Monday, February 6, 2017

Thoughts on the Alt-Right and Hate Speech

     I am not a fan of President Trump, nor of National Policy Institute president Richard Spencer. Trump and Spencer have nothing better to do with their time than bully people on Twitter. The American people should be careful not to stoop to these people's level; be careful not to bully them back in a way that backfires on us.
     I do not want to see Spencer rise to fame even more, or perhaps even start a political party and run for office. In my opinion, the best way to overcome hate speech is to ignore it; don't respond if someone calls you by a racial slur and tells you to go ahead and fight them, don't engage people like Spencer on Twitter or other social media.
     We must also speak out in order to ensure that the constitutional process limits the Trump Administration properly. Using the same old Democratic Party machine procedural tricks will not cut it; if liberals and progressives want to be taken seriously, they have to respect decorum and not engage in disorderly behavior (like what we witnessed last June, with the Democrats' "No Fly, No Buy" sit-in).
     On the other hand, in my opinion, it is worth listening to the opinions of people like Alex Jones, Ben Shapiro, Milo Yiannopoulos, Gavin McInnes, and Jordan Peterson. These men don't spend all of their time praising people who share their ethnic heritage, nor do they dedicate most of their energy into making people look stupid, the way Spencer and Trump do (respectively). They talk about the effects of immigration, and they often do so in a thoroughly dignified, academic manner.

      I maintain my support of non-aggression; I still believe that it is wrong to initiate physical conflict against someone. That is, unless the attack is clearly on its way, and could be stopped. The Non-Aggression Principle (N.A.P.) should only be "broken" in order to prevent a clear and present danger from resulting in actual harm (although it is arguable whether this is actually a violation of the N.A.P.).
     Furthermore, when the physical conflict is retaliatory, the force used must be proportional; that is, you can't bring a chainsaw to a fist-fight. Defense of people other than oneself should only occur in defense of people incapable of defending themselves.
      On the issue of freedom of speech, the only time it is acceptable to interfere with someone's freedom of speech is if they are inciting a mob of people to riot. Empty threats should not be taken seriously unless they include specific information about a prospective victim. I have said about the Charles Manson murders, "if everyone who ever suggested killing the rich, or killing off several hundred million or billion people, were charged with a crime, then half of the country would be in prison".

     When you reveal someone's phone number or address of the workplace or home (this is called "doxing") - and it's the personal information of someone who you think is a racist or a Nazi - then you are trying to incite people to commit violence against someone, and you have given them all the tools they need to hunt people down. This creates a credible threat, and this fulfills the requirement that a threat be believable in order to be illegal.
     Moreover, if you publicly claim that someone is a Nazi or a racist, without any evidence, and you release such information, then you are engaging in extrajudicial vigilante justice. It is wrong to punch someone for being a Nazi, for the same reason that it is wrong to torture someone just because you think they're a terrorist. Even if you believe there's nothing wrong with vigilante justice, if you don't have any evidence, then you don't know for sure. Furthermore, there is a difference between simply hating people and inciting genocide.
     If you're making no formal charges, and you want someone punished without a warrant or fair trial, then you have no right to claim that you are standing up for people's constitutional rights, even if it's true that your political opponents are interfering with constitutional rights just a little bit more than you are.
      Additionally, the argument that "hate speech is not free speech" or "hate speech is unfree speech" is flawed. We don't have government-recognized freedom of speech because we want the freedom to talk about mundane things like the weather; we have protection of free speech because we need to talk about controversial topics like politics and religion in order to solve the problems of the day.
     If we prevent people from expressing their racism (or other phobias), then they won't be free to out themselves as racists. To admit that you believe your race is (or ought to be) supreme, or to suggest genocide through speech or writing, or to display a flag that might connote racism, do not present the same clear and present danger that actions like leading a mob or actively inciting genocide do.

     The argument that "you have the freedom of speech, but you don't have freedom from the consequences" is wrong as well. You do not get to decide that the consequences of someone standing in place giving a racist television interview includes being punched.
     You don't get to decide that, for the same reason that the T.S.A. should not get to decide that the consequences of walking into an airport includes being forced to choose between an intimate, grope-like search (or possibly strip search, or cavity search) and an electronic scanning that might give them cancer, without either a warrant or probable cause to believe that the person is a threat. It's for the same reason that G.G. Allin should not get to decide that the consequences of walking close enough to him include being raped full of A.I.D.S. and then shit on.
     That reason is simple: your body is your body, and other people's bodies belong to them, not you. You don't get to take away their freedom of choice, nor do you get to subject people to consequences that they didn't agree to or know about. It's the most important one of the first things we're taught in kindergarten to make sure we get along with each other; "don't steal, don't take, share, and don't hit". And if someone hits you, tell someone. It's just too bad that we also tell our kids that "it doesn't matter who started it".

     What is the most mind-boggling about this is that for some reason, I still defend the rights of "free speech" of people who engage in "doxing", even though it's pretty clear that it's a violation of the Non-Aggression Principle, and also of the law. So if you want to say that I'm defending hate speech, please draw attention to the fact that I am defending the hate speech of the left as well as of the right.
     If this is a free society, then we have the right to due process, the right of voluntary association, the freedom from association, the freedom of speech and press, and numerous other freedoms. I don't have to do anything for anybody, unless I am compensated to my satisfaction. I do not have to use the words that anybody else tells me to use. You have the same natural rights, whether you want them or not.
     We can either have a society where people on the left and right who hate each other are protected from one another equally; or we can have a society where we continue to isolate and abandon people, coercing them into striking out in their own defense, often using disproportionate violence. We can continue not obligating our police to protect and serve the general public (outside of a private contract), or we can incite people to attack others.
     I am not going to sit back and watch the left destroy themselves by throwing race-baiting boomerangs, and attack the Bill of Rights (like in December 2012, when The Journal News published a map of gun owners). I am speaking out not because I want to see non-whites exterminated, but because I don't want to see progressives kill themselves. We're not going to survive long as a society if we keep proclaiming the winner of the debate to be the person who can shout "racist" or "Nazi" first and loudest.
     If the Obama administration had made it illegal to call the president a Nazi, then Trump would have had an even easier time becoming president. It's legal to be a Nazi and read Hitler's book; if it weren't, then we'd have no idea what Nazis believe and we'd have no idea how to argue against it. Likewise, if Twitter censors Richard Spencer or other white supremacists, then we won't have any way to keep track of the latest racist dog-whistles, so we can shout-down and silence other progressive white people for accidentally using them.

Written on February 5th and 6th, 2017

Edited on February 18th and 21st, 2017

1 comment: