The far right has its own web, but what use is a site no-one will serve?


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/08/22/the-far-right-has-its-own-web.html


#2

Whatever is not sold to them may also be not sold to me.


#3

I don’t know if it’s reasonable to apply the “slippery slope” argument every time an extremist website is taken down (or at least pulled from access for ~95% of the population).

There’s a reasonable argument that, while the major backbone/administrative parts of the internet should be mostly content-agnostic, there’s also a line that needs to be drawn. We already agree that stuff like CP, terrorist websites, etc. are all acceptable to block to the best of our ability. Extremist hate websites really do brush right up against the definition of domestic terrorism IMO, and often do their level best to dance right on top of that line, basically relying on abusing the goodwill of the backbone services (referring to hosting, DNS, etc. here) to keep them operating.

I don’t think that saying “Let’s move the line just a little more on the extremist content” is a slippery slope, simply because it’s so extremely liberal already that no meaningful damage to free speech is going to occur, and no chilling effect on any speech but the most extreme and hateful will occur, which really is a hugely net positive outcome for society with no meaningful negatives at all.

We must of course be watchful that the pendulum does not keep swinging, but such an adjustment is really long overdue, as we sat back and let the internet grow with very little interference (outside of the blatantly illegal), and now it’s reasonable to say, “Okay, this isn’t a knee-jerk reaction that could blow up in our faces, this is a small and carefully-made adjustment that’s probably overdue”.


#4


#5

F!ck those Nazis and their so-called ‘president’ c!ckholster in chief Hair Twittler. F!ck em.

And to be clear in Germany the Nazi flag is forbidden, displaying it will get you arrested. So which flag do they display? The confederate flag. Birds of a feather, goose-step together. F!ck you racist Nazi f!ckers.


#6

Any idea about the context of that sign? Where it’s from or who owned the laundry? Just curious, as Tera Hunter wrote a great book that included a washer woman’s strike in Atlanta in the 1880s. To break the strike, the city tried to bring in Chinese laundries to compete with the washer women. It was not successfully, as black women continued to do the majority of laundry in the city into the 1940s and 50s when washers and dryers started to become more common in households.


#7

In the 1950s we had:

"First they came for the Socialists and I did not speak out - "

Apparently in 2017:

"First they came for the Nazis and I did not speak out - "

Like we have totally forgotten who the they in the poem were. There’s no slippery slope from nazis to other people. A vast number of people have been put behind bars for crimes they didn’t commit, we don’t throw up our hands and make murder legal. There’s no time to fight our own imaginations when there are real live nazis to fight.


#8

That picture is from here:

https://vulu.net/discrimination-by-private-businesses

Here are a few sources (pictures of the same company’s ads) where you could find more context:

https://books.google.fi/books?id=-ALpVlLEB4wC&pg=PA8&dq="imperial+laundry"+whites&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjTkv_FnOvVAhXIJJoKHezQDLMQ6AEIJjAA#v=onepage&q="imperial%20laundry"&f=false

https://books.google.fi/books?id=RwNKqW2PIhMC&lpg=PA5&dq="imperial%20laundry"%20whites&pg=PA6#v=onepage&q&f=false


#9

Cool. Thanks for sharing that and for the context.


#10

I get it and it’s not quite the same thing…

But as it later turned out, the socialists/communists had a similar amount of blood on their hands. And neither extreme of the spectrum has a monopoly on horribleness. Nazis are the more vivid example so their exclusion seems more clear-cut. But the current tendency on the left is to lump almost anyone voting Republican in the same camp. So the worry isn’t that this purge will extend past Nazis, it’s that the definition of who is considered a Nazi might rapidly expand.

And then you’re slipping. After all, those Trump voters are really mostly Nazis, and who could object to persecuting them?


#11

It was sort of tacked on as a foot note, but I found the EFF’s reasoning interesting. I suppose it aligns with the ACLU.

As much as I want to make an exception, it is hard for me to agree on whether we should make exceptions. THIS seems so clear, but not everything is so clear.


#12

That’s the hypothetical argument that is consistently used to justify protecting the rights of nazis to speech, yes. That is precisely the argument I am shooting down when I say we shouldn’t fight our imaginations when we need to fight nazis. Hypothesizing about what the “left” might do in the future doesn’t justify inaction against nazis today. Nazis shouldn’t be regarded better than ISIS or Al Qaeda, and shouldn’t be afforded more protections.

