Pixel Scroll 3/22/18 And The Pixels Were All Kept Equal By Hatchet, Ax And Saw

(1) TECH IMPROVED, ETHICS STAYED THE SAME. The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne Jr., in “Yes, we should be outraged about Facebook” analyzes The 480, a 1964 near-future sf novel by Eugene Burdick (co-author of Fail-Safe) in which “people who work with slide rules and calculating machines which can remember an almost infinite bits of information” have divided the U.S. into 480 demographic groups in order to manipulate them into supporting a dark-horse Republican presidential candidate.  Dionne brings up this novel in the context of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal and notes that Burdick based his novel on efforts by Simulatrics Corp. to support the Kennedy campaign in 1960.

(2) INVOLUNTARY EXPERIMENT. The Guardian says Kim Stanley Robinson told them — “Empty half the Earth of its humans. It’s the only way to save the planet”.

Cities are part of the system we’ve invented to keep people alive on Earth. People tend to like cities, and have been congregating in them ever since the invention of agriculture, 10,000 or so years ago. That’s why we call it civilisation. This origin story underlines how agriculture made cities possible, by providing enough food to feed a settled crowd on a regular basis. Cities can’t work without farms, nor without watersheds that provide their water. So as central as cities are to modern civilisation, they are only one aspect of a system.

There are nearly eight billion humans alive on the planet now, and that’s a big number: more than twice as many as were alive 50 years ago. It’s an accidental experiment with enormous stakes, as it isn’t clear that the Earth’s biosphere can supply that many people’s needs – or absorb that many wastes and poisons – on a renewable and sustainable basis over the long haul. We’ll only find out by trying it.

Right now we are not succeeding. The Global Footprint Network estimates that we use up our annual supply of renewable resources by August every year, after which we are cutting into non-renewable supplies – in effect stealing from future generations. Eating the seed corn, they used to call it. At the same time we’re pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a rate that is changing the climate in dangerous ways and will certainly damage agriculture.

(3) TOLKIEN AND LEWIS AT WAR. As reported here in December, a five-part documentary film series A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War about “the transformative friendship between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien forged amid the trauma of war,” is in production. A new trailer has been posted. The film’s release date is set for November 11, 2018, to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I.

The documentary film series, “A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War,” explores how the experience of two world wars shaped the lives and literary imagination of two internationally famous authors and friends, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Based on Joseph Loconte’s New York Times bestseller, the film examines how Tolkien’s combat experience during the First World War—at the Battle of the Somme—launched him on his literary quest. The film reveals how the conflict reinforced Lewis’s youthful atheism—he was injured in combat—but also stirred his spiritual longings. The film traces the careers of both men at Oxford University, and their deepening friendship as they discover a mutual love of medieval, romantic literature. Facing the threat of another world war, Tolkien and Lewis reach back into their earlier experience of war as they compose their epic works of fantasy, The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia.

 

(4) HOWARD AWARD. The eligibility list for the 2018 Robert E, Howard Foundation Awards has been posted.

This is full list of eligible candidates for the 2018 REH Foundation Awards. Legacy Circle Members will select the top three nominees in each category from this preliminary ballot. From those final nominees all Premium REHF members will vote for the winners. The awards will be given out at a special ceremony at Howard Days in Cross Plains on June 8.

(5) APOLLO STILLS PUT IN MOTION. Mark Hepworth sent a link to these “Very cool Apollo gifs” at Medium “I looked through all 14,227 Apollo photos… and made GIFs.”

A few days ago Jared Kinsler compiled an excellent selection of the photos of the Apollo missions, which you should check out here…

(6) DINO LUST. They look like horns, but in reality they were babe magnets: “Triceratops may have had horns to attract mates”.

Dinosaurs like the Triceratops may have had horns and frills to attract a mate, a new study suggests.

Ceratopsian, or horned dinosaurs, were previously thought to have developed this ornamentation to distinguish between different species.

This has now been ruled out in a study published in a Royal Society journal.

Instead, the aggressive-looking armour may actually have evolved to signal an animal’s suitability as a partner, known as socio-sexual selection.

“Individuals are advertising their quality or genetic make-up,” explained Andrew Knapp, lead author of the research reported in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“We see that in peacocks too, with their tail feathers.”

(7) SF OBSCURE. Echo Ishii’s search through TV history leads to “Hard Time on Planet Earth”.

Hard Time on Planet Earth was an American series broadcast for 13 episodes in 1989 starring Martin Kove. An elite alien military officer is sentenced to earth as his penalty for rebellion. He is given human form-much weaker than his older form-and sent to Earth to improve his violent behavior. (Or maybe curb his violent instincts or learn about goodness, it all gets a bit murky.) Anyway, he’s banished to Earth with an AI system called Control to monitor him. He’s given the name Jesse. Control  is a giant, floating mechanical eye. Jesse has to help people in need to get back into the Ruling Council’s favor.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY CAPTAIN

  • Born March 22, 1931 – William Shatner

(9) HE’S FEELING BETTER. An ad was gaining clicks by falsely reporting Shatner’s death, and the actor teed off on Facebook: “William Shatner Rails at Facebook After Being Told That He’s Dead”.

“Hey @facebook isn’t this your messenger app? What’s up with you allowing this Acocet Retail Sales ad to pass your muster? Thought you were doing something about this?” Shatner wrote.

A Facebook employee later responded with the assurance that the ad and the page had been removed from Facebook. Still, news of Shatner’s demise couldn’t come at a worse time for the actor, as he is expected to turn 87 on Thursday.

It also couldn’t come at a worse time for Facebook, which has been reeling recently over news that 50 million Facebook users unknowingly had their information lifted by data firm Cambridge Analytica.

(10) MEMEWHILE. Elsewhere on the internet, #AddShatnerToAnything was the order of the day. For example…

(11) COMICS SECTION.

  • John King Tarpinian tuned into Broomhilda just as she was about to take gas.

(12) CONS AS PUBLIC UTILITY. Will Shetterly considered himself to have nothing in common with Jon Del Arroz apart from also having been banned from a convention. Well, now that Shetterly has cast shade on Jim C. Hines’ post about JDA’s track record of harassment, in “Two privileges of attending science fiction conventions, and a little about Jon Del Arroz’s law suit”, they have that in common, too. However, this passage struck me as the most interesting part of the post:

Before conventions began banning people, the fundamental privilege of attending science conventions wasn’t discussed because, by capitalist standards, the privilege was fair: anyone who had money could go, and anyone who didn’t, well, capitalist fairness is never about people who don’t have money.

But now that conventions have begun banning people, it’s time to acknowledge the second privilege. Though the genre has grown enormously, it’s still a small community at the top. If you hope to become a professional, it can be enormously helpful to attend WorldCon, the World Fantasy Convention, and literary conventions like ReaderCon, WisCon, and Fourth Street Fantasy. Once your career has begun, you need to be able to attend the Nebulas Awards too. Obviously, only the very privileged can go to most of those conventions regularly, but anyone who wants to make a career in this field should, every year, pick one from from Column A (WorldCon, World Fantasy, Nebula Awards), one from Column B (ReaderCon, WisCon, Fourth Street Fantasy), and one from Column C (local convention, regional convention, major commercial convention like DragonCon).

Being banned from any convention is an enormous blow to a writer’s ability to be a writer, and especially to a new writer’s ability to last in the field. It keeps you from meeting fellow professionals and getting useful tips, and it keeps you from making new fans.

(13) HIMTOO. Shetterly’s post prompted this recollection from Bruce Arthurs:

(14) BRANDED. The logical companion volume to Gene Wolfe’s The Death of Doctor Island and Other Stories and Other Stories, eh John?

(15) NEVER TOO LATE. Kim Wilde is making a comeback, with added science fiction: “Kim Wilde says aliens inspired her pop comeback”.

As a keen sci-fi fan (Arrival and ET are her favourite films), Wilde is fully embracing the theme of her new album – from the sleeve’s terrific B-movie artwork, to the stage show for her upcoming tour.

“I’ve got this little wardrobe set up, of fantastic capes and cloaks,” says the singer, who previously bought her outfits at jumble sales.

“We’re going to go a bit sci-fi and we’re going to a bit glam rock. It’ll be sexy and fun and something to put a big smile on people’s faces. I’m really excited about it.”

(16) A CLOCKWORK COD. Do Asimov’s Laws apply here? “Researchers create robotic fish that can swim underwater on its own”.

Observing fish in their natural ocean habitats goes a long way toward understanding their behaviors and interactions with the surrounding environment. But doing so isn’t easy. Using underwater vehicles to get a look at these species is one option, but they often come with a slew of limitations. Some are loud and use propellers or jet-propulsion that disturb fish and their surroundings. And many are designed in a way that doesn’t allow them to blend in with the marine environment. Controlling such vehicles is also a challenge and in many cases, they have to be tethered to a boat. But researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have come up with a potential solution — a soft robot that can swim on its own underwater.

(17) SEE FOOD. Apparently no fish were harmed in the making of this food? “3D-printed sushi looks like the perfect 8-bit meal” at Cnet.

At this year’s SXSW, Japanese technology company Open Meals revealed its Pixel Food Printer, which 3D-prints edible sushi, and other food, that looks like it was meant for a retro video game.

The pixelated food, including sushi and burgers, is printed first by using the Food Base digital platform that stores data on the exact flavor, shape, texture, color and nutrients of foods.

Then the actual Pixel Food Printer uses a robotic arm that prints out small pixel cubes made of edible gel with the corresponding flavors, colors and nutrients of the type of food being printed out.

(17) SEA PLASTIC. Printing seafood may be necessary at this rate: “Plastic patch in Pacific Ocean growing rapidly, study shows”.

Predictions suggest a build-up of about 80,000 tonnes of plastic in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” between California and Hawaii.

This figure is up to sixteen times higher than previously reported, say international researchers.

One trawl in the centre of the patch had the highest concentration of plastic ever recorded.

