Well, it can usually withstand a debate.
Turns out that what it can’t withstand is a car driven at high speed.
/goes back to living in a country without Nazi rallies
Well, it can usually withstand a debate.
Turns out that what it can’t withstand is a car driven at high speed.
/goes back to living in a country without Nazi rallies
If the idea is that whites are some oppressed minority, it adds fuel to that notion. It’s not something I think is true, but something that the white indentity movement has employed in their arguments and recruitment tactics. I’d also say that it allows them to think of themselves as the new punk movement, true rebels against oppression. Again, it’s not something that I think to be true, in that it truly confers legitimacy, but it fuels their arguments about being oppressed outsiders, fighting for freedom.
It’s not you or me that they want legitmacy from, since we are defacto “the enemy” - the left or whatever. they want internal markers of authenticity, I think.
And that’s largely happened to some degree, yeah? White supremacists are part of our mainstream, normal discourse. Thank Nixon and the Southern Strategy, Reagan, and Fox news for embedding dog whistling into our mainstream political discourse, which helped to give rise to an active right wing, that blossomed online in recent years.
Which was what I was suggesting, actually. Giving them voice ALSO gives them legitimacy, so we’re stuck either way, I’d argue. I’ll note, yet again, that both methods – curbing hate speech and giving it free reign – have given us similar results.
I thought that ideas like the white man is under siege and needs active defense was a position so weak that it could not stand. Looks like enough people buy into that crock of shit that is can shape our presidential politics.
I don’t know the answer here. I do know that we have to deal with what’s in front of us and that is an active and militant white identity movement that has enough mindshare on the right that they can swing elections.
No. Speech only has the legitimacy we give it.
Well, then it’s up to us to change that, isn’t it? There are more of us than there are of them. Remember who won the popular vote.
I do. We need young people like you to get involved, speak out, and run for office.
Thanks for that explanation.
I don’t believe this is really giving legitimacy. Neither in the sense of lawfulness nor rightfulness this works for larger recruitment.tactics in most European countries.
I think their “suppressed minority” thing doesn’t really work in a society which is 90% white, and highly dominated by the male gender. It’s s bit more difficult to recruit people who had a proper education and learned how to think critically (especially regarding history, but this is becoming a rare commodity).
It might be working better with two groups: people under economic pressure (i.e., who can not find a proper position which feeds them a bit more than just adequately and allows them to participate in the social life of their respective communities), and people who make critical thinking a fetishised way of life, attacking everything a majority might accept as true.
I think the latter is a strong part of the current right wing bullshit. Hence the labelling of everything which does not suit their world view as “fake news”, or the German rally cry “Lügenpresse”. The massive amount of conflicting information online plays an important part in this, I think. It’s quite easy to find “sources” online which corroborate even the wildest conspiracy bullshit.
This used to be a specialty of the left, when I grew up: question everything, especially when coming from the mainstream media.
That is still framing fascism as a response of the working class to economic exploitation.
The fascist base is not working class; it’s middle class. Yes, they’re under economic pressure, but that pressure is a tiny fraction of what the working class has always had to deal with. The pressure they feel is the fear that they might themselves slide into the working class.
Fascism isn’t about the poor responding to oppression. It’s about the priviliged fighting to retain power.
Yes, I know. I asked you a different question in the hope of finding out what your answer to my question is.
I may be unclear on what the First Amendment does or does not protect. I may also refuse to accept your view of what it protects.
Or I might not care particularly about the US First Amendment given that these are issues that affect pretty much everyone in the world - not just US citizens.
If you want to have a narrow debate specifically on what the US constitution does or does not require - fair enough.
It’s not a discussion I’m particularly interested in or would be able to take much part in.
If you want to use how the US constitution approaches the issue as a starting point for discussion about general principles and how they might apply universally or as an illustration of a particular argument of general application, I’d find that more useful.
If you want to discuss specifically US legal issues, I’ll leave you to it.
Either the law and the First Amendment in particular is rigidly defined and fixed or it is open to development and interpretation.
You clearly accept that it is the latter yet your response to a suggestion that the protections could be extended beyond what you currently consider to be protected is to cite what the law as currently understood provides.
As I said, that is an approach I do not find persuasive. The law is what society makes it. If you don’t think the law should be a certain way, you need a better argument than - “it isn’t”. We all know it isn’t.
