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National Front places homophobic stickers around Manchester’s gay village

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  1. Birds eat wasps 11 Dec 2009, 5:47pm

    I bet they felt really brave and clever when they did that. Plonkers.

  2. Hodge Podge 11 Dec 2009, 6:04pm

    Whatever.

  3. What a fail.

  4. This, my friends, highlights the importance of using your voting power. I have little faith in any of the mainstream political parties, but I will still vote for the lesser evil to prevent these biggots (and the BNP) from gaining power.

  5. Vincent Poffley 11 Dec 2009, 6:31pm

    This confirms one of the most revealing truisms of all about the National Front, indeed, about far right politics in general. It’s all the same. All of it. It’s just the name of the country that changes. Which is deliciously ironic really.

    The National Front and the BNP claim they are all about being British, or English. They would have you believe that their warped vision of Britain is the True Britain ™, which exemplifies everything that Britain originally stood for. The problem is that French far-right nationalists make exactly the same claims, but about France. So do German Neo-Nazis about Germany. So do the American far right about America. In fact, wherever you go in the world, the far right seems to have a remarkably uniform idea about what their own unique cultural roots are – and it generally involves rigid patriarchal uniformity, jackbooted thugs marching round shooting people, an oppression of women, gay people and minorities, and inflexible top-down power structures that stifle creativity and diversity.

    Far from seeking to return their host nations to some unique and authentic past state, what far-right nationalists are really doing is trying to make every nation the same – a seething cauldron of paranoia, hatred and injustice.

  6. It is like the NF are living in a 1980s time warp.

    Where have the NF been the last 29 years . . . obvioulsy not Manchester . . . untill quite recently.

    NF – Homophobic hatered is so not 21st century . . . get over it

  7. Well if they’re stupid enough to stick their phonenumber on these stickers in full view of CCTV cameras it shouldn’t be too difficult to trace the perpetrators.

  8. Bishop Ioan 11 Dec 2009, 6:54pm

    Phone numbers? What idiots.

  9. theotherone 11 Dec 2009, 7:02pm

    flapjack: track them what for? unpleasant as these stickers are it’s not actually illegal to put them up.

    What troubles me is that we recently had government pronouncements concerning the need to protect the community from Far Right Extremists but they didn’t mention protecting Queers.

    Looks like a return to the late 70s and early 80s when we had to protect ourselves from these ba2tard2.

  10. Pumpkin Pie 11 Dec 2009, 7:13pm

    On its website, it states: “Gay bars will be closed, soaps will have their gay story lines removed and public displays of homosexuality, lesbianism and transgenderism will also be made illegal.”

    You know what the funny thing is? Some countries with sharia law actually accept transsexuals. Isn’t that just hilarious? These far-right groups that put themselves up as our last line of defense against the “evil Islamic horde” would actually treat some of us WORSE than the so-called “greater evil”.

    Remember: never EVER support extremists to save yourself from a different group of extremists.

    Also, I totally agree with Vincent. I was involved in a discussion about preserving nationalism in some forum the other week and some guy brings up how scary he finds it that “Muhammad” is apparently one of the most popular names for babies in Britain. Then, an altogether smarter and more factually aware commenter starts listing the ethnic origins of all the other most popular British baby names – French, German, Jewish, etc. It was quite hilarious. It’s funny how nationalists seem to care only about some exaggerated representation of their country that might possibly have existed once, rather than caring about their actual real country. If it’s happening in Britain, if it’s being done by British citizens, it’s British, no matter what anyone thinks Britain should be.

  11. Be careful if you come to find one of those labels. I remember them being stuck to lamp posts in Newark, Nottinghamshire some time ago. They had flat razor blades taped underneath them!!!

  12. It amazing just how close the language is of the NF and the independent evangelical Christian parliamentary candidate Richard Carvath. If I was Manchester police I would be linking Richard Carvath and the NF stickers and arresting him.

  13. Surely now in this country with the legislation we have this behaviour warrants the attention of the police and the arrest of those responsible. And if they cannot track down those responsible then the party, the BNP itself, should be prosecuted.

  14. theotherone 11 Dec 2009, 7:47pm

    I’d be laughing at them both Abi.

    The extreme right and ‘Christianity’ are intrinsically linked.

  15. theotherone 11 Dec 2009, 7:48pm

    what eddie we prosecute people for what they think?

  16. theotherone 11 Dec 2009, 8:01pm

    oh and eddie? I loved these racist posts and I’d love you to comment on them but you appear to be avoiding them.

    I thought I’d repost theme here:

    Neville, maybe you haven’t picked it up but months ago it emerged on these threads that “Sister Mary Clarence” had stated that he is black. Very odd, isn’t it. Black, gay, Tory, and calling himself “Sister Mary Clarence” despite the fact that he’s a male. Twisted indeed!

    “theotherone”, can you not read? Or do you simply go completely PC-ballistic when you see someone identified as “black”?
    NO ONE HAS SAID ANYTHING NEGATIVE ABOUT THE “NUN’S” BLACKNESS!!!!
    What HAS been noted is that we have, apparently, a man who is black and gay voting Tory AND calling himself by the name of Catholic nun!
    CAN YOU NOT PERCEIVE THE WEIRDNESS OF THAT COMBINATION?
    No black person should EVER vote Tory.
    No gay person should EVER vote Tory.

  17. Does the National front still exist?
    Most people have a larger family than the National front has members.

    There was once a politician from South Africa, who become a politician in England
    and on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon he would buy people tea/coffee and breakfast
    if they would put up stickers pretending to be from the then National front.

    Most people know what I mean and who I am writing about.

    Sometimes these stickers can be quite nasty
    and to think that somebody who claims to be the anti-Nazi league
    would write such nastiness for propaganda purposes is beyond me.

