Gaslit by the alt-right


Here we go again. People are arguing that “subscribe to Pewdiepie” and flashing the OK sign are not Nazi signifiers. They’re half right. Pewdiepie is not a Nazi; he’s a Nazi stooge. Likewise, all those photos of idiots giving the OK sign to ‘trigger the libs’ aren’t literal Nazis, they’re just idiot Nazi enablers. Here’s a useful explainer from some asshole on one of the chans:

By the way, if you try to argue that you “simply enjoy Pewdiepie’s content”, which is stupid, repetitive, unoriginal, and obnoxious, I already have grounds to call you a liar.

They think it’s all a game, but they also know what they’re doing. Amanda Marcotte gets it.

Racism is no longer “ironic” when the racists are murdering people. It’s not just “trolling” when you shoot dozens of people in the head.

The fact that Brenton Tarrant is likely a mass murderer doesn’t mean he’s not a troll, however. He is both. He livestreamed his killing spree and posted an online manifesto that is stuffed full of alt-right memes and inside jokes, making it quite clear that one of his main goals in murdering all those people was, in internet parlance, “the lulz.” Messing with the libs is what trolls like Tarrant live for, and it turns out that nothing messes with people’s heads quite like mass murder.

The fascist strategy works this way: You “shroud your sincere ideas in cartoon characters and memes and then, when called out, you mock your accuser for being a clueless normie who isn’t in on the joke,” as vlogger Natalie Wynn explained in her indispensable video “Decrypting the Alt-Right,” released after the Charlottesville riot in 2017.

Another familiar term for this is gaslighting. They are playing with your head: they endorse atrocities right in front of you, and then deny that that’s what they’re doing. And then they commit atrocities and try the same game of plausible deniability, except it’s no longer plausible. It’s no longer funny in any sense if you’re trying to publicly show sympathy for a movement that murders innocents.

This is why, even though the era of the OK sign as a troll may be over, the larger dynamic behind it is still in effect. Public figures will make gestures of sympathy with white nationalism and then deny that’s what they’re doing. Journalists, unable to read their thoughts and prove they’re lying, are stuck over and over again having to write, “Well, there’s no way to know for certain.”

Perhaps after this debacle folks in mainstream media will be a little less quick to mock leftists for believing that people on the right are using symbols and other coded gestures to signal their sympathy for a toxic and hateful cause.

Also note that HBomberGuy pointed this out over a two years ago. Figure it out, people. It’s past due.

You’re in a group photo where everyone is making the OK gesture? Don’t try to laugh it off. All I’m going to say is “Fuck you.”

Comments

  1. Chris J says

    No action or symbol has meaning without context. If the context doesn’t seem to fit an action or symbol, there’s probably some context you’re not seeing or that is being hidden from you.

    Complex way of saying that if someone says “Subscribe to Pewdiepie” in a context where you aren’t talking about youtube, chances are they’re saying it for a reason. And that reason these days is likely to be white nationalism. Same thing with the OK symbol in a context where there’s nothing in particular being referenced as being “OK.”

    What the assholes want you to believe is that symbols have inherent meaning, and the inherent meaning can’t possibly be what you think it is, and that no context for their actions actually exist. Same problem with people “Just Asking Questions” or “just criticizing a famous person incessantly across every platform of communication without provocation.”

  2. lucifersbike says

    I had a look at that Twitter feed. I feel rather ill. Our species is definitely misnamed.

  3. says

    In a now deleted tweet, the UKIP – a British political party – said to subscribe to PewDiePie – a Swedish YouTuber – because it’s the “patriotic thing to do.”

    Still up…
    https://twitter.com/UKIP/status/1106482911136616450
    The @DailyMirror just called to ask if we regret tweeting subscribe to @pewdiepie in the wake of the awful terrorist attack in New Zealand. The left-wing media is attempting to connect UKIP with this atrocity for asking people to subscribe to the world’s most popular YouTube.

    Gaslighting and I’m sure they’d deny that there is anything racist behind it despite the use of “patriotic” to describe asking to people to subscribe to a white man’s channel so he can win over the South Asian channel.

  4. barbaz says

    All these PewDiePie analyses are completely missing how “subscribe to PDP” is simply just a meme that is currently trending and has, to most people, about as much political connotation as “all hail grumpy cat”. A dog whistle is completely useless if everyone is using it. This 4chan post is not a deep analysis but just another troll. Also, for some reason, most people actually enjoy “stupid, repetitive, unoriginal, and obnoxious” content.

  5. drew says

    Planning to say “fuck you” to white nationalists seems as effectual as “debating” xians. It’s a way for you to blow off some steam short-term, but long-term it really only seems to feed them. Both giving them attention and also playing their game their way doesn’t seem like the best strategy. Even from a combative standpoint what would Sun Tsu do?

  6. KG says

    drew@7,

    Yes, let’s just ignore them when they slaughter a few dozen people! After all, “giving them attention” in such a case would be “playing their game their way”, wouldn’t it?

  7. chrislawson says

    drew@7–

    I love Sun Tzu’s Art of War, but he was writing in 500 BC about conventional military engagement between armies. Not much relevance here.

  8. Saad says

    They want to murder people and those that don’t want to murder people want to rejoice at the news of their friends murdering people. And they want to encourage more murders.

    You don’t ignore or engage in debate with such people.

  9. says

    barbaz: “a meme that is currently trending and has, to most people, about as much political connotation as “all hail grumpy cat””. Except it’s been given meaning by those who use it. I won’t be telling anyone to subscribe to that ass, because it now means “I like Nazis”.

    It is trending because assholes have found it a useful dogwhistle. To pretend otherwise is to join in their side of the game.

  10. chrislawson says

    barbaz–

    Funny how nobody on the left or moderate right has been echoing the “Subscribe to Pewdiepie” memes, especially while live-streaming their own terrorist attack.
    Funny how the Christchurch shooter didn’t choose to say “All Hail Grumpy Cat”.
    Funny how UKIP didn’t recommend suscribing to ICanHazCheezburger.
    Funny how LOLCATS never paid people through Fiverr to publicly display “DEATH TO ALL JEWS” signs and stream the “joke” on YouTube.
    Funny how the Gangnam Style video doesn’t use racial slurs at any time.

  11. ck, the Irate Lump says

    barbaz wrote:

    All these PewDiePie analyses are completely missing how “subscribe to PDP” is simply just a meme […]

    It’s a meme that has been kept on life support for months longer than it would’ve lasted if the alt-right hadn’t found it so useful. It confuses hapless centrists who don’t understand dog whistle politics and have an almost supernatural ability to ignore context. Some liberal suggested that the “Subscribe to Pewdiepie” might be racist since it was promoted because T-Series (an Indian YT channel) was about to overtake him in subscribers. This made the phrase useful since you can now claim that leftists “call everyone racist” when it’s used, and point to something slightly concrete.

    So, just a meme, just like the OK sign, or the Odal rune, or the sonnenrad, or 1488, or any of the other plausibly deniable shit they do. It’s supposed to look innocuous so that you’re duped when it gets a severe reaction from those who understand what it really says.

  12. Ichthyic says

    This 4chan post is not a deep analysis but just another troll.

    and you have the gall to claim OTHERS are missing the point?

    wow.

    just… wow.

  13. Ichthyic says

    Planning to say “fuck you” to white nationalists seems as effectual as “debating” xians.

    that’s why it’s much more than just words.

    also why I just come right out and say we should now, and have always needed to… punch nazis. because i’m both progressive enough and knowledgeable of history to know this is what must be done. along with excluding them from basically everything, and marginalizing them into nothingness.

    call it a “dogwhistle”.

    :P

  14. paulparnell says

    Punching nazis is giving them a victory. They are narcissistic and live to dance in the flames of our cheers and jeers. Worse, if you allow yourself to be ruled by your anger, fears and passions then you may be destined to become as ugly and evil as darth cheeto himself. Anger delivers power but it corrupts.

  15. Ichthyic says

    Punching nazis is giving them a victory.

    only someone who has sat back and done nothing would say this.

    really.

    It works. I can say it from experience since I was 15.

    go. try it.

  16. Ichthyic says

    Worse, if you allow yourself to be ruled by your anger, fears and passions

    you become Darth Vader?

    uh, hate to tell you, but Star Wars is fiction.

  17. Porivil Sorrens says

    @16
    Ah yeah. That’s why Richard Spencer is afraid to tour universities anymore. The lack of punching did that.

  18. kome says

    This phenomenon was observed by Sartre in 1945 in the context of antisemitism:

    “Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.”

  19. Meg Thornton says

    paulparnell @ 16:

    Okay, so punching Nazis gives them a win, means they’ve gathered our attention and let them take up space inside our heads, and given them a reason to pretend martyrdom and persecution.

    Not punching Nazis gives them a win, lets them do whatever they fancy, allows them to pretend their ideas are reasonable and justifiable, allows them to take up space inside our heads, and gives them a reason to think they’re being supported by the rest of us. Oh, and it also tells people who are Jewish, Roma, non-white, disabled, non-heterosexual and so on the Nazis might just be right, and they have something to be very afraid of.

    So what do you suggest we do to thread this particular needle? How do we convince Nazis (and Jewish people, Romani people, non-white people, non-heterosexual people, non-ablebodied and neurodiverse people) we don’t approve of Nazi politics, Nazi policies, Nazi tactics, Nazi doctrine and all the rest, without giving them attention, without giving them a reason to proclaim they’re supported, without resorting to violence, and without giving them a chance to either commit atrocities themselves, or claim atrocities are being committed against them?

    I’d be interested in hearing your suggestions, because someone who is so very outspoken against a proven tactic (namely, using violence to suppress fascism, just like any other form of bullying) which is known to work both on the small and large scale (from the high-school bully to the Third Reich) presumably has a better idea up his sleeve.

    I’d love to hear what it is.

    PS: As a neurodiverse woman I tend to take it as a bit of a sign of the health of the community when Nazis are getting punched, egged, publicly shouted down, or hit with cream pies. It means people still feel it’s right to publicly show how despicable they feel such doctrines are when publicly aired. When Nazis are treated with respect; when people are afraid to speak up around them; when their views are touted by mainstream journalists; or by high-profile politicians in Cabinet positions rather than minor independent Senators or Senators from vanity parties… well, then I start to worry, because as an unemployed neurodiverse woman in her late forties, I’m pretty high up on their list of people to be eliminated as “worthless”.

  20. paulparnell says

    chrislawson,

    But why hasn’t grumpy the cat been appropriated by the alt right? After all, it happened to pepe the frog.

    The only reason it hasn’t happened is that they have not yet trolled you into it. Don’t let them troll you. In fact you should try to reclaim pepe the frog. The ok sign? Reclaim it. Tell them they can’t have it. Have Obama pose with it along with Nancy Pelosi.

    As for Pewdiepie he desperately wants your attention. He is like the sparkly star trek monster that feeds on negative emotions. How did Kirk deal with it? Hint: he didn’t punch it. Pewdiepie is a sad little narcissistic twit. He should get all the attention that such a sad creature deserves.

  21. paulparnell says

    Ichthyic,
    Fiction is metaphor dude. In this case very apt metaphor.

    Porivil Sorrens,
    Yeah, I don’t think Richard Spencer has any such fear.

    Meg Thornton,

    ” Not punching Nazis gives them a win, lets them do whatever they fancy, allows them to pretend their ideas are reasonable and justifiable, allows them to take up space inside our heads, and gives them a reason to think they’re being supported by the rest of us. ”

    No, they are going to do whatever they do regardless of your punching policy. Only with more anger and passion for having been punched. Think about it. If a nazi punched you would you sit down and be silent? A nazi is far less likely to do so than you. And even if it would work do you really want intimidation to be your go-to tactic?

    What to do instead? As the Star Wars metaphor suggests violence is the fast and easy method but is corrupting. The more complex path is to speak up effectively with voice and legal action. Support the people who need it directly. Even adopting a stray dog adds more good to the world than punching a nazi. Be thoughtful, creative and kind. Do not obscure their ugliness with your own.

  22. Rowan vet-tech says

    Odd. I don’t remember the rebel alliance just tut-tutting the evil empire. I do believe they fought back, because fighting to defend those being persecuted, those being threatened with death, is the correct thing to do. Jedi did not have feather dusters and hugs. They had weapons and they used them.
    And I will not sit by idly while someone is saying they think my husband should be killed.

  23. jefrir says

    In fact you should try to reclaim pepe the frog. The ok sign? Reclaim it. Tell them they can’t have it. Have Obama pose with it along with Nancy Pelosi.

    No. Those symbols are gone, and are not remotely important enough to reclaim. I’m not going to reclaim them, any more than I’m going to try to reclaim the swastika; it won’t work, and people around me might think I’m a Nazi

    If a nazi punched you would you sit down and be silent?

    Dude, the Nazis want to fucking kill me. And yes, being attacked by them, being around them, does make me quieter. It scares me, and makes me less likely to speak up, less likely to reveal parts of my identity. If I knew that voicing something about myself would get me attacked, I would keep quiet about it – and I know this, because I already keep quiet about being queer in certain spaces. It seems reasonable to think that if Nazis regularly got attacked for expressing their Nazi beliefs, they might learn to shut up about being fucking Nazis.

  24. John Morales says

    paulparnell:

    What to do instead? As the Star Wars metaphor suggests violence is the fast and easy method but is corrupting. The more complex path is to speak up effectively with voice and legal action.

    But that’s merely a longer path to the same thing.

    legal action is enforced by law-enforcement.

    (The enforcement is violence, whether actual or implicit depends on compliance)

    So, you’re not referring to the use of (or threat of) violence per se, you’re referring to its legality. Be aware that ‘lawful’ is not a synonym for ‘ethical’.

    (Are you yourself thus confused, or are you trying to confuse others?)

  25. =8)-DX says

    Can I just stop by to note here, that “Subscribe to PewDiePie” has always had a sour racist tinge to it, ever since its inception? The reason white nationalists latch onto it, is not just because the dude is fuckin’ clueless.

    T-Series is an Indian record label. PewDiePie is white. And the white man must win. Oh, I understand some people are painting it to mean the true competition is the nature of YouTube: small independent, individual creators or large, faceless corporations? But even that angle implies the racist, white supremacist and capitalist notion that the individual white man can and should have more worth than an entire nation of brown people. And it’s being spread as an explicitly nationalist meme (The West vs The East) as if pewds deserved to be the most popular channel on YouTube and as if he were ours (implied white audience).
    =8)-DX

  26. paulparnell says

    Guys, you are confusing issues. I am not a pacifist. I will defend myself. I will punch anyone who assaults me. I will call the police to protect me. That’s not what we are talking about.

    When Richard Spenser was punched he was doing nothing illegal. If the police had been there they would have rightly arrested the puncher. No matter how awful the words you cannot do that.

    Rowan vet-tech,

    There may again come a time when it is necessary to use violence against nazis. But you will not be punching them. You will be shooting them. The violence you deliver will not empower you. It will sicken you. You will piss yourself on a daily basis and you will be lucky to come out of it alive. Let’s try to avoid that. Let’s hope that it takes more than some narcissistic asshole talking smack to trigger the next war.

    jefrir,

    If you do not defend the symbols then you empower them to take anything that they choose. Pepe the frog, the flag, the statue of liberty. Its all gone.

    ” It scares me, and makes me less likely to speak up, less likely to reveal parts of my identity. ”

    You need to be brave and fierce while upholding the legal principles that bind us despite our differences. Yes I know. But if it were easy it wouldn’t be so admirable.

    John Morales,

    Violence in self-defense is fine. Lawful violence by police is fine. Punching someone because of words out of their mouth is not legal and likely does more harm than good. If you really cannot distinguish between these cases then you may be as dangerous as the nazis.

    No legal is not a synonym for ethical. It never can be and never will be. Free speech, for example, allows you to say horrible unethical things. For the most part, saying these things is not and cannot be made to be illegal.

    Punching someone because of their words or politics is unethical. It is also illegal.

  27. call me mark says

    Punching nazis is self-defence. pewdiepie can go fuck himself. And so can paulparnell

  28. lotharloo says

    To be honest, I don’t know what’s the best approach towards these nazi dog whistles. “Subscribe to Pewdiepie” is very much clear but “Pepe the frog” is not. There are a lot of apolitical people who just use the emotes and the pictures as a meme. Declaring “Pepe the frog” as a nazi symbol is a self-defeating strategy.

  29. Saad says

    Paul Parnell seems to be oozing privilege.

    Nazi speech and Nazi presence in public is a direct threat to many of us and our families.

  30. Saad says

    “You need to be brave and fierce while upholding the legal principles that bind us despite our differences.”

    LOL, especially this part… Jesus Christ…

  31. John Morales says

    Paul Parnell:

    Violence in self-defense is fine. Lawful violence by police is fine. Punching someone because of words out of their mouth is not legal and likely does more harm than good. If you really cannot distinguish between these cases then you may be as dangerous as the nazis.

    But I do so distinguish: “So, you’re not referring to the use of (or threat of) violence per se, you’re referring to its legality.”.

    (And, given I do, I perforce can)

    Be aware that ‘lawful’ is not a synonym for ‘ethical’.

    No[t] legal is not a synonym for ethical.

    I never made that claim.

    (That A is not equivalent to B doesn’t entail that ¬A is equivalent to B)

    It never can be and never will be.

    Bullshit. You seem to imagine that there are not nor can there be unethical laws so that non-compliance with laws can never be ethical.

    (Either you’re confused or you’re malevolent)

    Free speech, for example, allows you to say horrible unethical things.

    Tell that to Edward Snowden.

    (I mean, yeah, you can say whatever. But it has consequences)

    Punching someone because of their words or politics is unethical. It is also illegal.

    So you assert. But then, you also assert that ” I will punch anyone who assaults me.”

    (So, you therefore hold that there is no such thing as a verbal assault nor a political assault, right? I refer you to jefrir @25)

    I believe you believe what you claim every bit as much as I believe the devout Christian who preaches “turn the other cheek”.

    (Just don’t irritate them, they will go after you)

  32. says

    paulparnell and other in the Nazi Defense League seem to be thinking that the facists and racists are not winning.

    In the U.S. and all over the world we have
    1. Attacks on immigrants and laws to keep them out being passed at alarming rates
    2. Drones and military being deployed against countries with non-white populations
    3. Laws against being LGBT
    4. Deterioration in the rights of women.
    5. Loss of voting rights and barriers to voting aimed at minorities.

    We are already at war with Nazis

  33. John Morales says

    lotharloo, it’s not that doomish.

    To be honest, I don’t know what’s the best approach towards these nazi dog whistles.

    You could do worse than to note that’s what they are, when others seem oblivious.

    Declaring “Pepe the frog” as a nazi symbol is a self-defeating strategy.

    You don’t have to “declare” anything; just point them to sources.

    e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepe_the_Frog

    By 2016, the character’s image had been appropriated[8] as a symbol of the controversial alt-right movement.[9] The Anti-Defamation League added certain incarnations of Pepe the Frog to their database of hate symbols in 2016, adding that not all Pepe memes are racist.[10] Since then, Pepe’s creator has publicly expressed his dismay at Pepe being used as a hate symbol.[11]

    They can reject the evidence (note all those citations in that one source?), but reasonable people will either get it or check for themselves.

    barbaz did have a point; a dog-whistle is essentially an implicit shibboleth, but when it becomes widely-known to the populace, it’s but an euphemism.

    (Stops being esoteric, becomes exoteric)

  34. chrislawson says

    Paul Parnell — punching Nazis is self-defence. Remember that Nazis, when they get into power, kill anyone who poses a political threat to them. Including pacifists.

  35. jefrir says

    Paulparnell

    You need to be brave and fierce while upholding the legal principles that bind us despite our differences.

    No, sometimes I need to keep my job, or protect my physical safety. Don’t get me wrong, I do speak up – but like pretty much any queer person, I am very much aware that there are times and spaces where doing so is not safe. And sometimes we take that risk, but sometimes we just want to get on with their lives.

    It feels like you haven’t grasped the severity of the problem. Attacking people for speaking is self defense. These people want us dead. When they speak, they encourage others to follow their beliefs, and to act on them. This kind of talk lead to the Christchurch shootings, and to many others in the last few years. Letting them speak means letting them spread their ideas, and means letting it appear that those ideas are accepted. It means letting their intended victims feel that the danger they are in isn’t important to us. It is absolutely not okay.

  36. imback says

    #33:

    No[t] legal is not a synonym for ethical.

    I’m pretty sure #28 elided a “,” not a “t” as in:

    No[,] legal is not a synonym for ethical.

  37. paulparnell says

    John Morales,

    Keeeriiiist, you are not reading and understanding what I wrote. You said:

    Be aware that ‘lawful’ is not a synonym for ‘ethical’.

    And I agreed with you by repeating what you said:

    No legal is not a synonym for ethical.

    You then quoted me but inappropriately inserting a ‘t’:

    No[t] legal is not a synonym for ethical.

    Transforming it to something so nonsensical that nobody would ever say such a thing. I was simply agreeing with you and you got this out of it? Maybe a missing comma confused you.

    Let me restate with clarity.

    “Legal is not a synonym for ethical.”

    Then I added :

    “It never can be and never will be.”

    To which you reply:

    Bullshit. You seem to imagine that there are not nor can there be unethical laws so that non-compliance with laws can never be ethical.

    You are deep down the rabbit-hole of misunderstanding here and again attributing to me a position so nonsensical that it is hard to imagine anyone actually holding it. Yes, there are unethical laws but that is a different subject.

    The thing I’m trying to say here is that even ethical laws often and sometimes must allow unethical behavior. You cannot make all that is wrong illegal.

    Tell that to Edward Snowden.

    Snowden committed espionage. That has nothing to do with free speech.

    Me: Punching someone because of their words or politics is unethical. It is also illegal.

    So you assert. But then, you also assert that ” I will punch anyone who assaults me.”

    (So, you therefore hold that there is no such thing as a verbal assault nor a political assault, right?

    I was speaking of physical assault. You legally can defend yourself from physical attack and I would. There is such a thing as verbal assault but you can’t legally respond in kind let alone punch them. There is also the fighting words doctrine. But in both of these cases you can’t punch and you pretty much have to be toe to toe for it to be a crime. Then there is the true threat doctrine. If a mob boss calls you up and threatens to kill you then that is believable and thus a crime. But it is very restrictive and again you can’t go punch him. Not a good idea anyway.

    And no there is no such thing as political assault in the law. That’s just stupid.

    I believe you believe what you claim every bit as much as I believe the devout Christian who preaches “turn the other cheek”.

    This is how the law is. I believe that this is how the law should be. And I believe this is how ethical people should behave even if the law was different.

  38. call me mark says

    And while you’re wringing your hands about nazis being punched, people are being killed.

  39. kenbakermn says

    So the OK sign has become a symbol of white supremacy? Shows you how culturally out to lunch I am. I use that sign occasionally, intending it to mean just what it has always meant. But now, as a middle-aged white dude, maybe I oughta not. That’s too bad, it used to be a perfectly good gesture, like the picture of the adorable Mary Lou Retton with her gold medal in 1984.

    And on the issue of punching nazis, in my humble but infallible opinion anyone who adopts nazi-ism forfeits the right not to be punched.

  40. paulparnell says

    specialffrog,

    I think it was the pedophilia thing that did in Milo.

    Deplatforming is an expression of the platforms free speech and so is legal usually. But I do think you should be careful how it is used.

    OTOH if I owned youtube I would not only kick off Alex Jones I would kick off flat earthers, antivaxers and random people who just pissed me off. That would be an expression of my free speech. I’d probably go bankrupt.

  41. paulparnell says

    call me mark,

    And while you’re wringing your hands about nazis being punched, people are being killed.

    No, I’m not saying that nazis don’t deserve any and all pain that comes their way. I’m saying that we as a society cannot empower each individual to mete out punishment at their own discretion. Not so many decades ago it was the communists who could be punched. We called it the McCarthy era. It got really bad and was based on the same kind of fear. In a few years, it might be you who is perceived to need a good punching. There are legal and moral principles that protect us from this. But it means we can’t punch nazis. Bummer.

  42. paulparnell says

    kenbakermn,

    And on the issue of punching nazis, in my humble but infallible opinion anyone who adopts nazi-ism forfeits the right not to be punched.

    As a legal matter that is simply not correct. In fact, it is so fundamentally wrong that you would need a two-thirds vote in the house and the Senate to change it. Good luck with that.

    I’m always so amazed by how easily the right trolls the left into giving up fundamental principles. And how the left fails to see how much more power that would give to the right.

  43. kenbakermn says

    paulparnell, I didn’t say it’s legal. Quite clearly it is not legal, and if you punch a nazi you can expect to face legal consequences. Nonetheless my statement stands, nazis and all of their ideological ilk have forfeited the right not to be punched.

    I’m almost always in favor of considering nuances and second order effects of any argument, but in the case of nazis it’s easy. Nazis are always wrong about everything everywhere, no further analysis is needed. If a nazi says he hates Michael Bolton, the only correct response, after punching him, is that Michael Bolton is great.

  44. Pierce R. Butler says

    My google-fu fails again: can anyone here tell whether PDP’s YT sub count has risen or fallen since Christchurch?

  45. says

    Interesting tweet about how the American media buried the overt white supremacist beliefs of the perpetrators of the Columbine massacre in favour of a “it was the video games!” narrative (This appears to be the primary source document). Whether out of a refusal to address prevalent racism in mainstream US society, or a fear of offending the NRA or other big vested interests, or that “violent video games” were simply a sexier scapegoat, or some combination of the above, the paper doesn’t seem to address.

    (Just to note: even if it meant that video games were unfairly scapegoated in that case, it doesn’t exonerate Pewdiepie IMO if his fans were moved to attempt that claim. At best, he’s an alt-lite-adjacent grifter edgelord who thinks he can ride a wave of internet notoriety to line his own pockets; at worst, he’s an actual fucking white supremacist himself. Mercenary or Nazi, he’s a reprehensible human being)

  46. paulparnell says

    Pierce R. Butler,

    Last I looked PDP was just very slightly ahead and both were massively up. But it seems this morning the headlines say YT pulled ahead.

    It would seem both have profited massively by this.

  47. lotharloo says

    @John Morales:

    I don’t think your post is very helpful.
    First of all, this is the ADL’s page on pepe:
    https://www.adl.org/education/references/hate-symbols/pepe-the-frog

    And it is quite reasonable:

    The majority of uses of Pepe the Frog have been, and continue to be, non-bigoted. However, it was inevitable that, as the meme proliferated in on-line venues such as 4chan, 8chan, and Reddit, which have many users who delight in creating racist memes and imagery, a subset of Pepe memes would come into existence that centered on racist, anti-Semitic or other bigoted themes.

    In recent years, with the growth of the “alt right” segment of the white supremacist movement, a segment that draws some of its support from some of the above-mentioned Internet sites, the number of “alt right” Pepe memes has grown, a tendency exacerbated by the controversial and contentious 2016 presidential election. Though Pepe memes have many defenders, the use of racist and bigoted versions of Pepe memes seems to be increasing, not decreasing.

    However, because so many Pepe the Frog memes are not bigoted in nature, it is important to examine use of the meme only in context. The mere fact of posting a Pepe meme does not mean that someone is racist or white supremacist. However, if the meme itself is racist or anti-Semitic in nature, or if it appears in a context containing bigoted or offensive language or symbols, then it may have been used for hateful purposes.

    In the fall of 2016, the ADL teamed with Pepe creator Matt Furie to form a #SavePepe campaign to reclaim the symbol from those who use it with hateful intentions.

    However, still there is the fact that sometimes ALL Pepe the frog memes are considered hate symbols which is frankly ridiculous:
    https://www.polygon.com/2018/5/14/17335670/twitch-emotes-meaning-list-kappa-monkas-omegalul-pepe-trihard

    Certain organizations like the Overwatch League don’t let people bring Pepe the Frog signs to events. Pepe the Frog’s existence as a Twitch emote is so sophisticated and ever changing that it can exist as its own article, but there are certainly some emotes that are more popular than others. FeelsBadMan and FeelsGoodMan are precisely what they sound like. One version of the frog, FeelsBadMan, is used to express disappointment over something on screen. The other, FeelsGoodMan, is used to celebrate an accomplishment.

    So, what do you do? I don’t know, but I think it is very ridiculous to “ban” or categorize as offensive symbols memes have no political content and that are used by many people in non-political and harmless contexts.

  48. paulparnell says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space,

    Never seen Clerks. I see it was rated R and wonder if those jokes are why.

    I foresee a distant future in which humans have lost the power of speech because everything has become offensive.

    And Dilbert? Really? You know Scott Adams indorsed Trump so of course, he needs to be punched and his name retired from acceptable usage. That or people could just grow up.

    But I wonder what he thinks of Trump now.

  49. Dunc says

    I foresee a distant future in which humans have lost the power of speech because everything has become offensive.

    Wow, who greased that slippery slope!? First we’re shutting down literal Nazis, next thing you know, all human communication has become impossible. Makes you wonder how Germany’s managed all these years…

  50. paulparnell says

    kenbakermn,

    I just don’t think it will do any good and likely just does harm. Maybe it would be better to just drop trou on them.

  51. kome says

    “will it do any good” is an empirical question. As evidence in favor of punching Nazis, we have the sudden quieting of Nazis following WW2 when Nazis weren’t merely punched, but also bombed, shot repeatedly, and executed for their crimes against humanity. As evidence against the proposition for punching Nazis we have……….. some vague notion that Nazis – a group of people who literally want to exterminate entire segments of the population and subjugate women – will suddenly become more dangerous?

    Fuck that. Punch Nazis in their stupid goddamned faces. It’s as American as apple pie.

