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You’ve heard of precrime. Meet preantipathy.

The concept of “Precrime” was introduced to the world by the science fiction author Philip K Dick, whose dystopian 1956 short story Minority Report became a film in 2002 and reality in 2020 according to precogs working for the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

“New law needed to take on far-right extremism, says Blair thinktank”

A new law allowing for hate groups to be designated and punished before they turn to violence is needed in order to tackle far-right extremists, according to a report by Tony Blair’s thinktank, which also seeks powers to ban marches and media appearances.

Generation Identity, a racist movement that promotes a conspiracy theory that white people are being replaced by non-whites in Europe, would be among the groups targeted by new legislation, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change report said.

The law could sit alongside proscription powers, banning groups concerned with terrorism, but would not be directly linked to violence or terrorism. Rather, it would designate hate groups as organisations that spread intolerance and antipathy towards people of a different race, religion, gender or nationality, the report said.

Antipathy? They want to introduce laws that “sit alongside” the laws (sinister enough themselves) that ban groups suspected of plotting acts of terrorism before they have actually committed a crime, including the crime of conspiracy. Only these new laws would pre-emptively ban groups who might want to spread a strong feeling of dislike before they did anything about it.

The authors acknowledge that the issue of linking violent and nonviolent extremism is contentious and steps would need to be taken to protect free speech.

Very droll.

74 comments to You’ve heard of precrime. Meet preantipathy.

  • pete

    Various state authorities didn’t even want to punish many child sex abuse criminals of Rochdale and Rotherham post-crime.

    Whatever happened to everyone being equal in the eyes of the law?

  • A new law allowing for hate groups to be designated and punished before they turn to violence

    Can we arrest members of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change before they turn to tyranny? Obviously, as regards their intentions, that would require a time machine. However as regards their actually implementing such laws, should we arrest them now, not wait till their spreading of intolerance and antipathy to those of different opinions, viewpoints or experiences turns to state violence? 🙂

  • bobby b

    Start arresting your political opponents for “pre-crime”?

    What a great way to guarantee the beginning of armed civil conflict!

    “The authors acknowledge that the issue of linking violent and nonviolent extremism is contentious and steps would need to be taken to protect free speech.”

    We’ve already begun those steps. Anyone want to buy an AR-15? I build them, you know. Starting to look like a useful hobby.

  • TR

    To be fair, any effort to prevent far-left extremists from turning to violence would be a lost cause …

  • pst314

    In that case, the concept of “pre-antipathy” could be used to outlaw Islam…not that the left would ever outlaw one of its strongest allies and source of eager thugs.

  • Julie near Chicago

    These people and their ilk both there and here — are sounding like a lynch mob.

    *Useless ranting and emoting deleted*

    ETA: How immediately scary this is to me depends on how paranoid I’m feeling. But the last century of history, right up through the present, suggests that a little paranoia is not entirely unwarranted — though I don’t think Mr. Blair himself has the stones (nor, probably, even the desire) to become Mao II.

    Then again, it’s not really about Mr. Blair.

  • Julie near Chicago

    In the vein of Niall’s and bobby’s remarks, there is in our legal philosophy and, I had assumed, you Brits’ also, supposed to be some sort of principle against prior restraint, except in certain circumstances.

    Hm. Such as there being a “credible threat”?

    bobby, would you care to educate me on this doctrine a bit?

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Well, I think that ********************************************* (Pre-edited by myself from a future prison/re-education camp, which I hope will put me onto an alternative time-line. And I’d better stop all those jokes, also! Well, except for the jokes about New Zealand. They still never get them!)

  • In the US, surely this relates to the concept of “Clear and present danger

    There is no clear UK statute on this at the moment, but there have been times in the past when it was the case. For example, Internment without trial in Northern Ireland during August 1971 and the use of Imprisonment for public protection orders between 2005-2012.

    In both of these cases the inevitable abuses led to a public outcry and judicial review. Given the corruption of UK judiciary I am not confident that future attempts at “precrime” would be similarly condemned and overturned.

    😕

  • bobby b

    Julie, exactly right – we’re safe over here from the “pre-crime” concept, at least as it relates to speaking publicly and encouraging criminal acts.

    There’s an old case – Brandenburg v. State of Ohio – that deals with a situation very close to what Blair’s tankpeople are complaining about. Brandenburg was a Ku Klux Klan Poobah (or whatever they call themselves) who was calling for violence against blacks, quite explicitly. He was arrested for it, and convicted of “criminal syndicalism.”

    The USSC overturned his conviction, and said that ” . . . the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.

    Basically, if I publicly announce “I’ll pay $100 to anyone who kills John Doe”, that might meet their test. But it would have to be that much of a credible threat to a specific person before my right to say it could be restrained ahead of time.

    I have no idea if there is any corresponding protection in England.

  • bobby b

    Ironically – I should add to my 1:29 comment – “criminal syndicalism” was a crime enacted in some US states in the early 1900’s so that they could prosecute the Wobblies – the International Workers of the World – for advocating violence against the capitalist state.

    In other words, the Brandenburg case involved almost exactly the criminal charge which Blair’s people seek to impose – someone advocating violence against their political enemies.

    We have this USSC ruling – Brandenburg – precisely because people here already tried the Blair thinktank idea. People here were prosecuted, for about a decade, on this same basis.

  • Julie near Chicago

    bobby, thank you so much for confirming what I sort of thought I sort of knew and for the particulars you gave. Feel free to come pick me up in the Lamborghini (don’t forget the mead) and I’ll take you to someplace a cut above Perkins (the chain), if there is one around here.

    By the way, as long as you’re going to be here anyway, how about putting up a pergola on our house? I heard you is de man. :>)))

    JG, thanks for your info on the sitch in the UK, and for the link. If you can find me the right dog (remember Lucy? probably not…), bring her on over here and I’ll take you out to the local Perkins Family Restaurant too. They have pretty good pancakes — ask Alisa :>)))

    Although, speaking of Alisa — I don’t suppose you know of any place around here that has decent falafel?

  • Nothing protects free speech quite like making free speech illegal 😆

  • I have no idea if there is any corresponding protection in England. (bobby b, August 30, 2019 at 1:29 am)

    IIRC, the 1936 act spoke of an immediate threat in a way that was broadly similar to ‘clear and present danger’.

    Tony Blair’s government enacted a different law. As Perry remarks, it protects free speech in the sense of ‘protective custody’. In October 2002, Natalie blogged about the first conviction under it.

    Because we have no equivalent of the 1st amendment, it was always possible for parliament to make emergency exceptions, as in WWII (where Churchill used them with restraint and awareness of the dangers) or in Northern Ireland in 1970 (where there was an insurrectionary situation; in Eire, south of the border, the Irish government brought in a law that made the word of senior Garda police officer that a man was a member of the IRA sufficient proof to convict him of being so, though FAIK it may be that law was also used with great restraint 🙂 ).

    Blair made ‘hate speech’ a matter of ordinary law, not justified by any emergency and not expected to be repealed when the emergency ended.

  • neonsnake

    Happily, not everyone agrees.

    Johnathan Hall QC notes here and, indeed, here, that bans “could glamourise designated organisations”.

    With groups like Generation Identity, I can easily see them weaponising “free speech bans” and using such a ban to attract recruits.

    Although, I openly confess I struggle sometimes with things like this; Popper’s Paradox Of Tolerance comes to mind. How far are we willing to be tolerant of intolerance? And how do we realistically deal with groups like Generation Identity without resorting to “the government should do something!” and risking glamourisation?