    The National front do not have political candidates
    I don’t think they are even registered.

    The National front are not the British National party.

    The reason you are not seeing this on the main news is because it isn’t news
    4 to 5 members is no news.

    I just hope that nobody ends up getting caught putting up such stickers
    if it turns out that it’s the anti-Nazi league doing it.

    Sometimes I wonder who exactly hates gay people most
    the stupid fascists or the so-called anti-Nazi league = Socialist Workers Party.

    W****n B*****t hopefully not.. Not again….

  18. Pumpkin Pie 11 Dec 2009, 10:26pm

    what eddie we prosecute people for what they think?

    That’s a slightly devious way of putting it. They’re not just thinking it, but loudly advertising and proselytising it. Freedom of speech was never intended to defend hate speech, as hate speech serves no purpose. This act is a deliberate act of intimidation and provocation and should be punished as such.

    I honestly find the concept of allowing people to verbally abuse others even worse than “political correctness”. The latter may be a ham-fisted and heavy-handed approach to a problem, but at least it’s actually an approach, rather than a limp-wristed capitulation to bullies for fear of not hurting anyone’s feelings, which is what the former is.

  19. PumpkinPie,
    The stickers read:
    “The National Front. Homosexuality equals AIDS. The queer plague.”

    This could be a serious belief. I don’t think we should be sanguine about outlawing serious expressions of belief, however objectionable. Perhaps we should outlaw expressing beliefs which incite violence. But the comment above does not incite violence, since it could have been written by someone who had no attitude towards gays. Logically speaking, saying that all homosexuals have AIDS, or it was caused by homosexuals, is compatible with liking homosexuals, and fighting for their rights. Even given the beliefs of the NF, the statement isn’t telling people to go out and perpetrate violence against gay people. So I can’t quite see how it counts as inciting anything, except perhaps ignorance!

  20. they’ve been doing this for years, its not news

  21. Pumpkin Pie 12 Dec 2009, 2:30am

    This could be a serious belief. I don’t think we should be sanguine about outlawing serious expressions of belief, however objectionable. Perhaps we should outlaw expressing beliefs which incite violence. But the comment above does not incite violence, since it could have been written by someone who had no attitude towards gays. Logically speaking, saying that all homosexuals have AIDS, or it was caused by homosexuals, is compatible with liking homosexuals, and fighting for their rights. Even given the beliefs of the NF, the statement isn’t telling people to go out and perpetrate violence against gay people. So I can’t quite see how it counts as inciting anything, except perhaps ignorance!

    To me, this sounds like bending over backwards to be nice to bigots. We’re not naive fools. We know the National Front’s manifesto, we know their modus operandi. If a kid stumbles into a nature reserve, you kindly show him the gate. If a convicted poacher stumbles into a game reserve, you kindly show him the jail cell.

    Furthermore, I don’t like the way everyone puts violence on a pedestal. Sure, it’s horrible, but it’s not through violence that most people are oppressed. It is throught the perpetuation of myths and unchallenged ignorance allowed to run wild. Violence hurts many people, hate hurts entire nations.

    What I’m saying is that everybody should be entitled to their beliefs, but not to proselytise them. If you make crap up, it should be regarded as slander. I don’t care if a little voice inside told them to think it, it’s up to them to challenge that voice, to actually research and get their facts straight. If they don’t have the common courtesy to do that, there should be repercussions.

    I just want to end on the point that if you allow anyone to say whatever they want to say, you’re not allowed to do anything about bullying or slander. This is bullying and it is slander, and neither one has a single thing to do with free speech. They are abuses of power used to curb the rights of others. And if it infringes on someone’s rights, then it should not be considered a right.

    It’s very nice of you to be so trusting of others, but I think they’d let you down very, very badly.

  22. Ironic isn’t it that the National Front also campaigns against Muslims and yet they clearly have a lot in common.

    As offensive as these stickers are they are laughable. It just shows how idiotic the National Front is. To stick them around an area known for it’s community, what exactly was it to achieve? I think the main cause was to get some kind of media attention, which now they have.

    This group of ignornant no-hopers should crawl back into the labelled boxes which they belong. They are small, shallow and petty. They don’t deserve any respect let alone any kind of media attention!

  23. @ Luke – Didn’t Hitler equate the Jewish people with being a plague? Dehumanisation of a minority is the first step on a slippery slope to the gas chambers.
    Free speech is one thing, but if you know how we arrived at free speech you would know something about the philosopher John Stuart Mill and his tract “On Liberty”. He also defends the notion of free speech, but also mentions the all-important caveat of the “Harm principle” where freedom of speech does not include the freedom to insight hatred for a minority group and treat them as sub-human. You cannot be so naive as not to know what the NF’s subtext is in spreading these stickers around the gay village. This isn’t some benign safe sex awareness campaign for the benefit of gay people.
    This is intended to give impressionable straight people the notion that HIV is a specifically gay disease and that we’re all plague carrying zombies who belong in a shoot-em-up game. Calling us diseased is simply the first step.
    I just thank my lucky stars the NF is a lunatic fringe party for the time being, or you could be looking at the beginnings of the Fourth Reich. Appeasement is not an option.

  24. theotherone 12 Dec 2009, 12:34pm

    Pie: what if your views upset someone? What if they find something you say really, really offensive? Should you be silenced?

    Offence is in the eye of the beholder but logical argument will always win as Logic is, by nature, external to the individual’s viewpoint.

    We don’t bend over backwards to keep the bullies happy, we point out their fallacies, we laugh at them, we shout at them on the street.

  25. theotherone 12 Dec 2009, 6:43pm

    fvck off bernard, you’ll not get a boyfriend on hear saying things like that.