“Plastic concentration is increasing – I think the situation is getting worse,” said Laurent Lebreton of The Ocean Cleanup Foundation in Delft, Netherlands, which led the study.

“This really highlights the urgency to take action in stopping the in-flow of plastic into the ocean and also taking measures to clean up the existing mess.”

Waste accumulates in five ocean areas, the largest being the patch located between Hawaii and California.

(18) KGB. Ellen Datlow shared her photos taken at Fantastic Fiction at KGB on March 21.

Despite our blizzard, people did indeed show up for our reading. They were rewarded by hearing wonderful work by Kelly Robson and Chandler Klang Smith.

(19) SCI-FI SAVES DOG. David Gerrold’s “Jasmine and Friends Book Sale” at GoFundMe is raising money to pay a vet bill and assist a couple of friends. Donate to it and you get some of David’s books.

Our little Jasmine is sixteen years old. She specializes in naps and laps. A few weeks ago, she stopped eating and appeared to be in serious decline.

The vet determined that she had developed a serious abscess in her mouth and needed immediate surgery before she weakened further. She ended up having seven teeth extracted as well.

The good news is that she survived the operation, her mouth is healing, and she’s eating again. She’s out of pain and she’s acting like her old self.

The bad news is that the vet bill was high. Very high. We thought we’d be able to cover it, but despite the vet helping us with a payment plan, we’re still falling short.

Add to that, we have a couple friends who could use a serious financial infusion. Several people on Facebook asked if they could help, so we decided to do it this way.

We’re holding a book sale.

Any donation at all will get you a link to download a set of three stories: “The Bag Lady,” “The Great Milo,” and “Chester” (which was inspired by Jasmine’s best buddy of fifteen years.)

Any donation of $20 or more gets you a link to download a copy of “Jacob”, my vampire novel, plus all the previous.

Any donation of $40 or more gets you a link to download a copy of “thirteen, fourteen, fifteen o’clock” plus all the previous.

Any donation of $60 or more gets you a link to download a copy of “Entanglements and Terrors” (my short story collection) plus all the previous.

Any donation of $80 or more gets you a link to download a copy of “A Promise O f Stars” (another short story collection) plus all the previous.

Any donation of $100 or more gets you all of the above, plus a copy of the Megapack, a flash drive with a half million words of stories, scripts, and stuff. (You’ll have to include a shipping address.)

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Meredith, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Dann.]

297 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/22/18 And The Pixels Were All Kept Equal By Hatchet, Ax And Saw

  1. Will, that’s not a fair summary. Here’s a version that can be discussed:

    “We’re the good guys. We violate our belief in freedom of speech and not hitting people when our lives and liberty are sufficiently threatened. They’re the bad guys. They seek to eliminate freedom of speech and actively practice hitting people as matters of belief and ideology. Thus we regard them as a threat but disagree on how great a threat.”

    Is that a distinction without a difference? It is in the wrong hands. Is that inconsistent? In some ways, sure.

    But it’s based on true facts. Some of these people are actual practicing “let’s go kill some folks when we can get away with it” Nazis. This escalates the situation from “What individual threw the first punch?” into something more dire, more like being attacked by enemy soldiers than arrested by the police.

  2. @Contrarius

    I also can’t think of a historical example of “voluntary” relocation that was a) voluntary and b) stayed that way.

    I’m unimpressed with anyone who worries about slippery slopes on the left, but ignores the virulent racists building a water slide.

  3. @Will Shetterly–

    Nigel, is this a fair summary of your position?

    “We’re the good guys–we oppose free speech and support hitting people for saying what they think . They’re the bad guys–they oppose free speech and support hitting people for saying what they think.”

    That is quite transparently not even intended to be a fair summary. It’s just a pathetic attempt at bullying.

  4. John, while I prefer the authoritarian left to the authoritarian right, if they’re opposing free speech and beating up speakers, it’s really hard to tell the difference. Especially if they’re dressing in black.

    Meredith, I’m a democratic socialist like George Orwell. There’s no reason you can’t support free speech and fight fascists. Well, unless you don’t support free speech.

    Lis, bullying? Was he supporting free speech and opposing hitting people for speaking, and I was reading too fast?

  5. I’m going to try to condense my responses, but I’ll probably end up with at least a couple of long posts to cover everyone. Apologies!

    @Jayn —

    As far as I can tell from this discussion, not one person here has stated that punching Nazis should not legally be considered a crime, just that the emotional impulse to hit someone[….]is completely understandable and to be sympathized with, even if we acknowledge it should be legally prosecuted.

    More than “sympathized with”, though — some have affirmed, either directly or indirectly, that they believe it is the Right Thing To Do.

    Instead you move on to criticizing unspecified people who punch people at rallies who are chanting ‘blood and soil’ and ‘Jew will not replace us!’ because they didn’t calmly interview the chanters to find out whether they were advocating violent displacement or ‘voluntary relocation’ before daring to have their angry reaction.

    You’re veering into fantasy territory here, Jayn. I have neither criticized anyone nor assumed that people chanting “blood and soil” and so on are not Nazis.

    You now seem to want to demand

    Nope. I have not demanded anything from anyone.

    And when I call you on whether your fine discerning eye would qualify the man at the center of the original joke as an actual Nazi or not – you dodge the question and obfuscate

    I don’t even know what or who you’re talking about here. Will Shetterly? No, not a Nazi. Jim Hines? Not a Nazi. Richard Spencer? If not a full-throated Nazi, perilously close to being one.

    (discussion of creeping oppression of Jews, ending with ) So why can’t we just sit and discuss the pros and cons of Naziism like civilized men?

    The problem here is that you’re ignoring all the steps between “sit and discuss” and “initiate physical violence”.

    Again — it is not my responsibility to defend any foot-dragging by the Allies at the beginning of WWII, and I’m not going to even try. But we do need to remember that there are a lot of remedies for someone’s bad behavior besides physical violence. Again, the “you’re either tolerating or punching” idea is a false dichotomy.

    @John A Arkansawyer —

    What makes you think it’s (voluntary relocation) stupid?

    It’s stupid in sooo many ways. Just a few off the top of my head:

    1. The idea that a “pure” society is preferable — stupid.
    2. The idea that people could be induced to give up their homes, possessions, friends, etc. — stupid.
    3. The idea that such relocations would not lead to massive societal and economic disruptions — stupid.

    I could go on!

    @Hampus —

    This is what nazis look like in Sweden.

    Hampus, please don’t try to extrapolate from Sweden to the US. The people we’ve been talking about — like Richard Spencer and Matthew Heimbach — are in the US. The protests we’ve been talking about — like Charlottesville, Shelbyville, Murfreesboro, and the protests Lenora has attended — are in the US. The black-clad Antifa we’ve been talking about are in the US. Jim Hines and Will Shetterly are in the US. Naturally, we are therefore focusing on conditions in the US.

    @imnotandrei —

    I object — this standard holds, in essence, that once a person has engaged in “violence” towards you, any retribution, no matter how temporally distant, is not “initiation”.

    This is a very valid objection. But keep in mind that some folks here are supporting the initiation of violence against people who have NEVER engaged in physical violence towards you. Your situation is several steps up the moral ladder from there.

    Additionally, in your case, it was not just one instance — by your own retelling, it was multiple.

    If the stated beliefs and prior actions of a group lead one to believe there’s a credible threat

    Here we have the “credible threat” idea again — and I think that’s a good idea to keep in mind.

    1. When do protesters become a credible threat?
    2. If a protester truly is a credible threat, why would you want to initiate violence against them? For a somewhat ridiculously extreme comparison (but one I have actually been faced with IRL): if you see a tiger that has gotten out of its cage at a zoo, do you run up and punch it? Or do you try to find a non-violent way to control the situation?

    That’s because they withdrew from the field.

    RIGHT!

    If you had simply punched them, you would have initiated a fight. That would not have been desirable. But you did NOT actually punch them — and a fight was avoided.

    So which was more effective at protecting everyone — a punch, or using your words instead?

    “Do they, or the people they idolize, directly advocate the elimination or subjugation of groups I am in? If so, especially if they appear to be gaining ground in that direction, or are in sufficient force as to make it potential, that might be a credible threat.”

    Your definition of “credible threat” seems to be creeping here. Originally I thought you meant credible threat in a physical sense — a credible threat of violence — but now you seem to mean a credible threat politically.

    If people understand me much more than my opponent, *after* I’ve hit them, then I have come out ahead in the “good guy” stakes.

    Ehhhhhhhh. Punching Richard Spencer provided lots of ammunition to the right — sure, lots of folks could understand why he got punched, but do we really want to hand that sort of political ammo to the enemy? Or do we really believe that Dirty Harry-ing our frustrations (punch the scumbags) is the right way to go, even when it’s understandable?

    me: ”Should we really applaud someone who doesn’t have enough self-control to avoid reacting to an insult with violence?”

    you: Note that you’ve shifted from “credible threat” here to “insult”.

    Not really. The incident you detailed involved a guy sieg-heiling you, right? I’m not gonna go look it up right now, so apologies if I’m misremembering. That’s an insult, not a credible threat of imminent violence.

    I will note, as the case of Richard Spencer’s withdrawal from his campus tour demonstrates, that my argument is “We can hit first because it is, when applies correctly, an effective tool against those who would do a greater evil.” Do not mistake “is sometimes better than the alternatives” for “righteous”, please.

    This sounds like a disagreement with my claim #2, which stated that initiating violence is politically/strategically dumb in most circumstances. See my example above, that Spencer getting punched handed a lot of ammunition to the right.

    Was Spencer’s withdrawal actually because of the punch, or was it actually because of all the protesters who disrupted his speeches WITHOUT punching him?

  6. @Lenora —

    Well yes. But I can’t, from my position of relative comfort (very relative as am bouncing about on a bus with a somewhat lead-footed driver), reliably predict the exact circumstances or how likely withdrawal to safety is.

