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Samizdata quote of the day

It is ironic that this Cultural Revolution is being presided over by a Cavalier Prime Minister who is himself the embodiment of Libertarianism made substantial flesh. Boris Johnson faces the grim, unsmiling Roundhead figure of Sir Keir Starmer – perfectly typecast as a finger-wagging Puritan Witchfinder General. Ironic, too, that demands are being made to pull down the statue of Oliver Cromwell, the founding father of Puritanism made stone. But logic and consistency were never the hallmarks of the judgemental nay sayers to whom we must all now bow the knee.

Nigel Jones

66 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • the other rob

    One should never bend the knee to these scum. To do so grants them a false legitimacy. Sure, they might kill you if you don’t, but they’ll kill you if you do and you’re going to die anyway, so that’s a small threat.

    The only power that they have is what we give them.

  • Mr Ecks

    Blojob is a jellyballed King Log BlueLabour twat who does fuckall. He could easily make it illegal to fire anyone for free speech and sink the entire Marxist shitshow in one go.

    All the fucker does is mumble bullshit about a clapped out flu. And allow his stooge Sunak to demonstrate to any who think that banking is a complex job that it isn’t. If a half-baked buffoon like Sunak gets to the top in it–then it can’t be. We would almost do better having a séance and asking Dennis Healy for economic advice.

  • More darkly, the Puritan Regicides who had beheaded Charles’s father were hung, drawn and quartered along with Cromwell’s exhumed corpse.

    Nigel Jones may be betraying some ignorance of history here. Thanks to Charles II’s merciful nature – and perhaps to honour the command of his father Charles I who told him, shortly before his regicide, to forgive (but never trust) those responsible – all the regicides who (claimed to) have repented were forgiven and lived to die of old age. Once each year they had to assemble in public and proclaim again how very wicked they had been to kill the king and how very sorry they now were. (Except for one who had repented so much that he’d helped Charles’ restoration; he claimed Cromwell had grabbed his hand and forced him to sign the execution – and Charles pretended to believe him.) Only those very few who insisted they were not sorry got the rigours of the old law. (Charles also rewarded the man who tracked down one who had escaped to Switzerland and assassinated him.)

    Libertinism is often vicious in demanding all share its own good opinion of itself: the modern movement Nigel calls puritanism contains a huge demand that any libertinism it indulges is to be respected above all criticism. By contrast, one of Charles II’s more attractive characteristics was extending a certain indulgence to others that one may call kindness. In this, he contrasts strongly with e.g. Louis XIV.

  • John B

    Libertarianism made flesh? Since when has libertarianism included alienating the citizenry from their inalienable, fundamental Human Rights, banning food items, motor cars, etc?

    We are in danger of Sir Kier being more libertarian than BoJo, in the way Marx was, comparative to Lenin.

  • JohnK

    I don’t think BoJo believes in anything much.

    He was fired from his first job on the Times for making stuff up. Most chaps fresh out of university in the 80s would have killed for a job like that, but BoJo lost it because he was too idle to source a quote.

    Over Brexit, he famously wrote two columns, one for, one against, before deciding he would be for Brexit. Yet he was the Europe correspondent for the Telegraph for years. He lived in Brussels, he saw how it worked. How can he not have formed an opinion? I did, and I have never been to Brussels in my life.

    I think BoJo is one of those middle of the roaders who cannot be bothered to have a belief. He would have been happy to serve in the governments of Heath, Thatcher or Major so long as he got a big job. That’s what seems to really be his driving force.

  • Itellyounothing

    So far we seem to be in a Heath phase. I keep hoping Priti Patel is another Thatcher in waiting……

    Cummings is no Keith Joseph.

  • How can he not have formed an opinion? (JohnK, July 10, 2020 at 4:58 pm)

    Back in 2015, Boris may have had two opinions:

    – that the EU was dire

    – that the Brexit campaign was a very long shot

    and hesitated between those two more than between whether the EU was good or bad.

    The pace at which Dominic and Boris are removing not-very-civil not-serving-us servants is still glacial at the moment but it already beats preceding administrations.

    Cummings is no Keith Joseph. (Itellyounothing, July 10, 2020 at 5:08 pm)

    Professors of physics do not always make good cricketers. My now rather distant memories were that Sir Keith, splendid chap as he was, was not good at defeating either the MSM (they used to joke they’d soon have him delivering his apology with the speech) or the civil service. Cummings has at least thought hard about how to defeat them.

  • neonsnake

    Libertarianism made flesh?

    I rather thank they’re confusing libertarian with libertine.

  • lucklucky

    The status of Anglo-Saxon culture

    A car puts a tire mark in a “pride” crosswalk. Police enters in Action!

    https://twitter.com/WestVanPolice/status/1280964217172983808

    https://westvanpolice.ca/news/pride-crosswalk-defaced

  • Zerren Yeoville

    Libertarianism made flesh?

    No, no – Boris Johnson is ‘Mr Thompson’ from ‘Atlas Shrugged’ made flesh. You only have to compare their faux-folksy speeches to grasp that.

  • APL

    lucklucky: “a “pride” crosswalk”

    I’m forced to conclude that people who promote ‘pride’ in the sense of how you choose to use your genitalia, rather than in terms of your rightful satisfaction in having achieved a difficult task or objective, are too, ‘Cultural Marxists’ intent of destroying first our language, then our society.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “I’m forced to conclude that people who promote ‘pride’ in the sense of how you choose to use your genitalia, rather than in terms of your rightful satisfaction in having achieved a difficult task or objective, are too, ‘Cultural Marxists’ intent of destroying first our language, then our society.”

    Then by the same reasoning, the same is true of those who promote ‘shame’ for the same thing.

  • APL

    NiV: ” the same is true of those who promote ‘shame’ for the same thing.”

    Why would one feel shame for an accomplishment or difficult task completed well?

    I don’t think one would.

    Is it in your mind this nexus of sexuality and feelings of shame? If so, you should give your self a break.

  • bobby b

    C’mon, APL, word games.

    After decades of attempts to make me feel shame for my Norwegiousity by the Swedes and the Finns, my natural human reaction isn’t some neutral “I’m OK”, it’s the more positive “I’m damned proud to be Norwegian, so ___ off!”

  • APL

    bobby b: “I’m damned proud to be Norwegian, “

    I worked for a while in Denmark, one of the more flattering things the Danes had to say about Norwegians, was that they nearly spoke passable Danish, but they insisted on swallowing 70% of their words.

  • Ian B

    I know I’m not welcome so this will be my only post, I do not wish to cause any trouble, but it seemed remiss not to point out that everyone said I was a mad barmy person when I started talking about this being an efflorescence of Puritanism a decade or so ago.