  • Ed Turnbull

    @neonsnake 30/08/2019 10:30

    How far are we willing to be tolerant of intolerance? For me that’s easy: as long as the ‘intolerance’ isn’t causing any physical or financial harm to anyone, or amounts to direct incitement to criminal activity, I’m ok with it. Let identitarians of all stripes – white, muslim, trans, black, klingon, whatever – spout their nonsense. After all, giving Nick Griffin a platform on Question Time didn’t exactly do wonders for BNP recruitment, did it?

    If freedom of speech means anything at all it means defending it for those we dislike, or with which we disagree.

    Regards

    ET

  • Rob

    The authors acknowledge that the issue of linking violent and nonviolent extremism is contentious and steps would need to be taken to protect free speech.

    Translation: The authors acknowledged that some of their own side might inadvertently get caught up by this, and steps would need to be taken to ensure they were speedily given a clean bill of health.

  • Rob

    In both of these cases the inevitable abuses led to a public outcry and judicial review

    Only because the “wrong people” were being jailed. Once these people see their political enemies being jailed and silenced, you won’t hear a peep out of them about “due process” or “miscarriages of justice”.

  • Rob

    Theresa May would be all over this, thank God she’s gone. There will still be enough fools in the Tory Party who will think that their definition of “hate group” is the same as that of the totalitarians. Five minutes on Twitter with their eyes open should correct that if they were rational, but they clearly aren’t.

  • Flubber

    “a conspiracy theory that white people are being replaced by non-whites in Europe”

    Demographics are destiny. Mark Steyn identified this a decade ago.

  • neonsnake

    If freedom of speech means anything at all it means defending it for those we dislike, or with which we disagree.

    Agreed, and in the case of a small number of muppets who think they’re re-enacting the battle of Thermopylae, I’d definitely rather they were out in the open and exposed; and I really don’t want them pulling the “my free speech is being suppressed” martyrdom approach.

  • Demographics are destiny.

    That is one of those statements that does not really stand up to scrutiny. Demographics are only ‘destiny’ (in the sense of ‘them’ taking over, which face it is what you mean) if the host culture is prevented by the state from assimilating people (which is the case in many parts of the First World).

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Demographics are destiny. Mark Steyn identified this a decade ago.”

    Thomas Malthus told us ‘demographics are destiny’ two centuries ago.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    “Demographics are destiny.”

    The statement does have some meaning. Think of France vs Algeria. In an earlier century, the French population was expanding (i.e., fewer children dying in infancy) because of improvements in agriculture, industry, and medicine. Excess French people crossed the Mediterranean and settled in what is now Algeria, where life for the natives was still much more primitive. Native population was low since so many of them in those days died before reproducing.

    Once the benefits of French practices spread into the native population, they started to outbreed the descendants of the French settlers. Eventually, the rapidly growing native Algerians outnumbered the French, kicked them out of Algeria, and then began to reverse the process by moving into now slowly reproducing France.

    There is nothing “racist” or Politically Incorrect (perish the thought!) about this. It is simply population arithmetic, which most of us fail to notice because the timescale spreads over multiple generations. However, it is indubitably true that, to quote Mr Steyn: “The future belongs to those who show up”.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “It is simply population arithmetic, which most of us fail to notice because the timescale spreads over multiple generations.”

    It’s not quite that simple. First, while survival improves with wealth, reproduction rate decreases with wealth. So as a society suddenly becomes wealthier, the population increases but as a temporary one-off jump. The Malthusians insist on extrapolating current conditions indefinitely into the future, which inevitably predicts disaster. But humanity does not ever move in a straight line for long.

    And secondly, the viewpoint follows the flow of national/racial ancestries, which is an arbitrary, ambiguous, and ultimately irrelevant classification. Arbitrary, because nationality is. It’s a political division rooted in the present. Many current nations didn’t even exist a thousand years ago. (And race is even worse – a handful of skin-colour genes that are picked out for special attention simply because they are easy to detect externally. Humans have thousands of genes, each defining a completely different division.) Ambiguous because populations inevitably inter-breed. Everyone is related to everyone else. And irrelevant, because it’s not nationality or race we’re really interested in, but culture.

    It’s not a question of one race or nationality outbreeding another, but about when one culture takes over another. If new people come in, but adopt the host culture, the original society survives. We have blue eyed Englishmen and brown-eyed Englishmen, but they’re all Englishmen. And the English would think you was nuts if you complained that if ‘the brown-eyes were outbreeding us’ that would be something to worry about. We’re all people, just the same.

    And while cultures are to some degree inherited from parents, they are also transferred between people ‘horizontally’ within a generation. And they mutate rapidly from one generation to the next. So your descendants five hundred years hence will certainly not follow the same culture you do – everybody’s culture dies when their generation does. The question is, whose culture will theirs inherit the most from? On what basis do we want it to be decided?

    I suggest that as libertarians one should desire the maximum freedom to define one’s culture, so that everyone can choose the best bits on offer – a sort of cultural free market. If I like Indian curry and think it’s a good idea, I can eat it – even though I’m not Indian. It’s not the death of English cooking, it’s its enrichment.

    And thus the cultural dividing line we should be observing is not foreign-vs-native, but authoritarian-vs-libertarian. Home-grown authoritarian practices and cultures are just as pernicious as foreign ones. Because while you may be certain that the arbitrary details of the norms enforced will vanish as the generations pass, you can be equally certain that the principle that it is ‘justified and necessary’ to enforce norms will be passed on.

    But cultural protectionism is just as universal as economic protectionism. Everyone wants to protect their own means of living, their own set of ideas and beliefs, from external competition. It’s tribal thinking. The arguments and fallacies are just the same.

    In the free marketplace of ideas, the future belongs to those who offer the better product.

  • I openly confess I struggle sometimes with things like this (neonsnake, August 30, 2019 at 10:30 am)

    It may help (both your private reflections and your discussions with your acquaintance) to note that in the interwar years, Great Britain had free speech – some of Streicher’s cartoons could be banned on grounds of obscenity but none on political grounds – whereas Germany (though free-er as regards obscenity) had hate speech laws: max 1 year for insulting a Jew, max 2 years for inciting racial violence against Jews, max 3 years for inciting religious animosity against Jews, penalties for organising boycotts of Jewish shops or organisations, etc. The Centralverein deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens (Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith) induced the German state authorities to prosecute often, also prosecuted the first offence (criminal but private prosecutions allowed) themselves, and often won. They were still doing this – and winning cases – in January 1933.

    Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to relive it.

  • neonsnake

    It may help (both your private reflections and your discussions with your acquaintance)

    I assume you have an idea of my “acquaintance”, but I’m thinking here of my South American Latino girlfriend.

    These Generation Indentity chaps are openly advocating for “reverse immigration” – ie. they want her to go back home. Mandatory for illegals, “working towards” for legals. Either way – they want her to go back home.

    Surely, in the history of the world, I’m not the first person to wonder “uh? I get free speech and stuff, but guys? This is a bit much…?”

    Is it so awful that there’s a part of me that wants thirty minutes, a pair of tonfa, and immunity from prosecution, with these racist fucks?

  • bobby b

    “Is it so awful that there’s a part of me that wants thirty minutes, a pair of tonfa, and immunity from prosecution, with these racist fucks?”

    The “right to free speech” only contemplates forbidding state action to quash speech.

    Of course, we have assault laws and the like, but that’s a different conversation.

    (Were the state to grant you immunity for such an assault, that would be “state action” in the furtherance of quashing free speech, so you can’t have everything.)

  • Chester Draws

    Half of all Australians are born overseas or are first generation. Yet the culture of that country has barely shifted in 50 years. That’s because the immigrants have been absorbed and become Australians.

