Defending Hateful Speech Is Unpleasant But Essential, Even When Violence Is The End Result

from the theater-for-fire-shouters dept

A weekend full of ugliness has resulted in the predictable: calls for the government to step in and do something about “hate speech.” For some reason, a bunch of people decided the removal of a statue commemorating the loser of the First American Civil War was something they simply couldn’t abide with, even though the “history” they were seeking to “preserve” generally celebrates the last holdouts against the abolishment of slavery.

It’s not as though they were seeking to preserve history a government might feel like erasing. No one involved in the protest of the Robert E. Lee statue removal sought to build the US equivalent of the Holocaust Museum and needed the stone homage to serve an appropriate place of dishonor among the rest of the relics. This devolved into violence — first hand-to-hand altercations, but later involving a vehicle driven directly into a crowd of counter-protesters, resulting in multiple injuries and one death.

While the president issued a tepid “hate and violence are bad” statement, people all over the internet were taking this as an indication free speech in this country has gone too far. (His second statement, delivered two days later, was much better.) Predictably, those attacking entities like the ACLU (which defended the white nationalist assemblage’s right to hold a protest of the statue’s removal) were mainly interested in shutting down speech they didn’t like, while somehow preserving the sort of the speech they did like.

Glenn Greenwald has a long post at The Intercept detailing the misguided attacks on the ACLU as a result of its defense of the white nationalist protesters. As he points out, the left — despite its reputation for tolerance of all races, creeds, colors, and sexes — is a frequent supporter of government regulation of speech. Many on the left still cling to the mistaken belief the government has already outlawed “hate speech,” when it has done nothing of the sort.

Those on the right would like to see the ACLU kicked out of Constitutional discussions as well. Greenwald notes the ACLU has been similarly attacked for such things as arguing for due process rights for accused terrorists.

The problem is: rights are rights. Those availing themselves of Constitutional rights usually aren’t sympathetic protagonists. But it’s the worst of the worst that need defending. No one starts throwing around stupid legislation when tepid, middle-of-the-road statements are made. No one fires off bogus lawsuits when unoffensive statements are delivered.

Many on both sides — right and left — find this concept hard to grasp. Some people believe there’s a legal bright line between speech and hate speech, when in most cases, it’s just a subjective measurement of how much these people empathize with the disputed statements. Hypocrisy abounds. Unfortunately, hypocrisy isn’t limited to the rank-and-file. Legislators are able to at least threaten serious damage to the First Amendment by writing and sponsoring bills targeting the “worst of the worst.” But most are written so broadly and badly, they can’t survive a constitutional challenge.

Even our president partakes in the speech hypocrisy. He has threatened to open up libel laws and refers to any source of info he doesn’t like as “fake news.” But he still enjoys the First Amendment protections he’s reluctant to extend to his opponents, even as he extols police brutality or encourages supporters to attack protesters.

That the worst speech needs the most defending isn’t news to anyone here at Techdirt. This point has been made repeatedly. But every time something like what happened in Charlottesville happens, the point needs to be driven home again.

Some believe the curbing of speech would somehow prevent violence. But words and actions are two different things. We have plenty of laws in place to deal with assault and vehicular homicide. What we don’t need is more laws regulating speech in response to criminal activity. Certainly some of the people making the nastiest statements are also perpetrators of violence. But laws that criminalize speech extend culpability from doing to simply thinking.

There’s a huge gap between defending someone’s right to speak and defending what they’re saying. As some people need to be constantly reminded, free speech is not speech without consequences. Ignorant, nasty, brutish statements deserve the criticism they receive. What they shouldn’t be met with is calls for the government to step in and tell everyone what sort of speech is permitted. Those protesting the statue’s removal had every right to be heard, no matter how ridiculous their arguments and beliefs.

It also should be clear (but often isn’t) that defending someone’s First Amendment rights isn’t the same thing as defending their actions. It’s not even something as minimal as complicity. The ACLU stepping up to defend the white nationalist’s right to assemble doesn’t not make them an enabler of the violence that followed. That violence was the end result was possibly to be expected, but allowing the government to selectively revoke certain citizens’ rights as a precaution isn’t really the path we want to go down.

Finally, there’s one more point to consider when calling for the curtailment of free speech for the “worst of the worst:” it is utterly ineffective, even if it “works.” Here’s Greenwald:

How can anyone believe that neo-Nazism or white supremacy will disappear in the U.S., or even be weakened, if it’s forcibly suppressed by the state? Is it not glaringly apparent that the exact opposite will happen: by turning them into free speech martyrs, you will do nothing but strengthen them and make them more sympathetic?

The last thing anyone needs is for the worst of worst to become cause celebres because of their odious viewpoints. No one should be in a hurry to make it more difficult to easily recognize small-minded, hateful people. Their ignorance should always be on display. Burying them just makes them more dangerous and more apt to resort to violent means to make their points.

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Comments on “Defending Hateful Speech Is Unpleasant But Essential, Even When Violence Is The End Result”

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322 Comments
Ninja (profile) says:

Uh-oh

Brace yourselves, a bad “Masnick censors my posts” trollstorm is coming!

Just in case let’s leave it here with emphasis:

“What they shouldn’t be met with is calls for *****the government***** to step in and tell everyone what sort of speech is permitted.”

God bless ACLU for their excellent work in the middle of all this bs. Let’s see if the 1st survives the current political climate and polarization in the US.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Uh-oh

“Some of my posts go straight through, and others get held for moderation.”

Happens to everyone occasionally. The trick is to accept that there’s a spam filter and honest posts will eventually get through, not to start raving like a lunatic about a conspiracy like some out usual geniuses.

For what it’s worth, the things I usually find trigger it more often – not being logged into an account, posting several things in quick succession (on one article or in several tabs) or posting multiple links.

Anonymous Coward says:

here is how it will go down

the racist left will remove everything that the racist right has on display.

after a certain amount of time, the racist right is going to say… where is your proof? where are the landmarks and history that any of what you claim happened?

History is written by the victors.

Are they seeking a return to slavery by destroying the history that warns us about it?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: here is how it will go down

Statues celebrating the Confederacy and those who fought for it do not deserve a place in the public square. The Confederacy seceded from, and lost a way against, the United States in an effort to preserve the institution of slavery. If the Germans can rid their country of statues and monuments that celebrated the Nazis, Americans can certainly rid their country of statues and monuments that celebrate traitorous racists who lost a war with the United States.

Put them in museums. Put them in a trash heap. I don’t much care where they go, so long as they are gone from the public eye. We don’t need public momnuments celebrating the Confederacy to teach our children why those traitors seceded from and fought a losing war with the United States.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: here is how it will go down

“I don’t much care where they go, so long as they are gone from the public eye.”

Funny, this is how human trafficking works too. Things not in the public eye are ripe for abuse and largely ignored. Constant vigilance is the key, not sweeping historical facts you find uncomfortable under the rug.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 here is how it will go down

We should make statues of every criminal, and place them at every street corner. If we don’t, how will anyone remember that people rape, murder and steal?
Cast in bronze, in heroic poses and devoid of context. It’s the only way to stop us from repeating the mistakes of the past.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 here is how it will go down

Statues and monuments to the Confederacy celebrate the cause for which that group of traitors seceded, fought a war, and died over: the preservation of the right to own an entire group of people as slaves based on skin color. The descendants of those slaves should not have to walk around in public under the shadow of a monument that, in all practical terms, celebrates the enslavement of their ancestors.

Germany destroyed Nazi symbols and monuments after World War II. The US should do the same for Confederate monuments. The Confederacy does not deserve public monuments of celebration; it deserves to become a lesson in a history class, preferably about the evils of racism and slavery.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 here is how it will go down

” Things not in the public eye are ripe for abuse and largely ignore”

Human trafficking != statues

I do not care if someone abuses the statues while they are hidden form the public eye. Your constant vigilance protecting statues from abuse is commendable but unnecessary.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: here is how it will go down

The germans did not remove every memorial to soldiers and generals who fought under Nazi rule. Many of them remain in parks and public spaces, though usually in quieter and understated areas.

It’s important to honor and respect the bravery of people willing to fight for their homes, their country, and even the set of ideals they choose, even if you disagree with those ideals or that country. There’s a lot of complicated lessons that can be learned from the Civil War above and beyond “slavery is bad”. It’s a shame that some people want to make that the end all be all of the history lesson.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 here is how it will go down

It’s important to honor and respect the bravery of people willing to fight for their homes, their country, and even the set of ideals they choose, even if you disagree with those ideals or that country.

People who feel that way about the Confederacy can already go do that.

They have graveyards for the traitors, don’t they?

jilocasin (profile) says:

Just like a horse shoe

As was demonstrated last weekend, common sense is horse shoe shaped. Both the ‘alt-right‘ and the ‘anti-fata‘ have more in common than they are willing to admit. Both groups are extremists, espousing a ‘if you aren’t with us, you’re against us’ mentality. Both more than willing to use violence in support of their respective causes.

It’s unfortunate that most of the coverage of last weekend’s carnage seems to gloss over the mess from the left. If the coverage was more accurate perhaps more people would start to see where extremism is leading us. As it is, it’s too easy to fall into the trap of;

‘Hate speech == violence’ ==> ‘Hate speech should be banned’

  • Speech should never be banned (especially by the government).
  • It’s never O.K. to react to speech with violence, regardless of whether or not you happen to agree with it.
  • Violence is already illegal. Prosecute it (regardless of whether or not you agree with the perpetrator).
jilocasin (profile) says:

Re: Re: Just like a horse shoe

Truth be told, I couldn’t say, not that it matters for this discussion. The fact that other white supremacists killed a number of people in the past doesn’t justify another group of people killing white supremacists now.

Both groups believe that their way is the only way.
Both groups believe that violence is an acceptable way to deal with speech they don’t like.

Yep, looks pretty much the same from where I’m sitting.

Anonymous Coward says:

Tsk, tsk… you’re doing it wrong, again. You’re attempting to use reason regarding matters anybody else only ever reacts to with knee-jerk emotive lash-outs (mostly just “gubmint should forbid anything I disapprove of”). There’s no force in the Universe that could change that any time soon. It’s all shouting into the wind…

Shane Roach (profile) says:

Your insistence on taking the far left view on history and culture and trying to attach it to a more free market view of economics is not working.

ANTIFA is the problem here. There is video of ANTIFA attacking the car that ended up hitting ANTIFA rioters.

ANTIFA is the problem. ANTIFA is the problem. ANTIFA is the problem. ANTIFA is the problem.

So what a few hundred people got a piece of paper to demonstrate about something you don’t like? So what?

There’s absolutely no sense tearing down these statues. To the people who like them they represent the reintegration of the south into the rest of the USA, and it is YOU that has the problem with THEM, not the other way around.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“ANTIFA is the problem here. There is video of ANTIFA attacking the car that ended up hitting ANTIFA rioters.”

So ANTIFA successfully provoked them into going overboard in retribution is a defense?

