Over the weekend I had a dream, and it set off a small and fairly light exchange between myself and my esteemed associate and good friend Mr. dreameling. I didn’t think there was anything else to say there, although I was inordinately angered by one comment he made.
Having given myself a good night’s sleep to calm down, and to reflect on what this blog means to me, I’ve decided a couple of things.
First, I absolutely respect dreameling’s opinions and have no wish to judge his reactions or analyse his motives. He’s a decent man and one of the best humans I have had the good fortune to encounter. If this is his viewpoint, then it should be considered and he should not be branded “Nazi blind-eye-turner” and safely discounted (let alone attacked!). Shit’s not that simple, yo.
Second, this blog is a little window into my mind so I am definitely going to use it to tell you what I think about things, and that includes speaking up when I think someone is wrong.
It’s not about obeying the rules. It’s about respecting people’s right to their opinions in a free society.
This, this is wrong. People have a right to their opinions and beliefs, but if they are ignorant-arse backwards wrong beliefs, they do not outweigh educated opinions. They don’t even equally balance them. And I definitely don’t have to fucking respect them.
And usually, this doesn’t matter – because it doesn’t affect my life in any way.
If a white supremacist wants to hide in his mum’s basement and dress in an SS uniform and masturbate to pictures of Adolf Hitler, meh. I could not give less of a fuck. No respect, no consideration, but I’m not going to bother about it.
If a religious person believes their particular set of practices and beliefs will make God happy, and earn them an eternity in paradise, that’s awesome for them. If they also believe everyone else is destined for Hell, I still don’t really care. It’s a belief. In fact, if their faith makes them perform acts of charity and be a decent and loyal and loving person in this life, I go beyond not giving a shit, and actively approve of their faith. As long as (according to age-old theist/antitheist posturing) they keep it out of my face, it’s fine. I get that they might be even happier if they got to save me from Hell, and I appreciate that. But no. I’m good thanks.
See, that’s where the problem happens.
I don’t really respect the above opinions, but I acknowledge that they are personal ones and the opinion-holder has a right to them. That’s all well and good. I even go so far as to respect and admire them, if they’re changing the world for the better.
If someone breaks into that neo-Nazi’s mum’s basement and shoots him dead in his SS uniform, I’d be … less unhappy about it than I would be about the death of a person more in line with my own worldview, but I’d admit that the home invader was in the wrong. That was murder.
If someone goes to the soup kitchen where that religious person is handing out soup to the homeless and telling them it’s actually Jeebus giving them soup, and beats him to death with his own soup ladle, I’d be pretty deeply saddened about it even if the religious person was low-key spreading a worldview I don’t necessarily agree with. That was murder.
But that is not what we’re dealing with here.
When the Nazis form a mob and take to the streets, chanting their chants like they fucking own the place. When the Perssut get into government and start threatening people and empowering their piss-filled-end-of-the-gene-pool bigoted-extremist followers. When the religious extremist pulls out a knife and starts stabbing.
Fuck their opinions. Fuck their rights. Fuck them.
And I know that dreameling agrees with this and it was not his intention to argue otherwise. I hope that he was defending the doesn’t-affect-our-lives-in-any-way wrong opinions, and had no intention of defending the rest. Even though I have a definite problem with defending ignorant-arse incorrect opinions.
Discussions on the Internet can be utterly without nuance and unforgiving.
That freedom of speech is also a rule of law is incidental
True. And I’m glad we agree on this. I linked this to the Finnish psychology of following rules against all logic and making up rules when there are no rules … and that was poor form on my part. I find this an endearing, sometimes-frustrating part of Finnish culture but I should not level it as a criticism or use it as a basis for any sort of critical analysis of a dissenting opinion. I apologise.
And we’re already back to the Punching Nazis discussion, and I don’t want to repeat any more of what’s already been said.
And this is just too damn bad, because it’s my blog.
I will, however, concede that yes, this is much the same basic discussion as we had before, and I disagreed with dreameling’s approach then and I disagree with it now, but it’s perfectly workable as a worldview – for the time being.
Let’s just hope it doesn’t go any further. Because I do not respect the PerusSuomalaiset’s right to an opinion when it comes to enacting policies that will affect the lives of others, and I set myself ideologically against anyone who does.
Suffice it to say, I’m starting to get almost as worried about the aggressively passionate (and apparently also violent in some cases) response of the liberal left to the alt-right, than I am of the rise of the alt-right itself.
This was where I got unreasonably angry, so I’m going to try to look at this calmly.
I’ve heard of cases of “antifa” gangs attacking people who did not go far enough in criticising white supremacists. There was one case where an otherwise ordinary guy talked about a friend of his who was at the Nazi rally in Charlottesville, and mentioned his freedom of speech, freedom of expression, mentioned that no laws had specifically been broken by this guy. This wasn’t the murderous piece of human garbage who drove his car into the crowd. Just one of the tiki-torch mob losers.
And this is an uninvolved person, just speaking up and refusing to denounce the Nazi. Just to be clear. We’re not at the sympathiser / collaborator stage yet.
Now, apparently, this guy was attacked by a gang armed with box cutters. Injured, but not killed, for his even-handed treatment of a fiery topic. It remains unproven, but even so. This is the fear that infinite information can give us.
And yes, this is a huge issue and since dreameling is in a similar “let’s respect each other’s opinions and continue equivocating while we wait to see whether actual genocides are going to start” position, I can completely understand his concern. Not that I think he’s likely to be beaten up by the Soldiers of LOLdin or anything, but still.
I think it’s massively unbalanced to say you’re “almost as worried”, but that might be a function of social standing. Especially in Finland, a white male full-blooded Finn has nothing to fear whatsoever from the PerusSuomalaiset, and that means anyone violently opposed to them – and violently opposed to anyone even somewhat defending them – might well be a bigger threat. I myself have little to fear from the Perssut, even though I am an immigrant and am married to a Swedish Finn. I’m sure they’ll get around to me, but in the meantime I am a white male and I speak Finnish. They’ll probably give me an “okay foreigner” pass – probably indefinitely.
And yes, at the moment, as always, it’s still only the violent extremist lunatics of all these sides we need to worry about. The religious fundamentalists, the white supremacist murderers, the antifa thugs. They’re balanced by a huge majority of “reasonable” people who just happen to share the umbrella.
All we can do is wait and see what happens next. As usual.
Humans are morons.
On this, we are in complete agreement.
I think it’s still a huge fallacy to equate, or even compare, a group of people doing violence in aid of an isolationist or racial-purity worldview and a group of people doing violence in opposition to that worldview. But, violence begets violence and humans are morons, so sooner or later we’re going to see cases where “attacking this skinhead wrapped in a swastika was okay, so attacking this random guy who said ‘steady on now’ is also okay.” And we may already be seeing them.
This is why I can’t write nice things about humans.