    Yes, you’ll see plenty of bleating by people in Australia that it’s different now — that the X’s or Y’x are taking over blah, blah, blah. But go back 50 years and you’ll see exactly the same arguments about all the Italian immigrants who poured in during the 60s. They absorbed, and so will the latest lot, if they are allowed to.

    Countries like the UK aren’t used to high immigration, so are scared by it. But plenty of the world has managed far higher levels than anything seen in Europe now.

    I’ve met a few people called Sabiqur or Mohammed who are culturally damned near 100% English. Apart from not drinking, really.

  • Lee Moore

    I thought we already had “pre-crime’ for animal cruelty. If the RSPCA or some other part of the quangocracy thinks there’s an animal that might be in danger of being cruelly treated in future they can take it from the pre-cruel owner and pop it into some animal care facility.

  • Ed Turnbull

    @neonsnake

    I understand your antipathy toward the GI idiots, really I do. My fiancee (hey, by this time next week she’ll be my wife) is Jewish, and I’m sure you can imagine the amount of antisemitic crap and conspiracy theories (“the Joooos control everything!”) I come across, even in fairly mainstream corners of t’internet. But still I say let these morons spew their bile, as long as that’s all it is: words. If I call for their speech to be restricted then I’ll have no moral high ground from which to wail when, not if, someone tries to restrict *my* speech.

    But when I think about it my speech is already restricted, or, at least, not without legal consequence if I say the ‘wrong’ thing. Take, for example, the trans issue: I fully support the right of anyone to don whatever apparel they wish and declare themselves to be male / female / courgette / whatever. In other words freedom to say (or claim to be) what they want. But am I unreasonable to expect the same courtesy be extended to me if I wish to point out that they’re not what they claim to be? We’ve already had cases (here in the UK) of people being arrested, or at least questioned by the rozzers, for expressing opinions that dissent from the trans narrative. That’s the state punishing people for failing to agree with the delusions of some members of a particular ‘protected class’. That’s the state saying that if you don’t endorse a particular person’s ‘truth’ (that you don’t agree that 2 + 2 = 5), you’ll face the weight of the law. Orwellian, and truly terrifying.

    So, in summary, unless someone’s defamed me in a way that’s caused some material harm (for which we have legal recourse) let ’em say what they like. I think NiV nails it above with his comment “In the free marketplace of ideas, the future belongs to those who offer the better product.”. If only we had a free market, eh?

  • Nullius in Verba

    “The “right to free speech” only contemplates forbidding state action to quash speech.”

    The American Constitution only contemplates forbidding state action to quash speech, but that’s therefore not a “right to free speech”.

    “Surely, in the history of the world, I’m not the first person to wonder “uh? I get free speech and stuff, but guys? This is a bit much…?””

    Of course you’re not the first to say “free speech, but…”. That’s where most authoritarian calls to limit free speech come from. There are people who feel the same way about as and our opinions as you feel about them and their opinions. And they want to do the same to us.

    Logically, you can either have a world where it’s allowed, and whoever wins the war for dominance (not guaranteed to be you!) gets to do it to their enemies, or you can have a world where it’s not allowed. It’s hard to persuade people when they’re very angry about someone to choose the latter option. The counter-arguments are usually that we can’t or don’t live in such a world, so survival demands we take part in the fight for dominance and what’s best in life (“to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women”), and that allowing your enemies free speech risks allowing them to get mass support, and the rise of just such a totalitarian society as we claim to oppose. People are stupid and bigoted. They’re not persuaded by intellectual arguments, even your correct ones. Like children, they have to be forced in to the right behaviour, for their own good, and for the good of society.

    “These Generation Indentity chaps are openly advocating for “reverse immigration” – ie. they want her to go back home. Mandatory for illegals, “working towards” for legals. Either way – they want her to go back home.”

    Yes? And? Lots of people advocate for other people to do all sorts of things, that other people disagree on. They want her to go, and you’re angry at them. You want her to stay, and they’re angry at you. Anger is a natural response to not getting your own way.

    At the moment, a large majority of society is firmly persuaded that racism is wrong. The danger is that it has become a dogma. People can’t argue the rational case for it any more, they just know it’s tabboo – a forbidden belief. The debate is shut down before it starts, so people don’t know all the many reasons why racism is stupid and wrong, all they know is that society forbids it. And without any widespread circulation of persuasive debunkings of their beliefs, they gain currency. I think that’s what Niall was implying about the history of the inter-war years.

    I sympathise with your sentiment, but the libertarian way to fight them is to understand and constantly argue the case explaining why they’re wrong. You don’t shut out the competition, you compete against it, and win by showing that your product is better.

  • neonsnake (August 30, 2019 at 10:28 pm), how could your rage against “Generation Identity” or suchlike compete with that of the many people who wanted to beat up Nazis in 1930? And who often did – the communist street gangs were not the only ones to get their retaliation in first where they could, and their revenge otherwise. Hannah Arendt notes that wholly apolitical crime arguably decreased in Germany in those year, implying that the parties

    were absorbing an appreciable fraction of the country’s criminal energy

    As to whether it is in any way wrong merely to indulge fantasies of revenge on which one does not act, that of course touches on various philosophical and religious issues. Whenever I think of what could be done to the haters of free speech without they themselves having any great right to complain within their own cruel code, I think it wise to reflect on the wisdom of having my own code in such matters, not just a rage repeatedly indulged in mind. C.S.Lewis’ devil, advising his junior colleague how to sterilise the seeds of action in his ‘patient’, says

    The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able to act and in the long run the less he will be able to feel.

    I offer the idea FWIW. The greater the danger I may need the power of my rage when action is a duty, the less I want to waste it in emotional reflection.

    (Of course, we all sound calmer and more rational in these written comments than at the moment when some fresh egregious “you can’t say that” insolence is reported – or the very brief moment after some not-quite-so-unlike-nazis-as-most says something and before the woke pile on, drowning out anything you might say. 🙂 )

  • neonsnake

    My dream holiday would be a) a ticket to Amsterdam b) immunity from prosecution and c) a baseball bat.

    Terry Pratchett

    I was riffing off of that, chaps. And if no-one here has ever thought “oh, Good Lord, they really just need a smack”, as a first instinct, instead of “Yes, I clearly should debate this person with logic and facts”, then I will call you all liars.

    😉

    I’m not genuinely about to go in swinging on a bunch of edge-lord kiddie-winks because they’re dumb enough to buy into conspiracy theories like The Great Replacement.

    Honestly, I’d rather they were out in the open and spouting it their nonsense, so people can understand what we’re up against with the alt-right and such-like. Clowns like Generation Identity will, hopefully, make people re-examine their own unconscious biases, in a hopefully positive way. We’ll see.

    I love that they’ve chosen the lambda as their symbol, that’s so utterly hilarious that they think they’re (Frank Miller’s) 300 Spartans reincarnated, I couldn’t have asked for more. It makes them look even more ridiculous.

    But I really don’t want them silenced. I don’t want them pulling the “but my free speech!” victim-card.

    Niall, IIUC, is positing that legal suppression of unpleasant views only makes them worse. Phrased differently, I suggest also that he means that placing people in protected classes might increase resentment of such people. If so, and if I indeed understand him correctly, then my own experience supports such a view, and I agree wholeheartedly. It’s unhelpful, infantilising, and achieves the opposite outcome to what was desired.

    Yes? And?

    They want her to go, and you’re angry at them. You want her to stay, and they’re angry at you. Anger is a natural response to not getting your own way.

