From Buckley to Bannon: Whither the Scribbler Scrapper of the Right?

by Corey Robin on August 22, 2017

I have a piece in The Guardian on the meaning of Steve Bannon’s departure from the White House:

Once upon a time, conservatives plotted a path that began with the magazines and ended in the White House. With Steve Bannon’s departure from the Trump administration on Friday to head the Breitbart News Network, we seem to be witnessing the reverse: an unspooling of history that begins in power and ends in print.

In 1955, William F Buckley launched National Review, declaring war against liberalism and the Democratic party but also, and more immediately, a civil war on the right.

Since Charlottesville, pundits and historians have wondered whether we’re headed for a civil war. With Bannon’s exit, it’s clear that we are. Only it won’t be between North and South or right and left. It will be within the Republican party itself.

The question is: will it be like the war Buckley launched, a purgative struggle as a prelude to a new era of conservative power and rule? Or will it mark the end of the Reagan regime, unveiling a conservative movement in terminal crisis as it strives to reconcile the irreconcilable?

In the wake of the Charlottesville controversy, Bannon laughed at liberals and leftists who called for taking down Confederate statues. “Just give me more,” he told the New York Times. “Tear down more statues. Say the revolution is coming. I can’t get enough of it.”

As he explained to the American Prospect, “the longer [the Democrats] talk about identity politics, I got ‘em. I want them to take about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”

Ironically, as the Republicans flounder in their attempt to get anything done – much less enact a program of economic nationalism – Trump emits tweet after plangent tweet about “the removal of our beautiful statues.” It is the Republicans, in other words, and not the Democrats, who are saddled with identity issues, while their economic program (on healthcare, the debt, and taxes) remains stalled.

Before he left, Bannon’s parting words to Trump were to resist the siren calls of so-called moderates, who were pushing him to soften his stance on things like Charlottesville. Moderation would never win over Democrats or independents. The best thing was to appeal to the base: “You’ve got the base,” Bannon said. “And you grow the base by getting” things done.

But appealing to that base is precisely what is preventing things from getting done. As one top Republican strategist told the Wall Street Journal: “By not speak out against” Charlottesville and the white supremacy of the Republican party, “it is bleeding into the party, and that is going to make it far more difficult to pass anything.”

The right-wing racial populism that once served the conservative cause so well is now, as even the most conservative Republicans are acknowledginggetting in its way. Whatever the outcome of the civil war Bannon intends to fight, it’ll be waged against the backdrop of a declining rather than an ascendant movement, with the tools of yesterday rather than tomorrow.

That is why, having had seven months in the White House to prosecute his populist war on the Republican establishment – something Buckley and his minions could only dream of in 1955 – Bannon now finds himself staring into the abyss of a website, hoping to find there a power he couldn’t find in the most powerful office of the world.


And don’t forget to buy the second edition of The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Donald Trump (yes, you read that subtitle correctly), now available for pre-order on Amazon.

{ 302 comments }

1

reason 08.22.17 at 2:47 pm

Bannon was an outsider who wanted to use the Republican party for his own quite different agenda. The relationship of the Republican party to Trump is the same but in the other direction (i.e. they also want to use Trump to further their own quite different agenda). The problem is not within “conservatism”. The problem is that in a two party system you can’t really have a schism.

2

casmilus 08.22.17 at 3:50 pm

What we’ve learned in the last 6 months – and also from the last 18 months of Brexit-related squabbling – is that it’s possible for conservatives working within the grown-up world of real electoral politics to spend up to 25 years obsessing on issues such as EU membership or healthcare, yet not have any workable plans when they actually get the opportunity to do what they’ve been bleating on about.

This is quite a shock for those of us old enough to remember 80s politics, where “the left” were the bleary-eyed dreamers who meant well but were a bit light-headed, whereas “the right” were the tough bastards you didn’t like but, yknow, they get stuff to work and get things done. Or at least that’s what they (the RW-dominated media) wanted you to think. Now I don’t know what they want me to think. Maybe Steve Bannon can clear up this confusion.

3

Lord 08.22.17 at 4:30 pm

While the ‘populists’ wanted change from the direction we were headed, it is not apparent they want change from here, so I question if they want anything accomplished, especially when much of that proposed is just a continuation of the old. Politicians aren’t always elected to accomplish things, and that isn’t always the way to grow the base.

4

bruce wilder 08.22.17 at 6:45 pm

Can you have a schism in an empty can?

It seems to me that populist impulses are rolling around like loose bearings inside the rusty containers of the political system, making a lot of noise but not having any role in making the machinery work: that they are loose is a consequence of breakdown in the machinery. The machinery is not repaired by a worn loose bearing making noise, inside the can or out.

What concerns me is not conflict between factions, if that is what it is, in the Republican Party. What worries me is the developing legitimacy crisis, which is at base coincident in the breakdown of the governing machinery. Neoliberalism was a philosophy of government that undermined government itself, subverted the idea of a politics channeling and managing state power into a passive deferral to “the market” and the “forces” of globalization and technology. In the U.S. on the Right especially it was accompanied by a nihilist campaign to demonize all government and to demand action not to make government work, but to break it. I do not see factional squabbling in the Congressional GOP per se as as serious a problem as the fact that some of those factions actually want to follow thru with breaking the state with debt ceilings or repeal of everything from Dodd-Frank to public education.

What seems most remarkable about Bannon inside the White House is how incompetent he was at pulling the levers of power and how demented was the “thinking” about policy associated with some of those he brought with him. (Google the Higgins memo for an example.) That he could not craft a visa moratorium on countries identified by Obama as having active terrorism was telling, not so much of his racist motivations as his inability to sublimate those motivations into policy meeting conventional standards (which standards are scarcely even standards, they are so eroded). (Torture got by.)

I think it is an error of attribution to think the crisis of legitimacy is driven by the personality of Trump or the Congressional leadership. This is an endpoint of a process of political degeneration.

I have been persuaded that something like a soft coup has taken place inside the Administration and the government in response to the degeneration in the processes of policymaking, which in the absence of a functioning loyal opposition or a responsible media, is likely to drive an increasingly ill-considered and brittle authoritarianism.

5

Waiting for Godot 08.22.17 at 7:23 pm

“Whatever the outcome of the civil war Bannon intends to fight, it’ll be waged against the backdrop of a declining instead of an ascendant movement…”

Thank you for this post, I hope that you are correct but the mechanisms of institutional power of our security state, the Department of Justice, FBI, NSA and the military, are caught in this split and at this moment it is not clear who will out. With the privatization of our cyber security system (witness Snowden and the NSA) and the hollowing out of our conventional military and the oceans of cash pouring in from Putin through our banking system, I’m not convinced that the Republican Party has not already been swallowed by the fascists. Unless the Democrats can succeed in creating a broad-based anti-fascist front in the next 18 months, I’m worried that gerrymandered districts and Koch brothers cash will allow for a complete consolidation of fascist control in 2018. Tonight’s formal dance with the devil in the Arizona desert will tell us a lot and I am very worried about a bloody American “Kristallnact”. Namaste

6

TM 08.22.17 at 8:25 pm

“But appealing to that base is precisely what is preventing things from getting done.”

But what is it Banon wants getting done? In his own declaration, the main struggle is the destruction of the regulatory state, and the Trump administration’s accomplishments in that arena are both impressive and frightening.

As Bannon bragged: “That’s all going to be deconstructed and I think that’s why this regulatory thing is so important.” Earlier, he had declared himself a follower of Lenin who “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment”. Of course that is not referring to the “establishment” of the rich and powerful, it’s the “establishment” of an interventionist state strong enough to regulate big business. All the rest is rhetoric and pity the leftists dumb enough to take Trump-Bannonist “populism” at face value.

Lastly: has Corey Robin ever written anything about Trump without making a point of trivializing the threat posed by him and his movement? We just witnessed an armed Nazi rallye and a deadly act of Nazi terror. Move on, nothing to see here.

7

Hidari 08.22.17 at 8:55 pm

‘When Steve Bannon joined Donald Trump’s campaign as a key advisor last year, the left was right to be worried. Bannon’s reputation as a master strategist followed him through a stunning electoral upset and all the way into being Trump’s right-hand man in the White House. But today, the full shape of Bannon’s ultimate vision has finally become clear in his moment of triumph: Steve Bannon has just completed his yearlong plan to become increasingly irrelevant before eventually getting himself fired.

Machiavelli, meet your star pupil.

With the president’s ear, a seat on the National Security Council, and a media empire at his disposal, Bannon deftly assembled every resource he needed to get himself sidelined over and over until his removal. And as liberals wrung their hands over the shadowy man behind the curtain, Bannon was already enacting the first stages of a scheme to dither into nothingness that future generations will undoubtedly study for its genius. Like the chess grandmaster who can see every move before the first piece is even lifted, Steve Bannon knew exactly how to get what he wanted, and executed his train wreck of a tenure with pinpoint precision.

Bannon hit the ground running almost immediately, slamming through a legally shoddy travel ban as the first in a chain of unforced errors whose strategic elegance would make Sun Tzu weep. From there, he wove a web of manipulation, effortlessly alienating potential allies, stoking pointless factionalism inside the administration, and making the POTUS increasingly frustrated with him until he was shunted to the margins. In just a few short months, Bannon lost influence, access, allies, and power at an unprecedented rate, demonstrating to a rapt nation just how formidable of a tactician he truly was. Few could be as disciplined as Bannon with their goal so tantalizingly in view, but Bannon–no ordinary politician–waited with mantis-like patience to become completely impotent before finally getting himself fired, his ultimate masterstroke.

With every piece of his yearlong plan finally falling perfectly into place, Bannon’s legacy as a master strategist and go-nowhere flash in the pan is undoubtably secure, but we have to wonder if even this might all be part of some larger scheme of his. Will Bannon now pick pointless fights with the GOP or Fox News, focus on losing even more ground with the Trump administration, or simply burrow into irrelevance through inflammatory comments and avoidable public scandals?

Whatever he decides, one thing is now very clear: Whatever Steve Bannon sets his mind to, he’ll get it done.’

http://www.clickhole.com/article/master-strategist-steve-bannon-has-completed-his-y-6521

8

anonymousse 08.22.17 at 10:48 pm

Serious question:
“I may not like what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

This was essentially the conventional wisdom-among the respectable LEFT-for most of my life.

Skokie was a defining event for that Left, in my lifetime (I was about 8 years old at the time. I don’t remember it, but I of course am familiar with the details of it-it was as status quo amongst liberal values as any other. I say defining because it was: as much as the Stanford Prisoner Experiment, or Silent Spring, for instance. Just an unquestioned part of the intellectual architecture of the Left for the last 50 years).

You folks obviously reject both. Do you intend to? Is that sense of First Amendment absolutism really dead in academia? You are modern academics: forty years ago, you would have proudly supported both, above.

Do you intend to end that support, or is ‘Charlottesville = Nazis, and Nazis=bad, so Nazis (Klan members, Confederates, Alt-Right, Steve Bannon, National Review, etc etc)= erase’ just a political rant without thinking of the consequences? Is the end of First Amendment absolutism, in academia, the new norm?

anon

9

steven t johnson 08.22.17 at 11:37 pm

Trump lost the election, and was saved only by the Electoral College scam. Bannon’s loudly declaring victory so that he could do more of his losing strategy was guaranteed to lose him credit with his boss. If Bannon’s strategy had actually won the election, he would have I think been vastly more influential.

In principle it’s possible Trump is really so stupid as to think he won the election but, he fakes a lot. In particular, I think he was faking any interest in re-industrializing the national economy (not least because industry hasn’t disappeared so completely.) I think he was faking any distaste for finance, not least because a good portion of his business career has been about high end real estate and amenities for financiers.

I do think the Grover Norquist strategy of winning votes to cut the budget hasn’t been so effective in delivering the goods as the ruling class wants. But making the government small enough to fit into a bathtub isn’t the only way to kill the beast. I think Trump is modeling his strategy on hostile business takeovers, where the profitable parts are retained and the non-profitable parts sold off. Except in governmental terms, that means Trump is promoting the common conservative agenda on taxes, etc. as much as possible. And for the parts that do people good, he’s sabotaging government. He can’t replace Obamacare with something better, so what? He can just let things fall apart. Serves the same goal as defunding. Bannon the electoral loser is of no use to this program.

TM@6 asks two questions: Yes, and no.

10

Layman 08.22.17 at 11:39 pm

“You folks obviously reject both.”

Is anyone (here) arguing that white supremacists don’t have a right to speak? Or demonstrate? That’s not my view; mine is that they do have a right to speak, or demonstrate; just as others have a right to speak, or demonstrate, in opposition to them.

I have seen some incoherent muttering to the effect that memorials to the Confederacy on public land are somehow protected speech, and that tearing them down somehow infringes on speech, but I can’t really grasp how that argument has any legs. How does the disposition of a public monument impact your first amendment rights?

11

John Quiggin 08.23.17 at 12:27 am

“You folks obviously reject both.”

Perhaps anonymousse has the wrong amendment in mind. The big feature of recent right wing rallies, starting with the Tea Party, has been openly carried weapons. That’s been too much for the ACLU, and everyone else on the left.

12

nastywoman 08.23.17 at 3:16 am

@7
For all of my life the conventional wisdom-among the respectable LEFT was -(is):
Fascism and Nazism is – (lawfully) ‘verboten’!
And as it is ‘verboten’ to hit another of my fellow US citizen willy-nilly on the head – even the US amendments you named have certain restrictions by law – which in our homeland are just wide open to interpretations.
And so something like ‘Citizens United’ becomes a case of so called ‘Free Speech’.

Like the crazy dog – which after chasing the car caught the car and didn’t know what to too with it –
@7 – whatever the dog decides, one thing is now very clear: Whatever the dog sets his mind to, he’ll won’t get it done.’

13

nastywoman 08.23.17 at 3:30 am

but @7
I forgot ‘the most serious’ point –

Whatever he decides, one thing is now very clear: Whatever Steve Bannon sets his mind to, he’ll get it done by having Trump ”decanted red wine decanted through Melania’s used pantihoes.”

14

reason 08.23.17 at 10:22 am

Bruce Wilder @4
Slight inaccuracy
“That he could not craft a visa moratorium on countries identified by Obama as having active terrorism was telling”
No those were countries identified as “state sponsors of terrorism”, not countries having active terrorism or even countries from which terrorists came. Not the countries that are not included – Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE – i.e. the countries from which most of the terrorists actually come.

15

reason 08.23.17 at 10:32 am

(P.S. I was not quite accurate – there were also some states which are in a state of civil war.)

16

reason 08.23.17 at 10:35 am

In my post I think what I really wanted to hint at, was that the two party system, as Bruce Wilder hints (I think confusing it with neo-liberalism), is the real source of the misery, in both parties. People are trapped in unhappy marriages of conveniences.

17

Layman 08.23.17 at 12:27 pm

bruce wilder: “…which in the absence of a functioning loyal opposition or a responsible media, is likely to drive an increasingly ill-considered and brittle authoritarianism.”

Yet the media and the loyal opposition have functioned. The media has accurately reported on the consequences of proposed policies and legislation (e.g. the various bills to repeal / replace the ACA) and the loyal opposition has in fact largely opposed those policies and legislation to the extent of their power. What should they be doing differently?

18

novakant 08.23.17 at 1:00 pm

Is anyone (here) arguing that white supremacists don’t have a right to speak? Or demonstrate?

I certainly am – Why should ethnic and religious minorities have to put up with Nazi scum telling lies about their IQ and ‘culture’ and demanding their subjugation or annihilation?

19

William Timberman 08.23.17 at 1:38 pm

A sort of Marxist point about our present distempers: the conditions of existence have changed, probably irrevocably, for the Scots-Irish coal miners of West Virginia, the libertarian ranchers of the West, and the industrial workers of Ohio and Pennsylvania, and they’re not happy about it. Should Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, or Elon Musk feel any more sympathy for them than their ancestors felt for Chief Joseph, Sitting Bull, or Geronimo? A similar observation could be made about our lack of sympathy for the Taliban and the Salafists.

One difference is striking, though, about our current last ditch defenders of traditions outmaneuvered by modernity. They’re more widely distributed, and they’re also much better armed. The days of Whatever happens — we have got — the Maxim gun — and they have not have succumbed in their own fashion to a modernity not even the Moderns themselves seem to understand. Not yet, anyway.

Marx thought that once the conditions of existence had changed sufficiently, the past would be, or could be, swept away by revolutionaries with their eyes on the future. Seen up close, from the vantage point of an individual life, the process is far uglier, no matter subsequent theoretical revisions from the foundries of Marxist ideology, or cheerleading from neoliberal think tanks. Somewhere between Faulkner’s The past isn’t dead, it isn’t even past, and Gibson’s The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed, there’s a place to stand that won’t offend either our conscience or our common sense. Maybe. One hopes. YMMV.

20

Layman 08.23.17 at 1:43 pm

novakant: “Why should ethnic and religious minorities have to put up with Nazi scum telling lies about their IQ and ‘culture’ and demanding their subjugation or annihilation?”

Because, in practice, once the state asserts the authority to muzzle people, it always ends badly?

21

nastywoman 08.23.17 at 2:09 pm

– and ever since in my homeland a dude decided to run as ”birther in chief” – and NOT
(as”President”) – and hardly anybody noticed that fact – or better said – hardly anybody said: Hey wait a minute ”a birther” can’t run for President – that’s verboten -(in any civilized society) – all these very… thoughtful ‘pieces’ somebody is writing on blogs or in the guardian or the NYT about Trump or Bannon or any of the F…faces – remind me on one of my favorite ‘pranks’ – where the people get invited to some High Class Art-Exhbition and one of the major Art Historians of this planet gives a tremendous complicated speech about the Earth-Shattering Awesomeness of the Pictures – only to release later – that all of the pictures were painted by some monkey -(or a Orange Orang Utan?) – and the ‘fake’ exhibition had the only purpose to teach US Gullibles a major lesson. -(y’all may decide yourselves what it could have been?)

Now the lesson I got from it: You better don’t write too thoughtful about ‘art’ if you are aware that a Orange Orang Utan has created it?
That fact needs new ways of verbal expressions – and somehow WE just don’t get it neither from the NYT nor from the Guardian?

22

nastywoman 08.23.17 at 2:17 pm

and @20
”Because, in practice, once the state asserts the authority to muzzle people, it always ends badly?”

That’s what you say – as I said (before) that some Europeans did very well with their Hate Speech Laws – as they didn’t ‘muzzle people’ – They educated people that to be a real Fascists and Nazi is totally and absolutely ‘verboten’.
-(as it is ‘verboten in Atlanta to sleep on a Park Bench in the ‘Olympic Park’)

And I always asked myself – if WE – Americans – managed to forbid driving faster than – for example 55miles on a certain ‘Freeway Stretch’ why can’t we manage to forbid Fascists and Nazis?

Because of something called ‘Free Speech’ – which is up to endless lawyerly interpretations?

23

Hidari 08.23.17 at 4:31 pm

‘The relationship between President Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has disintegrated to the point that they have not spoken to each other in weeks, and Mr. McConnell has privately expressed uncertainty that Mr. Trump will be able to salvage his administration after a series of summer crises.’

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/22/us/politics/mitch-mcconnell-trump.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

Also: Markets have given up on Trump’s proposed ‘tax cuts’ and ‘infrastructure spending’.

https://twitter.com/adam_tooze/status/900001363068833792

Far Right rallies cancelled everywhere:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/act-cancel-america-first-rallies-largest-anti-muslim-group-counter-protesters-a7906836.html

And the statues keep on coming down:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/roger-b-taney-statue-taken-down-charlottesville-clashes-racist-supreme-court-judge-a7900771.html

Trump loses support in crucial rust belt.

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/08/08/politics/trumps-approval-is-starting-to-look-like-romneys/index.html

It seems that the only people still mesmerised by Trump’s (rapidly eroding) power are centrist Democrats.

24

Sashas 08.23.17 at 5:08 pm

“Whatever the outcome of the civil war Bannon intends to fight, it’ll be waged against the backdrop of a declining rather than an ascendant movement, with the tools of yesterday rather than tomorrow.”

Please pardon my ignorance. Where is this statement grounded? It seems to be a foundational thesis-type statement, and yet as far as I can tell it is thrown into the article, unsupported, as a fact. Do you have evidence for it?

25

Hidari 08.23.17 at 5:16 pm

Oh, and about those hardcore Trump supporters ‘who will never leave him’.

‘Over the next 72 minutes, the president launched into one angry rant after another, repeatedly attacking the media and providing a lengthy defense of his response to the violent clashes in Charlottesville, between white supremacists and neo-Nazis and the counterprotesters who challenged them. …

But as the night dragged on, many in the crowd lost interest in what the president was saying.

Hundreds left early, while others plopped down on the ground, scrolled through their social media feeds or started up a conversation with their neighbors. After waiting for hours in 107-degree heat to get into the rally hall – where their water bottles were confiscated by security – people were tired and dehydrated and the president just wasn’t keeping their attention. Although Trump has long been the master of reading the mood of a room and quickly adjusting his message to satisfy as many of his fans as possible, his rage seemed to cloud his senses….

The president …tried to connect this lengthy self-examination to his supporters. Meanwhile, a growing number of them were calling it a night and heading to the exits.’

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/presidential/analysis-as-trump-ranted-and-rambled-in-phoenix-his-crowd-slowly-thinned-20170823.html

26

TM 08.23.17 at 6:06 pm

WT 19: “the conditions of existence have changed, probably irrevocably, for the Scots-Irish coal miners of West Virginia, the libertarian ranchers of the West, and the industrial workers of Ohio and Pennsylvania, and they’re not happy about it.”

Conditions of existence change all the time. Perhaps you might want to specify the baseline you are referring to (when was the golden age for the ranchers of the West?) and the changes you think they are so unhappy about (which have much more to do with gay marriage than with “conditions of existence”). I would also point out that the actual number of coal miners and ranchers is tiny, probably much smaller than say the number of adjunct college professors, whose conditions of existence have also changed quite a bit quite recently, and even the number of industrial workers in the rustbelt is probably smaller than the number of nurses or retail workers, so the question is inevitably why you think it pertinent to highlight these particular groups of people and their unhappiness as opposed to all the other groups who are also unhappy about this or that. And finally: what magic turns this claptrap into a “Marxist point”?

27

Waiting for Godot 08.23.17 at 6:09 pm

Citizen Cory Robyn, now that we have had our “Kristallnact” in the Thrilla in Phoenix please tell me that there is enough of a split in the oligarchy to get rid of Trump and not end up with a President Pence or, more likely a President Ryan. The mechanisms put in place 225 years ago to assure rule by the better class and mitigate the power of the mob have worked to place us where we are right now and it strains my limited limited imagination to see that those mechanisms can work to change anything.

28

Theophylact 08.23.17 at 6:18 pm

I would say that brandishing weapons in a public forum is suppression of the freedom of speech.

29

TM 08.23.17 at 6:32 pm

“the only people still mesmerised by Trump”

Are you referring to *those* people who spent the last seven months protesting and resisting Trump’s agenda, with at least partial success? I’m glad they are so “mesmerized” and I hope they continue as vigorously, rather than declaring premature victory.

30

AcademicLurker 08.23.17 at 7:02 pm

anonymousse@8: We watched the TV movie about Skokie in class (Civics or something similar) when I was in the eighth grade. This was back in the 80s. I’d hate to imagine what kind of epic sh*tstorm would result if that were tried today.

31

novakant 08.23.17 at 9:11 pm

Because, in practice, once the state asserts the authority to muzzle people, it always ends badly?

If you spread lies about product x by multinational corporation y you’ll be muzzled by an army of lawyers before you know what hit you and the state would muzzle you in no time. (They would even shut you up if you were speaking the honest truth – for a while at least.)

If I say publicly that Layman is a [insert something very evil] you’d be within your rights to sue me and the state would certainly muzzle me if the accusation was baseless.

If I say publicly that I want to kill or even just hurt someone, the state will muzzle me.

But if a bunch of Neo-Nazis and related scum spread lies about minorities and plan to kill or enslave them – well, that’s freedom of speech, I really don’t get it.

32

Suzanne 08.23.17 at 10:11 pm

@23: Trump picked the fight with McConnell, pounding him with insults after the latter made a mild remark about the president’s lack of familiarity with the legislative process. McConnell has kept quiet publicly as the social media blows rain down on his head. Trump retains his hold on the GOP base and his attacks have hurt McConnell in his home state of Kentucky. (You would think McConnell’s diligent efforts to deprive his own constituents of health care coverage – the ACA has worked will in Kentucky – would hurt him as badly, but you’d be wrong.)

Trump’s war on his own caucus includes attacks on vulnerable senators Heller and the aptly named Flake.

33

Asteele 08.23.17 at 11:27 pm

State already muzzles people all the time.

34

Suzanne 08.23.17 at 11:59 pm

That should be “worked well” in Kentucky, not “worked will.” I’m sure some GOPer could do something with that .

35

William Timberman 08.24.17 at 12:14 am

TM @ 26 (08.23.17 at 6:06 pm)

At the risk of belaboring the obvious, the Marxist point (sort of) is that beyond the stage of hunting and gathering, cultures evolve in the context of specific economic and technological conditions. When those change at the rate they have since oh, say 1750 or thereabouts, existing cultures, particularly, but not exclusively isolated ones, can be stressed beyond their capacity to adapt. The choice of populations used in my examples had to do with particular American mythologies, expressed in the urban/rural divergence which most people seem to think is at least a partial explanation for the rise of Trump. They weren’t meant to be exclusive examples of such stressed cultures, nor completely definitive explanations for the upsets we’re witnessing. Hence the sort of bit….

Here, TM, let me buy you another drink.

36

rogergathmann 08.24.17 at 12:57 am

@8 “I may not like what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” This is still a great sentence, but it does need a coda in the age of second amendment absolutism – “as long as you don’t come armed to your festival of hate with as many weapons as you can unconceal carry.” We’ve been here before: Greensboro, 1979. Here’s a little clip of an incident where communists, who were saying death to the klan, met the klan and Nazis, who shot and killed four of them. No way you can meet people like this with pieties out of an editorial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhd_3CLRQHs

37

Layman 08.24.17 at 1:58 am

@novakant

It’s hard to tell whether you’re serious. The threat of a lawsuit for libel can be applied to anyone who libels, and it’s not BTW a state suppression of speech. The threat of a criminal charge for communicating a specific, tangible threat applies to anyone who communicates a specific, tangible threat. If these white supremacists aren’t being sued for libel, it’s probably because what they’re doing doesn’t constitute libel; and if they aren’t being charged with communicating a threat, it’s because what they’re doing doesn’t constitute communicating a threat.

If you think any of them are engaging in libel or communicating specific, tangible threats, point to the example. If you can’t point to an example, what are you talking about?

38

Faustusnotes 08.24.17 at 4:19 am

I’d like to point out that the coal miners in Virginia are not “scots-Irish.” That particular definition is reserved for people from Scotland and Ireland. William timberman if you ever have the pleasure of knowing an actual living Irish person, you will find they get very angry when stupid Americans claim to be Irish because someone Irish was in their family five generations ago. Please try not to be fooled by this stupid romanticism. It’s a weird American tic that needs to die.

39

J-D 08.24.17 at 5:22 am

Layman

Because, in practice, once the state asserts the authority to muzzle people, it always ends badly?

Layman

The threat of a criminal charge for communicating a specific, tangible threat applies to anyone who communicates a specific, tangible threat.

How does the second statement constitute an exception to the first or, alternatively, how does it not constitute an exception?

40

William Timberman 08.24.17 at 5:52 am

Ah, Faustusnotes, the living Irish, God bless ’em, one and all. Many of the West Virginia coal miners and their families that I knew, when I was 5 or 6, and used to visit my paternal grandparents there during the summer, were quite proud of their Ulster Presbyterian heritage, including my grandmother herself. Now I grant you, Irish Republicans might prefer to think of such folks, were they still back where their ancestors came from, as Ulster Scots, never mind what Ian Paisley might have had to say about national nomenclature, but once over here, I suspect that having arrived from Ireland made them Irish as far as their host country was concerned. Can’t think who that should piss anyone off except maybe a few rabid old country sectarians, but if you insist….

41

Raven 08.24.17 at 6:12 am

anonymousse @ 8: “Serious question: ‘I may not like what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’”

Serious answers:

(1) The quote goes, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

(2) Its strength in argument is that it is attributed to that hero of the Enlightenment, the philosopher and advocate of civil liberties named François-Marie Arouet but pen-named Voltaire.

(3) However, that is a false attribution: Voltaire never said nor wrote it.

(4) As an “Argument from Authority” [which is a type of fallacy anyway] which turns out not actually to come from any authority, this is already worthless, but let’s look at the statement itself, shall we? Is the problem with current or historical white-supremacist and fascist activism merely that it is “disliked” or “disapproved of”, the way they themselves or others dislike or disapprove of differing races, religions, and sexualities? Or rather that it is imminently (and historically) violent and directly threatening to the rights or physical safety of others — which generally crosses the line between what is and is not protected as “free speech” under our First Amendment, like “assault” (a simple threat, actual contact being “battery”) or defamation or fraud or false fire alarms (shouting “fire” in a crowded theater) or bomb threats or threatening the life of the President. [“Words, mere words”]

42

faustusnotes 08.24.17 at 7:07 am

I agree with Novakant and J-D (I think). This idea that enabling people to air their ideas enables them to be debated and beaten is clearly a bad idea that isn’t working. Allowing nazis free speech has simply allowed their movement to grow in the USA over the past 10-20 years, to the point where they are now the leading cause of terrorist-related mortality, and are openly advocating violence against minorities, as well as moving freely in public with weapons, under the excuse of free speech. Free speech absolutism has failed in America – it is no longer “I will defend to the death your right to say it,” so much as “your right to say it is now leading to people’s deaths.”

Either you think this movement is in the right, or you need to accept that their ability to speak freely has enabled them to grow and become a threat to diverse communities. Killing 1 person and injuring 19, going into churches to mow down their congregants, violently attacking peacefully protesting clergy with sticks and shields – this is communal violence. The people who organize and advocate for this communal violence need to have their ability to do so shut down. America has reached the point where supporting these people’s right to free speech means you are supporting their right to openly organize the murder of blacks, gays, muslims and Jews.

The marketplace of ideas and the idea that the right ideas will win in an open debate is bullshit. Some ideas need to be shut down, and the people who advocate them need to be forced out of the public arena. Every other country understands this. It’s time America did too, before it all falls apart over there.

43

John Quiggin 08.24.17 at 7:32 am

For Corey: Can I trade in my second copy of the 1st edition for a copy of the new one with added Trumpiness ? :-)

44

John Holbo 08.24.17 at 8:13 am

Congrats on the new edition. Couldn’t hardly be timelier!

45

Matt 08.24.17 at 8:27 am

The marketplace of ideas and the idea that the right ideas will win in an open debate is bullshit. Some ideas need to be shut down, and the people who advocate them need to be forced out of the public arena. Every other country understands this. It’s time America did too, before it all falls apart over

Some countries have shown that this approach is maybe not unprobelmatic

Now I agree that Nazi and racist and fascist ideas need to be countered. (And that carrying weapons around is just nuts – a bad thing in the US, but a different one.) But, the record of states on which ideas “need to be shut down” and which people “need to be forced out of the public arena” isn’t so hot, either. And, you might have noticed some racial based attacks on people, in, say, the UK recently too, despite some different laws. That leads me to think that changing these laws might not be the best approach, even if it were possible.

46

Layman 08.24.17 at 11:43 am

Various.

JD: “How does the second statement constitute an exception to the first or, alternatively, how does it not constitute an exception?”

Yes, mister catch-me-in-a-contradiction, there are exceptions to most rules. For example, the rule which says you can’t use force against another person has an exception for self-defense. So actually communicating a threat is a crime, not protected speech. Of course this constraint has a potential to be abused, but all constraints have that potential. As to abuse of this statute, I think you’ll find that, pre- war on terror, there were relatively few prosecutions for this crime precisely because it is hard to distinguish the intent of speech. Post- war on terror is another story, since the government asserts the right to kill people in faraway places based entirely on words they claim have been spoken; words that in some cases are basically abstractions rather than direct threats. That’s an argument, IMO, for protecting speech rather than further constraining it.

Faustusnotes: “This idea that enabling people to air their ideas enables them to be debated and beaten is clearly a bad idea that isn’t working.”

This may or may not be true, but I don’t think it matters as it isn’t the reason for a strong protection of free speech. The reason for a strong protection of free speech is _maximal personal freedom_ within the constraints of an orderly but free society. And again, once you start down the path of constraining speech based on content, who gets to decide what content is permitted and which not? Are you entirely sure you’ll be satisfied with the decisions? I’m certainly not.

Matt: “But, the record of states on which ideas ‘need to be shut down’ and which people ‘need to be forced out of the public arena’ isn’t so hot, either.”

Yes, precisely.

47

nastywoman 08.24.17 at 12:12 pm

@45
”But, the record of states on which ideas “need to be shut down” and which people “need to be forced out of the public arena” isn’t so hot, either.”

Well – I don’t know how often it has to be written or said – that the record of states on which fascistic Ideas and Nazis has been… let’s say ‘lawfully excluded out of the public arena’ is pretty hot.
Not only in German but also lately in Austria. the Netherland and France.
And do you know – when ‘Fascistic Right Wingers’ in France threatened the Muslims of their countries with ‘extinguishing’ them – French Laws against Hate Speech made it very clear that a modern democratic state doesn’t tolerate such Hate Speech.

And isn’ that… really… ‘hot’?

48

novakant 08.24.17 at 12:42 pm

Layman, I am talking about the hypocrisy of the free speech rhetoric in the US and how this is reflected in US law and its application. You reply by quoting US law and its application. All this is not very enlightening, so why bother: free speech all the way, rarara! USA USA USA

Matt, of course restricting free speech is not unproblematic and of course the laws will not prevent racism altogether. But isn’t it amazing how many European countries manage to be open, free and pluralistic society despite some very strong laws prohibiting certain types of speech.

49

faustusnotes 08.24.17 at 1:25 pm

Yes, seconding nastywoman, there are actually lots of states where shutting down hate speech has worked. And in response to Layman, who gets to decide who gets shut down? Well, the government obviously. If your problem is you can’t trust the government to distinguish between violent hate speech by a group that actively murders people and wants to overthrow the government and kill whole swathes of your populace, and some annoying fuckknuckles the government disagrees with, then your problem is the government, not your lack of maximal free speech.

I would remind everyone who thinks that this shit is going to end well to read the Turner Diaries. That’s the script these evil people are working from. If you think they’re going to thank you for letting them talk about their “ideas”, well, you’re very naive indeed.

50

Matt 08.24.17 at 1:37 pm

Novakant, I’d say that the laws do little, if any good, and can often be used for ill. (You’ve been to much of Europe, right? Not exactly free of racism and discrimination/violence against non-whites!) So, if they don’t do much good, and can pretty easily be used for ill, I don’t see any value in them. There are rare exceptions – anti holocaust denial laws in post-war German (maybe not now) as a necessary step in de-Nazification so as to make democracy possible, for example. But these exceptions are time and history specific. I see no evidence of benefit from the larger rules at all, and significant grounds for worry.

51

faustusnotes 08.24.17 at 2:02 pm

Matt can you actually give any examples of European laws being used for ill that would outweigh the benefits of shutting down nazis?

52

nastywoman 08.24.17 at 2:06 pm

@50
”(You’ve been to much of Europe, right? Not exactly free of racism and discrimination/violence against non-whites!)”

Yes – that’s why so called ”Civilized Advanced European Democracies have their laws against hate speech to keep Racist and Racists ”under control”.

And just think about – how absolutely ‘HOT’ would it have been if US Laws would have forbidden ”A Racistic Birther” to run for President?

53

Matt 08.24.17 at 2:39 pm

And just think about – how absolutely ‘HOT’ would it have been if US Laws would have forbidden ”A Racistic Birther” to run for President?

I don’t know, about as “hot” as it was when fascists were kept from running for office in France, the Netherlands, Austria, etc? Really, I don’t see what these claims are supposed to be about.

faustusnotes , I suppose you don’t consider Russia part of Europe, but my point has been, those laws don’t actually seem to shut down Nazis in Europe! But, people do get convicted under them in the UK sometimes. And if they seem to do no good, and sometimes, hurt, what is the point? I suppose it makes you feel better. But you’ll need to show me more than that. I mean, Geert Wilder’s views are not so much different form Richard Spencers, so what good are these laws doing? Please explain that to me.

54

Layman 08.24.17 at 2:58 pm

novakant: “I am talking about the hypocrisy of the free speech rhetoric in the US and how this is reflected in US law and its application. “

No, you’re _claiming_ the hypocrisy but not actually demonstrating how it is reflected in US law and its application. You offered libel, but that’s a civil matter, not a constraint on free speech. You offered criminal laws against communicating a threat, but you haven’t explained how that criminal law is being hypocritically applied; you’ve just mischaracterized it.

faustusnotes: “If your problem is you can’t trust the government to distinguish between violent hate speech by a group that actively murders people and wants to overthrow the government and kill whole swathes of your populace, and some annoying fuckknuckles the government disagrees with, then your problem is the government, not your lack of maximal free speech.”

Indeed, the Constitution was written by people who quite rightly didn’t trust governments not to abuse the power to regulate speech because they’d lived under a government that abused the power to regulate speech. Despite the Constitution, the government has quite often abused the power to regulate speech, forcing the courts to step in to stop then. Beyond that, you’re saying that thousands of people should be prevented from speaking because one person committed a crime. Isn’t that precisely the wrong reaction the government has had in the war on terror?

novakant: “Matt can you actually give any examples of European laws being used for ill that would outweigh the benefits of shutting down nazis?”

If outlawing drugs doesn’t stop the drug trade or drug abuse, why do you imagine that outlawing speech will ‘shut down’ Nazis? Should we similarly shut down BLM protests? Communist rallies? Anarchist protests?

55

Layman 08.24.17 at 2:59 pm

@ novakant, apologies as I mis attributed that last comment of faustusnotes to you.

56

nastywoman 08.24.17 at 3:16 pm

@53
”but my point has been, those laws don’t actually seem to shut down Nazis in Europe!”

– and my point has been that those laws (proven) shut down Nazis in Europe.
And that you seem to think the opposite might have to do with a certain… (American?) confusion about who and what is a ‘Nazi’ or a ‘Fascist’?

57

nastywoman 08.24.17 at 3:23 pm

@54
”If outlawing drugs doesn’t stop the drug trade or drug abuse, why do you imagine that outlawing speech will ‘shut down’ Nazis?”

Or is that the problem: Thinking if a certain law is not working as well as intended it’s not worth passing such a law?

You mean Italians shouldn’t have laws against speeding because ‘it doesn’t stop them’

That’s… HOT!

58

Suzanne 08.24.17 at 4:24 pm

@40: “…but once over here, I suspect that having arrived from Ireland made them Irish as far as their host country was concerned.”

Distinctions weren’t lost on everyone, if Margaret Mitchell is to be trusted:

‘“Haven’t you heard about it? The Yankee government’s been payin’ claims on all destroyed property of Union sympathizers in the South.”

“Of course I’ve heard about that,” said Scarlett. “But what’s that got to do with us?”

“A heap, in Suellen’s opinion. That day I took her to Jonesboro, she run into Mrs. MacIntosh and when they were gossipin’ along, Suellen couldn’t help noticin’ what fine-lookin’ clothes Mrs. Macintosh had on and she couldn’t help askin’ about them. Then Mrs. MacIntosh gave herself a lot of airs and said as how her husband had put in a claim with the Federal government for destroyin’ the property of a loyal Union sympathizer who had never given aid and comfort to the Confederacy in any shape or form.”

“They never gave aid and comfort to anybody,” snapped Scarlett. “Scotch–Irish!”’

(Readers of the book will recall that Gerald O’Hara, Scarlett’s father, is an Irish Catholic first-generation immigrant arriviste who wins his plantation in a poker game and marries a girl from the Savannah upper crust.)

59

rogergathmann 08.24.17 at 5:12 pm

The right to opinion and the right to assembly are connected rights. But I think – along with Bentham – that rights are a kind of social fiction. As such, they must be adapted to social contexts. In Europe and Japan, after WWII, there was an attempt made by the allies to enforce denazification, defascization and destruction of the Japanese imperialist organizations. At the same time, there was an attempt to use ex nazis, ex fascists, and ex Imperialists against communists. It is in this context that the abridgement of the right to, say, publish Mein Kampf in Germany has to be looked at. Arendt pointed out how many ex Nazis succeeded in establishing public careers in Adenauer’s Germany. Even so, the ultra right never really gained the power it had even in the Weimar period. That’s a big contrast with Japan and Italy. In Italy, the fascist party has flourished to the point that it was a valued member of Berlusconi’s coalition. In Japan, the denial of imperial atrocities has become canonical in text books and speeches by politicians. Interestingly, occupied Italy and Japan were really American projects, whereas all the Allies occupied Germany.
What this exercise should tell us, I think, is that – as with all “universals” – time and circumstance change what the state suppresses and why. These peeps who want free speech for Nazis in Charlotteville have been hella quiet about the suppression of speech represented over the past 17 years by the prison of Guantanamo Bay. In fact, the right to association for Islamicists has been under fierce attack, and nobody seems to be sweating it – but throw in a few bullying white male faces from the “heartland” and it becomes an issue. Reflecting, of course, the large sexist and racist inequities in the system.

60

Layman 08.24.17 at 5:33 pm

“and my point has been that those laws (proven) shut down Nazis in Europe.”

Yes, but you’re wrong. There are still Nazis in Europe despite the laws.

61

Layman 08.24.17 at 7:26 pm

Indeed, here’s a Nazi rally in Belin, just last week. I thought the speech constraints were foolproof?

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/19/world/europe/berlin-germany-neo-nazis-rudolph-hess.html

62

Collin Street 08.24.17 at 8:00 pm

It’s actually better than that: he’s arguing that laws against speeding will only be enforced on people who are keeping under the speed limit.

63

J-D 08.24.17 at 9:02 pm

Layman

Yes, mister catch-me-in-a-contradiction,

If an examiner detects an error in your working, whose fault is it that you don’t get full marks, yours or the examiner’s? I’m not going to apologise for having paid careful attention to what you have written, not even if I have paid more careful attention to it than you have.

… there are exceptions to most rules.

Indeed there are; so one should be extremely careful about posing as the defender of a rule without exceptions.

Of course, this constraint has a potential to be abused, but all constraints have that potential.

Yes, absolutely, exactly so. Therefore, the discovery that a constraint has the potential to be abused is not, by itself, a conclusive argument against that constraint.

Post- war on terror is another story, since the government asserts the right to kill people in faraway places based entirely on words they claim have been spoken; words that in some cases are basically abstractions rather than direct threats. That’s an argument, IMO, for protecting speech rather than further constraining it.

But it’s no longer an argument that constraints on speech always end badly; as the indicative phrase ‘another story’ emphasises, it is an argument about particular constraints on speech in a particular context ending badly in particular circumstances. That’s a different sort of argument, and, precisely because of the absence of absolutist universalism, one much more worthy of respect. But then, what’s the connection between US government drone strikes and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville?

64

J-D 08.24.17 at 9:07 pm

Matt

faustusnotes , I suppose you don’t consider Russia part of Europe, but my point has been, those laws don’t actually seem to shut down Nazis in Europe! But, people do get convicted under them in the UK sometimes. And if they seem to do no good, and sometimes, hurt, what is the point?

Which are the UK convictions that you consider to have been harmful?

65

Faustusnotes 08.24.17 at 10:51 pm

Layman, outlawing drugs does stop people using drugs.

Matt, noni don’t consider Russia to be part of Europe but since you’ve raised it, why don’t you tell me which anti-Nazi law in Russia is being used to persecute non nazis? For example, Russia’s campaign against gay activists is based on a law specifically targeting gay activism. And it’s successful, so successful that western gay rights organizations are very worried about it! Ditto singapores laws on inciting racial or religious hatred, pakistans laws on insulting the prophet, thailands laws on insulting the king … it may come as a shock to some of the gentler folks hereabouts but banning things and using state power to enforce that ban works.

Also, for all his many flaws wilders was not a Nazi, and the presence of these laws in Europe has eg forced marine le pen to expel her daddy’s cadre from the national front and distance it from street fighting thugs. It’s also so poisoned the national front brand that left and right unite against them. Have you noticed that happening in the USA?

66

Keith 08.25.17 at 12:19 am

There is clearly a theoretical problem about the definition of free speech. Also a practical issue about state power. If you can be sued for libel/slander or prosecuted for incitement to murder why not incitement to racism or homophobia ? Advocating for the genocide of a large group would seem to be no less unethical than advocating for the murder of one person. Allowing a judge or jury to award damages implies you accept they can be impartial subject to constitutional rules. So there would seem to be no limit to the scope of the prohibition if you can trust the legal system.

67

Layman 08.25.17 at 1:22 am

J-D: “I’m not going to apologise for having paid careful attention to what you have written, not even if I have paid more careful attention to it than you have.”

It’s a joke, from Roth’s _Our Gang_. I guess it went past you. You really should pull that cork out; it isn’t helping.

68

Faustusnotes 08.25.17 at 1:25 am

You boys on the free speech absolutist platform best update your talking points – the libertarian right is starting to think companies need to be regulated to ensure that conservatives aren’t punished for speaking out, and Megan mcardle and her odious ilk are talking about subsidized speech, not free speech – conservatives need safe spaces too! So soon all your maximal free speech ideas are going down the memory hole and you’ll have to find other justifications for allowing racist mass murderers to incite genocide in public. Best keep an eye on the Koch-funded press so you can update your marching orders when they come!

69

Layman 08.25.17 at 1:32 am

Keith: “If you can be sued for libel/slander or prosecuted for incitement to murder why not incitement to racism or homophobia ? “

Maybe because murder is concrete; it’s an act that produces a residue of evidence. People don’t really argue about either the victim is dead or not. Racism and homophobia are ideas, not acts, though of course they may lead to acts; and ideas themselves don’t leave incontrovertible physical evidence. People argue about those ideas – about whether they have them or not – all the time, e.g. “I’m not racist, you’re the racist!” If you exhort your followers to kill the outsiders, I’m guessing you’ll get caught up by the existing legal prohibition.

70

Layman 08.25.17 at 1:54 am

“So soon all your maximal free speech ideas are going down the memory hole and you’ll have to find other justifications for allowing racist mass murderers to incite genocide in public.”

The first sign that you’re out of your depth is when you think that

…what companies do about the things you write about their policies and distribute to their employees using their equipment while being paid by them…

has anything to do with free speech rights.

71

Matt 08.25.17 at 1:55 am

why don’t you tell me which anti-Nazi law in Russia is being used to persecute non nazis?

I did do this – it’s a law against promoting “religious and ethnic hatred” and was, in the first article I linked (which you apparently didn’t look at) used to prosecute the people who run the Sakharov Museum when it put on a display, “caution! religion” about how religion had promoted violence. Orthodox fundamentalists broke in, smashed the museum, and then the museum owners were prosecuted for “promoting religious hatred.” Other laws against “extremism” have been used to prosecute opposition members, including members of the National Bolshevik party. (Not a party I like, but basically punk anarchist kids.)

it may come as a shock to some of the gentler folks hereabouts but banning things and using state power to enforce that ban works.

Indeed – but if you can up with a way so that only people you like are in power, and they only use the rules in ways you like, this might be good. The world doesn’t seem to work that way, though. And, I don’t so much share you opinion of Wilders (or, for that matter, the Freedom Party of Austria and others.) They are media savy, (as is Le Pen the younger) but the ideology is the same.

It’s also so poisoned the national front brand that left and right unite against them. Have you noticed that happening in the USA?
The large line of Republicans (some of whom are clearly racists) who lined up to denounce the Nazis and Klan members in Virginia, and Trump’s statements on this, fit this at least as well as the Euro crypto-nazi parties. So, yes, at least as much, this has happened in the US.
So, I understand your point, but think the answers are much harder here than you think. In the mean time, I’ll try to stick with liberal principles as long as possible.

72

William Timberman 08.25.17 at 4:08 am

Suzanne @ 58 (08.24.17 at 4:24 pm)

Nice catch. We’re talking 19th century here, though, not the 18th, when my Ulster ancestors arrived. They were fierce Presbyterians, and therefore religious dissenters by conviction — that apparently was the key to their identity more than their origins in either Scotland or Ireland. I’m no historian, but I gather that they left Scotland in the 17th century because they weren’t Church of England, and Ireland in the 18th because they weren’t Catholic OR Church of England. Once the genuine Paddys arrived in American cities, (Paddy as in the famously bigoted Thomas Nast cartoons, Paddy wagon, etc.), my forebears out in the backwoods suddenly became Scots-Irish — by popular acclamation it seems. Not all of them were Scots originally either, any more than they were Irish. Quite a number had obviously English names.

My Grandma and her extended clan, and the other mining families with similar ancestry I encountered, didn’t hold much with Catholics. Most of the rest I pieced together much later, of course, including during a brief period in my early teens when a family emergency resulted in a stay with my grandparents that lasted long enough for me to spend a semester in a Williamson, West Virginia high school. Wheeooo, talk about culture shock (I was coming from a year in Germany when my Dad was stationed there.)

Ancient history, of course, all this, and for me just a bunch of disconnected family stories, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Faustusnotes’ famously living Irish folk had a larf about it all. Still, it is what it is, and sometimes, when folks’ve got a drink or two in them, it is what it was. So I guess if we’re gonna fight the Civil War again, we might as well squabble about this, too.

73

J-D 08.25.17 at 4:29 am

Layman

Keith: “If you can be sued for libel/slander or prosecuted for incitement to murder why not incitement to racism or homophobia ? “

Maybe because murder is concrete; it’s an act that produces a residue of evidence. People don’t really argue about either the victim is dead or not. Racism and homophobia are ideas, not acts, though of course they may lead to acts; and ideas themselves don’t leave incontrovertible physical evidence. People argue about those ideas – about whether they have them or not – all the time, e.g. “I’m not racist, you’re the racist!” If you exhort your followers to kill the outsiders, I’m guessing you’ll get caught up by the existing legal prohibition.

There have been cases where people were convicted of murder and where it has subsequently been discovered that the purported victim was not dead; also, there have been cases where it has never been definitely discovered that the purported victim was alive, but somebody has argued that case. I can cite examples if anybody is interested.

Moreover, it is not necessary (and nor should it be) to prove that somebody was murdered in order to get a conviction for incitement to murder. In order to get a conviction for incitement to murder, it should be necessary to prove the fact of the incitement; but evidence sufficient to prove the fact of incitement is going to be the same kind of evidence regardless of what was being incited. If it’s possible to prove incitement to murder, it’s possible to prove incitement to anything else in basically the same way, using the same kind of evidence.

74

J-D 08.25.17 at 4:33 am

Matt

Indeed – but if you can up with a way so that only people you like are in power, and they only use the rules in ways you like, this might be good. The world doesn’t seem to work that way, though.

Bad people get power (sometimes) and typically make bad laws when they do; but I can’t figure out what conclusion you think that fact justifies.

75

Peter T 08.25.17 at 5:26 am

Layman

What makes you think free speech protections – or any other protections – are immune to politics? It took politics to enforce the constitutional right to vote after a century of Jim Crow, and politics is now whittling away that right. Southern states banned abolitionist writings, Eugene Debs went to jail, Coughlin’s newsletter was suppressed, all under formal guarantees of free speech. What a liberal politics allows, a reactionary politics can deny. So the argument is about degree, methods, not rights for, in the end, if enough reactionaries want to suppress speech, they will find a way.

76

nastywoman 08.25.17 at 5:47 am

@60+61
”There are still Nazis in Europe despite the laws.”

That is true – as there still might be ”Nazis” everywhere despite ”the laws”.
BUT the HUUGE difference is – that in Europe there are laws which would have made it impossible for the Nazis of Charlottsville to march through a city with Swastikas and chant: Jews won’t replace US.

AND in such a way the law very effectively STOPS Nazis.

And if you would have looked carefully at the the so called ”Nazi rally in Berlin”, just last week – you would have noticed that there were NO Swastikas there and nobody chanted:
Jews won’t replace US.
And you know that fact is a very importing fact in ”stopping Nazis”!

And so you were wrong – and like every law the law against hate speech is NOT foolproof – but it STILL stops Nazis!

And do you understand that? – as for @71 ”In the mean time, I’ll try to stick with liberal principles as long as possible” – as IT IS for nearly every ”Liberal” in Europe ”a principle to STOP Nazis”!

And so – what you guys – are talking about might be just one of these funny US misunderstandings how ‘laws’ work?

77

nastywoman 08.25.17 at 6:13 am

– and seriously – and if I may? –
(as this blog seems to be dedicated to a German dude who wrote about ”Vernunft”)

To come up with an argument – that we shouldn’t implement certain very ”vernünftig” laws – BE-cause they might not work as well as we hope –

WHAT IS THAT?
Is that ”Trump”?

78

Hidari 08.25.17 at 6:29 am

If it’s armed Nazis you are worried about, instead of banning free speech (which some commentators seem to want: after all, no Nazis in North Korea), you could, you know, ban guns, like almost every other country on Earth.

Just a thought.

79

faustusnotes 08.25.17 at 7:14 am

Come on Matt, you seriously believe the republicans have repudiated Trump and the nazis? In case you doubt their commitment to mainstreaming this shit, remind yourself which party Trump is representing. Ask yourself when they will get rid of him. Until they do, they’re happy to ride the coat tails of a nazi. This is the benefit of America’s free speech environment – that one of its two main parties has been taken over by a neo nazi.

80

Dipper 08.25.17 at 9:36 am

@ J-D “Which are the UK convictions that you consider to have been harmful?

well there was this one although that case did not end in a conviction.

It takes a special kind of genius to make an odious racist like Nick Griffin into some kind of hero but crass use of laws restricting free speech managed it.

81

novakant 08.25.17 at 10:00 am

White supremacist: “Kill all Jews!”

novakant: “no!”

Layman: “let’s discuss…”

82

nastywoman 08.25.17 at 11:38 am

and about @78
”If it’s armed Nazis you are worried about,” –

In Europe it’s NOT ”armed” Nazis Europeans are really worried about.

– ”instead of banning free speech (which some commentators seem to want)”

– there might be another misunderstanding?

– ”you could, you know, ban guns, like almost every other country on Earth.”

– good idea and additional you could, you know ban ”Hate Speech”, like almost every other European Country?
-(as banning ”Hate Speech” doesn’t have to mean banning ”Free Speech”)

Just a thought?

83

TM 08.25.17 at 11:40 am

Re Layman and others: Free speech in the US is not as absolute as the self-identified “free speech absolutists” like to claim. For example, Oprah Winfrey had to defend herself in court for just mentioning mad cow disease in her show. She was sued for defaming the meat industry, without even having named any specific business. As far as I recall, the case was dismissed on a technicality but *not* on 1st amendment grounds. This is not an outlier. There was a time when books questioning genetic engineering were difficult to publish in the US, while they were commonplace in Europe. It is noteworthy that the 1st Amendment only protects speech from government censorship while being silent on private censorship.

The point of all this is that there are different interpretations of freedom of speech in different countries but the often made assumption that the US interpretation is universally the more liberal is wrong. In some areas, US interpretation is more liberal than say the German, and in other areas it’s the other way round. The second takeaway is that there are limits on freedom of speech everywhere. Where to draw the limits is always contentious but there is no place in the world without such limits and the often stated belief that the US is an exception to this rule is a dangerous illusion.

84

Layman 08.25.17 at 11:46 am

Peter T: “What makes you think free speech protections – or any other protections – are immune to politics?”

Absolutely nothing makes me think that. Why do you ask?

85

TM 08.25.17 at 11:48 am

And of course re 70, writing critically about your employer (regardless which equipment you write it on) is protected speech. That you seem to be unclear about that, Layman, is a bit disconcerting.

86

Layman 08.25.17 at 11:49 am

novakant: “White supremacists are getting saying ‘kill all the Jews’!”

Layman: “They are? Give me an example.”

novakant: “…”

87

nastywoman 08.25.17 at 11:55 am

Or – what I often suspect – is it this -(very American) idea – that some gubernment is always out to get US?
That if the US ‘gubernment’ would pass some law against Hate Speech – it wouldn’t pass it to protect all of these victims of Hate Speech in ‘the homeland’ against truly evil Fascists and Nazis?

As the average European seems to be very happy if her or his government is protecting her or him – from the fascistic F… faces?

Sooo – is the problem actually that even ‘liberal’ Americans will not trust their own ”gubernment” if such a government passes a law – to protect their Jewish or Muslim Sisters and Brother – the way a ”good liberal” should protect them?

88

Layman 08.25.17 at 11:56 am

J-D: “If it’s possible to prove incitement to murder, it’s possible to prove incitement to anything else in basically the same way, using the same kind of evidence.”

Then you won’t have any problems giving examples of that sort of incitement. What were the white supremacists explicitly inciting in Charlottesville, that you think could be easily proven? This is for me the heart of the problem. If you outlaw Nazi symbology, as Germany did, you still have Nazis who think Nazi thoughts, recruit other Nazis, march in the streets trying to spread Nazi ideas. Do you outlaw the _idea_ of Nazism? How do you do that? How do you know when they’re ‘inciting’ Nazism, if they don’t use the word or the symbology?

89

nastywoman 08.25.17 at 12:13 pm

@88
”If you outlaw Nazi symbology, as Germany did, you still have Nazis who think Nazi thoughts, recruit other Nazis, march in the streets trying to spread Nazi ideas.”

Not really – as Germany not only outlawed some symbology but also the ideas – for example to ”kill Jews” which could be considered an integrated part of the symbology aka the ideology.

– and thusly you take a YUUUGE step to ”outlaw the _ideaS! of Nazism and that’s how do you do that? –

Stopping Nazis!

And are you just pretending NOT to understand it?

90

TM 08.25.17 at 12:16 pm

Correction. Oprah’s “mad cow disease” case was not dismissed, it went the full gamut and finally, the jury found in her favor (1998). The jurors did cite freedom of speech as their motivation. The point remains – the law on which the case depended was not found unconstitutional and may still be on the books. You can be hit with a multi-million dollar lawsuit for the merest hint of being critical of eating beef and God help you if you aren’t a celebrity with a top-notch legal team (and even if you win, you probably have to pay your own legal costs). Such a judicial charade which is clearly aimed at chilling free speech would be utterly unimaginable in Germany and probably most other countries (even in the UK, you have to name a specific company before you can be sued for libel), yet judging from the press coverage, it appears to be unremarkable to American observers. I don’t wish to take sides here regarding free speech for Nazis, but there is something strange going on when a remark about eating beef can land you in court but hate speech can’t, because freedom of speech.

91

nastywoman 08.25.17 at 1:03 pm

@90
”there is something strange going on when a remark about eating beef can land you in court but hate speech can’t, because freedom of speech.”

Oh – even less – much less than ”hate” speech easily can land you also in court in the US – if you just call somebody who or what he actually ‘is’.
And the fact that Trump finally didn’t sue a lot of the women who told US all what Trump really is – and that some right-wingers like to call it ‘Hate Speech’ too – we probably just owe to the… let’s call it ”circumstances” our wonderful so called ‘President’ is currently struggling with?

92

Layman 08.25.17 at 1:14 pm

TM: “And of course re 70, writing critically about your employer (regardless which equipment you write it on) is protected speech.”

In fact, writing critically about your employer will get you fired, and arguing that you should not be fired because your speech is protected will get you absolutely nowhere.

93

Layman 08.25.17 at 1:29 pm

@ nastywoman, I remain skeptical that Germany has successfully eradicated the content of people’s heads by outlawing them. In fact, I know they haven’t, as I have already given you an example of a Nazi rally in a Berlin within the past two weeks.

@ TM, the Oprah suit went to trial, and Oprah’s defense was that she was engaging in free, protected speech, and the jury agreed with her. You’ll need to find another example of the badness you’re alleging.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/oprah-triumphs-over-the-texas-cattle-ranchers-1147137.html

TM: “I don’t wish to take sides here regarding free speech for Nazis, but there is something strange going on when a remark about eating beef can land you in court but hate speech can’t, because freedom of speech.”

You’re conflating two different matters here. Oprah was in civil court, sued for libel, not in criminal court for violating a constraint on speech. In the exact same fashion, you are free to bring a lawsuit against hate speakers for libel. You might even win, but unless the hate speaker was extremely careless, and actually uttered an actionable libel, I suspect you’ll get the same outcome as the ranchers who sued Oprah did.

I still invite you (all of you) to offer two things:

1) An actual example of a threat made by white supremacists recently which in your view should have been treated as a violation of the law against inciting violence or the law against communicating a threat; and

2) A law you think should exist which suppresses hate speech, your view of what that law would accomplish, and an example where that result has been achieved.

94

nastywoman 08.25.17 at 1:47 pm

@92
”In fact, writing critically about your employer will get you fired, and arguing that you should not be fired because your speech is protected will get you absolutely nowhere.”

See – now let’s contemplate for a second – like writing -(or saying) TRULY hateful and fascistic ”stuff” – like writing ”that the employer is a jew and thusly should be killed” WILL not protect your speech – and will get you probably were you belong – in prison.

Right?

And that’s the idea behind hate speech laws!

Capisce?

95

TM 08.25.17 at 2:20 pm

Layman 93, no I’m not conflating different matters. What is the case is that you think that the matter I brought up isn’t related to free speech, and you are wrong. The power to haul somebody into civil court for uttering an unwelcome opinion is chilling to free speech, even if there is a chance (but only a chance) that after spending potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars on your defense you might not win in court. Your implicit claim that passing a law for that express purpose is not an infringement on free speech is patently wrong and there’s not much more to say about this.

Layman 92: Is it obvious to you, or is it not obvious, that writing critically about your employer is protected speech? Regarding getting fired for protected speech, that matter is far more complex. There are situations where your speech is perfectly protected and yet it is perfectly legitimate for the employer to fire you, and there are situations where that is not the case. Your a priori however seems to be that the employer can always fire an employee for protected speech, and there you are wrong. In the US you may be right but not necessarily elsewhere. Not everybody in the world agrees that employees have no rights.

The problem with your whole demeanor is that you take the free speech status quo as it happens to be in the US and declare: “this is the definition of free speech that everybody must agree with”. And the rest of the world just says “huh”. If you want to be taken seriously, make an argument that is not circular.

96

TM 08.25.17 at 2:21 pm

[Corr: “you might win in court”, not the opposite]

97

nastywoman 08.25.17 at 2:26 pm

@93
”I remain skeptical that Germany has successfully eradicated the content of people’s heads by outlawing them.”

That’s good! –
It is always ”good” to remain skeptical – even if in Germany Facistic ideas – and Nazis – AND wars – have been eradicated so successfully – that for example – commenters on this blog had complained (kind of) about ”German Pacifism” –
AND the German Right Wing Party – which would be the closest to ideas of US Right-Wingers-(and still an ocean away from US Nazis) gets only about 10 percent of German voters.

And that’s pretty successful!

Right?
And I really think that by outlawing them it helped a lot in eradicating some really nasty content of people’s heads .

98

steven t johnson 08.25.17 at 2:36 pm

Free speech is only as free as the venue. In the US, the workplace is not free at all. And almost all public venues are owned, or radically controlled. Performative speech by mass action sometimes seems to be the only resort. After all, the statues to racist kills speak everyday. There are no statues to Longstreet or George Thomas, and that speaks with silence. Minorities in prison or shot down are also everyday messages too. It is not at all clear that outrage at actions speaking against racism really shows a commitment to the principle of free speech.

99

Faustusnotes 08.25.17 at 3:05 pm

William timberman, presbyterians are not “religious dissenters”. They’re another type of religious arsehole.

Dipper, Nick Griffin is not and has never been a hero. If you think he is, can I suggest you spend some time on self reflection?

Hidari, yes that’s right there are no nazis in North Korea and for sure if we ban Nazi speech we will be exactly the same as North Korea the very next day.

Jesus fuck is it primary school around here?

100

Faustusnotes 08.25.17 at 3:10 pm

Layman. The vice documentary has video footage of the cantwell guy telling the police on the phone that if they don’t let his dudes go from the park he will march down there with 200 armed guys and kill them. Slate has first person testimony of clergy being attacked by groups of nazis and being saved by antifa squads; of rabbis running out of the back of their synagogue with their religious doodahs because the nazis weee coming. Are you fucking stupid? Have you not being paying attention to what is happening? Are you defending the nazis here without having bothered to check what they actually said and what they actually did?

This is about nazis talking about killing people, and then killing them. But you don’t seem to have any idea about what they said or what they did. Perhaps you should educate yourself before you hold forth on the topic?

101

Layman 08.25.17 at 3:54 pm

@ nastywoman, it is already a crime to incite violence or communicate a threat. That aside, I’m amazed that you trot out the German right-wing party as an example, since 1) that party is widely acknowledged as a neo-Nazi party, 2) which means that Germany has not in fact banned neo-Nazi ideas or even neo-Nazi parties, 3) and I note that this party is vastly larger and more successful electorally than any comparable party in the US, 4) despite the fact that the US does not ban hate speech, 5) which in turn calls into the question the efficacy of hate speech laws in suppressing actual hate or hate groups or hate political parties, which is what I have been saying all along.

@TM, when you write, as you did, that “…there is something strange going on when a remark about eating beef can land you in court but hate speech can’t, because freedom of speech…”, you are 1) wrong, because you can be sued for hate speech, as I have pointed out, so you CAN be hauled into court just as readily for the one as for the other; and 2) you’re conflating civil law with criminal law.

Beyond that, writing critically about your employer is protected speech, in the sense that no law may constrain what you can write (excepting threats, incitement, etc); though I remain mystified as to why you ask. I wrote that “…what companies do about…” such writings is not a matter of free speech laws, and that is entirely correct.

Also, too, I’m sorry you don’t like my demeanor. I don’t like yours, either, but I think I’m overcoming that, reading your words, and responding reasonably to them.

@faustusnotes, if it is indeed the case that Cantrell said what you say he said, then he broke an existing law and should be charged. If you mean to say that it is a problem that he has not been charged, I agree with you. If you mean to say that he would have been charged if the US had banned hate speech, I can’t imagine why you think that. The same applies to actual attacks by people: These attacks are already crimes.

You say I’m defending Nazis; which, quite frankly I consider to be a malicious attack. I am not defending them; I think they’re execrable. I don’t in turn say that you’re ‘fucking stupid’, though I am inclined to think that your mental processes are not now working as they ought. Maybe you should take a deep breath before posting that sort of thing again?

I repeat my request above. Propose an actual hate speech or hate group ban you think will work, explain what ‘work’ means, and give an example where it has worked. Germany is not a good example as their neo-Nazi problem seems worse than that of the US.

102

faustusnotes 08.25.17 at 4:18 pm

Layman, 200 nazis aren’t ready to go shoot cops unless they have been incited to go shoot cops. A wall of thugs armed with clubs don’t attack priests unless they have been incited to attack priests. Rabbis don’t run out of synagogues with their prized possessions unless they have been threatened by someone inciting violence against rabbis.

Have you read the Turner Diaries? Daily Stormer? It’s really a very simple proposition: these people advocate mass murder. Throw them in prison. Case closed.

103

Dipper 08.25.17 at 4:26 pm

@ Faustusnotes. This is ridiculous. Another complete misquote. I said that Griffin is an odious racist, but that a crass prosecution made him into a hero. That is completely not the same as saying I think he is a hero.

We are done. I am not replying to any more of your comments.

104

Layman 08.25.17 at 5:11 pm

faustusnotes: “Layman, 200 nazis aren’t ready to go shoot cops unless they have been incited to go shoot cops.”

By way of counterexample, there’s this:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_shooting_of_Dallas_police_officers#Motive

Now, in your formulation (X aren’t ready to go shoot cops unless X have been incited to go shoot cops), this shooting couldn’t occur unless someone incited it. Who was that someone? Do you say that it was BLM, and that the government should gag BLM so as to prevent their hate speech?

Even worse, in your formulation you don’t even have to hear the actual incitement; you can apparently deduce it from the resulting actions! So you can’t defend BLM by pointing out the absence of any words from them to incite, because, as you say, it couldn’t happen unless they incited it.

For avoidance of any doubt, I do not say that. I’m an enthusiastic supporter of BLM, one who understands that laws against hate speech will inevitably be used to silence movements like BLM.

Also, you owe me an apology. I think my last comment made that clear to anyone but the most obtuse.

105

nastywoman 08.25.17 at 5:36 pm

@101
Five Points with the preface that IF you try to write about German Hate Speech Laws – YOU NEED TO INFORM YOURSELF in order NOT to write nonsense.
1) The German right-wing party called AFD -(by their Party Program pretty far ”left” of the US Republicans) – is NOT a ”Neo-Nazi” party as ”Neo-Nazi Parties” are ‘verboten’ in Germany.
2) Which means that Germany has in fact banned ”Neo-Nazi Parties”
-(Please inform yourself – you can google it!)
3) and I note that the AFD is much much smaller and much less successful electorally than any comparable party in the US -(Republicans)
4) despite the fact that the US does not ban hate speech, 5) which in turn calls into the question the efficacy of NOT having hate speech laws in educating Americans that hate or hate groups or hate political parties, IS NOT A GOOD IDEA – which is what I have been saying all along.

”Look what you made me do”!!!

106

nastywoman 08.25.17 at 5:48 pm

and please @101

NO comeback with the fact that the German NPD wasn’t banned.
Germany has very strict laws on banning political parties, -(as it has very strict laws about what can be considered ”Hate Speech) – and only one German Party had been identified as a ”Neo-Nazi” which should be banned and that was the ”neo-Nazi Socialist Reich Party”, in 1952.

And like the German dude whose quote -(kind of gave this blog such an interesting name) them Germans are very, very precise with their definition – so no slopping around definition wise – if you know what I mean?

107

TM 08.25.17 at 7:06 pm

Layman, insulting Jews as a group, or gays, or blacks, is not in the US an actionable offense, not even in civil court. You are simply wrong, you can’t sue for racism or hate speech. However, insulting the beef industry, as ridiculous as this sounds, is an actionable offense, at least in Texas and up to 12 other states. You should take a look at the law in question used against Oprah. It wasn’t ordinary libel law but a special “food libel” law passed by the ag industry (with the help of a corrupt legislature) specifically to suppress critical speech, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_libel_laws. These laws afaik are unique to the US and I guarantee you that they would never pass constitutional muster in Germany (which I cite due to familiarity with the law there but I suspect the same could be said for most or all of Europe). In fact, there is an important decision of the German Constitutional Court which ruled in 1991 that the civil courts *must* protect freedom of speech when adjudicating libel suits. No comparable upper court ruling exists in the US afaik.

Your claim that libel laws don’t put limits on freedom of speech is just patently ridiculous. Speech that can get you ruined is not much freer than speech that can get you imprisoned. It appears that your conception of freedom of speech is extremely narrow. You are entiteld to that narrow conception but you should understand that it isn’t universally accepted, and you are not entitled to define how the rest of us ought to think about freedom of speech.

108

TM 08.25.17 at 7:13 pm

PS: “I wrote that “…what companies do about…” such writings is not a matter of free speech laws, and that is entirely correct.”

No, it’s correct only in the US context but absolutely wrong as a general statement. If that surprised you, may I suggest that you either familiarize yourself with other countries’ freedom of speech jurisprudence, or from now on qualify all your claims as US-specific.

109

J-D 08.25.17 at 9:41 pm

Dipper
In what way was that prosecution harmful?

110

J-D 08.25.17 at 9:50 pm

Layman
I am completely unable to give any examples of incitement to murder, but that does not justify the conclusion that there is no such thing as incitement to murder, or the conclusion that it is impossible to produce evidence that demonstrates incitement to murder in a particular case, or the conclusion that there should not be a law against incitement to murder.

Indeed, I can’t at the moment thing of any examples whatever of incitement (to anything at all), but that does not justify the conclusion that there is no such thing as incitement.

Are we actually in disagreement about whether there is such a thing as incitement? I take the view that there is; if you disagree, I will make the effort to find some examples to demonstrate the point. But I don’t think that is what we are in disagreement about, so it doesn’t seem worth the effort. What do you think we are in disagreement about?

If you outlaw Nazi symbology, as Germany did, you still have Nazis who think Nazi thoughts, recruit other Nazis, march in the streets trying to spread Nazi ideas.

That’s likely enough to be true, but I cannot figure out what conclusion you think is justified by that observation.

111

Collin Street 08.25.17 at 10:36 pm

The first sign that you’re out of your depth is when you think that

…what companies do about the things you write about their policies and distribute to their employees using their equipment while being paid by them…

has anything to do with free speech rights.

… seriously, it’s like you’re just repeating talking points you don’t understand. [if you understood them, you would realise they were wrong.] So.
Point 1: the relevant text of the US legal system is as follows: “Congress shall make no law […] abridging the freedom of speech [&c]”.
Now, this needs some exposition, because it’s widely misinterpreted. “Abridging”, here, means
“having the effect of abridging, causing abridgement”. Not, “written with the intent of abridging”, there’s no element of causation or intent in the grammar. A purported law falls afoul of this provision if it causes abridgement, even unintentionally. Secondly, the phrasing is “shall make no law”: the congress can’t “make” laws that cause abridgement [from the above, even inadvertently]. A purported law that happens to cause abridgement is beyond the power of the congress to “make” and thus must be without legal effect, at least to the extent of the abridgement caused.

Point 2: private property rights are established by law. I’m not going to detail this one.

This is not a difficult syllogism, I think.
+ Purported laws that abridge free-speech rights are ultra-vires, and void to the extent of the abridgement
+ Private property rights are established by laws
+ purported private property rights that abridge free-speech rights are ultra-vires, and void to the extent of the abridgement.

112

Faustusnotes 08.25.17 at 11:18 pm

I understood your point dipper. My point is that nobody thinks he is a hero. The prosecution did not make him a hero. Your statement is simply factually wrong. Me saying so does not mean I think you think he is a hero. Griffin is gone, done for, can’t control his own party which is now gone from the political scene for good. He is not a hero by any definition of the term, and if he was his party would still have some electoral purchase.

113

J-D 08.26.17 at 3:01 am

Layman

For avoidance of any doubt, I do not say that. I’m an enthusiastic supporter of BLM, one who understands that laws against hate speech will inevitably be used to silence movements like BLM.

There are a number of jurisdictions — I have no idea how many — in which there are laws against hate speech. I also don’t know in how many of those jurisdictions those laws have been used to silence movements like BLM. I do know that it makes no sense to draw conclusions about the inevitable consequences of laws against hate speech without investigating the experience of jurisdictions that actually have such laws, so I wonder (inevitably) how much of that kind of investigating you have done.

114

Raven 08.26.17 at 7:34 am

novakant: “White supremacists are getting saying ‘kill all the Jews’!”
Layman: “They are? Give me an example.”

Here are two: Frazier Glenn Miller and Alex Linder.

115

Raven 08.26.17 at 7:57 am

J-D @ 110: “Indeed, I can’t at the moment thin[k] of any examples whatever of incitement (to anything at all), but that does not justify the conclusion that there is no such thing as incitement.”

(1) There is, of course, infamously, “inciting a riot” (see 18 U.S. Code § 2101, also the 18 U.S. Code § 2102).

(2) More generally, see “inciting or producing imminent lawless action” (such as violence) in the US Supreme Court case Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969).

116

J-D 08.26.17 at 8:11 am

Raven
I’m not sure what point you are trying to establish by these citations.

Possibly I did not previously make myself clear enough. When I wrote ‘I can’t at the moment think of any examples’ what I meant was ‘I can’t at the moment think of any specific particular concrete examples’. For example, I can right now think of specific particular concrete individual examples of murders: among others, Dr Crippen’s murder of his wife and Bradley Murdoch’s murder of Peter Falconio. But I can’t at the moment think of any specific particular concrete individual examples of incitement to murder, or incitement to riot, or incitement to violence, or incitement to bigotry, or any other kind of incitement at all. I’m sure if I did a little research I could find a few, but it doesn’t seem worth the effort unless somebody is genuinely questioning whether such a thing as incitement ever occurs.

117

nastywoman 08.26.17 at 11:08 am

– and if I may? –
It’s always tremendously entertaining when my fellow Americans discuss ”Freeeee Speech” – and if ‘y’all don’t believe me google ”Citizen United and Glenn Greenwald’s defense of the Supremes Citizen United Decision” plus all the ensuing commentary” – and then let’s all join hands and come (united) to the decision that ”a law” which is sooo -(un-Kantish) NONprecise and can have so many insane interpretation should be overhauled right away by Immanuel!

Let’s get the German dude out of his grave to give US some laws as precise and to the point as German Hate Speech laws! and let’s add:
”The world moves on, another day, another drama, drama
But not for me, not for me, all I think about is karma”

118

Dipper 08.26.17 at 11:37 am

@JD, and Faustusnotes

To recap, Nick Griffin made specific accusations that there were gangs of muslim men raping white girls in pennine towns, and that local town councillors and local police forces were conspiring to cover this up. He was tried for inciting racial hatred. The court case collapsed when it turned out he was telling the truth. The account in the Guardian shows Nick Griffin in an heroic light. The collapse in his career and the demise of the BNP happened a few years after this.

So in terms of free speech, an attempt to curtail free speech has landed the authorities on precisely the wrong side of the argument and a quite odious politician on the right side. The problem with curtailing free speech is that it places power to shape political arguments in the hands of people with a vested interest in that argument. All power corrupts, and whilst we can all think of examples where free speech has been curtailed for good reasons, its the examples where free speech is curtailed for bad reasons we should be worried about. I would suggest that any attempt to limit free speech should be heavily overseen by magistrates and judged to prevent politicians abusing the system.

Meanwhile the whole Child-sexual-exploitation saga rumbles on. One would have that that after the Jay report the authorities would have learnt their lesson, but astonishingly, no. Jayne Senior, the social worker who gave evidence about the abuse of 1400 girls in Rotherham still finds herself under investigation, the local MP Sara Champion who spoke out about the abuse, was duly sacked by Jeremy Corbyn.

The child sexual exploitation scandal has done and continues to do enormous damage to the Labour Party in the UK, quite apart from the damage to race relations. This is not the place to go into the details but I note that CT has never found time to specifically address it. Limitations on free speech were used in this scandal to try and prevent large numbers of criminals being brought to justice.

119

Layman 08.26.17 at 11:41 am

Sigh.

@nastywoman, Germany’s NDP party is indeed a neo-Nazi party; is often called a neo-Nazi party; and only still exists because the German government botched an effort to shut it down in 2003. As bad as the Republican Party is, it is not analogous to the NDP. Virtually every claim you’ve made in this thread about the efficacy of Germany’s anti-Nazi laws has been wrong.

@ Collin Street, your syllogism at 111 is clever, pithy, and entirely wrong under the law.

@ TM, yes, of course I’m discussing First Amendment matters in the context of US law, since the First Amendment doesn’t apply in Britain, or France, or Germany, etc. If you look back that the comment that started this thread – #8 – you’ll see that it was explicitly about US law and speech protections, US hate speakers, and the attitudes of liberals about both. Similarly, the comment thread about speech in the workplace stems from #68, which was expresssly about speech in a US workplace.

@ J-D, I’m glad you agree that banning Nazi symbology or speech doesn’t eradicate Nazis, but surprised that you don’t know I offered that comment in response to a statement that Germany had eradicated Nazis by banning Nazi symbology. The point of the observation was to rebut the idea that speech and symbology constraints are efficacious in eradicating hate groups or hateful ideas. Similarly, my request for examples of incitement to murder was in response to a claim from faustusnotes that the white supremacists at the demonstration in Charlottesville actually made statements intended to incite violence or murder but were not arrested for it. I was asking for examples to support this claim. Are you not actually following the discussion?

Also, @ J-D, in the US there are essentially no hate speech bans comparable to those in other jurisdictions as they generally cannot survive the First Amendment test. I am aware that there are such bans elsewhere, just as I’m aware that they don’t seem to end hate or hate groups. I have asked repeatedly for someone to offer the outline of such a ban intended to stop what happened in Charlottesville, as well as evidence that it actually has the effect of eliminating white supremacy elsewhere. I’ve been told about Germany, where banning Nazis clearly hasn’t banned Nazis; but I’ve been offered little else.

@ Raven, same response on incitement. I’m aware that white supremacists sometimes make statements inciting violence; and have said that they should be arrested under existing law when they do so. My question was specifically about Charlottesville and the claim that they did so there but were not arrested.

Again, does anyone care to offer a proposed hate speech ban for the US, modeled on one which exists elsewhere; and to offer evidence that the ban actually had the effect intended? If not, I’m done, other than to apologize to anonymousse, who was apparently right that some on the left are ready to abandon the defense of free speech as a basic liberty.

120

J-D 08.26.17 at 1:01 pm

Dipper
The Guardian story describes Nick Griffin as celebrating his acquittal; that’s predictable behaviour from somebody who’s acquitted, and isn’t evidence that the prosecution was harmful, or a mistake. In that situation I would expect that anybody who already thought Nick Griffin was a hero would feel validated and join the celebration; but reading a report that a defendant was acquitted is not the kind of thing that influences people to regard that person as a hero (no matter how much the acquitted defendant celebrates). Since defendants are normally trying to get acquitted, what the article makes Nick Griffin appear is successful, but successful is not synonymous with heroic.

If (as you seem to be suggesting, but perhaps I have misunderstood) Nick Griffin contributed to the exposure of a terrible scandal which (some) other people were trying to cover up, that could perhaps be fairly considered a heroic action; in any case, the prosecution makes it neither more nor less heroic than it would otherwise have been.

121

J-D 08.26.17 at 1:23 pm

Layman

@ J-D, I’m glad you agree that banning Nazi symbology or speech doesn’t eradicate Nazis, but surprised that you don’t know I offered that comment in response to a statement that Germany had eradicated Nazis by banning Nazi symbology. The point of the observation was to rebut the idea that speech and symbology constraints are efficacious in eradicating hate groups or hateful ideas. Similarly, my request for examples of incitement to murder was in response to a claim from faustusnotes that the white supremacists at the demonstration in Charlottesville actually made statements intended to incite violence or murder but were not arrested for it. I was asking for examples to support this claim. Are you not actually following the discussion?

It is not reasonable to expect me to discern that a comment of yours is intended to be understood as a direct response to a specific earlier comment if it omits any citation of that specific earlier comment. In this comment your own remarks are preceded by a direct quote from one of my earlier comments, and there’s no reference (with or without quotation) to any comments by anybody else; the predictable effect is that I read your comment as a specific direct response to mine; that’s not my fault.

The criminal law in general does not have the effect of eradicating whatever is declared to be a crime; the fact that a particular law does not have the effect of completely eradicating some banned practice is not conclusive evidence that the law is a bad law.

I see that Raven has offered a response to your challenge to produce examples of incitement to murder.

Also, @ J-D, in the US there are essentially no hate speech bans comparable to those in other jurisdictions as they generally cannot survive the First Amendment test. I am aware that there are such bans elsewhere, just as I’m aware that they don’t seem to end hate or hate groups. I have asked repeatedly for someone to offer the outline of such a ban intended to stop what happened in Charlottesville, as well as evidence that it actually has the effect of eliminating white supremacy elsewhere. I’ve been told about Germany, where banning Nazis clearly hasn’t banned Nazis; but I’ve been offered little else.

I made my remarks in response to a comment of yours (which I quoted directly) in which you wrote: ‘I’m an enthusiastic supporter of BLM, one who understands that laws against hate speech will inevitably be used to silence movements like BLM.’ Do you still want to defend that assertion, or is it fair for me to regard your change of topic as a tacit abandonment of that earlier claim?

I’m not disposed to argue that German law is better than US law; I’m also not disposed to argue that US law is better than German law. I don’t assume that Australian law is the best, or can’t be improved, just because I’m an Australian, and I’m equally unimpressed by similar attitudes to the law of any other jurisdiction. It’s always possible that the law can be improved; hence I’m extremely suspicious of anything that seems to be anywhere close to an argument that the law can’t be improved. If all you’re arguing is that you don’t know of any proposal to change the relevant US laws which would be an improvement, then we have no disagreement; but is that all you’re arguing? Do you get the impression that there’s a point on which we are in disagreement?

122

novakant 08.26.17 at 1:42 pm

Well Layman, we thank you for your time, it was enlightening witnessing you talking to yourself. Personally I’m glad that there aren’t Neo-Nazis with swastikas and torches marching through the Brandenburg Gate every other week singing “Deutschland ueber alles” while the few remaining survivors of the Holocaust and their descendants have to look on in silence so that some self-righteous free-speech absolutist can feel good about himself and the world.

123

Collin Street 08.26.17 at 2:36 pm

Again, does anyone care to offer a proposed hate speech ban for the US, modeled on one which exists elsewhere; and to offer evidence that the ban actually had the effect intended?

Jim Crow: was that the intended effect, or did the US constitution fail to prevent it?

124

nastywoman 08.26.17 at 2:58 pm

@119
”Sigh.”

Yes – Germany’s NDP party is indeed an often so called called a neo-Nazi party and ”as bad as the Republican Party is, if you compare the Party Platforms of the Republican Party and the NPD – very helpful for informed comments – you will find out that they are surprisingly ”analogous”.
BUT the NPD in the last two election in Germany got 0,3 percent and 0,7 percent of the peoples vote – an indication that the so called ”Fascistic Gedankengut” in Germany might be at under 1 percent – and the theory in Germany is that an anti-fascistic education AND – the very strong Anti-Hate Speech laws had the desired effect.

And to give you some more proof let’s quote the ”Bundeverfassungsgericht” – from what you called the ‘botched effort of the German government” to ban the NPD.
The judges didn’t forbid the NPD just for one reason:
That the Party hasn’t the slightest chance in Germany to realize any of it’s Fascistic or Nazi Ideas. -(”die bestehende Verfassungsordnung durch einen an einer ethnisch definierten ‘Volksgemeinschaft’ ausgerichteten autoritären Nationalstaat zu ersetzen”.)

And there we have it!! –
From ”Deutschen Bundesverfassungsgericht” – that every single claim you’ve made in this thread had been… let’s NOT say ”wrong” but ”Trumpish” – from:
”once the state asserts the authority to muzzle people, it always ends badly”?
to the nonsense:
”If you outlaw Nazi symbology, as Germany did, you still have Nazis who think Nazi thoughts, recruit other Nazis, march in the streets trying to spread Nazi ideas.”
to the idea – that the Hate Speech laws in Germany –
”haven’t successfully eradicated the content of people’s heads by outlawing them.
to your:
– ”which calls into the question the efficacy of hate speech laws in suppressing actual hate or hate groups or hate political parties, which is what I have been saying all along”…

125

Dipper 08.26.17 at 3:00 pm

@J-D My point is that Nick Grffin’s actions were made heroic by a prosecution based on restricting his speech that made him into some kind of crusading heroic figure. He is not heroic, his politics are the worst kind of politics, but prosecuting just makes him a martyr. It is worth noting that the one episode that firmly terminated his career was put-on him on Question time, where his freely expressed views got the proper treatment.

What is under discussion here is not whether Nick Grffin is a hero, but whether criminalising free speech is beneficial, and my view is that in this case it clearly wasn’t.

126

nastywoman 08.26.17 at 3:41 pm

@119

what I’m really curious about – as I put out the hint ”NPD” – and so you must have googled it and you must have read what the judgement of the Bundesverfassungsgericht was?
And when you read the judgement of the ignorable complete irrelevance of the Neo-Nazis – didn’t it strike you – that this fact conflicted with your whole believe system?

That – if a so called ”Neo-Nazi Party” in Germany has become so tremendously irrelevant and powerless that even the ”Supremes” in Germany come to the conclusion that it’s not worth to ‘forbid’ the Party -(even obvious Nazi or Fascistic ”Symbolistic” and ”Talk” are still strictly ‘verboten’ by law)

And I ask that – because our new wonderful President often seems to… operate in exactly the same manner: When he thinks he is quoting ”stuff” supporting one of his crazy ideas and then he finds out that – actually the quotes are contradicting.
and furthermore:
”The world moves on, another day, another drama, drama
But not for me, not for me, all I think about is karma”…

127

Raven 08.26.17 at 3:54 pm

J-D @ 116: Oh my goodness, you don’t even follow current events, do you? On August 3rd a young woman named Michelle Carter was sentenced to two-and-a-half years (15 months actually in prison, the rest suspended) Massachusetts for inciting her 18-year-old boyfriend’s suicide, via cellphone texts and calls. — Quote: The judge ruled that “free speech” does not include incitement to suicide, which is a crime – in Carter’s case, “involuntary manslaughter.”

128

Mario 08.26.17 at 10:03 pm

The NPD in Germany still exists because when they tried to get it banned in 2003, it turned out that there were so many covert operatives infiltrating the party that the boundary between what was genuine party initiative and secret service instigation was not clear at all. So, sensibly, the party was not banned. The second attempt failed because, once the covert operatives had retreated, the party degenerated into fullblown stupidity mode and was considered harmless (last year) on the grounds of being completely unable to achieve anything of import. It was handed, in essence, a “you are too stupid to be worth banning” veredict.

Notable, too, is the difference between east and west Germany with regards to the Neonazi problem. The west, much more open than the east, and allowing quite some slack for people to say hideous things, has had a much smaller problem with Neonazis than the east, where a lot of speech was banned outright for long periods of time. When the wall fell, a lot of radical right thought structures that had been eroded by open discussion in the west were intact in the east.

BTW, I don’t think there is much of a real neonazi problem at all. Real neonazism is firmly fringe stuff and not worth the hysteria. Despicable as they are, Bannon and co are not neonazis, nor are they terribly fascist either in any useful sense of the word. Banning the speech that allowed them to create their movement (or rather, for the movement to emerge by itself) would have to be much more invasive than just doing things like banning swastikas and holocaust denial (like it is in Germany).

129

J-D 08.26.17 at 11:56 pm

Dipper

@J-D My point is that Nick Grffin’s actions were made heroic by a prosecution based on restricting his speech that made him into some kind of crusading heroic figure. He is not heroic, his politics are the worst kind of politics, but prosecuting just makes him a martyr. It is worth noting that the one episode that firmly terminated his career was put-on him on Question time, where his freely expressed views got the proper treatment.

What is under discussion here is not whether Nick Grffin is a hero, but whether criminalising free speech is beneficial, and my view is that in this case it clearly wasn’t.

Did you not grasp that I was denying what you assert? You assert that ‘Nick Griffin’s actions were made heroic by a prosecution’; I deny that Nick Griffin’s actions were made heroic by a prosecution.

Raven
I plead guilty to the heinous charge of not following local crime reports from the other side of the world, and throw myself on your mercy, hoping you can find it in your heart to forgive me. But I’m still not sure what point you were trying to establish by your citation.

130

Raven 08.27.17 at 1:30 am

J-D @ 129: “But I’m still not sure what point you were trying to establish….i> — Crikey, J-D.

(1) People still do, even now, persuade other people to do bad things, to themselves and others: to give all their money away (frauds and confidence tricks of various sorts), to join mind-control cults and swallow poisoned kool-aid (Jim Jones, Heaven’s Gate, the Order of the Solar Temple), to murder the persuader’s [or persuadee’s own] spouse for hire or love [or just lots of hot hot luuurve]. Police stings, where an undercover agent pretends to be an assassin available for hire, and accepts (while recording it) such a contract, are reality-TV program favorites.

(2) There are still laws against “inciting or producing imminent lawless action” — it’s not covered under “free speech”. (Note that in the case of fraud, the incited action itself [giving one’s own money away] is not lawless, but the deceptive persuasion is.)

131

Raven 08.27.17 at 2:37 am

Oh, and J-D @ 129: “I plead guilty to the heinous charge of not following local crime reports from the other side of the world” — Actually, I’d pondered whether to bring up the very non-local-to-me 1953’s UK Derek Bentley case (“Let him have it!”) re incitement, and decided against it because that was (a) 64 years old, (b) such a dubious example of actual guilt that his conviction was eventually overturned as a miscarriage of justice. The Michelle Carter case was in Google News headlines this month; I didn’t get it off my local newspaper; I don’t live within a thousand miles of there; I didn’t cite it as “local” but as current and relevant to topic. However, feel free to make Google your friend and look up incitement to violence, incitement to murder, incitement to crime, etc., then see what (more suiting your criteria) shows up.

132

Layman 08.27.17 at 2:39 am

J-D: “I made my remarks in response to a comment of yours (which I quoted directly) in which you wrote: ‘I’m an enthusiastic supporter of BLM, one who understands that laws against hate speech will inevitably be used to silence movements like BLM.’ Do you still want to defend that assertion, or is it fair for me to regard your change of topic as a tacit abandonment of that earlier claim?”

I’m happy to. First you propose a hate speech law, and then I’ll explain how it can and would be applied to BLM. I’ll wait.

133

kidneystones 08.27.17 at 2:46 am

As the crowd is moving on and we’re past the six-month point of the new administration this may be a good occasion to respond in general terms to what the departure of Bannon and Gorka means from my own perspective.

I find a lot of common ground with Scott Adams on the larger arc of where we’re generally headed. The departure of Bannon and Gorka at this point makes sense within this frame. The president’s low approval numbers may remain right up to the point where he’s re-elected. His negatives were high before he won and after. What he needs to do to get re-elected he’ll do. His timing has been very good (not impeccable) so far and the departure of Bannon/Gorka pairs with the pardon of Sheriff Joe, who’s revered as a real hero by Trump supporters. Lindsay Graham, no Trump fan, observes that the ‘unstable’ president is entirely rational in running against the Republican congress and the media – two groups even more widely-loathed than the president. The run-up to 2018 will see Republicans expand their numbers in the Senate http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/347394-the-7-most-vulnerable-senators-in-2018 although a lot can happen before then. The Dems, of course, don’t much care as long as the cash keeps pouring in. They skim off the top and Clinton Inc. is back in business indifferent to the toxic effect the family has on the electoral prospects of Democrats at all levels. As I’ve noted here, occasionally, for the better part of three years, circumstances for many African-Americans have not improved despite the election of Democrats. The fact than the NYT and most media outlets ignore their day-to-day struggles (California illiteracy rates, for example) does not mean that Democrats and their media allies are not concerned by attrition and low turn-out among African-Americans.

So, in that sense, both Trump and the Democrats are ‘winning.’ Calling average Americans nazis is fine as long as the average Americans are conservatives, or republicans. Pretty much any comment thread at CT confirms as much. The outrage on both sides is manufactured for political gain and to raise funds. There’s more pork to be had from holding office and that’s what motivates the DNC and the RNC.

Trump’s populism remains robust and virulent within a toxic, hostile environment. Trump will hold his base by running against Congress and the media. Those that hate Trump will. Independents and many minorities will vote with their pocket books in 2020. If the economy is in good shape and Trump hasn’t involved the US in any new wars his chances of re-election remain excellent.

134

J-D 08.27.17 at 5:47 am

Raven
Why are you labouring to establish these points to me when I have never doubted them?

135

Howard Frant 08.27.17 at 6:24 am

This whole lengthy, heated, lengthy debate (did I mention how long it is?) about free speech for Nazis has been missing the point.

We’ve had the First Amendment for a long time. What we haven’t had until recently are politicians who are willing to admit Nazis and white supremacists to the mainstream. That’s the difference between George Lincoln Rockwell and Richard Spencer, and why you never heard Nazis saying, “Hail Nixon!”

Does anyone else recall the Republican fury when the Obama DHS talked about the danger of right-wing extremism?

https://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/16/extremist-report-draws-criticism-prompts-apology/?mcubz=3

@23

“It seems that the only people still mesmerised by Trump’s (rapidly eroding) power are centrist Democrats.”

This being CT, you just knew that someone would find a way to blame centrist Democrats. At least we’re calling them what they are and not the fog-inducing “neoliberals.”

136

J-D 08.27.17 at 7:32 am

Raven
Okay, I amend my plea to one of guilty to the heinous charge of not reading every story that makes headlines on Google News, and once again throw myself on your mercy, hoping that you can find it in your heart to forgive me.

Sure, if I were in any doubt whether such a thing as incitement ever happens, it might be worth my while researching for examples; the reason I haven’t is that I’m not in any doubt on this point.

137

J-D 08.27.17 at 7:36 am

Layman
You could start by picking a few of the jurisdictions where actual hate speech laws actually exist and demonstrate how those actual laws have actually been used to silence actual movements like BLM; that would be worth more as evidence than any amount of hypothetical extrapolation. Wikipedia has a list of hate speech laws by country; you can be the one who picks examples from that list for investigation, but if you’d really rather have me be the one, let me know.

138

Hidari 08.27.17 at 8:59 am

The idea that any human being who has access to the internet (or even a book) can say, with a straight face that ‘What we haven’t had until recently are politicians who are willing to admit … white supremacists to the mainstream. ‘ is a sign of our disintegrating intellectual culture (and our post-truth political discourse) but that’s all. It says nothing about Trump.

Most American Presidents in the 19th century were slave owners. Most of them.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States_who_owned_slaves

Thomas Jefferson of course repeatedly raped his.

It’s possible that in the 1920s the KKK was supported by 4 million Americans: 15% of the eligible population.

Far from politicians turning away from the KKK they embraced it. The 1924 Democratic Convention was called the Klanbake and nearly resulted in the KKK taking over the, as always, ironically named ‘Democrats’. Needless to say, in the 1950s and 1960s we had Jim Crow etc, (all supported by Southern Politicians of all political stripes) and then Nixon’s ‘Southern Strategy’ etc. Far from, as has been claimed on this thread, the KKK endorsing candidates being a new thing, the KKK loudly and clearly endorsed Ronald Reagan as ‘their’ candidate. To be fair, Reagan repudiated this (publicly) but a major part of his appeal was his condemnation of ‘welfare queens’ etc. Then we had Bill ‘superpredator’ Clinton etc.

The high point of the American Nazi Party was, of course, 1967 just immediately before the assassination of George Rockwell.(unless one counts, the German-American Bund, Father Coughlin, Huey Long etc.) Since then the Nazi movement has remained splintered and disordered.

It’s true that white supremacist movements have seen a boost in membership recently but this must be seen in context: even now, their numbers are not as high as they were in 2011 (under Obama). But this fails to capture the main point: they remain marginalised, disordered, and disorganised. There IS no ‘KKK’ anymore, only lots of little KKKs: the same for the Nazis.

It is not racist Presidents who are the new thing: it is non-racist Presidents. Perhaps the first American President who was not openly/covertly racist was George W. Bush (perhaps Jimmy Carter and George Bush senior might also qualify).

Needless to say, the idea that the United States stands on the verge of some kind of fascist putsch is even more ludicrous now than it was 12 months ago. But here of course one must ask Cui Bono? Who would benefit if it was widely believed that Trump (and the Republicans) were Nazis about to overthrow democracy? Who would benefit if it were widely believed that Trump is the new Hitler (regardless of Trump’s own personal unpleasantness)? Why is it that centrist Democrats are so keen to have it believed that a man who can’t spell the word ‘heal’ is, in fact, a brilliant Machiavellian genius?

139

Collin Street 08.27.17 at 9:04 am

I’m happy to. First you propose a hate speech law, and then I’ll explain how it can and would be applied to BLM. I’ll wait.

The problem here is that you think your proposal is dispositive.

In chemotherapy, people take extremely toxic chemicals. They make you very sick; if you don’t check doses carefully, they’re more than capable of killing you. But, and this is important, they kill the cancer cells faster. Fifty percent faster, or twenty, or ten. You take them until you’re half-dead, and the cancer is three-quarters dead. Take a break, give yourself time to recover — we select the chemicals so that you’ll recover faster than the cancer does — and repeat. You’re half-dead, again, and the cancer is … not quite fifteen-sixteenths dead. And again, and again, and again. And eventually… well, you can’t think of yourself as cancer-free. The chances they got every cell aren’t good. But maybe you have — it’s possible — and even if not you’ve bought yourself some time before you have to do this again.

So. Yes. Hate speech laws, as you suggest, will limit communication of ideas we don’t have a problem with. Laws are always thus; we always draw the laws so that the marginal thing they ban is actually usually OK, for reasons that should be obvious. We do it so that the things we don’t like are more affected than the things we do, and because we’re happy with the trade-offs involved.

Because that’s what grown-ups do, Layman. They make trade-offs.

[there are other things here, such as the idea of using censorship frameworks to limit the spread of undesired ideas from person to person, the so-called “chilling effect”. But your basic approach, “convince people that censorship means impeding communication they’re OK with, and they’ll stop supporting censorship!!”, isn’t going to work. We are perfectly aware of the point you’re trying to demonstrate. We support what we support anyway, because the cure is not as bad as the disease and we can show it with science. Again: US free-speech framework did not stop trump, did not stop jim crow, did not stop stonewall. Does not work the way your theory demands.]

In any event: what’s your plan, Layman? You’re very straightforward about the things you don’t like, but negative feedback is the second most useless thing in the world: “don’t do that” is, literally, one point removed from communicating nothing at all. Tell us your plan to stop the nazis.

140

Faustusnotes 08.27.17 at 10:45 am

Dipper, griffins actions on that case had nothing to do with his temporary success in the bnp and when the bnp was gaining popularity it was for a lot of other reasons. It should also be pointed out that unsuccessful application of laws to restrict free speech (if that’s what you think they are) is not evidence against the value of better laws, better applied. Perhaps the fact that the case failed is less a sign that griffin is a hero than that the laws were poorly designed or poorly applied?

I would also point out that Britains most prolific sex offender and all the people who were enabling him were white, and most of them were rich.

141

Raven 08.27.17 at 11:10 am

J-D @ 134: “ Why are you labouring to establish these points to me when I have never doubted them?”

Was it some other ‘J-D’ who posted #110: “I am completely unable to give any examples of incitement to murder… Indeed, I can’t at the moment thin[k] of any examples whatever of incitement (to anything at all)….” — and then rejected the quite recent Google News headline-making example of Michelle Carter’s incitement to suicide because it was not “local”? … At which point I suggested one might Google for other examples fitting whatever criteria (such as geographical propinquity to one’s own location) one deems suitable to bring up on the World Wide Web for debate.

J-D @ 136: “… if I were in any doubt whether such a thing as incitement ever happens, it might be worth my while researching for examples; the reason I haven’t is that I’m not in any doubt on this point.”

That’s nice; however, will all your debating partners always be equally certain? Might it help to have those examples handy to cite to allay their doubts as well? Do you think they will, like you, reject all examples non-local to themselves? But… will they all be local to you?

Hidari @ post: “Perhaps the first American President who was not openly/covertly racist was George W. Bush (perhaps Jimmy Carter and George Bush senior might also qualify).”

Harry Truman’s integrating the Armed Forces counts for nothing? LBJ, despite his background pre-1964, took great efforts and had his party pay an incredible political price to push through the civil rights bills of 1964 and 1965 (he foresaw losing the South for at least a generation as a result, and he was right). As practically a footnote, see Teddy Roosevelt’s last public speech before his death.

We don’t and can’t really know whether JFK would have done what LBJ did; all his possibilities died with him. But RFK didn’t seem like a racist; else I doubt Rosie Grier would have stayed his bodyguard, as he had many other career options. Would the brothers have been that dissimilar?

142

nastywoman 08.27.17 at 11:35 am

@128 and Layman
”BTW, I don’t think there is much of a real neonazi problem at all. Real neonazism is firmly fringe stuff and not worth the hysteria. Despicable as they are, Bannon and co are not neonazis, nor are they terribly fascist either in any useful sense of the word.”

Agreed – according to the definition of ”real Fascists” – and the Trumpist-Problem is probably -(like with the NPD’s in Germany?) that they are ”too stupid”- but perhaps in US case NOT stupid enough – that it wouldn’t be worth-while slapping them with some educational ”Speech Control” – as they have all these very gullible fans who seem to believe every stupid word they are uttering.

So perhaps let’s think more about French Law against ”Hate Speech” – where the French government intervened – after Nasty Nationalists had their followers too wound up against Muslims – nearly as much – as Trump has some of his real Hardcore -Fans railed up against the ”Fake US Media”)

Or why can’t WE (the US) come up with a Law banning ”Stupidity”?
Now that would be real helpful!

143

Faustusnotes 08.27.17 at 11:35 am

Also two other points about free speech…

1) the reason the bnp made publicity from that case, and the reason in general th tfsscists use these cases to make pr, is that they have unfettered freedom of speech. As the article’s dipper links to observe, the bnp has unlimited free speech. They have a blog, offices, the rightnto speak to the press, and to raise money. If their offices were raided and their computers confiscated, if distributing their newsletters was illegal and griffin had no access to the internet, and if giving them money was illegal, they couldn’t open a bank account and third parties were not allowed to funnel them money, the court case would have been unnecessary and of no value to them. Their ability to leverage attacks on their speech as vote- or support-winners depends on them being allowed essentially unlimited speech. dont argue that suppressing speech doesn’t work on the basis of laws that do not actually suppress speech.

2) laws passed on a flimsy pretext to target group x are not good examples of how God laws to suppress speech will work. The examples Matt gives above of laws in Russia being “misused” to suppress anti govt speech don’t work because the laws being used were always intended to have this use, and the ostensible reason for these laws’ passing (protecting the nation, whatever) is largely irrelevant to their real action. As a counter example, in most countries with anti child pornography law you can still access “barely legal” or “teen” porn, because the laws were passed to target kiddy porn and that is what they do – they weren’t intended to prosecute obviously non-kiddy porn. In contrast, “obscenity” laws are explicitly designed to target whatever the establishment considers obscene, which is why they are easily used against b&d porn etc. and using eg the Russian laws – which are effectively suppressing exactly the speech they were intended to suppress- as examples of why laws can be misused is counter productive. These laws show that suppression laws can be targeted and very effective.

And again, for the Americans in the audience: if you can’t trust your govt to enact basic laws for the purpose they were written, your problem is the government not the laws. You live in a democracy, so start taking responsibility for your government. The rest of us do – grow up and do it yourselves.

144

Layman 08.27.17 at 11:59 am

Collin Street: “US free-speech framework did not stop trump, did not stop jim crow, did not stop stonewall.”

…and neither hate-speech nor hate-crime laws have stopped ever-increasing hate crimes against Muslims in Germany. Hate-speech laws didn’t stop a hate-speech-driven campaign that resulted in Brexit, nor a 100% increase in hate crimes against foreigners in the U.K. since the referendum. Hate crimes against Muslims and Jews are on the increase in France. Hate crimes against Muslims increased 10-fold in Spain in 2015. Marine le Pen, a hate-monger who differs from Trump only in that she’s not obviously stupid, nearly won election to the Presidency of France, and she was not stopped by hate-speech laws. I could go on, but I imagine you get the drift.

Maybe there’s something wrong with your formulation here?

145

J-D 08.27.17 at 12:03 pm

Raven

Was it some other ‘J-D’ who posted #110: “I am completely unable to give any examples of incitement to murder… Indeed, I can’t at the moment thin[k] of any examples whatever of incitement (to anything at all)….”

No, that was me. But how does that explain your labouring to persuade me that there is such a thing as incitement, when I never doubted it? Those statements are not expressions of doubt about the fact that such a thing as incitement exists.

— and then rejected the quite recent Google News headline-making example of Michelle Carter’s incitement to suicide because it was not “local”?

I didn’t reject it; you evinced surprise that I didn’t know of it, and I suggested that there was nothing surprising about my not knowing of it, as there was no good reason to expect that I should know of it.

That’s nice; however, will all your debating partners always be equally certain?

I don’t know. Do you think I am likely to encounter somebody who disputes the existence of such a thing as incitement?

146

Layman 08.27.17 at 12:16 pm

@ J-D, BLM protestors are routinely arrested for the ‘crimes’ of unlawful protest, unlicensed assembly, disorderly conduct, etc. BLM’s leadership is currently being sued on the grounds that they ‘incited’ the police shooting spree in Dallas. If you lack the imagination to grasp how hate speech laws would similarly be used against them, I can’t really help you.

147

Dipper 08.27.17 at 12:33 pm

@ Faustusnotes.

The problem with such things as suppressing free speech is that the easy cases are easy, but the difficult ones not so. My point was that suppressing free speech was effectively being used to prevent serious crimes being brought to light.

And still it continues with women in the Labour Party being demoted or deselected for challenging the record on child abuse and misogyny in Pakistani heritage communities.

“I would also point out that Britains most prolific sex offender and all the people who were enabling him were white, and most of them were rich.”

A classic Corbynite manoeuvre. “Don’t look here, look over there”. Yes there are a number of clusters of child abuse; the BBC, private schools, the Church of England, and those are all mainly white and powerful. If there is a common theme here, it is that people in positions of power were able to exploit that power to prevent enquiry into their activities. The notable thing about the crimes of the men of Pakistani heritage is that the protective cordons put round their activities were erected by a largely white group of police, social workers, councillors (often Labour), and some Pakistani heritage councillors on the grounds that “community cohesion” was an over-riding concern. Lots of muslims of Pakistani origin have denounced the activities of these men, so the issue is on the power structures in and around these communities and how these were used to prevent crimes being investigated and prosecuted, one tool being the arrest of people publicly bringing attention to these crimes.

148

Layman 08.27.17 at 12:54 pm

@ Faustusnotes, maybe it isn’t a virtue to trust your government not to abuse laws? This provides a pretty good summary of the extent of the government abuse of criminal speech constraints within the EU:

http://legaldb.freemedia.at/defamation-laws-in-europe/

Some examples:

– In March 2015, a court in Athens sentenced prominent Greek investigative journalist Kostas Vaxevanis – put on trial in 2013 for revealing an IMF list of suspected tax evaders in Greece – was sentenced to 26 months in prison (suspended for three years) for libelling business tycoon Andreas Vgenopoulos in an article describing Vgenopoulos’s alleged role in the 2012-2013 Cypriot financial crisis. An appeals court overturned his sentence in September 2016.

– Two German investigative journalists were convicted in 2010 of criminal defamation over their reporting on alleged links between judicial officials and an underage brothel. Their conviction was overturned on appeal after a public outcry.

– In Turkey, criminal defamation has become one of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s tools of choice to silence critics since assuming his country’s highest office last year. Hundreds of criminal cases were filed against journalists, academics, politicians and ordinary citizens.

– A political adviser to Iceland’s Interior Minister in Oct. 2014 took advantage of Iceland’s criminal defamation laws to request prison time for two journalists who mistakenly identified her as a target in a police investigation into a government leak – even though the newspaper that published the story apologised within hours.

149

steven t johnson 08.27.17 at 1:23 pm

A note on the racism of presidents: The personal wokeness of the presidential mind may be interesting, but the perspective in which leftism is purity of heart and mind fails even worse than usual in regards to presidential power. People will still claim Jefferson as antislavery because they focus on individual attitudes as expressed in words. But they ignore Jefferson’s policy on Haiti, for instance.

Within days of the rebellion against Qaddafi breaking out, reports of the lynchings of black Africans by the insurgents were available, for those who cared to know. Obama let Cameron and Sarkozy take the lead internationally, and Rice, Power and Clinton domestically, for obvious reasons. But the fact remains, Barack Obama supported the people who lynched blacks. Still too tan for the Klan, but, there it is.

150

nastywoman 08.27.17 at 1:33 pm

@144
”…and neither hate-speech nor hate-crime laws have stopped ever-increasing hate crimes against Muslims in Germany.”

Well – perhaps we finally have to get rid of the word ”stopped” – as the word ”stopped” seems to give you the funny idea – that a laws -(for example NOT to kill anybody) ”stops ALL killing”?

And sorry to say – that’s NOT the way the preverbal Cookie Crumbles –
(as we know from our ‘homeland’?) Sooo – YES!!- hate-speech and hate-crime laws have the effect on the German people that IF such Laws wouldn’t exist a lot more hate crimes against Muslims would exist.

Like – for example – if in our homeland the law NOT to kill our fellow citizens would NOT exists – there for sure would be a lot more killings.

Right?
And isn’t that kind of… ”logical”? – and I actually know very few people – who would dispute such an effect of Laws – or let’s say I just know one dude called ”Layman” on some blog in the US.

151

nastywoman 08.27.17 at 1:49 pm

– and REALLY and the last time @ 148

– to use all these (few) examples – where ”a Law” proved – that IT wasn’t Fool-proved BE-cause from time to time people -(or even Greenwald’s) – happen to screw up even the most ”awesome worded Laws” – is so…. so?…. sooo ”Trumpish” – that the German Dude whose great quote gave this blog THE name – probably would become a fan of… Taylor Swift?

152

nastywoman 08.27.17 at 2:03 pm

BUT I still think the first price for the funniest comment on this thread(t) goes (again!) to our beloved kidneystone with:

”Trump’s populism remains robust and virulent within a toxic, hostile environment.”
Like what does Taylor sing:
I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me…

Right?

153

nastywoman 08.27.17 at 2:10 pm

BUT the saddest comment for sure goes to the dude who wrote:

”But the fact remains, Barack Obama supported the people who lynched blacks. Still too tan for the Klan, but, there it is.”

Good Lord? –
Dude?!
That nearly is on par to the Trumpest-birther-s… and I’m not talking about some ”fact” I’m talking about the nasty and sick subtext…

154

Layman 08.27.17 at 2:31 pm

@ nastywoman, I’ll quote a wise man, Collin Street, who says:

“Because that’s what grown-ups do, Layman. They make trade-offs.”

What is the trade-off being offered? That we enact some largely undefined suppression of speech, in return for some largely undefined benefit. Rather than articulate the suppression you’d like to enact, or explain the benefit – which would of course be the best approach – you and others suggest that the answers to these questions are manifest, that I need only look at examples elsewhere in the world to see both the form of the suppression and the resulting benefit. You, in particular, invite me to look at Germany, and elsewhere in Europe, where (you say):

“Well – I don’t know how often it has to be written or said – that the record of states on which fascistic Ideas and Nazis has been… let’s say ‘lawfully excluded out of the public arena’ is pretty hot.
Not only in German but also lately in Austria. the Netherland and France.”

But when I look, I see that there are open Nazis and fascists in German. There is even a legal fascist party in Germany, one that has won seats in lower assemblies. There are Nazi rallies in Berlin, and racially motivated attacks on immigrants. There is a fascist party in the Netherlands. A fascist candidate was quite recently the runner-up in the Presidential election in France. So, hate speech laws haven’t prevented the things you say they prevent. What have Germans gained in the trade-off they made when they suppressed speech? I don’t know. Obviously you and I see different things when we look at the effect of hate speech laws in Europe.

So maybe, again, the thing to do is propose the hate speech law you want to see enacted in the US. What would be prohibited? Could people march in the streets shouting (for example) ‘white people have too much political power and suppress minorities’? Or ‘white cops are too ready to shoot black people’? Would that be racially motivated hate speech?

155

Faustusnotes 08.27.17 at 2:35 pm

Oh dear dipper. You ask me to accept that you personally do not believe griffin is a hero but then you suggest that a child abuse ring was alllwd to function because his brave speech was suppressed! Sure you don’t think he’s a hero! However, sadly you’re wrong – he didn’t do anything for stop that child abuse although he did waste no time seizing on a way to use it to further his own racist agenda. We now know thanks to a few social workers that the police ignored repeated pleas from the victims. We also know they did this lot to protect Muslims out of fear of racism, but because they thought the 12 or 14 year old girls in question were lying slurs. It’s doubtful they even bothered to inquire as to the racial and religious background of the accusers. Of course this ring would have been broken up years earlier if some rich white person – any, even one! – had bothered to tell the police about jimmy savile. But they didn’t , and the same police that protected (white) jimmy savior and helped him rape hundreds of girls also – shock – stood by while a Pakistani gang did the same thing. Yet only one of these things drew griffins attentionand only one exercises yours. And while they both have a lot to tell us about the corruption and class consciousness of British police they tell us nothing about britains laws on race hate, or the crushing effect of censorship laws. Do we even need censorship laws, when a rich who’re guy can rape hundreds of girls over decades and all of his colleagues can hide and. Support his actions, until after he’s dead? Please do tell me about how rapists are being protected by laws against racial vilification, and pleas do show me how they helped jimmy savile!

Or alternatively, admit that you’re a despicable human, and slink away.

Layman, what do libel laws have to do with censorship by government? None of the cases you cite involve governments shutting down free speech (okay, the turkey one does. But do you seriously think the turks’ problem is badly designed laws? No, their problem is that a power hungry arsehole is going to use the law any way he wants and a lot of scary people are supporting him).

Colin, you conplain that Obama let Cameron and sarkozy take the lead – is your preference that he was more interventionist? Should he have taken the lead and committed the full force of American arms to protecting those black Libyans? Given that Africa is full of black people, every time a crime is committed a black person suffers – does this prove that Obama is the real racist? Is your position that obama is the real racist? Please explain! I fear your blathering is incoherent, and you actually have no political position except that a black man was a bad person. Tell me it ain’t so!

156

Faustusnotes 08.27.17 at 2:36 pm

Oh god iPhone autocorrect is evil

157

kidneystones 08.27.17 at 2:47 pm

Here’s how it looks to me. Pretty much all the mainstream candidates and most of the electorate in the US, Canada, Australia, etc. are utterly indifferent to race, gender, sexual preference, religion, etc. This is very, very bad for cranks who look to justify their paranoia and for cynics keen to ride fear to power. As several here noted during the run-up to the election, the overwhelming majority of voters in the US favor some form of amnesty, and very few Brits favor booting out European nationals who’ve been living in the UK.

27,000 Klan marched through the streets of Washington D.C. in 90 years ago. That number is down by 99 percent. But to hear some folks tell it the opposite is true. Until 1968 it was illegal for blacks and white to marry in the grand old state of Virginia. The US ambassador to the UN is an American woman of Indian ancestry who likes guns and opposes relics of the Confederacy. And on and on and on.

The race, gender, and religious discriminatory practices and laws of the 19th and 20th century have been removed by some highly imperfect people against the wishes of various reactionaries up to the point where today the big crisis is mis-gendering a trans first-grader in an elite California public school.

The conclusion for some?

Things have never been worse.

158

Raven 08.27.17 at 4:08 pm

nastywoman @ 151: Obviously, if it isn’t perfect, the entire legal structure should just be burned to the ground and walked away from without even thinking about building any alternative shelter for bad weather.* Just like, if the Democratic candidate isn’t perfect, the obvious thing to do is to trash him or her, wash your hands and walk away contented with the election of a Republican candidate ten times worse. That’s logical problem-solving, that is, and is how we make the world a better place to live in!

* That scene from A Man for All Seasons comes suddenly to mind:
Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law!
More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man’s laws, not God’s — and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it — d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.

159

Dipper 08.27.17 at 5:52 pm

Faustusnotes you really do live in a hall of mirrors. Your argument seems to be that the state was right to prosecute Nick Grffin even though he was saying the truth. Nick Griffin did nothing to advance any sort of investigation, he was simply feeding off the failures of the state to promote his own brand of racism.

Your statement that people thought the girls were lying is not correct. If you had read the Jay report you would see many counter examples where it was accepted that there were girls being sexually abused but police and prosecutors did nothing about it.

Trying to judge events by the standards of the time is difficult even when those standards are just a few years ago, so a key indicator of what society thought about the events is to see if there were complaints, and it is clear there were complaints by social workers, by parents, and by children, so it is hard to excuse those involved in taking no action.

I am not only concerned with the Griffin case or the many child abuse cases that take place in pennine and other towns where there is a Pakistani heritage population. These are relevant in the context of comments about social strife and freedom of speech. Jeremy Corbyn and the labour party have not to the best of my knowledge sacked or deselected anyone for speaking out against Jimmy Saville or child abuse in other cases, but they have for drawing attention to the number of child abuse cases involving Pakistani heritage men.

As for freedom of speech being suppressed to enable criminal behaviour to take place, here’s a classic tale of intrigue, corruption in high places and low-life violence.

160

alfredlordbleep 08.27.17 at 6:02 pm

Trump’s populism remains robust and virulent within a toxic, hostile environment

Trump’s preemptive* pardon of his favorite Arizonian is now the test of the reader’s friends, neighbors, and countrymen. Trump’s ascent far above N. Y. crime families looks locked-in.

We’ll see how many conservatives haven’t already left the building.

*(if not technically preemptive certainly in spirit)

161

nastywoman 08.27.17 at 6:08 pm

and last not least @
”What is the trade-off being offered?”

Well – even if I really don’t like such a question – as it somehow reminds me on these ”Armed Trumpists” – who don’t seem to see ‘any benefit’ either in giving up their guns – let me try to give an honest answer?

I have to confess – I really love ”them European Anti-Gun Laws” – as without any doubt I benefit from them by reducing my chances of getting shot to nearly zero.
And that’s a very good thing – and being honest – on my last trip to my ‘homeland’ (the US) I had a few encounters where referring to an educating Hate Speech Law would have been pretty ‘benefical’… at least for me.

And do you understand such an answer to your question?

162

Howard Frant 08.27.17 at 6:40 pm

Hidari@138

What? There used to be racist politicians in the US?? Next you’ll be telling me that there were politicians who favored slavery!

Thanks for the history lesson, but we were talking about an apparent rise in the popularity of neo-Nazi and similar groups over the last few years. And I said that the big difference is that we have a candidate, and now President, that they perceive as encouraging them. Granted, Trump may not look that bad on race compared to James Buchanan, but I don’t really see the relevance.

Many people find the prospect of Nazis becoming more mainstream a frightening one. You, however, can see through all this and realize that the real threat is centrist Democrats. I think that’s absolutely crazy. You don’t have to believe in a “fascist putsch” to think that a world where conservative politicians consider Nazis and white supremacists a legitimate part of their base will be a much worse world, particularly for non-whites and Jews. Also, the threat of authoritarianism has not gone away. Does all this mean that the differences between the wings of the Democratic party are less important? Yes.

There were, of course, people who said that there wasn’t much to choose between Trump and Clinton. Those people, it is now apparent, were idiots.

163

J-D 08.27.17 at 8:59 pm

Layman
I can imagine many things; but your earlier claim was not about what I can imagine, but about what is inevitable. Just because I can imagine something does not make it inevitable; just as your imagining something does not make it inevitable. If there really are consequences of hate speech laws which are inevitable, and not merely imagined by me or by you, then you should be able to find examples of them in thos jurisdictions which have such laws; if such examples are not to be found, they are not inevitable, and your earlier claim falls to the ground. It makes no sense to draw conclusions about the inevitable consequences of hate speech laws without investigating the actual experience of actual jurisdictions that actually have such laws; your preference to rely on imagination is a methodological failutre.

164

Stephen 08.27.17 at 8:59 pm

Faustusnotes @ 143: “the bnp has unlimited free speech. They have a blog, offices, the right to speak to the press, and to raise money. If their offices were raided and their computers confiscated, if distributing their newsletters was illegal and griffin had no access to the internet, and if giving them money was illegal, they couldn’t open a bank account and third parties were not allowed to funnel them money, the court case would have been unnecessary and of no value to them. Their ability to leverage attacks on their speech as vote- or support-winners depends on them being allowed essentially unlimited speech.”

All very true, and I had no time for the (currently crumbling) BNP at all. Trouble is, in the specific case of prosecuting the highly undesirable Nick Griffin, he was actually being prosecuted for trying to tell an unwelcome truth. To repeat that others have said: in Rochdale (population a bit over 200,000) about 1,400 girls are now thought to have been raped by gangs of largely Pakistani Muslim men. I doubt if you approve of that. Please tell me you don’t.

This was attempted to be covered up for various reasons: the fortunate appointment of a very honourable Muslim of Pakistani origin, horrified by what had happened, to a high position in the prosecution service allowed for some of the child rapists to be brought to justice. Similar cases are coming to light in many other places.

Can you not accept that something may be true, even if the odious Griffin said it was true: and that using your desired remedies to prevent it being said would not have helped the course of justice.

165

J-D 08.27.17 at 10:08 pm

Dipper
If there was a law that was making it difficult to bring serious crimes to light, that could be a problem with that law; but since you haven’t referred to any such law, I’m not sure what your point is.

If there is a common theme here, it is that people in positions of power were able to exploit that power to prevent enquiry into their activities.

So, what conclusion do you draw from that observation? If people with power abuse their power in their own interests, what should be done about that?

166

kidneystones 08.27.17 at 10:17 pm

Hi Corey, This really is it from me for a while. As free speech is at least part of the OP and Trumpism provides part of the justification for speech restrictions, this study is the clearest indication that Trump will win in 2020

66 percent of Americans (a single Rasmussen poll) believe they have lost the right to speak freely. http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/lifestyle/general_lifestyle/august_2017/just_28_think_americans_have_true_freedom_of_speech_today

Feel free to dismiss the poll, then watch what happens in 2018 and 2020.

Creating a climate of everyday fear by denying people the right to express personally-held views is an extremely poor way to win friends and influence people in ways you might like.

167

Val 08.27.17 at 10:40 pm

Kidneystones @ 157

“Here’s how it looks to me. Pretty much all the mainstream candidates and most of the electorate in the US, Canada, Australia, etc. are utterly indifferent to race, gender, sexual preference, religion, etc”

Actually one of the biggest political issues in Australia right now is Equal Marriage. Constitutional recognition/Treaty for/with Indigenous people and Violence Against Women are also politically important. Maybe the political discussion around them tends to be moderate because most MPs try to take a non-adversarial approach to these issues.

perhaps you are trying to say most people don’t discriminate on these issues now? Possibly true that ‘most’ don’t but there certainly is still discrimination and violence, plus a historical legacy that hadn’t been sorted out, as the examples above show.

You note that there has been progress on these issues, and that is true, but what seems to be happening in America is a backlash, enabled by Trump.

168

Faustusnotes 08.28.17 at 12:16 am

Dipper and Stephen, this idea that griffin somehow helped to stop the sexual abuse in Rotherham is disgusting. He was blathering about it in 2005 but it was only uncovered in 2010. The abusers in this era were protected by a network of corrupt cops who hate working class people, and who were entangled in other deeply corrupt police activities with north and West Yorkshire police: the hillsborough cover up, framing the miners during the miners strike, and protecting jimmy savile. The chief constable during the Rotherham sex abuse period had moved over from West Yorkshire where he had been instrumental in burying the hillsborough scandal – and remember West Yorkshire were essentially enablers of jimmy savile. The idea that this man and his cohorts protected Pakistani child rapists out of a surfeit of political correctness is both laughable and deliberately misleading. They protected them because they hate working class people and they thought these homeless and vulnerable girls wanted it and deserved it. Possibly also they were paedophiles themselves. The jay report makes this very clear and twisting that reports findings to suggest that griffin was ever of any help to those girls is wrong and disgusting. Of course dipper will do this because he basically thinks griffin is a decent bloke, and his insistence that griffins actions were somehow relevant to these girls’ fates is strong evidence against his earlier assertion that he doesn’t think griffin is a hero.

If griffin had never spoken out about the child abuse scandal nothing would have changed, because that scandal was about corrupt police and Britains inability to implement a decent child protection system. The race of the perpetrators is of almost no relevance, as the jimmy savile case (probably 400 victims of just that one man, across the whole country and over 50 years) shows. The police were happy to protect anyone who raped homeless or delinquent girls of any race, and had precious little interest in helping young women either (see eg the black cab rapist, 100+ victims who were never helped – he too was white).

In case you have forgotten: nothing nazis say is helpful. There is no benefit to society of allowing them to speak, and lots of harm. Your pathetic and disgusting example makes the point: griffin opened his loathsome trap about this issue in 2004/5, and nothing changed until 2010. He achieved nothing with his racist rantings except to burnish his own reputation with naive sympathizes like you.

169

J-D 08.28.17 at 1:21 am

Layman
I agree that laws which impose criminal penalties for defamation are not a good idea; you have not made clear whether you intend that to be part of some larger conclusion.

170

J-D 08.28.17 at 1:35 am

Layman

But when I look, I see that there are open Nazis and fascists in German. There is even a legal fascist party in Germany, one that has won seats in lower assemblies. There are Nazi rallies in Berlin, and racially motivated attacks on immigrants. There is a fascist party in the Netherlands. A fascist candidate was quite recently the runner-up in the Presidential election in France. So, hate speech laws haven’t prevented the things you say they prevent.

So, when you look, what effects do you find?

171

Raven 08.28.17 at 5:44 am

alfredlordbleep @ 160: “Trump’s preemptive* pardon… *(if not technically preemptive certainly in spirit)”

Certainly outside the usual procedure, wherein the Department of Justice does the groundwork then presents the pardon [if merited] to the President for his signature, with a far more detailed justification statement than Trump just gave.

Also, as Prof. Andrew Rudalevige pointed out in WaPo (and elsewhere if you want to conserve your WaPo linkages), there was not the usual five-year-wait after conviction (nor “accepting responsibility” nor “making restitution”, in fact there seems not even to be the admission of guilt that legally is inherent in accepting a pardon — Arpaio is treating this as though it were an absolution, overturning his conviction); and there was not the proper grounding of a miscarriage of justice… it takes more than saying so to make it true… Trump’s specific claim that Arpaio was “convicted for doing his job” is specifically false: “Arpaio was convicted for doing the opposite of his job. As a sworn officer of law enforcement, he violated the law and then ignored court orders designed to bring his policies in line with statutory and constitutional mandates.”

172

Dipper 08.28.17 at 6:30 am

@Faustusnotes – so, on Griffin, what I said.

If the problems of Rotherham were down to just one policeman, how come Jayne Senior is still being pursued? How come it happened in other northern pennine towns?

173

nastywoman 08.28.17 at 7:06 am

@170
”So, when you look, what effects do you find?”

He might find the effect that ”A fascist candidate” who ”was quite recently the runner-up in the Presidential election in France” lost while a F…face in our homeland won?

But can that make you really hate Hate Speech Laws?

174

nastywoman 08.28.17 at 7:54 am

and ‘Hi’ kidneystones –
I can’t resist – as I think I belong to the ”66 percent of Americans (a single Rasmussen poll) believe they have lost the right to speak freely”.

As can you imagine my right to free speech was pulled at the comment section of Breitbart – and not for the Hate Speech so many of the commenters enjoy on that blog BUT just for making a few jokes?

And so you are entirely ‘right’ – we need to vote for a US Presidential Candidate next time which protects my right to make lots and lots of fun of the F…faces!

And just… joking… for a fellow comedian. HI!!

175

faustusnotes 08.28.17 at 8:16 am

Dipper, I did not say the problems in Rotherham were down to just one policeman – I referred to “a network of corrupt cops” from South, West and North Yorkshire police. I should also point out that the ethnicity of the offenders had been brought to official recognition by the Heal report in 2006, and possibly earlier when the Risky Business project was set up. Contrary to your allegations, the Jay report that you pretend to have read states clearly that no one involved saw ethnicity as a barrier to acting on the child sexual exploitation issues. The Heal report describes the development of a culture of sexual exploitation amongst south Asian men from individual taxi drivers to organized crime. Nowhere in any of these reports is Griffin’s “contribution” noticed, because all the people involved already knew the problem and did not need rabble-rousing fascists turning it into a political tool.

Here is what Griffin said in 2004: “their [Muslims’] good book tells them that that’s acceptable”. Is this meant to have been helpful?

Regarding Jayne Senior, your rhetorical question is thoroughly unhelpful. She is being investigated as a result of three(?) complaints about her activities during her time in Risky Business (?) and we do not know the content of the complaints, so we cannot conclude if they have anything to do with her activities in connection with the child sexual exploitation issue in Rotherham. Furthermore, most of her activity in the period she worked at Risky Business was not connected to public speech, but to actions within the organizations to raise the profile of the issue and get action, so even if these complaints are malicious retaliation for her activity they are not necessarily an attempt to stifle speech.

Finally, if you bother to look at information on CSE in the UK, you’ll find that the level of CSE in Rotherham is not unusual for an area of its population and level of deprivation. Havering, for example, had 119 reports in 2015/16, for a population of 230,000, which suggests it would have had significantly more than 1400 abused children in the 1997-2013 period. What happened in Rotherham was a tragedy and the failure to act on it was reprehensible but the situation there was not unusual for a poor area in the UK – which is further evidence that the racial composition of the abusers had little relationship to the scale of the problem or to its solution. You can see more on the scale of the issue in London and the challenges police face here. If you think that this problem was going to be solved by everyone agreeing with Nick Griffin that “the Quran says you can rape children” then you are very, very stupid.

176

Raven 08.28.17 at 9:17 am

nastywoman @ 174: “… BUT just for making a few jokes?”

I can believe it, having been banned from one site I liked for making puns — which, as it turned out, were the site owner’s bête noire, and thus an unforgivable offense….

On the other hand, tsk tsk, you really should have known that people who like to hate don’t want to be jollied out of that mood by any such humanizing thing as humor….

177

Mario 08.28.17 at 11:14 am

Layman,

But when I look, I see that there are open Nazis and fascists in German. There is even a legal fascist party in Germany, one that has won seats in lower assemblies.

There is no such thing as a legal fascist party in Germany. Did you ever check the actual definition of fascism? If not, you should make that little effort before you continue embarrassing yourself.

178

J-D 08.28.17 at 11:59 am

Dipper
I hope it will not come as too much of a surprise to you that child sexual exploitation is not a problem restricted to northern Pennine towns, and neither is the problem of systemic institutional failure to respond to it properly; both things happen around the world. I don’t know whether you have in mind an answer to your question ‘Why do these things happen not only in Rotherham, but also in other places?’; it’s an excellent question, but I’m sure the answer is not ‘Because Pakistani men are found in other places as well as Rotherham’. Right now there is, here where I am in Australia, a Royal Commission into Responses to Child Sexual Abuse; nobody has suggested (rightly nobody has suggested) that a root cause of the problems the Commission is investigating is a reluctance to point the finger at Pakistani men.

179

alfredlordbleep 08.28.17 at 12:56 pm

Raven @158 and @171

I too have used the Man for All Seasons clip. But during the Bush-Cheney season of horrors.

And on that note today’s Guardian has a story on Trump’s looking hell-bent on finding Tehran in violation of nuke deal (“Intelligence analysts, chastened by the experience of the 2003 Iraq war, are said to be resisting the pressure to come up with evidence of Iranian violations”).

Like his pardon of Arpaio Trump goes far beyond pleasing the base. We are looking at two of the most contemptible acts of his occupation of the Oval Office (if the upshot of the Guardian story holds).

Go thou, and fill another room in hell—Richard II

180

Matt 08.28.17 at 1:52 pm

For what it’s worth, here’s how the son of the Israeli Prime Minister had to say on facebook about what forces in US life should be fearing government actions against their speech:

To put things in perspective. I’m a Jew, I’m an Israeli, the neo nazis scums in Virginia hate me and my country. But they belong to the past. Their breed is dying out. However the thugs of Antifa and BLM who hate my country (and America too in my view) just as much are getting stronger and stronger and becoming super dominant in American universities and public life.–Yair Netanyahu

181

Layman 08.28.17 at 2:11 pm

@ Mario – the German government apparently disagrees with you about the NPD. Even the German constitutional court seems to disagree with you. They declined to ban NPD, but not because it wasn’t a fascist party.

182

Raven 08.28.17 at 3:14 pm

alfredlordbleep @ 179: Those “Intelligence analysts… resisting the pressure” are striving honorably, in my view. But that “Bush-Cheney season of horrors” already demonstrated who eventually wins such an arm-wrestling contest, if Congress doesn’t step in with impeachment or at least BenGHAAAAzi-style hearings on the matter. Beyond directly ordering report results, replacing staff, or (as under President Ford and CIA Director George H.W. Bush) setting up their own “Team B” to issue the desired texts, the White House can, in extremis, once again simply lie about what the intelligence agencies have reported.

183

Dipper 08.28.17 at 4:14 pm

@ J-D I answered that here.

@ Faustusnotes. Nazir Afzal who prosecuted the Rochdale abusers in Wikipedia:

“He suggested that ‘white professionals’ over-sensitivity to political correctness and fear of appearing racist may well have contributed to justice being stalled”. He said “I do feel that there’s a deficit of leadership in some parts of the Muslim community. They could be much more challenging of certain behaviours”

184

J-D 08.28.17 at 8:57 pm

Matt

For what it’s worth …
What makes you think it’s worth anything? Without some explanation of how he reached his conclusion, it’s worth nothing.

185

Mario 08.28.17 at 10:22 pm

Layman,

Even the German constitutional court seems to disagree with you

Oh, they used that language? Did they call them an ‘openly fascist party’? Do you have a link?

186

Layman 08.28.17 at 11:43 pm

Mario,

Are you actually 12 years old? Actually, I mean?

187

J-D 08.29.17 at 4:24 am

Dipper

@ J-D I answered that here.

In that earlier comment you wrote:

The notable thing about the crimes of the men of Pakistani heritage is that the protective cordons put round their activities were erected by a largely white group of police, social workers, councillors (often Labour), and some Pakistani heritage councillors on the grounds that “community cohesion” was an over-riding concern.

The reason that child sexual exploitation happens around the world is not ‘Because white people throw a protective cordon around the activities of men of Pakistani background’, and that is also not the reason why there is a problem around the world of institutions systemically failing to respond properly to child sexual exploitation.

@ Faustusnotes. Nazir Afzal who prosecuted the Rochdale abusers in Wikipedia:

“He suggested that ‘white professionals’ over-sensitivity to political correctness and fear of appearing racist may well have contributed to justice being stalled”

How is that different from a wild unsubstantiated guess?

188

Dipper 08.29.17 at 7:59 am

@ J-D – classic left whataboutery. Your comment is a part of the protective screen. Don’t look at the child abuse that is happening right in front of you, look at the abuse that is happening over that hill. A kind of Obi-wan Corbyni “these are not the child abusers you seek”. Why you are trying so hard to be on the wrong side of child sexual exploitation?

189

Mario 08.29.17 at 8:35 am

Layman,

You were caught not knowing what you are talking about. And now you are trying this?

There is no ‘Nazi’ flood that has to be stopped by subjecting society to the equivalent of a chemotherapy. There aren’t that many real fascists around, neither in Germany, nor in France (well, if you take the word ‘fascism’ seriously, and don’t just use it as a slur, the FN isn’t fascist either), nor, afaict, much of anywhere else. What there is is a dandy left that just is terminally out of touch with reality and the working class, and is making up a fascist threat to feel good about itself.

190

Faustusnotes 08.29.17 at 11:28 am

Dipper , you haven’t read the jay report have you? Or the earlier (2006) report I referenced above. You’re getting your information from Wikipedia and vdare. Which is why you don’t know that the jay report found no impact of ethnicity, and foolishly believe that a police force that protected jimmy savior would somehow balk at prosecuting Pakistani child rapists on racial grounds rather than, say, the same grounds they protected savile.

The existence of savile – operating in the same area with the help of the same police force at the same time – completely destroys your ethnicity argument. The involvement of these police in The hillsborough cover up and the extensive history of corruption in all the Yorkshire police forces gives an obvious alternative explanation, which is backed up by the jay report, but youbsimply wont engage with these facts. Instead you want us to believe that griffin saying the Quran supports child abuse (in 2004) was the key public alert that got these men caught (in 2011) and you want to present him as a persecuted hero but get angry when you think people personally believe you think he’s a hero. You want to pretend the whole thing is a free speech issue because a Nazi tried to make propaganda off it, but you won’t engage with any evidence that it’s a policing issue.

Address the savile issue. It’s central to all your arguments, and he was white. Address it!

191

Layman 08.29.17 at 12:09 pm

@ Mario, that’s a ‘yes ‘ then?

192

Dipper 08.29.17 at 1:16 pm

@ Faustusnotes. I did address Saville in an earlier comment. I’m not going to repeat it. If you think I’m making excuses for the BBC or any other organisation, I’m not. It isn’t required to make a choice between Savile and the Rotherham child abusers, it is perfectly possible to condemn them both as I have, but you noticeably haven’t.

I’ve just gone to the copy of the Jay report that lives on my hard drive to confirm what I already new. The chapter on ethnicity is clear that for some of the people involved in the investigations the racial element was instrumental in causing the investigations to be downplayed.

I have no idea why you and J-D keep on this point. It is, however, typical of the Left today and why so many fear the rise of the left in its current state. For the modern left, politics is a morality play, in which there are good guys and bad guys, and the job of the good guys is to beat up the bad guys. And if good guys have to do bad things to stop the bad guys, then so be it. If an argument fits the needs of the moment, use it. If that same argument leads to an adverse conclusion somewhere else, just deny that the argument has universal applicability.

Trump is slightly off-topic for this discussion but I saw this on a feed, and it captures the moment perfectly.

193

Raven 08.29.17 at 2:31 pm

Dipper @ 192: “… I saw this on a feed, and it captures the moment perfectly.”

In a sense, yes. By fallacious omission. The writer, Clive Crook, credits Trump supporters with being “a little less than half the country”.

Well. In the popular election results, sure, Trump got 46.1% to Clinton’s 48.2% (just 2.1% less, around 2.9 million fewer votes) — but that was a share of the electorate, not the country, and the GOP’s intensive voter-suppression campaign against Democratic voters [with no equivalent on the other side] had a lot to do with it.

As to polling the country, articles like this seem to suggest lower figures than that opinion essay does… and descending, with each new week….

194

kidneystones 08.29.17 at 3:16 pm

@193 Examining the popularity polls of the current president in isolation may be misleading. Compared to Macron, for example, Trump’s support is rock-solid. Abe and Merkel are both in trouble. And don’t forget what Trump supporters are willing to actually tell the pollsters. You know – the data that led the NYT to declare with 98-percent certainty on election night that Trump couldn’t possibly win. Remember the planned coronation – the glass ceiling ball-room? The shock? Remember all the high-fives every single week from the time leading up to the election? Finished! This time he’s done! Recall all those ‘good’ GOP clowns claiming that ‘this time’ he’s gone too far. Somehow the overwhelming majority returned home to the GOP candidate come voting day.

He’s running against Congress and the media and compared to them, he ends up looking not so bad. Which leads to our next topic – the willingness of a very small number of our moral superiors to punch us in the face.

Watching our local thought police insist dissenters be banned, or shunned, should surprise nobody. Tone and the exclamation points added to commands/demands that interlocutors “address this” I’m sincerely sorry to say, are amusing, at best. Fortunately rude comments at CT don’t have much/any impact in the larger scheme of things.

Except that Tim Kaine’s son, yes that Tim Kaine, is one of these thugs in real-life. And he has some angry, very active friends who travel across the US to assault people they disagree with – including the police and reporters. And they’re on camera, and they’re on twitter, and they claim to be ‘protecting’ themselves and others, dressed up as they are in heroic black uniforms, heroic black face masks, and carrying heroic bats.

The nut neo-nazis number in the hundreds and are a well-established fringe of the nut-right. The black-shirts of the intolerant ‘left'(?) and their violent attacks on those who don’t shut-up and comply are the new kids on the block. What’s more they’re going to help get Trump re-elected and limit any gains Democrats might hope to make in the mid-terms. And you know what? The Wapo and CNN notice. The right can’t believe their good fortune, and are already planning the ads.

Evidently, some here and elsewhere actually believe that many/most Americans share their view that America is actually Nazi Germany.

“Address this!”

195

TM 08.29.17 at 3:39 pm

Layman 109: You have nowhere qualified your statements as being specific only to the US and the First Amendment. In fact you have repeatedly used the term “Freedom of speech” or variants thereof (specifically at 70 “free speech rights”; this was the immediate context of one of our disputes, see 85). Free speech doesn’t specify a US legal doctrine but an internationally recognized and in many countries constitutionally guaranteed human right so when you make claims about what is or is not implied by Free speech, you are not limiting yourself to US law. You also have also explicitly made claims about states generally (“once the state asserts the authority to muzzle people”).

So in summary your claim at 109 is clearly factually wrong, as were several others of your claims. I’m sorry but you have lost my respect. That wasn’t a clumsy choice of words in the heat of the argument, that was a series of false claims you have made and affirmed repeatedly even after they were pointed out to you (patiently and respectfully btw). I expected better of you.

196

TM 08.29.17 at 3:41 pm

Apology, that should refer to Layman @119.

197

Raven 08.29.17 at 6:56 pm

kidneystones @ 194: “The black-shirts of the intolerant ‘left'(?) and their violent attacks on those who don’t shut-up and comply are the new kids on the block. What’s more they’re going to help get Trump re-elected…”

Which is exactly why we wonder about who they really are, and what their true allegiances are, especially after all those violent supposedly “anarchist” protesters at political protests who turned out not to be anarchists at all, but agents provocateurs….

198

Raven 08.29.17 at 7:11 pm

kidneystones @ 194: “Examining the popularity polls of the current president in isolation may be misleading. Compared to Macron, for example….”

‘Oh, don’t look here, look over there.’ Ah, no, comparing apples-to-apples (the claimed-vs-actual US popular support Trump has) was the relevant topic.

We already know that Putin’s propaganda trolls are working hard in Europe, as well as in America, to undermine his opposition, so why would Macron’s or Merkel’s problems be either a surprise or any kind of an argument in defense of Trump’s unpopularity? Putin is at least not trying to tear down Trump, and apparently could do so with ease, which is why Trump in turn is so cringingly desperate to say nothing the least bit bad about Putin.

199

J-D 08.29.17 at 9:20 pm

Dipper
Why are you trying to distract my attention from child abuse that is taking place here where I am to child abuse that is taking place on the other side of the world?

200

J-D 08.29.17 at 9:31 pm

Dipper

It isn’t required to make a choice between Savile and the Rotherham child abusers, it is perfectly possible to condemn them both as I have, but you noticeably haven’t.

More important than the question ‘Do we condemn them both?’ is the question ‘Can we identify significant common features in these cases?’ Do you have any ideas on the subject?

For the modern left, politics is a morality play, in which there are good guys and bad guys, and the job of the good guys is to beat up the bad guys. And if good guys have to do bad things to stop the bad guys, then so be it. If an argument fits the needs of the moment, use it. If that same argument leads to an adverse conclusion somewhere else, just deny that the argument has universal applicability.

Are you suggesting that there are no bad guys in this story — for example, do you agree that the modern left are not bad guys? What do you think is the job of the good guys, if there are indeed any good guys — or, for that matter, what do you think your job is in this context, or my job? Do you ever refrain from using an argument that fits the needs of the moment, and, if so, why?

I have no idea why you and J-D keep on this point.

I keep discussing this point because you keep discussing this point.

201

alfredlordbleep 08.29.17 at 10:55 pm

In attempting to return to C. R.’s opening salvo I juxtapose two quotes:

Before he left, Bannon’s parting words to Trump were to resist the siren calls of so-called moderates, who were pushing him to soften his stance on things like Charlottesville. Moderation would never win over Democrats or independents. The best thing was to appeal to the base: “You’ve got the base,” Bannon said. “And you grow the base by getting” things done.

—C. R., the Guardian

Getting things done? Clearly mouthing off counts a lot.

There was no point in seeking to convert the intellectuals. For intellectuals would never be converted and would anyway always yield to the stronger, and this will always be ‘the man in the street.’ Arguments must therefore be crude, clear and forcible, and appeal to emotions and instincts, not the intellect. Truth was unimportant and entirely subordinate to tactics and psychology.

—J. Goebbels

Footnote. Thanks Raven for your meticulous replies to my previous interpolations. I have been reluctant to go off-topic, or seem to, in acknowledgment. So I attempt to be topical above.

Furthermore, an occasional reminder of Goebbels on propaganda is worth a gander.

202

kidneystones 08.30.17 at 12:42 am

From the LA Times http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-far-left-violence-20170829-story.html

“Of the dozens of organizations that turned out for Sunday’s mass protest against racism here, one group was impossible to miss. Its members dressed head to toe in black, with masked faces and some bearing pastel-painted riot shields that read “no hate.” These 100 or so militants billed themselves as a security force for progressive counter-protesters, vowing to protect them from far-right agitators.

But as the protest got underway, some of those in masks would resort to mob violence, attacking a small showing of supporters of President Trump and others they accused, sometimes inaccurately, of being white supremacists or Nazis.”

These are the opening paragraphs from the LA Times, not the Washington Examiner.

Let’s say ever clever Raven is right and that some of good folks in the black shirts are, OMG!!!!!, agents of an oppressive foreign power bent on destroying free societies from within and malevolent agents in the pay of the vast right-wing conspiracy. If you believe that the black shirts are, in fact, black agents, why on earth do demonstration organizers sanction their disruptive and dangerous presence in demonstrations. Why did the NYT post a pro-black agent piece this weekend, giving a black agent spokesman of these agents provocateur a platform from which to spread their disinformation?

In either case, it doesn’t matter. The anti-Trump demonstrations of the last year and more have generated hundreds of Youtube videos of anti-Trump demonstrators (the violent minority) chasing Trump supporters through the streets, much to the delight of the warped who evidently get off on this shit. Let’s say Raven is right and that black shirt violence mostly/only occurs as the result of paid provocateurs. It’s working!

Get it?

Re: Look here, not there. Please re-read my comment. My recommendation is to look here and look there. Trump’s support is rock-solid relative to May, Macron, Abe, Merkel – you know – leaders facing real challenges, not former leaders now in retirement. The predictive powers of the site principals and of the overwhelming majority of the participants here on this issue are a matter of public record. I’m not reminding folks of this to gloat, or to be malicious, but rather to remind the interested that thinking about these issues in less emotional terms, using different lenses, may yield more accurate predictive results. Or, just go with “we can’t lose.”

203

faustusnotes 08.30.17 at 8:05 am

Dipper, I’m not demanding that you condemn both or either of the child abuse situations. I simply want you to explain why the race of one child abuser is relevant but the race of another is not. I also want you to explain why you think the police protected the Rotherham abusers for fear of being called racist, when the same police protected a much more prolific white abuser. I have also pointed out (and you have ignored, of course) that other areas of Britain have higher levels of abuse (I gave the specific example of Haringey) over the same period, but that since this abuse was not by Pakistani men you’re ignoring it. In fact if we consider the pattern of abuse observed over the whole of the UK during the past 15 years, pretty much the only thing about the Rotherham case that is unique is the race of the abusers – in general the gangs involved in CSE are white, and only in Rotherham has the race been limited to Pakistani men. Yet you, Dipper, presented Griffin as a hero for attacking those men on the basis of their religion, and you want us to think that the police who failed so many victims in so many areas of the country for generally banal reasons are uniquely protecting this particular group of men for sinister political correctness.

And, once again, you have no evidence that political correctness or fear of being branded racist influenced decision making in this case. From the Jay report:

All the senior officers we interviewed were asked whether ethnic considerations influenced their decision making. All were unequivocal that this did not happen. However, several of those involved in the operational management of services reported some attempts to pressurise them into changing their approach to some issues. This mainly affected the support given to Pakistani-heritage women fleeing domestic violence, where a small number of councillors had demanded that social workers reveal the whereabouts of these women or effect reconciliation rather than supporting the women to make up their own minds. The Inquiry team was confident that ethnic issues did not influence professional decision-making in individual cases.

Your arguments literally make no sense in the face of the broader problem of CSE in the UK, and they also don’t stand in the face of everything that has been reported on the specific problem in Rotherham. No one was silenced by fears of racism, no police activity was curtailed by it, and Nick Griffin was never a hero for saying the Quran encourages child abuse.

204

J-D 08.30.17 at 8:54 am

alfredlordbleep
If we’re going to observe the strategic advice of Goebbels, we should remember where it got him in the end.

205

novakant 08.30.17 at 1:05 pm

Everytime somebody brings up “Rotherham” in a comments thread it’s a rightwing tool:

Nazir Afzal:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/03/nazir-afzal-there-is-no-religious-basis-for-the-abuse-in-rotherham

206

Raven 08.30.17 at 2:27 pm

kidneystones @ 202: “clever Raven” — You have intuited the adjective normally conjoined to my name in a folktale at its point of origin, ᠮᠡᠷᠭᠡᠨ ᠬᠡᠷᠺᠶ᠎ᠡ / мэргэн хэрээ / mergen kheriye, “[the] clever raven”.

Let me ask you in turn: why is it that the police, who also have sharp eyes to see, and have so swiftly arrested so many unmasked protesters at so many protests, are somehow nowhere near nor alert nor ready to prevent the violence of these masked protesters, when so many states have laws against wearing masks in public places precisely because of the Klan’s history of turning masked protests into violence?

207

kidneystones 08.30.17 at 3:22 pm

@ 206. Cheers for this. Tis not country-specific, as you know, but I’m appreciative none the less.

Let me add that I’ve read your comments across the threads for some time and come away with the a deep appreciation of your knowledge and your intellect. Bold type adds emphasis to an argument so full of holes that it’s practically all air. You seem quite comfortable with your own views and I leave you to them with best wishes!

208

Dipper 08.30.17 at 9:15 pm

@ Novokant. “Everytime somebody brings up “Rotherham” in a comments thread it’s a rightwing tool:” No it really isn’t. The fate of working class girls is about as left wing as you can get. The “left” try to shut discussion down because it holds up a mirror to them and their politics and they don’t like what they see.

@ Fautusnotes – we are just spinning our wheels here.

@ J-D “Are you suggesting that there are no bad guys in this story — for example, do you agree that the modern left are not bad guys?”. There are no good guys. There isn’t anyone who will not when circumstances allow act in some degree of self interest. Power corrupts everyone. We need institutions and rules to allow that power to be properly reviewed and criticised. As Edmund Burke said, no man should be judge in his own cause.

The left’s obsession with morality leads to lots of really tortured analysis. Take the boats in the Med. There is one commentator who insists on casting this as people fleeing evil west regimes, a retribution for the errors of his political opponents, but it isn’t. It is a lot more complex than that. The refusal to recognise the many-sided and nuanced aspect of many issues leads to clumsy judgemental analysis that supports a crude power-based politics where some people get to control the fate of other people with no restrictions or external controls.

209

faustusnotes 08.31.17 at 12:26 am

No Dipper, I’m not spinning my wheels. You claim to care about the fate of working glass girls but only, it seems, if they’re victims of foreigners. You have no concern for the higher rates of CSE in Haringey, where white men are doing it, and indeed you seem to believe that the only abusers in the UK are muslims. How else are we to interpret your laser-like focus on a single area, and your refusal to consider any explanation except “them mooooslim did it”?

Also, it’s not spinning my wheels to quote from the report you claim to (but haven’t) read. Let me repeat, since it’s so difficult to get anything to sink in with you:

All the senior officers we interviewed were asked whether ethnic considerations influenced their decision making. All were unequivocal that this did not happen.

210

Raven 08.31.17 at 1:19 am

kidneystones @ 207: “Tis not country-specific, as you know….”
Indeed not, we could discuss Canada instead of the US:
“Police accused of using provocateurs at summit”. The Star. Toronto. August 21, 2007.
“Police deny using ‘provocateurs’ at summit”. The Star. Toronto. August 22, 2007
“Quebec police admit they went undercover at Montebello protest”. CBC News. August 23, 2007.

> “Bold type” — Oh ye of tender eyes! Two whole words and a prefix were boldfaced: “Police” (in contrast from the demonstration organizers you blame) were actually paid to be there to maintain order; one might have thought they might pay extra attention to “masked” (vs. “un-”) protestors, given the history of such. But the history of violent masked protesters to whom the police notably do NOT pay attention, and whom the police do NOT arrest when they can, is also illustrative, dismiss that if you like (and it’s clear you do)….

211

J-D 08.31.17 at 4:18 am

Dipper

@ Novokant. “Everytime somebody brings up “Rotherham” in a comments thread it’s a rightwing tool:” No it really isn’t. The fate of working class girls is about as left wing as you can get. The “left” try to shut discussion down because it holds up a mirror to them and their politics and they don’t like what they see.

Nobody in this discussion (left or otherwise) is trying to shut it down. Some people are making contributions to the discussion which you disagree with or disapprove of or which conflict with your contributions to the discussion, but contradiction is not silencing. People who use being contradicted as a basis for complaining of being silenced are using a tactic that deserves no respect.

There isn’t anyone who will not when circumstances allow act in some degree of self interest. Power corrupts everyone. We need institutions and rules to allow that power to be properly reviewed and criticised.

I agree. So, do you have any suggestions for changes to institutions and/or rules that will improve the response of those in power to the problem of child sexual abuse? and if that’s the objective in what way do you think discussion of the ethnicity of perpetrators contributes to it?

The refusal to recognise the many-sided and nuanced aspect of many issues leads to clumsy judgemental analysis that supports a crude power-based politics where some people get to control the fate of other people with no restrictions or external controls.

I haven’t seen anybody here doing that; what examples of that do you perceive in this discussion?

212

kidneystones 08.31.17 at 5:40 am

@ 210 Thank you for comment. I’ll reply only because I so clearly failed to make myself clear. Sorry. “Cheers for this. Tis not country-specific, as you know, but I’m appreciative none the less.”

The ‘this’ in my 207 was a clearly unsuccessful attempt to affirm my appreciation for your explanation of your user name “Raven” and that the Raven is regarded as a wise and clever bird in a number of cultures. Beyond that, I have nothing further to add.

Again, apologies for the lack of clarity.

213

Raven 08.31.17 at 8:47 am

kidneystones @ 212: So we’ll just leave things at ‘Bold type made no difference to the argument’, because when those same 2½ words were quoted in plain text reprising the argument, to address your typographic quibble, you made no further attempt to suggest it was “so full of holes that it’s practically all air” (as in #207); you have, as you say now, “nothing further to add.”

214

alfredlordbleep 08.31.17 at 3:32 pm

Ahoy, Federalism

Following one implication of Trump’s notorious pardon one more step:

“One of the people familiar with progress on the case said both Mueller’s and Schneiderman’s teams have collected evidence on financial crimes, including potential money laundering,” he notes.

Trump can pardon anybody facing charges from Mueller, but not from Schneiderman. It is probably significant that Mueller is letting this fact be known to Trump’s inner circle. Trump’s biggest source of leverage over Mueller just disappeared.

Jonathan Chait

215

Dipper 08.31.17 at 8:35 pm

@J-D. Novokant was in effect trying to make discussion non-legitimate, and Jeremy Corbyn has effectively done the same in the Labour Party, but on here you are correct no-one is shutting it down.

“So, do you have any suggestions for changes to institutions and/or rules that will improve the response of those in power to the problem of child sexual abuse?” well to reads across from banking, a government authority which had the power to intervene and mandate remedial action, and a whistleblowing compliance culture in which people are required to attest that they will raise issues they come across and are free to anonymously report any breaches they find. That way social workers or police will be able to raise allegations as they see fit without having to worry about whether the status of the accused gives them some kind of protection, whether that status be due to ethnicity, religion, connections, job, or being in the Freemasons.

“I haven’t seen anybody here doing that” well this is, in the grand scheme, a trivial and inconsequential place, but there are a couple of authors who moderate the discussion of their posts in a way which effectively shuts off criticism. When it occurs in a more significant arena I will be bringing it to your attention.

@ faustusnotes. Our conversation is taking place in the context of a discussion about suppressing free speech. All child abuse is bad, and all allegations should be investigated properly. But I’m not aware of anyone taken to court yet for suggesting that the majority of child abusers are white, or for suggesting that white men in Havering are committing child abuse. That’s why the focus on ethnicity in this discussion.

216

Raven 09.01.17 at 4:15 am

Corey Robin: “Once upon a time, conservatives plotted a path that began with the magazines and ended in the White House. With Steve Bannon’s departure from the Trump administration on Friday to head the Breitbart News Network, we seem to be witnessing the reverse: an unspooling of history that begins in power and ends in print.”

This would have been a more apt observation had Bannon left at the height of his “power” in the White House. In fact, he’d steadily lost position (e.g. on the National Security Council) and influence (his preferred appointees being removed by newer WH Chief of Staff John Kelly) while enduring public calls for his own removal — which reached a crescendo after Charlottesville, so his departure now seems more like Trump cutting ballast to save his own hot-air balloon from a hard crash.

217

faustusnotes 09.01.17 at 4:28 am

Dipper, was Griffin taken to court for suggesting that, or was he taken to court for suggesting that the Quran encourages muslims to abuse children? Because one is not the other. He’s also the only person who was taken to court for this supposed crime – there were multiple reports and public announcements before 2005 about the issue and he was very late to the game.

Also if we’re talking about freedom of speech, we know that Savile was very good at suppressing reports about his crimes, which is why the documentary only came out after his death – and a bare what, six months after the BBC published its hagiography of this serial sex offender. Which issue would you say hit the national press first, eh? And how long after Griffin “raised the alarm” (/traduced a religion) before the warnings were properly acted on. Rather than being taken to court for “suggesting the majority of child abusers are white”, people investigating a single white child abuser were threatened with violence and the destruction of their careers, and the organization responsible for broadcasting his story was also protecting his abuse. Who exactly was the beneficiary of speech suppression here? The Pakistani criminals in Rotherham, or Savile?

Also it would be impossible to take someone to court for saying the majority of child abusers are white, since it’s a simple fact (I presented a link to the Metropolitan Police saying so up above). But saying the majority of child abusers are muslim because their holy book encourages it would be untrue, and thus a lie intended to hurt a community. Wouldn’t you agree?

218

Raven 09.01.17 at 4:48 am

faustusnotes @ 217: “Also it would be impossible to take someone to court for saying the majority of child abusers are white, since it’s a simple fact….”

Are you under the impression that ‘it would be impossible to take someone to court for stating a simple fact’?

Alas, not so, e.g.: “Food libel laws, also known as food disparagement laws and informally as veggie libel laws, are laws… that make it easier for food producers to sue their critics for libel. … Many of the food-disparagement laws establish a lower standard for civil liability and allow for punitive damages and attorney’s fees for plaintiffs alone, regardless of the case’s outcome. These laws… typically allow a food manufacturer or processor to sue a person or group who makes disparaging comments about their food products. In some states these laws also establish different standards of proof than are used in traditional American libel lawsuits, including the practice of placing the burden of proof on the party being sued.” (Note, the long-running Wikipedia: McLibel case took place in the UK, and was “the longest-running court action in English history”.)

219

J-D 09.01.17 at 6:46 am

Dipper

Novokant was in effect trying to make discussion non-legitimate

Even if somebody commenting here went so far as to write ‘This discussion is not legitimate’ or ‘I want this discussion to stop’ — well, I suppose that could be described as ‘trying to shut down discussion’, but it would be fatuously ineffectual, so why should anybody care?

and Jeremy Corbyn has effectively done the same in the Labour Party

Well, you tell me that he has, but you haven’t shown me, so how much credit should I give that?

“So, do you have any suggestions for changes to institutions and/or rules that will improve the response of those in power to the problem of child sexual abuse?” well to reads across from banking, a government authority which had the power to intervene and mandate remedial action

It would be a much more worthwhile contribution to discussion if you could spell out more specifically what kind of powers to intervene in what kinds of situation and mandate what kinds of remedial action; and it’s hard to figure out the connection between this proposal and discussion of the ethnicity/heritage of perpetrators.

and a whistleblowing compliance culture in which people are required to attest that they will raise issues they come across and are free to anonymously report any breaches they find. That way social workers or police will be able to raise allegations as they see fit without having to worry about whether the status of the accused gives them some kind of protection, whether that status be due to ethnicity, religion, connections, job, or being in the Freemasons.

Perhaps some kind of change in culture would be a good thing; but you haven’t suggested any changes to laws or institutions that (you think) will conduce to that change in culture. But perhaps you would agree that there one thing that might help in a small way to contribute to the kind of change in culture you’re looking for is when the Jay report puts it on the public record that some people thought they might be discouraged from reporting crimes by people of Pakistani heritage but that there was in fact no foundation for this belief? Of course, that does raise the question of why people might have believed that when it wasn’t true; is it possible that part of the reason is lots of people making and repeating the kind of remarks that you’ve been making here?

“I haven’t seen anybody here doing that” well this is, in the grand scheme, a trivial and inconsequential place, but there are a couple of authors who moderate the discussion of their posts in a way which effectively shuts off criticism. When it occurs in a more significant arena I will be bringing it to your attention.

Because you and I are such important people?
And, again, you tell me how some authors behave, but you haven’t shown me, so how much credit should I give that?

220

faustusnotes 09.01.17 at 7:12 am

Good point Raven. I thought of bringing up mclibel before (I was reminded because Helen Steel is in the news again for her mistreatment during the activist period of her life), but thought it would be a distraction. I’m sure though that Dipper will find a way to make that case seem like the McLibel pair were suppressing McDonald’s free speech …

221

TM 09.01.17 at 7:26 am

Raven. Food libel law was mentioned, see 83 to 107.

222

Raven 09.01.17 at 9:58 am

TM @ 221: In 107 you said “These laws afaik are unique to the US” — but see my comment regarding the UK case, in fact “the longest-running court action in English history” — and here faustusnotes still seemed under the impression that ‘it would be impossible to take someone to court for stating a simple fact’, thus came time for a direct quote-and-link rather than mere assertion.

223

kidneystones 09.01.17 at 1:22 pm

Matt Labash’s eye-witness account of beatings in Berkeley.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/a-beating-in-berkeley/article/2009498

Nauseating, but a must read. Lots of revolting images of heroic violence.

224

kidneystones 09.01.17 at 1:57 pm

Four free-speech supporters arrive with their arms raised holding peace signs to ‘engage’ counter-protesters . Counter-protesters immediately jump over the barriers erected to separate the groups, surround the “fascists,” and in less than a minute of “our heroes’ lands a bat upon the head of an American “nazi.”

This isn’t Selma in the 50s, but the video in the Labash article needs to be seen. There are people here, as we see, who claim that the alt-left violence is nothing but a fabrication of Breitbart, or of agents provocateur. I watched the Tea Party in 2009-10, UKIP, Trump etc.

The alt-left and the violence of the alt-left is real. I grew up with MLK and Gandhi as my heroes and models for social change. Peace signs and beads have been replaced by black masks, clubs, and mace. The violence of the alt-left and their eagerness to use violence to suppress free speech is a phenomena few here seem willing to believe.

It needs to be seen in the hope that it can be acknowledged and hopefully excised.

Ugly stuff for real.

225

kidneystones 09.01.17 at 2:01 pm

I’ll use this occasion to wish all well and say thanks and so long for a bit.
Cheers!

226

TM 09.01.17 at 2:22 pm

Raven: The UK law is special in that in libel cases, the burden of proof is on the defendant. That is what led to the McLibel outrage: although the defendants could actually prove most of their allegations against McDonald’s, they still got a judgment because some of their claims were not 100% waterproof.

In the US, normally the burden of proof is squarely on the plaintiff and the bar to win a libel suit is actually quite high, or so at least I thought. But the US food libel laws explicitly turn the burden of proof around. They are – to my knowledge – unique in that they protect a specific industry against criticism. That is what I meant above.

In Germany, the courts have explicitly said that
– the bar in libel cases must be high enough to not impede legitimate public debate about corporate (mis)behavior, as protected by the right to freedom of speech
– if you engage in good faith in critical debate about some corporation, drawing on legitimate public sources like newspaper reports, that is sufficient defense against a libel suit, even if some of your information turn out not to be 100% accurate. Iow it takes some evidence of bad faith or malice to win a libel suit. These requirements would have thrown out both the McLibel case and the Oprah case and it is inconceivable that anything like the US food libel laws would survive a constitutional challenge in Germany. I pointed this out in the context of the Free speech debate above.

227

Raven 09.01.17 at 3:31 pm

kidneystones @ 224: The label “alt-right” was self-applied and therefore clearly applied and accepted. Contrarily, this label “alt-left” has been applied, apparently mostly by the “alt-right”, to targets of its own choosing — which offers no such clarity of application or acceptance.

As to the identity and true political allegiance of these violent attackers… I’ve noted earlier the recent tendency of “black bloc” protesters to turn out to be agents provocateurs, but let me turn the page back half a century to 1968 and the disorderly Chicago Democratic Convention protests; some of those protest leaders turned up, years later, in staff lists at Republican White Houses, having turned out to be loyal Young Republicans all along, part of yet another one of Tricky Dick’s dirty tricks to make the Democrats look worse leading up to the election (along with his sabotage of the Paris Peace Talks).

Your Weekly Standard reporter goes into great detail about the identity of the particular “sh*t-stirrer” he follows into the fray… but are the violent foes they face truly political “leftists” or “liberals”, or just more false-flag-flying “black bloc” agents of either police or the opposition party, free to attack this guy precisely because he isn’t an official member of anything?

228

kidneystones 09.01.17 at 4:01 pm

Hunting Republicans at Berkeley – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IjOjIVOh_A

Pelosi forced to deal with what the Democratic left is closing its eyes to https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/08/30/pelosi-condemns-violent-actions-of-antifa-protesters/?utm_term=.96200bf7e997

Maybe Corey (seriously) should write the Chancellor at Berkeley and demand the university acknowledge and denounce the violent alt-left. This isn’t a one-off, ie. the 1968 Democratic Convention, this is Boston, Berkeley, and other enclaves of ‘liberal’ activism.

Shutting down free speech by beating folks while the police watch – discussed on MSNBC – – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XXbgKUKeRw

Why can’t Berkeley protect free speech?

229

Lee A. Arnold 09.01.17 at 7:10 pm

To get back to Corey’s main post, it is difficult to make a coherent account of Bannon’s view of what is going on, by examining his actions. He’s got more than a whiff of the “true believer” about him. It sounds like he is, or he was, very interested in “traditionalism” via the writings of Guenon and the fascist mystic Evola. It is possible that Bannon believes that a war of the civilizations is inevitable, and that there will be an automatic rightwing uprising in advance of the conflict, to instill cultural purity, the only thing that will survive the coming apocalypse. The nearest analogue may be the Germanenorden in pre-Nazi Germany. It may seem outlandish to ascribe to a grown man these beliefs, but it does happen occasionally, as the result of a religious path gone horribly wrong. It is difficult otherwise to explain Bannon’s present actions, which appear self-defeating to the rest of us, except to suppose that these actions are predicated upon a belief that a world-wide uprising of rightists is inevitable, and that it has now only begun. President Trump may have gone along with this malarky because it seemed expedient, but Trump expects to gain necessary voter turnout by dog-whistling the racists, and Trump is just out for Trump. Bannon had stated before the presidential campaign that Trump was clueless, an empty vessel. They are two very different species of nut. Trump may be beyond repair, but Bannon should get himself out of public life forever and into the contemplative quiet of a monastery, or else he will give himself a heart attack.

It is certainly obvious that the extreme right is undoubtedly a little bigger, world wide. (We have to sort out the cause of this news, because part of it may merely be due to everything’s greater salience in social media, and part of it is due to the fact that social media allows groups to recruit more easily.) But Bannon acts as if he thinks that the right is going to get a LOT bigger. If this is not due to some crazy belief, then what is the cause of his delusion? Perhaps he thinks it will happen because of something not so crazy, such as continued economic distress and/or worsened terrorism. But that is probably a miscalculation: both of those circumstances are just as likely to be ameliorated, and to provide little-to-no support for continued growth of the extreme right. How so? Because, on the problem of economics, the downturns after big financial crashes are always deep and long, (even ten years long,) but after that, the times get a little better, and then there is not so much personal distress. In the U.S., new jobs have been on a straight graph line upwards since 2010 (Trump is now taking credit for it) and you should expect this to continue for a while. This makes it harder to maintain an angry populist movement to restructure the whole economy. On the problem of global terrorism, most people already realize that a big part of the solution is “soft power” engagement — OK yes it’s a sticky wicket, but retracting from global diplomacy is far worse; so here too, most people will not be joining the extreme right. Thus, if Bannon is not a crazy believer, then at the very least he is a standard-issue knucklehead, and he has made a bad political bet on the continued growth of the right, due to his own lack of geopolitical & economic comprehension.

And either way, Bannon has also made a tactical mistake, because now he is doubling down on his bet: he is continuing to attack the mainstream GOP with the implied intention of helping Trump to expand his base, & to pick up Congressional Trump devotees in the next election. But wait a minute — the present Congress will still be in charge for another year and it enjoys a likelihood of looking successful if the economy continues to improve (even without tax cuts) and if terrorism does not become more frequent. So whether Bannon is crazy or just a dope, it looks like he is tactically inept.

230

Mario 09.01.17 at 9:58 pm

kidneystones @228

we live in amazing times. (Were it not for the bad quality, the snapshot deserves some kind of press photo prize, IMO).

231

Orange Watch 09.01.17 at 10:30 pm

KS, I must say your insistence that “alt-left” Black Blocs are a threat which must be vigorously and loudly addressed lest free speech becomes a thing of the past. Black Bloc is nothing new, even if you only deigned to notice them when they became the new bête noire of the Anglophonic right (because BLM was no longer menacing enough, by all appearances). If failure to repudiate Black Bloc and treat it like an existential threat results in societal collapse and tyranny, that ship has long since sailed…

232

Collin Street 09.02.17 at 12:49 am

The thing about fault-finding is that it’s always possible to find fault, because people are flawed. But that means that finding fault, per-se, is meaningless: definitionally, a constant “signal” carries no information.

So, yeah, kidneystones can find people on the left doing bad things… but “I can find examples of wrong-doing among group X” doesn’t mean a damned thing. It’s always true, and thus its being true in some specific case tells us nothing we didn’t already know. Kidneystones’ posts here could be replaced with a blank gif and we’d learn just as much from them.

kidneystones: a person who is acting in good faith comes to conclusions they genuinely believe to be correct, using the totality of the information they possess. But nothing about that process demands that the conclusions be correct, and if they are in error then the information demonstrating that error will have to be outside the totality of knowledge they possess [because everything inside that totality has already been allowed for in producing the erroneous result, see? the factors that aren’t allowed for have to be unknown]

If you are acting in good faith then you’ll never understand why it is you’re wrong; you have to take the fact of your error on faith until you’ve learned better, and that means you need to trust other people who tell you you’re wrong. The thought pattern of “I don’t understand it, so it must be a mistake”… is pretty much guaranteed to make it impossible for you to learn. Well, not quite: if you lack the ability to trust others — certain abusive upbringings can cause this, among other things — then you’re limited to learning through direct experience. But “direct experience” is a pretty limited learning channel.

233

Raven 09.02.17 at 2:14 am

Collin Street @ 232: The hell of it is, apparently kidneystones does trust… sources like Rupert Murdoch’s neoconservative Weekly Standard, which pretty much guarantees a steady supply of disinformation, what you might call newsfeed generated in bad faith, fed to you.

234

Orange Watch 09.02.17 at 5:50 am

Mario@230:

So a carefully constructed set piece stripped of context that conveys the photographer’s message rather than raw, unfiltered reality is enlightening? Really? You do understand that the photographer from that pic is just as likely as not a confederate of the martyred-looking sign-holder, who was entirely capable of seeking out a maximally angry sign to juxtapose with his so as to suggest that the less civil sign is the response that sought out his careful and civil one rather than vice-versa… right? We only see what the photographer wanted us to see, which is an earnest looking young man starring directly at the camera with a sign he may have been holding for hours or mere seconds.

Photographs aren’t reality. They’re statements by the photographer, and they’re only as honest and unbiased as the photographer. Could you offer some evidence that this photographer is honest and unbiased?

235

Mario 09.02.17 at 9:39 pm

Orange Watch:

here’s the original video. The context is some protest against some alt-right meeting. But frankly, I don’t care: harassing this man in this way cannot be justified, and it shows a repulsive lack of humanity.

I like the picture because it sums up the qualitative asymmetry of the interaction.

Collin Street:

I think that what is new is (1) that the black block is assaulting peaceful civilian targets for having pretty the wrong opinions, and (2) that the moderate left (mainstream liberals in the US, social democrats and greens in Germany, etc) does not really look like having any problem with this. If I understand kidneystones correctly, what he is saying (and that may explain his choice of sources) is that this is at least a PR disaster. The left is perceived as a scary movement of insane hecklers and thugs, and it doesn’t seem to bother too many people. It’s pretty sad, really. And it’s worse, because there is no way to overlook that to some extent, it is true.

You write:

Kidneystones’ posts here could be replaced with a blank gif and we’d learn just as much from them.

You know, I really, really fear that this is true…

236

J-D 09.03.17 at 12:07 am

Mario

here’s the original video. The context is some protest against some alt-right meeting. But frankly, I don’t care: harassing this man in this way cannot be justified, and it shows a repulsive lack of humanity.

I looked at that clip and I thought ‘This obviously starts in medias res; the clip does not show us what happened before the point at which it begins, and what happened before that point obviously affected what happens in the clip.’ At one point one person is shown telling the man with the placard that if he believes in open discussion he should open the door; but what door? to what? why is she suggesting she wants it open and why does he not open it when she asks?

It is obvious that the protesters, or counter-protesters, or whatever they are, are trying to pressure and intimidate the man who is placed as the central figure of the video clip. Seeing people trying to pressure and intimidate somebody is not a pleasure; but that doesn’t mean such behaviour is never justified.

You write that the harassment cannot be justified and that you don’t care about the context; but I don’t understand how you have arrived at that conclusion.

Here’s one line of reasoning which could lead to your conclusion, or something like it, but I don’t know whether it’s your line of reasoning:
Premise 1: Shouting abuse at people and telling them to fuck off and crowding around them so that they feel pressured to move away is never justified.
Premise 2: What this group does to this individual is shout abuse at him and tell him to fuck off and crowd around him so that he feels pressured to move away.
Conclusion: Therefore, what this group does to this individual is not justified.

Here’s a slightly different line of reasoning which could lead to your conclusion, or something like it, but again I don’t know whether it’s your line of reasoning:
Premise 1: Shouting abuse at people while they are holding up signs advocating open discussion and telling them to fuck off and crowding around them so that they feel pressured to move away is never justified.
Premise 2: What this group does to this individual is shout abuse at him and tell him to fuck off and crowd around him so that he feels pressured to move away while he is holding up a sign advocating open discussion.
Conclusion: Therefore, what this group does to this individual is not justified.

If your line of reasoning is drastically different from either of those, I would like to know what it is. But if your line of reasoning involves a premise anything like ‘Premise 1’ in my speculative examples, then you should know that I can find no reason to endorse any such premise, and you’re going to need to justify it if you want to persuade me.

Here’s a significantly different line of reasoning to the same conclusion (which, again, may not be yours or anything like yours):
Premise 1: Any behaviour which is ugly and upsetting to observe is not justified.
Premise 2: The behaviour in the video clip is ugly and upsetting to observe.
Conclusion: The behaviour in the video clip is not justified.
Once again, I don’t accept Premise 1; but once again, maybe Premise 1 is not yours. (It is importnat to mention that I do not dispute Premise 2.) So I think it would be helpful if you did a little more to spell out your line of reasoning.

Even if lines of reasoning like those above are not yours, it often seems that other people use those lines of reasoning, or similar ones, and therefore I think they’re worth discussing even if they aren’t your views. I mention this because I’m hoping to forestall an interchange where you complain about my having misunderstood and misrepresented you. I already know that I may have misunderstood you; that is why I am requesting further explanation.

237

Raven 09.03.17 at 12:17 am

Mario @ 235: “the black block is assaulting peaceful civilian targets”

Yes, indeed. But who actually ARE “the black bloc(k)”? What is their actual political alignment?

Traditionally black (vs. red) is the right-wing color; cf. that song from Les Misérables: “Red – the blood of angry men! / Black – the dark of ages past! / Red – a world about to dawn! / Black – the night that ends at last!”

And in the present day? See this guy’s group here.

238

Collin Street 09.03.17 at 1:02 am

Nazis don’t have meaningful free-speech rights qua naziism because naziism consists of nothing but the desire to hurt and kill others. It’s not actually possible for nazis to peacefully march in support of naziism, because expressing support for naziism is thus inescapably a threat of violence and thus a violent act. This is a pretty unusual situation and normal free-speech heuristics based on non-inherently-threatening-speech don’t apply.

239

Raven 09.03.17 at 5:31 am

Collin Street @ 238: It might be clearer to remove the party label (“Nazi” or “Klan” or “alt-right” or whatever) and go directly to the sort of incitement at issue (as linked above @114), ‘Let’s kill Jews and/or Blacks!’ — is that protected speech, safe to put on signs and megaphones and radio/TV ads? No, that’s ‘incitement to imminent lawless action’, and like inciting to riot, it is criminal in itself.

240

Orange Watch 09.03.17 at 5:50 am

Raven@327:

Left/collectivist anarchist. A clearer statement of this is hard to find than an anarcho-syndicalist flag; a flag that is entirely red on its left side but gradually becomes more black as the flag extends to the left until at the far right side of the flag it’s almost or entirely black. The heraldry represents socialism gradually receding into anarchy with the end goal being no or minimal socialism and a great deal of self-organizing non-heirarchical democratic free association and labor (i.e., collectivist anarchy) replacing it.

Ofc, one major problem with Black Bloc’s principles of anonymous free association is how prone they are to be infiltrated or copycatted by political antagonists…

241

Orange Watch 09.03.17 at 6:08 am

Mario@235:

Thanks for providing context. I’ve seen that shot before but never any hint of context.

But frankly, I don’t care: harassing this man in this way cannot be justified, and it shows a repulsive lack of humanity.

I can’t say it’s tactically smart, but the main reason I’d say that is because it’s giving him exactly what he’s seeking in performing his protest. His goal is a camera on him and his political opponents antagonized to the point where they’ll lash out at someone who is non-confrontational. It’s not a “repulsive lack of humanity”, however. Until the end, it’s bog-standard protestor/counter-protestor interaction and heckling. The counter-counter protestors have every right to picket him, and if you consider the image out of context to capture “a repulsive lack of humanity”, you are vehemently disagreeing with the message the heckled (and eventually assaulted, albeit not terribly violently) counter-protestor ostensibly stands for.

242

Faustusnotes 09.03.17 at 9:37 am

Mario, if Nazi ideas were boiled down to a protest sign it would say “fuck off and die, Jewish scum.” In the picture you think tells us so much, the man on the left is making a poignant plea for people to be allowed to tell other people to fuck off and die, and the woman in the right is exercising her right to do so. Is your problem with the picture that there is no Nazi holding a sign telling her to fuck off and die? Is it that no one should be able to tell anyone to fuck off and die? Or do you think that only nazis should be able to tell other people to fuck off and die? Does the sight of the woman exercising the right to tell people who want her to fuck off and die to fuck off and die especially troublesome for you? Is the issue one of simple manners? That when nazis tell other people to fuck off and die they shouldn’t in return say fuck off? Is the problem hat you don’t understand that nazis actually want Jews and leftists to fuck off and die? Because if you don’t understand the content of the speech you want to defend you might get an unpleasant surprise one day when the people making the speech decide to act on it. You should pay attention! If your problem is that this cycle of fuck offery is just awful, surely you should take that up not with the woman telling the people who told her to fuck off and die to fuck off, but faith the people who told her to fuck off and die?

I think before you bitch and moan about what that photo is telling us, you should clarify for yourself what your issue is with telling people who want you to fuckknof and die to fuck off. Then you can maybe explain what you think that picture is telling us.

My guess though is that your problem is you think only nazis should have the right to tell other people to fuck off and die.

243

Collin Street 09.03.17 at 10:17 am

Collin Street @ 238: It might be clearer to remove the party label (“Nazi” or “Klan” or “alt-right” or whatever) and go directly to the sort of incitement at issue (as linked above @114)

Here’s the thing: the US constitutional requirement that the threat be “immanent” means that we have to distinguish between “let’s kill all the jews right now!” — forbidden — and “let’s kill all the jews later, when nobody is looking”, which is apparently protected.

I don’t think that that’s sustainable. It’s certainly not a distinction I’m going to try to draw anywhere outside a US courtroom.

244

Layman 09.03.17 at 12:44 pm

Collin Street: ‘Here’s the thing: the US constitutional requirement that the threat be “immanent” means that we have to distinguish between “let’s kill all the jews right now!” — forbidden — and “let’s kill all the jews later, when nobody is looking”, which is apparently protected.’

That does sound terrible. The thing is, the statement that actually elicited the ruling you find so objectionable was a comment by a Vietnam-era war protestor who, while complying with police orders to clear the streets, said to a cop words to the effect of “We’ll take the fucking streets later / again.” Was that, in your view, an imminent threat? Or was the court right to dismiss it as a threat which neither incited nor posed any danger of imminent harm? Can you find an example of a threat of the kind you suggest above – an explicit incitement to kill – where the court has ruled that it is protected speech? Or is ‘apparently’ doing a lot of work for you?

Raven: “It might be clearer to remove the party label (“Nazi” or “Klan” or “alt-right” or whatever) and go directly to the sort of incitement at issue (as linked above @114), ‘Let’s kill Jews and/or Blacks!’ — is that protected speech, safe to put on signs and megaphones and radio/TV ads? No, that’s ‘incitement to imminent lawless action’, and like inciting to riot, it is criminal in itself.”

Yes, precisely.

245

Raven 09.04.17 at 1:54 am

Orange Watch @ 240: As you say, anarcho-syndicalism leaves socialism behind, in this sense being at least as much a “Third Way” type path between socialism and anarchism as “neoliberalism” is between classic liberalism and free-market economics.

Have (any of) the violent black-bloc protesters been marked with the diagonally-divided red-and-black anarcho-syndicalist flag?

246

J-D 09.04.17 at 5:44 am

Layman
What is the larger conclusion that you are trying to establish here? that the judgements of the Supreme Court are true and righteous altogether? or what?

247

Dipper 09.04.17 at 8:29 am

@ J-D, Faustusnotes

I thought we’d just about run our course on this one until the next episode appeared. I hadn’t expected it would appear so soon.

Andrew Norfolk writes an article in The Times about a child fostered by muslim foster parents in Tower Hamlets, and now people are calling for him to sacked.. Needless to say the facts are a matter of debate, but the point is that the response here is not to call for further enquiry, or debate whether the article should be printed, it is to call for the journalist to be sacked.

Next up is a legislator calling for a journalist to be fired. from the link you can see lots of Remainers disagree, so we aren’t in settled territory, but nevertheless it is a fairly astonishing thing to happen. Andrew Neil has never to the best of my knowledge openly expressed a view on Brexit, all he has done is to do the job of a political journalist, asking tough questions of people in the political arena.

The thing that ties both these cases is a drive from people to shut down voices they disagree with for no other reason than they they disagree with them. These voices are getting louder and more influential. I know Tom Pride is a deliberately provocative voice and not a person of power, but the way his article is getting approved and circulated round the political twittersphere indicates a lot of people who should know better agree with him. This is the kind of thing we expect to see in totalitarian regimes, not in liberal democracies. If you aren’t worried by this, you should be.

248

Collin Street 09.04.17 at 10:17 am

Layman, it appears you grossly misunderstand me.

Let’s try this from first principles.

A statement A is said to “imply” statement B if for A to be true B must also be true. In that circumstance, the statement “A is true” “implies” “B is true”; it’s not possible/coherent to state your belief in the truth of A without also taking a position on the truth of B, and we treat people who say “A is true” as if they had also said “B is true”.

For naziism to be desireable killing all the jews must also be desireable. “Killing all the jews” is used here as a shorthand for all the vileness associated with “being a nazi”; hopefully there’s not a lot of contention on that point.

Naziism implies jew-killing [as used above]. A statement in support of naziism is “implicitly” — not explicitly — a statement in support of jew-killing. “I am a nazi” implies “I want to kill all the jews”, time-frame not stated.

Statements expressing an intent or a desire to commit violence are threats of violence. Technically this isn’t a full description, but in our area of focus — nazi rhetoric — it’s accurate enough for our purposes. A threat of violence is an act of violence: this is universally held, I think.

Thus! Statements in support of naziism are implicitly — not explicitly, I don’t know where you got “explicit” from — threats of violence and thus acts of violence. A nazi march is an expression of the desireability of violence, and is thus implicitly a threat of violence and is thus an act of violence.

It is known to me that the US legal framework does not categorise things thusly. On numerous occasions I have explicitly rejected the value of the US legal framework for anything except writing US court documents, where for some odd reason it’s regarded as obligatory. Trying to fit my approach into categorisations rooted in the US legal framework is futile.

249

Matt 09.04.17 at 11:21 am

There is a thoughtful and clear articulation of what might be called the “ACLU position” on free speech here:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/09/28/why-we-must-still-defend-free-speech/

By David Cole, Georgetown University law professor and legal director for the ACLU.

250

Orange Watch 09.04.17 at 1:22 pm

Raven@245: I have no doubt. AS advocates direct action just as much as any other traditional anarchist movement. And even more importantly, it’s hardly just AS that fly that flag these days. That’s not really the point, though; the point is that anarchist symbolism traditionally embraces black, and Black Bloc is traditionally a left-anarchist tactic. You asked what their nominal political allegiance was, and you questioned whether black was associated with left or right. In modern political heraldry, anarchism is black (and the majority of organized anarchism remains left-anarchism). This really isn’t a controversial point, or it shouldn’t be, anyway. I’m really not sure what you’re driving at.

251

Orange Watch 09.04.17 at 1:30 pm

Raven@245: I’d also look askance upon your framing that anarcho-syndicalism is some sort of “third way”. It’s more of a “how do we get there from here”, where there is anarchism and here is liberal capitalism or democratic socialism. The key taxonomical difference making the neoliberalism analogy invalid is that third-way liberalism is more concerned with creating an economic state that doesn’t fit cleanly into a well-defined box labeled either capitalist or socialist. Anarcho-syndicalism is advocating the creation of something very much within the traditional space of collectivist anarchism. It’s not third-way in any non-tenuous sense.

252

Raven 09.04.17 at 1:37 pm

Followup to my #245, I find this AFP/Getty photo from Berkeley, with one person waving an anarcho-syndicalist flag in perhaps the 3rd row behind the front line of protesters holding a banner (not committing violence)… so… are among these the same people who committed violence? Or not? And if so, how do we exclude the possibility of a “false flag” / agent provocateur operation?

253

Raven 09.05.17 at 2:54 am

Orange Watch @ 250: “Third Way” as in neither previous side of the left-vs-right divide, having (as you said) left socialism behind.

254

Orange Watch 09.05.17 at 3:24 am

Raven@252-253:

Agent provocateurs are an unavoidable problem with Black Blocs. It’s in their nature. It’s even worse now, as alt-right trolling culture views such activity to be completely natural and admirable – although I would think they’d be less likely to be doing provocation at demos, I’ve read at least one fairly involved bit of investigative journalism from CO which suggestively but inconclusively pointed to ~$80k worth of “Antifa” vandalism thereabouts being false flag.

As to anarcho-syndicalism being “third way” – no. On a standard (i.e., confused and confusing) one-dimensional left-right spectrum, traditional anarchism falls squarely on the left, typically further out than socialism. Anarcho-syndicalism is well within that; it’s not a strange offshoot of anarchism, it’s a particular implementation of anarchist ideals. If you abandon the idea of defining all politics according to a single dimension – or if you choose a dimension other than the traditional muddle offered by left-right dichotomies – anarchism in general or anarcho-syndicalism in particular might be placed on a different side of the origin point than socialism, but as long as we’re using the modern one-dimensional understanding of political left vs. political right, they’re in the same region.

255

Layman 09.05.17 at 3:31 am

J-D: “What is the larger conclusion that you are trying to establish here?”

I think if you read the comment to which I responded – and which I quoted! -the point of my comment is quite clear.

J-D: “that the judgements of the Supreme Court are true and righteous altogether?”

No, that’s not it.

256

J-D 09.05.17 at 3:51 am

Matt

… Our history illustrates that unless very narrowly constrained, the power to restrict the advocacy of violence is an invitation to punish political dissent. A. Mitchell Palmer, J. Edgar Hoover, and Joseph McCarthy all used the advocacy of violence as a justification to punish people who associated with Communists, socialists, or civil rights groups.

Those lessons led the Supreme Court, in a 1969 ACLU case involving a Ku Klux Klan rally, to rule that speech advocating violence or other criminal conduct is protected unless it is intended and likely to produce imminent lawless action, a highly speech-protective rule. In addition to incitement, thus narrowly defined, a “true threat” against specific individuals is also not protected. But aside from these instances in which speech and violence are inextricably intertwined, speech advocating violence gets full First Amendment protection.

That supports two conclusions (among others, of course):
that it is possible to combine defence of free speech with acceptance of some limits on free speech;
that is possible for a change in interpretation of the First Amendment to be an improvement.

I suggest further conclusions: that ‘we must uphold the First Amendment’ is not, by itself, a sufficient response to a question like ‘what should be done about a situation like the one in Charlottesville?’ and that the situation cannot be adequately understood by erecting a simple division between those who support free speech and those who do not.

257

Raven 09.05.17 at 3:57 am

Orange Watch @ 249: Your first link gives good pics for “anarchist” symbolism, including the circled-A; the “Black Bloc” entry says “Black bloc participants are often associated with anarchism — note, not “exclusively” (League of the South wears black and is right-wing), and doesn’t specify just left-anarchism.

As to “modern heraldry”, irrelevant to neo-Confederates: “The Black Flag was flown by certain irregular Confederate Army units in the American Civil War of 1861-1865 to symbolize that they would neither give, nor accept quarter; symbolizing the opposite of the white flag of surrender.” Also: “The color black was famous as the flag of Italy’s National Fascist Party, designed after the party’s paramilitary Blackshirts.” (Among other famous black flags.)

258

TM 09.05.17 at 7:13 am

Another thoughtful article about free speech, critical of the narrow focus of the ACLU:

The A.C.L.U. Needs to Rethink Free Speech
I volunteered with the A.C.L.U. as a law student in 2011, and I respect much of its work. But it should rethink how it understands free speech. By insisting on a narrow reading of the First Amendment, the organization provides free legal support to hate-based causes. More troubling, the legal gains on which the A.C.L.U. rests its colorblind logic have never secured real freedom or even safety for all.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/opinion/aclu-first-amendment-trump-charlottesville.html

And one on violent protest:
Waiting for a Perfect Protest?
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/01/opinion/civil-rights-protest-resistance.html

259

J-D 09.05.17 at 10:36 am

Layman

J-D: “What is the larger conclusion that you are trying to establish here?”