At the end of the day they still murdered someone over a paltry rock. Sure I do not hold ANTIFA blameless here but this article is fairly spot on.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Hitchens razor: That which has been asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

If you’re going to claim that there is video evidence of something it’s on you to present the video, not dump the task on other people and tell them to keep looking until they find the video you are talking about.

Baron found two videos. They showed something other than what you claimed. The proper response at this point is for you to present your video evidence so people can review it, not tell him to ‘Keep looking’.

Refusal to do so can and should be taken to mean that you either don’t have or don’t want to present the video you’re talking about, and as such your claims can be dismissed out of hand until such time as you present it.

Shane Roach says:

Re: Re: Re:

No I did not forget. I don’t care, because I know how you people will react anyhow, and if you cared about the truth at all you would already be backing down ANTIFA.

It will certainly come out in the media’s good time. Right now they are busy setting up this narrative that anyone who does not vote Democrat is a racist, and avoiding the fact that foreign exchange markets are at fault for much of our economic misery, and that we need to close the border.

Banks

Do NOT

Want the border closed.

And it has nothing to do with racism. They LIKE enslaving people by abusing complex international ForEx markets to play shell games with money. They don’t like being held accountable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

you people?
– yes, we are all the same
– we’re actually all the same person!

“Right now they are busy setting up this narrative that anyone who does not vote Democrat is a racist,”
– LOL, sure they are

“foreign exchange markets are at fault for much of our economic misery”
– This is new one, please explain how this works. Possibly you meant to type the IMF?

Are you they guy who tried to blow up a bank recently?

If you close the border, how will you get your new Iphone?

Possibly you do not understand that the government uses racism to control the unwashed masses.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“There is video of ANTIFA attacking the car that ended up hitting ANTIFA rioters.”

Yeah, this is the alt-right bullshit argument. The video doesn’t show that. The video shows the driver driving towards the crowd on a pedestrian street (look up the history of that area, the city has designated it as a pedestrian old downtown area where cars are only allowed to cross through on side streets and pedestrians have the right of way). That also wasn’t the only way to get out of that area. He chose to go down that street. He chose to accelerate towards the crowd.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You seem to have some info or background into this event, perhaps you could enlighten me because I am curious … why did the guy purchase what looks to be a new vehicle and then crash same into a bunch of people? If you were setting out to do this, wouldn’t you get a junker … well I suppose a sane person would anyways.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

We should not resort to violence in the face of political disagreements. But White supremacists and Neo-Nazis do not deserve to have their positions validated by “debate” and “polite consideration”, nor do they deserve to have their hatred go unchallenged or ignored. Violence is not the answer—but sometimes, you have to deal with some stubborn son of a bitch who thinks it is. In a moment like that, calling someone an asshole is not going to protect anybody.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Ignoring them does not make them go away. It makes them feel as if no one actually opposes their beliefs and their mission. The only true method of dealing with such assholes is to denounce them and their hateful rhetoric—loudly, in public, and preferably to their faces.

And no, I do not think that what they were marching for should be answered by violence. Then again, I do not think they should have shown up in the dead of night with torches and in the light of day with semi-automatic rifles.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Other reports had the number at 200 “Nazi’s”. This should be international news? You are not going to keep people from being racist, so ignore their thoughts, their chants and be comfortable in the fact that our Constitution restricts racist actions.

Point of fact, the guys that showed up with semi-automatic rifles were probably militia folks there to keep the peace, not support Nazi’s. Reports said they did more to break up fights than the cops did.

That is a big problem for me if it is true.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

My momma always told me that I should ignore a bully, and eventually he’ll get bored and realize he’s not gonna get a rise out of me and go away.

Now I know the truth. If someone ignores a bully, they’re telling the bully that they approve of the bullying and that it is acceptable and in fact encouraged.

I’m ashamed of my momma for taking the side of all those bullies.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

The ideology of White supremacists and Neo-Nazis is rooted in hatred; their endgame, whether they admit it or not, is the genocide of any group of people deemed “undesirable”. Any failure to confront that ideology—to ignore it as if it will just go away—is a success for those assholes, because it leads them to believe that their ideology is worthy of public expression and debate.

Just look at the sitting president of the United States and how he dealt with this. Rather than expressly condemning White supremacists and Neo-Nazis in the wake of Charlottesville, he said “many sides” were to blame. Two days later—and under extreme pressure—he finally delivered an explicit yet half-hearted condemnation of the far-right hatemongers. Earlier this afternoon, he walked that condemnation back and blamed “both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville. This sequence of events has allowed White supremacists and Neo-Nazis to believe that the so-called “leader of the free world” is either sympathetic to or a direct supporter of their racist, hateful, genocidal ideology.

When we refuse to condemn these people at every turn, we give them the opportunity to thrive. When we refuse to chase these people out of polite society, we give them the idea that their ideas are worth of public debate. If you have to hem and haw about whether these hateful assholes deserve anything short of a full-throated, yelling-in-their-faces condemnation of what they stand for and an order to get the fuck out of a given community, you have already given them exactly what they want: your complicity in their hate.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Agreed, but when AntiFa riots (and has done so many, many places) that is different, unless you believe that white supremacists should be identified and killed. There is a difference between condemning this group and showing up wearing protective equipment and carrying weapons and attacking people.

Happened at Berkley, happens at recent G8 meetings, probably happened here.

There is a problem on both sides, but pointing that out can lead to being called a racist. People attacked the ACLU for this, which is wrong.

I believe that most of this hype is being generated and promoted by people that really don’t care about race. I think it is being used for political purposes to further their agenda.

200 racists from around the country showed up, that becomes international news? However regretful, 1 person died. It is a crisis? It got the issue of war with N. Korea off the front pages?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

“200 racists from around the country showed up, that becomes international news?”

Yep. People get very uncomfortable when large groups of Nazis start congregating in public, especially when things do actually turn violent. It might have had nothing on the Nuremberg rallies, but it does have resonance around most of the developed world, for good reason.

“However regretful, 1 person died”

Lots of important international events start with the death of one person.

“It got the issue of war with N. Korea off the front pages?”

Well, it stopped the orange moron from antagonising the issue with his idiotic tweets, so you could argue that it’s done a hell of a lot more good than keeping the Korea issue at the front of everyone’s mind would have done.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Good point on the orange moron Paul. But what is really important? Is all the coverage just political fodder? Now are people focused on this instead of what is really going on? Have we taken our eye off the ball?

Shouldn’t international relations be our focus? Shouldn’t police brutality be our focus? Shouldn’t healthcare coverage be our focus?

It is all just political folly, by all sides. Do you really think a Nazi from California really cares about some statue in Virginia? The Nazi leaders were overjoyed that this is receiving as much attention as it is. They are a very small group with no influence, now, more people are interested in them. They are gaining in power.

So if it doesn’t make things better, is it helpful?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

“Shouldn’t international relations be our focus? Shouldn’t police brutality be our focus? Shouldn’t healthcare coverage be our focus?”

Yes, and many other issues aside. Some issue always comes to the forefront, and it’s not always the most important. But, that doesn’t mean nothing is being done regarding the other issues at hand.

By the way, it’s interesting that you mention police brutality there. On the first night, one of the common themes I saw in comments was people noting how little police presence there was compared to similar gatherings with large non-white populations. How much they were able to get away with, while similar protests may have barely got started before the batons came out. It does feed into the issue, even if indirectly.

“Do you really think a Nazi from California really cares about some statue in Virginia?”

Maybe, maybe not. But, enough people cared to get a notable gathering of such people together, and that becomes notable to people who otherwise would not have noticed them. If it were only locals who felt directly affected, it may not have mattered. But, hundreds of these scum coming from all over the country? That’s news.

“They are a very small group with no influence, now, more people are interested in them. They are gaining in power.”

But, are they really? Attention does not imply support, necessarily. I’m sure there’s a few people who actually support them and are now willing to join their ranks. But, there’s also a lot of people who didn’t realise that actual Nazis were in their country and are now willing to do something to oppose them. The attention does not just go one way.

Then, there’s the wider issue. Trump’s total fumbling of the response to this has made some people very uncomfortable. There have been a few diehard Trump supporters who are questioning him for the first time, others who have knowingly defended bad actions from him who are finally unable to come up with defence.

Whether that translates into action and a positive move forward for the country, it’s too early to say. But, it is more important and with more implications than you’re stating.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

I Agree we shouldn’t attack the ACLU for supporting the right to assemble. However, a few notes i got from an interview i listened to with the governor of virginia-

1) the state wasn’t trying to restrict their speech, it was trying to establish ground rules that served specific, documented concerns.

2) the first was location. The downtown location of the rally was considered dangerous. there were concerns about the ability to disperse unruly crowds and what would happen if unruly crowds were dispersed, which were, in hindsight completely justified. That said, ignoring that…

3) The state looked to restrict the carrying of poles by protesters for fear they would be used as weapons….which were again totally justified when they were.

I’m not exactly sure how a bunch of whites brandishing guns and torches directly calling for the deaths of blacks and jews was a peaceful protest and not an incitement to violence, but it might have been less of a powder keg in a more open space like the park the state wanted the rally moved to and the protestors lacked the weapons and symbols of violence they carried.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

no no no, we have to first get out there and escalate the situation and THEN we can get all pissy about everything!

the MORE you desire to silence someone, the MORE worried about YOUR platform I become as well.

right now all I see are too evil groups looking to achieve political dominance, let them destroy each other and focus their energies away from the rest of us.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’m not sure how that applies. I was discussing the ACLUs efforts to get the alt-right protesters permits without the restrictions placed upon the protest by the state. They had a permit before the ACLU stepped in. It just moved the protest to the open park where crowd control could have been more effective and banned weapons being carried by the protestors intending to call for the deaths of people of the wrong colors and faiths. My notes were intended to highlight that I am concerned with the details of their stance, not the entire stance.

I know, I know, nuance is lost on the internet.

Shane Roach (profile) says:

As is very typical of leftists, the point is purposefully side stepped.

ANTIFA bussed in from all over the nation in direct response to a PEACEFUL protest, INCITED riot, and ended up giving leftists like you all fodder to once again pretend the main problem is not ANTIFA.

ANTIFA riots EVERYWHERE. ANTIFA causes property damage to innocent people. ANTIFA has no right tossing “a paltry rock” at anyone.

ANTIFA is the problem. ANTIFA is the problem. ANTIFA is the problem. ANTIFA is the problem.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

ANTIFA bussed in from all over the nation in direct response to a PEACEFUL protest, INCITED riot, and ended up giving leftists like you all fodder to once again pretend the main problem is not ANTIFA.
Didn’t you hear one of the alt-righters who lost his job for attending was working in Berkeley, California?
Gosh, it’s like people from all over the country were present on both sides.