    All that said…NIV…

    …your “Yes? And?” implies that the two things are equivalent (I want her to stay, they want her to go), and I suggest that they’re not, since GI are advocating for a government policy that forces people to “remigrate”.

    Firstly with illegals, and then (as they state) with legal migrants from non-European countries.

    They want the government to round them up and deport them (couched in the nicest possible terms, of course).

    You appear to be saying that my touchiness over forced repatriation is merely the other side of the same coin, that they’re just “a bit touchy” over foreigners being in the UK, and we should have an open debate about that?

    I disagree.

    These bell-ends should be free to make themselves look stupid, without Tony Blair, Teresa May, or anyone else using legal power to shut them up. They’re their own worst enemies.

    But I won’t give their bullshit a veneer of respectability by “debating” them. It’s not “dogma”. They know the rational case against racism, they’re just ignoring it and crying that their “free speech” is being suppressed, and I’m not having my ideals perverted in such a manner by the alt-right.

    If I end up in a situation where my girlfriend or her sister are made to feel anxious, uncomfortable, unwelcome (as Argentinians in the UK, this is something that has happened), or, indeed, unsafe, then I’m putting that person down, if it’s in my power to do so.

    They’ve already breached any reasonable interpretation of the NAP by making them feel scared, and I reserve the moral right to react with violence if they’re trying to scare them and make them feel unsafe.

    Post Brexit, this is the UK that we live in. They’re scared now. They’ve been told to go home.

    If that means I have to turn in my Libertarian card, then so be it.

  • bobby b

    “The American Constitution only contemplates forbidding state action to quash speech, but that’s therefore not a “right to free speech”.”

    So, if I’m in your house and start saying horrid things that enrage you, my “right to free speech” keeps you from objecting and booting me out?

  • They know the rational case against racism

    I’m not too sure who all are ‘they’, but there are people out there who’ve been told that disagreeing with socialism is racist, and have later worked out that socialists lie but have not yet worked their way right down to the bottom of the rabbit hole to realise they lied about that either-or too. That relates to the point of my latest poem. It could be unwise not to debate people in that state – or at least, not to talk about it. Accusations of racism have been wildly overused for decades, and the logic of “you can’t say that” is naturally seen as meaning “that’s so true it has to be silenced because it can’t be argued against”.

  • neonsnake

    So, if I’m in your house and start saying horrid things that enrage you, my “right to free speech” keeps you from objecting and booting me out?

    I don’t think so.

    Relatively non contraversial example:

    Let’s say I’ve visited Minnesota, and you’ve kindly invited me to your house for a beer or several.

    Let’s say that I won’t shut up about hip-hop, and how you should give it a chance.

    I’m pretty sure you have the right to say “Neon, you’re in my house, son. It’s not my thing. Be quiet.”

    I’m pretty sure your rights trump mine here, no?

    (I’ve chosen – hopefully! – a minor example)

  • Nullius in Verba

    “your “Yes? And?” implies that the two things are equivalent (I want her to stay, they want her to go), and I suggest that they’re not, since GI are advocating for a government policy that forces people to “remigrate”.”

    Yes? And? 🙂

    We have laws in this country. There is much debate about what those laws should be, but it is commonly agreed that people breaking the law are criminals and have to be rounded up and dealt with – by fines, jail, or in the case of foreign citizens, deportation. if there is a law saying only certain people have a right of residence in this country, then those without that legal right are criminals. Just as people who hunt foxes with dogs are criminals, and people who smoke in public bars are criminals, and people who watch TV without a TV licence are criminals. There are a whole bunch of things on which people disagree passionately about whether or not they should be illegal, I’m sure you know where I stand, but at present the country we live in does not operate by libertarian principles, and it considers such matters legitimate subjects for legislation.

    The nationalist faction believe foreigners living here are harming or threatening their interests – they want it stopped. It’s authoritarian, protectionist thinking, but we have plenty of authoritarian protectionist laws operating in this country. Why is this any different?

    “They know the rational case against racism, they’re just ignoring it and crying that their “free speech” is being suppressed,”

    Very often, no they don’t. Protectionist thinking is a seductive and plausible fallacy, and protectionists are generally sincere in their beliefs. Even if others have argued against them, they frequently cannot accept that the counter-arguments are rational, or are not trumped by higher priorities and stronger arguments.

    As Karl Popper said: “There is an almost universal tendency, perhaps an inborn tendency, to suspect the good faith of a man who holds opinions that differ from our own opinions.” I often find it hard myself. But there are numerous occasions when I’ve eventually been firmly persuaded that yes they really are sincere. There are no limits to the crazy that humans can believe in.

    “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”

    “and I’m not having my ideals perverted in such a manner by the alt-right.”

    But of course, it is precisely for such cases that our ideals were written. “I may despise what you say…”

    “They’ve already breached any reasonable interpretation of the NAP by making them feel scared, and I reserve the moral right to react with violence if they’re trying to scare them and make them feel unsafe.”

    You’re scaring me…
    😉

    “Post Brexit, this is the UK that we live in. They’re scared now. They’ve been told to go home.”

    Yes, and the alt-right have been told they have to shut up or they’ll be rounded up and sent to jail. They’re scared, too.

    They get threats, too. They get assaulted. They get barred from shops and businesses. They get deplatformed from social media. And they have everyone in society – celebrities, politicians, the media, courts, schools, corporations telling everyone they’re dangerous fascists, white supremacists, neo-nazi scum who have to be suppressed by force. They can’t get a job. They can’t walk the streets safely. They can’t get a hearing. They believe the country is being invaded, their society is under threat, and the enemy have got all the venues for debate so locked down and biased against them that they stand no chance of prevailing by peaceful means. And on that part, they have a point.

    “If that means I have to turn in my Libertarian card, then so be it.”

    Quite so. And that’s where they all start.

    By seeing the tendency in ourselves, we can gain a deeper insight into how our political opponents think, because we’re all human. In many ways, we all think the same way. As Apollo said to the Oracle, “γνῶθι σεαυτόν”. It is the root of wisdom.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “So, if I’m in your house and start saying horrid things that enrage you, my “right to free speech” keeps you from objecting and booting me out?”

    A right to free speech is not the same thing as a right to be in my house! With a right to free speech, I can’t stop you talking, but I can require that you do it elsewhere.

    (And incidentally, with this internet thingy, you *are* saying it inside my house! However, the most I can do is to turn my computer off. I can’t – and shouldn’t – be able to stop you writing it.)

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Neonsnake: “… my girlfriend or her sister are made to feel anxious, uncomfortable, unwelcome (as Argentinians in the UK, this is something that has happened) …”

    Hey, it could be worse! If they were Brazilians, they would have to worry about the Metropolitan Police’s open season on shooting them. 🙂

    To be serious, mistakes happen. We all make them. But why the woman in charge of murdering an innocent Brazilian then gets promoted to be head of London’s Metropolitan Police — that is beyond my comprehension; and that promotion was a deliberate taunt by the English Establishment, not a mistake. I think that is the sort of issue which is a whole lot more important than whether some unemployed English lads think that South Americans should go home — or even whether some ladies unfortunately sometimes feel (as we all do on occasion) anxious, uncomfortable, unwelcome.

  • bobby b

    “I’m pretty sure your rights trump mine here, no?”

    Well, that sort of touches on my point.

    Are we speaking of rights at all in this situation?

    There’s this: “Government may not quash speech because of viewpoint“;

    That’s a “right.”

    and then there’s this:

    It is better for all that we allow all viewpoints to be uttered.”

    That’s not a “right” – it’s just smart.

    The RIGHT to free speech is generally associated with a prohibition on government action to stop particular speech. It is a right that we possess as against government.