  • Phil B

    BoJo is a weathercock politician. Which ever way the wind is blowing, he will align with it. I doubt he has a principle in his entire body that he is prepared to defend.

  • Paul Marks

    John B. beat me to the punch.

    This wild spending and endlessly regulating government “libertarianism made flesh”????????????????????????????????

    Has Mr Jones forgotten about the “lockdown” – I can not forget as Mr Johnson made me unemployed.

    However, both Mr Jones and John B. seem to think there is some sort of policy difference between the present government and the Labour Party – they do not explain what this policy difference is supposed to be.

    In the mid 1970s Terry Arthur wrote a book called “95% is Crap” – I came upon it in Lancing library when I was a child (this was in the days before the Woke Marxists purged the libraries).

    In this book Mr Arthur explained that the supposed divisions between Mr Heath, Mr Wilson and Mr Thorpe (Conservative, Labour and Liberal) were meaningless – all sound and fury signifying nothing. That ALL the parties (and the despicable CBI as well – for the corporations were also crap) would push for ever bigger government – ever more tyranny.

    Nigel Jones (whoever this man is) is clearly WRONG – and Terry Arthur was-and-is clearly correct.

    As for Oliver Cromwell.

    My first public speeches (a couple of events) way back in 1978 were DENOUNCING the policies of Mr Cromwell – and I have not changed my view, I still think the Commonwealth period was a tyranny and 1660 was a great liberation – perhaps the greatest year in the history of the British Isles.

    However, at least Mr Cromwell balanced the budget and had honest gold and silver coinage.

    I would rather have Mr Cromwell (in spite of all his terrible crimes) then the politicians, of all parties, that seem to interest Nigel Jones.

  • Paul Marks

    I have now “clicked on the link” – although I resent having to do that, as a post should say what it wants to say in the text (not send you off somewhere else to find out what the post is really about).

    I AGREE with Nigel Jones that it is “ironic” that Boris Johnson, who has always claimed liberty for HIMSELF PERSONALLY is Prime Minister at a time when the “Woke” Frankfurt School of Marxism is taking control of every institution in the land – including “Conservative” Central Office.

    I felt this “irony” very keenly some months ago when I was kicked out of the Conservative Party (after 40 years of service – no thanks, no meeting, not even a telephone call) for saying something (years ago) much milder than Mr Johnson says on the average day.

    So it is true to say that Mr Johnson does indeed believe in liberty – for himself.

    The “irony” as Nigel Jones puts it, is that the Prime Minister does not appear to believe in liberty for anyone else apart from himself.

    “But Paul he does not know – Mr Johnson has no idea what was done to you and all these other victims of the “Diversity” Marxists”.

    Well perhaps he should make it his business to know -if he really does not know what is going on all around him.

  • I worked for a while in Denmark, one of the more flattering things the Danes had to say about Norwegians, was that they nearly spoke passable Danish, but they insisted on swallowing 70% of their words. APL (July 10, 2020 at 10:14 pm)

    I worked with Danes a while back and the common (accurate) complaint was that the Danes swallowed their vowels (in Danish, not in English – when speaking English it was only noticeable when they said Danish names). If the Danes say the Norwegians swallow their words, I can only assume Norwegian sounds like those ancient inscriptions where you only get the consonants and have to guess at the vowels.

    Bobby b (July 10, 2020 at 10:02 pm), if I were Norwegian I would be displeased by Sweden’s WWII behaviour rather than any “Swedes are the best of Scandanavians” attitudes they might reveal. (And though I’m not Norwegian, I was very unimpressed when historical study made me aware of it.)

    As you say, it’s all ‘word games’ (and off-topic for this post). I feel utter contempt for the on-topic criminalising of a tyre-track (that triggered the subthread) with which Canadian law enforcement prostitutes itself.

  • Mr Ecks

    You indeed did Ian B. My opinion is that socialist scum is socialist scum –no need to postulate extra-scuminess.

    If you want to debate it over on Tim W’s I’m up for it.

  • APL

    Niall Kilmartin: “and off-topic for this post”

    In a post that starts:- “It is ironic that this Cultural Revolution is being presided over by ..”

    I think it perfectly acceptable to point out that the words we use to describe X are being subverted to describe Y. Just because we’ve been acclimatised to it over the last thirty years, doesn’t mean it isn’t ‘a thing’.

    This is off topic. But of a one with the culture of lies and deceit we are subjected to.

    Five deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the public statistics, had gaping great gunshot wounds. This just one instance where the liars were caught out.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “I think it perfectly acceptable to point out that the words we use to describe X are being subverted to describe Y. Just because we’ve been acclimatised to it over the last thirty years, doesn’t mean it isn’t ‘a thing’.”

    It is ‘a thing’, but the example you gave isn’t a case of it, (except to the extent that *you* are the one trying to subvert the meaning of other people’s use of language and police what they are allowed to say and mean by it). But I expect you already knew that.

    The English language mutates constantly. Or we’d all still be talking like Chaucer.

  • APL

    Niv: “But I expect you already knew that.”

    In so far as I am a self confessed reactionary. Yes, I knew that. Nor do I agree with your perspective, but then I expect you already knew that, too.

    NiV: “Or we’d all still be talking like Chaucer.”

    Well, you rather make my point. We’d all be talking like Chaucer.

    1. Given that Chaucer’s works are considered by some to be the foundation of English literature, that might be no bad thing.

    2. So long as we all were still talking like Chaucer, then we’d still be able to understand each other. You on the other hand are appear to be advocating – and promoting – the destruction of our ability to say a thing, and have that that thing clearly understood.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “So long as we all were still talking like Chaucer, then we’d still be able to understand each other. You on the other hand are appear to be advocating – and promoting – the destruction of our ability to say a thing, and have that that thing clearly understood.”

    But we *do* all understand each other. The meaning is perfectly clear to English speakers aware of the historical context.

    To understand language, context is important. The context for LGBT ‘Pride’ was a culture in which the Authoritarian thugs ruling society decreed a set of normative values regarding “how you choose to use your genitalia” (manly and virile behaviour with many sexual conquests for men, demure and ladylike behaviour preserving one’s virginity for women) in which behaviour conforming to those norms was a matter for pride and behaviour violating those norms a matter for shame. Punishment for breach of the moral code used to be death. In more civilised times, it was downgraded to imprisonment, loss of employment, friendships, family support, social and financial ostracism. Much the same as with today’s “political correctness”.

