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Samizdata quote of the day

The ex-soldier’s supposed crime? He had posted a trans-BLM-swastika on social media. This emblem was originally designed and posted by Laurence Fox and re-posted by many others – including the Daily Mail. Its purpose was to highlight the authoritarianism of “trans-activist” groups such as Stonewall, whose influence runs so deeply in the police (and in Whitehall, local government, universities and employers) that one of the attending police officers was even, according to Harry’s report, wearing a rainbow badge saying “Hampshire Police” on it.

Harry is right to say that the rainbow flag is a political symbol, and that the police are legally obligated to be impartial (but they aren’t). Imagine the situation at some Hampshire Constabulary office where these same officers were sitting down assessing the complaint they’d apparently received about the ex-soldier’s post mocking the rainbow flag – which is a lawful statement in common law and also protected by Article 10 of the ECHR. They can hardly have been unbiased – one look down at their rainbow badges would have told them what to do. They simply cannot claim that they acted impartially when they themselves wear as insignia the very symbol being mocked.

Ian Rons

And by the way, I think this is the swastika giving the wokesters the vapours…

35 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • John

    Europe and North America are tying themselves in knots at the whim, or perceived whim, of a tiny fraction of their populations. When law enforcement and the legal system throw their considerable weight behind this cause we find ourselves in an unholy mess.

    Exact figures are compromised by the need for self-identification which IMHO is at least as likely to inflate as deflate the figure. However it is not unreasonable to say that between 4-6% of the population identifies as LGBT (I’m not going any further down the alphabet rabbit hole than that) which means that huge swathes of our country and its history are being re-modelled, re-defined and re-written in the interests of just 1 in every 20 people.

    Even this ignores the fact that a significant proportion simply want to be left alone to live their lives and enjoy the very real benefits and advantages which their communities have benefitted from in recent decades.

    The last thing they want is to compromise the goodwill and acceptance from the majority population as a result of excessive demands by those who claim to speak for them.

  • Fraser Orr

    FWIW I think one of the things that the internet has forgotten or lost is Godwin’s law also sometimes called reductio ad Hitlerum. It says that as soon as you compare your opponent’s position to the Nazis then you automatically lose the argument.

    It is what you say when you are running out of good arguments and want to take a discussion out of logical debate to emotional virulence. If you are a Nazi everything you think and do is evil, so if an interlocutor can pin that badge on you then he doesn’t have to actually address your points, he just gets to spit on your grave.

    Today, everyone is a freaking Nazi. It is destructive to productive conversation and frankly insulting to the victims of actual Nazis who did things like shuffle millions of Jews into the ovens. When I hear it, it makes my skin crawl. So I’m afraid I most certainly don’t like this image. Though obviously I think putting people in jail for being stupid and offensive is deeply wrong.

  • lucklucky

    “Europe and North America are tying themselves in knots at the whim, or perceived whim, of a tiny fraction of their populations…”

    It is a huge fraction when most political-education complex is on it, many in journalist-political complex. Le me ask you a question when was last time a conservative or libertarian idea advanced trough institutions, companies, society as a knife in melting butter?

  • Stuart Noyes

    The police appear to be a law unto themselves.

  • Schrödinger's Dog

    Perry,

    I am absolutely outraged by this.

    I’m also curious as to why the police supports Stonewall. The original Stonewall riots occurred in 1969, when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, and the patrons fought back, triggering several days of riots.

  • John

    most political-education complex is on it, many in journalist-political complex

    You are absolutely correct. However once the ideology is perceived as “going after our children” the formerly silent majority, and it’s a dammed big majority, might start to find their voices.

  • Paul Marks

    After 12 years of a Conservative Party government the police are still arresting people for sharing a design intended to mock an ideology the police believe in (or claim to believe in) – even though the police are not supposed to have a political ideology, let alone enforce one.

    And the Civil Service are being taught Frankfurt School Marxist Critical Race Theory.

    Whether it is sexuality or race – the Frankfurt School Marxist (and French Post Modernist) attack goes unanswered. As Nigel Farage found out (when he was sacked from a television show) one is not even allowed to point out that BLM is a Marxist organisation that does not give a damn about Mr George Floyd (it just USES his death).

    It is not impossible to fight “Woke”, Frankfurt School Marxist, doctrines – but first one must have the courage to name them, to use the “M word” MARXIST.