    But you have no RIGHT to speak of hip-hop in my music room. It isn’t a matter of my right trumping yours – the right simply isn’t there.

    There may be a social convention – a wise one – that says that we ought to be allowing everyone to speak their piece. Get it all out there to be critiqued, and all that. But, even though I will listen to you as you defend hip-hop, I don’t do so because you have a RIGHT to do so.

    My only point, really, is that we’re getting inexact in our terms when we talk about the wisdom of allowing people to speak their minds as being related to the right to free speech.

  • bobby b

    (P.S. – Hip-hop? Gah. Reminds me of the bubblegum music of the 70’s.)

  • neonsnake

    Get it all out there to be critiqued, and all that. But, even though I will listen to you as you defend hip-hop, I don’t do so because you have a RIGHT to do so.

    I don’t have the right. That’s my point. I would be wrong to do so.

    Even if I have some “abstract right”, if I sit in your music room, in your house, if you’ve told me to pack it in, because I’m being offensive about it, then at best I’m abusing your hospitality; I’m being rude. You have the right to show me the door. It’s your house, man!

    Edit:

    “Hip-hop? Gah.”

    😉

  • Nullius in Verba

    “The RIGHT to free speech is generally associated with a prohibition on government action to stop particular speech.”

    I’m pretty sure that if you were at the press briefing where the President was about to start talking, and you walked up to the podium and tried to take over the microphone, you’d find yourself talking instead to the men in dark suits! Even the government’s constitutional duty not to abridge speech doesn’t extend to having to let you speak on their property, using their facilities.

    But if I’m talking about it in *my* house, it’s not just the government who shouldn’t be able to shut me up. If I’m talking about it on the public street, or in a private venue where the owner has given their permission, no third party should be able to forbid it, whether government or otherwise.

    The right to speech is separate from the right to be on somebody else’s property, or the right to use somebody else’s facilities. With a right to free speech, they can’t control my speech, but they can control my use of their property. And as such, they can chuck me out of anywhere they have a right to chuck me out of for any reason; because they don’t like my opinions, or because they don’t like my hairstyle, or because an imaginary magic unicorn told them to. But if I’m not using their property, they have no say in what I say. And on that, I see no reason why the government should be different to anyone else.

    “That’s not a “right” – it’s just smart.”

    Agreed.

  • bobby b

    “Even the government’s constitutional duty not to abridge speech doesn’t extend to having to let you speak on their property, using their facilities.”

    That’s why I included the words “viewpoint”, and “particular speech.” If the government allows progressives to hijack its podiums but not libertarians, then it has violated my right to free speech when it stops me. It may impose “time, place, and manner” restrictions – e.g., “no one may lecture loudly in a National Park after midnight” – but those restrictions cannot be imposed based on the viewpoint of the speaker or his speech – “libertarians may not lecture loudly in a National Park after midnight”.

    The “right” to free speech means the government may not shut down particular viewpoints. When we argue that speech ought to be allowed by non-government actors, we’re not necessarily invoking a “right” – just civility and intelligence. When Neonsnake kicks me out of his house for extolling reggae, he’s not violating any rights of mine. I had no such right in the first place. Whether it is wise to shun reggae-praise is a different issue.

  • neonsnake

    You’re scaring me…
    😉

    Why?

    How long do you want me to wait, here? Until after the threats of violence have turned to actual violence and they’ve been hurt, only then can I step in? Until after the punch is launched, and then to try to intercept it?

    These are not abstract theoretical vague “uncomfortable” things, these are things which have actually happened to us, far too often to be ignored.

    And that’s where they all start.

    Then I’m a “they”, whatever that might mean.

    At some point, I need to exercise some judgement and take a stand before me and mine get hurt – and again: not abstract. If exercising that judgement makes me a “they”, then that’s ok.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Why?”

    Because if scaring your family justifies your pre-emptive violence, then by the same argument you scaring me justifies my pre-emptive violence. I’m just applying Kant’s Categorical Imperative to your statement: “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.”

    The idea that feeling “unsafe” justifies violence to prevent it can be used by any opponent, too. Hence “safe spaces” and the snowflake generation.

    I know you wasn’t seriously proposing it, and in pointing out how any opponent could respond to your argument I wasn’t being serious either. Hence the smiley!

  • bobby b

    Neonsnake, if someone is saying they hate those damned dirty Scandinavians and want them all to go back home, I’ll take it as hostile, and judge the speaker accordingly, but it’s not an actual personal threat.

    If they say that the next time they encounter a Scandinavian such as bobby b they’ll shoot them, well, I’ll shoot first when they show up, and not feel unlibertarian about it at all.

    There are insults and hatred, and then there are actual personal threats. There’s a lot of muddy ground in between them, to be sure, and your baseball bat does come into play at some point, but I’m guessing (from a legalistic view) that none of the GI people have approached that line yet.

  • Neonsnake, further to Nullius ‘tu quoque’ argument above, how do you feel about the right of some who oppose immigration to claim superior grounds for feeling scared? Consider, for example, some Jews concerned at mass immigration from notoriously anti-semitic groups. If at some point before threats turn to actual violence it is “ok” for you to “step in” and “exercise some judgement and take a stand before me and mine get hurt” and so “react with violence” as regards concerns that some perfectly legal Argentinian immigrants might somehow be obliged to leave – an idea that is very far distant from any force with power in UK politics today – will you admit how very much sooner anyone with Jewish friends might analogously “exercise some judgement and take a stand” (and etc.) against both immigrants and those who advocate for them. Sauce for the goose and all that.

  • neonsnake

    I know you wasn’t seriously proposing it

    Oh, but: yes, I am. And not just proposing, I’ve acted so. Few weeks ago, on the Northern Line, a bloke wagged their fingers in my girlfriend’s sister’s face and told her, threateningly, to “Speak! English! Bitch!” (as opposed to Spanish, to her sister). So I locked their arm up, forced them to their knees and threatened to punch them in the face. Was that pre-emptive? Is that shocking? Was he just exercising his right to free speech? Or was it an imminent threat of violence? Should I have attempted to open debate on the pros and cons of immigration and the Romance languages?

    I can reel off a litany of “little” instances like that, whether it went that far, or just took me to say “Oi. Mate. Pack it in.” It’s so normalised to me now. Getting into a scuffle on the Tube is par for the course if we’ve been out, just because they have an accent if they’re speaking English, or they’re speaking Spanish to each other because they’re tired. And this doesn’t even begin to touch on the people who think it’s appropriate to bring up the Falklands.

    So, sure, I feel very sorry for the alt-right, because they can’t spew their racially-charged hatred in privately owned spaces like youtube and twitter, whilst they whine about their “free speech” being infringed upon.

    I’m actually uncomfortable that they’ve had legal action taken against them, because I want to keep an eye on them, and anything that can be done to them can be done (and has been done in the past) to me.

    But as a private citizen, my question here has been “How far in advance am I justified in acting?” – after the punch is thrown (which is too late)? At the point of aggressive finger-wagging two inches from the face accompanied by aggressive tone? Or at the point of advocating for forced-repatriation? Somewhere in-between? Not at all, and let the market of ideas sort it out, and well, it’s a shame for the people who get punched?

    I’ve asked the question, I’ve been open in my admittance that it’s something I struggle with, and yet I’m labelled as some kind of “they” (and I take that to mean authoritarian) because people are being aggressive towards my family, and I’m reacting to that in kind.

  • neonsnake

    will you admit how very much sooner anyone with Jewish friends

    Ah, yes.

