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Samizdata quote of the day

I’ve been pondering the Jo Brand acid “joke”. Sensible reaction: “Crap joke but just a joke, move along, nothing to see here.”

But maybe HMS Sensible had sailed, so perhaps every indignant reaction the Left has to jokes they dislike must be embraced & rammed down their throats as well. My strong preference is “For fuck sake, stop trying to get people fired over crap jokes, no matter how awful” and just apply that to everyone. But if that is not going to be an option, then perhaps we need to share the pain without mercy. The golden rule when people shoot at you is… shoot back

– Perry de Havilland

82 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Stonyground

    It is useful that we often don’t have to as the lefties quite often devour people on their own side when it suits them.

  • Jon

    Can I just say, as a Brit, how impressed I am by the tolerance extended by our American cousins on this forum, to the extensive discussions of people who they probably (and entirely forgiveably) know nothing about? They are a testament to their principles.

    Their tolerance for our discussion of our various authoritarian plonkers (when they undoubtedly have so many of their own to deal with), is admirable and a lesson in international solidarity! Also, their continued view of the UK as a useful front in the culture wars gives me hope because I can’t help feeling that we’ve already been overrun by illiberalism.

  • George Atkisson

    Jon,

    Many of us in the US recognize that we both face the same enemies. Britain is more heavily engaged, so we get a head’s up in identifying our own enemies and their tactics. We are, after all, the heirs of the best of British law and culture. We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge that fact and support Britain when she is once more under siege.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “The golden rule when people shoot at you is… shoot back”

    What happens if the other side are following the same rule?

    Some one over on the left shoots at you. So you shoot someone else over on the left. Not necessarily the same person, but, well, they’re all the same, aren’t they? And then that person sits up and says “Hey! Someone’s shooting at me! Time to follow the golden rule…”

    Sounds like it’s time to roll out Kant’s Categorical Imperative: Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.

    It’s a false dilemma. You rightly reject the option of saying “move along, nothing to see here” – there very much *is* something to see, and we ought to use this example to do something about the general problem. But there are many more alternatives than just shooting back at them in the same way they shot at us. However, applying some intelligence to the problem is less emotionally satisfying than some vengeful shin-kicking.

    That’s not to say it’s an easy problem to solve. Humanity has been working on it for several thousand years now. But I don’t believe it’s impossible or that we ought to give up.

  • Some one over on the left shoots at you. So you shoot someone else over on the left. Not necessarily the same person, but, well, they’re all the same, aren’t they? And then that person sits up and says “Hey! Someone’s shooting at me! Time to follow the golden rule…”

    That is how wars work, mate, that is exactly hows they work. It would be nice if we could all agree to disagree, but like I said, perhaps HMS Sensible has sailed. And that means maybe we are in the shouting stage leading up to real strife, with real violence and real dead bodies. Or maybe it will not go all the way. But we are indeed in a culture war, no doubt about that. And all wars have collateral damage, even cultural ones. Sad but true. And that is why I would find it hard to give a shit if Jo Brand got thrown under the bus because the leftist’s own rules got used against her.

    Many years ago, I defended Tom Watson when people tried to defenestrate him due to intemperate remarks he made on his blog. Would I do so again if it happened now? To be honest, he can go fuck himself, I’d just watch and sneer as his own ‘friends’ turn on him. That is where we are today.

  • Nullius in Verba

    So do you still consider yourself a libertarian? Or are you giving it up as a lost cause? Is this still a libertarian blog?

  • “The golden rule when people shoot at you is… shoot back”

    What happens if the other side are following the same rule? (Nullius in Verba, June 16, 2019 at 12:02 pm)

    WWII is what one set of people got because they tried too hard to avoid WWI. Generals try to refight the last war, but politicians and pundits try to avoid it. A lot of people shot at each other in WWII – including many who had spent the 30s trying too hard to avoid having to shoot at anyone.

    it’s time to roll out Kant’s Categorical Imperative

    I keep Kant at arms-length from my moral code, but I’ll play. FWIW, treating Jo Brand just the same as a right-wing joker would, at first glance, seem to fall squarely within the ‘so that my rule can become a universal law’ criteria, whereas tolerating unequal treatment would violate it.

    (Side-thought: relatively speaking, was the British government closer to acting in a way that could become a general rule when it appeased in the 1930s or when it fought in the 1940s?)

    [While I have been constructing my – elegant, I hope – paragraphs, Perry de Havilland (London, June 16, 2019 at 1:41 pm) has put it more succinctly and emphatically. Perhaps there is a lesson in that.]

  • So do you still consider yourself a libertarian? Or are you giving it up as a lost cause?

    How, exactly, can you argue that “Don’t shoot back when people shoot at you” isn’t a lost cause?

    That’s not to say it’s an easy problem to solve. Humanity has been working on it for several thousand years now. But I don’t believe it’s impossible or that we ought to give up.

    A good cohort of the commentators here don’t share your faith in the unseen. Or, if you insist there is no such thing as an unsolvable problem, the rest of us know better.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @NiV and others re the golden rule.
    Tit for tat is an extremely effective tactic in repeated games. It even seems to produce long run optimal play in prisoners’ dilemma type games. The tactic teaches even the dumbest opponents to play fair and make nice.

    Just saying.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “A lot of people shot at each other in WWII – including many who had spent the 30s trying too hard to avoid having to shoot at anyone.”

    I’m not trying to avoid shooting at anyone. I’m trying to avoid shooting at people for the wrong reasons. If you want a WWII analogy, I don’t have a problem with bombing the German Army; I do have a problem with firebombing the civilian population of Dresden, using the argument that the Nazis do that sort of thing so so should we.

    Jo’s joke is the wrong target. That’s free speech – the civilian population we’re trying to protect. Now if you can find one of these people launching a malicious prosecution or maybe getting someone fired for making jokes, and then find some way to prosecute *them* for taking that action, for discriminating on the basis of political belief (a protected category) then I’d be all up for that! Society can use force to prevent harm. Telling a joke isn’t harm. Prosecuting or (more-than-verbally) punishing someone for telling a joke *is* harm, and to use the Equality Act to prevent or punish that would be both heavily ironic and lots of fun!

    “FWIW, treating Jo Brand just the same as a right-wing joker would, at first glance, seem to fall squarely within the ‘so that my rule can become a universal law’ criteria, whereas tolerating unequal treatment would violate it.”

    Yes! Can you imagine if Nigel Farage, Tommy Robinson, Sargon of Akkad, and so on were all to loudly express their public support for Jo, saying that her hate speech should be protected as free speech too? “I may detest what you say, but I defend your right to say it”. Make it absolutely clear and unambiguous to everyone that this is indeed hate speech, but then defend hate speech. Don’t ever concede the enemy’s claim that hate speech deserves to be punished. Get minority political beliefs recognised as being subject to protection too. And highlight their hypocrisy, their opposition to freedom. Make it clear which side is on the side of freedom. Seize the moral high ground. Don’t make it a fight between left and right; make it a fight between freedom and censorship, and put yourself visibly on the side of freedom even for your opponents.

    In short, fight the German Army – the ones armed with guns – not the German civilians – the ones armed only with bad jokes and stupid opinions.