    The usage of ‘Pride’ was twofold. Partly it was about adopting a different set of norms in which the behaviours meriting pride and shame were reversed. It’s the same usage as the rest of society – but instead of rightful satisfaction in having achieved the difficult task of conformity with society’s demanded norms, it’s rightful satisfaction in having achieved the difficult task of conformity with their own community’s norms. Same meaning, different norm. The second aspect is about the special difficulties of ‘coming out’ as LGBT in a society run by Authoritarian thugs who could beat you up for not following their rules. It was a huge risk, with potentially life-wrecking consequences, and in many cases a very real physical danger. So it’s about feeling a rightful satisfaction in having achieved the difficult task of standing up for liberty, of being brave enough to take the personal risks, of being mentally strong enough to withstand society’s rejection, hate, and oppression. Again, that’s a pretty normal usage for the word.

    Your phrase – “people who promote ‘pride’ in the sense of how you choose to use your genitalia” – implies a more modern set of norms in which we regard it as nobody else’s business how you choose to use your genitalia, with no rules, no adverse consequences, and therefore nothing special about coming out as LGBT or belonging to the LGBT community. You’re talking about the society in which liberty for LGBT won. And you’re describing it with the phrase “first *our* language, then *our* society”. That’s very nice of you. But that’s not the context in which the word is being used here, the society you’re talking about is the new world that LGBT Pride created, not what they’re replacing, and in any case it’s not your job to police what other people say and mean.

    I suspect it’s the result of some historical confusion on your part. As a self-confessed reactionary, you want to retain the old Authoritarian masculine-men-and-ladylike-women-good set of norms, and you want to complain about LGBT Pride having changed those norms. But subconsciously you’ve partially accepted/adopted the new norms already yourself, and so language harking back to the time before this culture arose seems to conflict in meaning with our present-day context. Being LGBT is no big deal today, but the word ‘Pride’ makes a big deal out of it, so this is the change you perceive they’re trying to bring about. That’s all mixed up.

    Language and culture changes over time. Every generation overturns the values of their parents’ generation, and invents new words and new norms, and the parental generation disapproves, and despairs of the decline in standards and values. Just as society fragments into loosely bound sub-cultures, each with their own language and values of which all the others disapprove. This is nothing new, it’s a story as old as humanity itself. It’s not a question of advocating/promoting – just observing how things are.

    I advocate/promote the more liberal direction that society has moved in this instance – I’m a libertarian after all – but the fact of change is a given, separate to this, and can be either good or bad. You no doubt remember JS Mill on the subject: “Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling; against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them; to fetter the development, and, if possible, prevent the formation, of any individuality not in harmony with its ways, and compel all characters to fashion themselves upon the model of its own.”

    That goes as much for those who would *enforce* the new norms as much as those who enforced the old ones. It’s the same evil. But that’s not what ‘Pride’ in its original sense was about.

  • JohnK

    NIV:

    TLDR

  • neonsnake

    But that’s not what ‘Pride’ in its original sense was about.

    I would note that it means different things to different people. Speculatively, and very broadly, I would say that there’s an age split – some of us are old enough to remember when being LGBT *was* a big deal. Some of us are older still, and remember when it was an even bigger deal, and some are yet older still and remember when it was an actual criminal offense (at least to act on it, if not to be it). And norms can change back again…

  • APL

    NiV: “But we *do* all understand each other. The meaning is perfectly clear to English speakers aware of the historical context.”

    In the context of a ‘pride crosswalk’? You understand what that means? Does it even have any legal standing. This, not being the UK, but in the UK road markings have legal definition. ‘Cross walks’ aka pedestrian crossings, ought to be easily identified. This thing, ( the pride crosswalk ) looked like some child’s my little rainbow pony had just vomited over the highway.

    And the ‘Police’ asking for some one to snitch on some other one for accelerating away from a ‘pride sidewalk’ leaving behind some rubber. Ignores everything relevant to the event, including context.

    But that we are discussing such an event, is evidence that I am correct, and the world has gone mad.

    NiV: “The usage of ‘Pride’ was twofold. Partly it was about adopting a different set of norms in which the behaviours meriting pride and shame were reversed. It’s the same usage as the rest of society – but instead of rightful satisfaction in having achieved the difficult task of conformity with society’s demanded norms, it’s rightful satisfaction in having achieved the difficult task of conformity with their own community’s norms. Same meaning, different norm. “

    Relevant up to the 1950’s – but irrelevant since 2000. Now it’s a power grab, and part of the cultural revolution along with BLM and numerous other leftist subversive initiatives.

    Captcha: “identify the crosswalks’, all of ’em, black and white horizontal lines parallel to the sidewalk (pavement). Thank god I was able to figure that out.

  • some of us are old enough to remember when being LGBT *was* a big deal.

    I am old enough to remember when it wasn’t a big deal. It only became a ‘big deal’ to me when it moved from being a lifestyle choice to be tolerated (thumbs up) to a mandate requiring acceptance, not tolerance, backed by assorted laws and the organised boycotts now called “Cancel Culture” (thumbs down).

    That was the point where I moved from benign tolerance to aggressive happy-to-get-right-back-in-your-face rejection.

    But it is not the lifestyle choice itself I am rejecting, I continue to give zero fucks about that. It is about attempts to grind the choices of a minority of others in my face for entirely political reasons, & require me to say how wonderful those choices are when I actually don’t think they are.

    Blokes in dresses look ridiculous & they are still blokes. I am happy not to say that because I am polite by default & it is really none of my damn business. But if I am *required* to state an opinion on the subject, if I am forced to make it my business, I will say what I actually think. And I will not be nice to the people who put me in the position of having to say it.

  • Now it’s a power grab, and part of the cultural revolution along with BLM and numerous other leftist subversive initiatives.

    Exactly so.

  • neonsnake

    Relevant up to the 1950’s – but irrelevant since 2000

    That’s 50 years that are missing, then. And the thing is, while the “LGB” part is *largely* accepted, that’s reasonably recent (I’d say 25 years ago in the UK was when it really started to be, but I’m not tied to that), and it’s not locked in. That could easily reverse. And as for the “T”, well, people do still get very agitated about the “T”. Even those of a libertarian persuasion.

    Now it’s a power grab

    How so?

  • and it’s not locked in. That could easily reverse.

    Seriously? Is anyone from any mainstream party discussing recriminalising homosexuality? Is there even an undercurrent in pub discussions across the land where such notions are being floated in hushed tones?