    Somewhat of a red herring, but they’re both hold joint Argentinian/Italian passports. They’re here on EU rules, and are waiting for “settled status” confirmation. So, not as distant as one might think, FWIW.

    Both went to Jewish schools, in Argentina, too. Their, uh, “disdain” for Mr J Corbyn is something to behold. And if you want a schooling on a proper socialist government, have a bottle of wine with their dad.

    Niall – you’re talking about Islam – yes, but I’ll need to see evidence first to meet the stereotype. In over two decades of living, working, etc in heavily muslim areas, I’m yet to meet that stereotype. When every Muslim I’ve ever met were really lovely people, you can understand, surely, why I don’t buy the stereotype. I lived with a Muslim lad through university, and he and his family had no problem with “me”, so the stereotype doesn’t hold true for me. Sorry, bruv, but that’s my experience, including working in Walthamstow, Barking, East Ham etc (heavily Muslim-populated areas of London) – they’re more secularised than one would think.

    bobby b – we’re violently agreeing, and have been for a few days. Sorry I acted like a wanker on the other thread. Let me throw you “Bedouin Soundclash” as a peace offering, if you like reggae. You might like them 🙂

    Everyone else (Julie, Gavin etc) – laters. You’re good people, and let no-one tell you otherwsise!

    😉

    🙂

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Was he just exercising his right to free speech? Or was it an imminent threat of violence?”

    Rude, certainly, but it doesn’t appear to be a threat of imminent violence.

    “and yet I’m labelled as some kind of “they””

    It’s a perfectly ordinary personal pronoun – I, he, she, we, they, …

    “They” in this case is all the people who have ‘turned in their libertarian card’. People who recognise the virtue of free speech and liberty, but start making exceptions to it as soon as someone does something that makes them angry or they consider unacceptable. In short, all the people who say things like “Of course I believe in free speech, but that doesn’t include…”

    However, I’m not intending it as an insult or a way of “getting at you”. I’m pointing it out as a vital lesson: that people become authoritarians for understandable, human reasons. They’re angry. They’re afraid. They’re impatient. They know the theory of liberty, but they’re inclined to dismiss it as too idealistic and unrealistic when their blood is up. They’re wired with a set of social norms, breach of which is unthinkable, unacceptable, and justifying measures to stamp down on. And they have a tendency to dehumanise the other – to doubt their good faith, to assume they’re motivated by malice and evil, to believe there is no point in debating with them and they must instead be defeated by force.

    If you know what it is that motivates you to think like that, then you stand a far better chance of figuring out how to persuade them to change their views. “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” We’re all human, and we’re all fallible – there’s no shame in that.

    You said yourself that you struggle with it – so you already know this yourself, at some level. Society is as it is because of universals of human psychology, embedded in us all. We all struggle to be better than that. But to do so, we have to see clearly, and understand ourselves.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    neonsnake: “Few weeks ago, on the Northern Line, a bloke wagged their fingers in my girlfriend’s sister’s face and told her, threateningly, to “Speak! English! Bitch!” (as opposed to Spanish, to her sister). So I locked their arm up, forced them to their knees and threatened to punch them in the face.”

    I was under the impression that is normal behavior in London, and it does not count as violence until the knives come out. But then, I am a furriner who believes every word I read in the Daily Mail. 🙂

    Seriously, neonsnake — Good on you! Next time I am planning to travel on the London Underground, I want you with me. But please, let’s stay away from anyone who might be mistaken for a Brazilian.

  • bobby b

    Neonsnake – yeah, sorry, I didn’t realize it was quite that blatant and in-your-face. I’d say you acted with restraint. I just spent two months hanging out with my son and his girlfriend, who was here for the two months from Colombia. (Looks and sounds like a teen version of Sophia Vergara.) Never once encountered any such AH’s as you seem to run into where you are. Mostly just “oh, wow, I love your accent!” I think things must be getting rawer there than they are here.

    Bedouin Soundclash – I like Kingston Indie! A little pop-ie, but good.

    You’d probably enjoy this cool music website – http://everynoise.com/ .

    Sets out every – I mean every – genre of music (with all artists in the subcategories) in a neat two-axis map. “Everyone from Laughing Squid to NPR is talking about “Every Noise At Once,” an ambitious exercise from The Echo Nest principal engineer Glenn McDonald that lets people explore arcane and general genres of music via an awesome word map. Itʼs an incredibly simple, deep way to explore all of music, as well as searching for bands to find out where they fall, and exploring the additional genre maps to see what bands in each genre sound like,from happy hardcore to indie pop and beyond.

  • I was under the impression that is normal behavior in London, and it does not count as violence until the knives come out. But then, I am a furriner who believes every word I read in the Daily Mail. 🙂(Gavin Longmuir, September 1, 2019 at 12:08 am)

    The language thing isn’t, since London has plenty of foreigners and to demand every visiting language student “Speak English, bitch!” would be bizarre. But of course, a greater degree of threatening behaviour than in the past is, as your Daily Mail reading has informed you, not so surprising. However I find the language excuse for the confrontation bizarre: how does this finger-wagger not find himself in confrontations every day on the northern line where language students, Japanese tourists and etc. have surely been commonplace all his life?

    Merely speaking to someone you don’t know on the tube is a slight departure from old English manners, to the point where the obligation is very much on the person who starts a remark to do so in an unthreatening manner. Finger-wagging does not meet that obligation, nor ‘bitch’ to a stronger degree, quite regardless of any assessment of the content. So a forceful “mind yours, sunshine’ response would be both natural and rationally defensive. However at first glance I’d say this was a ‘form’, not ‘content’, issue. (The converse would be, say, a tube discussion on the value of diversity in which an onlooker dissented verbally in physically unthreatening manner – no swearing or whatever.)

  • neonsnake

    how does this finger-wagger not find himself in confrontations every day on the northern line where language students, Japanese tourists and etc. have surely been commonplace all his life?

    We had rather the same thought; although I admit we didn’t think of tourists, we just thought about the number of languages one hears every day in London. We concluded he was drunk, maybe he’d had a bad day, and was looking for a confrontation for some reason (it was late at night). It happens.

    However at first glance I’d say this was a ‘form’, not ‘content’, issue

    Yes. The main point is that I didn’t know whilst he was finger-wagging whether he would follow it up with anything more physical, but he was mid-lurch towards her, and I had no time to decide or to do anything verbal (“Mind yourself, sunshine” as you put it). That’s really key – I didn’t/couldn’t know one way or the other, and obviously now never will. So I pre-empted the possibility, with use of physical force – but I could have been wrong.

    By a very strict definition, that’s pre-crime – I attempted to read this bloke’s intentions, and then acted to prevent something he hadn’t yet done.

    Was I wrong? Maybe. I don’t think so, obviously. So my question remains as “how far in advance are you justified in acting?”

    If we say that we can never be certain until after the event, how far into the probability tree is one justified in intervening? (the question of what is meant by “intervening” is also very valid).

    See, I don’t think it’s as simple as it should be. I don’t think a group like GI should be summarily rounded up and jailed for merely discussing the idea of ethno-nationalism and advocating for forced repatriation, no matter how much I disagree with them.

    If you start a probability tree with “Has read GI’s website”, and somehow ascribed probabilities to all the many, many different paths that follow, I would say that the number of paths which end up with someone causing physical violence towards an immigrant because they’d read about The Great Replacement theory are very, very, very few. But do we have to go allll the way to the other end of the tree, to the final event or node, only after *unpleasant event* has occurred, and that’s the time to act? That seems a bit late.

    (if it helps, replace my references to GI with whoever radicalised the Manchester bomber)

    You’d probably enjoy this cool music website – http://everynoise.com/ .