    What I’m trying to say is that there are more than just the two options here – to either passively surrender or become as bad as the enemy. I’m not in favour of either. We can be smarter than that.

  • bobby b

    But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
    — Jesus Christ, English Standard Version (Luke 6:27-31)

    Pretty words.

    But when the conflict involves opposing contradictory ideologies, and the other side will only be satisfied if you give up yours and accept theirs, then abstaining from the fight means something more than just not fighting. It means accepting their ideology and abandoning your own.

    How does that serve liberty?

    If one side wants a fight, and the other side doesn’t want to surrender, there will be a fight.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Perry de H.: “But we are indeed in a culture war, no doubt about that.”

    Even worse, we are losing badly in that war — and have been for decades. Not shooting back has been tried … and has clearly failed.

    AT the end of WWII, there were bastions of civilizational confidence everywhere — universities, churches, media, social organizations, courts, police, military. Now that most of those bastions have been over-run, it is not even clear how (or if) we can effectively fight back. No-one likes to admit that he has lost, but perhaps we are at the point where we should be taking a very hard look at the correlation of forces.

    In a sense, time is on our side, since Big Intrusive Government will eventually fail. Maybe the best we can do is imitate the Irish monasteries of the Dark Ages, and keep the flame alive through the coming turmoil. Because life will go on after the collapse of the Leftie fairy tale.

  • Guy Montag

    “Big Intrusive Government” is not the problem. “Big Intrusive Woke Capital” is the problem. It isn’t the US Federal government that is driving all dissidents out of the public square, it’s Big Woke Capital. It isn’t the government that is funding and organising Antifa thugs to take over the streets, it’s Big Woke Capital. It isn’t Big Intrusive Government that is running the mainstream media as a propaganda and doxxing operation, it’s Big Woke Capital. It isn’t Big Intrusive Government that is turning out small armies of deranged SJWs from colleges and universities, it’s Big Woke Capital.

    If every Western government just evaporated into the ether tomorrow, we would simply be left at the mercy of Big Information and Big Capital and their pozzed up Billionaires who, I assure you, will not tolerate you and will absolutely not leave you alone. Furthermore, there would be no brakes on their ambitions or behaviour and no way to stop them.

    Who knows? It turns out that we may need Big Intrusive Government after all.

    Moral: Always keep a hold of nurse……you know the rest.

  • bobby b

    “Maybe the best we can do is imitate the Irish monasteries of the Dark Ages, and keep the flame alive through the coming turmoil.”

    It’s not as dark as all that, at least in the USA.

    If you look at this map, our Irish monastery lies in the red space.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “It means accepting their ideology and abandoning your own.”

    Is that what you think the Christian martyrs did?

    While I’m no fan of not fighting, I’d argue that to fight like they do, using their tactics and principles and justifications, is rather more describable as accepting their ideology and abandoning your own.

  • Itellyounothing

    The process you describe is also loosing.

    This is war, but the only affective bullets are ones that kill ideas.

    The left knows you kill ideas with clever language.

    The left kill ideas better than we do, but their best weapons are weakening.

    Racism, sexism, homophobia etc aren’t quite so powerful as ten years ago.

    Memes are working and shame has been exhausted.

    Ridicule is powerful. But Alinsky is applicable too. And that isn’t nice.

  • So do you still consider yourself a libertarian? Or are you giving it up as a lost cause? Is this still a libertarian blog?

    I consider tolerance as a key virtue, but I also think tolerance only makes sense when it is reciprocated. If not, tolerating those who will not return the favour is at best cowardice and at worse suicidal. I am at the stage I am only willing to defend people like Jo Brand if they are willing to defend those they also disapprove of. Otherwise, I think the best tactic is to just sit back and point, letting the other side devour themselves. There will come a time when rising to defend the rights of our enemies will make sense, but only after a whole lot of people have had an object lesson in the consequences of their own ideas. Until then, I find it hard to make the effort, and I am more inclined to just make sure the ‘rules’ apply to both sides until the pain gets more spread around.

  • bobby b

    “Is that what you think the Christian martyrs did?”

    Um . . . they died. I’d rather not.

    “While I’m no fan of not fighting, I’d argue that to fight like they do, using their tactics and principles and justifications, is rather more describable as accepting their ideology and abandoning your own.”

    Insisting that they enforce their own rules upon themselves too is a far cry from accepting their ideology. I wouldn’t impose those rules, and I will ridicule those rules no matter who breaks them. They want those rules, so I see no conflict in insisting that they live up to them.

  • neonsnake

    So, we’re saying that we relax our stance on “I disagree with what you’re saying but will defend to the death your right to say it”, until everyone agrees with us?

    There’s an elegance to it, I admit.

  • While I’m no fan of not fighting, I’d argue that to fight like they do, using their tactics and principles and justifications, is rather more describable as accepting their ideology and abandoning your own.

    No, it isn’t. It is reminding them that there are consequences to their actions. You don’t have to subscribe to their ideology, nor abandon your own principles. These people are like followers of a cult. They are brainwashed. They do not see reason. If rubbing their noses in it is the way to make them at least stop and think, then so be it.

  • I would add, here, that Jo Brand is not the target – it is the BBC that leapt to her defence while censuring Carl Benjamin for precisely the same thing. Using Alinksy is highlighting their rampant hypocrisy.

  • So, we’re saying that we relax our stance on “I disagree with what you’re saying but will defend to the death your right to say it”, until everyone agrees with us?

    I think our stance is “We’ll keep the government from making rules that prevent you from saying it, but once those rules are in place, we’ll make sure they’re enforced on the people we disagree with as well as us. If we don’t, there’s no way you’ll consider repealing those rules.”

    You don’t have to subscribe to their ideology, nor abandon your own principles.

    If one of those principles is “Don’t fight back”, then you do have to abandon that principle if you want them to dislike the consequences of their actions.

  • mickc

    Yes! Entirely agree with all of Perry’s comments. It is a cultural war…and if the weapons are fine for them to use, they’re fine for anyone else.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “There will come a time when rising to defend the rights of our enemies will make sense,”

    Thanks. So more of a temporary withdrawal from the field of battle, I guess…

    “It is reminding them that there are consequences to their actions.”

    That’s the idea of the hate speech laws and all the political correctness. You punish people who do stuff you don’t like until they stop doing it. You make sure there are consequences to politically incorrect speech.

    But you’re reasonable, and it didn’t work on you. Why do you think it would work on them?

    “You don’t have to subscribe to their ideology, nor abandon your own principles.”

    You might not, but I would.

    “These people are like followers of a cult. They are brainwashed. They do not see reason. If rubbing their noses in it is the way to make them at least stop and think, then so be it.”

    All you’d do is convince them they were right. They don’t see themselves as being punished for doing something wrong. They see themselves as being attacked by hypocritical enemies who whine about ‘free speech’ when it’s their own opinions being supressed, but gleefully employ all the machinery of censorship as soon as it comes to an opinion they don’t like. You’re not fighting for freedom, they’ll say, you’re fighting to defeat your enemy in the culture war and you’ll only stick to the ideals of freedom for as long as they serve that purpose. You’ll tell them that it’s OK to abandon one’s liberal principles in the interests of winning the war, that hypocrisy is OK if you think it’s necessary to win the war, and therefore it’s perfectly acceptable for them to do the same.