  52. call me mark says

    paulparnell @#45 comparing neo-nazis with the people who the HUAC fucked over? Your historical ineptitude is shocking. McCarthyism is the sort of thing that happens when fascism becomes ascendant. The sort of thing that happens when a US president says of a neo-nazi march that there were “good people on both sides”.

    Nazis don’t want me punched, they want me dead.

  53. paulparnell says

    Dunc,

    Joke dude. History eventually forgets. That is both good and bad. It is good that we eventually forget our old hatreds. It is bad that we forget what our hate, anger, and fear caused us to do.

    So yea, indulge your emotions and punch a few nazis. What is the worst that could happen?

  54. paulparnell says

    call me mark,

    I would change that a little. McCarthyism is what happens when authoritarians become ascendant. It isn’t about any particular political agenda. It is about what happens when fear and terror become acceptable strategies for achieving political and social goals. Any political or social goal. McCarthyism, nazism, the reign of terror in the French revolution, the Russian revolution, English religious conflicts, right-wing South American states, left-wing South American states…

    They all to varying extents unleashed “punch the nazi” tactics to achieve political and social goals. When you endorse these authoritarian tactics you are no longer a liberal. You are one of them. Your policy goals may be different from them but your tactics and theory of government are the same.

    And once we have abandoned principles of free speech, rule of law and due process they will probably beat you with experience and sheer viciousness.

  55. Pierce R. Butler says

    paulparnell @ # 52: … PDP was just very slightly ahead and both were massively up.

    I don’t care either way about the Bollywood song-n-dance vids, but the PDP surge is a sad testimonial to YouTube viewers/humanity in general.

  56. Porivil Sorrens says

    @61

    When you endorse these authoritarian tactics you are no longer a liberal. You are one of them.

    Given that I have never claimed to be a liberal (and in fact, consider it a bit of a pejorative), that suits me just fine.

  57. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    The name comes from the early days when Dilbert was actually funny–even though Scott Adams was still a bit of a dick. I am still indebted to the comic strip for the metaphor of “a paradigm shifting without a clutch.”

  58. paulparnell says

    “a paradigm shifting without a clutch.”

    Now that is seriously funny. But never did read Dilbert much. Xkcd is what funny is.

  59. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Agree. Xkcd is much more insightful, deeper and more funny because of it. Dilbert hasn’t been funny in over a decade. The name is a holdover and an allusion to a Dirac story:

    Dirac was lecturing to undergrads–always a bad idea–and used the phrase “In reality…” A smart-assed student sensed an opportunity to derail the class and asked, “But, Professor Dirac, what is reality?”

    Dirac thought for all of 3 seconds and said, “It’s a ray in Hilbert Space,” and continued with his lecture without missing a beat. As I work in applied physics–hence the Dilbert reference.

  60. paulparnell says

    “It’s a ray in Hilbert Space,” Yeah. I’m gonna need that printed on a shirt.

  61. Rob Grigjanis says

    a_ray @66: My favourite Dirac story (told by Feynman, according to Anthony Zee):

    Feynman meets Dirac for the first time at a conference. Dirac, a very socially awkward person, says after a long silence “I have an equation; do you have one too?”.

  62. imback says

    Perspective matters. When punching a nazi, it matters if you’re punching up or punching down. A confrontation from an authoritarian police state is quite different than one from an egg-bearing teen.

  63. ck, the Irate Lump says

    Someone better tell Mosley’s 43 Group who regularly picked fights with and disrupted Nazi gatherings in Britain that they were doing something deeply wrong. Who knew they were singlehandedly responsible for instituting Nazism in Britain immediately after WW2.

  64. unclefrogy says

    as I look at the history the nazis were tolerated by much of the world outside Germany and did little about them at first. In the U.S. they were even tolerated and in some quarters lionized even. Part of the english nobility even sympathized with them. None of that did much to change them to anything more benign though. Everything they stand for is anti-civilization, and just destructive to an orderly interaction of all peoples. It became unavoidable in the end to deny what the ultimate aims of nazism were, so world war II had to be fought It is beginning to look like their are some (too many) have failed to understand that it was not Germany it was Nazism that was at the root as well as the desire for world domination. That ideas of bigotry and hate coupled with the desire for ultimate superiority and domination are the problem seem lost on many and used for personal gain by others.
    Nazism is not an implied threat, it is in this day and time with history and rhetoric as a guide a direct threat to everyone who values freedom and liberty for all people. A little punch in the nose in the face of that threat is not to be unexpected.
    It may be a departure from decorum to punch a nazi in the nose but with the understanding of the direct threat they so engendered it is a minor misdemeanor and no more.
    uncle frogy

  65. vucodlak says

    @ paulparnell, #16

    Punching nazis is giving them a victory. They are narcissistic and live to dance in the flames of our cheers and jeers.

    That’s the romanticized view of themselves the “ironic” Nazis put forth, but most of people who say that sort of nonsense change their tune right quick if you actually set a couple of them on fire, metaphorically speaking. See: Chris Cantwell, the crying Nazi, who cried and betrayed his compatriots because he faced actual (and relatively minor) consequences for the evil that he so gleefully did.

    By the way, keep in mind that this whole “punching Nazis just gives them a victory” thing is another thing Nazis love to claim. If you find yourself taking Nazis at their word, you’re failing at life.

    From your #23:

    If a nazi punched you would you sit down and be silent? A nazi is far less likely to do so than you.

    The last time I backed down in the face of aggression from neo-Nazis, they did things to me (and to the friend I was with) that still haunt my nightmares more than 16 years later. I avoid any place where I’m likely to encounter Nazis and Nazi sympathizers. In fact, I just plain don’t go out in public very much at all thanks to those ‘very fine people.’ However, if I should be attacked by a Nazi anyway, then the only thing on my mind will be making sure that I don’t get taken alive- either the Nazi(s) die, or I do, and I’m not sanguine about my odds.

    See, this is what pisses me off most about the high-and-mighty defenders of unfettered Nazism- they pretend that Nazis are only some theoretical threat that might be dangerous and violent at some point in the distant future… which is pretty fucking disgusting in the aftermath of a white supremacist massacre that left 50 people dead. But they get to play pretend because their privilege has insulated them from the cold hard fact that we are already at war, and have been for a very long time.

    Nazis and fascists are not potentially a threat, they’re not merely dangerous in theory. They’re killing and torturing right now, all over the world. So if punching some slimy fucker like Richard Spencer in the jaw will make some teenage edgelord think twice about “ironically” embracing Nazism, then let us punch all of the ‘Richard Spencers’ of the world until they’re all too afraid to be Nazis in public.

    From your #61:

    McCarthyism is what happens when authoritarians become ascendant. It isn’t about any particular political agenda.

    McCarthyism sprung from a propaganda campaign designed to make the people of the US (especially all those soldiers returning from European front with a well-justified hatred of all things Nazi) forget that a lot of wealthy, powerful people in this country were Nazis. They even provided material support for Hitler’s regime. At least some of them should have been executed for their treason, but they never faced any real consequences at all. They just got quite for a couple of years and pushed the US further and further to the right over the ensuing decades.

    In other words, the Red Scare started out as a massive fascist ass-covering operation, and the cover it gave allowed the US to spread the cancer of fascism to further throughout the world.

  66. says

    Oh, golly. Nazis are outright killing people, it’s time to choose sides, and the centrists are choosing to enable the Nazis. If this surprises you, then you didn’t pay attention to history — it’s what they did the first time around with Hitler.