  26. How come there’s always some homophobic weirdos posting messages here. Isn’t it odd that they spend so much time looking at gay websites? They probably come across pink news by accident while searching for gay porn.

  27. theotherone 12 Dec 2009, 10:46pm

    it will be all aggression in the bar and cock sucking in the car park with that lot richard.

  28. Pumpkin Pie 13 Dec 2009, 12:02am

    Pie: what if your views upset someone? What if they find something you say really, really offensive? Should you be silenced?

    Offence is in the eye of the beholder

    I agree that there will be grey areas, but we shouldn’t give up just because it’s complicated. I agree with flapjack and John Stuart Mill: hate speech has no place in a free society. It’s not a matter of banning things that offend people – you’re right, that would be insane – but rather of taking a more clinical approach. Defaming people based on innate things that they can’t change, nor are responsible for, should be banned. Race, sex, gender, sexuality – that sort of thing.

    Could we at least agree on that? I know you worry about a slippery slope to “thought crimes” or whatever, but everything’s a slippery slope to everything depending on how you look at it (gay marriage leading to zoophiliac marriages, for instance). Thing is, no country has ever brought in “don’t offend anybody” laws, whereas an almost uncountable number have gone down the route of brutal persecution thanks to giving people the freedom to hate (even when violence was banned).

    but logical argument will always win as Logic is, by nature, external to the individual’s viewpoint.

    We don’t bend over backwards to keep the bullies happy, we point out their fallacies, we laugh at them, we shout at them on the street.

    Thing is, these extremists don’t care about winning arguments. They only care about winning the hearts and minds of the ignorant masses. Do you think the sorts of morons who would support these extremists care who’s right? Do you think they’re even smart enough to realise who’s right, even with the facts laid before them? They only hear what they want to hear.

    After all, Hitler never got into power with brilliant feats of logic and understanding. No, he got there because he was a masterful showman who could manipulate people.

    Like I intimated at the end of my response to Luke, I think your beliefs on this matter are noble, I just don’t think we live in a society where they would work. I’d be happy to take the flak, but not everyone out there has the sort of thick skin that requires. On this matter, I’d rather err on the side of pragmatism and safety.

  29. how exactly would they ban “public displays of transsexuality” anyway? would all TSes who don’t pass be forced to stay at home all the time? It’s always nice to get a side order of stupid with my bigotry.

  30. “There is the fact that homosexuals spreading HIV.”

    No, Bernard the safest kind of sex as regards HIV transmission is LESBIAN sex, ie homosexual sex.

    And I think I know exactly who you are.

  31. Bernard – Seems like you’re being deliberately obtuse. For starters the stickers weren’t merely saying that gay people were partly responsible for the spread of HIV/AIDS.
    “The National Front. Homosexuality equals AIDS. The queer plague”
    This would imply that gay people are exclusively responsible for the spread of AIDS and that we are all infected, in fact we equal [i.e. epitomise] AIDS.
    Talk about judging an entire minority group by an aspect of some of its parts. It’s a crude weapon in the right wing sxtremist’s arsenal and you know it.
    It also ignores the masses of straight men and women who have the infection, and it also lays the blame for AIDS exclusively on our doorstep and inspires hatred.
    There’s no denying that some gay people have HIV/ AIDS, but gloating about it is like going round a cancer ward with a smug grin on your face pointing at people and telling everyone they shouldn’t have started smoking, regardless of the cause.
    It exposes you for the heartless bigoted git you are.

  32. Even if it was remotely true about the connection between AIDS and gays, it is still outrageous that the NF have been allowed to deface the streets with their bile. The council should clean it all up and send the bill to the National Front head office.

  33. Iris, I reckon this is our “Rahman” back again, reincarnated as “Bernard”.

  34. Eddy – If your suspicion is correct and Bernard is merely a Rahman sockpuppet, I would like to take this opportunity to remind him that gay people rank second on the National Front’s hitlist of pet peeves. Take a guess which minority group ranks first.
    Proof if it were needed that your enemy’s enemy ain’t always your friend.

  35. Does that mean you think he really was a muslim? I always assumed he was faking that.

  36. You could be right Rose… there were several occasions on which Rahman struck me as being a sockpuppet, which would make Bernard a sockpuppet of a sockpuppet. There’s more sockpuppetry here than the average episode of the Muppets (though I’d sooner spend half an hour in the company of the Muppets).

  37. Muppets are good fun. Trolls on Pink are a bloody nuisance.

    Anyway, as i said before, why aren’t the National Front being made to pay for removal of their nasty little sticker campaign, since they fully admit responsibility for it.

  38. theotherone 13 Dec 2009, 10:21pm

    sorry I took so long to get back to you pie (I hope you don’t mind me shortening your name, I find ‘Pie’ somehow funny in a rather slight way) but to answer your point:

    ‘Defaming people based on innate things that they can’t change, nor are responsible for’

    –I know religious people who say they can’t help their faith so the religious might want to be added to that. Overweight people too, ugly people, short people…where do we end?

    The Nazi party came to power in Germany because the German economy was in a rather bad way. That’s how Extreme Right Wing parties win support not through Freedom Of Speech. Hitler was not effectively opposed either in Germany or by other European Leaders; at the point even of the annexing of The Sudatanland he could have been stooped with a little bit of Saber Rattling but we (the British) did nothing.

    My point? Don’t silence Fascists but don’t give an inch to them either and, if necessary, fight them. That’s what an elderly Uncle of mine used to say and he should have known – he fought the Fascists in Spain

  39. As a student of philosophy I could not but balk at the misinterpretation of John Stuart Mill above. Leaving that aside, the fact is, these stickers don’t incite violence. On the assumption that only speech which incites violence should be punished, the NF should not be banned from saying these sorts of things.
    Perhaps there is a legal case for convicting them of slander or defamation. I am no legal expert. But on the grounds of free speech alone, banning their speech would be a troubling occurrence.

  40. Bernard wrote
    “And now we see another fact: homosexuals denying such fact, pretending to be innocent infants who have nothing to do with HIV epidemic.”

    Bernard . . . both homosexuals and heterosexuals are affected by the HIV virus and AIDs. In Africa the HIV virus is however a predominately heterosexual epidemic.

  41. theotherone 13 Dec 2009, 11:51pm

    alas Luke I’ve never read JS Mill so I decided not to comment :)

  42. johnk, you’re wasting your breath. his sort won’t listen to you.

  43. Richard (27) makes sense to me. Need I say more. Yawn. Try “Men at Play”, and get your lub and tissue ready before you click “Start”, honey. Nice music too.

  44. @ Luke – OK, maybe I misread John Stuart Mill, my philosophy lectures weren’t that extensive. But I still think the harm principle is a valid point to bring up. When does free speech amount to shouting “Fire” in a crowded theatre?
    Nine times out of ten free speech is the argument brought up by right wing extremists who if they had their way would use it as a platform to remove our right to breathe, let alone speak. Should they be silenced? Probably not. Should they be challenged? I think so.
    But just so we’re crystal clear on this one, I value my right to live above their right to spew hate and make no apologies for that.

  45. “John Stuart Mill, of his own free will, on half a pint of shandy was particularly ill.”

    Luke, as a student of philosophy, I would hope that you are not saying that there exists an objective meaning, as a matter of essence, contained within Mill’s words?

    The reason I respectfully ask this, it that this is similar to what’s going on here in this story and this thread. I have contemplated fascism for quite a while now and the longer I do so, the less conclusion I reach – however, I am currently thinking that any unaware assumption on the part of another’s framework for thinking about x, transferred (or projected) onto others, in discussion relating, directly or indirectly, represents a form of fascism.

    So, by example, if I take it as a given that the National Front have a literalist ‘ethical’ code and act accordingly, then I am guilty (to some extent) of thought fascism – for which, I don’t think I should legally have to answer, only to my own critical peers, in debate.

    This theme smacks of the literalist religious, by analogy, since debate is very hard with people who’s lens on reality (i prefer realities) is so fixed and rigid, that to take account of any other epistemology, for them, falls on deaf ears.

    This is why I am opening up the logic, certainly in my own mind, that fascism doesn’t have to be just political (in the commonest accepted sense) – crudely, there is gay fascism, religious fascism, gender fascism etc….

  46. “Luke, as a student of philosophy, I would hope that you are not saying that there exists an objective meaning, as a matter of essence, contained within Mill’s words?”

    Hmmm, if you mean by ‘objective meaning’, facts about what is meant by a sentence, yes. I am a meaning realist. Meaning irrealism in its most sophisticated version (a la Kripke) has always struck me as self-refuting. However, if you mean by ‘objective meaning’ something obscure to do with an ‘essence’ of what is meant, I don’t know.
    As for what you say after talk of ‘objective meaning’, I simply don’t understand it. Especially,
    “I have contemplated fascism for quite a while now and the longer I do so, the less conclusion I reach – however, I am currently thinking that any unaware assumption on the part of another’s framework for thinking about x, transferred (or projected) onto others, in discussion relating, directly or indirectly, represents a form of fascism.”
    Do you mean the following:
    ” have contemplated fascism for quite a while now and the longer I do so, I don’t tend to reach conclusions. However, I currently think that being unaware of (an) assumption(s) that is part of another’s framework for thinking about x, and transferring or projecting one’s own assumptions onto others in discussion, represents a form of fascism.”
    This statement would imply the following. If I my being unaware that you assume Pizza is not an Italian food (where x= pizza) and assuming (transfer or project my assumption) that you think it is a food,’represents a form of facism’. I can’t see any connection between the misunderstanding just described and facism.
    You then give an example to back up what you say:
    “So, by example, if I take it as a given that the National Front have a literalist ‘ethical’ code and act accordingly, then I am guilty (to some extent) of thought fascism – for which, I don’t think I should legally have to answer, only to my own critical peers, in debate.”
    This seems to imply that if I assume that the NF have certain ethical beliefs, and act upon that belief, then I am guilty of thought facism. By parity of reasoning, this would license the following absurdity:
    If I assume a bannana is a fruit and act upon that belief, then I am guilty of though facism.

    Perhaps you mean your thesis to be restricted to the certain bodies (e.g, the NF). But even so, it doesn’t quite make sense.

  47. This seems to have turned into a discussion of the nature of fascism, a very good discussion to have I think.
    I was impressed by Gilles Delueze and Felix Guattari’s description of fascism, in “A Thousand Plateaus,” as a war-machine in charge of itself. Most states have a war-machine, but in it’s service. A war-machine in charge of itself is essentially destructive, and in the last instance suicidal, witness the behaviour of the German military, the Nazi high command and Hitler himself at the end of the second world war. They even destroyed their own wives and children, as well as as many innocent strangers as they could.

  48. “Luke, as a student of philosophy, I would hope that you are not saying that there exists an objective meaning, as a matter of essence, contained within Mill’s words?”

    Hmmm, if you mean by ‘objective meaning’, facts about what is meant by a sentence, yes. I am a meaning realist.

    Oh dear. That helps me to understand your position….but not to further what I’ve said without a whole discussion of critical theory and transcendental idealism. Nevermind, let’s do as the phenomenologists do – and bracket that one.

    Meaning irrealism in its most sophisticated version (a la Kripke) has always struck me as self-refuting.

