Monday, 13 February 2023

Can Words Hurt Us?

The Question Is: Can the Nuremburg Tribunal’s willingness to execute the notorious Nazi antisemite, Julius Streicher, for publishing hate speech serve as a moral rationale for giving the claim that “words breed deeds” the strongest possible legal expression in New Zealand?

JULIUS STREICHER was convicted and executed at Nuremburg in 1946 for what would today be called “hate speech”. For many years Streicher had been the editor of Der Stürmer, the virulently antisemitic newspaper notorious for whipping-up hatred against Germany’s – and Europe’s – Jewish population. The judges at Nuremburg had drawn a direct causal link between the words and images printed in Der Stürmer and what we now call “The Holocaust” – the state-sanctioned and organised genocide of European Jewry. Words breed deeds, the judges said, and Streicher’s hateful words had contributed to the death of millions.

Such reasoning is, of course, made much easier when it is the deeds of the Nazis caught in the moral spotlight. When the effects of extremism are so unequivocally horrendous, a degree of carelessness in identifying its causes is all-too-easily overlooked and/or excused. With the images of the Nazi death camps seared into the consciousness of the Nuremburg judges, Streicher’s squalid provocations encountered a pronounced deficit of historical understanding. Between 1933 and 1945, the editor of Der Stürmer had indisputably got what he wanted. Surely, on the scaffold at Nuremburg, he got what he deserved?

Just Deserts? The body of Julius Streicher, notorious Nazi editor of the antisemitic newspaper Der Stürmer, hanged at Nuremburg for his unremitting media hate campaign against the Jews.
The Nuremburg Trials have presented the world with such a clear moral template that they have become the go-to source for generations in search of a clear ethical steer on the conduct of those wielding state power. In the 1960s and 70s, opponents of the Vietnam War warned the conscript soldiers of the United States that when it came to war crimes and crimes against humanity the judgement of Nuremburg was very clear. The excuse, “I was just following orders” is unacceptable. There are some orders that no human-being worthy of the name should follow. Military discipline does not trump the fundamental moral precepts of a civilised society.

That the anti-vaccination occupiers of Parliament Grounds in February-March 2022 also reached for the moral absolutism of Nuremburg – not least its willingness to execute the guilty – should give us all pause. Certainly it should remind us that all human judgement is bounded by the historical events and prejudices within which it is exercised. Even the high-minded pronouncements of the Nuremburg Tribunal are capable of being twisted to ignoble – even evil – ends.

The question, therefore, becomes: Can the Nuremburg Tribunal’s willingness to execute Streicher for publishing hate speech serve as a moral rationale for giving the claim that “words breed deeds” the strongest possible legal expression in New Zealand? Perhaps fortunately, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has handed over this complex legal and ethical argument to the Law Commission. Even so, the consequences of a wrong call on the strength of the causal links between words and deeds is fraught with political risk.

Where should one start? In Streicher’s case, the antisemitic prejudices which fuelled his newspaper sales predated Der Stürmer by several centuries. Crediting Streicher alone with whipping-up hatred of the Jews in Germany is an historical absurdity. One might as readily put the Catholic Church in the dock for instigating the medieval “blood libel” against the Jews. The Nazis did not invent German antisemitism: but, by giving anti-Jewish prejudice the force of law, they made it compulsory. Without Adolf Hitler’s genocidal hatred of the Jews, Der Stürmer would never have amounted to anything more than a loathsome antisemitic rag. One among many.

Those seeking to make hate speech illegal are relying, increasingly, on the concept of “stochastic terrorism” to justify their plans for extensive political censorship. Stochastic, in this context, is best explained as the problem of identifying precisely which one of the ten thousand antisemitic readers of an incendiary online posting is going to borrow his brother’s rifle and walk into the nearest synagogue.

The promoters of hate speech laws argue that it is enough to know that those contributing to the creation of a climate of hatred and prejudice will, eventually, succeed in provoking a deadly political reaction. Although it is virtually impossible for the authorities to identify exactly which one of these ten thousand potential terrorists will pick up a gun, the statistical certainly remains that someday, someone will.

Better, therefore, to legally prohibit extremists from building-up the sort of highly-charged political atmosphere that can only be earthed by a bolt of terrorist lightning. No antisemitic literature, no antisemitic movies, no antisemitic blogs and – Hey Presto! – no antisemitism!

Quite apart from the immense cultural wounds such an approach would inflict – no Merchant of Venice – it is far from certain that such extensive censorship would be effective. The perpetrator of the Christchurch Mosque Massacre, for example, was inspired, in part, by the deeds of the Norwegian terrorist, Anders Breivik. Does this mean that all news of such deadly attacks should be suppressed? Brenton Tarrant was also inspired by the medieval military struggle between Christendom and Islam in the Holy Land and Eastern Europe. Do those promoting hate speech laws also propose placing a ban on the reading of history?

The hate speech legislation packed off to the Law Commission by Prime Minister Hipkins proposed to limit the extended protection of our human rights legislation to religious communities alone. This offered considerably less protection for “vulnerable groups” than had been promised in earlier recommendations, and yet, even when limited to religious belief, the potential for conflict remains high. The Bible and the Koran both contain passages that are, at least on their face, antisemitic. Should both holy books join Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice in the sin-bin?

The moral certainties reflected in the judgements of Nuremburg can still evoke a nostalgic response from those old enough to have grown up in their shadow. The Second World War was perceived (at least by its victors) as a Manichean struggle in which the Forces of Light had not only defeated the Forces of Darkness, but also, in the course of prosecuting those minions of evil who’d survived the War, spelled out with crystalline clarity the moral limits of political and military power. After the global exertions of the most destructive war in human history, the installation of a new moral order – the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the judgements of Nuremburg themselves – did not strike them as hubris, but as the very least that should be done to honour the millions who had fallen.

