Freeze Peach 🍑 (USA)



Since for some reason I have launched myself down the ski-jump of arguing the “denying Nazis a platform on the internet is bad” side of the debate (why???!?), here goes:

Just because book publishers are not presently legally obliged to print any old crap does not mean that they shouldn’t be or couldn’t be.

Equally of course an argument that internet hosting services should be required to host anything, does not mean that others necessarily should. Different circumstances might apply.

As it happens I think the example of physical book publishers is a fairly good one.

So long as there are plenty of book publishers and sellers and one can easily find one prepared to publish one’s (of course delightful) Brony fanfic, then great. No problem, no need to worry about ‘free speech’ suppression.

If however there are say only two or three publishers and none of them will print your stuff and they can put enough pressure on the distribution channels so that even if you run off copies on the artisanal Victorian printing press in your basement, no one will stock them,is there are problem there?

Possibly. I would say probably not, since you can still run off your own copies and hand them out on the street.

If however the corporations also control access to the street? What sort of control can they exert then? Should they be able to?

To crash-jump from one analogy to the other (always a sign of losing track of one’s argument), lets go back to the classic depiction of public debate - the forum or agora, i.e. literally the marketplace where everyone could go and listen to whatever philosophers and orators happen to be spouting off, read the various political graffiti and public notices, etc.

(Let’s just take the Wikipedia stuff as fair representations of the general basic idea of the ‘forum’ or ‘agora’ without going down the rabbit holes of actual scholarship)

To modernise that scenario, we have the internet as the modern forum.

Except now, rather than a public forum (which I note the US has a constitutional legal concept of, the forum is a mall - privately owned and controlled with security guards who will eject anyone the owners disapprove of.

Whether we approve of that or not, I suppose depends on how ‘public’ we think ‘the internet’ is or should be.


If your First Amendment does not protect you from having someone come and take the PA system, stage and audience away - how does it protect your right to speak freely?

Also, if I may risk treading on toes, stating your view of what the First Amendment does or does not mean is not very useful in a discussion of what it could or should mean.

It’s a very ‘black letter’ approach, ‘the law is what it is’. Unfortunately, the world moves on and people keep doing stuff in ways that mean that even ‘settled law’ needs to be constantly revisited and reassessed.

Personally, I tend more to the critical legal studies end of things. I blame my lecturers. Bunch of Marxists :slight_smile:



Have you considered that perhaps the fundamental issue may be that basing your laws upon a list of brief commandments is not actually a sensible idea?

I’m reminded of the saying “for every complicated problem, there is an answer that is simple, elegant, and wrong”.

A complicated world requires complicated laws. Subtlety and nuance does not easily fit within a single-sentence slogan.


I have, yes.



Whoops, sorry, addressed to the wrong post. It was meant for the one above.


Makes sense now :slight_smile:


And now I’m confused as to which version of my rapidly-edited reply made sense. :slight_smile:

To restore what was edited out: I have some trouble keeping track of who is and isn’t American, and I was wording things tentatively because I am accustomed to Americans reacting strongly whenever it is suggested that the US Constitution may be imperfect.

It was primarily motivated by the argument in your longer post, but was directly in response to the quoted bit from your shorter post.

Aargh. I think that’s straightened out now…


I did not say the First Amendment protected you from having someone take away the PA system, stage, and audience. I said the First Amendment does not mean you will be provided with a PA system, a stage, and an audience.

In order for us to have the discussion you want, we clearly need an understanding of the law in question because you are apparently either confused about–or refuse to accept–what the First Amendment does and does not say and protect.

Yes, and that point was addressed upthread, when I said:

  1. The First Amendment protects speech, including speech I/you/we consider offensive, but…
  2. Juries and the Supreme Court routinely clarify the boundary if it is in dispute, because…
  3. The answer to speech we don’t like is more speech, not less, which is why…
  4. The First Amendment protects speech, including speech I/you/we consider offensive (see #1)


I really wonder how curtailing hate speech gives it any legitimacy. Since I usually follow your arguments and know you from your posts as someone who can explain well, would you try, again?

I grew up looking at historical pics of Nazis, which are ok. At the same time, it was made clear that it is unacceptable and illegal to show off Hakenkreuze yourself - of you did, you were in trouble. And you would be made to understand that by making that symbol your own you would draw directly from one of the greatest evils ever committed. Ask but very few understood that there are limits. Who didn’t did face the consequences. We had one kid in our year who had to change schools because he didn’t respect the limits and provoked everyone, on purpose and despite warnings, by showing off Nazi symbols and using hate speech.

He didn’t get any kind of legitimacy from his actions. There were discussions, and some defended him as being merely stupid, troubled, and over the top controversial on purpose. But none of this added up to any legitimacy.


We are responsible for giving legitimacy to speech–people are free to speak; the way in which we respond is what determines the legitimacy of their speech. Silencing and curtailing speech with which you disagree gives it legitimacy it does not deserve because in so doing, you raise the question about your own speech: is your position so weak that it cannot withstand a debate?


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.

70% of poor people on broadband subsidy will lose their connections thanks to Trump's FCC

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. :slight_smile:

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.