    ANYTHING (coherent theory-wise, as opposed to singular premise, although…..) strikes me as being self-refuting means I need to look again! I am not implying that you do (I’m with Hume on that)

    However, if you mean by ‘objective meaning’ something obscure to do with an ‘essence’ of what is meant, I don’t know.

    I mean both – they are not so easily disentangleable. Like your use of ‘don’t know’: like, as in, respect.

    As for what you say after talk of ‘objective meaning’, I simply don’t understand it.
    “I have contemplated fascism for quite a while now and the longer I do so, the less conclusion I reach – however, I am currently thinking that any unaware assumption on the part of another’s framework for thinking about x, transferred (or projected) onto others, in discussion relating, directly or indirectly, represents a form of fascism.”
    Do you mean the following:
    ” have contemplated fascism for quite a while now and the longer I do so, I don’t tend to reach conclusions. However, I currently think that being unaware of (an) assumption(s) that is part of another’s framework for thinking about x, and transferring or projecting one’s own assumptions onto others in discussion, represents a form of fascism.”

    No. I am saying that, I consider fascism per se, a wider set of normative relations than just in the political domain. Furthermore, I am in favour of emracing a position of intellectual humility in which any projection of personal ‘givens’ on my interpreted meanings of texts, dialogues, ideologies makes the reading of such texts, dialogues and ideologies uniquely subjective and jaded: i.e. multiple interpretive texts and I hold that whilst there might be an inter-subjective (not objective) commonalities and differences of meaning, they do not necessarily reflect the intentionality (and unaware) mandate, purposes and aims of th author.

    This statement would imply the following. If I my being unaware that you assume Pizza is not an Italian food (where x= pizza) and assuming (transfer or project my assumption) that you think it is a food,’represents a form of facism’. I can’t see any connection between the misunderstanding just described and facism.

    Hopefully now you can see the connection between it, and my espousal of fascism – as an intellectual projection of self’s meaning onto another’s reality…..(I remain a situation ethicist, by the way, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing – but perhaps an undesirable) Hopefully, this goes to some way to re-contextualise:

    “So, by example, if I take it as a given that the National Front have a literalist ‘ethical’ code and act accordingly, then I am guilty (to some extent) of thought fascism – for which, I don’t think I should legally have to answer, only to my own critical peers, in debate.”
    This seems to imply that if I assume that the NF have certain ethical beliefs, and act upon that belief, then I am guilty of thought facism. By parity of reasoning, this would license the following absurdity:
    If I assume a bannana is a fruit and act upon that belief, then I am guilty of though facism.

    Yes – to a degree. For me, The key concept here is ontological/epistemological rigidity and ethnocentrism: i.e. bringing another’s reality under an aspect of value according to one’s own prejudices (good or bad, or in between)……

  49. Pumpkin Pie 14 Dec 2009, 6:03pm

    sorry I took so long to get back to you pie (I hope you don’t mind me shortening your name, I find ‘Pie’ somehow funny in a rather slight way) but to answer your point:

    Is good. (´ー`)

    –I know religious people who say they can’t help their faith so the religious might want to be added to that. Overweight people too, ugly people, short people…where do we end?

    I regard hate speech as harassment, so sure, I could go with that. I guess varying levels could be considered, as with any law (i.e. like the difference between battery and assault). Hate speech should be banned entirely – if it is not an attempt to have a discussion, if it is something akin to shouting epithets at people or putting up defamatory flyers, then it serves no purpose. Doing so is as much a pointless expression of “freedom” as farting in people’s faces, which I am pretty sure is indeed illegal.

    Next up, we have the the smarter bigotry. This is where we have actual discussions on what should be done with various people. This is the point where exemptions should only be made for innate characteristics. No ideology should ever be granted protection here. I guess that’s the real distinction I wanted to make: ideology versus biology. And just because it’s a pretty convenient example, fat people: lambasting sedentary lifestyles is OK, because that is a choice, lambasting people’s genetic make-up is not.

    The Nazi party came to power in Germany because the German economy was in a rather bad way. That’s how Extreme Right Wing parties win support not through Freedom Of Speech. Hitler was not effectively opposed either in Germany or by other European Leaders; at the point even of the annexing of The Sudatanland he could have been stooped with a little bit of Saber Rattling but we (the British) did nothing.

    True, but I didn’t want to focus just on one example. There’s opportunists and opportunities everywhere. It is in human nature to blame minorities for their problems. In the absence of an iron-clad plan to deal with every eventuality that could lead to persecution, it’s better to nip it in the bud and deal with this sort of hatred before it becomes a big problem.

    My point? Don’t silence Fascists but don’t give an inch to them either and, if necessary, fight them. That’s what an elderly Uncle of mine used to say and he should have known – he fought the Fascists in Spain

    How exactly should we fight them, though? It seems that, when faced with people immune to rational debate, legislation is all we have left. Shame, really.