And yet, even as Julius Streicher was twisting at the end of a rope, his fellow defendant, Albert Speer, was being escorted to a comfortable prison cell, from which he would emerge 20 years later to burnish his growing reputation as the only “Good Nazi”. In the end, the thousands of Jewish and Russian slave labourers who died manufacturing the weapons which, as Hitler’s Armaments Minister, Speer had promised his Fuhrer, caused the Nuremburg judges less grief than Streicher’s hate-filled prose.

Truth is a hard goddess to like – and even more difficult to serve – but among all the other gods she stands alone for keeping her promise to humanity. “I cannot shield you from the pain that comes with me,” she told us, “but I am your only sure protection against those who would have you believe that happiness is ignorant, and that lies can set you free.”

This essay was originally posted on of Monday, 13 February 2023.


greywarbler said...

Wasn't there an effort to limit the extent of violence allowed to be meted out to wives so that the rod should be no bigger than a thumb? Can we set a limit on abuse so that repeated nastiness should be cautioned, even curtailed? How high and pure should we aim to be - limbo, how low can we go?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Can words hurt us?"
Perhaps we should ask the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre if Alex Jones words hurt them. I guess spending a 10 years in absolute fear and misery might count as being hurt? You know, as people came from all over the country to harass and abuse them.

What about Covid misinformation – that's damaged the public health of numerous countries – does that count as hurt?

Pizzagate? Lies that caused someone to fire a shot in a pizza restaurant? I guess the guy who went fired shot never actually hit anyone, but does that count as hurt?

What about this – after fake news stories in June 2017 reported Ethereum’s founder Vitalik Buterin had died in a car crash its market value was reported to have dropped by $4 billion. Didn't worry me, but what about the people who lost money?

Russian lies helped Trump get elected. I don't know how much hurt that caused, but quite possibly some?

If we go further back, what about Senator McCarthy's lies? Certainly ruined the careers of a couple of pretty good actors. Is that hurt?

I could go on but I'll just say this – of course words can hurt as and you are a bloody fool if you believe otherwise.

Madame Blavatsky said...

Your article raises an important meta-political point, one which may escape peoples' attention, so self-evident does it appear. It seems clear that the entire post WW2 global political order is predicated entirely on the public perception of the horrors of Nazism and the persecution of Jews by Adolf Hitler. So important are Nazis and the figure of Hitler even in 2023, it is unclear how the world would look today, were not the Nazis and the Jews the essence of the socio-political paradigm, alike held up as the two most significant groups of the 20th century, but for very different reasons. "Never again" is the slogan impressed upon American school children as part of their holocaust education programs, as well as at the numerous holocaust museums throughout the United States and in other parts of the world. Hitler looms large as the embodiment of distilled evil and hatred, and being called “a Nazi” is considered the greatest insult imaginable, so deeply ingrained and self-evident are “the Nazis and the Jews” in our collective psyches.

In fact, so crucial are the Nazis to our worldview even approaching nearly a century later that, without this moral foundation, its symbolism and the frequent reminder of the factors said to have attributed to these events, it’s actually hard to see what an alternative argument would be for the post war conceptual framing which condemns the idea of sovereign nations acting in their own interests (rather than what is entailed by "the conscience of humanity" standard that came out of Nuremberg), denouncing any sense of collective group identity among the European peoples, and the moral imperative for multicultural societies. I mean consider it: the Nazis were nationalists; the Nazis were Europeans; and the Nazis were insular and chauvinistic towards races other than Germanics, notoriously of course, those of the Jewish ethnicity. We even see today the rise of the concept of "hate speech" that, as Chris informs us, dates to Jewish participants at Nuremberg conceiving the too-free expression of anti-Jewish, or Jewish-critical, sentiments as having a direct causal link to their holocaust (a circumstance that has essentially become the defining event of Judaism, and is the thing that binds today’s Jews in common cause and their common sense of victimhood).

The Barron said...

Sorry Chris, but the very premise is absurdist. Before you can suggest 'JULIUS STREICHER was convicted and executed at Nuremburg in 1946 for what would today be called “hate speech”', you would first have to assert that he was expressing his views in the context of "free speech", of course he was not. He was operating within and as part of a state mechanism which controlled and rewarded that which served the state interest. Streicher, like the industrialists which used slave labour, was part of the promotion and advancement of a system under Nazism which lead to the industrial genocide of the Jewish and Romani people. Goebbels was not a PR man, but someone who ensured state sanctioned hatred would be an impression upon the national psyche.

Leon Mugesera, an academic and former politician was jailed for life in Rwanda. He broadcasts described Tutsis as "cockroaches" and called for their extermination has been jailed for life in Rwanda over the 1994 genocide. 800, 000 died. Jailed for "hate speech"?

No. Streicher and Mugesera used their positions knowing that their actions would cause harm. In both cases to the extent of crimes against humanity.

" Brenton Tarrant was also inspired by the medieval military struggle between Christendom and Islam in the Holy Land and Eastern Europe. Do those promoting hate speech laws also propose placing a ban on the reading of history?" Anyone who thinks that the 1389 battle Kossovo Field between the Serbs and Ottomans (with largely Balkan soldiers) almost two centuries before Europeans knew where NZ was, has any possible premise for an Australian to kill a Fijian Indian in New Zealand...