  67. DanDare says

    I’d like to assemble a few related concepts about ‘punching Nazi’s.
    Freedom of speech is a pillar of civil society and specifically protects minority, low power view points.
    Nazis/supremacists seek to use our rules to subvert our rules.
    Tv channels have often allowed unchallenged speech by the nazis/supremacists.
    Legal and ethical protest and counter views are ignored or played down.
    Punching a nazi/supremacist on camera endangers or system of standards but undeniably gets attention for the fact that there is another viewpoint and gives it air time.
    How might the same benefit be achieved without the drawback?

  68. A. Noyd says

    unclefrogy (#72)

    Nazism is not an implied threat

    & vucodlack (#73)

    they pretend that Nazis are only some theoretical threat that might be dangerous and violent at some point in the distant future…

    If only there was some ritual whereby we could sacrifice these denialists to bring back the victims. I mean, how could they complain? If they’re so damn sure the threat is yet to be realized, they’ve nothing to worry about, right?

  69. rrhain says

    Just remember, folks. That OK sign turned on its side the way all the MAGA-hat racists line to flash it is the ASL sign for “asshole.”

    Don’t forget to laugh and point when you see them.

  70. paulparnell says

    imback,

    It is very true that perspective matters. Still, it is worth avoiding the legitimation of violence. When they use violence you want the contrast between them and you to be as great as possible. Otherwise Darth Cheeto’s “…good and bad on both sides…” has more appeal than it deserves.

    Remember when Richard Spencer was punched? By a man in a hoodie who was never identified. Has anyone thought about the possibility of a false flag operation? Probably not as Spencer is probably not that smart and too much the wimp to willing take a punch. But still, the legitimization of violence is to their advantage.

    unclefrogy,

    It may be a departure from decorum to punch a nazi in the nose but with the understanding of the direct threat they so engendered it is a minor misdemeanor and no more.

    As long as it stays that way then great. No harm done. But you are playing chicken with a monster. All I’m saying is that there are better ways.

    vucodlak,

    …set a couple of them on fire, metaphorically speaking. See: Chris Cantwell,…

    Metaphorically is how you should set them on fire. His crying face should be on a million shirts. Every nazi march should be lined with posters of his crying face. The crying nazi should be a meme that you are all pushing. And even better what about that kid – so white he probably glowed in the dark – that ran begging for mercy when confronted at a nazi rally? I couldn’t even find the video. Why would you let that video disappear? It was gold.

    Instead, you want to punch him? Why would you let him off so easy? Do you really think some anonymous twit sucker punching Richard Spencer is better? In the words of Darth Cheeto, “Sad”.

    McCarthyism sprung from a propaganda campaign…

    And remind me, how was that put to rest? Was it by people going around punching McCarthy supporters? There are better ways.

    The Vicar,

    Oh, golly. Nazis are outright killing people, it’s time to choose sides,…

    I chose sides probably long before you were born. I have seen nazi movements come and go. You will never defeat them in the sense that you want. If you did marshal the power and force needed to exterminate them you would wake up one morning with young people marching at your door and realize that metaphorically you have become the nazi.

    But the side I chose is more than against nazis. Nazis are just the far end of the spectrum. Soviet-style communists, the far right (well, all of the right now), the ctrl-left, all of these are on that spectrum. I stand against authoritarianism no matter the politics behind it. That is the thing that makes even good politics bad.

    …and the centrists are choosing to enable the Nazis.

    I am not a centrist. Do you realize that you are mirroring the sentiments of Bush’s (the twig’s) “You Are Either With Us, Or With the Terrorists”? Please think about it. Hard.

  71. John Morales says

    paulparnell:

    Instead, you want to punch him?

    But it’s not a dichotomy; think “in addition to”, not “instead”.

  72. says

    @#78, paulparnell:

    It’s extremely telling that I didn’t mention your name at all, and yet you self-identified as a centrist enabling Nazis. It’s also amusing that if I had put together a “Centrist Buzzword Bingo” card in advance, your post would have given me Bingo at least twice, probably more. An argument from age — which is kind of hilarious since you don’t actually know my age, condescension, a claim that all violence makes you as bad as the Nazis… wow, you’re a walking cliché of the people who dropped us into this mess. Congratulations. We are not only facing violence from the far right because cowards like you kept saying “we can’t take a stand against this, or we’d be just like the Nazis”, but we are literally facing extinction as a species because you centrists also ceded political and economic control to the right and we have unchecked global warming as a result.

    It’s obvious that you are an old straight white cis male and, furthermore, have no consideration for anybody who isn’t. Anybody in any other group has at least some dim awareness that the Nazis are already out there killing the people they disagree with. The time when it was even possible to say “my motto is live and let live” has passed, because the right wing is out there preventing people from actually living. To you, it’s just a theoretical problem — like climate change, because you expect to die before the results arrive and you don’t really give a damn about anybody else — and so it’s very easy to tell everybody else they should just sit back and let themselves get murdered. (Oh, except for gay/trans/otherwise-queer white people, who should just go back in the closet and live unfulfilled lives of misery to escape being murdered, which will make you feel a lot more comfortable and more importantly let you ignore the problem, you disgusting hypocrite.)

    It’s because of people like you that the right wing has gone so far and become so powerful. You wouldn’t stand against them because you equate even moderate progressive policy — like the New Dealism of Bernie Sanders — with the far left, and you’d much rather let Trump and Bush run rampant than take a stand. When Obama said “we have to look forward, not backward” and let the Bush administration escape any sort of punishment whatsoever for the war crimes of the Iraq invasion, it was people like you he was currying favor with, and that was one of the landmark events which brought us Trump.

    Martin Luther King Jr. knew what was up with people like you: “ First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

  73. vucodlak says

    @ paulparnell, #78

    His crying face should be on a million shirts. Every nazi march should be lined with posters of his crying face. The crying nazi should be a meme that you are all pushing.

    We’ve been ripping on these fuckers for decades, and they’ve only gotten stronger. Why? Largely because too many people have bought into the lie that every significant social justice gain was won solely through non-violent means. That has never been the case. Every successful non-violent movement has held an undercurrent of ‘we’re playing nice this time.’

    You think fascists will stop just because we make fun of them, or because we keep reminding them that we’re smarter than they are? They won’t. Those are half the reasons they’re so determined to kill us in the first place.

    We have to show them that we’re willing and able to fight them on their own terms, in addition to making them into a laughing stock. We have to show potential Nazi recruits that the silent majority does NOT agree with the Nazis, and we’re willing to shed fascist blood in our own defense. We have to make Nazis look weak in every way, not just intellectually.

    Why would you let that video disappear? It was gold.

    If it was propaganda “gold,” it wouldn’t have disappeared, now would it? These people don’t give a damn if we reveal them to be hypocrites and liars. They spin incidents like that into “a leftist mob chased that innocent white boy down with pitchforks and torches,” and even if you show them that’s not what actually happened in the video they’ll keep right on believing their persecution narrative.

    And remind me, how was that put to rest?

    Christ. It wasn’t put to rest. Oh sure, our nation shared a collective moment of shame that we’d let an obviously unhinged frothing-at-the-mouth zealot have so much power, but the Red Scare itself never really went away. “Communist” is a still a go-to insult for the right, and even a whisper of “socialism” is still pure political poison in much of the country. Why do you think the right, which has such love for many totalitarian dictators like Duterte and Orban, is so eager to crush Venezuela’s dictator? One word: commies. It doesn’t matter that the word isn’t accurate- there’s nothing the fascist right loves more than blowing up “commies,” and they smell blood.

    The cheerleaders of fascism who’ve steered this country into its current trajectory ditched McCarthy because he was an embarrassment and a liability, not because they disagreed with anything he did or believed.

    I have seen nazi movements come and go.

    Yeah… if you think they really went anywhere, it’s only because you’ve shut your eyes.