  50. “No. I am saying that, I consider fascism per se, a wider set of normative relations than just in the political domain.”
    Do you mean that you consider facism not only a political ideology, or that you think the word ‘facism’, and its cognate ‘facist’ can describe lots of things outside the political domain? Both seem true. A version of history can be facist, as it can be communist. The behaviour of the NF we describe as facist.
    “Furthermore, I am in favour of emracing a position of intellectual humility in which any projection of personal ‘givens’ on my interpreted meanings of texts, dialogues, ideologies makes the reading of such texts, dialogues and ideologies uniquely subjective and jaded: i.e. multiple interpretive texts and I hold that whilst there might be an inter-subjective (not objective) commonalities and differences of meaning, they do not necessarily reflect the intentionality (and unaware) mandate, purposes and aims of th author.” This doesn’t seem to make sense. Can you be exceptionally clear in stating your thesis. It seems to me like it might simply be postmodern claptrap. The best I could make of what you said is this: “I embrace an intellectual humility in which any interpretation of what someone means/assumes that is based on what they have interpreted makes readng what has been interpreted subjective.” This seems to boil down to: “I embrace an intellectual humility in which, when we base our understanding of what someone means on something they have interpreted, this makes the thing they have interpreted subjective.” Call this Thesis A.
    Let’s take an example, to see whether it’s correct. Suppose I base my understanding of what someone believes on how they have interpreted my words. For example, they might always interpret my words to imply I am a 21 year old male since I say, “I am a 21 yr old male.”. I would use this a basis to attribute that they believe I am a young adult with a penis. Now, you say that, consequently, what they interpreted my words to mean, namely, that I am a 21 year old male, is subjective. But that is not subjective. So thesis A must be rejected. It is false.
    Why not just stick with the common-sense view that interpretations can often be wrong. You don’t need to assume they are subjective, since if they were wholly, we wouldn’t understand what each other were saying.
    On the philosophy front, it really sounds like you’re reading too much ‘continental’ philosophy. A lot of it is not rigorous stuff, doesn’t respect logic and argument, and if I may say so, sir, I feel that some of your arguments reflect these tendencies of disrespect. Some of your statements seem wilfully obscure and unclear. If we are to resolve a debate we must insist on extreme clarity and on following arguments through, logically. Viva analytic philosophy!

  51. Pumpkin Pie:

    A society in which pointless expressions of freedom were banned would be a dreary society indeed. Isn’t that, after all, what many ‘expressions of freedom’ in pride amount to (lol, and rightly, too)? Yes, we lack certain rights, but we are free. The expressions of freedom in prides that are pointless are often humourous and funny. So, unless you want to ban these, you ought to believe only pointless expressions of freedom which are offensive to some group should be banned. The problems with such a maneuvre are painfully evident.
    You seem to think lambasting people on the basis of certain characteristics, which characteristics had their origin in genetic make-up, is not ok. This is false. Suppose rapists were found to have a genetic pre-disposition to rape. This would not entail that we shouldn’t lambast rapists for their behaviour. My argument illustrates a general point in these discussions, namely, that whether some behaviour is morally wrong or not does not depend on whether the agent who engages in the behaviour had a ‘genetic predisposition to it’.
    I find it worrying that you could want to ban the speech of the following person, whom I shall call Ed. Ed believes that AIDS was caused by gay people, and that most gay people have AIDS. When given evidence to the contrary, Ed says the evidence is created by the evil sodomite industry (lol), who have their researchers and minions spread throughout the corridors of power. Ed is a classic conspiracy theorist. He also acts on his theories, putting signs and stickers up around gay bars, and handing out leaflets. He condemns violent action against gay people.
    I find it hard to believe that Ed should be imprisoned, for having a silly conspiracy theory.

  52. wow Luke!

    Do you mean that you consider facism not only a political ideology, or that you think the word ‘facism’, and its cognate ‘facist’ can describe lots of things outside the political domain?

    Yes.

    Both seem true.

    I don’t do true – it’s humanly unobtainable (read Kant’s critique of pure reason) – logic is not a closed system: analogy to Kurt Godels incompleteness theorem in Mathematics.

    This doesn’t seem to make sense. (To you)

    Can you be exceptionally clear in stating your thesis.

    I have! So where’s the problem? ahhh……

    It seems to me like it might simply be postmodern claptrap.

    well, close. Critical theorist actually, which is embracive of postmodernism, post-structuralism, but also critical. (My current areas of writing are in Critical Theorist: Gestalt, Existentialist Phenomenology and Psychotherapies, philosophy of…but I have been read in other areas.

    The best I could make of what you said is this: “I embrace an intellectual humility in which any interpretation of what someone means/assumes that is based on what they have interpreted makes readng what has been interpreted subjective.” This seems to boil down to: “I embrace an intellectual humility in which, when we base our understanding of what someone means on something they have interpreted, this makes the thing they have interpreted subjective.” Call this Thesis A.

    Nope. What i understand your formulation of Thesis A to be is not what I meant. Therefore the corollary is fatuous (both by impication, and in content validity…., by the ‘rules’ of logic, that sometimes reduce philosophy anxiety for the amateur! – kidding!)

    Why not just stick with the common-sense view that interpretations can often be wrong. You don’t need to assume they are subjective, since if they were wholly, we wouldn’t understand what each other were saying.

    Intersubjectivity theories! Kierkegaard’s a blinder here.

    On the philosophy front, it really sounds like you’re reading too much ‘continental’ philosophy. A lot of it is not rigorous stuff, doesn’t respect logic and argument, and if I may say so, sir, I feel that some of your arguments reflect these tendencies of disrespect. Some of your statements seem wilfully obscure and unclear. If we are to resolve a debate we must insist on extreme clarity and on following arguments through, logically. Viva analytic philosophy!

    Ok – if you think a debate is ‘for’ resolution, then that’s not why I am here – I want to make you THINK, nothing more, nothing less. Respecting (YOUR conception of) logic and argument itself is fascism – since your logic is not my logic, clearly…if you are referring to an objective set of logical rules – then try and make the case – I will relentlessly counter one by one, as I do with my students! (Oh did i mention this is fun! lol)

    Let me suggest that the key issue here, for me, is your pursuit of ‘the truth’: a wholly empty quest, my friend. It’s much more exciting, delicious even, to flirt with possibility. Take it from this author! I started with analytic – then annhilated it, too easy, my friend……

  53. BouncerManInBlack 14 Dec 2009, 7:15pm

    Why do they worry so much?

    IF we all had AIDS …. then we will all die pretty shortly and then none of us will be around for them to worry about us!

    Simples!

  54. “I don’t do true – it’s humanly unobtainable (read Kant’s critique of pure reason) – logic is not a closed system: analogy to Kurt Godels incompleteness theorem in Mathematics.”
    This had me tearing my hair out! Denying that there are truths is self-refuting. I could see my tutor tearing his hair out too: Godel’s incompleteness theorems had NOTHING to do with whether claims in natural language can be true or not.(see Gödel’s Theorem: An Incomplete Guide to its Use and Abuse by Torkel Franzen)
    “Ok – if you think a debate is ‘for’ resolution, then that’s not why I am here – I want to make you THINK, nothing more, nothing less. Respecting (YOUR conception of) logic and argument itself is fascism – since your logic is not my logic, clearly…if you are referring to an objective set of logical rules – then try and make the case – I will relentlessly counter one by one, as I do with my students! (Oh did i mention this is fun! lol)”
    Your statement is self-refuting, by your own logic. If every statement is subjective, that claim itself is. Therefore, I have no reason to believe it. If you countered my making of the case it would just be opinion, on your own logic. So I have no reason to believe your assertions, since you say they are subjective. But you clearly understand your assertions to be true, otherwise you wouldn’t say them. One can’t make sense of the notion of a declarative utterance without that of truth. To make a declaritive utterance is, inter alia, to assert that something is the case, which is to say, to assert that something is true. Relativism about truth is the refuge of scoundrels and has been exposed at the grave of intellectual edifices from time immemorial.
    If there is no such thing as a true statement then there is no point making the claims you make, other than to express an opinion which I have no reason to believe. Let it be very clear, truth is an indispensable notion. I realise this ever more clearly, having adopted a ‘hippy’ relativist attitude- before I got interested in rigorous philosophy.

  55. Somewhere before we veered off down an ontological dead end, this thread was about the National Front and the merits of freedom of speech.
    Now I’m not even sure if I exist (hang on, ‘I think therefore I am…’ yep, I’m back in the room). My fault for bringing philosophers into it I guess. Any chance of getting back on topic?

  56. “I don’t do true – it’s humanly unobtainable (read Kant’s critique of pure reason) – logic is not a closed system: analogy to Kurt Godels incompleteness theorem in Mathematics.”
    This had me tearing my hair out!

    Good!

    Denying that there are truths is self-refuting.

    I didn’t deny the existence of truth – I just asserted that we can’t know it.

    I could see my tutor tearing his hair out too

    You don’t do yourself justice – you don’t need to legitimise your position with reference to him/her (let them concentrate on the RAE)

    : Godel’s incompleteness theorems had NOTHING to do with whether claims in natural language can be true or not.(see Gödel’s Theorem: An Incomplete Guide to its Use and Abuse by Torkel Franzen)

    Oh dear. ANALOGY – please re-read.

    “Ok – if you think a debate is ‘for’ resolution, then that’s not why I am here – I want to make you THINK, nothing more, nothing less. Respecting (YOUR conception of) logic and argument itself is fascism – since your logic is not my logic, clearly…if you are referring to an objective set of logical rules – then try and make the case – I will relentlessly counter one by one, as I do with my students! (Oh did i mention this is fun! lol)”
    Your statement is self-refuting, by your own logic. If every statement is subjective, that claim itself is.

    Yes – it is.

    Therefore, I have no reason to believe it.

    Yes – I am with you! But, on what basis, my integrity, legitimacy etc.. or are you relying on the philosophical integrity of my argument?

    If you countered my making of the case it would just be opinion, on your own logic. So I have no reason to believe your assertions, since you say they are subjective.

    You have every reason to consider an inter-subjective commonality.

    But you clearly understand your assertions to be true,

    wow! wow! slow down…..how does this follow? I assume my assertions to be consistent with my current (and dynamic) position – but, not necessarily true!

    otherwise you wouldn’t say them.

    You mean – otherwise, YOU wouldn’t have said them, if you were me – there’s your logic again……

    One can’t make sense of the notion of a declarative utterance without that of truth.

    ‘One’ is the key here – a confusion of ownership of ‘meaning’ with a supposed claim to objective reality.

    To make a declaritive utterance is, inter alia, to assert that something is the case, which is to say, to assert that something is true. Relativism about truth is the refuge of scoundrels and has been exposed at the grave of intellectual edifices from time immemorial.

    Cop out! (And you know it!) Convince me – in plain language – why is ontological relativism flawed? Given that it allows inter-subjective examination.

    If there is no such thing as a true statement

    …….then there is no point making the claims you make, other than to express an opinion which I have no reason to believe.

    Meaning – you can’t find a point?? Good – i don’t want your blind loyalty!

    Let it be very clear, truth is an indispensable notion. I realise this ever more clearly, having adopted a ‘hippy’ relativist attitude- before I got interested in rigorous philosophy.

    Biographical nonesense – how do I know your interogation of relativist philosophy was rigorous? (Which it most certainly can be!)

    Leave the personal defensiveness aside – and Do Philosophy! You seem very capable to me……

  57. so… just to be clear, consider the statement: ‘there may exist truth, just that we can’t know it.’

    In terms of:

    ‘what i write here in quotes is not true’…….

  58. sorry flapjack – but, i think these issues are really at the heart of it. It’s about freedom of speech. I can publish, in a paper, the most horrible rhetoric that I want…..and get away with it because of my reputation. But when the NF ‘voice’ their beliefs – people consider it tantamount to hate crime. There’s a problem here. Of course, what the NF are saying is complete rubbish! But, actually they should be able to say it! (Is my opinion). It worries me – and I have no answer to this question, I am undecided and paralysed by the question: ‘how can speech incite violence?’ – where is the responsibility of the aggressor? And, can we really patronise people by protecting them from hearing things that might ‘make them do things!’ – isn’t this another formulation of the gay panic defence?