While we discuss the mosque attack, there are those that claim free speech to view the footage. I am not alone in pointing out that few disagree with child pornography but listen to these sickos arguing their right to see a six year old murdered. Indeed, privacy laws should ensure for almost all people the absolute right of privacy in the most intimate moment of death. This is more so when the death is violently inflicted and the perpetuator uses it for promotion. Following through on the 'manifesto' hate justification for the unjustifiable and I have no problem with it being limited to academic study.

The current laws already limit "hate speech". It is unacceptable in schools. In the workplace the employer must maintain a safe workplace, this includes protection of all on site against exposure to things that may cause emotional or psychological harm. We would expect someone making derogatory comments towards someone who is disabled on a bus to be asked to leave. We would expect someone yelling racist remarks at a sporting event to be removed.

The Law Commission gets to look at appropriate legislation. That is probably a good thing. The Royal Commission following the Mosque attack were narrow in their brief. The Government had watered down prosed legislation excluding crucial areas for expediency, then threw disability out to pretend the sexual orientation and gender identification weren't expedient. There are international models which work well, and some less so. The Commission can recommend something inclusive from the former.

Like the examples of Streicher and Mugesera, where there is an obvious expectation that the expression of speech will have a likelihood of harm to a person or persons on the basis they are a member of an identified human rights group, the government should serve the society by provision of protective legislation.

DS said...

IIRC, Streicher at the trial actually went out of his way to get himself hanged, when if he'd bothered to behave himself, he'd have got away with a prison sentence.

David George said...

If you thought the anti speech legislation was merely coming for the likes of your drunk uncle's tranny jokes, think again. The recent revelations prove that the governments active program (with the collusion of the state agencies, NGOs, political parties and powerful corporations) to control public discourse is utterly corrupt. Is our government going down the same road, the "disinformation project" a cover for state control of the discourse?

I don't know how long the legacy media can continue the suspicious pretense that "there's nothing to see here" but obviously there's still a lot of ignorance out there - see "Russian lies" comment above.
We now know, for example, that the Russian election influence conspiracy was manufactured by the FBI in concert with The US Dems and promoted by the Big tech companies under the Orwellian claim of preventing disinformation.

Elon Musk: "Almost every conspiracy theory that people had about Twitter turned out to be true. Is there a conspiracy theory about Twitter that didn’t turn out to be true? So far, they’ve all turned out to be true. And if not, more true than people thought."

Tom Hunter said...

Words? How about thoughts hurting us, as this woman found out in Britain when she was arrested for silently praying across the street from an abortion clinic.

I'll now sit back and see how much support for this arrest arises from the usual suspects here. ;)

David George said...

Thanks Madame B., here's a very interesting essay on the influence of the Nazi story in our current discourse and how that story is being used to cultivate a distrust of the people.

"... in 2018, Robert Kagan, a neoconservative defender of what is now called the ‘liberal world order’, was moved to spell out the terrifying consequences of popular challenges to the status quo:

‘When the prevailing order breaks down, when the rocks are overturned, the things living beneath them, the darkest elements of the human spirit, crawl out. That was what happened in the first half of the 20th century… Had there been an order in place to blunt those ambitions, we might never have come to know [Hitler and Mussolini] as tyrants, aggressors and mass killers. Today the rocks are being overturned again.’

"These arguments are now common coin among establishment ideologues. They emerge with a grim predictability following any election, from Italy to Sweden, that produces results that cut against the establishment. And they pose a real risk to democracy and freedom – because they share the same prejudices about the demos, as an irrational mass motivated by dark passions, as fascism itself.

Ninety years on from the dark days of 1933, fascism itself may be a distant memory. But it seems the fascist myth of the irrational ‘masses’ lives on."

Tom Hunter said...

Where "hate speech" ends up; from a US Senate hearing last year:

Senator Hawley: Why are you using the term “person with a capacity for pregnancy” instead of “woman?”

Bridges: “Your line of questioning is transphobic and opens trans people to violence.”

Hawley: “You’re saying I’m opening up people to violence by saying women can have pregnancies?”

Gary Peters said...

"Hate speech" legislation was never about protecting "us", it was about protecting the labour government and it's opinions and actions.

Typically of the left, they were a bit slow to realise that such legislation could eventually be turned back against themselves to protect a future government's opinions and actions.

Hipkins realised very quickly that with virtual control of the mainstream media, the legislation wasn't really needed, just flick the MSM another $50 million or so now and again, keep turning out "diverse" but incompetent journalists from the BS school and you're good to go.

Oh and for guerilla boy, it has now been shown through the twitter files released that the "Russian disinformation" was actually disinformation itself and government enabled but hey, if it rocks your boat, rock away.

Tom Hunter said...

And since you focused on Streicher, there's this, Would censorship have stopped the rise of the Nazis?

Weimar Germany had laws banning hateful speech (particularly hateful speech directed at Jews), and top Nazis including Joseph Goebbels, Theodor Fritsch and Julius Streicher actually were sentenced to prison time for violating them. The efforts of the Weimar Republic to suppress the speech of the Nazis are so well known in academic circles that one professor has described the idea that speech restrictions would have stopped the Nazis as “the Weimar Fallacy.”

David George said...

What's it up to, Jacinda's Disinformation Project? we know it is headed by some very strange people - little blond girl's braids and home baking are neo Nazi precursors; seriously. Is that it though?

“The irony is the entire field of “disinformation studies” itself has the features of an inorganic astroturfing operation. Disinformation “labs” cast themselves as independent, objective, politically neutral resources, but in a shocking number of cases, their funding comes at least in part from government agencies like the Department of Defense. Far from being neutral, they often have clear mandates to play up foreign and domestic threats while arguing for digital censorship, de-platforming, and other forms of information control. ”

Here's a great job for you Chris.

David McLoughlin said...

A timely analysis Chris. One irony about it is that, some of the supporters of "hate speech legislation" don't much like Jews, and from some of their utterances over the years, seem even to hate them. They don't seem to be pushing such laws to protect Jews.

With such laws, the principle of unintended consequences comes to mind. Be careful what you wish for.

Madame Blavatsky said...

Guerilla Surgeon
Who decides what is a "lie"? You apparently think that all of the cases you mention are lies, but on what grounds do you come to that conclusion? And who are you (or who is anyone else) to say what is and isn't a lie? You are free to think what you want and to say it but others are free to think the opposite and to express that. That is one way we arrive at the truth; censorship on the basis of "harmful lies" is a way to avoid truths.

If people are considered too stupid and cannot be trusted to draw their own conclusions about issues and events from the available information, and seek it out from any source they like, then it follows that they probably shouldn't get a vote either. What if they make the "wrong" decision? We'd better remove the right to decide from them, and let them know what WE consider the "right" decision. The principle is, there is no "wrong" decisions concerning the things Power would like to censor and to ban free discussion. Truth always wins out in the end, so if people are misguided, they will eventually be forced to accept what is undeniably true. Equally, because Truth does always win out, individuals and institutions have a very obvious motivation to prevent people at large from thinking in certain ways, and thinking about certain things. The remedy for keeping people in line is to concoct the concept of "hate speech" and "disinformation" to protect the interests of Power.

Part of life is finding out what the truth is (about nature, about politics, about society etc.) One of the best ways to determine what is a lie is to consider what is verboten and deemed off-limits by Power: there is a very good case indeed that THOSE items are lies or at least involve distortions that serve self-interested parties. They are always the things that, if accepted as being true by the public, advance the interests of Power. And "harm" has nothing to do with it (unless you consider that "harm" means harm to the interests and narratives of Power). There is a clear vested interested in classifying some expressions as "hate speech." If I'm cheating on my wife, the last thing I want to do is talk about it with my wife – she may find out. So I shut myself up. Such talk may "harm" her, so better to keep silent. Exactly the same principle drives censorship (i.e the self-interest of the censoring party).

Thus, in the interests of Power, we can (as you do) consider Trump's 2016 win to be "illegitimate" (even though it was investigated ad nauseum with no evidence found), while anyone who questions the manner of Biden's 2020 election is a "threat to democracy" (aka harmful). Two case of questioning election results, with the only distinction being that the first served the interests of Power, while the second threatened Power. The one is fine, the other is "harmful." Similarly, you can make a video on YouTube arguing for "Flat Earth" whereas you risk having your channel removed if you make a video questioning aspects of Covid or the Covid vaccines (even when backed by publicly available data). Again, the one poses no threat to Power, while the latter does.

Harm to Power, then, is the principal criterion for censorship. "Hate" or general "Harm" to the public or to minorities is an implausible pretext to justify the exercise of power by Power.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Goodness me madam Blavatsky – can hardly understand a word you say, and I have several degrees requiring an ability to read the English language, even the strange and wonderful language that is sometimes produced by social science.
But it's possible that you're saying that restrictions on freedom of speech can be traced back to the Nazis and Nuremberg? Actually restrictions on freedom of speech go back long before that – just in case that's what you're saying. In fact the phrase "shouting fire in a crowded theatre" comes from the US at the time of World War I. Free speech as such is a relatively modern concept, and is never absolute.
And if the Jews consider that "critical sentiments" which seems a trifle mild way to put it to be honest, had some direct causal link to their Holocaust then they would be correct. (Difficult to know if you believe it's correct or not.)
Dehumanisation is essential to genocide. It took place post-1933, and it took place in Rwanda before the terrible massacres there. The language used in both cases is remarkably similar.
Consider it: no fascist government has ever gained power in a democracy, and probably any other type of government, without the support of conservatives. In Nazi Germany the Conservatives were so idiotically scared of "cultural Bolshevism" that they refused to ally themselves with moderate social Democrats to keep the Nazis from power. Instead they were willing to ally themselves with the Nazis – and of course be cast aside once power was secure.

Madame Blavatsky said...

Guerilla Surgeon
"What about Covid misinformation – that's damaged the public health of numerous countries"

To which specific items of "Covid misinformation" do you refer here, and in what way have they "damaged public health"?

Whenever we hear this phrase trotted out, no concrete examples are ever given, probably because if they were, people may then go and investigate these items for themselves. But the best propaganda is always that which makes vague allusions and allows the reader or the listener to fill in for themselves the (no doubt horrific) details and implications thereof.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Whenever we hear this phrase trotted out, no concrete examples are ever given, probably because if they were, people may then go and investigate these items for themselves."

Heaven preserve us from people who "do their own research". Because it's usually done with the aid of a tinfoil hat. The US has had hundreds of thousands of excess deaths, from Covid and thousands of these it has been discovered, are due to the fact that people haven't been vaccinated. That's one example.

Most of these deaths were Republicans or conservatives, because they're the ones not getting vaccinated – something that doesn't bother me greatly to be honest considering their the cause of their own death. But of course they are also caused the deaths of innocent people, which is egregious.
Incidentally, 30 seconds of nonpartisan googling, and you could have found out for yourself.

You seem to be flirting with anti-vaccine to mention yourself judging by that comment. Have you been vaccinated yourself? Just askin'.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Who decides what is a "lie"? You apparently think that all of the cases you mention are lies, but on what grounds do you come to that conclusion? "

Christ on a crutch, talk about overthinking. The Alex Jones allegations are obviously lies, I don't have to decide this – every reputable news source in the world knows that they are lies and has said so. The parents of the children who died have also said so. In between being harassed and assaulted.
You know, I used to consider you a political opponent who was relatively rational, but you've now gone beyond the fringes of crazy sorry.

And would you like to quote to me the post where I said that Trump's 2016 victory was illegitimate? Because I have never done so. So that in itself is a lie. I don't remember you being around here in 2016 to see my posts, but no doubt you could find them somewhere, I'm sure Chris could point you in the right direction.

True though some people cannot be trusted to find information from reputable sources – you seem to be one. It's unfortunate, but people have been taken in by plausible – and for that matter implausible lunatics like Alex Jones. The truth of whose allegations has been established several times in a court room. But I guess conspiracy theorists don't care about actual truth.

But to suggest that we should deny them a vote although appealing on one level, goes against the principles of democracy, and I have faith in the majority of peoples' common sense and investigative skills – at least enough that we won't quite yet to send to an idiocracy.

Madame Blavatsky said...

David George
The thrust of my comment was actually this: the spectre of the Nazis and the, we are told, ever- present threat of the rise of “fascists” in our own day (something that, we are also told, can only be prevented via harsh censorship of people’s speech and thought) is used by Jewish people (especially those in American social and political life, as well as the Israelis), as well as others, to restrict and negating any criticism towards them. If Jews feel they are in a corner and are facing legitimate criticism? …“anti-Semite!” If Israel’s policies are being criticised? ... “The Holocaust!” More broadly, you are a “Nazi” if you are concerned about the effects of multiculturalism, of a “fascist” if you question whether a man can choose to become a woman. These words are deliberately designed to shut down all debate, no matter how accurate and valid it may be, because “the Nazis and the Jews” is the staring-point of all reasoning within the dominant “liberal orthodoxy.”

As I argued, everything today still rests on the notion of “Hitler and the Nazis” as a unique and incomparable evil. But there have been plenty of dictators. It seems to make no difference that other 20th century dictators had much higher death tolls attributed to them. But “the Nazis and the Jews” is what holds the political paradigm together–it “needs” the Nazis, because without them, the justification for concepts like loss of national sovereignty, post-nationalism and global governance collapses, or is severely diminished. All of these ideas are derived from Nuremberg. “Fighting Nazis” and “stopping the fascists” is still the goal apparently, long after both have seemingly disappeared into the mists of time. But this language serves a specific purpose, no matter how irrelevant it may seem to anyone who can think objectively.

The topic of Chris’s article is so-called “hate speech” and it touches on how Jewish people devised the concept and made it a crime. Today, under the justification of “hate speech,” it is illegal to question the nature, the scope, or the fact of the holocaust. People can be and have been jailed for doing so, which is simply an expression of free speech – whether it upsets Jews is very much irrelevant. This is extremely telling. What is any rational and reasonably critical person supposed to conclude about the holocaust, when they discover that it, or any aspect of it, cannot be questioned? Why is this topic so drastically off-limits? Because it holds the “liberal order” together at a fundamental level.

You mention Robert Kagan, which is an excellent example of what I mean. Kagan is Jewish. The “Nazi-based” post-WW2 order is the same thing as the “liberal order” that Kagan defends. But, primarily and despite fine sentiments about “freedom and democracy”, he and others defend it for the reasons I give above, because he has a direct group interest in defending and promoting it.

David George said...

It's not so much words that hurt, it's the truth that hurts. But lies destroy. I've got pinned to my wall a poster with a short quote from JP: "The Truth is a Terrible Thing But Not When You Compare it with Falsehood".

It's fascinating to see how the pretense of protecting us from "disinformation" was itself cover for falsity from TPTB; a "weapons of mass destruction" redux. Where do we turn now to find the truth when even our own ability to discern it has been compromised? How do we buttress ourselves against falling for, and into, deceit.

"The word God uses to confront the nothingness [at the beginning of time] is the Truth, and that truth creates. But it does not just create: it appears to create the Good - the very best that love would demand. It is not for nothing that God is so insistent that what has been created is Good. Arrogance and deceit unite to oppose the idea that courageous truth aimed at love creates the Good, and replaces it with the idea that any whim, large or small, has the right and opportunity to reveal itself for purposes that are instead narrow and self-serving" Jordan Peterson, 12 More Rules.

David George said...

I didn't have any difficulty understanding any of Mdme. B's comments GS. Perhaps your professed inability to understand is wilful?

David George said...

Despite claims to the contrary in an interesting survey just out from UnHerd:
"it is clear that conspiratorial thinking is not a “Right-wing” phenomenon. Voters who believe in a controlling secretive elite are much more likely to vote Labour than Conservative, and much more likely to live in a safe Labour constituency. By this measure, the 10 most conspiratorial constituencies in the country are all safe Labour seats, whereas the 10 least conspiratorial constituencies are all Tory"

I think it has a lot to do with the deserved collapse in trust of the legacy media.

"beneath the surface, voter distrust and suspicion are more present than ever; and that the currents that propelled both Jeremy Corbyn and Brexit still run right through Labour’s heartlands. If the 2024 election is anything like 2015 — with the mainstream parties becoming harder and harder to tell apart — it could be the beginning of a whole new wave of democratic revolts".

Loz said...