When the system provides no justice (i.e., by providing cover for nazis) that encourages citizens to start seeking justice in other ways. That encourages people to start fighting nazis in the streets, people who are not going to be discriminant about who is a nazi. If you leave philosophy class and enter the real world, I think there are a lot of good reasons to think that a slippery slope into rounding up Trump voters, while absurdly unlikely, is more likely to result from standing up for the speech of nazis than by doing something about it.

Because out there in reality, 99.9% of people don’t give a shit about principles and would never consistently apply them.


#13

#14

I was noting that the far right has their own version of Patreon called “Hatreon”, which is (almost) funny. These guys are trying to engage with the mainstream, influence the debate, but so much of their talk is boastfully hateful. The fact that they think ‘hate is OK’ shows just how low political debate has sunk in America. Talk radio guys like Michael Savage revel in hatred, and David Duke tried to obscure his KKK past back in the 80’s, now he’s proud of it.


#15

But there are tons of exceptions to free speech. Forget nazis and terrorist groups, I can’t even freely type up some other persons’ book here because right to profit from commercial writing is more important than my right to express myself. If you are about to say, “Well, that’s different” or “Well, that’s an exception” then that’s exactly my point - it is different and it is an exception. In the US free speech is protected absolutely, but some things don’t count as protected speech, even if they are literally speech.

If you aren’t allow to promote genocide, and having a march in the street with a nazi flag is considered promoting genocide, then in US legal terms that would never be because an exception is made for nazis, it would be because promoting genocide wouldn’t be considered protected speech, just like threats aren’t protected speech. Just like prostitutes soliciting clients aren’t engaging in protected speech. Exceptions are everywhere, but for some reason when it comes to nazis people seem to compartmentalize their knowledge of those exceptions in order to provide cover for the nazis. It’s really fucked up.


#16

That’s always a good one!

It’s a pretty amazing story, actually. The fact that Hunter was able to excavate it out of the utter dearth of sources is pretty amazing.


#17

Well it more is about the TYPE of exception. In this case one could make case for limiting direct threats of violence (Which they do have some laws already) but the over arching including of an ideology… eh…

It is being discussed some here:

https://bbs.boingboing.net/t/freeze-peach/?source_topic_id=106490

The overarching concern is while this is all well and good with this matter, you give the government that power, and then someone like Trump or worse ends up abusing it. This is happening now in places like Turkey.

Though @Wanderfound posted some of Australia’s laws and perhaps something like that would work.

I don’t have a perfect solution or even a pure stand to make. I am trying to balance my ideal of limiting authoritarian power of the government with my disdain for White Supremacists.

Of course non-government forces limiting their speech I have less of an issue with.


#18


#19

Paradox of tolerance…look it up.

Sorry, but this tolerance of intolerance is why the US has become a real fascist shit-show. We in Europe had to face fascists in our own backyard and fight them, rather in some distant land, and smash them, we have had decades of gloating from libertarians and liberals in the US about ‘free speech shouldn’t have limits’.

Err, no. It should. Some speech is hate speech, and destroys the fabric of democracy. Completely unlimited free speech is not possible nor is it something to be proud of. It defends the indefensible and gives it a place to grow, and given that fascists use free speech to destroy free speech and spread hate, they try to use democracy to destroy itself, they are one of the exceptions to the rule. Slippery slope misuse can get lost, cos in other parts of the world like the UK no-platforming and resisting fascists since the 1970’s hasn’t lead to some super-dictatorial shit-show, it’s just resulted in less likelihood of a Le Pen here. And where people have argued for fascists to be ‘included’ it’s lead to Trump/Bannon etc and Le Pen and Haider and Wilders et al.

We do have Farage who far from being a fully paid fascist, and has mostly been mocked and now has fled to cosy up to Trump as a failed politician, but he got traction after Nick Griffin was allowed on Question Time. A really bad idea, and helped lead to Farage and UKIP, and thus Brexit. People think it’s some intelligent debate, but fascists and anti-immigration trolls know how to dogwhistle to their audience far better than you do, it’s not about the debate, it’s getting the message out there - be it Daily Stormer, Stormfront, Kekistan, memes, 4chan, game streams, mainstream debates where they say what they want and play victim, etc. They are not playing by the same rules, and those tools won’t dismantle their house.

Depressed that EFF and Boing Boing take this line, sometimes you do have to say no, otherwise Popper like Plato before him will tell you that society gets torn apart by those wanting to abuse these rights, it just falls apart.


#20