    Even in the sloped-forehead knuckle-dragging Brexiteer circles I move in, I must say people don’t really give a damn if someone is a poofter. They don’t actually care, but it’s starting to piss them off when their morning cup of coffee comes in a cup with a fucking rainbow flag on it. If the topic of Darren Grimes comes up, it’s to drink to his health & admire his fortitude, no one cares he is gay. If the topic of Owen Jones comes up, it’s to discuss how high the helicopter should be because of his views, not because he’s gay.

    We had achieved a state of sublime indifference on the subject only to progress beyond tolerance (yay) to the point where expressing a desire for freedom of association is now an idea associated with the lunatic fringe by sensible BBC watching Guardian reading people 😆

  • neonsnake

    I am old enough to remember when it wasn’t a big deal.

    You’re old enough to remember when it wasn’t a big deal to you. That’s not the same thing.

    That was the point where I moved from benign tolerance to aggressive happy-to-get-right-back-in-your-face rejection.

    That’s a shotgun approach. There might well be some people “requiring acceptance, not tolerance”, but there’s a huge difference between acceptance and tolerance. Acceptance is neutral, tolerance is not, it implies an inferiority on the part of the person being tolerated.

    But it is not the lifestyle choice itself I am rejecting, I continue to give zero fucks about that.

    Talk me through this “lifestyle choice” thing, and how you think it works? There was a point where you consciously weighed up the benefits of straight vs not, and made your choice and at the end, you decided to be straight?

    And even if it was a choice: THAT’S STILL OK (which I should not be having to explain on an ostensibly libertarian forum).

    No-one’s taking away your right to be straight and knock out 2.4 kids. We’re just asking for the opportunity to try different things, and if you say “no”, well, you’re going to get some pushback, and some of that pushback might be a bit more than you’d like. The focus should be on the “no”, not the “pushback”.

  • I agree with Perry de Havilland, as the last part of my Niall Kilmartin (July 11, 2020 at 8:48 am) makes clear. If people demand you express positive agreement – if they will not even allow a polite silence to pass unremarked – then the supporter of free speech will push back.

    Whether you call today’s oppressors puritanism (as the OP does) or libertines (Niall Kilmartin, July 10, 2020 at 9:05 am) reminds me of the arguments over whether the National Socialist German Workers party was more the National Socialist German Workers party or the National Socialist German Workers party. Some people notice first one aspect and some the other and of course both are present.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “In the context of a ‘pride crosswalk’?”

    If you want to discuss the meaning of “pride” in the sense of a “pride crosswalk”, it’s confusing to say “people who promote ‘pride’ in the sense of how you choose to use your genitalia”. I would assume you’re talking about the general meaning of ‘pride’, and not pride crosswalks.

    “Relevant up to the 1950’s – but irrelevant since 2000.”

    If you want to discuss the meaning of “pride” as defined post-2000, it’s confusing to say “people who promote ‘pride’ in the sense of how you choose to use your genitalia”. I would assume you’re talking about the general meaning of ‘pride’, which was in use in that sense long before 2000, and not pride post-2000.

    “I am old enough to remember when it wasn’t a big deal.”

    Yes, well, I remember when it was a big deal, became much less of a big deal (but never quite disappeared as an issue), and then became a big deal again in the opposite direction. I feel the same way about *both* sorts of Authoritarian. And I’m afraid I’m not keen either on those who only care about their own liberty, and don’t give a toss about anyone else’s – especially if they’re ‘not their sort of people’.

    “But if I am *required* to state an opinion on the subject, if I am forced to make it my business, I will say what I actually think & I will not be nice to the people who put me in the position of having to say it.”

    It depends who you think those people are – the Authoritarians or the victims they’re using as cover.

    To take a related example – in the past women used to get a raw deal. They couldn’t vote. They couldn’t earn. They couldn’t own property or sign contracts in their own name. They were virtually ‘posessions’ of the men in their life, treated as children. Then we fixed that (mostly), and that’s great. But the feminists didn’t stop there, oh no. They carried on with ever more ridiculous in-your-face demands for privileges and control. And that, too, is an annoying part of modern corporate life. So are *women* the people who put us all in that situation, who you would see no need to be nice to?

    My argument is that ‘women’ and ‘radical feminists’ are two different categories, and I see no justification for being nasty to the former because of the behaviour of the latter. And I find men of the Old School Authoritarianism who clearly still think women are inferior, or to be kept in their socially-ordained place, but use the bad behaviour of radical feminists as an excuse to continue their campaign against women’s rights generally, highly unconvincing. The same applies to the LGBT. Opposing one sort of Authoritarianism doesn’t justify the opposite form of Authoritarianism – in either direction.

  • Acceptance is neutral, tolerance is not, it implies an inferiority on the part of the person being tolerated.

    I agree tolerance is not neutral, that is the whole point of it.

    You do not need to tolerate something you agree with or like. Tolerance is about coexisting with things you don’t agree with and dislike. If people do not like me or agree with me, that is their prerogative, I have no right to demand otherwise. But I do have the right to demand they tolerate me, just as they have the same right. But it must be reciprocal. It ranges from dangerous to suicidal to tolerate someone who will not tolerate you.

    And no, acceptance is not neutral, not at all, not in any way. If someone demands my acceptance, they are demanding I accept their views are correct, or valid or perfectly ok, even if I think their views or habits or customs are utter shit. No one has the right to demand acceptance.

    I tolerate a great many things I that I do not accept. And like everyone, there are some things I neither tolerate or accept.

  • neonsnake

    Then we fixed that (mostly),

    And that “mostly” is the point.

    What? We expected that we’d let it get to, like, 80% and they’d call it quits?

    That’s the basis of most of the anti-PC, anti-woke arguments – it’s “hold on, we’ve let you have this much, now be grateful and hush”. In the meantime, we still “mostly” hold all of the benefits, and every step towards a more even playing field is decried as “PC culture” or “cancel culture”, even when all it is is asking us to actually compete.

    We scream and shout when our “mostly” is eroded. And we scream and shout when their “mostly” comes closer to truth.

  • No-one’s taking away your right to be straight and knock out 2.4 kids.

    Correct, but people get fired for stating on Twitter it’s better for blokes be straight and knock out 2.4 kids than for blokes to dress up in a frock and call themselves Doris. No one gets fired for wearing a gay pride badge and a tutu whilst shouting “hands up don’t shoot” at the unarmed British plod 😆

  • bobby b

    The only way this debate crystalizes is when we can separate the underlying “homosexuals – ish!” impulse that some have from the “don’t tread on me, I’m not going to be forced to include my pronouns in my post!” argument.

    They’re not the same thing, but they too often provide cover for each other. So many people clearly allow the former to drive the latter that it becomes suspect to merely hold to the latter.