    Kemi Badenoch did – it is to be hope that Prime Minister Liz Truss (if that happens) will also have the courage to point out that “Woke” means Frankfurt School Marxist – who USE such groups as homosexuals or blacks (or whoever) for their political agenda of totalitarianism.

    As for “Trans Activism” and “Stonewall” (which is partly funded by the taxpayers – insanely), it is now openly targeting children, including very young children.

    If the Conservative Party does not oppose that, then there is no point in us existing. And I would remind readers that I always write under my own name – which means I am prepared to take the consequences for what I write.

  • Paul Marks

    Back in the 1980s the term was “Political Correctness gone mad” – that was a stupid response, because it implied that “Political Correctness”, i.e. Frankfurt School Marxism, was basically a GOOD thing – which could be just taken too far and “go mad”. Also the response did not even understand that it was dealing with Frankfurt School Marxism – Herbert Marcuse (yes I know he did not work in the Frankfurt Institute) and so co.

    J.S. Mill called us “the stupid party” – if we have not learned, after all these decades, that “Political Correctness” or “Woke” doctrine is Frankfurt School Marxism, then perhaps we are stupid.

    And if we do know that it is Frankfurt School Marxism (using “victim groups” – based on race, or sex, or sexuality) but dare not say it is Marxist – then we are COWARDS.

    Cowards do not win wars – including Culture Wars.

  • Snorri Godhi

    On a lighter note: that is the best-looking swastika that i have ever seen.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    Comedian Al Murray’s character of Horst Schwul would, I’m sure, have appreciated the Pride Swastika. (Take a close look at the armband being worn by the character in the linked Youtube clip, which would seem to foreshadow the viral spoof version of the ISIS flag)

    Incidentally, that clip dates from as recently as 2009. While it was heavily criticized at the time by the left-wing media, I leave it to you to ponder the chances that (a) a comedian would even consider doing such a sketch today, (b) a television network would consider broadcasting it, or (c) that the original programme containing it would get a repeat airing today without it being cut out.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Snorri Godhi
    On a lighter note: that is the best-looking swastika that i have ever seen.

    My personal opinion: there is no such thing as a “lighter note” when it comes to swastikas, even if you are opponents of those it is intended to vilify. Just because something should be legal doesn’t mean it is right.

  • Roué le Jour

    My opinion, FWIW, obviously, is that the West has accepted in principle that it has no right to defend itself, and therefore finds that, like an immunocompromised patient, it is endlessly attacked by opportunistic diseases.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . there is no such thing as a “lighter note” . . . “

    Good lord, FO, this sounded so much like a typical tone-policing cancellation tweet that I had to look again to confirm that it was you that wrote it. Seems out of character. Pretty sure SG wasn’t endorsing a better-dressed Hitler. 😉

  • ralph

    Weird that the cutting edge is black, the refracted light is roy g biv, and the original source is white.
    https://www.briansolis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/prism.jpg
    Just a coincidence I’m sure.

  • Fraser Orr

    @bobby b
    Good lord, FO

    See my comment earlier. We seem to be accepting this notion of Nazi accusations as normal (believe me, I’m around teenagers, I get accused of being a Nazi all the time). It isn’t good, and I don’t think people on our side should do it either. MY concern isn’t with what SG said so much as what the guy who created the rainbow swastika. I don’t think it is funny, and I don’t think we should be going there.

    (Of course I think people have a perfect right to say whatever they want, even if it is horrible like this.)

  • Just because something should be legal doesn’t mean it is right […] MY concern isn’t with what SG said so much as what the guy who created the rainbow swastika. I don’t think it is funny, and I don’t think we should be going there.

    Disagree completely. I think what was done was not just right, it was very successful. Whilst playing the Nazi card almost always fails and is counterproductive, on this occasion the reaction provoked proved (& continues to prove) the point Fox was making: whatever it originally meant, this flag has now become a symbol of intolerance and repression.

    He took flak because he was over the target.