    It’s the issue Kant’s Categorical Imperative is pointing at – any excuse you can use, so can they. You’ve just all talked yourselves into thinking it’s OK to let someone get wiped out for making a joke, because they’re on the other side politically. The more you get hurt by it, the more you feel you are justified hurting the other side with it. And they’ll say the same.

    After all the stuff they’ve done to you, it hasn’t made you change your mind and agree with them. It hasn’t made you surrender. Rubbing your nose in it didn’t work. It just made you angry, and even more willing to fight dirty, because winning is more important than fancy principles. What makes you think they’ll do any differently?

    It’s been a fun debate, but I need to go do something else for a while. I hope you can all manage to carry on without me. 🙂

  • bobby b

    “So, we’re saying that we relax our stance on “I disagree with what you’re saying but will defend to the death your right to say it”, until everyone agrees with us?”

    No, we’re saying “we think those rules are crap, and were put in place as a partisan measure, and they should be repealed, but until that happens, we’re not going to let you stick to your plan of enforcing them only on a partisan basis.”

  • Stonyground

    My problem with those who would ban hate speech is there are people who deserve to be hated. There are people who want to do me harm, and my hatred of them is entirely justified, it is important that I am free to say that I hate them and to explain why I hate them.

  • So, we’re saying that we relax our stance on “I disagree with what you’re saying but will defend to the death your right to say it”, until everyone agrees with us?

    Bobby b above pretty much says it the way I see it. I would just add that loudly proclaiming the “we think those rules are crap” part is indispensable.

  • it is important that I am free to say that I hate them and to explain why I hate them.

    Agreed. But a lot of people think otherwise.

  • But you’re reasonable, and it didn’t work on you. Why do you think it would work on them?

    It didn’t work on me precisely because it is unreasonable and I can see that it is unreasonable, just as I can see their hypocrisy. They need to see it by experiencing it for themselves. That’s the point. “These are the rules you created, now see how it feels to be on the receiving end of them.”

    You’ve just all talked yourselves into thinking it’s OK to let someone get wiped out for making a joke, because they’re on the other side politically.

    No. We haven’t. We have used it as an exercise to highlight their hypocrisy. It is never OK for someone to get wiped out for telling a joke. There should never be hate speech laws, but while they are being imposed, then they need to be imposed equally and without favour. Let those who choose to live by the sword die by it.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Actually, what Perry calls the “golden rule”, i called the Iron Rule in the previous Jo Brand thread. I also implied that the Iron Rule is actually incompatible with the traditional Golden Rule. Let me add that the main reason why i identify more as a pagan than as a Christian, is that i find the Iron Rule a better guide to life than the Golden Rule.

    Let me stress once again: I don’t see any hypocrisy in holding the ruling class to higher standards than i follow myself.
    I don’t see any inconsistency in following the Iron Rule while at the same time demanding that the ruling class follow the Golden Rule.
    In particular, i don’t see any inconsistency in demanding that Jo Brand goes to jail, while at the same time advocating for the repeal of all restrictions on freedom of speech.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Guy Montag: “Big Intrusive Government” is not the problem. “Big Intrusive Woke Capital” is the problem.

    Shhh! Don’t tell anyone this, but the two go hand-in-hand — because Fascism lost the war but won the peace.

    The West may have gone into WWII as relatively free market, limited government kinds of societies; but they have now evolved into Fascist societies — private ownership is allowed, but it has to kiss the ring of the Political Class. (Some call this ‘crony capitalism’ instead of Fascism — a rose by any other name … ). Meanwhile Russia has abandoned Communism, and ended up with pretty much the same system as the West. China nominally retains Communism, but private ownership abounds — under the firm thumb of political control.

    If we could return to a form of limited government which focused on defending the borders and keeping the playing field level within the borders, the Big Intrusive Woke Capital guys would lose their current political protection and would soon have their lunches eaten by real capitalists who focused on meeting customer needs instead of on displaying their wokeness.

  • Snorri Godhi

    PS: was it Jo Brand who said something like this:
    Last summer i went on holiday to Norway, where they haven’t banned whale hunting yet … so i couldn’t go swimming, obviously.

    She used to be funny!

  • Guy Montag

    Gavin Longmuir,

    “If we could return to a form of limited government which focused on defending the borders and keeping the playing field level within the borders…” Well, that sounds like Big Intrusive Government right there.

    The absence of government does not lead to a free society. The absence of government means that you will simply be governed by powerful actors who are free from any accountability or restraint.

  • bobby b

    “Make everybody live up to their own rules.”

    Scary thought. I know some people who, if they were allowed to live up to their own rules, would have already killed me. In some cases, I prefer they live up to my rules.

  • pete

    We need to publicise every bit of ‘hate speech’ by liberals so people remember them and how the authorities go easy on them.

    This will make it increasingly difficult for the state and its agencies like the police, the courts and the BBC to selectively persecute, prosecute and punish others for doing the same thing.

  • bobby b

    “We need to publicise every bit of ‘hate speech’ by liberals . . . “

    Something we righties always forget is that the phrase “hate speech”, as defined by progressives, must necessarily involve speech against a protected class member because of their membership in their protected class. It’s not “hate speech” unless it’s going after someone for their immutable characteristics.

    Thus, “I hate antifa”, or “I hate Trump” are not hate speech – neither calls out anyone for an unchangeable characteristic – but “I hate blacks” and “I hate women” and “I hate that guy because he’s gay” are hate speech.

    Last week, Stephen Crowder was wiped from Youtube because of his attacks against a writer. His attacks would likely have been acceptable to Youtube, but for the fact that he was engaging in some sophomoric “lisping prancy fairy” jokes about the guy. He was making fun of an immutable characteristic – something about the person that the person cannot change and didn’t choose – and so it qualified as “hate speech.”

    “Hate speech” is their term, not ours, and so, when we discuss it, we shouldn’t be interpreting the words out of common usage. We should be addressing the concept that it represents to it’s craftors. So many of the people being banned by the platforms could easily avoid the banning if they paid attention to this.

  • Pat

    It all comes down to pulling hair. They pull ours like they don’t know it hurts. They’ll only understand if we pull theirs.

  • Guy Montag

    bobby b

    A white man says “I don’t want to live in a black neighbourhood. I only want to live around other white people”

    Hate speech?

    A Muslim says: “I would never employ any Jew or Christian in my company”.

    Hate speech?

    A Jew says: “I would never let my property to any homosexual”

    Hate speech?

    Anyone says: “There are only two genders”

    Hate speech?

  • As Perry de Havilland (London, June 16, 2019 at 5:42 pm) points out – but should not have needed to, so blindingly obvious is it – those of us who insist on the equal enforcement of the laws also insist on our eagerness to join our votes with those we want equally treated to vote those laws down as soon as can be. The people who are exempt under the current regime, but would find themselves in court under equal enforcement of the hate speech laws, go to court with a “get out of jail free card”. They have only to agree with us that the hate speech laws are better repealed.

