We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

We are in danger of replacing one brand of narrow-mindedness with another. Increasingly, the courts are being dragged into disputes between people who hold different opinions in what is really an attempt to close down debate on particular subjects. This is the very antithesis of free speech and unless there is an attempt to stir up hatred and violence, the fact that some people may dislike or object to what others say should not be a matter for the law, or for official censorship.

Philip Johnston

Where I differ is that “an attempt to stir up hatred and violence” are two very different things. One can hate a person without also wishing to see violence done to them. There are people in this world towards whom feeling hatred is entirely reasonable. Can someone give me a good reason for not publicly suggesting that any reasonable person should hate Kim Jong-un?

21 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    Sadly Mr Johnston feels he has to support government bans on “incitement to hatred” as if he opposes such bans he will be accused of opposing the 1965 Act (and so on).

    Freedom of speech is meaningless (if a Captain Pedant is out there I mean “without value” I do not “meaningless” in a literal sense) if it only applies to speech that is nice.

    “No freedom of speech for hate speech” destroyes the meaning (value) of freedom of speech.

  • Using the courts to go after these wrong-thinkers is an attempt to stir up hatred and violence, of course.

  • AKM

    He hasn’t done anything to me personally or to anyone I know, so “hate” isn’t quite the right word. If I was to hate him we would need another word to describe the significantly more extreme emotion that people who have been personally affected must feel about him. That said I do detest him and everything he stands for.

  • @Paul
    The bracketed expression is redundant:

    “Freedom of speech is without value if it only applies to speech that is nice.”

  • Slartibartfarst

    Kim Jong-un?
    He’s just this guy, you know.

  • bloke in spain

    To add to AKM, surely the word “hate” being so devalued by overuse is what’s made the two terms hatred & violence different. I’d certainly say I still cleave to the original meaning. If I hated someone I would have every intention of visiting violence on them if given the opportunity. Unfortunately, the hate word gets used in situations right down to “not actively supportive of” as in some supposed “race hatred” contexts.

  • He hasn’t done anything to me personally or to anyone I know, so “hate” isn’t quite the right word.

    Someone does not need to have done something to me personally for me to hate them. North Korea is a nightmarish hell on earth and that is quite enough to make me hate the people responsible. And just to take it up a notch, I think doing such people violence is also a perfectly reasonable thing to advocate. Any member of the North Korean government deserves to die just as any member of the Nazi German government deserved to die.

    But I do not wish or advocate violence against everyone I hate.

  • Incunabulum

    “Can someone give me a good reason for not publicly suggesting that any reasonable person should hate Kim Jong-un?”

    Or advocating violence against him.

  • Robert

    “Can someone give me a good reason for not publicly suggesting that any reasonable person should hate Kim Jong-un?”

    “Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.”
    Michael Corleone, The Godfather Part III

  • bloke in spain

    @ Perry
    “But I do not wish or advocate violence against everyone I hate.”
    Surely, isn’t that what the word detest is for. Or there are a few others that express a strong but passive emotion.
    On a wider point, is it possible to be a non violent libertarian? I’d imagine not. There has to be a point where the initiation of violent force is justified to preserve liberty. And a true libertarian can’t expect to pass that responsibility over to another. That’s just being a stateist in fancy dress.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes it is possible to be a nonviolent libertarian.

    If someone is attacked in front of you, it is not “unlibertarian” to refuse to help them.

    Contrary to what some say, only aggression (against bodies or goods) is a violation of the nonaggression principle (the libertarian principle of justice).

    Someone (out of cowardice of pacifist principle) can stand by and watch millions being killed – without commtting any crime (as a libertarian understands “crime” – i.e. a violation of justice).

    Just as someone can (because they are miser or whatever) sit counting their (thousands and thousands) of gold coins whilst watching people starving to death – without committing any crime (any injustice).

    Such a person lacks the virtue of benevolence (mercy – charity), not the ice cold virtue of justice.

    In other words – a just person (a true libertarian) may be utterly vile in many other respects.

    Being just (being libertarian) is not enough, if one wants to be a good person.

    “Paul not a word of the above is original – you cribbed it all from thinkers, some of whom go back thousands of years”.

    Errr – guilty.

  • Paul Marks

    Captain Pedant – you are quite correct.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    I have often thought that we should support a Freedom of Opinion principle. I feel that opinions should be something no-one should be legally punished for. Some opinions might have more value than others (the opinions of someone who has studied a subject is more likely to prove to be true than that of someone who has just opened one’s mouth), but we should all have a right to them, so long as we admit that they are simply opinions, not facts.