  • I’m with Perry (Perry de Havilland (London) July 31, 2022 at 7:01 am). Also, precisely because the left have degraded accusations of fascism and of nazism to trivia (and have also confused the two), argument against that will sometimes be serious but will sometimes be comparative/what-about-ish and sometimes mocking/reductio-ad-absurdum-ish. Fraser knows best whether the particular kids he refers to could be reached by reminding them, “Well, you call me a Nazi, although I’ve never demanded the power to punish you for saying things I don’t like to hear – not even that.” But however far gone beyond reason, or even a sense of humour, those particular kids might or might not be, such things can sometimes work, and at other times can sometimes elicit angry denials that later slowly give way to thought.

  • Well, if they didn’t want it turned into a swastika they should have thought more carefully about the design. Their own stupid fault. No sympathy.

  • Fraser Orr

    Perry de Havilland (London)
    Whilst playing the Nazi card almost always fails and is counterproductive, on this occasion the reaction provoked proved

    I think you and I have disagreed on this in the past. Specifically the idea that because our opponents are so repulsive and use dreadful tactics that we should too. Using bioweapons is wrong irrespective of whether your opponents do it first. Just because, the Russians use horrible tactics does not mean that the Ukrainian government are justified in banning all press opposition or arresting opposition politicians. Just because terrorists bomb airliners doesn’t mean the government gets to strip search grannies or six year old little girls. Why? Because when the smoke clears, and you declare victory it’d be nice to find something like what you were fighting for left; that the pigs had not taken over the farm.

    There is no point in winning if you destroy your own decency in the process, if you become what you hate and what you are fighting against.

    And the argument that “it is an emergency, once the emergency is over we will give up our power, give up our vile tactics” is one that has no respect for history at all.

  • Just because, the Russians use horrible tactics does not mean that the Ukrainian government are justified in banning all press opposition or arresting opposition politicians.

    Sorry but that is what a total war looks like, and Ukraine is fighting a total war. Yes it isn’t pretty, but losing is worse.

    There is no point in winning if you destroy your own decency in the process

    There is indeed a point in winning, and in this imperfect world, sometimes that means being very nasty. Are there limits? Sure, but this is very very far from being one of them.

  • hilitai

    There is no point in winning if you destroy your own decency in the process, if you become what you hate and what you are fighting against.

    Yes, that would generally be bad. Good thing this ‘meme’ isn’t that.

  • Fraser Orr

    @hilitai
    Yes, that would generally be bad. Good thing this ‘meme’ isn’t that.

    I understand that I am swimming against the tide here, but do you really think that allowing yourself to call people Nazis who are not Nazis is not sacrificing your decency? I do.

    Its like this blasted January 6th thing. Because they were angry, perhaps justifiably so, they do this terrible thing, and now the whole of the anti liberal movement seems to have lost a lot of moral credibility in complaining about the 2020 riots and the general behavior of angry liberal mobs. Occupying the high ground is a powerful advantage in both military battles and the battle of ideas.

    “Look at these rioting mobs,” I say. “Hah, what about January 6th” they say. “You can’t call me a Nazi, I’m nothing like a Nazi”, I say. “Nonsense, what about when you guys made a swastika out of the pride flag” they respond.

  • Fraser Orr

    Perry de Havilland (London)
    Sorry but that is what a total war looks like, and Ukraine is fighting a total war. Yes it isn’t pretty, but losing is worse.

    Democracies do not toss aside democracy during even total war. Even Lincoln and FDR had to go to the voters, (though I’ll grant you that disturbingly Churchill did not). One of the seminal issues leading to the formation of the libertarian party here in the US was opposition to the Vietnam war, and one of their core tenets was opposition to conscription. I heartily agree with that. If my government wants me to go fight a war they should have to convince me with sound argument not force me at the point of a bayonet. So I wonder what your position is on the conscription going on in Ukraine right now. I have heard stories of men being arrested at the border for failing to sign up, men fleeing a terrible situation, something that seems quite a rational and reasonable choice to me.

    I am truly curious to know your position on conscription in Ukraine.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Even David D. Friedman seems to accept conscription, when a state is under existential threat.

  • I am truly curious to know your position on conscription in Ukraine.

    I am not supportive, and likewise think even WW2 would have been possible without UK or USA conscripting people.

    Given the large influx of Ukrainian males returning from abroad to sign up, I suspect Ukraine should be able to manage without conscription as well. Ukraine’s problem is not manpower in absolute terms but rather trained manpower (I think it was Zaluzhnyi himself who actually pointed that out when UK agreed to train 10,000 squadies every 4 months).