    Obviously, we will proclaim this as loudly as we can – but will be lied about and memory-holed by those who want unequal enforcement.

  • I do have a problem with firebombing the civilian population of Dresden (Nullius in Verba, June 16, 2019 at 3:18 pm)

    The Dresden thing was Goebbels last successful intentional propaganda coup against us. Till then, he had tried to be accurate or even to understate bombing casualties, instead focussing his rage on the destruction of cultural monuments. His aim was to minimise our belief in our raids’ destructiveness, a kind of ‘Germany can take it’. In 1945, accepting Germany now had no other way to resist, he instead multiplied the Dresden casualties by 10 and ran a very successful campaign to persuade Germany’s enemies to ease up.

    (Goebbels very last successful propaganda coup against us was unintentional. The Allies swallowed the stories of the Alpine Redoubt all the more readily because Goebbels was targeting not them German soldiers, to persuade them that continued resistance still had a point.)

    I don’t have a problem with seeing through Goebbels’ lies – or the modern lies of people who want laws enforced on their political enemies but not themselves.

  • Runcie Balspune

    I’m for pulling up the deckchair and grabbing the popcorn, we’re into late stage leftist progressivism, Brand is just one of those amending “… two legs better” on the barn door.

  • bobby b

    Guy Montag:

    A white man says “I don’t want to live in a black neighbourhood. I only want to live around other white people”

    -By their rules? Hate speech. Stereotype by race.
    -By my interpretation of their rules but using the “immutable” standard: the wish to avoid could be caused by black culture, not purely racial characteristics, so, maybe not hate speech.

    A Muslim says: “I would never employ any Jew or Christian in my company”.

    -By their rules: I doubt they recognize a transgression by a Muslim. They treat Muslims like they treat blacks and hispanics – as subhumans who cannot be expected to meet “human” standards.
    -By my interpretation of their rules but using the “immutable” standard: depends on if “Jew” is a religion or a race. Religion is not immutable.

    A Jew says: “I would never let my property to any homosexual”

    -By their rules? Hate speech
    -By my interpretation of their rules but using the “immutable” standard: “Hate speech”.

    Anyone says: “There are only two genders”

    -By their rules? Gender dysphoria is not chosen, it is an immutable characteristic, so hate speech.
    -By my interpretation of their rules but using the “immutable” standard: No proof that “gender dysphoria” is an immutable characteristic, so not hate speech.

    My biggest problem with their rules is that they want their definition of immutable to subsume the questions that remain: is transgenderism a category in all instances or is it sometimes merely a symptom, are cultures that follow racial lines fair game (i.e., can one properly abhor black urban culture without blaming race itself), can one discuss racial differences at all, etc. My second biggest problem is that they excuse their allies from the rules.

    (To be clear – I might label something as “hate speech” because it fits the progressive definition of that specific term, and I might criticize it, but I would not ban it.)

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Niall K: “The Dresden thing was Goebbels last successful intentional propaganda coup against us.”

    Does that mean Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five” was not based on his real experience of the fire-bombing of Dresden? If it is real, it is neither propaganda nor hate speech.

  • Gavin Longmuir (June 16, 2019 at 9:27 pm), I’ve read the book and also Kurt’s factual descriptions. I have no reason to doubt their accuracy. (I’m baffled why you would imagine I would.)

    Others who survived Dresden or Hamburg left accounts of their personal experiences in a city being fire-stormed.

  • Guy Montag

    bobby b,

    Thank you for your considered response.

    I just wish to add that your rules don’t matter and theirs do.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Niall K: “The Dresden thing was Goebbels last successful intentional propaganda coup against us.”
    “I have no reason to doubt their accuracy. (I’m baffled why you would imagine I would.)
    Others who survived Dresden or Hamburg left accounts of their personal experiences in a city being fire-stormed.”

    Now you have got me really confused, Niall. Since the British fire bombing of Dresden was real, with massive numbers of civilian casualties, then how could it be a “successful intentional propaganda coup against us”?

    As it happens, I once had the opportunity to speak with a professor who, as a very young girl, had survived the firebombing of Dresden. She remembered being carried down to the bomb shelter, looking up and noticing how bright the stars were in the sky that night. When they eventually came back out from the shelter, the city had gone.

  • llamas

    I was in UK last week and heard the whole tale at first hand. One detail I think has been missed here is that Nigel Farage reacted like a prissy schoolgirl over this, pearl-clutching and demanding that Jo Brand be investigated by the police.

    What he should have done was said ‘This silly and stupid woman made a tasteless and intemperate joke. If I’d said something like this, stupid people like her would have accused me of hate speech, and demanded that I be punished. But sensible people who believe in free speech – like me – don’t do silly and stupid things like that. Instead, I say – let her say stuff like this, as much as she likes, so as many people as possible can see how nasty, destructive and gateful she and her ideas are.’

    Instead, he reacted as she would have done if the tables were turned, and instead of rejacting her worldview, he legitimised it. My opinions of both her and him are thereby diminished.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Julie near Chicago

    llamas:

    What [Farage] should have done was [say] ‘This silly and stupid woman made a tasteless and intemperate joke. If I’d said something like this, stupid people like her would have accused me of hate speech, and demanded that I be punished*. But sensible people who believe in free speech – like me – don’t do silly and stupid things like that.’

    Thread winner!!! And s/b a SQ-of-the-Year!!

    *”Punished”: See below….

  • Julie near Chicago

    *Punished: I assume that llamas means “legally punished.” “Punishing” Mizz Brand by calling her out, or criticizing her poor taste in “jokes,” is to my mind not only perfectly legitimate, but necessary. Changing what many people see as funny or as desirable or even “socially acceptable” (much as we may hate the fact of social pressure — sometimes) is the very aim of the Culture Wars, and creating countervailing social pressure is a very important part of doing that.

    .

    Expanding a bit on this, I note the rest of the llamas’s paragraph quoted above:

    Instead, I say – let her say stuff like this, as much as she likes, so as many people as possible can see how nasty, destructive and gateful she and her ideas are.

    Good as far as it goes, but people have been saying stuff like that for more years than I’ve been around to hear them, and in the last half-century at least all that’s happened is that people have become inured to ugly “jokes” and gotten on the bandwagon of making them themselves … and using them to demonize others.

    And people who think there need to be some sort of standards for what is socially acceptable cause others to clutch their pearls and start ranting about the evils of social pressure.

    I’ve said it here so often, why should I need to say it again — but I am NOT talking about laws against “hate speech” or “hate crime” either. (Here, we lack the former so far, thank the Great Frog, but as I understand it “hate crimes” may have worse legal penalties than the same crimes supposedly not committed out of hate. bobby or others knowledgable about our criminal law will I hope correct me if I’m wrong about that.)

    Such laws are abominations.

    But even if, now and then, Bill Maher or gawd-help-us-ruddy Jon “Stewart” Leibowitz or somebody who specializes in using the f-bomb 45 times per second does get off a line that makes us chuckle or think, we ought to realize that our custom encourages them and increases the size of their audience, which results in more people who think that such talk is perfectly fine and maybe, even, “has a lot of truth to it.”

