On the topic of guillotines and false equivalencies

True, but the guillotine image (unlike the video) can be interpreted in multiple ways, as you describe. It’s not an either/or situation. The first commenter wanted to use it in your second sense, and it fell flat with this community. Others pointed out the other use, and it was deemed acceptable for the most part.

That we have to see in advance what’s coming from far-right groups that establishment conservatives (who are more concerned lining their own pockets) think they can either control or dismiss as harmless fringe groups. The Nazis and other right-wing populist and fascist movements historically arise out of highly unequal societies created by conservative economic policies (the kinds of societies that also give rise to the guillotine).


I mean yes, but the original post is positioning the guillotine gifs specifically as an “embrace”, and specifically not as a “counter”.

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Correct. No-one really has an issue with Bernel rejecting that. The problem is that he’s rejecting the other use, as well.


It’s a reminder; full stop. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

The lesson?

Humanity has the capacity to be unfathomably evil, and we must continually fight the darkness that lives in each of us, lest it consumes & destroys all of us.


I dunno, I think if your argument is that the guillotine gifs are a reminder and warning of the horrors of history, then you are more in agreement than not with the need to restore a “more polite political climate” (polite is a pretty eyerolly phrasing yes), you simply see guillotine gifs (of most likely a quite different type than what b00fh and Bernel are envisioning) as a shocking and provocative way to help achieve it.

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One can be both impolite and uncivil without being violent or threatening direct violence. Ideally, that’s the response that right-wing populists deserve every single time. This is another moment in history where they’re part of the political climate, so reminders of past missteps in regard to addressing them are worthwhile.

Offending the delicate sensibilities of fascists and their enablers is not a worry for me, any more than hurting the feelings of the entitled white cisgender males they recruit is.


Right, like I said, polite and civil etc are a bad and emotionally loaded phrasing, but I think there’s an underlying notion (that I mostly agree with) that democracy requires hmm, I guess a certain following the ‘spirit of the rules’, and not doing everything possible to crush your opponents, hopefully forever. This extends beyond violence, but also not, say, employing gerrymandering on your side, etc.

I don’t really know of a better way to put it.


Fuckin’ A; they sure as hell couldn’t care less about offending me

Sadly, we’re long past that point.

The people who would persecute me and mine give even less of a fuck about following rules and ‘doing the right thing.’ They don’t even care about maintaining that facade anymore…


I’m happy to do everything possible to crush my opponents when they’re no-kidding fascists, precisely because I’m an adherent of liberal democracy. It’s Popper’s Paradox in action.


Yup. I studied the lead up to Nazi Germany in way too much detail to be polite about the shit that’s going down now in the US.


Anyone who expects me to be polite and civil when the wolves are at my door can just go ahead and hold their breath while they wait.

I never throw the first punch, and I never light the match that starts the fire… but I will fight like hell when threatened and I will fight to survive, whatever it takes.


But there’s a significance here, no? Because the ultimate goal is actually still to restore the spirit of the rules, not the crushing of the opponents.

To get to that point, you have to crush opponents who want to destroy the rules entirely.

ETA: The fundamental error that those who call for civility and politeness and comity no matter what in these situations make is that right-wing populist movements are just another political party willing to work within a liberal democracy in good faith. They are not.


Yes, I am well aware of the concept. The distinction I’m trying to draw out here is between the idea of tactical realism applied to specific people adopting specific approaches and “well, this is an obsolete concept now for this era”.


Wanting to reestablish civilized public discourse is fine… but we have to actually survive the very real threats that currently imperil us all in order to do that.


I don’t propose to naively debate nazis or whatever, you are fine to shoot the wolves at the door (metaphorically, don’t do that with real wolves jeez). But I don’t necessarily agree that the two concepts are as mutually exclusive as being made out in a number of situations.

As long as fascists are attempting entry into liberal democracies beset by high inequality (caused by establishment conservatives who, in the current case in the U.S., also operate in bad faith), the concept is sadly not obsolete. Invoking the spectres of history is therefore still useful, disturbing and provocative and uncivil as it may be. One can do that without directly threatening violence.


There’s good faith civility, and bad faith civility.

There’s good faith blunt talk, and bad faith blunt talk.

The problem is almost never manners. It’s whether you’re dealing with people who are trying to solve a problem, or protect a problem.


Eh, tangentially, I don’t like to invoke history except to counter invocations of history. History is unfortunately extremely subjective in its interpretation, and in the ways in which a historical situation applies or does not apply. It often serves to cloud a discussion.

Um, “Fang?”

I’m far less concerned about real four legged wolves causing me harm than I am the local fucking PD. Give me a choice and I’ll take the wolves, every time; my chances of survival are way higher.

Your agreement isn’t a requirement to my will to survive; you’re obviously allowed to think whatever you want.

None of this is an ‘esoteric thought experiment’ for me; it’s all real life with a real, potentially detrimental impact on my life and the lives of those I care about… and we already know that mere politeness won’t save us.