  • R Dawes

    Nick: the phrase you’re looking for is Freedom of Conscience. It subsumes freedom of opinion, belief, AND expressions thereof, in one integrated package while also not opening the door to the prats who think that freedom of religion includes the right to supersede other rights.

  • bloke in spain

    Thanx Paul but I think you just answered the wrong question. I didn’t ask what was required to be a good person, by some definition of good. I asked what was required to be a free person. But as a libertarian person. One who tempers their own freedom by respecting the desire of others to have their own freedom. Note no mention of rights. One can grant rights. One cannot demand them without curtailing the freedom of others.
    I’ll give you an example of my own. You stand before a locked door that denies you your freedom. Maybe it’s a prison door or behind it are your freely obtained possessions. The person holding the key denies you the use of it for no other reason than that they can. Are you a libertarian if you initiate violence to obtain that key? Or is it a violation of the nonaggression principle (the libertarian principle of justice).
    Note: I’ve no objection to justice but it really is just pooled violence.
    Just because people have been asking & answering questions for thousands of years doesn’t mean they got them right.
    Morals are great things to have. You can take them out, polish & admire them in the safety of your own home. It’s what works that counts.

  • Laird

    Bloke, someone who is depriving you of your freedom of movement or access to your possessions is committing aggression against you. It is not a violation of the NAP to use force to open the door because that is not the initiation of violence. The NAP is not a pacifist doctrine or a unilateral disarmament commitment; it fully recognizes the right to self-defense and to respond to others’ violence.

  • Paul Marks

    Bloke in Spain it is perfectly possible to be a libertarian (a sincere libertarian – a just person) whilst still being a total shit.

    Sorry but a “libertarian person” is just a “person who is a libertarian” – naught more.

    One does not even have to prevent someone else violating the nonaggression principle (as a Randian Objectivist would), just as long as one does not commit injustice one’s self (or suggest it, or support it).

  • Paul Marks

    Nick (nice guy) Gray.

    You do not like facts.

    You ranted at me when I typed some out on another blog.

    You accused me (I think) of wanting to cut your pension.

    And compared me to Marxists who want to build Heaven on Earth.

    Just to be nasty I think I will repeat the facts that sent you off the deep end.

    Government spending is NOT under control. Certainly some British government departments have had their budgets reduced but TOTAL government spending….

    Government debt is INCREASING (even as a percentage of GDP).

    Indeed one could cut government spending by about a third and it would still be at the level (again even as a percentage of the economy) as it was in fiscal 1963.

    I suggested a series of government spending cuts (with the aim of balancing the budget and ending the practice of Bank of England fianced deficit spending).

    Yes they were radical (by pathetic modern standards – getting rid of the overseas budget [indeed budgets – Overseas Aid, E.U., U.N., IMF, World Bank….], ending Corporate Welfare [Trade and Industry subsdies] and returning roads, rail, the universities and the arts to civil society) – but they did NOT include cutting pensions, or cutting education for the children in schools (although I do not regard universities as schools for children – different budget)or income support.

    In short I was hopelessly weak (bent over backwards) and may well have suggested far too little in terms of cutting government spending.

    And all I got from you was abuse (which I have repeated above).

    Plus “you never give sources for your statements” (as if you could not have checked anything I typed in a couple of minutes).

    That is calling me a liar – and doing it in a cowardly way.

    I was quite hurt.

    Sensitive soul that I am.

    There were almost tears.

    Of course the joke is that there is no chance what-so-ever of big government spending cuts happening.

    So the present system is doomed.

    Oh dear, how sad.

    Oddly enough I am quite sincere when I say I would like to save the system – which, I suppose, makes me a traitor to hardcore libertarianism.

    But there is no chance that people like me will win – none.

    The system will go down. Our suggestions to save it will be rejected.

    And then that pension you are hopeing for……..

    By the way – I did not think you were British based anyway.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    Paul, in my humble opinion, you must have a drinking problem, because I never said anything about your column before, and I never mentioned a pension to anyone. Even when I called myself Nuke Gray, I never mentioned pensions.
    So what are you on, and where can I get some?

  • Paul Marks

    I humbly apologise Nick (nice-guy) Gray.

    But then I only looked at the attack for a few seconds before “Counting Cats” went down.

    I thought it was your name on the attack – but, clearly, it was not.

    So, again, I apologise.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    Paul, does this mean you won’t tell me what you’re drinking?