    .

    Social norms and social pressure are an immutable fact of human nature and will always be with us. I agree with Nullius and Mr. Mill the Younger that they can be humiliating, hurtful to the point of being psychologically damaging, unjust, indecent, career-ruining and the ruining of reputations, and even result in governmental investigations. But what they can’t be is destroyed as a part of human nature.

    The only remedy that I can think of for that is to defend the targetted to the extent that we, as individuals, think is justified, so as to lessen the social pressure against the individual or the behavior.

    Social pressure can also be a force for good, of course. It can encourage individuals to engage in private charity, to take on an attitude that’s less unduly condemnatory, to encourage educational venues of various sorts to concentrate more on the 3 R’s and on history and literature and the idea of “rational self-interest” as opposed to varieties of “critical theory” and the promotion of socialistic or “Progressive” agendas; and even to encourage sexual responsibility and the value of treating oneself with respect.

    Social pressure can even help to spread some very good ideas, such as the idea of individual liberty.

    Or so it seems to me.

  • Julie near Chicago

    **”Punished”:

    Stepped on my tie. Apologies to llamas, who clearly said that Farage s/not have “demand[ed] that Jo Brand be investigated by the police.”

    The whole comment is right on.

  • Itellyounothing

    The human tribe has always enforced social behaviour by outgrouping offenders.

    Until the tribes of the libertarian right remember we are humans and make use of small portions of our tribal selves, the left will keep winning by outgrouping.

    The BBC needs defunding, big charities and corporate leviathans need kicking off the tax payer teat.
    Civil servants need a hiring freeze of at least a whole five year parliament and we need out of the EU without paying 39 billion and surrendering the sovereignty we voted for.

    We need to do all that and find a leader with grit to deliver, or that backlash against the left will go from cultural war to civil war…..

    Being inappropriately kind and tolerant just means the next generation have to fight even harder and much viciously to win and will think even less of us cowardly old folk. Trump is a best case scenario.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    There’s an audience/participant problem here.
    It is equal application of law enforcement for Jo Brand to be investigated for a hate crime/incitement to GBH. Her comments (I refuse to call them a joke) are much more extreme than many which have been investigated heretofore.

    Moreover, her audience want to continue signalling their virtue by supporting people such as Brand (and Antifa and…).
    So don’t let them remain confident in the unquestionable nature of the virtue of their leaders, ideologues and jesters. And don’t let their leaders, ideologues and jesters think that they are untouchable- that’s what tit-for-tat starts to teach.

    I also think our American contributors underestimate the likelihood of someone acting on Jo Brand’s suggestion.
    There’s a lot of nutters out there who are convinced of their righteousness and of the “fact” that Farage is a truly evil, racist, misogynistic, transphobic, homophobe who should be wiped from the face of the Earth. I know, I work with some of them and teach a lot more.

  • Niall … Now you have got me really confused (Gavin Longmuir, June 16, 2019 at 10:41 pm)

    And you have got me really confused, Gavin. You do know that ten times zero is still zero, right? You do know that Goebbels could not, through multiplying the actual casualty total by ten (as I described), have achieved a number so startlingly far above the normal expectation as to affect allied policy, if there had been no actual genuine sizeable casualty total to multiply, right?

  • neonsnake

    Social pressure can even help to spread some very good ideas, such as the idea of individual liberty.

    Or so it seems to me.

    I stand firmly by your side.

    I also wholeheartedly agree with llamas’ comment re. Mr. Farage. This seems to be to be in instance where we’re all for free speech for our side, but not for theirs. But, if I’ve understood correctly, this is what we seem to be advocating? For “us” to use the law against “them”? Not just vocal “censuring”?

    I confess to being uncertain what people are actually advocating. If they’re advocating for Jo Brand (and the BBC) to censured, then I’m all for it. Freedom of Speech does not (and should not) mean freedom to say anything you want with impunity, and that people aren’t able to express disapproval.

    It should (but doesn’t) mean freedom from legal consequences – except in a very small number of circumstances, adequately described by the well-known ‘”Fire!” in a crowded theatre example.

    Whilst I understand Niall’s sentiment (as long as I’m not misrepresenting him) that existing laws should be equally applied, I struggle to see how being seen to be supportive of those laws, by insisting on them being applied, can be viewed as anything other than endorsement. Perry says, rightly and firmly, that it’s of paramount importance to make it clear that we hate those laws – but I don’t believe that practically, that’s what will come across. I think what will come across is that we agree with anti-free speech laws when they are being used against people we don’t like/agree with/whatever.

    Then, if we really believe that they should be endorsed equally – doesn’t that mean we should loudly and vocally call for them to be endorsed for everyone – including people we might like? Are we going to loudly and vocally call for legal investigation the next time one of “ours” says something a bit off-colour? It seems to be that we must.

    Then…how do we decide what we consider to be speech worthy of legal investigation? There’s already a discussion upthread about this. No doubt some people will disagree with either bobby b or Guy Montag, because “we’re” also on a spectrum of beliefs. Again, if the response to my paragraph above is “no, we’re not going after our own people, just theirs”, how do we really decide who is “ours” and who is “theirs”? Is Bill Maher ours or theirs? Theresa May? Jacob-Ress Mogg? Rory Stewart? Boris? Tim Farron? Carl Benjamin? Gerard Batten? Me? You?

    Will we have to have a list of undesirables, and a list of approved/non-approved speech? Who gets to write those lists?

    Incidentally, has anyone seen Boxer? Has he come back from the vet yet?

    Part of the beauty of “our” views on Free Speech is in it’s simplicity. Everyone benefits – no matter how much we disagree with what they are saying, we do not believe in legal involvement. This includes – in fact, has to include by definition – even when we disagree with what they’re saying about Free Speech!

  • Rob

    HMS Sensible sailed, was torpedoed by a Marxist sub sailing under a flag of truce, and sank at least ten years ago.

    Use their weapons against them. All of them. It may be romantic to be a martyr but you won’t even be that – they will smear you as a fascist bigot anyway.

  • llamas

    @ Clovis Sangrail – I think you are over-egging the pudding a bit. With respect.

    You speak of ‘her audience’ as though anyone who heard or read what she said automatically took it on board to continue/expand their virtue-signaling. On the contrary. several people I spoke with – including me – took the position that ‘I’ve seen her before and found her mordant wit and deadpan delivery quite amusing, but this – this is something quite different. To express a fantasy of throwing battery acid over someone that one disagrees with – that’s pretty hateful and despicable, and my opinion of her is forever degraded.’ So giving her the fullest and unfettered freedom to say things like this has a two-fold benefit, it seems to me. Firstly, it allows as many reasonable and fair-minded people as possible to see exactly what she thinks and says, and form the same opinion of her. And – as a secondary benefit – it identifies all of those people who do share her opinion and support her for saying it (note, NOT those who support her freedom to say what she thinks, but those who support the ideas and content of what she said) so that the rest of us may clearly identify them as well.