    Absolutely true. As the old aphorism goes, to the best of my memory: “no battle plan survives the first encounter with the enemy.”

    In this case, though, your guiding principle would not be “punch a Nazi”. Your guiding principle would be something more like “try to keep my buddy out of trouble, and try to keep them from getting killed if they get themself into trouble.” And I’ve got no problem with that.

    It seems to me you are expending s huge amount of energy to explain how every possible scenario can be not-hit-first and every possible case where someone did and it was part of a successful movement was probably unnecessary due to other factors and every single ally who ever does so is a bad person always. Not as bad as a Nazi but still bad.

    If that’s really how it seems to you, then either I am not writing carefully or you are not reading carefully — or both. For one thing, I haven’t called anyone at all a bad person, except for Nazis and their buddies.

    But as for expending energy and testing all the scenarios, well, yes. In case you hadn’t figured it out yet, my favorite part of all those philosophy/logic/ethics classes I took in college and grad school was arguing the various ethical questions. And, yup, that involves testing every scenario you can think of and taking a close look at all the niggling details. That’s how ethics works. No, I don’t claim to be especially good at it — only enthusiastic. 😉

    @Meredith —

    I also can’t think of a historical example of “voluntary” relocation that was a) voluntary and b) stayed that way.

    I’ve already very clearly stated that it’s a stupid idea, so I don’t see your point here.

    I’m unimpressed with anyone who worries about slippery slopes on the left, but ignores the virulent racists building a water slide.

    I’m unimpressed with anyone who ignores the fact that I am clearly NOT ignoring anything about virulent racists, so I guess we’re even. 😉

    Yet again: I have attended two counterprotests myself. And yet again: the idea that we are either tolerating Nazis or punching them is a false dichotomy. There are many things we can do to discourage, disrupt, face down, and hold to account that sort of idiot without initiating violence against them.

    @Will —

    John, while I prefer the authoritarian left to the authoritarian right, if they’re opposing free speech and beating up speakers, it’s really hard to tell the difference. Especially if they’re dressing in black.

    Personally, I’m comfortable with limiting speech at incitement to violence. As I’ve mentioned previously, I think the courts have been much too lenient in letting people get away with violent speech. I would not have a problem with fining or perhaps even jailing someone who said “Jews should be killed” or “Nazis should be killed”. Or someone who said “that guy needs to be punched”.

    Freedom of speech is not absolute — we already have multiple limitations on it. And I would fully support a broader interpretation of limits on violent speech.

  7. @Contrarius

    If you’re going to tell me that oh, the virulent racists only want voluntary relocation, then you’re ignoring the water slide. If they got an ounce of power it would stop being voluntary overnight; the “voluntary” claim is a figleaf to try and get social acceptability. That’s the slippery slope/water slide you’re ignoring, even denying, in favour of handwringing over whether the virulent racists getting punched are Nazi-brand virulent racists or off-brand virulent racists.

    The rest wasn’t disagreeing with anything I said, so I’m not sure why you put it there. I’m neither pro-Nazi punching nor anti-Nazi punching, nor have I equated either of those things with tolerating Nazis.

  8. @Meredith —

    If you’re going to tell me that oh, the virulent racists only want voluntary relocation, then you’re ignoring the water slide.

    Except that doesn’t represent what I actually said. And, of course, I never said anything about not taking measures to dissuade any variety of racist.

    Go back and read my posts again.

    The rest wasn’t disagreeing with anything I said, so I’m not sure why you put it there.

    Because, of course, some people keep implying (or stating outright) that if I oppose initiating violence, I am — as you put it — “ignoring the water slide”. Which is, of course, utter nonsense.

  9. @Contrarius

    Who said anything about forced relocation? They hope to convince everyone that relocation is the right thing to do — voluntary relocation. Yes, it’s still stupid — but it isn’t violent.

    Yup, still says what I remember it saying.

  10. Contrarius:

    “Hampus, please don’t try to extrapolate from Sweden to the US.”

    I’m not. I’m only saying that you are moving goalposts and assuming things about other people when you say that they aren’t talking about punching nazis, but instead talking about people who perhaps maybe possible could be nazis.

    We are talking about punching nazis. Some nazis are clearly recognizable. You are moving goalposts when you start to talk about people who are not clearly recognizable as nazis.

  11. @Meredith —

    Yup, still says what I remember it saying.

    Now read it again. Does that say “virulent racists” anywhere? No, it does not. Does that say “ignore the consequences of what these idiots believe”? No, it does not. Does that say “I believe their goals could actually be obtained as they think they can”? No, it does not.

    Please stop putting words in my mouth, and please stop ignoring things that I’ve actually said. Read what I told John A Arkansawyer about some of the reasons I think the “peaceful relocation” idea is stupid. Read some of the things I’ve said — in multiple posts — about nonviolent ways to deal with various stripes of racist idiots. Read some of the things I’ve said — in multiple posts — about the vast gulf between “ignoring the waterslide” and initiating violence.

    I’m not ignoring anything. Please stop pretending that I am.

  12. @Contrarius–

    You are ignoring the fact that the people talking about “voluntary” relocation are in fact virulent racists. That only virulent racists talk about relocation of entire populations of people other than themselves for reasons other than virulent racism.

    And that there is zero chance that the relocations would remain “voluntary” if these violent, racist scumbags once got the power to act on their ideas.

    I don’t even believe throwing the first punch is a good idea, and you’ve been doing nothing but piss me off and persuade me that I’m likely wrong, if the arguments you’re making are the best you’ve got. It has all been specious, dishonest reasoning, gaslighting, and condescension.

    You will not persuade anyone, this way.

  13. @Contrarius

    I’m going to point out, again, that claiming “voluntary relocation” is a real thing is ignoring the slipperiest of virulently racist slopes in favour of worrying about whether people really mean Nazis when they say Nazis.

    And the rest continues to have nothing to do with anything I’ve said.

  14. @Will Shetterly I’m curious what your opinion is of this distinction, from an article in Jacobin: “For groups like the ACLU, violent intimidators should enjoy the same free speech rights as racist persuaders like Jensen, Hernstein, and Murray until the speech becomes dangerous. For the antiracist left, violent intimidators are categorically different from racist persuaders.”

    It draws a distinction between persuasive speech and speech intended for intimidation by groups known for that — citing, for example, Oswald Moseley’s BUF march in East London.
    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/02/garton-ash-free-speech-milo-yiannopoulos

    Because that certainly seems to be a socialist discussion of “free speech” that permits both free speech — and the punching of (at least English) Nazis. 🙂

  15. @Contrarius
    This is a very valid objection. But keep in mind that some folks here are supporting the initiation of violence against people who have NEVER engaged in physical violence towards you. Your situation is several steps up the moral ladder from there.

    1) I have not seen such folks, because …
    2) If the people in question are espousing Nazi-adjacent beliefs, they are putting themselves in a category of people who have engaged in physical violence towards me in the past, voluntarily. If someone wishes to call themselves a Nazi, or borrows large amounts of their iconography and beliefs, I will, not unreasonably, be willing to take them at their word.

    Here we have the “credible threat” idea again — and I think that’s a good idea to keep in mind.
    1. When do protesters become a credible threat?

    I am not particularly interested in drawing out a detailed definition, because that’s one of those things where one person’s “credible threat” is another’s “high annoyance”. If a person of a threatened population feels a reasonable risk to their own health and well-being, I would call that a credible threat.

    ?2. If a protester truly is a credible threat, why would you want to initiate violence against them?

    This is the lesson I learned in dealing with bullies, in dealing with queerbashers, etc. They expect (often) to be in control of the timing of violence, choosing when or when not to dish it out. The first, sudden strike is often disabling (purely on a tactical level) and definitely removes the situation from the threatener’s control. That’s why. I don’t recommend doing it one against a mob, but there are times it has, quite literally, worked for me.

    If you had simply punched them, you would have initiated a fight. That would not have been desirable. But you did NOT actually punch them — and a fight was avoided.
    So which was more effective at protecting everyone — a punch, or using your words instead?

    The credible threat of being punched was what made them withdraw from the field; absent that, I do not believe they would have. I had removed them from the position of sole possessors of the threat of violence, and made it clear that if they did *not* withdraw, they would be treated violently.

    Your definition of “credible threat” seems to be creeping here. Originally I thought you meant credible threat in a physical sense — a credible threat of violence — but now you seem to mean a credible threat politically.

    I mean both. A Nazi yelling at me and invading my personal space but not touching me is a credible threat in a physical sense. 200 Nazis parading down the streets of my town (well, not my current one, since I live in Oakland, but you get the point ;)) is the credible threat of future violence through political and direct action.

    Ehhhhhhhh. Punching Richard Spencer provided lots of ammunition to the right — sure, lots of folks could understand why he got punched, but do we really want to hand that sort of political ammo to the enemy?

    Given that it doesn’t appear to have helped them, it may well have been dud ammunition. One of the big things it took away from him was any aura of intimidation — any time he tried to look big and tough, someone posted a meme of him getting decked. 🙂

    Not really. The incident you detailed involved a guy sieg-heiling you, right? I’m not gonna go look it up right now, so apologies if I’m misremembering. That’s an insult, not a credible threat of imminent violence.

    In my experience, it is actually quite possibly a credible threat of potential violence; I’ve seen it lead to that more than once. Same with homophobic slurs in the right environment — if not resisted, they lead to violence.

    This sounds like a disagreement with my claim #2, which stated that initiating violence is politically/strategically dumb in most circumstances. See my example above, that Spencer getting punched handed a lot of ammunition to the right.

    And I think that it was useless ammunition, as I said above.

    Was Spencer’s withdrawal actually because of the punch, or was it actually because of all the protesters who disrupted his speeches WITHOUT punching him?

    And the protestors who were prepared to engage with him violently if it came to that . You appear to want to draw a bright line between “anything that isn’t a punch” and “a punch” — a bright line that is neither tactically nor ethically useful, in my opinion.