But of course, all you care about is blaming the other sides and ignoring any culpability that might tarnish your side. You know whataboutism like that was pioneered by real leftists, mister Roachovich?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“to a PEACEFUL protest”

Torch bearing, nazi saluting protesters armed as if they were off to fight a small war. We all know they were there itching to start a fight, because that’s exactly what they want so that they can then lie and claim they were attacked first and cry ‘victim’.

“ANTIFA bussed in from all over the nation”

Counter protesters have a right to assemble, and they did basically the exact same thing the nazis did, so your point is…?

“ANTIFA is the problem. ANTIFA is the problem. ANTIFA is the problem. ANTIFA is the problem.”

Trivia question: the guy who mowed down protesters, which side was he on again? Here’s a hint: he was a known nazi sympathizer.

It’s interesting how you seem to like using Hitlerian tactics in your arguments: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_lie

Unanimous Cow Herd (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

You’re laughably intellectually dishonest if you ignore the past YEAR of violent tactics by Antifa against FREE SPEECH rallies and Trump supporter rallies. Antifa IS to blame and will remain so until they change their tactics to peaceful ones. I’ll make no excuses for running someone over, but the level of violence is not the issue.

jilocasin (profile) says:

Re: (I thought that's what all the shields were for.)

Unfortunately the ‘alt-right’ fell for it. There wouldn’t have been a riot, if they reacted peacefully to the provocation of the left. There definitely wouldn’t have been the outpouring of anti-right hate if someone spousing ‘alt-right’ values hadn’t gone off the rails and killed someone.

As for the provocation of the ANTIFA;

I thought that’s what all the shields were for…

jilocasin (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: (I thought that's what all the shields were for.)

Huh?

If the ‘alt-right’ responded peacefully using their shields to protect themselves from the rock & other thrown provocations of the ‘alt-left’ then perhaps no one would have gotten killed. Then there wouldn’t have been the knee jerk reaction of people feeling the need to pour hate and condemnation on the ‘alt-right’. The reporting would have been Berkley all over again. ‘Alt-left’ burning and destroying things.

I’m not saying that the ‘alt-right’ doesn’t need a bit of condemnation, they do. So does the ‘alt-left’. They are both groups of violent bigots. Martin Luther King Jr. would be spinning in his grave thinking about how far from non-violent protest the ‘alt-left’ has fallen.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 (I thought that's what all the shields were for.)

Bullshit. They didn’t just bring shields. They went looking for trouble and they found it. And they killed someone. And sadly this won’t be the last time. So yeah this isn’t a both sides are equally bad false equivalence kinda deal.

jilocasin (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 (I thought that's what all the shields were for.)

No, sadly they didn’t. If you read what I wrote, I said that they should have used their shields and reacted peacefully to the provocations of the ‘alt-left’.

They went to protest and get their message out. After the ‘alt-left’ has shown they are more than happy to attack people who don’t agree with their values (Seriously, Yiannopoulos?) you can see where they are coming from. You can’t honestly say that the ‘alt-left’ was sitting around singing Kumbaya and putting flowers in the barrels of ‘alt-right’ rifles when they were attacked are you?

The ‘alt-left’ went there looking for a fight, the ‘alt-right’ went there prepared for a fight. Guess what? There was a fight. When two groups fight in the mud, neither comes out looking clean.

Other than the person with the car (and yes he was an ‘alt-right’ supporter), it doesn’t look like anyone else was killed. If the ‘alt-right’ protesters were packing serious firepower, they seem to have exhibited remarkable restraint.

So yeah, this is a both sides are equally bad kind of thing.

https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/mt/2017/08/RTS1BJPN/lead_960.jpg

https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/mt/2017/08/RTS1BJU6_1/lead_960.jpg

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 (I thought that's what all the shields were for.)

“If the ‘alt-right’ responded peacefully using their shields to protect themselves from the rock & other thrown provocations of the ‘alt-left’ then perhaps no one would have gotten killed.”

The car the nazi sympathizer was driving appeared to mow the protesters down from BEHIND. It wasn’t as if people were killed in the clash; the person who died was attacked in a cowardly ambush by a nazi.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 (I thought that's what all the shields were for.)

“If the ‘alt-right’ responded peacefully using their shields to protect themselves from the rock & other thrown provocations of the ‘alt-left’ then perhaps no one would have gotten killed.”

The car the nazi sympathizer was driving appeared to mow the protesters down from BEHIND. It wasn’t as if people were killed in the clash; the person who died was attacked in a cowardly ambush by a nazi. Get your facts straight.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 (I thought that's what all the shields were for.)

I think there’s some pretty gross false equivalence to pulling the "both sides do it" argument when one side is in favor of wiping out ethnic minorities and the other side is against it.

And I think you’re mischaracterizing Dr. King. While it’s true that he advocated passive resistance and condemned violence, he also showed sympathy to people who lashed out violently to an oppressive environment. I think he’d certainly advocate against any kind of violent escalation, but it bothers me when people use the name of a dead man (who isn’t around to argue) to condemn whatever political group they don’t agree with.

jilocasin (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 (I thought that's what all the shields were for.)

I don’t think I’m mischaracterizing Dr. King at all. There’s a difference between showing sympathy to people who lash out violently in defense as opposed to attacking people who you disagree with. He might forgive the former while condemning that latter.

Neither side should do it. The ‘alt-left’ is just more hypocritical about it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 (I thought that's what all the shields were for.)

no one was exterminating anyone at the protest. at least not until rocks started flying. BTW a rock is considered a deadly weapon.

What should the cops do with BLM and “Pigs in a blanket. Fry em like bacon!” or how about “What do we want? Dead Cops. When do we want them? Now!”

Should the cops be justified in retaliating or even voicing their discontent.. even tho, as you say, they are both bad?

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 (I thought that's what all the shields were for.)

Here’s what Dr. King had to say about riots and the Black Power movement:

"And I contend that the cry of ‘black power’ is, at bottom, a reaction to the reluctance of white power to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality for the Negro," King said. "I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. And, what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years."

Source: What Martin Luther King Jr Really Thought About Riots, Lily Rothman, Time Magazine, 2015, quoting a 1966 interview with Mike Wallace on CBS

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Agree, he sounds like a leftist.

“guns not people are responsible for gun violence so lets outlaw guns”

ha ha ha!!

its funny how your logic changes to fit the situation Thad. But you are right, I notice the same problem with those on the right as being the same as those on the left.

My shit don’t stink.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“guns not people are responsible for gun violence so lets outlaw guns”

Actually, I think it’s more like “hmmm, every other country in the civilised world doesn’t have anything like the problems we have, the major difference being access to guns. Maybe we should do something about that?”. Half the time they don’t even talk about restricting guns other than to say that maybe it’s not a good idea to allow unrestricted access to known nutcases. But, gun fetishists won’t even entertain the discussion that their toys might be put in a toy box.

I do notice that some types have to miscategorise, distort and grossly simplify the actual words of people they don’t agree with in order to come up with a counterargument. A shame, if your country could take some time out between murdering each other you might get something positive done.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

The chances of that happening are so small that I will take the chance that I’m not able to shoot them at a moment’s notice (or, more likely, shoot other innocent people in the crossfire).

But, I have to ask – that’s your justification? You’re so pants-wittingly scared whenever you leave the house that you have to be armed and able to kill someone at a moment’s notice, even though you’re much more likely to die in a road accident on the way to the restaurant? What a miserable life to lead.

Honestly, I’d be more scared of being accidentally shot by a coward like you than I would be of any attack by extremists. Indeed, it’s statistically more likely to happen. That’s why I live my life free of fear, far away from gun fetishists and scared children like you.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The White supremacist who committed an act of domestic terrorism and killed a woman came from Ohio.

Hell, a majority of the members of that hateful conglomeration of White supremacists and Neo-Nazis were neither from Charlottesville in particular or Virginia in general.

Why do they get a pass for bringing in people from out-of-state, but AntiFa gets raked over the coals for allegedly doing the same thing?

Christenson says:

Pro Tips

There are, and should be, significant questions about how and why police handled this protest quite differently than they have other protests even within Charlottesville.

There also *has* to be a better way to deal with the complicated history. There’s no denying that the statue was erected in 1924 to opress in front of a crowd wearing white hoods next to the courthouse. Maybe its time we did something about the huge disparities emanating from that courthouse by decriminalizing drugs.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Pro Tips

what a leap from racism to drugs! regardless of the statues intentions, it now serves as proof that it was defeated. Better to leave it there as a reminder of humanity’s racist past least we repeat it.

the drugs are a different issue with peoples desire to over regulate every stinking thing.

aethercowboy (profile) says:

Tim, thank you so much for this post. Since Charlottesville, I’ve been having so much trouble trying to put words to the feelings I’ve had about how yes, we still need to protect free speech, even when shit like this happens.

The people who respond to speech with violence are terrible. They’re damaging their cause by implicitly stating that they have no counter argument to the idea they are in opposition too. If it just turned into a fist fight, I would have said, “that’s what happens when you punch people, they hit back.”

However, hitting people with cars is not the same as hitting them with fists. Killing someone who just wants to hurt you into silence is not an appropriate response. This is far worse, as instead of meeting your opposition with equal inverse force (e.g., retaliatory punches) you have then upped the ante. This is the worst thing you can do to someone who has already shown that they’re willing to escalate violence. At that point, the end result is who’s willing to go too far first. Not somewhere I want to be.

In an episode of Stuff you Should Know, “How Dictators Work” they discussed that historically, the entities that were resisted hardest ended up getting more credibility, and thus, more power. While I think that anybody who wants to tote White Nationalist or White Separatism or Nazism or racism or any of these other flawed ideologies, I would treat them like I would a toddler throwing a tantrum: don’t reward the negative behavior with attention. Treat it like a threat, and it becomes a threat; treat it like a group of idiots with misguided ideas, then it’ll just remain that.

The best cure for stupid is education, not shame or violence. Combat ideas with ideas. If things get violent, GTFO. And always remember: no matter what side of the aisle you’re on, your group is made up of a bunch of individual people. Some are basically good people (albeit, with bad ideas), so don’t confuse the ideas with the human who claims to have them.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Totally agreed.

What we saw was a display of extremism by both sides. Of course the white supremacists side ideas are very flawed, twisted and generally wrong but the episode showed how you can be an extremist idiot even if you are right.

I’m amused when people engage discussions about left and right as if there weren’t abuses on one or another. Same with religions. Anything will be wrong and harmful if taken to the extreme, fundamentalist level.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Not defending the actions, but if reports are true that the car was surrounded by protesters banging on the car, that will be the defense. If its true and can be proven, probably will win. If this is the case, will the government go after the protesters for causing the death and not the driver?

Shane Roach (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Believe it or not, you have a right to defend your property, and fear for life and property is one of the several mitigating circumstances for personal violence that ends up hurting or killing someone.

This is the issue. ANTIFA causes this CONSTANTLY, and yet no one stands up to THEM.

NO ONE of any CONSEQUENCE supports the KKK or any of these neo Nazi groups. The problem is the DNC SUPPORTS ANTIFA.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

What, that white supremacists think Donald Trump is their ally? No, dude, that’s the unambiguous truth; David Duke has repeatedly praised him, and so have sites like Stormfront and The Daily Stormer.