I think if you read the comment to which I responded – and which I quoted! -the point of my comment is quite clear.

Obviously your point is clear to you because, after all, it’s your point! but that doesn’t make it clear to me. It isn’t clear to me what larger conclusion you are arguing for (that’s why I asked you). Your telling me that you think it’s clear doesn’t make it any clearer.

260

Orange Watch 09.05.17 at 12:35 pm

Raven@257:

Please state your thesis. As in, what are you trying to argue, specifically?

Black Blocs as a significant and identifiable phenomena are a left-wing anarchist phenomena. See e.g. every WTO conference that occurred in a state that allows public protest. This is not controversial. Antifa is a loose left-anarchist movement that embraces Black Bloc tactics. See e.g. any of their PR, or look at their heraldry if that’s what you put stock in; it’s black and red for a reason. This is also not intelligibly controversial. The Black Blocs discussed in the context of the current discussion are left-anarchist actions; possibly infiltrated and escalated, but at their core and by bulk numbers made up of individuals whose political beliefs are professed as being left-anarchist. This is not really controversial, either. Unless we dismiss the conventional meanings of the political language we have been using here and elsewhere, an argument that any of the above is in fact controversial is a dramatic claim which requires you to take up the burden of proof; it is not enough to make a vague assertion that some people somewhere do not adhere to the above generalizations, because the political language in question addresses preponderance of beliefs and actions.

So again, please: state precisely what your thesis is.

261

Layman 09.05.17 at 12:41 pm

J-D: “I suggest further conclusions: that ‘we must uphold the First Amendment’ is not, by itself, a sufficient response to a question like ‘what should be done about a situation like the one in Charlottesville?”

Yet, strangely, we’re 250+ comments in, and you’ve yet to suggest any concrete response to questions like ‘what should be done about a situation like the one in Charlottesville?’

It’s almost as if you’re commenting for some other purpose…

262

Layman 09.05.17 at 12:47 pm

Collin Street @ 248, that’s an odd way to acknowledge that

1) the ruling you implicitly decried @243 was in fact one you’d find perfectly reasonable under the circumstances presented by the case, and

2) the conclusions you drew about the import of the ruling are not actually supported by any case law, and

3) you can’t point to anyone in Charlottesville who actually uttered the words you cited in @243 anyway, so

4) you’d like to move on to arguing that people should be prosecuted for the presumed contents of their head.

263

J-D 09.05.17 at 9:04 pm

Layman

J-D: “I suggest further conclusions: that ‘we must uphold the First Amendment’ is not, by itself, a sufficient response to a question like ‘what should be done about a situation like the one in Charlottesville?”

Yet, strangely, we’re 250+ comments in, and you’ve yet to suggest any concrete response to questions like ‘what should be done about a situation like the one in Charlottesville?’

It’s almost as if you’re commenting for some other purpose…

Yes, we’re 250+ comments in, but comments on what? If some commenters think that the question raised by the original post was ‘What should be done about a situation like Charlottesville?’, they’re mistaken. Do you think that pointing out people’s mistakes is not a worthwhile purpose? If you make mistakes, do you not want them pointed out?

In this case, the original mistake was made by anonymousse, eight comments in. It was my mistake not to notice and point this out at the time.

264

J-D 09.05.17 at 11:58 pm

Layman

4) you’d like to move on to arguing that people should be prosecuted for the presumed contents of their head.

It is a routine requirement of criminal prosecutions to provide evidence demonstrating both a criminal action and a criminal intention (‘presumed contents of the head’) on the part of the defendant (the classical maxim is actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea, and looking that up will lead you to discussions of the principle); Collin Street is not suggesting anything different in principle from this routine requirement.

265

Raven 09.06.17 at 12:44 am

Orange Watch @ 260: > “See e.g. every WTO conference that occurred in a state that allows public protest.”

Since, once again, my topic was the minority that actually became violent, and whose true identity and political affiliation were in question, thank you for bringing up the WTO protests as an example — because police agents provocateurs were notably involved in violent behavior, their true identity exposed in such details as boot sole markings, or by running to the shelter of their fellow officers, or casual comments at Seattle 1999, or finally outright admissions in Quebec 2007.

This is not at all a new tactic, see the former COINTELPRO (which has successors).

See also Robert Benjamin’s commentary “Want to Start a Riot? Hire the Police”

266

Raven 09.06.17 at 1:02 am

J-D @ 264, & Layman: For notable instance, it can be precisely the inability of the legally insane to form a mens rea (‘mind [to do the] thing’) — one of the core issues of legal insanity — that entitles them to a “not guilty by reason of insanity” verdict, that is, if the jury concludes from the evidence presented that they do in fact meet the legal criteria for insanity.

Among the sane, well, there’s the difference between voluntary and INvoluntary manslaughter as an example of what’s entirely in the head, the intention of the act.

267

Raven 09.06.17 at 1:13 am

(J-D, do note that involuntary manslaughter is prosecuted specifically without requiring proof of intention on the part of the defendant. If there were proof of intention, a different and more severe crime could and might be prosecuted instead.)

268

Layman 09.06.17 at 1:41 am

J-D: “Collin Street is not suggesting anything different in principle from this routine requirement.”

Maybe you should re-read his comment. I don’t think you quite grasped it. Aside from ‘being a Nazi thinking Nazi thoughts’, what is the criminal action in his example that you, the prosecutor, would pair with the imagined criminal intention? Absent the criminal action, do you agree with him that people who believe in Nazism commit the crime of violence simply by believing in Nazism, or do you think that convicting people of crimes based solely on the contents of their head is probably a bad procedure? Or will you drop this objection and seize on something else to declare wrong? Only you know!

269

J-D 09.06.17 at 2:13 am

Among the sane, well, there’s the difference between voluntary and INvoluntary manslaughter as an example of what’s entirely in the head, the intention of the act.

Maybe there is where you are, but not where I am.

(J-D, do note that involuntary manslaughter is prosecuted specifically without requiring proof of intention on the part of the defendant. If there were proof of intention, a different and more severe crime could and might be prosecuted instead.)

I wrote about a routine requirement, not a universal requirement.

270

Raven 09.06.17 at 4:39 am

Layman @ 268: As I understand conspiracy statutes in the US at least, the criminal intention (planning) shared among multiple conspirators, absent any concrete action at all by any of them, may be safe from prosecution… but let just ONE of them take just ONE concrete act toward executing that shared plan, and ALL the conspirators become legally liable to prosecution. Yes, even though, for all but one, the plan had remained “solely… the contents of their head[s]”.

271

S_Ou_B 09.06.17 at 5:51 am

Let me put it simply: if white supremacists and fascists are going on and on about the impending race war and how they’re going to string everybody else up, then they hardly have any room to get angry–and gutless liberals and socdems even less, unless they have some interest in keeping the fascists around in perpetuity (wink wink)–when someone makes the pre-emptive strike, so to speak.

272

J-D 09.06.17 at 6:22 am

Layman
Yes, oddly enough only I know what I intend to type; strangely enough, our position in this respect is symmetrical, as when you start a new comment only you know what you intend to type. Why you thought it worth drawing attention to this obvious fact escapes me.

Collin Street referred in earlier comments to ‘expressing support for naziism’ and ‘using nazi rhetoric’; those are descriptions of actions, not just thoughts. I am not sure whether Collin Street was suggesting that those actions are against the law as the law stands (if properly understood), or that the law should be changed to make them against the law, or something slightly different from both of those (perhaps Collin Street will want to clarify); but in either case, although there might be valid objections to such a law, ‘it relies on inferences about the contents of people’s minds’ is not one of those objections (in a context where criminal law routinely relies on inferences about the contents of people’s minds).

273

casmilus 09.06.17 at 9:45 am

@247, Dipper

“Needless to say the facts are a matter of debate”

Needless to say facts are *not* a matter of debate. That’s what distinguishes them from opinions.

Dipper, I really think you’d be happier just commenting on ConservativeHome articles. You’d easily pass for an intellectual in a world where the bar is set as low as Daniel Hannan.

274

Collin Street 09.06.17 at 10:43 am

I am not sure whether Collin Street was suggesting that those actions are against the law as the law stands (if properly understood), or that the law should be changed to make them against the law, or something slightly different from both of those (perhaps Collin Street will want to clarify)

Well, it’s clearly not against current US law, or the march would have been banned. Distinguishing “the law is wrong and should be changed” from “the law is wrongly-interpreted and the interpretation should be changed” is… not a game worth the candle, I think, unless you’re actually in court, and even then you’re probably better-off arguing “but I’m a special snowflake and I, specially, should get the nice outcome” each time until the whole structure of the law collapses like a worm-eaten table.

Particularly for US law, where I’m starting to think that studying it too closely cripples your brain like some sort of Lovecraftian tome, Shadow of of Whiteacre or something.

But Layman does have a point: the inescapable logic of my conclusion is that, well, basically acting on naziism is or should be a crime, and the only legal way to be a nazi is to never-ever-ever do anything about it. Which… wasn’t actually what I set out to prove, I’ll be honest. It’s a big result, big implications. But the logic looks solid, and Layman hasn’t actually disputed any of the premises or deductive steps, so it’s the logic I think we have to work within.

275

Raven 09.06.17 at 10:56 am

casmilus @ 273: I believe Dipper’s phrasing referred to “the facts [being] a matter of debate” in the specific, particular case of the challenged report about the child removed from her mother’s care and placed in the foster care of a Muslim family — in other words, a debate whether the report had gotten the “facts” right or wrong, what with images shown to be photoshopped, and statements contradicted by the court record.

Your “Needless to say facts are *not* a matter of debate.” changes the topic to facts in general, which is a category of straw-man argument, contending with a claim your opponent never made.

276

Raven 09.06.17 at 11:09 am

… and, really, are the “facts” as reported in news media never a matter of debate? Say for example, the “facts” that Al Gore had claimed to [direct quote] “invent the Internet” and “discover Love Canal”?

277

Layman 09.06.17 at 12:25 pm

@ J-D, after you’ve made 34 comments in the thread that have nothing to do with the OP, you say your purpose is to correct people who are incorrectly making comments unrelated to the OP. Got it, thanks.

@S_Ou_B, that’s a very strong argument, to arrest people before they commit the crime. What could go wrong?

278

Layman 09.06.17 at 12:28 pm

S_Ou_B: “…unless they have some interest in keeping the fascists around in perpetuity (wink wink)…”

I especially like this part! Now where have I heard that sort of insinuation before now? I can’t quite recall .

279

bob mcmanus 09.06.17 at 6:19 pm

275 comments without me? Oh dear. When did we slip into a discussion of antifa? Oh well

Charnel House Left wing criticism of anti-fascism

“As far as the problem of antifascism is concerned, its numerous supporters are guided not only by a contempt for theoretical work, but by the stupid mania for creating and spreading the confusion necessary to build a broad front of resistance. There must be no demarcation that might put off a single ally, or lose any opportunity for struggle: this is the slogan of antifascism. Here we can see that for them confusion is idealized and considered as an element of victory. We should remember what Marx said to Weitling more than half a century ago, however. Ignorance has never done any service to the workers’ movement.” Bilan 1934

Also Dauve, Bordiga, Trotsky, etc

280

Orange Watch 09.06.17 at 6:48 pm

Raven@265:

At the risk of being both overly blunt and curt: what’s your point? You don’t seem to have one, at least not one you’re willing to state so that its specific claims be examined. And fluid insinuations are not particularly fruitful to address in light of the rhetorical power disparity they create.

So yet again: what is your actual point?

281

J-D 09.06.17 at 8:46 pm

Dipper

The thing that ties both these cases is a drive from people to shut down voices they disagree with for no other reason than they they disagree with them.

I have actually had the experience of being made redundant; I was subsequently redeployed to another position with the same employer, but some of my colleagues who were made redundant at the same time were not. Being sacked does not shut down a person’s voice.

What ties together both the cases you cite is that in both cases some people (or at least one person) said that another person should be removed from a job. If you are objecting to this, I do not understand why. Are you suggesting that ‘This person should be removed from this job’ is the kind of thing that people should not say? You assert that the only reason (in the cases cited) for saying the person should be removed from the job is disagreement with what the person was saying; but it’s not clear in either case that the people who were calling for the removal would have described their reasons in that way, and it’s not clear that your interpretation is fair.

282

Dipper 09.06.17 at 9:33 pm

@casmilus – honestly why do you bother? Facts are in dispute all over the place. Their conflicts with other available evidence, their significance. Your comment is just an empty bubble of gratuitous froth, nothing more.

283

S_Ou_B 09.07.17 at 1:32 am

@Layman, 277
Arrest? Crime? Who said anything about either of these things? That’s the problem with you liberal types, you can only ever imagine the state as the actor in anything, but then by some alchemy “the state” in your moral decrees somehow transforms into “anybody and everybody”. Therefore, since we can’t trust the state and their all-too-eager cops to not bust our heads afterwards (because, no lie, we obviously can’t), nobody can do anything whatsoever and you have to let Nazis with guns and torches march through black and Jewish and whatever other neighborhoods. No, I’m not at the level of asking the state to do anything about the fash, because I’m actually along with you up to the point where you can’t trust the state any farther than you can spit. But that’s not some milksop objection to violence. Right now I’m strictly at the level where, if a group of fascists show up where they aren’t wanted and ask for a fight, then I’m down with the people who are going to give it to them and give it to them good. But let’s just skip ahead to what your next reply night be: do I really trust the unaccountable, unrestrained crowds to pick the right kind of fash to beat up? Uh, yeah, I totally do, because I’m way more okay with a moral excess that goes something like “we were too overzealous in confronting the fash so we happened to pick on some people who are merely sympathetic fellow-travelers of fascists” than “we were too damn afraid of doing anything lest we–god forbid–happen to punch someone who doesn’t actually want genocide and just wants to deport everyone non-white instead or something, so we let a bunch of white supremacists terrorize a town and beat up on anyone who looked at them wrong or looked wrong“, and that’s at the low level of engagement.

@bob, 279

I’m actually mostly going along with that Charnel House article, and it’s better than the Internationalist Perspectives article it quotes from by far because it at least it doesn’t make the absurd claim that you can’t do communist politics at the same time you do antifascism. Obviously, being in bed with liberals and socdems in defense of bourgeois democracy is a losing strategy for communists, but it’s a losing strategy with or without antifascism. And yes, sometimes a fascist makes some people who call themselves communists get cold feet and run to the nearest Macron or something, but this seems to suggest to me that, rather than abandon antifascism, it makes bringing an explicitly communist politics to antifascism all the more necessary. If someone is going to say that we shouldn’t do antifascism because what we really want is communism, then they’ve got to back that up with an argument that actually says antifascism itself is detrimental to communist organizing. To that, I can only say that it seems like there should be fertile ground among people who are already taking the fight against fascism to the man to argue that they should then to then take that fight to the root–that is, against capitalism. At the very least, there’s more fertile ground there than in stepping back and ceding the ground to fascists, to allow situations in which fascists attack and intimidate working-class PoC neighborhoods while so-called communists were nowhere to be seen, indeed were even actively calling for people to not do a damn thing about it.

@Orange, 280
Frankly, I think it’s typical liberal handwringing over violence and the desire to allow the radical section of the left to be isolated, because good leftists couldn’t possibly want to hurt those poor little fash. If your left arm causes you to punch a Nazi, cut it off, they say (probably because they’re worried it will decide to punch a capitalist next). I fly the red and black, and Raven’s absurd maneuvers to try and paint anarcho-syndicalism as some third way position or worse aren’t worth the time. Put simply, the “syndicalism” part refers to a general strategic orientation towards using anarchist unions and working-class organizations. The goal, let’s be clear, is communism. It’s socialism or barbarism.

@Dipper, 247
What, so if a journo straight-up lies to get the racists all riled-up and frothing at the mouth because that fills his pockets, it’s all just an honest mistake no harm done? I won’t have a cry if the bastard is sacked or not. Frankly, your working-clarse politics makes me gag because it’s the same old cover for racist dog whistles. Guess what, buddy, the working class ain’t lily white, and a politics that throws sections of the working class under the bus because they’re not of pure Anglo-Saxon stock or whatever it is you want ain’t a working class politics at all.

284

Raven 09.07.17 at 7:57 am

Orange Watch @ 280: I’ve given you not only “specific claims” but multiple links documenting that police agents provocateurs committed violence in the guise of “black bloc” protesters. Would you like a couple more links? Barcelona 2001, Genoa 2001.

In larger historical context, see 69 instances where officials in the government which carried out false-flag attacks (or seriously proposed an attack) admit to it, either orally, in writing, or through photographs or video. (Echo site.)

285

J-D 09.07.17 at 10:26 am

Layman

@ J-D, after you’ve made 34 comments in the thread that have nothing to do with the OP, you say your purpose is to correct people who are incorrectly making comments unrelated to the OP. Got it, thanks.

Nnnnnnooo, not quite; most of the comments here, including mine, have been part of a massive derail, but I noticed that way too late; so, setting aside the fact that it’s a derail, there’s been a good deal of faulty reasoning in it, worth drawing attention to.

286

TM 09.07.17 at 11:34 am

mcmanus 279: Good grief. The social fascism theory really worked out well for the communists. This drivel is not funny any more.

287

Layman 09.07.17 at 11:43 am

@ J-D, pointing out the faulty reasoning of others is a hard task, which perhaps explains the paucity of people committed to scanning the vast internet in order to do it. I thank you for your generous service, and wonder what we would do without you.

288

Orange Watch 09.07.17 at 4:26 pm

Raven@284:
This is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. You have not made a specific claim upthread, and in this comment you continue to actively avoid doing so. You again presented a pile of links purporting to support your position, but you won’t state what your position actually is. Is it that all Black Blocs are paid police provocateurs? Is it that some are? Is it that all Black Blocs are right-wing provocateurs? Is it that some are? Is it that all the violence is provoked by outsiders infiltrating the groups rather than organically instigated? Is it that the blocs themself are outsiders? Is it that Black Blocs aren’t actually made up of anarchists? Is it they are, but that anarchists are right-wingers posing as left-wingers? Is it that anarchists are right-wingers proudly declaring themselves to be right-wingers? Is it that anarchists are neither left nor right? To varying degrees, you’ve suggested all of the above points, some separately and some serially – but you’ve clearly stated none of the above. You just ask questions, post links, and raise your eyebrow suggestively. Precisely like you did again @284.

S_Ou_B@283:
I’m inclined to agree, but (as my response to them above likely makes clear) I can’t quite pinpoint just how sweeping their claims are. It certainly looks exculpatory of the “respectable left”, but it’s not really clear if they’re trying to cut the arm off at the finger, the wrist, the elbow, the shoulder, or the chin.

I will admit the seemingly-strategic misunderstanding of fairly basic anarchist thought does suggest it may not be worth the trouble of continuing, given how willingly they juxtapose this with fairly involved digging to present data that supports their (as-yet still unstated) point.

289

S_Ou_B 09.07.17 at 4:58 pm

@Raven, 284
States and their armed wings carry out false flag attacks, that’s undeniable. What doesn’t follow is then that you need to then swear off any kind of possible tactic because it might have a police infiltrator or something; if you circumscribe your tactical and then strategic latitude because of these fears, you’ve done most of the state’s work for it. Badjacketing or snitchjacketing those who do carry out more militant actions as “agent provocateurs” does the rest; you’ve successfully neutered the very thing about the movement that the state wanted to suppress and now you yourself are policing the movement. No, the possible presence of infiltrators means only that groups need to practice vigilant security culture and consciously, thoughtfully pick only the fights that they can win.

290

Dipper 09.07.17 at 8:27 pm

@J-D – no-one was calling for these journalists to be made redundant. They were calling for them to be fired for the stories they wrote. If a journalist writes falsehood there are means of obtaining correction and redress; that is not what is being proposed here. Removing journalists from newspapers or TV channels does effectively remove their voice, and ensures those media channels will not repeat the criticism.

291

Mario 09.07.17 at 10:33 pm

S_Ou_B,

out of curiosity: do you think beating up someone, but not killing him, will change his opinions? Relatedly, do you want to kill all fashs (your diction)? And if not, why not?

Do you think beating up such a fash on national television before he can actually say anything bad helps your cause or hurts it? Do you care, incidentally?

Personally, I feel that you and your ilk are more interested in personally having been on the right side (no pun intended) according to some moral algebra than you are interested in solving any real world problem. You don’t even seem to care if you are making things worse for other people, including PoCs, this way. This is the conclusion I draw from observing you deploy unrealistic and self-defeating tactics to achieve unrealistic goals. Like “communism”.

Additionally, I note that you care a lot about form (“I fly the red and black […]”).

Sorry, but that all looks deeply narcissistic to me.

292

S_Ou_B 09.08.17 at 1:38 am

@Mario, 291
Will it convince the fash or even any single fascist to change their opinions? Maybe, maybe not, but why should this be my primary concern, or indeed of anything but the most remote significance? I can’t imagine what, except perhaps an addled mind, could cause you to think that the point of a militant confrontation is to convince the other side that they have wrong ideas. Well, other than the one where they think it’s safe to openly espouse their fascist ideology, anyway. And if we’re talking about recruitment or some bloody thing like that, surely there’s a bigger, more readily receptive, and altogether more pleasant crowd to be found among the people who oppose fascism and white supremacy than among the adherents of that odious shit. Can’t say that most people whose sympathies are with racists who want to string up everyone, rather than with the people who oppose those racists, are going to be less repulsive any time soon either, so maybe I should just tell you to shove off, eh? This is the “conclusion” I draw–loosely speaking, since, in reply to you not making any argument in favor of just broadcasting your moral righteousness at how clean your hands are compared to my ilk, I’ll do the same–from you assuming without substantiation that, since you happen to feel more bad for the fash than the people they attack, this is something that is true of people generally and not just you.

293

kidneystones 09.08.17 at 4:43 am

294

Raven 09.08.17 at 5:32 am

Orange Watch @ 288: > “… you won’t state what your position actually is. Is it that all Black Blocs are paid police provocateurs? Is it that some are? Is it that all Black Blocs are right-wing provocateurs? Is it that some are? … Is it that Black Blocs aren’t actually made up of anarchists? …”

By the time you’d read my #227, “As to the identity and true political allegiance of these violent attackers,” I would have thought you’d understood I referred specifically to those who actually committed violent acts, not to all who dressed in black clothing with masks — just to disambiguate the term “Black Bloc” between the smashing and the fashion statement, and reduce the incidence of equivocation a.k.a. bait-and-switch fallacy…. Read on.

S_Ou_B @ 289: “Badjacketing or snitchjacketing those who do carry out more militant actions as ‘agent provocateurs’ does the rest; you’ve successfully neutered the very thing about the movement that the state wanted to suppress….”

The very fact, the much-documented fact, that police agents provocateurs have so very often carried out militant actions in the guise of protesters, as a means to discredit and thereby justify shutting down the real protesters’ movements, shows that is the very thing the state does NOT want to suppress but to encourage, which is the “provoke” part of “provocateur” (the classic such agent joins groups and encourages them to commit illegal actions they otherwise wouldn’t, so they will get arrested).

The Seattle 1999 anti-WTO protests were organized by Direct Action Network, which spent weeks beforehand training its thousands of protesters in non-violent practice. (Neopagan author Starhawk writes about that here.) I’ve already linked above, and here I link again, the revealing comment made by black-clad supposed protesters to a reporter there. Neither DAN-affiliated nor actual anarchists, it appears, but government agents doing S.O.P. Similarly at Barcelona 2001, Genoa 2001, Quebec 2007.

295

Mario 09.08.17 at 7:25 am

I can’t imagine what, except perhaps an addled mind, could cause you to think that the point of a militant confrontation is to convince the other side that they have wrong ideas.

You know, I’ve noticed that. But what is the point, then? It is a serious question. What are you trying to achieve? My hypothesis is that you just want to feel good about yourself (in the worst sense, actually, by beating up people and feeling powerful in the process), and don’t really give a damn about anyone else (hence narcissism). But I am willing to consider an alternative explanation.

296

J-D 09.08.17 at 9:46 am

Dipper
It is true, obviously, that removing journalists from their jobs as journalists (whether by way of redundancy, by way of firing, or by way of any other mechanism) takes away from them the enhanced ability to disseminate their views which are provided by their jobs; an enhancement which most of us have to cope without all our lives long. If those journalists had been sacked, they would still have had as much voice as you or I. I cannot figure out what you think is the general principle you are defending here: whether it is that the firing of a journalist is a suggestion that should not be made; or that the firing of a journalist for something that journalist has written or broadcast in a journalistic capacity is a suggestion that should not be made; or something else again.

297

Collin Street 09.08.17 at 11:11 am

@J-D: it’s actually better than that. Remember, the job of journalists is, fundamentally, the writing of stories: viewed from that perspective, “fired for the stories they wrote” is, well, about the best thing they could possibly be fired for.

I mean,
+ problematic workplace relationship stuff [sexual harrasment, never refilling the biscuit tin, too much posting on crooked timber]
+ pissing off suppliers or clients by [insert shitty thing here]
+ not being able to deliver the good-or-service you’re contracted for.
For a journalist, that last is “deliver a readable story that isn’t a tissue of lies”; if you can’t or won’t do that, then not only can you be fired “for the stories you wrote” but you bloody well ought to be.

I mean, if someone said, “they’re only firing the architect because of the buildings they designed”, you’d say, “but of course; what else could they be fired for?” But for some reason, sub in “journalist” for “architect” and it doesn’t trigger the, “what are you, a moron?” reflex.

[there’s this strange… well, not strange at all, I have a Thesis! that explains it… there is a noticeable tendency for problematic discourse on the internet to revolve around labels that are… atomic and unanalysible. Have no properties, convey nothing beyond themselves. A nazi or a journalist is a nazi or a journalist only; only the bare fact of their X-ism can be invoked, not the properties that their being an X-ist necessitates that they have. So the label “journalist” becomes disassociated from the property “writes stories for money”, and the label “nazi” becomes dissassociated from the property “wants to kill jews”.]

298

Faustusnotes 09.08.17 at 12:38 pm

I would have thought a basic measure of ability to do a journalistic job is the ability to get facts straight. If this arsehole journalist in the times used the anonymity of sources to tell lies about his topic (and it appears he did) then he is not qualified to be a journalist. I’m sorry dipper, I know you think that the role of journalists is to lie in support of your ideas but that isn’t what journalism is. Dude’s a liar: sack him.

299

alfredlordbleep 09.08.17 at 5:22 pm

From David Cole’s piece (@249). This nugget on the ACLU pre-Kristallnacht:

What about speech and weapons? The ACLU’s executive director, Anthony Romero, explained that, in light of Charlottesville and the risk of violence at future protests, the ACLU will not represent marchers who seek to brandish weapons while protesting. (This is not a new position. In a pamphlet signed by Roger Baldwin, Arthur Garfield Hays, Morris Ernst, and others, the ACLU took a similar stance in 1934, explaining that we defended the Nazis’ right to speak, but not to march while armed.)

300

Orange Watch 09.08.17 at 6:08 pm

Raven@294:
So what you are doing is in fact advocating for the adoption of a fallacy of composition as the conversational baseline so as to deny the historical fact of direct action – to include quite possibly counterproductive direct action – by groups further to the left than your comfortable roost.

There really is no reason to continue. I’m done.

301

Raven 09.08.17 at 10:08 pm

Orange Watch @ 300: While buzzwording your reply to the max, you’ve managed to completely miss a point repeatedly put in simple English. Isn’t that odd?

302

Peter T 09.08.17 at 11:27 pm

While I would not recommend it as ordinary practice, killing 6 million Germans and wrecking much of the country does seem to have changed German minds about the virtues of Nazism. Likewise, killing some tens of thousands of ISIS members does seem to have changed a few minds about the wonders of the Salafist paradise. Violence is repulsive, but not therefore useless….

Comments on this entry are closed.