The powerful wield the censoring of speech and ideas as weapons against the weak. The new definition of antisemitism, which classifies the labelling of Israel as a racist state as ‘anti-Semitic’ hate speech, enables the powerful to silence legitimate criticism of Israel's apartheid policies. New Zealand's strike leaders, Semple, Holland, and Fraser, were accused of being “haters of the royal family”, while the establishment condemned their affirmation of a "class war" as hate speech too.

Guerilla Surgeon’s claim that "Russian lies helped Trump get elected", is worthy of thought.

The supposed evidence of Russian interference in the US election relied upon allegations of a secret network connection between Alfa Bank and the Trump organization, the "Russian hacking" of the DNC server, and social media influence campaign. However, we now know from the courtroom testimony of Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook that Hillary Clinton and Jake Sullivan signed off on feeding fabricated Alpha Bank claims to the media. We know from testimony by CrowdStrike chief security officer Shawn Henry and Technical Director of the NSA, Bill Binney that there was never any evidence of Russian involvement in the leak of DNC emails. We also know from the detailed investigation by the ‘New York University Center for Social Media and Politics’ that the people who received tweets from Russian state bots already identified as "Strong Republicans," indicating no significant effect on voting behaviour.

It doesn't matter that we now understand that the generation of politically charged hysteria was deliberate and served political interests. The impression of an international Russian conspiracy has been imprinted on a large number of people. That hysteria served powerful domestic interests, leading to the complete censorship of RT and silencing critical voices such as Chris Hedges and Abby Martin.

The guise of liberalism simply cloaks censorship, which ultimately serves our most powerful and entrenched interests, be they corporations, drug companies or politicians.

David George said...

Perhaps read the spiked article I linked to Mdme. B (it was they that included Kagan's comments) it broadly agrees with what you're saying but from a slightly different angle.
The use of victim status wasn't exactly pioneered by the Jews but here we are. The Maori ethno nationalists types shamelessly even use the "Holocaust" metaphor to dramatise the effects of European colonisation. The luvvies lap it up.

greywarbler said...

As The Barron posits it is the level of influence, the prominence and power behind that is so damaging from hate speech. Your neighbour muttering things under his/her breath with or without eye contact can be very worrying. It's the level of spite that is felt that affects. He/she could be saying White Rose in German WW2 and only some would realise it had a deadly meaning. There is a difference between a spoken jibe and one coming through an amplifier.

I have heard a man castigating a 12 year old with him, and the boy hated what he was hearing; I think that would stay in his mind permanently as it was belittling hate speech.

greywarbler said...

I thought that this hate speech legislation arose from the shooting dead of Muslims in Christchurch and all that had happened around that time and before. There was also an incident caught on cellphone of an apparently nutty female jumping up and down in front of an Iranian woman, calling her names and throwing bits of mud at her. It was unpleasant and if I was the object of such behaviour I would want it stopped.

However Labour falling over backward to introduce one of their soppy ideas that they hope will magic problems away is not my idea of good legislation. When was the last time they introduced some intelligent, useful, worthwhile social legislation? But this talk about Nazis just ends up with a Godwins Law effect.

I think the Nuremburg trials are deeply tied to the Holocaust. And that should have its own bounded monumental place in our consciousness to be approached with anguish and dolor! Not raised whenever someone wants to make a point when there are multiple murders, which sadly for human self-respect, happen regularly.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Words can't hurt us? Lies can and do.

Wilful David? You seem to be getting as obscure as madame. Perhaps you should both cosider a sociology degree. Oh ... just realised you were quoting Peterson, sorry. 😁

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I don't remember anyone here claiming that conspiratorial thinking is confined to the right David – I use straw manning again? Sorry, that's a little bit like have you stopped beating your wife I guess, but you are known for it – and nut picking.
However, according to actual scientific research – there is an imbalance that means that conservatives are more vulnerable to conspiratorial thinking, particularly with regards to science.

So do I believe a properly constructed academic study on this topic or the source you provided which is owned by one of the proprietors of GB news – about which fact checkers claim:

"Overall, we rate Unherd Right-Center biased based on story selection and editorial positions that moderately favor the right. We also rate them Mostly Factual in reporting rather than High due to a failed fact check."

To be fair though they seem to be a little bit to the left of their owner who is a noted RW NJ.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Dammit, after excoriating Mme – I find that at least one of my posts is less than coherent. Too busy at the moment. 😖

"I'll now sit back and see how much support for this arrest arises from the usual suspects here."

She was not actually arrested for silently praying across the road from an abortion clinic, she was arrested for breaching the buffer zone which protects people having abortions from the usual screaming wailing and crying from demonstrators. She presumably knew about the buffer zone and chose to break the law. Charges however have been dropped. And I think there are enough a bit of discretion is necessary. On the other hand

You seem to be vulnerable to being arrested for asking who elected a British royal.

I await approval from the usual suspects here.

David George said...

The power and reach of the anti speech faction is frightening - that's the intention.
Here's a must read look at some of these astroturfing outfits:

"Recently, the politicians working with mainstream media have used the bogus label of anti-Semitism to remove Andrew Bridgen from the Conservative Party in the UK. In addition, The Guardian, working with leading Jewish groups in the UK, has tried to have Neil Oliver deplatformed from GB News for speaking about the COVID-19 vaccine and the risk of a one world government, which is evidently is the same as being an “anti-semite” in the minds of some. Last year, main stream media attempted to smear Robert F. Kennedy with a similar hogwash smear campaign and now, CCDH is also trying to label me and others with similar terms (guilt by association). Of course, this was followed by the attacks by the Washington Post and Yahoo News - calling those of us the CCDH smeared as “extremist influencers.” Remember that this has become their “playbook,” dating back from at least 2018.