The argument being made is that the law should be different. If you don’t think so, saying it shouldn’t be different because it is the way it is adds nothing. Why should the law not be as proposed?
There are plenty of good reasons and several have been pointed out already. I didn’t think your comment added any good reason and tried to point that out in the hope and expectation that you would have something more productive to add.
By the way, how do you link to specific parts of a page?
I agree. But have some minor reservations.
The privilege is, of course, real - but the dichotomy of the struggle of the working class vs. the middle class falls short, at least in the society I live in. The traditional working class labourer might build up considerable (middle-class) wealth, while the traditional middle-class office workers might struggle to feed their family.
Both sure would be privileged in comparison to most of the world, and in fact most of Europe. But they both don’t perceive it this way, but do perceive their social and economic insecurities.
I think we have to acknowledge that their fears are exploited. It’s not framing (as I understand the word, i.e. as a mental shortcut to explain complicated issues) fascism as a understandable reaction to economic exploitation. Fascism builds on fears, real or not. And fear we do. All of us. I, for one, fear fascism - but even that fear can drive people into totalitarian actions. =[
Discussions of class are complicated by the fact that the language we use for it was invented during the industrial revolution, wasn’t perfect to begin with, and hasn’t been properly updated since then. Plus there’s been a century’s worth of effort from the right to muddy the waters of the discourse.
I tend to draw my class boundaries purely on wealth and income rather than profession; I think it gives a better model of reality. To me, a plumber with two new cars and a big house is middle class; an office clerk with shitty healthcare and a slum apartment is working class. The working class are living on the edge, the middle class have some resources in reserve.
In my own thoughts, I put pretty much anyone near or below median income as working class and most of the rest as middle class, with the transition to ruling class being a gradually developing factor of exponentially increasing wealth as you hit the 0.001%ers. The boundaries and definitions are grey and fuzzy, just like everything else; we live in a postmodern world, whether we like it or not.
When I’m talking about framing in this case, I don’t mean to imply anything deliberate. It’s just that our underlying assumptions shape our perspectives, and that perspective in turn shapes our understanding of reality.
I think that the frequently stated view that fascism arises from the working class is a dangerously false narrative (because it promotes ineffective solutions), so I tend to have a bit of a reflexive objection to anything that suggests it.
Fascism is built upon deliberately-manufactured fears, yes. And the people behind that manufacturing are primarily scumbag 0.0001%ers. But the people being successfully encouraged into fascism are mostly middle class, by my definitions.
And white supremacy still has strong legitimacy, despite many of us thinking it’s a stupid ideology.
An awful lot of people didn’t vote, though.
I’m not that young.
Yet, it seems to be getting them traction, doesn’t it?
Yet, not everyone who votes for white supremacy is a working class bumpkin.
Sure. A good thing to keep in mind. But that sort of thinking has been turned around to reject all aspects of a liberal society, right down to democracy and equal rights.
Therein is the problem we circle right back around to, IMO. The whole ball of wax, from day 1 (meaning the beginning of the enlightenment project) was wrapped up in colonialism and white supremacy. They are as much a part of that legacy as the expansion of voting rights and the ability to move out of one’s social class. Hence our current predicament.
Honestly, I think culture plays a big role in defining class, at least in the US. There are concepts and ideas that get embedded in one’s head depending on what class one grew up in. I most certainly grew up working class and had to retool my brain for graduate school, something my friends in the program did not have to do in order to succeed in grad school. The problem is that such things are hard to define and pin down. I do know when someone else has the same trajectory as me (coming from a working class background into the middle class).
Again, constitutionally, all you are granted is the right to speak(/print/donate). You are not granted the right to an audience, a publisher, or a platform. The government cannot stop you from speaking (which, again, is why extremists love to use publicly-owned spaces for their hate-filled drivel - it’s the one place they can go where they legally cannot be prevented from speaking). If nobody wants to listen to you, or be associated with the things you are saying, that’s the vaunted “marketplace of ideas” essentially telling you that they don’t want to stock your thoughts on their shelves anymore. You have no legally-protected right to force someone to pay attention to you. Yes, that limits the reach and power of your speech, but it really ought to give you a moment’s pause if you’re noticing that your opinions are so far outside the mainstream that you’re being shut out of the conversation entirely.