You can disagree that he is their ally, if you like (though some supporting evidence besides "nuh-uh" might help your case). But it’s clearly true that they think he is.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

He said:

“They sure seem to think that the President of the United States does.”

Actual white supremacist says:

“So he implied the antifa are haters.

There was virtually no counter-signaling of us at all.

He said he loves us all.”

https://thinkprogress.org/white-supremacists-cheer-trumps-response-to-charlottesville-violence-3d0d50196c52/

Thad wasn’t lying, you just can’t be honest about who you keep company with.

Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

WARNING: LINKS TO GRAPHIC CONTENT
and possible YouTube age verification

First clip in this one shows the murderer beginning his premeditated attack from far up along a clear area of the street:

https://youtu.be/WoxiLH2mh-w

Notice how it’s not busted up until after the impact, and people only start chasing it after it’s begun its fatal charge.

This video does show the car being beaten with bats… quite clearly AFTER the murder, and not before:

https://youtu.be/qFR-iHmTWVo

Huh? says:

Re: Re:

“Killing someone who just wants to hurt you into silence is not an appropriate response” — WHAT?

Killing is never an appropriate response to ANYTHING, but hurting me into silences IS AN ATTEMPT TO KILL ME, since once my jaw heals, I will again speak.

What the heck are you saying!?! Violence is okay as long as some subjective threshold you set for your side of the argument isn’t crossed!?!

It is interesting to see someone actually espouse this. Of course this is PRECISELY the argument the supremacist nut jobs are making — you’re endangering my way of thinking so I can use violence to quash your way of thinking.

I cannot believe the justification of violence of any kind here! There weren’t two ‘sides’ of this. There was one mob of thugs who didn’t have any sense of personal accountability or control. This notion that you can use violence to enforce your ideology is horrific and is what threatens the very fabric of this nation. Not alt-right, not alt-left, violent thuggery from every side.

You have no credibility to claim an aversion to violence if you actually and truly believe a right exists to “hurt someone into silence”.

Shameful.

aethercowboy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’m sorry I was not more clear. I had thought the context would be enough to convey my opinion.

The heck that I am saying is this: it’s wrong to escalate the situation. It’s wrong to use violence to respond to ideas. It’s wrong to use deadly force to respond to non-life threatening violence.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t say what you’re accusing me of having said (I’ll re-read it to make sure I didn’t accidentally leave out a word or something, but what you’re accusing me of was very, very, very far from my intent). I definitely don’t condone violence, and especially don’t condone escalation of the situation.

What I was trying to say is this: If A punches B because B believes C, that gives no right to B to kill A. I believe that B has a right to retaliate in kind (even if I think it’s wrong), but think the better course of action is to be the bigger person and let them have their baby-tantrum (provided it does not endanger anybody). Basically, I think the best action is to take the least violent approach to mitigate the situation.

Heck, I’m a proponent of turning the other cheek, but I know how hard it is when you’ve been punched in the face.

Shane Roach (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Seriously?

This is the featured response. People have a right to hurt you to make you shut up, and you are not allowed to use tools at your disposal to prevent them from hurting you?

You have no right to hurt anyone at all. And if you go to hurt people, they have a right to kill you in self defense.

That happens to be the LAW.

There is no reciprocal force limitation. The instant you feel your life is in danger, you have the right to resist up and including deadly force with whatever comes to hand. People do not have to “fight fair” when you threaten their lives.

You people are evil. And the funny thing is I have seen headway made against things like the open internet because people will back the big ISP’s since they find Federal regulation of the internet scary JUST BECAUSE THEY ASSOCIATE IT WITH YOU.

So congratulations. Your entire website is one big gigantic waste of time.

aethercowboy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Shane,

While I knew exactly (more or less) what I meant when I wrote it, it seems that you and at least one other user don’t see what I’m trying to say. Whether that’s because I didn’t do a clear enough job of explaining my position, or because you (and at least one other person) aren’t reading for context, I’m not sure. But allow me to clarify (if my follow up comment did not clarify enough).

I never said people have the right to hurt anybody to shut them up. If you would read the entire comment, you’d (hopefully) see that’s what I’m trying to say. In fact, I said that people who try to hurt people to shut them up are, and I quote myself above, “savages.”

Yes, I agree, the law is written in a way such that if you’re the first one to throw a punch, you’re assaulting. If you’re the recipient of the assault, you have the right, under the law, to defend yourself. But if you use lethal force to respond to non-lethal force, you’re going to have a hard time defending that in court, both the federal and moral.

If I were in a situation that threatened my life, or the life of my family, I would do what I could to get out of the situation. Any reasonable person would. But I wouldn’t go above and beyond that. If someone threw a rock at me, I would not drive my car over them. That’s just absurd. I’d remove myself from the situation, because I’d rather live another day than leverage my right to use up to an including lethal action and further endanger my own life.

I don’t speak for the site. I don’t speak for anybody other than me (and while I don’t appreciate people speaking for me, I understand that the nature of internet conversation leaves so much up to individual interpretation). Allow me to state in as clear of words as I may, so there remains absolutely no confusion of the matter:

IF YOU PUNCH SOMEONE BECAUSE YOU DISAGREE WITH THEM, YOU ARE A LOUSY HUMAN BEING.

That being said:

IF YOU KILL SOMEONE BECAUSE THEY THREW A ROCK AT YOU, YOU ARE ALSO A LOUSY HUMAN BEING.

My end point in my original comment is one that I think we should all realize, and I hope you can agree it’s far from evil (and it applies in protests, riots, and internet comments): we’re all people, we’re all individuals, and (unless there’s more advanced AIs than I realize) we’re all human beings with feeling and opinions and well, mostly good inclinations (albeit, some of us have bad motivators).

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re:

There is a fair bit of analysis of that hitting people with cars thing that is being ignored in the Left media.

The guy in the car didn’t decide to ram into a crowd because he hated their opinions — or at least, that only played a minor role. Going by the physical evidence, he mostly decided to drive through a crowd because that crowd had surrounded his car and was attacking it with weapons, apparently in an attempt to gain access to him physically.

The crowd was hitting his car with hammers, breaking the windows, and preventing him from escaping from the attack. A reasonable person would assume that the violence would not end if he exited his car or remained in place, which creates a reasonable belief that he was in direct danger of death if he stayed put or attempted to flee on foot.

At that point, use of a deadly force defense (the car) to prevent his own murder is a perfectly lawful act and arguably a moral one.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

When was the last time you heard of a guy pulled out of his car and beaten?

Oh, you mean outside of Rodney King, and beaten by cops?

Good video of a guy in NYC driving a Range Rover being harassed by a bunch of dicks on motorcycles, they surrounded his car and broke a window. He then drove over a biker to escape.

I don’t think he was ever charged, he said he feared for his and his families life.

Pretty sure this douchbag will use the same defense. It may be true and he may not be convicted, but he is still a douchbag.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Again, you’re blatantly lying about events that that you’ve already been shown video proof of. Nobody surrounded his car, not a single window was broken until AFTER he intentionally charged forward unprovoked into the crowd. The beating on the vehicle only took place in the few seconds between crashing forward into his victims, and switching gears to reverse away. Beating on the car of some shitbag who just intentionally committed violent murder right in front of them is not an unreasonable response for the protesters to take. It’s the protesters, not the terrorist, that acted in self-defense here, by attempting to neutralize the attacker’s deadly weapon before it could be used again.

Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Whoops. The “you’ve already been shown” part of my comment was because I’d confused you for Mr. Cockroach, who told the same lie you did, higher up in the comments.

However, links to videos thoroughly eviscerating the false claim that the terrorist was merely acting purely in self-defense have already been present in the comments for more than a day. It’s on you for ignoring them and for pushing a false narrative.

Anonymous Coward says:

If you show up for a fight, don’t be surprised if you get hit. That goes for both sides.

This should be a very easy thing to deal with, but we, as Americans, seem to fuck it up.

The Declaration of Independence states that “All men are created equal”. Folks, in terms of race, that is all you need to know. Recognize that and no one has problems.

You are a redneck that wants to preserve the white race, you have every right to believe that, but don’t believe that you have a right to infringe on anyone else’s rights. Words do not equate to actions, say what you want, but act on it and be responsible for your actions under the fullest extent of the law.

FM Hilton (profile) says:

Free speech costs

I knew this would turn against the ACLU-they’re famous for defending the indefensible, against the worst odds. They’re right to do it, because the Constitution says they are.

Then some jerk will say that the indefensible doesn’t need to be defended at all.

In no time at all, there’s no speech at all for anyone.

Which isn’t a good plan, either.

Joe Dirt says:

This whole thing is a symptom of a so-called “press” that has stopped reporting and started proselytizing. They have been bought and paid for by those who would subjugate the world. Gone are the days of real journalism, and come have the days of propaganda warfare.

Now, in all honesty, propaganda has been around for a long time. But not until recently, have we had the power to speak to so many with so little effort or cost.

The internet has brought a power that none had truly understood until very recently. Sure, we all knew about the power to share information, and the power to market to a larger audience. But the power to overthrow governments and spread so much disinformation that no one even knows what the truth is anymore?

With Google and Facebook increasingly tailoring our searches and fine-tuning or circles of information and sources, is it any wonder that we only here like-minded ideas, resulting in confirmation bias to the point of violence? You need go no further than Reddit to see that the solution to hearing things you don’t like is to ban them, ostracize them, and ultimately just make them go away and never return. It isn’t an acceptable solution to just ignore them or engage them in debate to maybe even sway them to your point of view. NO… let’s just vilify and shame them into submission. Of course it hasn’t occurred to anyone that, just like outlawing alcohol or drugs, you just force them underground where you can’t see what they are doing anymore. Which option seems less dangerous?

You can argue that it is a private medium and as such it is their right, but has no one ever heard of practice makes perfect? Allow people to shut down ideas and speech they disagree with and it becomes expected that it can happen anywhere at any time. For the children, of course.

The plain truth is that most people do not believe any of the things these hate-filled people are espousing, but the 24-hour news cycle can’t report that. It doesn’t sell ad space and there’s a lot of space to fill with dozens of networks vying for those ad dollars.

We The People need to wake up and realize that nothing we see or hear on TV or on the internet is really what it seems. They are half-truths at best.

Those in power have a destination in mind and they will do all in their power to ensure we reach it. First by gentle coaxing, then more forceful prodding, and finally by force.

The forceful solution isn’t that far off now.

Orwell wasn’t a novelist, he was a prophet.

Joe Dirt says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I’m not a religious man by even the loosest definition, but I think this has some bearing, both then, and still today.

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”
He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
and seeing you will see and not perceive;
for the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
and their eyes they have closed,
…’

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The internet has brought a power that none had truly understood until very recently. Sure, we all knew about the power to share information, and the power to market to a larger audience. But the power to overthrow governments and spread so much disinformation that no one even knows what the truth is anymore?