  16. imnotandrei, the first mistake the writer makes is saying free speech is a liberal idea. It is not. It is at least as old as Socrates.

    “If you offered to let me off this time on condition I am not any longer to speak my mind… I should say to you, “Men of Athens, I shall obey the Gods rather than you.”” —Socrates

    And when citing Luxemberg, this is relevant:

    “Without general elections, without freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, without the free battle of opinions, life in every public institution withers away, becomes a caricature of itself, and bureaucracy rises as the only deciding factor.” —Rosa Luxemburg

    The list of socialists who have supported free speech is long; it includes Marx and Trotsky and Emma Goldman and Albert Einstein.

    I confess, I have the flu, so I skimmed the article. I like the conclusion: “Consistent with this approach, we must defend free speech on its own terms, not merely because it helps to organize and fight for a new society. In this, free speech does not differ from the economic advances the working class and its allies have won. They are valuable both in their own right and because they strengthen the working class and its allies in their struggle for their emancipation.”

    Oh, I agree the antiracist left sees things differently. Their approach comes from privileged black liberals like Derrick Bell and Kimberle Crenshaw, and I keep suspecting it owes more to middle-class Christianity than anything else, but I could be wrong. Maybe it’s just middle-class morality. All I know is neither were socialists.

  17. @Contrarius:

    It’s stupid in sooo many ways. Just a few off the top of my head:

    1. The idea that a “pure” society is preferable — stupid.
    2. The idea that people could be induced to give up their homes, possessions, friends, etc. — stupid.
    3. The idea that such relocations would not lead to massive societal and economic disruptions — stupid.

    I agree that number two is stupid. The first one isn’t stupid–it’s evil. The third one is a value judgement, based on how one feels about the first one. If one thinks it is a sufficiently desirable goal, then number three becomes “that such relocations’ consequent massive societal and economic disruptions are worth it”. Evil again.

    @Will Shetterly: What that means to me is that we are in a time of left conservatism versus right radicalism. I’m anti-authoritarian, but not to the point of letting fascism–actual fascism, the real thing, not the easily deployed rhetoric–win. Peaceful folks sometimes have to use violence; freedom loving folks sometimes have to use coercion.

  18. @Lis and @Meredith —

    And that there is zero chance that the relocations would remain “voluntary” if these violent, racist scumbags once got the power to act on their ideas.

    But now you appear to be saying that it’s okay to initiate violence against someone because somehow, somewhere on down the line their philosophies MIGHT become violent.

    Is this really what you want to say?

    It seems to me that this idea — that it’s okay to punch someone because their ideas MIGHT lead to violence some day — could easily justify punching all sorts of people.

    And again, because it seems to require constant repeating — no, I’m not advocating that such people should be ignored. Again — there is a vast gulf between “ignore” and “punch”.

    @imnotandrei —

    2) If the people in question are espousing Nazi-adjacent beliefs, they are putting themselves in a category of people who have engaged in physical violence towards me in the past

    “In a category of people” is vastly different than “the actual person”. In your case, those actual people had actually initiated violence towards you, and multiple times at that.

    Again — several steps up the moral ladder from “punch a Nazi”.

    If a person of a threatened population feels a reasonable risk to their own health and well-being, I would call that a credible threat.

    Ooooo, talk about muddy. This would seem to justify a renter punching their landlord when the landlord is evicting them — a reasonable risk to the renter’s health and well-being. It would also justify many suspects in punching cops. Is this really what you want to say?

    This is the lesson I learned in dealing with bullies, in dealing with queerbashers, etc. They expect (often) to be in control of the timing of violence, choosing when or when not to dish it out. The first, sudden strike is often disabling (purely on a tactical level) and definitely removes the situation from the threatener’s control. That’s why.

    Except that isn’t what you did. In the first case (your high school bullies), you waited until your bullies had already initiated violence against you several times. And in the second case (the Nazi protesters), you **threatened** violence but did not actually initiate it.

    The credible threat of being punched was what made them withdraw from the field

    RIGHT.

    It was the **credible threat** — not the actual violence. No actual violence was initiated.

    I mean both (credible physical threat and credible political threat).

    Okay. We need to keep this clear, then — do you think it’s okay to initiate violence when the group you’re opposing is a credible political threat to values you hold dear, or only when the group you’re opposing is a credible threat to your immediate physical safety?

    Given that it doesn’t appear to have helped them (punching Spencer)

    Who says it didn’t? Spencer himself may have canceled appearances — and again, I’d say that’s more from all the counterprotesters showing up without punching him — but the right in general has gotten to make political hay about violent leftists because of it.

    In my experience, it (Hitler salute) is actually quite possibly a credible threat of potential violence; I’ve seen it lead to that more than once.

    Throwing a bird can also easily lead to violence. Does that mean anyone who throws a bird at you deserves to be punched?

    Same with homophobic slurs in the right environment — if not resisted, they lead to violence.

    Wait, wait, wait. This sentence above seems to be saying that a homophobic slur can lead to violence unless you punch the guy first (“resist”). Is that really what you mean to say?

    And again — doing something like telling a homophobe you’ll punch him unless he knocks it off is NOT the same thing as simply throwing the punch.

    And the protestors who were prepared to engage with him violently if it came to that . You appear to want to draw a bright line between “anything that isn’t a punch” and “a punch” — a bright line that is neither tactically nor ethically useful, in my opinion.

    I think there’s a huge, ginormous distinction here. It’s the difference between deterrence (knowing that violence is an option) and war (preemptively bombing North Korea, for instance).

    @John A Arkansawyer —

    I agree that number two is stupid. The first one isn’t stupid–it’s evil.

    Evil is very often stupid. Maybe always.

    The third one is a value judgement, based on how one feels about the first one.

    Nope. Societal and economic disruptions could easily be measured objectively.

    If one thinks it is a sufficiently desirable goal, then number three becomes “that such relocations’ consequent massive societal and economic disruptions are worth it”.

    Which is different from what I said (that there would be massive disruptions). If they believe those disruptions would be worth it, it would be up to them to present evidence to support their belief. Which they couldn’t, of course, because the idea is stupid.

    I’m anti-authoritarian, but not to the point of letting fascism–actual fascism, the real thing, not the easily deployed rhetoric–win. Peaceful folks sometimes have to use violence; freedom loving folks sometimes have to use coercion.

    And yet again — there’s a huuuuuge gap between initiating violence and “letting fascism win”.

  19. John Arkansawyer, people who tell us to accept authoritarianism to fight authoritarianism are authoritarians. I love Malcolm X for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is he understood that we should defend ourselves but we should not use physical violence unless someone has laid a hand on us. When he said that, he was speaking literally, not metaphorically–it’s impossible to imagine Malcolm X behaving like the coward who suckerpunched Spencer. Malcolm X always welcomed a debate.

    I keep saying this, but people keep ignoring it, most likely because they cannot answer it: George Orwell is the proof that you can support free speech and fight fascists at the same time. I highly recommend Homage to Catalonia.

    Here’s a quote that seems relevant to the current discussion:

    “Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.” -George Orwell

  20. @Contrarius: “And yet again — there’s a huuuuuge gap between initiating violence and “letting fascism win”.”

    Yep. That’s the terrain where there aren’t easy answers. I appreciate that you’re arguing this to the bone. It’s an important question which is like designed to trap people into bad decisions by presenting them with worse alternatives. But at some point, you fish or cut bait, and live with the consequences and the conscience.

  21. Contrarius: You keep talking about how hitting someone gives ammunition to your opponents. You are arguing it because Richard Spencer’s name is known everywhere and he became a spokesperson, and downplaying how it has also made him a laughingstock at the same time. Valid arguments on and for both sides.

    But here’s another thing that happens, when you *don’t* hit someone:

    When a person withdraws from a violent altercation (Say our combined theoretical example of a person who punches a Nazi in a protest.) If all their allies all do exactly as you suggest, extract the puncher from the angry Nazi and friends and retreat from the scene of violence as fast as possible, possibly even dropping the puncher into police custody as “here’s the instigator, officers”. SO. The other protestors keep the high ground of having refused violence, and even having condemned violence on their own side… they can even say they didn’t really retreat, since they’re going back to the protest immediately.

    The Nazis STILL spin it as a triumph, a “We beat them back, they’re too cowardly to face us for real.” Which will play well to their audience. They then use as reason to attack again, and again. The less bold white surpremacist types, who tend to not show up, or to slink away in the face of larger counter-protest and more active disagreement, might have in fact come out of the woodwork.

    And that triumph gets traction, especially with the factions who like bullying, who enjoy what imnotandrei has been describing as being the ones in charge of violence, in control of when and how it arises.

    I dislike violence. I think it is rarely at all justifiable except in self defense against a credible threat or in a very few cases where a smaller act of violence might prevent a larger and more devastating one later (And most of those latter tend towards false justifications). And in some ways I actually dislike having to come up with hypotheticals which allow for it — I am not a fan of most ethical dilemmas. The world as I see it is often too full of weirdness and contradiction and emotion for me to feel like I can ever be sure the lines are so clean cut.

    I just cannot say explicitly that punching first is never ever wrong just because I agree that most of the time it is and I don’t want to do it.

  22. @Lenora Rose: “I am not a fan of most ethical dilemmas. The world as I see it is often too full of weirdness and contradiction and emotion for me to feel like I can ever be sure the lines are so clean cut.”

    I was trying to say something like that before and cut it out and now I’m glad, because you said it a lot better than I was saying it.

  23. Aarrgh!

    I don’t know if I have time to recreate the first part of my post.

    Like, say, the gang of Nazis did to that black guy in Charlottesville — first Nazi was in a tug-of-war with an counterprotester over the pole on a sign; second counterprotester tried to help the first; then a gang of Nazis joined in and beat the crap out of the *second* counterprotester. According to your argument, that gang of Nazis was in the right when they jumped in to help their friend.