    To your second point, that this will incite somebody to actually do something like this – I disagree. Not because there aren’t plenty of nutters in the UK who are prepared to do something like this – I’m sure there are – but because I doubt very much that this one rather-silly and tasteless joke would be the thing that would send someone over the edge. The effective persuasion to that sort of behavior is the constant, unending tide of opinion all over the UK media and the chattering classes that Farage and his supporters are all racist, white-supremacist, homophobic, transphobic, isolationist, misogynistic de-dah-de-dah-de-dah (insert insult-du-jour here) – Jo Brand’s contribution is just a tiny drop in the bucket.

    I think one thing that American readers may not grasp is that the idea of attacking someone with acid has a long and unpleasant history in the UK, going back into the early 19th century, and now enjoying 🙁 a terrible resurgence among certain immigrant communities, principally connected with ‘honour’ attacks on women and girls. See Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Illustrious Client – attacks with acid were so common in the Victorian era that Conan Doyle wove the concept into a story secure in the knowledge that every reader would understand exactly what this meant. It is now said that the UK has the highest rate of attacks with acid in the Western world, comparable only with the rates seen in certain Middle- and Far-Eastern nations where these ideas hold sway. So Jo Brand’s offhand suggestion of attacking someone with battery acid is not some abstract idea of doing harm that is fantastically-exaggerated for comic effect, but a real reference to a real crime that occurs in the UK every day.

    I apologize for my spelling. Cellphone. I will try and do better.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @llamas
    You may well be right that I am over-egging the pudding.
    I work in the febrile atmosphere of a Russell-Group university and may have a somewhat skewed perception of these things. Your drop-in-the-bucket comment is right, and that was all I was saying really.

    Your other points are well-made, too.

    I suppose the real issue here is to what extent we stick to our rules about free speech and respect for others’ rights and to what extent we attempt to school our opponents in the unpleasant outcomes flowing from their position.
    I am, increasingly, of the opinion that a bit more schooling is required (I suppose I’m just acting to type as an academic). Since they behave in (at best) an infantile fashion, it is arguable (and I would argue), that we should do a bit more of the firm, parental “OK, now YOU see what it feels like”.
    I think it’s better to do that now, before things get really (Lord of the Flies) unpleasant.

  • @neonsake:

    I struggle to see how being seen to be supportive of those laws, by insisting on them being applied, can be viewed as anything other than endorsement.

    No, it is not endorsing. It is forcing people to realise just how bad this law is and everyone is equal before the law. That they, too, will suffer for it. Sometimes, that is the only way to get their attention. I mean, we’ve tried the high moral ground and it hasn’t worked.

    @Clovis Sangrail

    I am, increasingly, of the opinion that a bit more schooling is required (I suppose I’m just acting to type as an academic). Since they behave in (at best) an infantile fashion, it is arguable (and I would argue), that we should do a bit more of the firm, parental “OK, now YOU see what it feels like”.

    Yes. This. Precisely this.

  • Samizdata Illuminatus #23

    In season 57 episode 6 of Have I Got News For You which aired on 9th June, Jo Brand read the following from the auto-cue, whilst seeming to approve of what she was reading, along with the audience and Heidi Allen MP who applauded:

    Police are investigating whether UKIP Euro candidate Carl Benjamin might have committed a crime when he stated he might [sic] rape Labour MP Jess Philips. I think it’s shocking that politics has been reduced to such vile and abusive personal attacks, especially from a twat-faced beardy tiny-cocked tosser like him.

    She mis-quoted his tweet, and missed her opportunity to express disapproval of the police investigating people for making tasteless jokes.

  • llamas

    @ Clovis Sangrail – respectfully agree. I think that, the next time I am in UK, I shall see whether you would like a beer.

    Thanks also to the e-mailer who noted that the carrying of acid to attack one’s opponents featured in the Graham Greene novel ‘Brighton Rock’ – I had forgetted this. I think it did not feature in the film. I do not recall ever seeing attacks with acid featured in any American novel, for example, so it seems to be a rather British speciality.

    As regards sticking to our rules vs schooling our opponents – maybe I am starry-eyed about this. But I think that the damage that Jo Brand and her worldview suffers (and, by extension, those who support or share her viewpoints) is far greater when it is exposed to the greatest possible audience, than if it were to be suppressed or punished by the law. If you let her say such a despicable thing such that millions of people hear it, then the majority – even, perhaps, some of those who share some of her politics – will be inclined to say ‘that’s a horrible thing to say’ and so degrade their opinion of her. If, by contrast, she were to be hauled off to the police station and questioned and charged and put through the process of law, she becomes a martyr to her supporters and her horrible ‘joke’ would be heard by far-fewer people anyway.

    I saw this idea put into action last week, when I saw somebody standing up for her and decrying the idea that what she said should attract a visit from the Boys in Blue. And somebody said to that person ‘But that’s exactly what happened to Katie Hopkins. She expressed an unpleasant opinion – nothing to do with violence of any sort, just an unpleasant opinion – and ended up at the police station, being questioned under caution. In what way is this any different?’ And then he shut up and let the other guy flounder. A bit more of that sort of thinking at the bar of the Dog and Whistle, and maybe people will start to see these sorts of things for what they are. Maybe. I live in hope. Maybe I’m a hopeless idealist.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @llamas
    Alcohol in thinking company is always good (and welcome)!

  • I was in UK last week and heard the whole tale at first hand. One detail I think has been missed here is that Nigel Farage reacted like a prissy schoolgirl over this (llamas (June 16, 2019 at 11:03 pm)

    Did you indeed hear ‘the whole tale’ or was it the whole segment the MSM showed? In today’s media environment, Nigel would indeed have been foolish to try and get the MSM to show him an atom of the sympathy they’d shower on a leftie in his situation, but he may have also have been avoiding the heads-they-win, tails-you-lose headline alternatives of

    Even Farage agrees ridiculous to call Brand joke ‘hate speech’

    that they’d use to strengthen the double-standard, and

    To Farage, joking about violence is ‘free speech’

    that they’d use to blame him for Brand’s offence.

    One of the points of the double-standard is it can get you on either prong of the fork.

    If Farage indeed neglected every chance (so far) to suggest he’d laugh at other’s jokes if they would laugh at his, then he missed a trick. If he merely spent long enough on his anger that it was enough for a segment, maybe the MSM didn’t miss a trick.

  • neonsnake

    No, it is not endorsing. It is forcing people to realise just how bad this law is and everyone is equal before the law

    I think it will be viewed as endorsement, no matter how much we loudly state that we hate such laws. I understand the sentiment, I just can’t see that in a practical sense, people will pay attention to “See? These laws are awful!” and will instead portray it as “So they believe in free speech for Carl Benjamin, but not for Jo Brand? Told ya!”

    I mean, we’ve tried the high moral ground and it hasn’t worked.

    I honestly wonder.

    I mean, it might be because the internet only surfaces the worst examples of behaviour…

    To me, the “moral high ground” here would be if we’d consistently LOUDLY defended the right to utter the worst utterings on the left (I don’t know what they’d be…I’ll stereotype for effect, but anti-semitism and the more unwarranted accusations towards the right of bigotries of various types, maybe?) – whilst simultaneously stating our disapproval of such ideas, of course.