Arguably what has happened is that the power to spread disinformation is no longer the monopoly of a smallgroup of press barons.

I watched the right wing press in the UK (mostly but not entirely Murdoch owned) keep Thatcher in power for a decade against the will of the people.

More recently May was nearly undermined by the internet wne she thought she had a sure fire Thatcher style landslide.

When you say "no one knows what the truth is" what you actually mean is that no one can agree on which lie to believe anymore. We never knew the truth.

Shane Roach (profile) says:

Since the TechDirt website censors anything to do with banking apparently, I will post this here:

TORCH BEARING! – peaceful and legal.

GUN TOTING! – peaceful and legal.

Antifa activists went there to provoke violence. You blame the victims because you percieve the victims as easy targets, making you a coward and a liar.

Closing the border has nothing to do with racism. Closing the border is necessary to get control over inequalities evolving out of foreign exchange market abuses of our fiat currency, four and a half decades now in arrears in backing their paper with anything of real value.

You and your socialist ilk have come to use the private banks as an extension of the government through the symbiotic relationship formed at the Federal Reserve. You use fake money as a tool for central planning, and you don’t like that it will have to be reformed when your access to cheap foreign slave labor is cut off.

So you pay thugs. Like you always have.

To destroy the innocent and enslave them to your will.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“FYI, TechDirt apparently blacklists the usual contraction for “foreign exchange””

Forex.

I bet this doesn’t get blocked.

Maybe it’s other words, your raving and ranting, you repeated complaining about words that have nothing to do with the conversation and your moronic conspiracy theories that are getting you caught in a spam queue?

JMT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"GUN TOTING! – peaceful and legal."

You don’t carry an assault rifle (NOT a ‘sporting’ rifle) with multiple magazines and wear camo and body armor when you want a peaceful situation. At the very least you’re trying to aggressively intimidate people you know won’t be armed and armored anywhere near the same way. I’m sure they were also well aware they outgunned the police. Peaceful my ass.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“You don’t carry an assault rifle (NOT a ‘sporting’ rifle) with multiple magazines”
I doubt anyone there but law enforcement had true assault rifles…considering the definition of those pertains to rifles that fore more than one bullet per trigger squeeze. But hey, go ahead and intentionally try to mislead the people with your agenda based definitions so that you can continue to try and convince people that discrimination based upon appearances is okay. Rifles today, and maybe people tomorrow?

JMT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"I doubt anyone there but law enforcement had true assault rifles…"

Well by your definition even the police don’t have assault rifles (pretty sure theirs are also semi-auto), and by multiple accounts they had even less than that, and held back because they felt at a disadvantage.

"…considering the definition of those pertains to rifles that fore more than one bullet per trigger squeeze."

Is that formalized somewhere? Codified in law maybe? I don’t see why a civilian semi-auto version of a weapon originally designed for military use can’t be called an assault rifle. I don’t think it’s an inflammatory label, it seems quite accurate. They weren’t designed for hunting or target shooting and then up-spec’d for the military. They were designed to kill people and then had the full-auto functionality removed for sale to civilians. But if the term offends you so much, what exactly should we be calling them?

"But hey, go ahead and intentionally try to mislead the people with your agenda based definitions so that you can continue to try and convince people that discrimination based upon appearances is okay. Rifles today, and maybe people tomorrow?"

Wow, apparently I’m on a far slipperier slope than I ever realized, and also have immense powers of persuasion… Who exactly am I misleading here? Anybody who’s seen the photos can make their own judgement about the type of weapons being carried and how effective/dangerous/bad-ass they really are. Even if the guns and armor were really just plastic fakes, they were carried and worn for a purpose. I’ve stated my opinion on what I believe the purpose was, I invite you to do the same.

Pronounce (profile) says:

Ever Notice How Divisions are Divisive?

I sure have.

Cultures much older than the one in the U.S. has been dealing with this for a very long time. Take Africa for instance. For many thousands of years Africa was broken into tribes. A tribe “owned” its land, and it’s culture was distinctive. Europeans showed up and shook up the whole place by assigning weird and arbitrary boundaries to the land and giving power to one tribe over another.

Well now it seems that some of those of European dissent living in the U.S. have decided that the tribe (race identity) is a good way to fight for their right to the scarce resources of the land in which they live.

Hmmm, if one ponders this long enough it is easy to see where this leads.

But let’s not highlight that a race is behaving in a tribal manner without noting that the other race has done so for millions of years.

Anonymous Coward says:

Who cares about the past? These dickheads want to march around a statue, let them, look at them, laugh and go on your way. Turning this into a media circus is exactly what they want.

How many pro Nazi’s showed up? How long did they travel for that march? How few of them were there?

So we want to make a big deal about a small gathering of dickheads? What have we come to?

Anonymous Coward says:

The key and only important take-away...

is that Google has effectively censored this “Stormcloud” or whatever by denying it domain registration. Techdirt will ignore that, or assert that it’s “good”; a corporation is private and therefore has the POWER over persons to censor viewpoints. Without due process nor appeal. That trend will continue, it’s too heady for anyone to resist. We’re off down the slippery slope to real censorship. — And NO, I’m not upset by THAT censorship as such (because the specific is outside common law), but be sure that Google will use this “good” to implement the “bad” to eventually outlaw all “rightist” opposition. That’s been the plan of The Rich for decades to centuries now.

So I say don’t defend this particular, NOR let corporations became the arbiter of what speech is allowed: only common law is up to that level.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The key and only important take-away...

Google is not the internet. If you don’t like how they manage search results, there are plenty of other search engines out there for you to use.

That said, it is a private entity and is allowed to moderate its search results however it sees fit. Much like how I’m completely within my rights to deny entry to anyone I choose within my own home.

aethercowboy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The key and only important take-away...

Stormcloud, a presumably racist web publication, wrote an article about the victim of the car incident. In response, GoDaddy, their host and registrar cancelled their hosting account for violating their TOS wrt hate speech. Stormcloud then went to Google Domains to transfer, but were declined on similar grounds.

Anonymous Coward says:

In the end, it won't matter

The monuments — most of which, by the way, were erected during the Jim Crow era and NOT immediately following the Civil War — WILL come down. The good citizens of Durham tore one of theirs down last night. The rest will follow, either in the same way or in other ways.

This is long overdue. We don’t commemorate traitors, and every single Confederate soldier was one. They betrayed the Constitution. They sought to kill American troops. They don’t deserve monuments and we will see that they have none.

And for those idiots who whine about their precious southern heritage — you know, the heritage of slavery and treason, of terrorism and lynchings: maybe you should read more. Robert E. Lee didn’t think there should be any monuments either.

The Logician says:

Re: In the end, it won't matter

So the, you are in favor of forgetting history and its lessons and removing all reminders of our mistakes that we might make them anew? A highly illogical position. While slavery is unethical, the right of any state to secede from the union should they feel that the union has lost its way and become the tyranny it was once created to oppose is not and should not be forgotten. That right remains still within every state’s constitution. This country was founded through rebellion. Your position implies, then, that everyone who fights a rebellion for any reason is always wrong to do so, which is a position that itself is incorrect and nonsensical. I would advise you to retract it, lest you make yourself appear even more foolish than you already have.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: In the end, it won't matter

Germany destroyed Nazi monuments and symbology after World War II, and people have not forgotten about the true horrors of the Third Reich.

The US has monuments to slaveowning racist traitors scattered across the South, and people still think the Confederacy is something worth celebrating despite that group losing the Civil War.

If anything, those monuments do more to distort the history we should be teaching our children than they do to preserve it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: In the end, it won't matter

Pretty much every founder of the US is a racist traitor in some form of fashion. That’s what the whole 3/5 compromise was about.

And yet people continue to flee TO the US FROM the places they were born.

hmmmmm

Your problem is you have no conception of your own failings. All failings belong to the other side in your view.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 In the end, it won't matter

Yes, our Founding Fathers were flawed men. They owned slaves, oppressed women, and allowed the genocide of the native population—for starters. Any recounting of the history of this country should take account of their deeds, both good and evil, and let the listener judge them accordingly.

By the same token, we must consider the Confederacy with the same kind of honest reckoning. The Confederacy seceded from the United States so it could preserve the right to own Black people as property based on the color of their skin. Every leader of the Confederacy, both civilian and military, went to war with the United States for that cause—and they lost that war.

The Founding Fathers laid the groundwork for the laws and principles which govern our country. They deserve credit and celebration, not deification, for their role in creating this country. By contrast, the Confederacy split this country in two over the right to treat certain people as property and ultimately lost a war it started over that cause. That does not deserve celebration—only condemnation from the history books and museums that teach the honest story of the Confederacy.

The Logician says:

Re: Re: Re:4 In the end, it won't matter

So you would not agree with a state seceding today in protest of the nation’s many abuses? What the Civil War truly did was cow the states into submission to the central government,when according to the Constitution, the central government was to be smaller and answer to the states. It was never intended to become the bureaucratic behemoth it is today.The Civil War was the last time the states truly stood up to the central government. Is that ability truly something that should have been lost? And what happens when the powerful decide they no longer wish monuments and exhibits of beliefs you share to be seen?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Let them secede.

Hey, if a state wants to secede from the United States and become a nation-state within the landmass that encompasses the country, let them. I mean, sure, the people in that state will have to deal with their being cut off from every federal program in which they are enrolled—Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, SNAP, you get the drill—and the state government will have to come up with an entirely new way of dealing with the state-wide economy after the federal government cuts the state off from normal participation in the US economy and travel/shipping routes…but hey, at least they won’t have to deal with “Big Government”, right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: In the end, it won't matter

I believe someone going after moreu of America’s freedom incited this demonstration in keeping in alignment with the kinder, gentler agenda that has been stripping away America’s will to fight for our rights and not just our Constitutional rights, but our INALIENABLE RIGHTS to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: In the end, it won't matter

You can’t deny the past. Many Americans’ anceestors fought to the death for something they belived in. You can’t ethically or morally deny their right to pay creedence to their next of kin no matter what the wind is blowing in today. No matter that they were beaten by the north.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: In the end, it won't matter

I agree. Let’s not stop there, let the book burnings begin!! /sarcasm

By your reckoning, we need to tear down all monuments raised to FDR. He never criticized Henry Ford’s anti-Semitic magazine and even rewarded Ford with the Jeep contract. FDR associated with and assisted a known hater of Jews. Let’s tear down all of those FDR monuments!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: "First American Civil War"

The war is absolutely fine, as long as it is a war of words. We should all condemn the violence and respond to words with words. Did you see the bit on Tucker Carlson about the BLM co-founder saying Hate Speech is not protected for the first amendment? Wow, that’s just deeply wrong, speech is protected, even speech you don’t agree with. Wars are OK, if they are wars of words. Words only. Word War 1, Word War 2, they’re all fine. Send your flaming missiles and missives in every direction, if you can. The left is just so stupid it doesn’t have the vocabulary or argument to win, so it resorts to violence. Catch up, you lefties, you idiot youngins.