As I’ve said before, societies must have means of establishing acceptable norms, and those means must extend beyond the force of government simply because of the outsized amount of power we give it to deprive us of our other rights for infractions. While I absolutely agree with you that concentrating the power of the marketplace in a small handful of companies is highly problematic, I don’t think the solution is to make those companies act like a government entity by forcing them to publish material or associate with people that they may find objectionable, nor do I think it’s whose to empower them to rule on what’s acceptable by corporate fiat. The solution is to either prevent companies from gaining that level of control in the first place (ideally), or break them up if they do obtain that degree of control. I think a lot of people - and a lot of Americans in particular - have forgotten that businesses exist at the pleasure of the government anyway, and the government should take seriously its responsibility to safeguard the private market by preventing the sort of monopolization we’re seeing these days.
That said, when it comes to the internet, I think the question of access is much more pressing than the question of publication. There are only a handful of ISPs in the US, and the majority of people in this country get their internet access from one of maybe 5 or 6 companies - Time Warner, Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. The ability of these companies to lock someone out of access to the internet is a very real problem. To the extent that the internet is the modern equivalent of the Roman forum, I agree that access to it should be guaranteed. However, I still don’t think any company on the internet is obligated to host your content, and that’s not a huge problem, because the hosting marketplace is actually quite healthy by comparison. You might have to go outside the mainstream if most companies find your content objectionable, but that’s not really any different than in the world of traditional publishing or public speaking.
If I were to be put in charge of “fixing” this situation, I would say that internet access is a right just like the ability to walk out your front door, and that the government should guarantee that right by providing some level of baseline service to everyone in the country - a publicly-held ISP that cannot terminate your service. Other private companies can compete for your business on speed, price, and features, but they aren’t obligated to service you if they don’t want to (I’d also provide incentives to encourage overbuild or promote leasing the government’s wires so that we don’t end up with huge swaths of balkanized rural areas that only have access to the public ISP). As for publication, there wouldn’t be anything like a publicly-held BBS or Facebook equivalent, but on the public ISP, you would be able to host your own website from your own home, thereby bypassing the issue of total corporate control over the means of publication. All ISPs would be required to carry all traffic passed through them (hello, Net Neutrality), thereby preventing corporate ownership of the “roads” leading to the “public forum”.
I certainly agree with you that the issue of regulating speech is a very thorny one, and there’s no perfect way to do it such that only the “right” things are regulated. However, just like democracy is the worst form of government (except for all the others), social moderation of speech is the worst form of “market” regulation (except for all the others). I don’t think it’s enough to simply say “everyone can say whatever they want, and any repercussions are unacceptable suppression.” Social control over what counts as “acceptable” speech can certainly lead to things like Nazi Germany if the pendulum swings far enough in that direction, but I think that exercising our right to freedom of association by ostracizing those who advocate for such a course of events, and trusting in the basic decency of most of the people in this country to do the same, is our best shot at avoiding it.
As I pointed out to another commenter, the US is not the only country in the world and current law is not an answer to questions about what the law should or could be.
I agree with most of the rest of your post. There are a few bits I don’t think I understand.
What do you mean by that? I get the power of government to deprive us rights bit but what other means are you thinking of? Do you mean ignoring people, debating them, etc.? If so, I agree.
I do find the concept of ‘acceptable norms’ difficult in the context of a discussion of freedom of speech.
If you are only free to speak if your speech is kept within the bounds of what society considers ‘acceptable’, then you do not have freedom of speech.
In reality that is of course the factual situation as Mindysan has pointed out. Certain kinds of speech are far more effectively and aggressively suppressed than others.
I agree. I don’t think this is particularly a concern at present. I do think that it is something that bears watching. As you say, it is better to prevent the situation arising than having to fix it once it has happened.
I like your proposal for a minimum standard, guaranteed service. It seems to me a good start but I think there would still be considerable problems.
For a start, if there is better, faster access which can be denied, then you inevitably end up with at least two tiers of internet access. The basic level may be good enough but if the poor and unpopular can be marginalised and ostracised, they will be.
Hosting your own website is of course a good idea but not much use if no one can access it or find it. If Google or other search engines decide to and can make your site hard to find, having it sat there with no visitors is not in my view allowing you effective freedom of speech.