I suggest that these defamatory claims are not originating from grass roots organizations, but are being brought forth for political gain. The goal is to shut down free speech. The goal is to generate outrage."

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Your correct David it is frightening – and most of its coming from the right.

Florida has just passed a bill called the “Stop WOKE” Act, as part of their silly moral panic about “critical race theory,” a concept they have no interest in understanding or engaging with but are convinced is poisoning the minds of the young. As TIME magazine summarizes, the legislation:

…prohibits workplace training or school instruction that teaches that individuals are “inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously”; that people are privileged or oppressed based on race, gender, or national origin; or that a person “bears personal responsibility for and must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress” over actions committed in the past by members of the same race, gender, or national origin.

I believe this has been established by research. You could read "ALienable speech: ideological variations in the application of free speech principles." Which suggests that "liberals" have more tolerance in the area of free speech.

For every instance you can give of alleged "leftists" denying people freedom of speech I can provide you with half a dozen at least I've right-wing organisations, up to and including governments denying people freedom of speech. And yet you seem to be blind to this – I ask you again, do you approve? I had to chase you for weeks on whether you believe in forced speech which you finally admitted you do, how about an answer on the suppression of critical race theory?

And for those of you young people out there who don't know Neil Oliver or Robert Kennedy, they are both bonkers. Kennedy is a vaccine denialists who has almost certainly contributed to the deaths of thousands of people. Neil Oliver is much the same. Difficult to smear them, because they're so obvious in this stupidity. I mean calling them extremist influences is simply the truth. They both promote conspiracy theories and idiotic vaccination misinformation.

"Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., son of Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of former US president John F. Kennedy, also shared the conspiracy theory linking 5G to coronavirus. Global lockdown, he said, was stopping people from protesting to prevent “5G robber barons from microwaving our country and destroying nature”.

And it's not just the left that have condemned all of of four promoting anti-Semites, prominent Jewish organisations have also done so. It's not a smear to tell the truth David.

"National contributor Gerry Hassan tweeted: "Death cult thinking: Neil Oliver style. He may have the right to inflict self-harm on himself but not to inflict harm & potential death from #COVID19 on others. A very strange, perverse interpretation of 'freedom'."

Loz said...

Regardless of anyone’s political perspective, Chris Hedges is a heavyweight reporter / commentator. He has just posted an extraordinary piece into the labelling of “disinformation” and the promotion of the fabricated idea of Russian involvement with the Trump election. Under the guise of protecting democracy, political insiders colluded with military establishment figures in marshalling mass media and social media organisations toward the suppression of voices that challenged the fabricated narrative.

This pattern of senior political insiders directly working with national security and media has been evidenced in multiple areas since, certainly with mRNA concerns, Syria and Ukraine.

The biggest story of the last week should have been Seymour Hersh’s explosive investigation showing how a small group of people within the political and defense establishment of the US, planned and enacted an act of war against the critical infrastructure of it’s ally Germany. The investigation discussed how the group intentionally bypassed congress and the War Powers Act. In other decades, Hersh’s investigations made front page headlines but today, he was forced to publish to substack and mainstream media has simply refused to publish his revelations.

A highly effective form of censorship is already well established, and “Hate Speech” and “Protecting Democracy” are simply the arguments used to justify what we are living under.

Tom Hunter said...

The Revolution, like Saturn, devours its children, in which a very special person deiscovers the reality of CRT and its "anti-racism:

I am a black professor, I directed my university’s black-studies program, I lead anti-racism and transformative-justice workshops, and I have published books on anti-black racism and prison abolition. I live in a predominantly black neighborhood of Philadelphia, my daughter went to an Afrocentric school, and I am on the board of our local black cultural organization.

Didn't stop him getting destroyed in CRT-focused sessions:
An Asian-American student cited federal inmate demographics: About 60 percent of those incarcerated are white. The black students said they were harmed. They had learned, in one of their workshops, that objective facts are a tool of white supremacy.
Then all nine remaining students entered, each carrying a piece of paper. One by one they read a paragraph. Out of their mouths came everything Keisha had said to me during the “urgent” meetings she had with me after classes when students had allegedly been harmed. The students had all of the dogma of anti-racism, but no actual racism to call out in their world, and Keisha had channeled all of the students’ desire to combat racism at me.

They alleged: I had used racist language. I had misgendered Brittney Griner. I had repeatedly confused the names of two black students. My body language harmed them. I hadn’t corrected facts that were harmful to hear when the (now-purged) students introduced them in class.

Professor Lloyd at least has had a learning experience:

In a recent book, John McWhorter asserts that anti-racism is a new religion. It was an idea I quickly dismissed. Last summer, I found anti-racism to be a perversion of religion: I found a cult. From Wild Wild Country to the Nxivm shows to Scientology exposés, the features of cults have become familiar in popular culture. There is sleep deprivation. Ties to the outside world are severed. The sense of time collapses, with everything cult-related feeling extremely urgent. Participants are emotionally battered. In this weakened state, participants learn about and cling to dogmatic beliefs. Any outsider becomes a threat.

Tom Hunter said...

and most of its coming from the right.

Where would we be without the usual one-eyed view of GS. Were this the case I would expect solid Lefties like Chris Trotter and "Bomber" Bradbury to be up in arms - whereas in fact they're almost entirely focused on the Left's war on free speech.

Tom Hunter said...