FM Hilton (profile) says:

And yet..

Now that Donald Trump has told everyone that there were two wrong sides to the affair, we can now rest easy.

We’re all wrong, you see, but he’s right to be a Neo-Nazi sympathizer because some of those people are nice.

He’s still waiting for evidence to prove that Neo-Nazis are bad people. He’s not convinced of it, yet.

Oh, and by the way-he’s the POTUS. Nice moral quality he has shown us all, isn’t it?

Sure, Washington owned slaves. Now we have a leader who wants to bring back slavery…or at least Jim Crow.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Not American, right? We got over this a long time ago in America, with a few exceptions, of course, but we just ignore them. “Centrists are only making things worse”. Right, ordinary people going to work and build a life for their family are only making things worse. Worse for you, maybe, and that’s a good thing. Who needs idiots like you focusing on hate? Get a job. MAGA

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Assume, for a moment, that you have a racist male White co-worker—the kind of racist who, if given the chance, will belt out hateful rhetoric without hesitation or irony. For the purposes of this thought experiment, this hypothetical man is named “Jimmy”.

One day at work, you hear Jimmy say “nigger” while talking about the police. In that moment, you have three choices: ignore him and go about your day, report him to his supervisor, or directly confront him about his use of a racial slur. The second and third options provide direct consequences for his racist behavior; the first option does not.

You choose to ignore Jimmy’s blatant racism and go about your day.

The next day, you hear Jimmy say “nigger” again, and he does it more than once. You notice that several of your co-workers hear him this time. You again choose to ignore him, thinking someone else will report him or confront him about it. No one does, for whatever reason. You and everyone else go about your day.

After a week, Jimmy feels emboldened enough by a lack of confrontation and consequences that he says “nigger” to the face of a Black co-worker. You still say nothing; everyone else does the same. But that Black co-worker of yours slugs Jimmy in the face. Both men are sent home—Jimmy for the day, his co-worker for good. You and everyone else go about your day, but with the image of Jimmy getting slugged for using a racial slur forefront in your mind.

When he returns to work the next day, Jimmy seems unusually quiet compared to the past week—especially when he is in the presence of another Black co-worker.

After another week passes, Jimmy says “nigger” within your earshot again. You now know that, if confronted about his language, he will likely back down from saying it again. You get those same three decisions from earlier placed in front of you: ignore him, report him, or confront him yourself.

But before you can react, one of your co-workers—a White one this time—yells at Jimmy to shut up. He does just that. Everyone, including you, goes about the rest of the day without incident. The next day, Jimmy is back to being quiet.

When you stay silent against racists and fearmongers—when you think ignoring them will somehow make them go away—you make them feel as if they have nothing to fear from being openly racist in front of you. Your silence is assumed complicity in their hatred. After all, if you really think what they are saying is wrong, you would say so.

The bigots and racists will continue to win so long as they feel as if their rhetoric, ideas, and actions deserve a place in the public sphere. All who oppose the ideas that people like Jimmy stand for must declare their opposition without hesitation. Ignoring them will not stop them; showing them that they are alone in their beliefs will.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

OK, but what if he was black, and said the same things, and the same things happened, same lesson? Why can black people use certain words and white people can’t? Why are you so sensitive about something so trivial anyway. The whole story you weave sounds disgustingly personal, and romanticizes violence and conflict. Violence is bad. Words are words. Pussy.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

If you’ll notice, I did not “romanticize” violence. In my hypothetical, the only man to throw a punch was sent home from his job for good—i.e., fired—for doing so.

As for “romanticizing” conflict: You say this as if we should all attempt to avoid conflict no matter what. But we cannot do that, not even hypothetically. We will all encounter a conflict, physical or otherwise, at some point in our lives. Learning how to deal with that conflict in a healthy way is a much better option for us than ignoring it and hoping it goes away.

And as for the issue of who can say what words and when, I will let The Weekly Sift’s article on the subject speak for me.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

bullying

Jimmy was the only bully in this narrative, as he was the one who subjected his co-workers to hostile racist language without regard for what they thought. The co-worker who punched him and the co-worker who shouted him down were reacting to his provocations. Actions have consequences, even for bullies.

enforcing your will on others

The co-workers who confronted Jimmy did not “enforce their will” on him. He could have still said racist statements and slung around racial slurs. What stopped him was not some sort of “enforcement of will” by his co-workers, but Jimmy’s own realization that he was becoming an outcast. He stopped being a loud-and-proud racist at work; nothing stops him from being one in private with friends who believe as he does.

controlling speech at the expense of freedom

Jimmy is never legally stopped from speaking his racist rhetoric. He can do it all he wants without being arrested. But the First Amendment does not protect him from other people confronting him over his use of racial slurs, nor would it protect him from being fired if his employer believed that using such language was creating a hostile work environment. Again: Actions have consequences.

cowardice and stupidity associated with ascribing such deep meaning to playground words

“Nigger” is a racial slur with a centuries-old history of being used by racists and slaveowners to dehumanize an entire group of people based on the color of their skin. I have no idea how you can equate it to “playground words”; I do not want to know why you would even try.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

This is politically correct crapola, and you are a politically correct crappie. Nigger is a word that black people can use unrestricted when referencing other black people. That is, black people are not hurt by black people saying it, but they are hurt by white people saying it. This is racism, you idiot. When you condemn me not for what I say but for the color of my skin, you are a racist. You. Are. A. Racist.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

A racial slur with a detailed history of being used to dehumanize Black people so enslaving and torturing them would go over easier is unavailable for you to use as a consequence-free insult. And you are angry about that. You are angry that you cannot go up to a Black person and call them a “nigger” as if you are just slinging around playground banter.

That, uh…that sounds pretty damn racist to me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Funny, that. I’m angry? I’m laughing at you, racist. I’m enjoying it, really. Justify your history of abuse, why not ask for reparations for all your imaginary ills? How about I give up my wealth and give it to you to say I’m sorry, does that fit into your racist agenda? Need some special treatment that no one else gets because of your history of abuse at the hands of white people? Hello? You’re Canadian, right, let me explain something to you. We don’t like racists in the US. We’re busy making it great. None of us Americans are so easily hurt by words, that’s just crapoola, as I mentioned previously. But thank you for playing, you’re a poster child of repressed rage and racism for all to see, you have a long and storied history. Stay in Canada.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 LOLwut.

Justify your history of abuse, why not ask for reparations for all your imaginary ills?

I am a White guy, so I do not need reparations…

How about I give up my wealth and give it to you to say I’m sorry, does that fit into your racist agenda?

…but hey, if you really want me to have it, who am I to argue?

You’re Canadian

I am an American, having been born and raised in North Carolina.

We don’t like racists in the US.

And yet here you are, all but arguing that you should be allowed to use a well-known racial slur without consequence. That sounds like something a racist would do.

None of us Americans are so easily hurt by words

Shiva Ayyadurai’s multi-million-dollar lawsuit against Techdirt says otherwise.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 LOLwut.

If you want to compare the two, OK. I fully believe it is possible to sue someone for calling you a nigger. Have it, that’s our society. Punching them for saying it makes you a criminal, you belong in jail. Intimidating them is also wrong and illegal. Taking them to court is fine. Your story is disturbing, really, it has the heart of a mob mentality of “enforcers”, it’s so totalitarian and evil. Sick, really.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 LOLwut.

I fully believe it is possible to sue someone for calling you a nigger.

Could someone file such a lawsuit? Yes. Would it get very far in the courts? Not likely. Would such a lawsuit bring a lot of unwanted attention to the person being sued and, if they actually did say the word, prompt them to re-think ever saying it again? I suppose anything is possible.

Punching them for saying it makes you a criminal, you belong in jail.

Well, I am glad we cleared up whether assault is illegal. Not that it was ever in question, but still.

Intimidating them is also wrong and illegal.

“Wrong” is a moral judgment that depends wholly on the context. Illegal? Only if that intimidation comes with a threat of violence or harm. Intimidating someone with a threat of “I am never going to speak to you again if you keep saying that” is hardly an arrestable offense, and I seriously doubt anyone would call that “wrong”.

Your story is disturbing, really, it has the heart of a mob mentality of "enforcers", it’s so totalitarian and evil.

Gee, it is almost as if communities of people have a right to decide who they will or will not associate with, what behavior they will and will not tolerate from members of that community, and what behavior is so intolerable that it results in someone getting kicked out of that community. Imagine that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11 LOLwut.

“What behavior they will or will not tolerate”?

Really? Share that with us, Stephen, spell it out, please. Exactly what will you tolerate or not tolerate?

1. You’re white, can you say nigger (did you break your own rule?)

2. Are the other words that are forbidden for certain people to use certain ways?

3. Are only black people part of your toleration standards, or do you have different standards for different races?

4. Do you subdivide within the races or across races?

Just spell it out for us, Stephen, exactly what do you tolerate and not tolerate?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:12 LOLwut.

I can say the word “nigger” all I want. Nothing can legally stop me from doing so. But my usage of the word here has a specific context: I have been referencing the word, not talking about Black people. If I were to use the word as an insult, I would, could, and should rightly be called a racist. I have no business using that word outside of this one specific context.

Generally, slurs that have histories of being used by a majority portion of the population to dehumanize or denigrate minority populations are considered “offensive”. A straight person is likely to be called out for using the word “faggot”, but a gay person less so. But even those minority populations have discussions and debates about whether trying to reclaim slurs is the right thing to do—for example, the LGBT community and “queer”.

I do not tolerate racist language, save for supposed racial slurs against White people such as myself. A Black man calling me a “cracker” is not, and never will be, anywhere near the equivalent of me calling that Black man a “nigger”.

And when I talk about race in America, I try to follow a set of racial language guidelines created by a blogger known only as Abagond. I find those guidelines useful enough to adopt as part of my personal “style guide” for discussions such as this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:13 LOLwut.

Wow, Stephen, that’s great. So, I can call you a nigger, you can call me a nigger, that’s fine right? Nigger. A black person can call me a nigger, but I cannot call a black person a nigger. Who made that rule exactly, you? Or you Abagond guy? I don’t like that rule, it looks racist to me. Racist. In your story, you intimidated the racist-male co-worker into silence, and you condoned the intimidation. That’s just illegal, immoral, and un-American, which I think you are, too. Here in the US we have laws, and courts to settle these kinds of things. Abagond does not rule American society, he only seems to rule the small cult of Pirates called Techdirt (and probably Google).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:15 Oh lord.