  • Fraser Orr

    Perry de Havilland (London)
    I … think even WW2 would have been possible without UK or USA conscripting people.

    I think you are right.

  • The UK introduced conscription in April 1939 as an essential part of getting the French government to screw its courage to the sticking place after Hitler tore up the Munich agreement in March.

    The panic in Paris in late 1938 when (as Hitler’s threat of war on Czechoslovakia heated up) it appeared for a time that France could no longer hide behind Britain’s reluctance to act, prompted Chamberlain’s first trip to Munich. It was obvious to the UK government, when it finally decided to draw a line against Hitler in 1939, that France would not wait, as in WWI, for a continental-size UK army to gather gradually in the first years of war. Like it or not, pre-war UK conscription was the price of France joining their stand against Hitler.

    In WWI, the UK raised a million volunteers (before, nevertheless, resorting to conscription). It was generally, perhaps casually, assumed in 1939 that that would not happen if it were tried. Maybe it would (arguably it did, as regards the Home Guard) after the fall of France in summer 1940 – some use for an older generation who’d been trained in WWI, but a dangerously late moment for younger untrained soldiers to start crowding into UK recruiting offices.

    Heinlein described a future polity with no conscription – and where only the volunteers had votes. There is a certain political rationality to that pairing.

  • bobby b

    Perry de Havilland (London)
    August 1, 2022 at 10:32 am

    ” . . . even WW2 would have been possible without UK or USA conscripting people.”

    In the USA, there were periods of time during that war when voluntary enlistment would have been sufficient, but over the entire slog of the affair, when sentiment varied, it would not have worked. The running of our involvement would have been quite different had it been necessary to continually appeal to enlistees. Politics would have had to take a front seat over tactics and strategy.

    Depending upon enlistees for a great war would be much like running a new national election weekly.

  • Fraser Orr

    Conscription is one of the worst forms of slavery. No one who advocates for the basic decent treatment of people can accept it. It is one of the most evil things the state has created.

    Is it the better of two evils? Those of you who know me will know that I am not one to quote scripture. But in this situation I think Jesus has the mot juste in Matthew 16:26.

    For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

  • bobby b

    “Conscription is one of the worst forms of slavery. No one who advocates for the basic decent treatment of people can accept it. It is one of the most evil things the state has created.”

    As the holder of a very nasty lottery number from the very last drawing in ’75 who was then saved – by days – by the end of the callout, I’d agree with you, but at the same time, I’d say that “one of the most evil things” has to also include being in Ukraine’s position right now. Sometimes the choices are between THIS evil or THAT evil, not between evil and good.

  • Conscription is one of the worst forms of slavery. No one who advocates for the basic decent treatment of people can accept it. (Fraser Orr, August 2, 2022 at 12:50 am.)

    When you have to insist that Churchill did not advocate for the basic decent treatment of people in order to present your argument, you should wonder if you are acting out the old saw, “Where the argument is weakest, shout loudest.” One can state one’s case, or one can overstate one’s case.

    BTW I’d be interested in Fraser’s (and/or anyone else’s) take on Heinlein’s approach: yes, you can forbid conscription, with the corollary that if you do not volunteer then you do not vote, and if you do volunteer but later desert, you can be hung for it.

    I have already discussed above the benefits to Hitler of taking an extreme anti-conscription attitude before WWII. IIRC, the Labour and Liberal parties did vote against it. They certainly, at much the same time, voted against the arms estimates for 1939, not on the grounds they were too low but on the grounds they were too high.

  • Fraser Orr

    Niall Kilmartin
    When you have to insist that Churchill did not advocate for the basic decent treatment of people in order to present your argument

    I’m not sure saying “such and such a saintly person held this view so you should too” is a very good argument, in fact I believe it is an appeal to authority. And I’m not sure I think Churchill was a particularly saintly person. A national hero for sure, but hardly saintly.

    “Where the argument is weakest, shout loudest.” One can state one’s case, or one can overstate one’s case.