I did have to laugh at this piece on the US film, Can We Take A Joke and the comedians involved, including Karith Foster, who had a professor wanting to set her up for a talk about DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) at his university, only to have it shut down:

And then I reached out to him a couple months later, and he was, like, “I hate to say this to you, Karith, but you're unofficially blacklisted. You're on a list.”

The people above him at the college didn’t like the way I speak about these things and didn’t like my appearances on Fox News. My messaging was not in line with how they wanted to approach things. That’s why I'm not welcome.

TB: Were these mostly white administrators making this decision?

KF: Yes. Yes.

TB: So can you just reflect on that?

KF: The irony is that the people aren't people of color, but feel that they know what people of color need more than anyone else. They are the people making the decisions.

And then there are a lot of people who maybe feel that it's inappropriate or wrong, but they don't want to speak up for themselves, for fear of being canceled or being told that they're not black enough or Hispanic enough or gay enough or minority enough.

The more that you celebrate victimhood, it shows how much more evolved you’re supposed to be. And yet it’s actually a de-evolution in how we should be treating one another.

Another African American who realises where weaponised - and definitely not "just legal school academia" CRT is taking all of us.

John Hurley said...

Paul Spoonley "briefly taught by Karl Popper"
Popper left NZ in 1946
Spoonley left Hastings BHS in 1969
Poppers academic career ended in 1969

David George said...

Pleased to get an invite to a local screening of the FSU's documentary "Last Words". You can check for dates in your area here, includes a trailer for the movie:

Another compelling and well thought out essay from Thomas Cranmer:

Balancing Free Speech and Protecting Religious Beliefs: The Complexities of Hate Speech Laws
The government's most recent failed attempt to enact hate speech laws shows just how difficult it is to strike the right balance between free speech and the protection of religious beliefs.

Conclusion: "These overzealous reactions by the authorities serve to highlight that the unintended consequences of hate speech laws extend far beyond academic discourse, artistic expression, and political speech. They can also have a chilling effect on everyday social interactions and conduct. As George Orwell warned in his dystopian masterpiece ‘1984’, “Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end, we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it”.

This warning is especially pertinent to religious hate speech laws, as their broad and ambiguous definitions can be exploited to stifle free expression and curtail open dialogue, even in settings where diverse viewpoints are crucial. The potential for censorship and self-censorship is a real and constant danger when governments are given the power to regulate speech. Therefore, whether you are a provocative artist, a daring comedian, or a regular member of the public, it is crucial to oppose hate speech laws that threaten our fundamental right to free expression."

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I just thought – perhaps we could ask Peter Ellis about words hurting us – oh of course not – he's dead.

Tom Hunter said...

Back in 2020 at the height of the George Floyd protests I wrote a post with a title inspired by a small sign held up by a man in Britain, The Right to Openly Discuss Ideas Must Be Defended". The video is at the link and to say he gets abused for silently hold this sign is an understatement.

However, I also noted that those left on those campuses are finally starting to worry that the tumbrels are heading their way. A group of Lefty Luvvies, including famous ones like Gloria Steinem, Gary Kasparov and Noam Chomsky, penned a letter to Harpers Magazine, A Letter on Justice and Open Debate. But even in this case a number backed out when they found that author J. K. Rowling was a signee; she’s been hit by the Woke mob over her siding with feminists against certain “trans-rights”, and of course they included this:

While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.

To which bullshit retired law professor, blogger and very Liberal (huge trans-rights supporter for example) Ann Althouse took issue:

I’m irritated by the gratuitous shot at right-wingers. The censorship and cancel culture they are talking about is very much a thing of the left. Take some damned responsibility for the attack on freedom of speech that has been nurtured among elite thinkers for the last 40 years. I experienced it in academia — first hand — through my entire career as a law professor…

This isn’t something that is just beginning to grow on the left. It’s been going on for decades, and why haven’t you opposed it sooner? Is it just because it looks particularly ugly now and your political goals are threatened? Sorry, I am not experiencing this letter as courageous.

And it was this comment that hit the nail on the head, as she reflected on her Boomer days at university in the late 60's with Vietnam and other protests:

Not just now. For the last 40 years. Since before some of the signatories to this letter were born. Go back to the 1960s if you want to find left-wing radicals who loved free speech, and then figure out whether they loved it as a means to an end or whether they loved it for its own sake. What happened after the 60s, after they’d gained ground in academia and government, suggests that they loved it as a means to an end…

She seems surprised but as Right-Winger I'm not. This is just a continuation of what I've described as hating the Okhrana and loving the Cheka.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Where would we be without the usual one-eyed view of GS."

If I was a one eyed, how come none of you lot have even bothered talking about these? Pick me the left-wing governments out of this. The majority are right-wing. You'll have to ask Chris why he doesn't take any notice of these – perhaps he's just being parochial.

Give me an example in New Zealand of laws or actions which are as bad as these. How many newspaper offices have been raided in NZ? How many journalists have been imprisoned in NZ? How many have been dismembered in an embassy? Jesus Christ sometimes I despair – whatever happened to the education system after I left school?

David George said...

The "Prevent" outfit in the UK, ostensibly aimed at preventing radicalising terrorists, considers owning a copy of Orwell's 1984 is a precursor for far right terrorism. No doubt guess our equivalent will be adding that to their list as well - alongside flowers and hair braids for little blond girls.

Tom Hunter said...

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”

Not anymore. To avoid triggering anyone, we are told that people in the past did everything just the same as cultural arbiters do at the instant you ask them. The changes ripple forwards and back. Soon studying history or literature will be like visiting foreign countries exclusively from the familiar precincts of a Holiday Inn so you can feel like you never left home. Because you never do.