  • neonsnake

    No one gets fired for wearing a gay pride badge and a tutu whilst shouting “hands up don’t shoot” at the unarmed British plod 😆

    Yes, I’m sure no-one’s ever been fired/beaten up/killed for being gay/trans in the history of our lifetime. That seems a reasonable assumption.

  • APL

    NiV: “If you want to discuss the meaning of “pride” in the sense of a “pride crosswalk”, it’s confusing to say “people who promote ‘pride’ in the sense of how you choose to use your genitalia”. I would assume you’re talking about the general meaning of ‘pride’, and not pride crosswalks.”

    You are very easily confused. I’m discussing the meaning of the English word ‘Pride’. A ‘pride crosswalk’ is a nonsense, meaningless term. But that has been the success of the Left over the last half century, to get the majority to accept their deceptive definitions.

    Unless some one complains, indeed, unless enough people complain, the word ‘pride’ will have been entirely co-opted by a sectarian minority group and will follow ‘gay’, falling out of general usage altogether.

    Some consolation though, use of the word gay in its now archaic context, does tend to generate some amusement.

    In fact, I think I’ve found my Monday morning greeting. ‘What a gay day’. That should start the week off with a bang.

  • Yes, I’m sure no-one’s ever been fired/beaten up/killed for being gay/trans in the history of our lifetime. That seems a reasonable assumption.

    And do you think the current state of the Culture War is going to make that less likely to happen? I certainly don’t.

    Much like the incessant demands everyone must ponder a person’s race, obsessing about a person’s different sexuality does not bring people together. It tags them with an assigned identity that you are told has to matter to you, and ‘others’ them. I would say it is pretty much the intended objective for some people.

    It is really much safer if the majority do not give a fuck rather than requiring them to.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “And do you think the current state of the Culture War is going to make that less likely to happen? I certainly don’t.”

    I agree. On the same basis, do you think aggressively supporting the old Authoritarianisms of sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia is going to make PC Authoritarianism less likely?

    “It is really much safer if the majority do not give a fuck rather than requiring them to.”

    Don’t give a fuck about what? Should they ‘not give a fuck’ about sexism and homophobia? Or ‘not give a fuck’ about people being fired for being sexists or homophobes? ‘Not give a fuck’ about Authoritarians controlling society?

    Or do you mean they should not give a fuck about any of the dividing lines people use to separate “us” from “them”, and oppose all authoritarians on all sides equally?

  • Or do you mean they should not give a fuck about any of the dividing lines people use to divide “us” from “them”, and oppose all authoritarians on all sides equally?

    I trust you will not be shocked to learn that is precisely what I think 😉

  • neonsnake

    And do you think the current state of the Culture War is going to make that less likely to happen? I certainly don’t.

    On the whole, yes, I do.

    For sure, I think that there are people that make me wince, and I think “Dial it back in.”

    But for what it’s worth, overall, I think the bigger danger is from the the guys that pushing back, and giving credence to the old guard that are homophobic/transphobic/racist/sexist/whatever. Far more so than the other side.

    I know it’s human nature, that if forced, then one will push-back, but I think that a more sensible option – as hard as it is – is to *not* pushback, and to ignore the “PC-Ness”, or “Culture War-ness”, or whatever, and attempt – I know it’s hard – to note that homophobia/racism/transphobia/.etc etc etc is just wrong, no matter what else is being said around the edges.

    I don’t think that a starting point of “blokes in dresses look ridiculous” is helpful in your Culture Wars.

    I think a more helpful view is to start, not from a point of “cocks in frocks are ridiculous”, but from a point of “these people are a significantly vulnerable community. Whilst we understand that there are no easy answers, what if we start with trying to work out how we make that less so?”

  • But for what it’s worth, overall, I think the bigger danger is from the the guys that pushing back, and giving credence to the old guard that are homophobic/transphobic/racist/sexist/whatever. Far more so than the other side.

    Well when you’ve got libertarians like me who are “pushing back”, it isn’t your tactics that are wrong, it is the entire strategy.

    I am the ‘other side’ because I keep being told “if you’re not with us, you’re against us”… well, guess what, I ain’t with you. I stand by the ‘useful idiot’ phrase (technical sense) that I used in a discussion that was both different & yet strikingly similar the other day. This battle might not be the one you think it is & your allies might not be who they say they are.

    I don’t think that a starting point of “blokes in dresses look ridiculous” is helpful in your Culture Wars.

    Then don’t put me in the position of having to say it, because that’s where we are right now. I want to be able to treat people who make different life choices to me with the sublime indifference that freedom of association brings. But if you make your problems my problems, if you make me engage in the battles you think I have to fight, then you make me your enemy.

    And believe me, I’m really not the only classical liberal type thinking this way.

  • neonsnake

    Surely.

    And when you have libertarians like *me*, then your tactics aren’t just wrong, it’s your entire strategy.

    And I stand by my “useful idiot” phrase, because I keep being told that if I’m not with you, then I’m against you.

    Except that I’m smart enough to know when I’m being played.

    Guess what? This battle might not be the one you think it is, and your allies might not be who you think they are.

    I want to be able to treat people who make different life choices to me with the sublime indifference that freedom of association brings.

    Then do it.

    Rise above it. Don’t wait for permission, just do it. Right now. Ignore both sides.

    Ignore me. I’m confrontational by nature. I have my reasons and my experiences to explain why I am so. But I dare you to ignore me, to not let me push you further to the “right”, as such.

    Go back to that post, the “giving it a left hook” post. Nothing’s changed.

    Try, I ask (I don’t demand) to *accept*, not just tolerate, differences. It is different. It’s hard, I get that, to accept some things.

    Forget the people demanding stuff, for a second. Just…put them to one side for a sec.

    Some fellas want to wear dresses. Ok. It’s not my thing, it’s not your thing. Some fellas want to do their shirts up all the way to the top without a tie. I’m not keen on late-period Oasis, so I find it mildly risible. Some fellas want to dab on a touch of make-up, I quite like Bowie and Iggy Pop. I’m not against it.

    Some fellas want to, against all the odds, wear tank tops, half shorts, hi-top converse, and baseball caps backwards. I *accept* – not just *tolerate* – all of these, because I am a libertarian. I *accept* that people will have different views and ways of living to me.

    I dare you to *accept*, and not just *tolerate*.

    I dare you to be a *libertarian* and not a conservative.

  • Fraser Orr

    @neonsnake
    Rise above it. Don’t wait for permission, just do it. Right now. Ignore both sides.

    Oh that that were possible! You can’t, because they are yelling in your ear, demanding you speak their shibboleths lest you be fired from your job and publicly shamed and doxed, passing laws to criminalize dissent marching in your streets, smashing your windows and painting their slogans on the streets,teaching your children and your friends, your employers and your customers to out you and ostracize you and boycott you.

    I’m with Martin Luther King, judge people on the content of their character not the color of their skin (or whether they wear a dress or not, or whether they menstruate (to align with a recent news story) or what they do in their bedrooms.)

    But you are not allowed to ignore them, because “silence is violence”.

    Live and let live is a cooperative principle.

  • bobby b

    Fraser Orr
    July 13, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    “Oh that that were possible! You can’t, because they are yelling in your ear, demanding you speak their shibboleths lest you be fired from your job and publicly shamed and doxed, passing laws to criminalize dissent marching in your streets, smashing your windows and painting their slogans on the streets,teaching your children and your friends, your employers and your customers to out you and ostracize you and boycott you.”

    Sort of like how our societies were treating them not so many years ago? I used to watch my crossdressing uncle trudge home years ago with bruises and black eyes, or on other nights my dad would have to go get him out of Minneapolis jail.

    I realize that “turnabout is fair play” is a poor philosophy for confronting the future – just keeps the hostilities alive – but it’s a human reaction to revel in power shifts to your own side.

    And I don’t remember the committed libertarians fighting for my uncle’s rights back then.

  • Fraser Orr

    bobby b
    Sort of like how our societies were treating them not so many years ago?

    My mom always taught me that two wrongs don’t make a right.

  • bobby b

    “My mom always taught me that two wrongs don’t make a right.”

    Easy to say once you’ve finished the first wrong. 😆

    (Don’t get me wrong here. Tell me I have to announce my pronouns, or that I must call my brother Sue, and I’m going to fight back. But if my brother wants to be called Sue, I’m going to do it, just because.)

  • Try, I ask (I don’t demand) to *accept*, not just tolerate, differences. It is different. It’s hard, I get that, to accept some things.

    That is what is called either ‘submission’ (keep telling yourself something is ok when when you don’t think that it is until you do think it is) or ‘deception’ (tell everyone else you think it is ok when forced to express an opinion even if you really think it is preposterous).

    Shouting at people either literally or metaphorically (making a view inescapable) doesn’t lead to acceptance, it leads to either submission or opposition. Don’t make me metaphorically stand at your side waving a rainbow flag when I want a coffee, it pushes me in the opposite direction to that which someone in Costa Coffee’s marketing department thinks it does. It doesn’t make me dislike gay people, but it sure as hell makes me dislike people gay or otherwise trying to ensure the topic is front and centre when I drink my coffee.

    Things work better when minding your own business is facilitated rather than screaming “silence is violence” at them. That’s the way to get real violence eventually.

    Phone provider sends me an email earnestly saying in the era of BLM that are ‘listening’? Ciao babe, new phone provider by tomorrow, are you listening to me now? I want a fucking phone provider, not a political & social life adviser telling me they’ve picked a side.

    Asking for acceptance rather than tolerance doesn’t work. People like what they like, don’t like what they don’t like. Tolerance is not putting the bovver boots on and giving what you don’t like a kicking, or chasing them down the street shouting “nigger” or “queer” or “yid” at them. Happy to hammer people doing that. But don’t tell me just because I can’t abide racism, I therefore must accept the views of people calling for ‘reparations’ or that I have to pretend Nigerian culture has much to offer the rest of the world or that the Zulu Empire was somehow ok but the British Empire wasn’t. Not going to happen.

    Tolerance is the best anyone is going to get from me (& frankly from the vast overwhelming majority of people). Tolerance + mind your own business is truly the underpinnings of a good civilisation.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Ignore both sides.”

    But there are four sides to any issue – a Nolan square. We’ve got the pro-LGBT authoritarians (the PC brigade), the anti-LGBT authoritarians (the ‘ban-them-doing-their-pervy-stuff’ homophobes/transphobes), the pro-LGBT libertarians (it does nobody else any harm, it’s wrong to impose gender norms on the unwilling), the anti-LGBT libertarians (they look ridiculous and I don’t like it, but nobody should be making rules on it – Niemoller applies). And then there are the people in the middle of the square, who have no interest and take no part – the people Niemoller wrote his poem about.

    The question is, how do you form an alliance betweeen the pro-X libertarians and the anti-X libertarians, and avoid the problem of libertarians sitting in the middle of the square saying ‘it’s not my beef’. Or saying ‘I’m only interested in actively opposing one sort of authoritarian (the opposite corner), and not the other’.

    How do you persuade a pro-LGBT libertarian to fight against the pro-LGBT ‘woke’ authoritarians? How do you persuade an anti-LGBT libertarian like Perry to care about anti-LGBT authoritarians? Not just to refrain from oppressing him/herself, but to actively argue in their defence? If Niemoller wasn’t enough, what then?

    How do we redraw the battle lines from pro- versus anti-LGBT (or any other socially-oppressed X) to being pro- versus anti-authoritarian?

  • neonsnake

    My mom always taught me that two wrongs don’t make a right

    Come on, man. There’s wrongs that are more wrong than others, and sometimes you have to choose a side.

    I don’t like bullying at all, but if it comes down to it, I’ll generally side with the guy or girl being bullied by the majority.

    Come on.

  • How do you persuade an anti-LGBT libertarian like Perry to care about anti-LGBT authoritarians?

    Heh. I’m not anti-LGBT people, it’s LGBT activists I can’t stand 😆

  • neonsnake

    Costa Coffee’s marketing department thinks it does. It doesn’t make me dislike gay people, but it sure as hell makes me dislike people gay or otherwise trying to ensure the topic is front and centre when I drink my coffee.

    Just drink your bloody coffee, then, and don’t pretend that Costa speaks for us.

    What? You think I wrote to Costa and asked them to speak for me?

    Stop shotgunning us, and stop expecting us to correct every corporation that pretends to speak for us!

    It’s not my job to shut each and everyone of them down when they get it wrong.

    It is not my responsibility to attempt to shut down every bloody marketing department that wants to make a buck off of Pride, and I shouldn’t face the backlash off of people that are somehow offended that they have to look at a rainbow when they get their coffee.

  • neonsnake

    the anti-LGBT libertarians (they look ridiculous and I don’t like it, but nobody should be making rules on it

    No such thing – that puts them in the top right box.

    (I use the Political Compass where liberty is to the bottom of the x-axis, for clarity)

  • Nullius in Verba

    “No such thing – that puts them in the top right box.”

    I don’t agree. Freedom of belief and freedom of speech apply even to people who believe and say things I don’t like, don’t agree with, and think are wrong.