    You will never defeat them in the sense that you want. If you did marshal the power and force needed to exterminate them

    I can’t speak for anybody else, but I don’t want to exterminate anyone. I would very much like for the Nazis of today to wake up, realize what a needlessly destructive (and ultimately self-defeating) course they’re on, and turn away. I got no problem with someone who genuinely renounces Nazism (or any of its current variants).

    What I want is for everyone to have what they actually need. Food, shelter, medical care, and education. I believe it is the absolute responsibility of the government to ensure, to the best of its ability, that people have those things. Nazis don’t get a place in my central philosophy.

    BUT. I recognize today’s Nazis, alt-right, nationalist, and assorted white supremacist scum for they are- an existential threat to everyone and everything I care about. I will take, and support, whatever steps are necessary to eliminate this threat, and violence is absolutely part of that. If the state refuses to do its duty in this regard, then it’s up to the citizens the state has abandoned to mock, ridicule, harass, harry, and outright attack Nazis every time they enter the public sphere to spread their poison. To do any less is suicide.

    And yes, there are limits on what is acceptable. Torture and rape are never under any circumstances acceptable, regardless of who carries out the acts. Some violence, however, is an unfortunately necessary part of solving this problem. Again, just because Nazis claim violence against them helps their cause doesn’t mean we ought to be stupid enough to believe them.

  74. Porivil Sorrens says

    You know someone is a certified brain genius when they applaud the crying nazi meme and decry the methods that made said nazi a crying snitch.

    Alternatively, when they decry trumps “both sides are to blame” comments while literally agreeing with the fundamental thought process behind them.

    (If you think tankies are remotely as big a modern threat as nazis you are either stupid or dangerously paranoid. Show me the major political party that has ostensibly embraced authoritarian leftism to the same degree that the republicans have embracedwhite supremacy, dipshit).

  75. paulparnell says

    The Vicar,

    It’s extremely telling that I didn’t mention your name at all, and yet you self-identified as a centrist enabling Nazis.

    Actually I self-unidentified as a centrist.

    An argument from age…

    I never made an argument from age in the sense of “I’m old therefore I’m right”. In response to the suggestion that I had not chosen sides, I point out that I chose a very long time ago.

    …a claim that all violence makes you as bad as the Nazis…

    No, I said there was a spectrum. That is kinda the opposite of “as bad as”.

    The time when it was even possible to say “my motto is live and let live” has passed…

    That has never been my motto. Even for things less serious than nazis.

    You wouldn’t stand against them because you equate even moderate progressive policy — like the New Dealism of Bernie Sanders — with the far left,…

    Bernie Sanders was the best candidate in either primary. Hillary was an awful choice. After all her poor judgment in setting up the email server is one of the ways the Russians hacked the election. Still, Darth Cheeto would need a ladder to kiss her ass.

    … like the New Dealism of Bernie Sanders — with the far left, and you’d much rather let Trump and Bush run rampant than take a stand.

    Oh, God. You clearly have not talked with my family. I have a sister in law that will not look at me if Darth Cheeto is even mentioned on TV. Ditto the twig.

    Man, the projection is getting thick.

    Martin Luther King Jr. …

    Wow. You really want to talk about Martin Luther King Jr.? Ok, MLK’s fame for nonviolence is second only to Gandhi’s. (And oh my God Gandhi! He made them beat the shit out of him. Then he got up and made them do it again. And again. The man had grit.) King even made a pilgrimage to India to connect to Gandhi’s legacy. King had six principles of nonviolence:

    1)”You can resist evil without using violence.”

    2)”You seek to seek friendship and understanding, not to humiliate him.” Yeah I have a little trouble with this as well. In the long run, I see his point. In the short run that is a difficult pill to swallow. I am also on that nazi spectrum.

    3)”Evil, not the people committing evil acts, should be opposed.” Yeah, as an atheist I have problems distinguishing between these. But then I work with a different definition of evil. But I do believe in a secular kind of redemption. So point taken.

    4)”Commitment to nonviolence means you must be willing to suffer without retaliation as suffering itself can be redemptive.” Yeah, I’m not a pacifist. And as an atheist redemption is only a metaphor. But Violence, even when justified, is a dangerous road. So point taken.

    5)”Nonviolent resistance means avoiding “external physical violence” and “internal violence of spirit” as well. The nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him.” This is a very difficult one but I am fully behind this. Hate empowers but hate poisons. It will rot your soul. I will, however, shoot in self-defense.

    6)”The nonviolent resister must have a deep faith in the future stemming from the belief that the universe is on the side of justice.” Yeah, I have no such belief. I’m pragmatic and see nonviolence as the best option among bad choices. I can see that is a bitter pill for some who have been abused and tortured for a long time. That does not change my judgment.

    King’s frustration with the “white moderate” is understandable. But his commitment to nonviolence only grew. When the Black Power movement began to advocate violence he opposed that. His reply: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. The beauty of nonviolence is that in its own way and in its own time it seeks to break the chain reaction of evil”

    And it is a chain reaction. Hate begets hate and the abused become the abuser. Thus we have the blood-soaked pages of history.

    What will you do if people start planting bombs and blowing up houses while rejecting you as a “centrist”? It has happened before. There is little doubt that it will happen again. Ask Martin Luther King Jr. He knows.

  76. paulparnell says

    Porivil Sorrens,

    You know someone is a certified brain genius when they applaud the crying nazi meme and decry the methods that made said nazi a crying snitch.

    Not sure I know what you are complaining about. The method was the police put out a warrant for his arrest. That is not illegal, unethical or immoral. I do admit that I’m being bad in that I’m violating King’s second principle of nonviolence. Posting his picture will humiliate him. But it isn’t illegal and I am not the pacifist that King was. I do however take his point this can be a bad thing. I struggle.

    Alternatively, when they decry trumps “both sides are to blame” comments while literally agreeing with the fundamental thought process behind them.

    So by saying that you should increase the contrast between you and nazis I’m saying “both sides are to blame”? No.

    (If you think tankies are remotely as big a modern threat as nazis you are either stupid or dangerously paranoid.

    If I thought that I would indeed be a moron. I specified soviet style communist to allow for the fact that you could in principle be a communist without being an authoritarian nightmare. Maybe you could even be anti-authoritarian. I was not referring to any American communist movement at all. They are so low on the radar that I know little about them.

    Show me the major political party that has ostensibly embraced authoritarian leftism to the same degree that the republicans have embracedwhite supremacy, dipshit).

    There is no such party. The right has historically gone ape shit stupid bonkers crazy every few decades. But now they seem to be in a long term crazy state. Year after year I kept expecting them to hit bottom. Then Darth Cheeto happened. There is nothing on the left that compares to this stupidity.

    Man, the projection is getting thick.

  77. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Rob Grigjanis,
    Sorry for the delay in replying. My agency upgraded to Orifice 365, and I am still trying to reach productivity again. Regarding Dirac stories, there are so many. He was a very odd man–even for a physicist.
    For instance, he always referred his wife (who was also sister to fellow physicist, Eugene Wigner) as Wigner’s sister.
    One of my favorites involved Dirac and Pauli (so you know it’s gonna be good). Dirac was declaiming on the subject of atheism, and Pauli, fed up, said, “Our friend, Professor Dirac also has a religion. It’s chief tenet is: There is no god and Dirac is his messenger.”