    <blockquote* counterprotester. According to your argument, that gang of Nazis was in the right when they jumped in to help their friend.

    No. The second counterprotester came to the defense of the first, and the Nazis, who had not just happened on the scene but knew the sequence of events, and beat the crap out of the second counterprotester.

    Who said anything about forced relocation? They hope to convince everyone that relocation is the right thing to do — voluntary relocation. Yes, it’s still stupid — but it isn’t violent.

    This is the claim to which Meredith, I, and others responded by pointing out the fact that such relocations are never voluntary. They are not intended to be voluntary. Let these people gain the power to do so, and the imaginary “voluntary” relocations would become forced relocations. The entire weight of history tells us this, and there are no exceptions.

    We are not required morally or ethically to pretend we are so brainless and ignorant that we don’t recognize it for the violent threat that it is.

    Whether punching a particular Nazi at a particular demonstration is a justifiable or wise response is another question, but your attempt to claim that those Nazis talking about “voluntary relocations” are not even making a violent threat is fundamentally dishonest.

    But now you appear to be saying that it’s okay to initiate violence against someone because somehow, somewhere on down the line their philosophies MIGHT become violent.

    Is this really what you want to say?

    Are you unable to read?

    No, it’s not what I said. It’s not vaguely like what I said.

    I said:

    I’m not in favor of initiating violence and can’t see myself doing it, but dear God, some of you are working hard to convince me the only arguments against it are specious and dishonest.

    You are pushing someone who agrees with your supposed substantive point to regard you as a dishonest, insincere, untrustworthy jerk whose arguments aren’t worth the pixels it takes to type them.

    The people disagreeing with your claimed position are arguing a sincerely held view they’ve given genuine thought to, and citing real experiences and the real rather than the fantasy historical record (no population relocations are never voluntary but rather always forced). As a direct result, their arguments are much stronger.

  24. Okay, partially recovered the missing bit. Not properly tagged. Hopefully comprehensible anyway.

    I will have zero patience with willful misreadings.

  25. @contrarius

    And when I call you on whether your fine discerning eye would qualify the man at the center of the original joke as an actual Nazi or not – you dodge the question and obfuscate
    —-
    I don’t even know what or who you’re talking about here. Will Shetterly? No, not a Nazi. Jim Hines? Not a Nazi. Richard Spencer? If not a full-throated Nazi, perilously close to being one.

    See, contrarius, this is where it starts to look to me you’re arguing in bad faith. This is what I called an obfuscation on your part:

    Richard Spencer himself has protested that he isn’t a Nazi, despite sieg-heiling Trump on international TV, the white supremacy and racial separatism as well as anti-Semitism. If he espoused the same excuse about ‘voluntary relocation’ of millions of citizens, would you say he wasn’t a Nazi either?
    —-
    I agree that it’s a very muddy distinction and full of pitfalls on all sides.

    It seems to me pretty clear what I meant and what question you were dodging…basically your attempt to analyze away any possible threat in people openly sporting Nazi regalia, chanting Nazi slogans while protesting the removal of Confederate statues and screaming anti-Semitism and racism, saying they only REALLY count as threatening Nazis if you KNOW they are also advocates of forced relocation…a criteria that, as I pointed out, would have disqualified many actual Nazis in the right historic period.

    I also specifically said the original joke was about Richard Spencer at the beginning of the post. But you say you have no idea WHO I could possibly be talking about after reading that post. Since you don’t seem to lack reading comprehension or short-term memory, it comes off as a disingenuous dodge of the fact that the stringent criteria you apply might disqualify even the most obvious Nazi-emulator in the country from being an actual Nazi – thus enabling you to wring your hands and say, “There ARE no Nazis here, those brutal Nazi-punchers aren’t hitting actual Nazis!”

    You’re veering into fantasy territory here, Jayn. I have neither criticized anyone nor assumed that people chanting “blood and soil” and so on are not Nazis.

    That’s really quite charming of you to imply I’m making shit up, considering you refused above to even identify Richard Spencer as a Nazi. And how do you know those people chanting ‘Blood and Soil’ believe in ‘forced relocation’, and not merely ‘voluntary relocation’ – which a short while ago was your criteria for being a Nazi? You SAY you’re not moving goalposts, but your zeal for winning this argument has led you into moving your criteria around so vigorously you’re tripping yourself over them.

    And also imagine how supercilious you’d come off if you said to someone watching people invade their community to wave citronella torches and scream ‘Jew will not replace us’ while wearing the emblems and repeating the slogans of historical murderers, “Meh, we don’t know whether they’re in favor of forced relocation or not, so I wouldn’t call them a threat. Don’t get your panties in a wad about it.” I congratulate you on joining counterprotests, but if that was your actual attitude during them, I expect some of the other counterprotestors could’ve spared your company.

    The problem here is that you’re ignoring all the steps between “sit and discuss” and “initiate physical violence”.

    Am I? I have made it quite clear that I would consider myself rightly prone to legal retribution if I struck a demonstrator who was not posing a legal threat to me, even if that demonstrator were wearing a Nazi uniform and sieg-heiling me. I would hope there might be some sympathy among the jury about the provocation offered, but the atmosphere in this country in the past few years tells me I certainly can’t count on it. And part of that atmosphere, IMO, has to do with people downplaying and minimizing the threat of the rising neo-Nazi movement in this country – including the POTUS, who said there were ‘good people on both sides’ after the alt-right demonstration in Charlottesville ended with Heather Heyer’s death.

    Whether you mean to or not, you’re coming off as part of that minimizing narrative, calling the idea of ‘voluntary relocation’ merely ‘stupid’ when it was used quite cleverly to devastating effect in the thirties by the Nazis against the Jews, using legal harassment without official overt violence to make life unbearable…and is being used to some extent now against immigrants with a wink from the current government. You call the people who endorse that kind of harassment merely ‘stupid,’ telling us that without a verbal endorsement of ‘forced relocation’ they must be innocent children wearing costumes that they have NO idea of the significance of, that they have no idea they’re wearing the emblems and mouthing the words of murderers, and that they have no idea that ‘voluntary relocation’ is a mirage, and no possible intention of taking on the tactics of the people they’re emulating if ‘voluntary relocation’ doesn’t happen (though God knows, with the Trump administration, we CAN expect a lot more legal harassment to minorities to foster that ‘voluntary relocation.’)

    Days ago, we had this exchange:

    But what if one merely advocates it in theoretical form, praises past genocides and denies wanting practical killing? There is no legal book to throw.

    That depends on how “incitement to violence” gets interpreted by our court system. IMHO, US courts have been much too restrictive in their interpretations lately — I firmly believe that they should widen that interpretation.

    It’s nice that you say it IS wrong and SHOULD be illegal to invade a community wearing the regalia of historical murderers and chanting their historic chants, but it would make me feel a lot better about this exchange if you could tell me you’ve invested half the energy in making it illegal that you’ve invested in reviling people here who overreact to things you agree ought to be illegal.

    More than “sympathized with”, though — some have affirmed, either directly or indirectly, that they believe it is the Right Thing To Do.

    Then I suggest you address those people specifically and address their points specifically – and if you’re going to say you can tell they ‘indirectly’ are telling you that hitting Nazis is the Right Thing To Do, you’d better be prepared to substantiate it well. Because you’ve already engaged in feats of mindreading on this thread:

    Nope — because when people say “Punch a Nazi”, they are actually talking about punching all sorts of people who attend these racist protests — not just Nazis.

    …and without proof that you possess actual powers of telepathy, that comes off as majorly dickish.

  26. A note on my last comment: I said

    I dislike violence. I think it is rarely at all justifiable except in self defense against a credible threat

    I had intended to include defense of others under threat and potentially unable to defend themselves as well.

    To me that falls under the rubric for which self-defense is a useful shorthand, but the term itself does not make that clear, AND I have had my words badly misinterpreted in the worst possible light once already in this discussion.

    I don’t want someone declaring I clearly don’t think defending other people is acceptable or moral.

    I don’t want to have had to post this absurd a caveat in a conversation with people I am used to seeing engage in good faith and positively.

  27. imnotandrei, the first mistake the writer makes is saying free speech is a liberal idea. It is not. It is at least as old as Socrates.
    .
    Saying “X is a liberal idea” — which I did not see him do — is not the same as saying “X invented this idea”.

    ?I confess, I have the flu, so I skimmed the article.
    .
    Then don’t bother commenting on it until you read it and can actually engage with the points made, instead of throwing up quotes and displaying bad logic.
    .
    Or is it fair to say your point is “I don’t read what other people say, I just regurgitate my points and skim theirs?”

  28. @Contrarius

    1) You keep referring back to my bullying examples as if they were a moral exemplar — it wasn’t. I used it as a tactical demonstration of a principle regarding striking first and removing the belief in a monopoly of force.

    Your repeated attempts to elevate it *morally* are, therefore, irrelevant.

    2) In re: renters punching landlords or suspects punching cops — Let me ask you, Contrarius, pure and simple — *why* are you so invested in Nazis going unpunched?

    There are places where law, justice, and morality *don’t* overlap. Would I blame one of the people screwed by the Kushner Company’s illegal actions for punching Jared Kushner in the face? No. Would I blame an innocent person in fear for his life from punching a cop he thought might kill him in the hopes of escape? No.

    As people have been saying to you over and over in this thread, these are complicated and grey areas, and that trio (what is legal, what is just, and what is moral) may or may not overlap cleanly in them.

    3) “Except that isn’t what you did. In the first case (your high school bullies), you waited until your bullies had already initiated violence against you several times. And in the second case (the Nazi protesters), you **threatened** violence but did not actually initiate it.”

    Indeed. And it wasn’t until I initiated an incident that the bullying *stopped*. And indeed, I threatened rather than initiated — because the people I was threatening ran away before I *could* initiate.

    You seem to be trying to find every possible hair to split in order to claim I somehow don’t fit in the position of Nazi-puncher, therefore it’s OK.