I’m sure those issues (and I’m sure there are plenty more that I can’t think of) could all be solved though.
You really don’t need to go that far. I suspect if you looked around the US, you would find plenty of areas where the consensus as to what can and can’t be said or discussed is quite strong and any speech which falls foul of that consensus is pretty effectively suppressed (by the community).
For example, I knew a chap once who was about as worldly as you can imagine in most ways - drink, drugs, promiscuity, swearing - but due to his upbringing was deeply upset by casual blasphemy.
I struggle to do that a lot of the time.
Allow me to elaborate. The missing link between a person mumbling to oneself and obtaining a platform is this: Is your mumbling compelling enough that people want to listen?
Can we really say that these people have not had their say? They convinced a few like minded people, but they antagonized just as many people if not more.
I would argue that what is happening to white nationalists is fair and from a certain point of view, possibly even beneficial. Their message is not spreading, and people don’t want any part spreading it. What looks like censorship to you, looks like feedback to me.
Reading over this thread, the general consensus seems to be that limiting free speech is bad, it’s the Nazi thing that’s a sticking point. It seems to me then that the real argument here is this:
Is chanting “Blood and soil!” the same as screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theater?
Would a reasonable person fear the rise of Nazism as much as they would the rise of white nationalism?
PA system and stage are property, not speech (#Showerthoughts: since money is speech, does civil forfeiture count as censorship?), people are not property and I think we can dismiss the idea of a captive audience as a legal obligation outright, cant we?
As long as you have free speech, you can convince somebody to give you a PA system and a stage, that will allow you the opportunity to build an audience. In the 90’s when I was still playing in bands, many friends made the same categorical mistake, they wanted to be rock stars but started off by developing a drug habit before mastering their instrument or even learning how to write a song.
Your post being flagged out of view is a delicious irony. You planned that, didn’t you? I hope you did.
Dropping in to link to this for anyone interested…
Personally, I grew up in a jurisdiction where shouting “Blut und Erde” might just about have been legal, waving a swastika about wouldn’t have been. Shouting Blut und Erde would certainly have got you ostracised by most of society.
As @Israel_B says - does banning people from waving swastikas or saying Nazi stuff actually make any difference?
The consensus seems to be that in practice it doesn’t - there are plenty of neo-Nazi groups in the US and plenty in countries that ban NS-related regalia, etc. At best banning that kind of speech sends out a message - which may or may not be important of itself. As you say - feedback.
In this case, I believe the PA system and soundstage were metaphors.
If we take them as actual physical objects, the question wasn’t whether a right to free speech requires you to be given them but rather whether a legal system which allows them to be taken from you (deprivation of property rights) because of your views effectively protects freedom of speech.
Under most legal systems, the state is not just required to refrain from interfering in your freedom of speech, it is also supposed to prevent others from doing so and to provide effective remedies if that happens.
Well, imprisonment and/or seizure of assets have long been used to that end, so yes, it could be.
Well, it’s the convincing someone to give you a PA system and a stage (whether real or metaphorical) that’s at issue here.
What if you can’t?
Does your right to free speech extend to areas that the overwhelming majority of your society thinks is beyond the pale or only to areas that 70% think is unacceptable? 50%, 30% - how divergent from the mainstream do your views have to get before it’s ok that no one will give you a platform or let you build one of your own?
Note - I think we’re all agreed that we’re not actually at the stage of not being able to build your own platform -yet.
Will we ever be - who knows. I think we’re close enough that the discussion needs to be had before the corporate control approach becomes entirely entrenched - if that’s not already too late.
I thought that was the route to being a rock star - but seriously - your guys were at least able to buy a guitar or steal one, or hit something with sticks and if nowhere else would let them play, they could stand on the street and play until too many people started throwing stuff at them.
Thought experiment: why is social popularity the deciding factor, rather than empirical judgements of truth and danger?
Is this best dealt with as a democratic question, or a judicial one?
Well, from the side of the debate I seem to have ended up on, social popularity wouldn’t be the deciding factor, nor would truth. Danger might be but that ends up of course coming back to social popularity. Unpopular views are always considered dangerous.
As far as empirical judgements are concerned, where would we get those from? How do you assess truth? “Truth is beauty”, yes but what is beauty?
In a properly constituted society the two should be the same shouldn’t they?