    I don’t think I am shouting at all. “Conscription” is the stealing the labor of millions of young men, treating them like cannon fodder, thinking of their lives as disposable, brainwashing them with hatred and robbing them of their souls by making them kill young mostly innocent men, and finally, should they follow their natural instinct and flee this abomination, we put them up against a wall and shoot them. We dress this horrifying treatment of people with a fancy word like “conscription”, but it is still horrifying. The one poem I remember from High School is Wilfred Owen’s Dulce et Decorum, which makes this bold contrast between the reality of war and that old saw Dulce et Decorum est pro patria mori. How much worse when we don’t even bother seducing them with vacuous Latin promises and just say “go or we will shoot you.”

    BTW I’d be interested in Fraser’s (and/or anyone else’s) take on Heinlein’s approach: yes, you can forbid conscription, with the corollary that if you do not volunteer then you do not vote, and if you do volunteer but later desert, you can be hung for it.

    I think it is a terrible idea. We hire people voluntarily to do our dirty work for us, including the dirty work of defense.[*] That is the correct approach in a free society. When augmented by the fact that freedom produces massive economic success and advancement, then we defend ourselves with the free, voluntary service backed up with the massive technological advances and logistical superiority that make us better. That is how we win at defense. What seems to be forgotten is that freedom is not just an intrinsic good but it is a good that produces strength too.

    If our military is insufficient then we do what free markets always do — increase the price we are willing to pay. Conscription is like a horrible, murderous form of eminent domain — the process where the government can buy things at less than their fair market value by claiming it is for the common good. In the US there is a massive shortfall in recruitment right now — it could be fixed easily by giving people ten thousand dollar sign up bonuses, or other non pecuniary benefits, like restoring the idea of honor and decency in the military.

    [*] To be clear — defense is dirty work, but please don’t imagine that I don’t think it is honorable. It certainly is, when conducted with honor, and our military members deserve a lot more respect than they generally get. Same is true for our police.

  • it could be fixed easily by giving people ten thousand dollar sign up bonuses, or other non pecuniary benefits, like restoring the idea of honor and decency in the military. (Fraser Orr, August 2, 2022 at 3:47 pm)

    Heinlein’s ‘non-pecuniary’ benefit was the vote, which can be seen as a positive right (only those who defend the polity get to rule it) or a negative right (those who defend it are not subject to laws voted by those who won’t). (His future history has his society arising largely as this negative right, after a war which leaves those who fought it feeling betrayed and despised by their civilian-elected and/or corrupt governments.) History has quite a few examples of a society’s defenders becoming its rulers with far less justification than Heinlein gives his – for example, the way in which Hengist and Horsa replaced their post-Roman Britannic paymasters. So yes, it can often be fixed easily and at other times not so easily.

    FWIW, Churchill can be backed up with pretty well everyone else in the UK at the time. That doesn’t make them right, but it doesn’t mean they did not believe in the basic decent treatment of people. On the contrary, one reason they supported it was because they did support certain very basic decencies in how people should be treated. As Milton Friedman remarks in ‘Free to Choose’, the Labour party tried to keep the very extensive labour conscription of the war – far beyond just the fighting services – going after the war , but the same public who had endured it during the war refused it afterwards so effectively that Labour had to abandon the idea.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Niall Kilmartin
    Heinlein’s ‘non-pecuniary’ benefit was the vote, which can be seen as a positive right

    TBH you have me in a bit of a corner here, as to defending democracy😀 Democracy is a dangerous thing — the ability of the majority to oppress the minority can only function well when there are societal constraints on the extent of power, either a written consitution, an unwritten one and also a general sense of “morality” among the population. Here I don’t mean morality in the general, religious sense, but certain basic principles about how to treat one another. Some of these principles are beginning to break down in Western societies, such as ideas like the supremacy of the rule of law, the centrality of private property, and grand ideas like freedom of speech. Which is, in many respects, the root of the degeneration of our society.

    It is surely this that Franklin had in mind when he replied to a questioner as to the nature of our new government was: ““A republic, if you can keep it.”

    However, as a general rule the right to vote (within those limits) is one of the core values of citizenship, certainly in modern times. So again, I’m not a fan of what Heinlen proposes. (Of course there were many societies in which service in the army was how one became a citizen. But I see soldier as a job not as a holy relic. Societies over focused on their military are usually not very nice societies. I definitely wouldn’t want to live in Sparta.

    I may be excessively sensitive about this subject since I have two sons of conscriptable age. And the idea that Joe Biden might decide to take over their lives and send them to die in some sodden field to advance his political objectives is quite horrific to me.

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