    We all have beliefs that other people think are wrong. We all have habits other people think are disgusting. But we can only have the freedom to say and do what we do that they don’t like if we give them the freedom to say and do what we don’t like. People who don’t agree with us will only be inclined to fight for our freedom if we fight for the freedom of people we don’t agree with.

    In my book, there’s tolerance (we may still advocate against it but not use force), acceptance (don’t advocate for or against, it’s none of our business what anyone else does about it), and approval (advocate for it but not enforce it). You might tolerate homophobia (belief and speech), accept rap music, and approve of atheism, say. Or any permutation.

    A *principle* has to be applicable to all sides, and all issues. You wouldn’t want to be required to be neutral or approving about homophobia – to be made to accept not just tolerate it. So the same applies to people tolerating and not accepting homosexuality. And vice versa.

    Where I have some difficulty is where a ‘libertarian’ is selective about the principles – they think it applies to some issues and not others, or to one side in some dispute but not the other. You can’t insist on more than mere tolerance for homosexuality if you are not willing to offer more than mere tolerance of homophobia. Or vice versa. You can’t expect people to stand up for your liberty if you won’t stand up for everyone else’s. Ultimately, that way, liberty dies, one minority at a time.

    So I can accept someone claiming to be a libertarian not liking somebody else’s lifestyle, but I’d still expect them to actively support their freedom to live it, and not ignore it or say they don’t care about it. You can stay neutral and don’t-give-a-fuck about X, but you can’t be neutral and uncaring about X’s freedom and still be a principled libertarian. Because Niemoller was right.

  • Neonsnake and Nullius, in your recent comments in this thread, you guys are reminding me of the scene in Kravchenko’s ‘I Chose Freedom’ where his father, a courageous independent revolutionary against the Tsar, tells Victor Kravchenko (who at this point is a still-trying-to-believe communist) that the Tsar’s Okhrana was a philanthropic organisation compared to Staln’s NKVD. Victor instantly responds, “You don’t want the Tsar back? !” and the elder Kravchenko has to explain tediously that he does not want the Tsar back, or feel guilty for the effort he put into resisting him in the past, but (and he gives several specific examples) freedom and happiness were generally and significantly better (less bad) in those days.

    The question of how a particular form of historical authoritarianism compares with a different present one, and of which most needs opposition at this time, is an empirical one. Questioning the libertarianism of people who dissent from you on the details of the answers to these questions is a question-begging rhetorical trick.

    I suggest we agree to disagree for now – this discussion is arguably off-topic and it has surfaced in the past and I’m sure it will again in the threads of other posts. (Also it merely gets in the way of my main interest in this post – whether it is puritanism or libertinism that is the driver of authoritarianism here – but as this thread is now approaching it’s 60th comment, I guess I’d better accept that no-one else is interested in that. 🙂 )

  • Nullius in Verba

    “The question of how a particular form of historical authoritarianism compares with a different present one, and of which most needs opposition at this time, is an empirical one.”

    But that raises the question of whether we are opposing authoritarianism, or only particular forms of it?

    “Questioning the libertarianism of people who dissent from you on the details of the answers to these questions is a question-begging rhetorical trick.”

    Not really. Authoritarians oppose other authoritarians, and have no problem claiming to be ‘libertarian’ when doing so if that helps their case. They may even have sincerely persuaded themselves they believe it.

    Authoritarians believe in liberty for themselves, for their own tribe, and when their freedom is threatened they will fight for it under the banner of liberty. But they always find excuses when it comes to the liberties of those that they themselves despise. It’s not a priority. It’s not reciprocated. It’s not popular, and able to raise political support. It’s not relevant to today’s burning issues.

    Strategically, it’s good that they are even nominally arguing on the side of liberty. We recruit far more political support that way than we could garner with the purist libertarian theory, (albeit, mostly from the losing side). Nothing concentrates the mind like having your own skin in the game. But the constant recurring danger is that you end up overthrowing one tyranny to replace it with another. Because you’re not fighting to overthrow authoritarianism itself, only particular forms of it.

    That’s why I’m constantly trying to remind people (or teach them, if they don’t know) that the enemy is not particular forms of authoritarianism, but authoritarianism itself. The danger is not that we neglect present-day authoritarianism because we’re dwelling too much on history, but that we neglect to guard against future forms of authoritarianism because we are looking too narrowly only at the present.

    History teaches us that lesson. It’s how we got to here. I’m not dwelling on history entirely for the sake of the past (although it is important to remember and be grateful), but in hopes for the future.

    But as you say, we’ll no doubt revisit the topic again. Until next time… 🙂

  • Paul Marks

    As a Conservative Member of Parliament explained the matter to me…..

    “Mr Johnson is not a libertarian – he is a LIBERTINE, there is an important difference you know”.

    Yes I do know – and I am ashamed that I forgot when I was voting for the man.

  • neonsnake

    I don’t agree. Freedom of belief and freedom of speech apply even to people who believe and say things I don’t like, don’t agree with, and think are wrong.

    That’s not a disagreement 😉

    If you want to say that one should treat “non-libertarians” with a “Libertarian” standpoint, then that’s a good and sensible argument, with which I largely agree, albeit that I have some lines that I draw “faster” than you do, which we’ve discussed before, and I’m not likely to change my mind on, given that my lived experience says that there are some views where sunlight is not the best disinfectant after all, and that some views – those that would use fists, clubs and guns – cannot be met with a reasoned debate.

    I’ve also noted that the correct libertarian viewpoint would be that even if being (eg) LGBT+ was a “choice”, then it should be “accepted” (not just tolerated), because a large part of libertarianism is an acceptance of other ways of living. A willingness to see what happens when people put gates in the fences, as it were.

    But my “even if” was a side-point. The actual facts of the matter is that homophobia (or transphobia) is a belief, whereas being LGBT+ is not. It’s not a lifestyle choice, or a belief, it’s a characteristic. I can accept good faith arguments over how one chooses to publicly express that characteristic, but those arguments are exceedingly rare, and tend to just be a cover for “I don’t like it, but I don’t want to come out and say it, so I’ll focus on one specific, very rare, thing that I don’t like about it”, and end up giving support to what you term the “Old Authoritarians” – ie. the lot that used to think it was cool to criminalise certain groups of people. You can’t be a libertarian, and express the support of criminalisation of characteristics; nor can you support express disapproval of characteristics.

    You can be a libertarian and express a viewpoint (one I think you hold) that one should allow non-libertarians the freedom to express the support of criminalisation of characteristics, but that’s a different argument.