Gosh, you are hard to understand. Clear this up for me, say I’m (white/black/brown/yellow/red male/female/other) and someone different than me calls me a nigger. And then I say “Well, everybody is somebody’s nigger”. Is that racist, in your racist lexicon of acceptable speech, or is it OK, and why?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

When did people in America lose the right to be racist? I thought it was a freedom protected by the constitution. I’m not a racist, but believe in individual freedoms guaranteed by the constitution. I know there are laws against denying equality in many areas of life, but when did an individual lose the right to like or dislike someone for personal reasons, whatever they might be?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Well, you’ve really twisted his words into something he didn’t say at all, kind of typical for you leftist Google Globalists. Label, blame, point your figure, call someone a racist, add a sexual component. You’re pathetic, as always. He was speaking to the right to think. Do we have the right to think as we please? Are their consequences for thinking, you totalitarian idiot?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“you leftist Google Globalists”

Oh dear, has your paranoid fantasy been telling you that I work for Google again? Time to take your medication. It’s OK, the real world is a lot less scary when you decide to visit.

“point your figure”

It’s called a finger, and I did no such thing.

“call someone a racist”

I did no such thing.

“add a sexual component”

If you think there was anything sexual about my comment, you might have something repressed that you might wish to deal with. Perhaps this unhealthy repression is the root of your mental issues?

“Are their consequences for thinking, you totalitarian idiot?”

No, only for action. You can think in racist terms all you want, but as soon as you put that into action there may be consequences. The people in question here took strong public action to announce themselves as racists, others are showing them the consequences of that action. If all they did was sit at home thinking racist thoughts, there would be no repercussions.

Sorry, if you think it’s “totalitarian” for your fellow citizens to react to your actions and not just passively roll over while you treat other races as lesser human beings, you have some serious problems.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Yes, you idiot, I expect you to “roll over” and follow the actual law, not your personal moralistic politically correct horseshit. I will think what I want, I will say what I want, and I will carry a concealed weapon to backup my right to do it. I’m American, check me out. MAGA

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

“Yes, you idiot, I expect you to “roll over” and follow the actual law”

The law says I don’t have to tolerate your speech and can react to it, within certain boundaries.

Why are you trying to deny people the rights allowed them by law?

“I will think what I want, I will say what I want, and I will carry a concealed weapon to backup my right to do it.”

Yes, you do seem like the kind of idiot who demands the ability to quickly kill people if your feelings are hurt. What a pathetic existence it must be to be this scared and unable to resolve issues without violence.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Hey, come on by sometime, we all get alone fine here. See those holes in the stop sign? That’s where we blow off our steam. We don’t kill people much, mostly just stop signs, sometimes random road signs. It’s fun, really. We resolve issues all the time. Not so much with stupid foreigners, but hey, we’ll give it a go. Bring some beer and your own gun.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

“See those holes in the stop sign? That’s where we blow off our steam.”

So, you are a violent moron with no qualms about the costs of his actions. I guessed as much. I prefer to blow off steam in ways that don’t damage public property or risk injury to others. Let me guess – you’re the kind of fool who will do this then bitch about taxes when the repair bill comes in?

“Bring some beer and your own gun”

Sorry, you seem like the kind of person who can’t hold his drink. I’ll stick with the people I can chat about the world with over a nice pint without the need to resort to deadly violence.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

Hey, to each his own. Stop signs aint expensive, and I told you we don’t shoot people much, hardly at all, actually. Can’t remember the last time. I think Jimmy shot his own foot once, not so bad, didn’t need that toenail anyway. Grew back fine. No nail, of course. Want to bitch about taxes? Great, come on over. But bring your own gun, your own beer, and for you, I think you better pay an entrance fee. You’re kind of a jerk.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Sorry, but he said nothing of the sort… you are trying way too hard to find fault where none lies. It is a discussion about the ability to have one’s own opinion. Do you act on every thought or belief in your head or do you consider the consequences of them first?

If you have a certain belief and choose not act on it is it still wrong?

Actions speak… how does that go again?

You obviously believe you are better than someone who doesn’t believe in the same things you do. Do you act on that belief? I believe you already have, and it shows how unenlightened you truly are. You denigrate others and virtue signal in an effort to find self worth and reassurance in your misguided belief that you are on the right side of an issue that has nothing to do with race and everything to do with inalienable personal responsibilities and personal liberties.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Speech is NOT action. Period. Belief is NOT action.

To imply that you have the right to respond with violence because someone hurt your feelings is the very reason for the events that transpired.

Just because one group spews idiotic tripe doesn’t give another group the right to use violence. It takes 2 to play the game that was on display in Va.

lets read a little from Dr Ben Shapiro on this very subject shall we?

… As spoiled, ignorant college students all across America consider ditching their exams but not their bongs to protest the supposed scourge of racism on campus, two terms have been repeated ad infinitum: “white privilege” and “microaggressions.”

These terms have become prominent at the university level because when you live in the most wealthy country in the history of mankind and have nothing better to do than play Xbox and vape — and when that same country glorifies victims of all types – you must come up with something to complain about. And so students like Jonathan Butler, the Mizzou hunger striker and a child of unending privilege, complains about “white privilege.” Smith College idjit junior Raven Fowles-Witten, attending a privileged, tony establishment university, complains about “microaggressions in classrooms.”

What do these terms mean?

As I explained yesterday, “white privilege” is simply a term meaning “you’re a white person so shut the hell up.” Leftists suggest that anyone who is white carries advantages from skin color, particularly on campus, despite the fact that minority non-Jewish non-Asian students get into colleges with far lesser statistical scores. The only way to avoid charges of “white privilege” is to self-scourge sufficiently: like Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade, only the penitent man (or non-cisnormative human) shall pass. If you don’t believe in “white privilege,” that is merely another example of your “white privilege.”

Then there are “microaggressions.” Like “white privilege,” “microaggressions” live in the vague fantasy spaces of the leftist mind. Microaggressions and white privilege surround us, even if we’re not aware of them. Like The Force, they constitute an energy field created by all living things, surrounding us, separating us, tearing the galaxy apart.

To be more exact, “microaggressions,” according to social psychologist Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff in The Atlantic, “are small actions or word choices that seem on their face to have no malicious intent but that are thought of as a kind of violence nonetheless.” So how do you know they’re malicious? You don’t. Your subjective interpretation of the comments is what counts. As overeducated moron Aaron Z. Lewis, 21, of Yale told The New York Times, “I don’t think it matters what my own personal experiences are with [racism on campus]. What matters is that we all need to have empathy for the experiences that people of color have even if we don’t have those experiences for ourselves…It really is hard to believe because we want to believe that we’re a postracial society, but it’s just not true.”

Now, the beautiful thing about microaggressions is the term itself: microaggressions. They aren’t “micro-offensive statements.” Or “micro-insults.” They’re tiny aggressions, almost physical in nature. Such aggressions, as with all aggressions, call for punishment. Calling a transgender female – a man who thinks he is a woman – “sir” is grounds for legal battery, according to the left, because it is simply too microaggressive. Words may not break our bones, but they justify sticks and stones. That’s why assistant professor Melissa Click of Mizzou felt justified in calling for some “muscle” to deal with a reporter who wanted to take pictures of hunger-striking students: “She said she felt threatened by [reporter Mark Schierbecker]…She said she felt that she and the students were being aggressed upon.” That’s why black students at Mizzou said today that they wanted white students moved away from them so they could have a “safe space” — “white privilege” itself, the status of whiteness, represents a “microaggression” in need of full-on racist rectification.

Like all fascists, the Pantywaist Fascists must claim that they are not the original aggressors. Like Vladimir Putin claiming that Ukraine instigated violence, or Hitler claiming that the needs of German ethnics in Czechoslovakia required annexation, today’s fascists now claim that non-events justify calling in the men with guns.

“White privilege,” in short, is an excuse to shut you up.

“Microaggression,” in short, is an excuse to arrest, jail, or hurt you.

Together, these two ideas represent an existential threat to Western thoughts and freedoms. Coming in the guise of sensitivity, they end with force. In America, tyranny won’t come via jackboot, at least not at the outset. It’ll come in Uggs.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

Speech is NOT action. […] Belief is NOT action.

On the latter, you are correct; on the former, you are not.

If you believe a person should die—who that person is does not matter—holding that belief is not an action. You cannot be arrested for holding a belief or thinking a certain thought. We do not have magical mind-reading devices, after all.

But if you express that belief, in any way, you have committed an act. Saying the words out loud, writing them down in a notebook, painting them on a bathroom wall—all actions, all of which express a specific opinion. And anyone who sees or hears your expression in whatever form it takes is allowed to react however they wish.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

"And anyone who sees or hears your expression in whatever form it takes is allowed to react however they wish."

So by you writing this statement, am I allowed to be offended and commit an act of violence on you merely because I disagree? Do you really think believe that to be true?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:12 Re:

Technically, NO YOU ARE NOT. Please show me the law that allows me to hit you for being mean to me or expressing your opinion. You can’t because there are none.

I can show you several for committing violence upon another person, however.

Believing that speech can be responded to with violence is something a 4-year-old would believe, not a mature thinking person. And for the record, I am not calling you a 4-year-old.

If you can’t articulate your concerns over another’s speech without violence, then you have no argument. What you have is an irrational emotion that you can’t seem to control, resulting in lashing out. This is not a defensible action.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:13 Re:

The law does not prevent you from hitting me. Legally and technically, nothing can stop you from punching me in the nose for saying something with which you disagree. Unless you lack the ability to do so, you can totally hit me for saying, I’unno, “Shiva Ayyadurai did not invent email”.

The law does, however, punish you for punching me in the nose. It describes an offense and provides a remedy for the victim of said offense, often in the form of imprisonment of the offender. You can hit me, but you cannot escape the consequences of your act.

Knowing you can do something that has huge consequences attached and actually doing it are two different things.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:14 Re:

So you change the discussion from civil rights to something about Free Will? WTF?

Being free to say whatever you like in no way violates anyone else’s rights. This is a core point of the idea of freedom in the US. We have the following rights:
the right of personal security (life),
the right of personal liberty,
the right of private property.
As long as I don’t infringe on your rights, I am free to do what I like. It’s really that simple. Speech, in no way infringes on your rights. Violence, however very definitely infringes on mine.

If you can’t admit the difference, then you are being deliberately obtuse.

You enjoy you’re day.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:15 No duh.

Speech, in no way infringes on your rights. Violence, however very definitely infringes on mine.

Until the actual violent act takes place, your rights remain uninfringed. Someone can technically respond to harsh words or rhetoric with an act of violence even though such a response is the wrong thing to do. The reason most people do not respond with violence is the knowledge that committing violence will land them in jail.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:16 No duh.

What you fail to comprehend, Steve. T. Stone head, are societal norms, likely because you live your mother’s basement and are not part of society. You’re a Techdirt supremacist for all to see, ready to employ your trivial understanding of law to back up your uneducated point of view and inflict your will on others. Pathetic.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

“Speech is NOT action. Period. Belief is NOT action.”

No. But, I didn’t say they were. However, shouting white power slogans at a gathering of Nazis IS action.

I’m not going to read your wall of text, quite frankly you’re not worth the effort and quick skimming shows some idiotic buzzwords typically used by people who can’t deal with the complexities of the real world. But, I will assume you’re not addressing anything I’ve actually said, since you start by addressing something I did not say..

