calling for boycotts of Israeli products is hate speech under the guidelines that you just put forward.

    Advocating for boycotts of Israeli products is illegal under hate speech laws in several European countries. Ex:
    https://forward.com/news/breaking-news/323207/france-court-upholds-bds-is-discrimination-ruling/

    The United States congress may also have tried recently to pass a law that forbids this kind of boycott action.
    https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech/how-israel-anti-boycott-act-threatens-first-amendment-rights

    I support boycotting Israeli products, and I don’t think calling for boycotts of Israeli products is bad. Israel is an apartheid state, and an international boycott was a very important aspect of the approach that ended the apartheid state in South Africa.

    There is a difference between (proper) laws against libel and slander, laws against harassment, laws against true threats, vs laws against hate speech. Laws against hate speech are too easily used by those in power to oppress minorities. I believe based on this example and other evidence that hate speech laws are used more often to protect speakers of hate compared to how often they are properly used to protect those minorities that deserve our protection. I also firmly believe that hate speech laws are basically useless in combating hateful ideologies and protecting minorities who deserve our protection.

    I believe the importance difference is laws against libel, slander, harassment, true threats, etc., all be framed with a particular “reasonable person” standard so that the laws cannot be easily abused. However, I believe that there is no possible legal standard for hate speech. The problem is right there in the name. “Hate”. There isn’t a legally practitionable standard of what is too hateful or not, and whether the hate is justified or not. Determining whether hate is justified or not is a political question, and deciding questions of political orthodoxy is exactly what governments must be prohibited from doing, because people in power will abuse that to make it illegal to express opinions which are hurtful to the majority or harmful to those in power.

    For example, is calling for a boycott of Israeli products a justifiable oppression of a minority group, or not? I think it is.

    For example, for many people in Pakistan, they consider it the most horrible kind of speech to blaspheme Muhammad, so much so that the bodyguard of a congress-person killed the congress-person not because they blasphemed, but because the congress-person wanted to eliminate (or reduce) the blasphemy law.

    And to repeat what I said above: These hate speech laws are basically never used against Christian, Jewish, or Muslim preachers who preach in their places of worship. These people are the biggest sources of hatred in our society by quite a substantial margin, and yet they get a free pass on the hate speech laws. And these same people are also quite likely to be able to successfully invoke the hate speech laws to silence my criticism of them – for example calling Muhammad a child-raping, illiterate, lying, war criminal.

    And to repeat what I said above: The US Supreme Court case which said that it’s illegal to yell fire in a crowded threatrehouse – that was a court case that upheld the conviction for sedition against some Yiddish socialists who published pamphlets against joining the first world war in a language that most Americans could not read. The US Supreme Court case that created the doctrine that saying fighting words can be criminalized – that was a court case that upheld the conviction against a Jehovah’s Witness for the fighting words “you’re a racketeer and a fascist” when he said that to some cops to who arrested the Witness for no reason and who also refused to arrest the person who just tried to stab the Witness in plain view of the cops.

    Hate speech laws do almost nothing to protect deserving minorities, and they are used very often to victimize deserving minorities, such as the Palestinians who are suffering under Israeli rule.

  145. John Morales says

    EnlightenmentLiberal:

    Hate speech laws do almost nothing to protect deserving minorities, and they are used very often to victimize deserving minorities, such as the Palestinians who are suffering under Israeli rule.

    Gotcha.

    You hold that one should be free to volubly and publicly advocate the stomping of “cockroaches”, because Hate speech laws do almost nothing to protect deserving minorities, and because they would also apply to Israeli product boycotts.

  146. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To John
    Among many other examples, yes, including many more that I listed.

  147. John Morales says

    EL, good point.

    I should have written “… because, among other reasons, ate speech laws do almost nothing to protect deserving minorities, and because they would also apply to Israeli product boycotts.”

    But let me be less subtle: those are bullshit reasons — regarding ‘almost’, it is the case that partial amelioration is better than no amelioration, and regarding “also apply to Israeli product boycotts”, for that to have any weight would entail that Israeli product boycotts are necessarily a bad thing.

    It’s seems to me you vacillate between virtue and consequentialist justifications; thing is, with the latter you have to specify applicable circumstances.

  148. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To John
    Sorry. I don’t see why anyone would believe that it actually does anything. Didn’t stop the Nazis. Didn’t stop Brexit. I don’t see any evidence or reason at all that it does anything useful beyond a few isolated cases, and forcing the right to adopt code words to slightly obfuscate their meaning, such as using “cultural Marxism” instead of “Jews”, “immigrants” instead of “Muslims”, etc. These laws don’t stop people from being hateful. I would love to see actual proper evidence that I’m wrong. I’ve spent a fair amount of time looking, and I haven’t found it yet.

    And while the negative effects of such hate speech laws are not currently as extreme as many people make them out to be, those negatives are still there, and IMO they seem to be substantially larger than the supposed ethereal benefits.

    I mean, seriously, look at what these laws are doing. They In several European countries, it’s illegal to speak out against the ethnic cleansing that is happening in the occupied territories right now.

    And finally, you didn’t engage on this one point: I believe that the hate speech laws actually protect the biggest sources of hatred in our society, which are Christian, Jewish, and Muslim preachers. The hate speech laws are very useful to these hateful people in order to use the law to silence criticism, and the hate speech laws are almost never used against them. It’s the perfect racket; the biggest hate speakers in society benefit most from the laws that purport to stop hate speech.

  149. John Morales says

    EnlightenmentLiberal, I do get you.

    You contend that (contra)n hate speech laws are pernicious on the basis that they are not helpful.

    (I just don’t think that’s a compelling argument against them)

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