    At the same time – LOUDLY stating our disapproval of the worst utterings of the right (I don’t know what they’d be…I’ll stereotype for effect, but various bigotries and the more unwarranted accusations towards the left of anti-semitism, maybe?) – whilst simultaneously defending the right to utter them, of course.

    I’ve placed the LOUDLY in two different places, after some thought, and with no small amount of misgivings, as it could imply unfair/uneven behaviour – but I do it only because we’re trying to teach people who are starting with a different set of values.

  • @neonsake: Unfortunately, the loudly proclaiming bit will get edited out. I think Benjamin’s comments were tasteless and crass, but defend his right to utter them. Likewise, Jo Brand’s comment was tasteless and crass, and I defend her right to utter them. I wonder will Victoria Derbyshire interview Brand and harangue her throughout the interview about her acid comment while refusing to engage in any other comments she might wish to make about issues?

    So, yes, I do want to see these vile people suffer the consequences of their own values. As mentioned earlier, HMS Sensible has long left these shores. It’s a culture war we are losing and losing badly. Pretty much everyone I speak to socially or in work is convinced that Farage and Trump are xenophobic racists. If you suggest they do a little fact-checking and that the media might not be entirely truthful, you will be accused of engaging in conspiracy theories – even when presented with examples of the behaviour, such is the denial. Can’t win. It’s sad. Really sad, because I thought we had got this one sorted by the time I was growing up. Clearly not and we are back in the trenches.

  • neonsnake

    I agree with pretty much everything you said, including sharing the same views on Brand and Benjamin.

    If I believe that the “We hate these laws, don’t get us wrong” bit will be edited out, than I have to concede that you might well be right about my LOUDLY also being edited out.

    Likewise, I thought we were past this, growing up. Personally, I blame New Labour, but that’s just my age.

  • Snorri Godhi

    neonsnake:

    I struggle to see how being seen to be supportive of those laws, by insisting on them being applied, can be viewed as anything other than endorsement.

    Well, i don’t! (struggle, that is.)
    OK, if taken literally, your statement is tautological: being seen to be supportive of X can be viewed as nothing other than the endorsement of X. But i suppose that you meant more than that.
    In any case, if somebody sees me as supporting something that i don’t support, it’s not my fault: it’s due to their idiocy.

    Longrider:

    No, it is not endorsing. It is forcing people to realise just how bad this law is and everyone is equal before the law. That they, too, will suffer for it.

    It is more than that: to begin with, it is signalling to your allies that you are willing to fight for them and with them.

    That is why Trump got elected, and McCain and Romney didn’t: people saw (correctly in my opinion) that McCain and Romney would not fight for them, but Trump would throw everything he has got at his enemies. Trump is by no means a radical in his policies, in fact in some ways he is making the US more like Denmark: the difference is in the way he takes the US in that direction.

  • neonsnake

    But i suppose that you meant more than that.

    Maybe clumsily worded, but I think the part that will be remembered is the insistence on application (and interpreted as endorsement) – not the part where we say that we think the applied law is a bad one.

    If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the great highroad to his reason, and which, when once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing his judgment of the justice of your cause, if indeed that cause really be a just one.

    On the contrary, assume to dictate to his judgment, or to command his action, or to mark him as one to be shunned and despised, and he will retreat within himself, close all the avenues to his head and his heart; and though your cause be naked truth itself, transformed to the heaviest lance, harder than steel, and sharper than steel can be made, and though you throw it with more than Herculean force and precision, you shall be no more be able to pierce him, than to penetrate the hard shell of a tortoise with a rye straw.

    Lincoln addressing a meeting re. temperance on how best to win people over.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Niall K: “You do know that ten times zero is still zero, right?”

    You don’t help make your point by being snippy, Niall.

    “You do know that Goebbels could not, through multiplying the actual casualty total by ten (as I described), have achieved a number so startlingly far above the normal expectation as to affect allied policy, if there had been no actual genuine sizeable casualty total to multiply, right?”

    So you presumably agree, Niall, with modern estimates that Allied bombing killed between 35,000 and 135,000 people in Dresden. Because the city was packed with refugees, there is great uncertainty to this day about the numbers killed. It is certainly true that, in the aftermath of WWII, there was a lot of Monday-morning quarterbacking from the same kind of people who nowadays talk about ‘hate speech’ about whether the fire-bombing of Dresden was justified — similar to the questioning of the (maybe less destructive) atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    But it is difficult to see the basis for the assertion that any statements by Goebbels at the time influenced subsequent Allied policy. By the time the Allies bombed Dresden in mid-February 1945, the Red Army was only 50 miles from Berlin. The European war was in its final stages, and there were basically no major German cities left to bomb — Dresden had been the last major untouched target. Whatever Goebbels said, it was hardly a “successful intentional propaganda coup against us.”

  • Snorri Godhi

    Neonsnake:

    the part that will be remembered is the insistence on application (and interpreted as endorsement) – not the part where we say that we think the applied law is a bad one.

    Perhaps true, but irrelevant to me, because i am not a member of the ruling class. Only members of the ruling class ought to worry about how their actions will be interpreted.
    (I would add some qualifications, but i’ll let it stand as it is.)

    As for the Lincoln quote, i have no interest in convincing the like of Jo Brand that i am their friend. Nor do i have any interest in dictating to their judgement, since they don’t have any.

    But i approve of Lincoln’s determination to win at all costs, once it became clear that he could not convince Southerners that he was their friend.

  • neonsnake (June 17, 2019 at 3:36 pm), I echo Snorri Godhi (June 17, 2019 at 5:12 pm) that Lincoln used other methods with the south – and there are southern quotes that echo in reverse your Lincoln quote. I recall reading one southern diarist recording her conversation with a union officer, in which she explained that southern “fanaticism” merely illustrated a “general rule” that a people attacked and invaded “learn to cling with far greater devotion” to beliefs they previously only held more mildly. One historian notes that by 1864, Lincoln Grant and Sherman believed that only the harshest measures would break the south, saying (of Sherman’s strategy of attacking southern society, not just its armies), “Bomber command would have understood him very well.”

    That segues conveniently into my reply to Gavin Longmuir (June 17, 2019 at 4:59 pm), who stated

    So you presumably agree, Niall, with modern estimates that Allied bombing killed between 35,000 and 135,000 people in Dresden.

    No, I rather agree with the following.

    Seeking to establish a definitive casualty figure, in part to address propagandisation of the bombing by far-right groups, the Dresden city council in 2005 authorized an independent Historian’s Commission (Historikerkommission) to conduct a new, thorough investigation, collecting and evaluating available sources. The results were published in 2010 and stated that a minimum of 22,700[3] and a maximum of 25,000 people[4] were killed.

    As Gavin agrees, left-wing groups had their own reasons for echoing, both at the time and since, propaganda started by Goebbels, and are far more responsible for the exaggerated estimates that still pollute the public domain. When I spoke of the success of Goebbels propaganda , it was this creation of public perception I meant. I agree with Gavin that the bombing policy was already changing, so there was probably no actual effect on strategy.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Still, Goebbels was more honest than the NY Times about the Holodomor!