  78. consciousness razor says

    We should be opposed to violence and support human rights. That is why we should be opposed to Nazis (and others): because they are violent and violate human rights.
    (I’ll use “violence” as a shorthand below, bearing in mind that physical aggression is not the only relevant concern. Also note that human rights apply, unconditionally and by definition, to all human beings.)
    Predictably, there is once again the claim that nonviolent resistance is ineffective. This is meant to explain why there are still Nazis: because we supposedly weren’t being violent toward them (or not enough). Their defeat in WWII certainly occurred by means of violent actions, not nonviolent ones, yet there are still such people. Their ideology of violence and conquest has sprung up in new generations, and violence against them (or the memory of it) has not in any sense prevented that.
    If attacking an individual is really believed to be more efficacious than an entire world war and all of its political aftermath, well … that is a belief, which is supported by no evidence whatsoever. And what it says is not even remotely plausible, given what we do know. So it is a faith-based belief in miracles, which is unacceptable.
    This was simple and did not take long, but let’s have a one-sentence summary: it contradicts facts which are extremely well-established, and as if that weren’t enough, it isn’t even internally consistent.
    On the bright side, we didn’t need that shit to begin with. We can do much better.

  79. says

    Oh, if only Clinton hadn’t set up that e-mail server!

    Yeah. Right. I’m sure they would have looked at one another then, and said, “Well! She has no email problem. Therefore, we have nothing to attack her with, and can’t even blow up another trivial thing into a front page scandal, or even make one up. I guess we’ve lost this one. Let’s go back home and rethink everything we believe.”

    That definitely would have happened. Yes.

  80. paulparnell says

    Kip T.W.

    I said “one of the ways” and you come back with “Therefore, we have nothing to attack her with, and can’t even blow up another trivial thing into a front page scandal, or even make one up.”?

    In the words of Darth Cheeto, “Sad”.

    She did show very poor judgment and it did damage her own party. That does not excuse the nomination and election of Darth Cheeto but her bad judgment is a fact.

    You don’t even need Russia to smear the process. The six investigations into Benghazi were nothing but a smear campaign. The whole thing was shameful.

    And the uranium one thing was a smear that didn’t involve the Russians.

    But still, the email server was very bad judgment.

  81. says

    “These three or four obligatory weasel words were the most important part of what I said, and now I’m going to emphasize again just how deadly important and not at all a vacuous excuse the email thing was.” #SadIndeed.

  82. vucodlak says

    @ consciousness razor, #86

    Predictably, there is once again the claim that nonviolent resistance is ineffective.

    Nonviolence by itself is not effective. Not that I expect you to pay any more attention to my saying that this time then you have to other 500 times I and others have said as much about this topic.

    Their ideology of violence and conquest has sprung up in new generations

    It didn’t “spring up;” it never went away because we neither finished the job the first time nor gave future generations the tools to deal with fascist resurgence. We just let all those virulent Nazis in the US go quietly back to the business of making a nightmare of the world. Worse than that in the US- we actively helped the scum accrue more power.

    Finishing the job in the US would have entailed arresting known US Nazi party leaders/supporters, and possibly executing a few of the worst. Henry Ford comes to mind. The tools to deal with the threat in the future would have come in the form of laws, perhaps of the sort that Germany adopted after the war, criminalizing Nazism and similar white supremacist organizations. These are all examples of state violence.

    When the state fails, as it so egregiously has, individuals and movements are forced to step in. No, it’s not as effective or desirable as just laws and proper enforcement, but it’s all we’ve got. Yes, nonviolent methods have a huge role to play. No, this war cannot be won solely through nonviolence.

    Nonviolence alone does not stop oppression. Somewhere along the line someone with more power, be it the state itself or the great masses of the people, has to say to inveterate oppressors “This [oppressive behavior] will cease, or we will harm you.”

  83. unclefrogy says

    Nonviolence alone does not stop oppression. Somewhere along the line someone with more power, be it the state itself or the great masses of the people, has to say to inveterate oppressors “This [oppressive behavior] will cease, or we will harm you.”

    look no further then the civil rights movement in the 60″s and what did happen then. It was not MLK alone there was at the same time the action off the southern establishment that brought to the nation a very distasteful spectacle as well as the Black Panther party and numerous violent riots that occurred and the size of the movement as demonstrated by the march on Washington gave the politicians a choice settlement or violence
    uncle frogy

  84. consciousness razor says

    To add to what a_ray_in_dilbert_space is saying, although it is sort of implicit….
    It’s obvious that events which don’t happen have no effects whatsoever. With no attempt, it is certainly true that you will have no results (positive or negative). But this is not useful information. So, give an example of people attempting “nonviolence by itself.” Present evidence that (1) this approach was actually taken and (2) it was ineffective at accomplishing something worthwhile, which we could reasonably expect it to accomplish.
    That last part is important, because you likewise don’t need to defend the claim that punching a Nazi will miraculously solve every Nazi-related problem in the world, forever. That would be absurd, but of course this applies just as well to what we should expect from nonviolent approaches. Instead, all you’d need to do is provide a moral justification for your “strategy.” This is something which explains how its beneficial effects are significant enough that we should believe it’s morally acceptable, despite its negative effects.
    What happens when you remove those negative costs, by taking some other nonviolent approach? Well, for one thing there seems to be no downside which required the kind of “ends justifying the means” cost-benefit analysis I was just talking about. But it’s hard to say what happens. How do you know what happens?
    There’s nothing that obviously tells us the benefits go away, that it can’t or won’t work, that it’s not “effective” in the sense we were discussing. That simply can’t be taken for granted. So, when you say that it’s “ineffective by itself” … then is there anything in the world which supports that idea, or is it just something you’re saying for no particular reason?

  85. paulparnell says

    vucodlak,

    Preach it, brother! Or in the words of your spiritual predecessor:

    ” If virtue be the spring of a popular government in times of peace, the spring of that government during a revolution is virtue combined with terror: virtue, without which terror is destructive; terror, without which virtue is impotent. Terror is only justice prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue; it is less a distinct principle than a natural consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing wants of the country … The government in a revolution is the despotism of liberty against tyranny. ”

    Public safety depends on our actions! Oh, and Marie sends her regards.

  86. paulparnell says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space,

    I would not say that violence is never justified. I would only say that it must be a very very extreme option that risks creating horrors worse than what you are fighting and may leave scars that last generations. WWII is usually seen as a just war. But it killed three percent of the world population. Two-thirds of those were civilians.

    Punch a nazi? Sure, if it can be limited to that then no harm done. Not much good done either and it may even set your goals back. But violence is a flame. It is subtle, seductive and it will eat your soul while burning everything you love. It is the nuclear option with a group mind of its own.

  87. Porivil Sorrens says

    What a disgusting response to someone who’s been through what vucodlak has.

  88. paulparnell says

    Porivil Sorrens,

    I have no idea what he has suffered. But whatever it is it makes my point. The abused becomes the abuser. Violence grows like a flame.

  89. vucodlak says

    @ paulparnell, #98

    The abused becomes the abuser.

    Golly, but that never gets old. Never mind that I’ve never raped or tortured anyone, that I’ve never abused children- no, because these things happened to me, I’m a ticking timebomb, no better than the people who did those things to me.

    Which, if you think about it, means that every abused person really had it coming. It retroactively justifies everything that was done to us, because now we deserve it. Because we’re abusers, now. It’s our destiny, our fate, our place in some mystical great cycle of violence that no one can really understand. Even if, ‘til the day we die, we never harm another human being we’ll get to hear that message every fucking day of our lives from smug little shits like you who don’t know a goddamn thing.

    You’re a fool, and that’s a tragedy. I suppose it’s a sign of my irrevocable brokenness that I am unable to muster anything but contempt for you, but c’est la vie.

  90. Saad says

    paulparnell, #96

    Punch a nazi? Sure, if it can be limited to that then no harm done.

    Finally you get something right.

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