    Ha! I came across that some time ago, then forgot the website address. I couldn’t for the life of me work out how to form a google query to find it again, so thanks for bringing it back up!

  • … but he was mid-lurch towards her, and I had no time to decide or to do anything verbal … So I pre-empted the possibility, with use of physical force … By a very strict definition, that’s pre-crime (neonsnake, September 1, 2019 at 5:11 pm)

    IIUC, you are saying there was clear and present significant possibility of danger, rather than clear and present absolute certainty of danger.

    – The “clear and present” seems unarguable (and takes this wholly outside Natalie’s OP-quote domain).

    – While it is natural (and up to a point moral and prudent) to second-guess yourself after such incidents …

    I note, FWIW, that as soon as the clear and present and significantly possible criteria are met, I tend to trust my instincts – by which I mean I would think it evidentiary if you reacted on instinct. If you trust your instincts, you will sometimes be wrong but if you make your intellect overrule what your instincts are telling you to do (your intellect – not some police or special forces training) in a ‘clear and present’ situation (for which the intellect is not designed), then you will be more often wrong.

    I guess it is unlikely you have read Dianna Wynne Jones’ review of Mervyn Peake’s “The Boy in Darkness”. If, improbably, you have or ever do, you will probably think it rather tangential to what we’re talking about (which is itself tangential to the OP – I apologise for going OT from something already going OT). But if these improbabilities ever occur, you will know more about what I mean by what I wrote above than if I added paragraphs of explanatory comment (which, at the tail end of a going-OT discussion in a long thread I feel I should not do). Meanwhile, I hope what I wrote above has enough of an obvious meaning that it’s a usable comment response to yours.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    My guess is that if one takes Niall’s cryptic comment, and uses the Fibonacci sequence to select individual letters from it, then transliterates those letters into Cyrillic characters, and finally reads the resulting message in Ukranian — it will all make sense.

    Haven’t most of us wondered at times if Samizdata was really a front for MI6? 😛

  • Julie near Chicago

    Niall, could you please point my nose in the direction of Miss Jones’s* review?

    Thanks. ;>)

    . . .

    *Here we go again with the English lecture. Sorry, my OCD is acting up again….

    Niall gets it right. I’ve only seen her “last name” given as “Wynne-Jones,” which I gather from Wikip is wrong; her professional (and maiden) last name is apparently “Jones” pure and simple.

    I don’t know where this fashion of referring to everyone, whether living or dead, by his last name only came from. It is a disrespectful familiarity. For the living and relatively recently deceased, we should return to using a title of respect, whether Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms. (clunky and I hate it, but I have to admit it has a legit purpose which it serves well) or some professional title where appropriate.

    It gets worse. There is now this fashion of preceding the last name by a name which is either a middle name, a former name (as in the case of a divorcée, once in a great while), or, sometimes, a maiden name. This is used as if it were part of the last name, which leaves us dealing with the issue of whether, to use an earlier example, the man’s name is David Lloyd George, Lloyd being the gent’s middle given name, or David Lloyd-George, which would properly inform us that for whatever reason the last name (surname or family name, or possibly a surname made up by its bearer) is to be hyphenated. (Remember that Mrs. Badger-Botts sang** to us about her rise in social standing after Mr. Badger-Botts gave her his hyphen.)

    **Miss Elsa Lanchester, in her album Songs for a Shuttered Parlor. Entire record not to be missed, but no longer available on the Wayback Machine. If you haven’t got it, shell out for the CD.

    However, one can get around the issue of “Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms.[ugh]” by speaking of, for instance, “Dianna Jones” or “Ayn Rand” instead of “Miss Jones” (which may raise a large question, given the billions of people bearing the surname “Jones”) or “Miss Rand.”

    (In a biography written in an informal style, it seems that referring to the subject by his or her first name has long been acceptable.)

    Different in fiction, of course. There, the author’s style (“if he is an author and has a style,” as New Yorker editor Wolcott Gibbs once remarked) allows him to refer to his characters in whatever way he chooses.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “My guess is that if one takes Niall’s cryptic comment, and uses the Fibonacci sequence to select individual letters from it, then transliterates those letters into Cyrillic characters, and finally reads the resulting message in Ukranian — it will all make sense.”

    Only the first of many peculiar words, used peculiarly… 🙂

  • neonsnake

    Niall, could you please point my nose in the direction of Miss Jones’s* review?

    Try this, Julie.

    I think it illustrates Niall’s point very well.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Thanks, neon. Much appreciated. :>)

  • Thanks neonsnake (I was in the air this morning, so could not reply to Julie.) I thought it was possible you’d look it up but phrased it to indicate there was not the least pressure for you to do so (we all have lives to get on with 🙂 ).

    As neonsnake’s link indicates, the review is in ‘Reflections’, a posthumous collection of essays and articles by Dianna Wynne Jones. As luck would have it, enough of the text to indicate why the discussion made me think of it is shown in the teaser at the link.

    Julie, my own “no spoilers please” feelings makes me advise anyone who gets that book to read some of her fiction books first. For example, read Fire and Hemlock before reading her two superbly contrasting descriptions of how she wrote it. And you also have to find and read first the short she mentions – “Carol Oneir’s 100th Dream” – before reading the second essay (it’s in the collection “Mixed Magics” whose other stories are – most unusually – only so-so IMHO, but you may be able to find it in a better context). Of course, you may not share my feeling that to remember reading a book first time without knowing any details about it deepens later re-readings.

    Yes, as you so correctly say, she published under her full name Dianna Wynne Jones IIUC, so the absence of hyphen is correct. (Her full maiden name, so your “Miss Jones’ review” is also correct. They say Agatha Christie found it convenient to sign hotel registers as Mrs Malkin [CORRECTION: Agatha’s second marriage was to an archeologist called Max Mallowan, not Max Malkin; I apologise to Julie who wrote some interesting stuff below on the name Malkin, prompted by my error]. I do not know if Dianna ever felt the same but after reading her hilarious essay on school visits one can imagine it.) Of course, since I used a quote from ‘Reflections’ to head this post, you will not be surprised to learn I read her books.

    My comment above apologised for going thoroughly OT from a thread-aspect that was already (arguably) going OT. What should I say now? Maybe “that’s all, folks”, or at least promise not to return unless to answer questions. (Fortunately, I happen to know Natalie reads Dianna Wynne Jones too.)

  • neonsnake

    As luck would have it, enough of the text to indicate why the discussion made me think of it is shown in the teaser at the link.

    Looks like enough to get the gist of what you’re saying, anyway.

    It piqued my curiosity – I read Howl’s Moving Castle after seeing the film (I have no aversion to reading YA science fiction), and I read The Boy In The Darkness when I was a mere young’un, in a book of short stories my uncle gave me, so the intersection interested me.

    Curiously, given Brian Micklethwait’s recent post, said book included a story about a time traveller who offered the Romans some advanced technology (I don’t remember what, exactly), and they refused it in order to preserve their power, so the time traveller took them to China, where they were then “invented”. (I might have the exact details wrong. I’d have been about 8)

  • Julie near Chicago

    So, thanks to you too, Niall, for supplying the original lead to Diana Wynne Jones’ review of Mr. Peake’s book, of which I was unaware. I’ve read the Gormenghast books, but The Boy in Darkness sounds like a side adventure between Titus’s escaping Gormenghast and Titus Alone.

    And also for the complementary suggestions as to the order of reading.

    And also for the remarks on the “Mrs. Jones” issue, plus the sidelight onto Miss Christie’s, or Mrs. Malkin’s, attitude toward hotel registries. :>))

    . . .