    Let me be entirely clear: if those wannabe-queerbashers whom I chased away had stayed, *I would have hit them*. First, if I could manage it. That they ran does not grant me superior moral standing than if they had stayed, and it speaks to the tactic of initiating violence.

    “Who says it didn’t? Spencer himself may have canceled appearances — and again, I’d say that’s more from all the counterprotesters showing up without punching him — but the right in general has gotten to make political hay about violent leftists because of it.”

    I get it — so long as actual flesh doesn’t meet actual flesh, you feel it’s all morally equivalent up to that point. (I may be overstating, but that’s what I’m hearing.) Me saying “If you don’t leave them alone, I’m going to punch you” or a Nazi saying “you should be exterminated, you plague on the planet” are equivalent — and *both* are vastly morally superior to someone actually being punched.

    Because the Spencer protestors might well *have* punched him, given the chance — and Spencer knew that.

    “Wait, wait, wait. This sentence above seems to be saying that a homophobic slur can lead to violence unless you punch the guy first (“resist”). Is that really what you mean to say?”

    Yes. I have seen, more than once, people emboldened by the fact that no one called them out on calling another person a [homophobic/transphobic slur] to escalate to violence — because no one got in the way with a credible threat.

    I have also been in situations where I intervened, and it did not escalate.

    “I think there’s a huge, ginormous distinction here. It’s the difference between deterrence (knowing that violence is an option) and war (preemptively bombing North Korea, for instance).”

    And without the actual credible threat of war, deterrence does not exist. If the Nazi is not afraid I’m going to punch him, there is no deterrence. Thus, if you foreclose the notion of punching Nazis, you eliminate the deterrence.

  29. Given that Orwell was a British socialist and supported British socialism until the end of his life, despite the enthusiastic participation in and frequent celebration of the Battle of Cable Street*, I suspect he was not the anti-Nazi-punching hero some people wish he was. As far as I can tell he never said a single word against the Battle of Cable Street, possibly because it would be a bizarre bit of hypocrisy to criticise street fighting two months before heading to Spain to shoot people.

    *Amongst other physical clashes, but that’s the most famous one.

    @Contrarius

    Don’t be silly. I’ve explicitly said that I have yet to decide whether I’m pro-Nazi punching or anti-Nazi punching (I suspect it would depend very much on the context and I’m unwilling to make a broad statement either way), and I certainly haven’t claimed that the only way to resist fascists is punching them. My entire, limited point this whole time is that your attempt to wedge some ambiguity into this over whether the people being punched definitely self-identified as Nazis or were just virulent racists who chant Nazi slogans and believe in violent ideology was unlikely to persuade anyone that there is a problem with Nazi-punching. They’re just not that different. They both carry the threat of future violence with them. That well of persuasive ambiguity is completely dry.

    Which is why I keep pointing out that the rest of your comments have nothing to do with me. You’re arguing with a point (sometimes several points) I’ve never made. The point I have made? A virulent racist who would do violence to minorities is a virulent racist who would do violence to minorities, whether they would specifically declare themselves to be a Nazi or not. That’s it.

    I’m puzzled why you’ve attached a bunch of other stuff to that. The most I’ve said otherwise is that I’m unimpressed with anyone who ties themselves in knots to grant the benefit of the doubt to virulent racists but slippery slopes the Filers 770 at every turn.

  30. @Lenora —

    If all their allies all do exactly as you suggest, extract the puncher from the angry Nazi and friends and retreat from the scene of violence as fast as possible, possibly even dropping the puncher into police custody as “here’s the instigator, officers”. SO. The other protestors keep the high ground of having refused violence, and even having condemned violence on their own side… they can even say they didn’t really retreat, since they’re going back to the protest immediately.

    The Nazis STILL spin it as a triumph, a “We beat them back, they’re too cowardly to face us for real.”

    And if you punch first (or jump in to help the guy who punched first) and win that particular fight? You will be seen and spun as the violent side, the “bad guys”, the trouble-makers, the out-of-control ones who can’t be trusted to obey the law and uphold the Constitution. With all the accumulating consequences from that.

    Better to not initiate that violence in the first place.

    The world as I see it is often too full of weirdness and contradiction and emotion for me to feel like I can ever be sure the lines are so clean cut.

    The world is very rarely clean cut. But that’s one reason why it’s important to look at what we are doing and what consequences our actions might have, and to consider as many possibilities and as many of those weird details as we can BEFORE we commit ourselves to action in all that weirdness and contradiction and emotion. THINK first, prepare, and then do the best you can in the heat of the moment.

    @Lis —

    such relocations are never voluntary. They are not intended to be voluntary. Let these people gain the power to do so, and the imaginary “voluntary” relocations would become forced relocations. The entire weight of history tells us this, and there are no exceptions.

    “Such gun confiscations are never voluntary. They are not intended to be voluntary. Let these people gain the power to do so, and imaginary ‘voluntary’ gun buybacks would become forced confiscations. The entire weight of history tells us this, and there are no exceptions.”

    See the problem here? What I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to get you to see is that you’re on a slippery slope. You are sliding inexorably from “it’s okay to initiate violence against someone trying to do me physical harm right now” to “it’s okay to initiate violence against someone whose philosophy is blatantly violent” to “it’s okay to initiate violence against someone whose philosophy might force me to do something I don’t want to do in the future”.

    That’s a dangerous slope to be on.

    @jayn —

    you: This is what I called an obfuscation on your part:
    me: I agree that it’s a very muddy distinction and full of pitfalls on all sides.

    Sorry, Jayn — that’s what I call acknowledging some of the “weirdness and contradiction” of real life that Lenora mentioned. Answers are often not clear-cut. I’m sorry a non-clear-cut answer doesn’t satisfy you.

    It seems to me pretty clear what I meant and what question you were dodging…

    No, sorry, it wasn’t. I was responding to a bunch of different people and pages and pages of text, and that particular paragraph didn’t occur to me at the time I was answering your charge of obfuscation. My apologies.

    basically your attempt to analyze away any possible threat in people openly sporting Nazi regalia

    Since you’re worried about Richard Spencer in particular — I have missed any instances of him “openly sporting Nazi regalia”. Has he? If so, that would certainly help to push him over that line.

    chanting Nazi slogans while protesting the removal of Confederate statues

    Absolutely. These chants, and things like “Heil Trump!”, going along with the racism, are part of the reason why I said “perilously close”.

    saying they only REALLY count as threatening Nazis if you KNOW they are also advocates of forced relocation…

    But that, of course, is not at all what I actually said.

    And how do you know those people chanting ‘Blood and Soil’ believe in ‘forced relocation’, and not merely ‘voluntary relocation’ – which a short while ago was your criteria for being a Nazi?

    Sorry, Jayn, but I never said any such thing.

    Let me try again:

    1. Some groups are obviously Nazis/neo-Nazis. They may wear the insignia or have related tattoos, they like to throw Hitler salutes, they like to chant the phrases, they do things like deny the Holocaust or openly espouse killing various minorities. If anyone deserves punching (I’m not saying that anyone does, but **if**), they do.

    2. Some groups may attend protests that we see as racist, while not sharing the violent views of the Nazis/neo-Nazis. They don’t have the regalia, they don’t chant the chants, they don’t espouse violence. **For example**, there are groups of white separatists who believe in separating into homelands without violence. You and I agree that their beliefs are both unworkable and stupid in the real world, but they are not espousing violence. Do they also deserve punching?

    The voluntary relocation issue was just one example of a belief that SOME people have that is not inherently violent — not a litmus test for Nazism.

    And part of that atmosphere, IMO, has to do with people downplaying and minimizing the threat of the rising neo-Nazi movement in this country – including the POTUS, who said there were ‘good people on both sides’ after the alt-right demonstration in Charlottesville ended with Heather Heyer’s death.

    I agree with this completely. And I recently read that hate crimes started jumping immediately after Trump’s inauguration. But again — fighting against that atmosphere does not require initiating violence.

    calling the idea of ‘voluntary relocation’ merely ‘stupid’ when it was used quite cleverly to devastating effect in the thirties by the Nazis against the Jews, using legal harassment without official overt violence to make life unbearable…and is being used to some extent now against immigrants with a wink from the current government.

    Neither of your examples actually involve voluntary relocation.

    Remember — I already specified that one of the reasons the voluntary relocation idea was stupid was that **masses of people would not actually agree to move voluntarily**. You’re arguing a point that I’ve already agreed with.

    it would make me feel a lot better about this exchange if you could tell me you’ve invested half the energy in making it illegal that you’ve invested in reviling people here

    Since I have not actually reviled anyone during this discussion aside from Nazis and assorted racists, that’s a pretty low bar.

    Then I suggest you address those people specifically and address their points specifically

    I already have. At great length.

  31. You do know that Nazis are killing people right here in the USA, right now. Over twice as many people were killed by Nazis in 2017 than in 2016.

    This isn’t some intellectual exercise. We’re being murdered right now.

  32. @Imnotandrei —

    I used it as a tactical demonstration of a principle regarding striking first and removing the belief in a monopoly of force.

    Your repeated attempts to elevate it *morally* are, therefore, irrelevant.

    Except that neither of your examples actually involved striking first — which is why I keep bringing them up.

    2) In re: renters punching landlords or suspects punching cops — Let me ask you, Contrarius, pure and simple — *why* are you so invested in Nazis going unpunched?

    Because, as I stated at the beginning of this discussion, I am strongly opposed to initiating violence on both moral and strategic grounds. I most circumstances it is both morally wrong and strategically dumb.

    There are places where law, justice, and morality *don’t* overlap.

    Absolutely true!

    Would I blame one of the people screwed by the Kushner Company’s illegal actions for punching Jared Kushner in the face? No. Would I blame an innocent person in fear for his life from punching a cop he thought might kill him in the hopes of escape? No.

    In this case, how could you morally blame, say, an NRA supporter for punching someone whom they believe to be endangering them by “confiscating” their guns? That slogan “you can take my gun from my cold dead hands” becomes almost a worthy moral precept if you’re not careful. Clive Bundy drawing guns on Federal officers while defending his land becomes the right thing to do.

    As people have been saying to you over and over in this thread, these are complicated and grey areas

    Absolutely true. Which is one of the reasons why the blanket statement of intent, “punch a Nazi”, is such a dangerous thing to say. Real life is rarely that clean cut.

    Indeed. And it wasn’t until I initiated an incident that the bullying *stopped*.

    Again — you initiated one incident, but those specific bullies had already initiated the pattern of violence against you.

    And indeed, I threatened rather than initiated — because the people I was threatening ran away before I *could* initiate.

    Right. It was the threat that did it.

    You seem to be trying to find every possible hair to split in order to claim I somehow don’t fit in the position of Nazi-puncher, therefore it’s OK.

    These are not hairs. And I keep bringing them up because the examples you give do not actually support the premise that “punching a Nazi” — initiating violence — is smart strategically/politically. Because, again, in your examples you did not actually initiate violence.

    Let me be entirely clear: if those wannabe-queerbashers whom I chased away had stayed, *I would have hit them*.

    Sure. But my point is that **you did not need to**. Your strategic goal was achieved without actual violence. This is the power of deterrence — be willing to punch as a last resort, but do everything you can to make that punch unnecessary.

    I get it — so long as actual flesh doesn’t meet actual flesh, you feel it’s all morally equivalent up to that point. (I may be overstating, but that’s what I’m hearing.) Me saying “If you don’t leave them alone, I’m going to punch you” or a Nazi saying “you should be exterminated, you plague on the planet” are equivalent — and *both* are vastly morally superior to someone actually being punched.

    No and yes. They are not equivalent — one is a threat of harm in defense of someone’s well-being, the other is a threat of death with no justification — but yes, either is preferable to actual violence.

    me: “Wait, wait, wait. This sentence above seems to be saying that a homophobic slur can lead to violence unless you punch the guy first (“resist”). Is that really what you mean to say?”

    you: Yes. I have seen, more than once, people emboldened by the fact that no one called them out on calling another person a [homophobic/transphobic slur] to escalate to violence — because no one got in the way with a credible threat.

    Nonono. You’ve just changed your terms mid argument. To say “a slur can lead to violence unless you initiate violence” is self-contradictory; if you initiate violence, then the slur has ALREADY led to violence. Your answer above is again an example of **deterrence**, not actual violence.

    I have little problem with deterrence in some circumstances, like this. It is in any case vastly preferable to simply punching first.

    And without the actual credible threat of war, deterrence does not exist.

    Absolutely true — you’ve got to have the ability to back it up.

    But you don’t USE that ability until all other avenues have been exhausted. You don’t just walk up and punch the Nazi, until AFTER you’ve already tried everything else.

    Which was my point in the first place.

  33. Jayn, people who do not share your preconceptions are not necessarily arguing in bad faith. It’s more likely that they are not taking on faith the things that you do.

    imnotandrei, “Or is it fair to say your point is “I don’t read what other people say, I just regurgitate my points and skim theirs?””

    If that translates to you asking whether I’m human and whether some things bore me, yes, that’s so. You’re free to think I should dance to your tune, but I’ll dance to mine.

    Meredith, if you can find one example of Orwell opposing free speech, I would be very, very grateful. If not, you are simply making up things you’d like to believe.

    Further, he did not identify as a “British” socialist. He was a democratic socialist. For example:

    “Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism, as I understand it.” —George Orwell

    And the Battle of Cable Street is not analogous to the Spencer situation. The marchers were not invited into the neighborhood, while Spencer was invited by school groups to speak.

    And does anyone know who threw the first punch there? No one is saying people do not have a right to defend themselves when physically attacked.

    Contrarius, you’re arguing with neoliberals and identitarians. Do not hope to convince them, and bow out when it’s no longer fun. Another favorite quote applies:

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” —Upton Sinclair

    ULTRAGOTHA I fully support charging Richard Spencer with murder if he’s connected to a killing. I only object to hitting people who say things you don’t want to hear.

  34. Contrarius: Word substitution games don’t prove something is morally equivalent. You can’t remove the word relocation, substitute the words gun confiscation, and make the two things genuinely equal.

    Let me demonstrate:

    “Such vaccinations are never voluntary. They are not intended to be voluntary. Let these people gain the power to do so, and imaginary ‘voluntary’ vaccination programs would become forced vaccinations. The entire weight of history tells us this, and there are no exceptions.”

  35. @Contrarius–

    “Such gun confiscations are never voluntary. They are not intended to be voluntary. Let these people gain the power to do so, and imaginary ‘voluntary’ gun buybacks would become forced confiscations. The entire weight of history tells us this, and there are no exceptions.”

    See the problem here? What I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to get you to see is that you’re on a slippery slope. You are sliding inexorably from “it’s okay to initiate violence against someone trying to do me physical harm right now” to “it’s okay to initiate violence against someone whose philosophy is blatantly violent” to “it’s okay to initiate violence against someone whose philosophy might force me to do something I don’t want to do in the future”.

    Still spinning and fantasizing desperately.

    Nazis actually are marching in our streets, chanting “Blood and soil,” as well as “Jews will not replace us,” wearing swastikas, and seig-heiling Trump. They are actually, literally not figuratively, killing people, and demanding we “restore” the mythical ethnic purity of a USA that never existed except in their imaginations.

    They are already fucking killing people, and you want to dance on the head of a pin about whether or not in a particular instance someone may, inside your head, be contemplating punching the wrong racist chanting vile Nazi slogans.

    And you want to talk about the moral equivalence of Nazis or people “just” marching with Nazis saying the same damned things, with people attempting to have a rational discussion about gun safety and whether we can do it better than we are right now.

    Of the moral equivalence of Nazis with people who are sick of mass shootings, gun crime, and suicides that are all too effective because a gun was handy and toddlers picking up Mommy’s gun and accidentally shooting Mommy or baby sister with it…

    And the NRA, who amazingly never have a single word to say in defense of black legal gun owners, claims that any discussion of gun safety is an evil plot to snatch their guns, all their guns…

    We are being told simultaneously to STFU with our whining about gun deaths, and to stop responding to actions that, when left unchecked and unchallenged in the past, have always been deadly, and are already causing deaths now, unless e can prove to your exacting satisfaction that the person in front of us, participating in the chanting and marching, is both a direct threat and an actual Nazi. Not “merely” KKK or other fan of treason and slavery.

    No, the reinvigorated Klan is not better or more innocent than the Nazis. The KKK also has a long track record of violence and murder, and they’re ramping up again, too, and have made it clear they regard the Nazis as allies.

    I’m not in favor of initiating violence, but what you’re offering up is bad faith and hogwash, not rational argument for a better way of handling the threat that Nazis and KKK really are.

  36. “If that translates to you asking whether I’m human and whether some things bore me, yes, that’s so. You’re free to think I should dance to your tune, but I’ll dance to mine.”

    Let it be noted that anyone who wants it now has every reason to simply ignore Will Shetterly, no matter what he says or asks — without any implication that that makes Will right, or people lack a retort to what he’s saying.

    Just in case anyone was in doubt as to whether he was worth bothering to actually engage with, I think we now have an answer.

  37. @Contrarius

    As I have said, repeatedly, my examples were the things that taught me that *being willing to strike first* is sometimes necessary. That they did not actually involve striking first is because of circumstance.

    If you wish to take the position that being willing to strike first is moral, but actually *doing* so is immoral, I will find it risible, but accept that that’s your position.

    ” I most circumstances it is both morally wrong and strategically dumb.”

    Indeed. In most circumstances, that’s true. Nazis may well be one of the “not-most” circumstances, which is the point people have been trying to make to you. I am pleased to see that you do not actually *hold* the absolutist position you appeared to.

    “Clive Bundy drawing guns on Federal officers while defending his land becomes the right thing to do.”

    No. it becomes a thing he felt was right, and he had to deal with the consequences. What you seem to fail to see is that people who punch Nazis are largely willing to deal with the consequences. Cliven Bundy’s been trying to dodge consequences by use of force (and threat of force) most of his adult life, it appears.

    ” Right. It was the threat that did it.”

    And, as I said, you can establish a moral principle of ‘threatening is OK, being willing to is OK, but actually doing it is *wrong*”, but I will find this a very strange, and tactically useless, moral principle.

    ” Because, again, in your examples you did not actually initiate violence.”

    I’m sorry — I didn’t realize I needed to have actually punched a Nazi to have drawn any conclusions about Nazi-punching. If attacking someone six months after the last time they bullied you, or charging in prepared to swing (but not doing it because the person retreated) aren’t anything liek analogous, I fear you’re drawing your net waaay too narrowly — but that’s your privilege. (See above re: risible moral principle.)

    “I have little problem with deterrence in some circumstances, like this. It is in any case vastly preferable to simply punching first.”

    So, in other words, it’s morally OK to deter — if you succeed at it. if you fail, and have to actually *deliver* on the violence, then it’s not morally OK?

    You will forgive me if I find this a particularly unfortunate moral position, as well.

    But, since you’ve already acknowledged that your absolutism isn’t your actual belief, I’ll try and leave it here; arguing against strawmen you apparently don’t really believe in seems rather like feeding the troll.

  38. @contrarius

    calling the idea of ‘voluntary relocation’ merely ‘stupid’ when it was used quite cleverly to devastating effect in the thirties by the Nazis against the Jews, using legal harassment without official overt violence to make life unbearable…and is being used to some extent now against immigrants with a wink from the current government.

    Neither of your examples actually involve voluntary relocation.