“To imply that you have the right to respond with violence because someone hurt your feelings is the very reason for the events that transpired.”

Nazis gathered and ran over counterprotesters because I said that actions have consequences? What a strange fantasy world you live in. I’m glad I live in the real world instead.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

“If you have a certain belief and choose not act on it is it still wrong?”

Of course not. Which is why I specifically said that it’s action that’s being judged and not thoughts.

Are you incapable of understanding what I clearly wrote, or do you need me to use simpler words?

“inalienable personal responsibilities and personal liberties”

None of which are violated by merely reacting to another’s action.

Anonymous Coward says:

“As some people need to be constantly reminded, free speech is not speech without consequences. Ignorant, nasty, brutish statements deserve the criticism they receive. What they shouldn’t be met with is calls for the government to step in and tell everyone what sort of speech is permitted.”

By definition, freedom of speech is speech without consequences. Tim Cushing’s statement I quoted above is a callback to a disturbing trend in social media in recent years – that freedom of speech is only a legal concept and that it isn’t a societal value.

This is wrongheaded and dangerous. It’s tantamount to saying mob justice should be what decides what speech is acceptable in society. Because let’s face it – there’s plenty of legal and quasi-legal means of intimidation and coercion to intimidate others into silence.

That’s not freedom of speech. That’s not neo-Nazis making their case and the public rejecting their hateful views on their demerits. It’s outrage mongerers and moral authoritarians deciding the rules of the road for what speech can be spoken.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If your definition of ‘freedom of speech’ is along the lines of ‘You can say what you want without any consequences’ then we’ve never had it and never should, because that ‘freedom’ is entirely one-sided and is in fact ‘protecting’ the ‘freedom’ of one at the cost of the ‘freedoms’ of others.

If you care to limit it to ‘You can say what you want(barring extreme exceptions) without government consequences’ then most people would probably be in agreement with that.

If Person A says something that Person B considers stupid and/or offensive, Person B is not in any way infringing on A’s free speech rights to call them out on it and/or decide that they want nothing to do with them(whether personally, as part of a group or financially). A is still free to speak, they just have to accept that doing so can have consequences socially.

That the government can not and should not(again, barring extreme exceptions) be allowed to impose legal consequences for speech they don’t like does not mean that society is or should be similarly constrained. To argue otherwise is basically saying that the person who speaks first has more rights than the people who might want to respond to them, that their right to speak and associate with who they will is more important that the rights of speech and association of those around them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

If your definition of ‘freedom of speech’ is along the lines of ‘You can say what you want without any consequences’ then we’ve never had it and never should, because that ‘freedom’ is entirely one-sided and is in fact ‘protecting’ the ‘freedom’ of one at the cost of the ‘freedoms’ of others.

I disagree on a fundamental level that one’s freedom of speech costs others their freedoms. Substantiate your reasoning or this will be the extent of my answer to you on this point.

If you care to limit it to ‘You can say what you want(barring extreme exceptions) without government consequences’ then most people would probably be in agreement with that.

Yes, but limiting it to that invites mob justice to be the censors instead. And having been on the receiving end of mob justice, I can tell you there is no just outcome.

If Person A says something that Person B considers stupid and/or offensive, Person B is not in any way infringing on A’s free speech rights to call them out on it and/or decide that they want nothing to do with them(whether personally, as part of a group or financially). A is still free to speak, they just have to accept that doing so can have consequences socially.

Sure, and that’s fine. Where it’s not fine is when person B responds by spooking your employer out of assigning you any more hours so you become unable to pay your rent. What’s not fine is your children receiving death threats. What’s not fine is your life’s work and volunteer efforts being sabotaged by people who don’t care that they targeted the wrong person. What’s not fine is being SWATed or Firetrucked. What’s not fine is having knives and dirty needles mailed to your home along with notes telling you to kill yourself.

And this only covers ills on the individual level. Many more horrors have been enacted on the institutional level.

I could go on but I’m sure you get my point by now.

That the government can not and should not(again, barring extreme exceptions) be allowed to impose legal consequences for speech they don’t like does not mean that society is or should be similarly constrained. To argue otherwise is basically saying that the person who speaks first has more rights than the people who might want to respond to them, that their right to speak and associate with who they will is more important that the rights of speech and association of those around them.

You lost me there. How in the world does speaking first deprive the rights of those who might want to respond?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I disagree on a fundamental level that one’s freedom of speech costs others their freedoms. Substantiate your reasoning or this will be the extent of my answer to you on this point.

It would seem one or more of us is misreading the other then, so I’ll try to clarify.

When I noted that it was in response to the ‘freedom of speech is speech without consequences’ line, which I half disagree with.

I agree that the government shouldn’t be handing out penalties for the exercise of one’s free speech(again, barring extreme cases), but so long as the response is reasonable I do think that members of the public should feel free to impose penalties of their own, like counter-arguments or disassociating themselves from a person/group in response to something they said.

Free speech means you can say what you like, but saying that it’s only free if there’s no consequences read to me as though it was saying that the public shouldn’t be allowed to respond in kind, which is what I meant when I said one person’s rights were being given preferential treatment over another’s. If that’s not what you were saying however then feel free to clarify, as it’s possible we’re quibbling over terminology more than stances.

Yes, but limiting it to that invites mob justice to be the censors instead. And having been on the receiving end of mob justice, I can tell you there is no just outcome.

Limiting it to what? People have opinions, they differ at times, and sometimes a large number of people will have opinions that differ from another person’s and respond. Mob justice does tend more towards ‘mob’ than ‘justice’ to be sure, but that doesn’t really invalidate the idea of multiple people disagreeing with someone and making that known, and so long as they don’t go overboard while it may suck to be on the receiving end that’s just how it works sometimes.

Sure, and that’s fine. Where it’s not fine is […]

And this only covers ills on the individual level. Many more horrors have been enacted on the institutional level.

I could go on but I’m sure you get my point by now.

And such actions I wouldn’t support and would consider going over(or way over) the line of acceptable, as those go from responding to speech with counter arguments or even insults into threats and actions that can have very real, possibly deadly consequences. ‘Unless there’s imminent physical harm on the horizon response should generally be limited to speech and/or choice of association’ seems like a fair standard, though given I just threw it together it could likely use some fine-tuning.

You lost me there. How in the world does speaking first deprive the rights of those who might want to respond?

As noted above speaking first doesn’t, the idea(which could very well be a misread on my part) that speaking shouldn’t have consequences does, as it would limit the free speech and association rights of those that might want to respond.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I agree that the government shouldn’t be handing out penalties for the exercise of one’s free speech(again, barring extreme cases), but so long as the response is reasonable I do think that members of the public should feel free to impose penalties of their own, like counter-arguments or disassociating themselves from a person/group in response to something they said.
> Free speech means you can say what you like, but saying that it’s only free if there’s no consequences read to me as though it was saying that the public shouldn’t be allowed to respond in kind, which is what I meant when I said one person’s rights were being given preferential treatment over another’s. If that’s not what you were saying however then feel free to clarify, as it’s possible we’re quibbling over terminology more than stances.

Individual shunning I’m okay with. It’s when those people get others to join them (or else…) to continue the attack that it goes from freedom of speech to mob justice with the intent of shutting down speech.

Counterarguments as far as I’m concerned is counterspeech and falls under free speech. Where I draw the line (and where it goes to far too often these days) involves institutional censorship and career ruination, and “news” outlets doxing no-name civilians in hopes their readership will ruin the person’s career, threaten their physical safety, and worse.

This stuff happens with speech far more innocuous than white nationalism.

> Limiting it to what? People have opinions, they differ at times, and sometimes a large number of people will have opinions that differ from another person’s and respond. Mob justice does tend more towards ‘mob’ than ‘justice’ to be sure, but that doesn’t really invalidate the idea of multiple people disagreeing with someone and making that known, and so long as they don’t go overboard while it may suck to be on the receiving end that’s just how it works sometimes.

Because the mob isn’t just people disagreeing (assuming any of them even read the damn thing they claim to disagree with or if they’re using it as a blank canvas to paint their insecurities and hatred on top of). It’s people who want to prevent you from speaking publicly again. People who want you to be hurt. Ruined. People who want to ensure your speech is met with crippling sanctions. This speech could be something as minor as a faux pas.

>And such actions I wouldn’t support and would consider going over(or way over) the line of acceptable, as those go from responding to speech with counter arguments or even insults into threats and actions that can have very real, possibly deadly consequences. ‘Unless there’s imminent physical harm on the horizon response should generally be limited to speech and/or choice of association’ seems like a fair standard, though given I just threw it together it could likely use some fine-tuning.

The original phrase I have a grievance with, that free speech is a concept that only applies to government not imposing legal sanctions for speech, has been an oft-repeated talking point by many of the same people who think it a moral and just reaction to speech they dislike being to intimidate you into silence, get you fired from your job, and/or go after any platform that allows your speech to remain visible on the Internet until your speech is gone (a.k.a. no platforming).

I find those all noxious and repulsive responses to speech and oppose those just as much as I oppose government sanctions of speech.

>And such actions I wouldn’t support and would consider going over(or way over) the line of acceptable, as those go from responding to speech with counter arguments or even insults into threats and actions that can have very real, possibly deadly consequences. ‘Unless there’s imminent physical harm on the horizon response should generally be limited to speech and/or choice of association’ seems like a fair standard, though given I just threw it together it could likely use some fine-tuning

I don’t consider a counter-argument or mockery to be a consequence. I consider attacks on employment, attacks against the Internet infrastructure that allows your speech to be seen by others, attacks on your safety, harassing your family members as a proxy to shame you into silence, glorified online rags compulsively shaming and doxing you for having the audacity to speak while having the wrong genitalia and/or skin color, stores stocking your goods taking them down after being threatened with sanctions from other suppliers, and more and more and more to all be consequences.

Seems like our main disagreement is over definitions of words rather than substance of the underlying argument.

Anonymous Coward says:

How do you feel about the engineer who was fired at Google for questioning the diversity policy in hiring at Google?

There were talks of protests in cities where Google has offices.

Here is a quote from the Pittsburgh mayor about possible protests

“They do have a constitutional right. Speech, even hate speech, is protected under the First Amendment. You are not welcome here. We don’t want you here. We don’t believe in what you say. If you decide to come to Pittsburgh, don’t expect anyone here to be supportive of you. To anybody who is thinking of coming to Pittsburgh, stay home. We look at this very seriously. We take it as a public safety issue,” Peduto said.

So who decides what is hate speech? Yeah, Nazi’s are a hateful group, but posting a document questioning a policy is now hate speech?

Milo talking about how Muslim countries arrest or even kill gays is hate speech?

Pointing out that affirmative action allows some races into med school based on lower MCAT scores, while Asians have to score much higher on their exams to get in is hate speech?

Limiting immigration based on economic issues is hate speech?

Gee, a lot of that sounds like political debate. Now everything gets linked in with Nazi’s.