    I certainly wouldn’t want to breach the boundaries of Samizdatan territory, but I will do so anyhow. Namely, Malkin — Michelle Malkin. I always assumed her husband’s patronymic is Jewish. But “Mrs. ____ Malkin” — and then I think of the cat Greymalkin, and I wonder if I’ve got it all wrong.

    UPDATE. Good grief. Now perhaps everyone will at last see why writing anything, including “and” and “the,” takes me hours.

    (1) Michelle M.’s husband is Jesse Dylan (oughta be a giveaway right there*, but who ever heard off him?) Malkin. He is not Jewish. They were married in 1993 and have two lovely childer.

    *Then again, Bob Dylan was really Somebody Zimmerman, and the GF gives us his Hebrew name. You can’t tell a singer by his name, I guess.

    (2) Aha! Greymalkin or, properly, Grimalkin (as in Macbeth and before and after) is, as one might surmise given enough years and clunks on the head, of Scottish + German origin. The German half, -malkin, is a hypocorism of the German name Maud. It may also refer to “lower-caste woman, a weakling, or a mop.”

    And a hypocorism is a diminutive of a given name. From the Greek hypokorisma –> hypokorizesthai, meaning “to use ‘child-talk’ meaning, I assume, baby-talk.

    Such as referring to all crisp foods as “crispy,” as even grown adults now do, including those who ought to know better, such as TV wannabe-celebrity chefs and those who sort of are.

    Wotcha mean, Snark? Nossir, not me Snark. Nev-ah! 😈

    . . .

    And thanks again, neon.

    If you ask me, a lot of “children’s” fiction is better than a lot of the stuff for alleged grownups. “There! I said it!”

    😀

  • neonsnake

    If you ask me, a lot of “children’s” fiction is better than a lot of the stuff for alleged grownups. “There! I said it!”

    No argument from me!

    Forgive me my crassness, Julie, but pornhub is (arguably) “adult” – but is it truly “grownup”?

    I would propose that…maybe not…

    😉

  • Julie near Chicago

    Well…there are these inflatable dolls, see, and if a guy has an inflatable doll then the guy doesn’t need the expense and assorted inconveniences of a real doll.

    So I suppose you have to ask whether grownup guys should be playing with toy dolls. (Real ones would be different. I guess. Maybe you should ask Sky Masterson.)

    Remember, nowadays all boys are expected to play with dolls. No gender-stereotyping, don’tcha know.

    And nobody thinks that anyone of any age should have to behave like a “grownup,” so that’s all right then.

    Boys will be boys and boys like their toys. Even the middle-aged to ancient ones, like Mr. Chaplin or Mr. Segovia — one may assume on the evidence of issue (73 and 77 respectively, if my calculator and its operator aren’t mistaken). Still, an actor (pooh!) and a musician (pah!), well, you can’t expect grownup behavior from the likes of such!

    The same, of course, should go for dolls.

    Personally, I am a delicate refined innocent fragile young thing of tender years, so I had to look up this “pr0nhub.” (I notice you misspelled it.)

    I did look it up, but I couldn’t muster up the energy to go see it. Besides, I’ve known what boys look like “in various stages of undress” for more than 3/4 of a century, and girls likewise. And I read Alvin Toffler’s interview of Ayn Rand in Playboy. On this subject, further deponent sayeth not.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I want to get back to my 33-billionth re-reading of Peter Rabbit.

    PS. Although Mr. Porter assures us that “birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it”; and I’m quite sure that rabbits do it. Then again, they don’t have the Internet. 😆

  • Julie, in my post above, Niall sometimes-types-it-wrong-in-the-heat-of-composition Kilmartin has corrected the name that Agatha Christie used in hotel registers in her later life from Malkin to Mallowen. I apologise for the error. (The stuff you wrote on the name Malkin is interesting.)

    I said that children’s books were better than grown-up books when I was a child, and have never seen any occasion to revise my opinion, though I now read grown-up books as well and admit that some of them are pretty well as good as the best children’s books. 🙂

  • Julie near Chicago

    Niall, correction noted and appreciated. I have importuned the Great Frog to convey my own apologies to both Mr. and Mrs. Mallowen, but as I say, it/he/she generally just burps and hops onto a more distant lily pad.

    Anyhow, any excuse to roam around the stacks and stirring up at least some dust, if not some trouble, is a good one. Even the cyberstacks.

    (E.g., I’ve just returned from hunting down the mallow, the marsh mallow, and the marshmallow. Whether any of that has anything to do with the archeologist’s name or that of his lady wife, I have no idea.)

    (Speaking of which, go see what stackexchange has to say about the term “lady wife.” Very interesting.)

    Thanks, Niall and neon. :>)))

  • bobby b

    “My comment above apologised for going thoroughly OT from a thread-aspect that was already (arguably) going OT. What should I say now?”

    Serious question.

    I’ve always judged threads that wander from their original topic on the merits of their contents and not on how closely they hew to the original post. If a continuing discussion is entertaining and educational and interesting, I wouldn’t downvote it merely because it has wandered.

    Sometimes an original post is wonderful because of the information and argument which it contains. Sometimes it is wonderful because of the discussion it sparks. Sometimes it is both.

    Is this not a universal feeling? Is there a Samizdata ethic that holds otherwise?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Good question, bobby. Personally, I’ve been reading Samizdata for at least 13 years, and I don’t recall ever seeing any complaints from either Perry or the Council except once, less than a year ago I think, and then more recently when they decided to take the Brexit discussions elsewhere.

    That’s one of the things I really enjoy about Samizdata — that we seem to have leave to take our discussions where they lead us, within some bounds of reason of course, but I have no idea of how much the Council will really put up with. They seem to me to be a sensible, relaxed, welcoming bunch.

    If anybody’s guilty of wandering, or lurching, way way way O/T, it’s YrsTrly. So far I haven’t been swatted, and I thank Perry and the Team for their forbearance.

    And I agree with statements in your comment: Samizdata may be the richest forum I know of.

  • bobby b (September 5, 2019 at 10:12 pm) and Julie near Chicago (September 5, 2019 at 11:24 pm), I agree with you that OT can be hilarious or informative or both, but if I am drifting OT I sometimes think it polite to show that I know I am drifting OT – and will therefore not complain if the sense of the thread in a particular case seems to be that both hilarity and useful information are not in evidence. 🙂

  • neonsnake

    Sometimes it is wonderful because of the discussion it sparks. Sometimes it is both.

    And

    And I agree with statements in your comment: Samizdata may be the richest forum I know of.

    and

    OT can be hilarious or informative or both,

    I get most value from the post-match commentary, definitely.

    I tend to take my steer from Niall. As a “Proper Commentator” (i.e. he has enough seniority to write posts), I’ll wind my neck in when he hints that it’s time to do so 😉

    To the richness point, if I may be permitted an observation – one difference may be the frequency here with which people express sentiments like: “I didn’t know that before now. Thank you for that piece of information.” or similar, especially when compared with other sites and their comments sections.

  • Paul Marks

    Punishing groups such as “Generation Identity” who are NOT violent is designed to provoke them into violence – then the establishment (the left) will say “look at these horrible violent people”.

    Of course if people are not allowed to express their opinions peacefully (including opinions on restricting immigration and opposing the destruction of the culture of their nation) they will express their opinions violently 0 this the left knows, and is trying to exploit.

    Forbid people from expressing their opinions peacefully, and forbid people peacefully organising into groups in order to influence the democratic process – push people into DESPAIR and thereby into violence. This is the game-plan of the left – which controls the education system, the media, and much of the legal system and politics.

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