    No? Where is the overt and imminent threat of violence in making it illegal for a minority to marry the majority? In legally forbidding minorities to work in most fields? In publically proclaiming the unworthiness of minorities to be citizens? In idolizing the man who made the inferiority of those minorities and the need for separation an article of faith? Where is the threat of violence even in shouting your opinion of the unworthiness of the minority at any minority member you feel like, with suitable epithets for the occasion, as long as you don’t get too close and make your shouting prolonged enough with any one person to come off as a credible physical danger?

    AFAICT, the sieg-heiling “blood and soil” chanters at Charlottesville espouse all the above as desirable outcomes, outcomes that the Nazis of 1933-1938 made legal fact for German Jews. If you acknowledge that such legal behavior WAS violent coercion for the German Jews of that period to emigrate, even for Jews who were not actually physically harmed or physically threatened by the Nazis, just trying to leave a country that had become unbearable, then IMO your insistence that only such Nazi emulators who specifically advocate ‘forced relocation’ pose a true threat ceases to make sense. It becomes your burden to prove that people who express admiration and emulation of Nazis and Hitler down to emulating their salutes, chants, torchlight parades, racist epithets and white separist ideology DON’T believe making interracial marriages illegal, or legally forbidding minorities from taking desirable jobs, or making it legal to deny minorities citizenship in their dream nation. Given the current situation, I don’t think you CAN prove it.

    Since you’re worried about Richard Spencer in particular — I have missed any instances of him “openly sporting Nazi regalia”. Has he? If so, that would certainly help to push him over that line.

    Oh wow. Is this your new required qualification for deigning to consider someone a Nazi? Having been videotaped giving a Nazi salute, not once but twice, won’t do? Along with the explicit anti-Semitism, racism and espousal of a white ethnic state in the US? Or being the headliner attraction in the Unite the Right rally at Charlottesville, advertised as such by a poster festooned with Third Reich Imperial eagles, which he proudly tweeted himself? (I won’t link to that). Or that his followers who surround him wear such Nazi regalia? You need to see a swastika physically worn by him or none of it counts? If everything else that I’ve provided doesn’t ‘help’ you over the line of your ever-changing stringent requirements to declare someone a Nazi, I honestly don’t think you really want ‘help’ or are willing to accept it.

    I’m particularly concerned by Spencer because A) he’s the origin of the ‘punch the Nazi’ meme that Jim Hines made the joke about that began this tedious, nauseating argument, and B) when I saw his ‘heil Trump’ soon after the inauguration it brought painfully home just what my country had got itself into. I might ask you why you are particularly unconcerned by and uninformed about Spencer, considering he’s the one everyone thinks of when speaking of the ‘punched Nazi’ to begin with, especially when you expressed such condemnation of people punching racist anti-Semites who weren’t really Nazis.

    Since I have not actually reviled anyone during this discussion aside from Nazis and assorted racists, that’s a pretty low bar.

    No? What do you call this, then?

    Nope — because when people say “Punch a Nazi”, they are actually talking about punching all sorts of people who attend these racist protests — not just Nazis. And their justification doesn’t apply to people who aren’t actually Nazis, even if we accept that it does apply to the Nazis (I don’t, but **even if we do**)…
    Oh, please. I bet very very few people throwing punches at these protests and counterprotests are asking their opponents whether they are actually Nazis or not. If you have evidence to the contrary, please provide it.

    Here, you’re saying people who say ‘Punch a nazi’ are ACTUALLY lying about their stated intents and are hitting any racist willy-nilly. You don’t say who is lying about it or point to any concrete incident, you just say that ‘very very few people are asking their opponents’ whether they are Nazis – which seems to indicate you think there are a plague of people who are going around assaulting poor unfortunate vocal racist white separatist pacifists who haven’t visibly sieg-heiled, publically chanted ‘blood and soil’ and ‘Jew will not replace us’ – and then LYING that they were assaulting Nazis when they weren’t. You provide no proof at all for this assertion – just state it as fact. I think that’s ‘reviling.’

    You said you had the flu. I really think you should wait a few days till the fever breaks and you feel better, and read this whole thread through again before you comment more (and perhaps not even then).

  39. imnotandrei

    “Let it be noted that anyone who wants it now has every reason to simply ignore Will Shetterly, no matter what he says or asks — without any implication that that makes Will right, or people lack a retort to what he’s saying.”

    Of course. People may simply ignore anyone. That’s part of free speech.

    But it does not alter the fact that when you lack a retort, you lack a retort.

    Shall I assign a reading to you and then judge your response?

  40. “But it does not alter the fact that when you lack a retort, you lack a retort.

    Indeed; you lacked any kind of useful retort, even to the part of the article I *quoted* at you.

    “Shall I assign a reading to you and then judge your response?”

    Don’t bother; I’ll treat you with the same respect you give to others.

  41. I’m going to dive into the murky waters of “It’s stupid to bother engaging Will” to ask:

    1) who here has said anything about it being impossible to *ever* defend free speech without engaging in violence? Unless that exact thing has been declared, harping on Orwell doing so is irrelevant.

    2) The question of punching Nazis is as far as I can tell on a different axis entirely from identitarian versus marxists/socialists, and identitarian is not a handy catchall for “disagrees with Will Shetterly”. I have no doubt there are those who identify themselves with your politics and class war ideals who have no problem with punching Nazis just as I am sure there are social justice advocates who do. I’m fairly sure too that based on things said elsewhere, in another discussion you’d be sneering off Contrarius as an identitarian and insufficiently up to your standards.

    3) if you can convince me even one person here makes any money off believing it’s okay to punch a Nazi (or makes money by believing it is not) you will have restored my faith in miracles.

  42. @Lenora Rose

    Better you than me. I had very little intention of engaging with him anyway, but after seeing an argument apparently suggesting that Orwell wasn’t British (because ‘democratic’ erases nationality? who knows) I am Boggled. I think I’d get more enlightenment out of arguing with my plushie dragons.

  43. imnotandrei,

    People find ways to avoid questioning their assumptions. You seem to have found yours.

    Lenora Rose,

    1 My point is that it’s always possible to defend free speech and fight fascists. If you only defend certain kinds of speech sometimes, you’re not defending free speech; you’re defending censorship.

    Another quote applies:

    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” — George Orwell

    2 Your axis is not mine. There are identitarians and universalists, authoritarians and libertarians, capitalists and socialists. So far, the people who defend hitting people for speaking are authoritarians and identitarians, but they include both socialists and neoliberals.

    3 Where did I say anything about anyone making money? Was that what you got from the Upton Sinclair quote? If so, you’re interpreting it literally rather than metaphorically. He’s saying that people rarely question the beliefs that support their privilege. He was speaking about economic privilege, of course–left-identitarianism did not exist in his day. But it applies to social privilege too. Left-identitarians focus on social rather than class privilege because privilege theory does not require them to do anything more than acknowledge their privilege like Christians acknowledging their sin.

    Meredith,

    “British socialism” would be a form of national socialism. Orwell liked Britain, but his concept of socialism was universal. If you only meant that he was British, I’m afraid I don’t get your point. Doesn’t everyone who knows his work know he’s British?

  44. @Will —

    Contrarius, you’re arguing with neoliberals and identitarians. Do not hope to convince them, and bow out when it’s no longer fun.

    My main goals in such discussions are never about convincing the discussion participants of anything. My main goals are to explore the ideas and to give the lurkers something to think about. I don’t know exact numbers, but I have read somewhere that there are usually around 10 lurkers on any given forum for every 1 person who posts. It’s worth exposing that 10 to both the pros and cons of an issue.

    @everyone else —

    I don’t have time right now to invest the hour or so it will probably take to write out complete responses to whomever has posted since yesterday, but I promise to come back and do it later today!

  45. Contrarius,

    “My main goals are to explore the ideas and to give the lurkers something to think about. I don’t know exact numbers, but I have read somewhere that there are usually around 10 lurkers on any given forum for every 1 person who posts. It’s worth exposing that 10 to both the pros and cons of an issue.”

    That’s why I stay in discussions too. I’m always especially pleased when lurkers thank me in email.

  46. Will

    Are we talking about the same George Orwell who ratted out fellow writers to the Foreign Office because they were not sufficiently anti-Communist?

    Granted I agree with him to the point that people suspect of Stalinist sympathies might very well be unsuited to be in a job where they are supposed to write anti-Stalinist propaganda, but using Orwell as some absolutist champion of Freaze Peach is a bit rich, if you had any notion of his writings.

    Which, as most people who like to throw his name around, you apparently don’t.

  47. Will Shetterly:

    My point is that it’s always possible to defend free speech and fight fascists. If you only defend certain kinds of speech sometimes, you’re not defending free speech; you’re defending censorship.

    Well, I live in a country which recognizes that hate speech is a rational end to the right of free speech. I understand free speech absolutism, though.

    But I also feel that is a separate argument from “free speech means you’re not allowed to punch someone who uses their free speech to say you and all your relations should be killed in a giant gas chamber” (Aka free speech means free form consequence) or “Free speech defenders never use violence because Orwell.”

    Where did I say anything about anyone making money? Was that what you got from the Upton Sinclair quote? If so, you’re interpreting it literally rather than metaphorically.

    I’m using the words you wrote and quoted to mean what they mean. If you want me to interpret them as a metaphor, you shouldn’t use a phrase I have always previously seen used about people who work for companies or are paid by governments where, as one example, climate change denial literally means they keep making money.

  48. Mart, no, I’m talking about the George Orwell who identified Stalinists to a woman he had a crush on. If you think that was wrong, you’re in the company of authoritarian socialists. I wrote a little about the list here, and included a link that I recommend: http://shetterly.blogspot.com/2014/06/about-george-orwells-list-that-he-gave.html

    I have read most of his work. I’m still waiting for someone to point to anything he said against free speech. Please, be the first.

    Lenora Rose, “I’m using the words you wrote and quoted to mean what they mean.”

    That is what literalists do. I’ll try to remember to put a *metaphor* tag on things to help you in the future, but I’m likely to forget. The point is that identitarians endorse privilege theory because it cannot affect their wealth, and they reject class analyses because it could.

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