    Those people, your “Old Authoritarians”, still exist; and that’s why I throw back the term “useful idiots” to those who are doing their work for them. They are delighted by the people who come out with such phrases as “I’m not against teh gheys, not at all. I just wish they wouldn’t shove it down our throats, you know what I mean, hyuk hyuk?”

  • I’ve also noted that the correct libertarian viewpoint would be that even if being (eg) LGBT+ was a “choice”, then it should be “accepted” (not just tolerated), because a large part of libertarianism is an acceptance of other ways of living.

    Nope that is not what libertarianism is about at all. I have no time for racists, avoid them when I can, kick them off my blog etc. etc. because my house, my rules… but if someone refuses to make friends to people of a different race & tries to discourage his children from mixing with ‘darkies’ (or jews or whites or homosexuals or whatever his particular phobias are), that must be his private prerogative. As long as he tolerates such people, his acceptance matters not a damn to me. He can shun them, I can shun him.

    I used to have a high opinion of the ACLU back in the days when they supported the free speech rights of the most detestable people imaginable. They were once the polar opposite of ‘cancel culture’.

    They are delighted by the people who come out with such phrases as “I’m not against teh gheys, not at all. I just wish they wouldn’t shove it down our throats, you know what I mean, hyuk hyuk?”

    Don’t care. Not one iota. I supported Brexit because I think it will ultimately make the UK a freer place. But supporting Brexit also means I made common cause on that issue with people who are racist, xenophobic, socialist or fascist, who also supported Brexit because they think it will make the UK a less free place.

    So what? I only care how they voted, not why.

    Likewise on this issue. I think what I think for one reason, if someone else thinks similarly for different reasons… so what?

  • neonsnake

    As long as he tolerates such people, his acceptance matters not a damn to me.

    His non-acceptance matters not a damn to you, you mean.

    So what? I only care how they voted, not why.

    Likewise on this issue. I think what I think for one reason, if someone else thinks similarly for different reasons… so what??

    Yes, that’s what happens. You make common cause with people who think similarly for very different reasons. You’re a useful idiot to them.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “If you want to say that one should treat “non-libertarians” with a “Libertarian” standpoint”

    Not quite – I was saying that you can have libertarians who tolerate but don’t accept homosexuality, in the same way you can have libertarians who tolerate but don’t accept ‘modern art’. They’re not people who “would use fists, clubs and guns”, they’re people who would use only words. They think it’s rubbish. They don’t think other people should waste their time and money on it. But they’d never dream of interfering with those who do.

    “I’ve also noted that the correct libertarian viewpoint would be that even if being (eg) LGBT+ was a “choice”, then it should be “accepted” (not just tolerated), because a large part of libertarianism is an acceptance of other ways of living.”

    That would be inconsistent with freedom of belief. Many of us *don’t* approve of other people’s life choices. But we strongly believe that if it hurts nobody else, it’s not for the rest of society to force them to comply.

    “The actual facts of the matter is that homophobia (or transphobia) is a belief, whereas being LGBT+ is not. It’s not a lifestyle choice, or a belief, it’s a characteristic.”

    I’m not entirely sure that’s true, but in the opposite sense to what you mean. I’m not convinced that you can always *choose* what to believe. Your beliefs are what you think is true. If you know it’s true, you can’t just make a conscious choice to think it’s false.

    “Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said. ‘One can’t believe impossible things.’

    I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. There goes the shawl again!”

    It is at least arguable – although Doxastic Voluntarism is a philosophically controversial position. (What in philosophy isn’t? 🙂 ) But in the case of social norms, I have a suspicion they work like imprinting. You learn the rules and norms of society when you are a child, and then those rules get ‘frozen in’ as you get older. You have no choice about them – they come from the society you grow up in. And you can’t change them – once you’re an adult, they become ‘how things are’. It’s what feels natural to you.

    It’s like the way the foods that people think are disgusting are learnt before the age of 5, and then become hard to change. It’s an evolved safety mechanism. You learn what foods are good/safe to eat from what your parents feed you, and develop a strong aversion to stuff they avoid. We in the West don’t eat insects much. It’s not that they not safe and nutritious. But they evoke the ‘yuck!’ reaction we learnt as children. And you can’t just turn that off, as an act of will.

    That’s why social change happens on the scale of generations. Each generation is stuck with the norms they grew up with. But their children have the flexibility to learn new norms.

    So while homophobia itself is not hardwired in, and is instead learnt in early childhood, I don’t believe it is either a choice or a feeling that it is easy to turn off. People feel disgust at the idea, because of how they were brought up. And they can’t imagine how anybody else couldn’t, like we can’t imagine how people could like eating bugs.

    People can’t help how they feel, and can’t help feeling disgust at the behaviour of others – and *all* of us do things that other people are disgusted by. As libertarians, we can’t insist that everybody else must have the same likes and dislikes we do. Freedom of belief and freedom of speech allows them to hold opinions we don’t and to say so, but not to do us any harm. “Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling; against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them; to fetter the development, and, if possible, prevent the formation, of any individuality not in harmony with its ways, and compel all characters to fashion themselves upon the model of its own.”

    The rules have to be the same for every disagreement over norms. Some people feel disgust at homosexual behaviour (doing others no unconsented harm). Others feel disgust at homophobic beliefs and words (doing others no unconsented harm). You have to have one rule for both. If you want to be able to ban words and opinions, you have to ban both. If you want to demand acceptance, you have to demand it for both. Sticks and stones may break my bones. If people use only words, then you can use only words back.

    But it’s difficult. How do you persuade people in one libertarian corner to ally with those in the neighbouring libertarian corner, when there’s this big issue evoking such strong passions standing between them? How can we make alliance with people whose attitudes and behaviour on this huge dividing issue so disgust us? The only way I can see is to see the fight against authoritarianism more important than the fight against any ‘particular historical form’ of it. To see authoritarianism itself as the danger. But it’s a hard thing to let go of.

  • His non-acceptance matters not a damn to you, you mean.

    Exactly so. I only require his tolerance. Acceptance is nice but it’s really not that important from a civilisational perspective.

    I’m an atheist, but I have many religious chums. We tolerate each other’s positions even though we don’t accept them, and we get on just fine regardless.

    Same re: Brexit. I have friends who were Remain, I was loudly Leave. With one exception, we’re all still friends.

    I have a chum with a kink I am delighted not to hear about, and as we’re chums, he doesn’t feel the need to inflict his lurid tales on me. He doesn’t require me to pretend I think it’s perfectly fine, so we chat about the things we do have in common. We’ve been friends for years, no reason to think that will change.

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