  59. Richard – well, I don’t have an in-depth knowledge of philosophy, but if you’re asking whether the responsibility lies with the person inciting violence or the person acting on it, I would argue it depends on what was said, how the message was delivered and who the audience was.
    In media studies they call it the hyperdermic model, the notion that bad ideas are fed directly into the audience’s brain without critical filtering. To put it another way, garbage in, garbage out.
    Most people are quite dismissive of that, but under the right set of circumstances it can be proven to work.
    Goebbels would have been redundant to Hitler’s masterplan if there wasn’t an element of truth in it, and the famous Milgram experiment would have also been a dud.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcvSNg0HZwk
    As we know in both those examples otherwise rational people did unconcionable things on the basis that an authority figure told them to do it. So where does the blame lie?
    But thorny issue aside, I see no reason to keep a bunch of blatantly homophobic propoganda stickers stuck around Canal street just to prove some point about freedom of speech. Otherwise why not keep a bunch of racist stickers plastered all over capetown on the same basis?

  60. Well, flapjack – you do know about philosophy actually, because you are doing it very intelligently. (I hope that doesn’t come across as patronising – i don’t mean it to be).

    I completely get your argument, and agree with your position – it is a very diffult thing to call, in my opinion. Where do we stop calling the line of personal responsibility? This is (in philosophical terms) a structure vs. agency debate. And, although sometimes unpopular I have to side with agency – that people shouldn’t be patronised by being ‘looked after’ by hate laws. However, there are very good examples on why I am wrong about this – I have to admit. Guess, not everything is black and white as some would have us believe!

    Thanks for your wisdom!

  61. Pumpkin Pie 15 Dec 2009, 5:53am

    A society in which pointless expressions of freedom were banned would be a dreary society indeed.

    Unfortunately, I don’t really care. I used to, but I stopped caring about this a long time ago, when I realised that my fun was coming at the expense of other people’s well-being.

    Isn’t that, after all, what many ‘expressions of freedom’ in pride amount to (lol, and rightly, too)? Yes, we lack certain rights, but we are free. The expressions of freedom in prides that are pointless are often humourous and funny. So, unless you want to ban these, you ought to believe only pointless expressions of freedom which are offensive to some group should be banned. The problems with such a maneuvre are painfully evident.

    Something like a pride parade could never be construed as hate speech: it lacks hate of any sort. I’m not trying to set it up so every Tom, Dick & Harry can twist everything into being an indirect offense against them. Unless it’s direct, it’s not really an issue.

    You seem to think lambasting people on the basis of certain characteristics, which characteristics had their origin in genetic make-up, is not ok. This is false. Suppose rapists were found to have a genetic pre-disposition to rape. This would not entail that we shouldn’t lambast rapists for their behaviour. My argument illustrates a general point in these discussions, namely, that whether some behaviour is morally wrong or not does not depend on whether the agent who engages in the behaviour had a ‘genetic predisposition to it’.

    Conveniently, I’ve been meditating on something similar to this recently. I’ve always hated our society’s vicious double standards towards mental illness. If it’s benign, there’s sympathy and understanding. If it’s malignant, it soon becomes apparent that any “understanding” was merely recycled soundbites they heard on TV.

    Paedophilia is a particularly good example of this. Paedophilia is not innate, like sexuality (unlike with studies on homosexuality, paedophiles have shown clear patterns of cause and effect in their development, most famously that of the vicious cycle of the repressed abused becoming abusers themselves), but people don’t just sit down and choose it one day. This is not how brains work. Nobody can say “I’d better not think like this or do this, lest I end up like that” with any certainty. And, once it happens, it is impossible to just magically say “I don’t want to be like this anymore”. Thus, I have sympathy for paedophiles, but not for child abusers. And it is not a given that the former will become the latter. Understanding and empathy should always be employed, but no person capable of rational thought (important distinction here for those so far gone as to be declared too mentally unstable to be responsible for their actions – schizophrenia, Huntington’s, etc.) should be allowed to get away with harming others. To borrow that much-maligned Christian sound-bite: love the sinner, hate the sin. I would very much oppose any effort to victimise innocent paedophiles, but not efforts to clamp down on child abusers.

    I find it worrying that you could want to ban the speech of the following person, whom I shall call Ed. Ed believes that AIDS was caused by gay people, and that most gay people have AIDS. When given evidence to the contrary, Ed says the evidence is created by the evil sodomite industry (lol), who have their researchers and minions spread throughout the corridors of power. Ed is a classic conspiracy theorist. He also acts on his theories, putting signs and stickers up around gay bars, and handing out leaflets. He condemns violent action against gay people.
    I find it hard to believe that Ed should be imprisoned, for having a silly conspiracy theory.

    Ed would be warned first. This is where we bring in the importance of subjective distinctions, such as battery (possibly unintentional) and assault (deliberate). Sure, nobody’s a mind-reader, but our justice system still operates on this basis of using reasoning and evidence to arrive at conclusions. Harmless crackpots should be given leniency (not given the freedom to run wild, but not treated in a needlessly heavy-handed way, either), people with clear track records of intimidation and persecution (why hallo thar, National Front) should be dealt with with appropriate severity.

  62. Childish and nasty of course, but at least it helps to demonstrate their dinosaur mindset. Ironically they probably have much in common with some of those they say they would like to see deported.

  63. Dolores Ewen 26 Feb 2011, 5:01pm

    I wish there were ways to educate the hearts of these homophobes to feel compassion and their minds to conceive the logic of justice for all.

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