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Niall K quoted: “… in part to address propagandisation of the bombing [of Dresden] by far-right groups …”

    I guess that Niall & I agree that the fire-bombing of Dresden (like the atomic bombing of Hiroshima) has been used much, much more actively by Far Left groups. The inclusion of that statement blaming near-mythical “far-right groups” does tend to cast doubt on the accuracy of the Commission’s estimate in 2005, 60 years after the bombing.

    And as a simple matter of measurement accuracy, the range quoted in that article (22,700 to 25,000) is far too narrow to pass the smell test for a situation where:
    (a) no-one even at the time knew how many people had been in Dresden because of the flood of refugees into what had been perceived as a city safe from Allied attack, and
    (b) no-one even at the time could count the bodies accurately because the awesome intensity of the fires effectively cremated many of the victims.

    I guess that we will never know how many people were killed in that Allied attack. War is Hell!

  • Julie near Chicago

    Bill Whittle– Probably his best video.


    Jon Stewart, War Criminals & The True Story of the Atomic Bombs

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylMbvf3sn_g

  • Jim

    “I struggle to see how being seen to be supportive of those laws, by insisting on them being applied, can be viewed as anything other than endorsement.”

    You’re a member of a club. The club votes to make a common behaviour (lets say swearing) among the membership contrary to club rules and subject to a fine. The rule comes in, but only seems to ever be enforced when its not one of the ruling clique who have transgressed. When they swear its just ignored.

    Which is the most likely strategy to get the rule changed: a) a formal campaign through the club constitutional rule book to abolish the new rule (bearing in mind that to do so you have to be seen as being on the side of people who swear, which isn’t the best side of an argument to be on) or b) demand repeatedly and vocally every time one of the ‘protected group’ mouths an obscenity that they be fined as per the new rule?

  • Snorri Godhi

    One more thought: if Jo Brand interprets a joke about rape as incitement to rape, then it seems a valid inference that, when she makes a “joke” about political violence, she probably means it as incitement to political violence.

    Note that this is orthogonal to the question of whether it is legitimate to interpret her “joke” as incitement to violence.

  • neonsnake

    You’re a member of a club

    Sure.

    But we’re not.

    We’re a couple of dozen people on a slightly obscure website. That’s the reality of the situation. It#s not a sensible analogy.

    As a member of a club, I can explain exactly what I mean, and why.

    Us? We can’t. You believe we can? Ok, godspeed.

    This is the reality: Nigel Farage has called for legal action, and has been dismissed. So, all of the calls for “bringing down the full force of the law” have amounted to nothing. So, y’know, well done.

    The argument for “bring down the law” has amounted to nothing. It’s over. Done with. Lost cause.

    a) It’s hypocritical. This is already covered adequately. This is beyond argument.

    b) It’s tactically wrong. Now, we see this. Disagree? Ok. Bless you, you sweet child. Whatever, you’re still wrong, and will continue to be wrong. This is for people who want to fight and lose, not for people who want to win.

    You were handed an opportunity here to stick up for free speech, and you blew it.

    Instead, you rode gleefully headlong into the stigma of “free speech, but only if we agree with it” by refusing to stick up for Jo Brand’s free speech. You don’t see why you should also be condemning Carl Benjamin.

    *slow clap*

    Congrats. You’ve lost, and will continue to lose support amongst the majority of people that you could have won over, and will eventually be condemned as authoritarian right and a small but vocal insignificance, and consigned to the footnotes of history in the stupidity of the late 2010s.

  • Jim

    “The argument for “bring down the law” has amounted to nothing. It’s over. Done with. Lost cause.

    a) It’s hypocritical. This is already covered adequately. This is beyond argument.

    b) It’s tactically wrong. Now, we see this. Disagree? Ok. Bless you, you sweet child. Whatever, you’re still wrong, and will continue to be wrong. This is for people who want to fight and lose, not for people who want to win.”

    Nonsense. Its totally morally consistent to state that you disagree fundamentally with Law A, and wish it repealed, but also demand that if Law A is going to exist that it be enforced equally on all.

    As for winning, hows your current strategy doing? Supporting the Left when they say controversial things, on the grounds of free speech, and then getting shat on from a great height when someone from the right says exactly the same sort of thing?

  • neonsnake

    As for winning, hows your current strategy doing?

    Very well.

    By understanding their issues, and actually listening, I’m doing very well in converting people to the cause of liberty and economic freedom, whilst (and because) not screaming “Marxism!” at anyone who feels that poor people have a bad deal.

    Nonsense

    Obviously and evidently not.

    By all means, continue to believe so. But the evidence is against you.

  • bobby b

    So long as the side that imposed the law is completely sheltered from it, they have no incentive to repeal it.

    Given the split in governments, that means such laws will remain. There are insufficient votes to repeal the law. The quickest way to convince the law’s supporters to repeal it is to apply it against them.

  • Julie near Chicago

    That’s a lovely theory, bobby, and it would work if our opponents weren’t more interested in winning than anything else, including protecting their own lives and self-determination, by any means possible; including most especially by word-twisting, spreading untruths as facts, obliterating every word and fact of context wherever they think it might help their Cause, and especially by blackmail, intimidation, and — especially especially — manipulation in general.

    Mr. Alinsky and the KGB were absolute masters of manipulation and mob psychology. Give them that.

    Part of our problem is that some of the knaves (and some of the “fools” too) are smart enough to play Gotcha! masterfully well. When the non-foolish non-knaves such as our own sweet (or sour) and intelligent selves utter the first word of elucidation, we’ve gone right down the rabbit hole. After that it’s only a matter of “first the punishment, then the crime.”

    … Miss R. is not the only one to fall into a bad mood from time to time. 👿

  • Julie near Chicago

    Having vented somewhat, there are those among us who for some reason are motivated by the facts reported by their lying eyes to re-examine various long- and closely-held positions. David Horowitz, Sol Stern, M. Muggeridge, Clare Spark, Jean Kaufman (thenewneo.com, also at legalnsurrection.com and elsewhere) at least a good part of the way, many more I’m sure.

    Which is part of the reason we keep on truckin’. (The other part is something the Scorpion said in explanation to the Frog. Depending of course on the particular zoo inhabiting your own preferred version of the story.)

    And several of us lack the general ability to “rest easy in harness,” as Robert Frost is said to have put it, although some harnesses are easier to put up with than others.

  • Paul Marks

    To the left violence is fine – as long as it pushes the Social Justice, Equality Agenda.

    “Jo Brand” was not joking – she does want battery acid thrown in the face of Nigel Farage.

    To the left (and the moronic establishment, the Mrs May types, who are led around by the nose by the left) the law is just a weapon – to be used against “reactionaries” who oppose “social justice” “equality agenda”.

    And, I repeat, Jo Brand (and the rest of the left) does want battery acid thrown in the face of Nigel Farage – and of all “reactionaries”.

    Jo Brand does NOT want battery acid thrown in her own face, or in the faces of their comrades – because she and her comrades support the “Social Justice” “Equality Agenda”, it is only people who OPPOSE the “Social Justice” “Equality Agenda” who, according to Jo Brand and the rest of the left, should have battery acid thrown in their face.

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