Discussion:
Thought police?
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Wayne Hines
2017-08-28 11:37:00 UTC
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Interesting article on the CBC:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/ryerson-free-speech-1.4259360
--
I used to care but things have changed.
l***@fl.it
2017-08-28 12:01:30 UTC
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On Mon, 28 Aug 2017 11:37:00 GMT, Wayne Hines
Post by Wayne Hines
http://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/ryerson-free-speech-1.4259360
I don't think it was good to cancel, otoh, if I had kids at Ryerson I
do expect the uni to act in their best interests. Holding the event
at another venue, more readily secured, seems a good alternative.

I wonder where 'middle of the road' went ? In my uni demonstrating
days it was all friendly - the police were good natured with us, we
behaved in that we did not damage civil property or rob shops etc. At
the end of the day, we all went home, tired out ! Still, I do
sometimes look today and we still have nuclear bombs and in many ways
although it is not called apartheid anymore, society in SA is very
divided, so it was all for naught I guess :(
HRM Resident
2017-08-28 16:28:25 UTC
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Post by l***@fl.it
On Mon, 28 Aug 2017 11:37:00 GMT, Wayne Hines
Post by Wayne Hines
http://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/ryerson-free-speech-1.4259360
I don't think it was good to cancel, otoh, if I had kids at Ryerson I
do expect the uni to act in their best interests. Holding the event
at another venue, more readily secured, seems a good alternative.
I wonder where 'middle of the road' went ? In my uni demonstrating
days it was all friendly - the police were good natured with us, we
behaved in that we did not damage civil property or rob shops etc. At
the end of the day, we all went home, tired out ! Still, I do
sometimes look today and we still have nuclear bombs and in many ways
although it is not called apartheid anymore, society in SA is very
divided, so it was all for naught I guess :(
The author of that article on CBC is also a columnist for Playboy.
She did her PhD researching paedophilia and brain imaging of
paedophiles. I don't know about thought police, but she's an expert on
thoughts by perverts! :-)

I would imagine you remember Barry Goldwater and the mess in the
mid-1960s in the US and elsewhere. Sadly, I believe Western society is
reverting back to that sort of thinking. The pendulum swings back and
forth. We're hearing people in positions of power talk like Goldwater,
Nixon and McCarthy again. Maybe in a generation or two hippies and
peace will be in vogue again. Meanwhile we live in a world of hate and
violence controlled by billionaires (and those working hard to join them!)
--
HRM Resident
Mike Small
2017-09-01 01:42:39 UTC
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Post by Wayne Hines
http://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/ryerson-free-speech-1.4259360
Fair points. Hopefully this atmosphere is temporary and tied to context,
namely that of Heather Heyer's murder and the problems caused by
President Trump seeming publicly more or less comfortable with racism in
its most extreme and dangerous forms.

For another perspective on antifascists see this Mark Bray piece:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2017/08/16/who-are-the-antifa/
I find this part not unconvincing: "In retrospect, antifascists have
concluded, it would have been much easier to stop Mussolini back in 1919
when his first fascist nucleus had 100 men. Or to stamp out the
far-right German Workers’ Party, which had only 54 members when Hitler
attended his first meeting, before he transformed it into the National
Socialist German Workers’ Party (the Nazi Party)." I guess judgement of
these tactics may depend on how likely you think it is that something
like that could rise again and where. Or maybe it could also depend on
whether you think direct confrontation is an effective tactic. I
couldn't say one way or the other.

Antifa in Canada seems on first thought not so important to me. Can you
really imagine a gang of brownshirts gaining ground there? The U.S.,
well, I'm not so sure sometimes. But back to Canada, who is prominent
and where do you draw the line? I mean, when I first heard of the Proud
Boys that set off some alarm bells for me, but when I read more about
them, they sounded, well, probably harmless. Given what I know about
them so far, I wouldn't think it right for Antifa to confront them,
certainly not in a no holds barred way. On the other hand, we do know
there are some actual white supremicists in Canada, e.g. there were
reports of it in the Somalia Affair in the 90s. If Antifa had
discovered and confronted these creeps before they were deployed and in
a way that got enough press coverage might the kid they beat still be
alive?

There seems to be some history to Antifa. I wonder if this issue of
equating relatively harmless political opponents with the most dangerous
on the fringe of the right has a history and if there are serious
members of their movement (Mark Bray for instance?) who would condemn it
as weakening the effort to prevent a new brood of Nazis from gaining a
foothold.
--
Mike Small
***@sdf.org
Mike Spencer
2017-09-01 03:00:35 UTC
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Post by Mike Small
Post by Wayne Hines
http://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/ryerson-free-speech-1.4259360
Fair points. Hopefully this atmosphere is temporary and tied to context,
namely that of Heather Heyer's murder and the problems caused by
President Trump seeming publicly more or less comfortable with racism in
its most extreme and dangerous forms.
Trump is comfortable with anything that garners him public acclaim.
As the right extremists of several falvours have been praising and
supporting him, he just hates to say anything against them. The
substance of their ideology is irrelevant to him in the light of their
public acclaim for him.

As for the campus free speech ruckus, I'm generally supportive of
letting the evil creeps and nutters have their say. But right here on
hfx.general we've seen how that often goes: Belligerent racists rant,
sneer and bloviate in nasty terms. Someone tries to argue with them
rationally and just provokes more rants and sneers.

That guy who won't use made up pronouns for made up "genders"? I have
to say that calling him a fascist is the same kind of senseless
bloviation from the left as we see from the demented right. I'm
inclined to think of myself as pretty leftish is most matters but the
rabid identity politics movement makes me want to distance myself from
(at least their kind of) liberals. I make borscht and lasgne and I
don't have time for you if you want to yell at me about "cultural
appropriation".
Post by Mike Small
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2017/08/16/who-are-the-antifa/
I find this part not unconvincing: "In retrospect, antifascists have
concluded, it would have been much easier to stop Mussolini back in 1919
when his first fascist nucleus had 100 men. Or to stamp out the
far-right German Workers' Party, which had only 54 members when Hitler
attended his first meeting, before he transformed it into the National
Socialist German Workers' Party (the Nazi Party)." I guess judgement of
these tactics may depend on how likely you think it is that something
like that could rise again and where. Or maybe it could also depend on
whether you think direct confrontation is an effective tactic. I
couldn't say one way or the other.
Antifa in Canada seems on first thought not so important to me. Can you
really imagine a gang of brownshirts gaining ground there? The U.S.,
well, I'm not so sure sometimes. But back to Canada, who is prominent
and where do you draw the line? I mean, when I first heard of the Proud
Boys that set off some alarm bells for me, but when I read more about
them, they sounded, well, probably harmless. Given what I know about
them so far, I wouldn't think it right for Antifa to confront them,
certainly not in a no holds barred way. On the other hand, we do know
there are some actual white supremicists in Canada, e.g. there were
reports of it in the Somalia Affair in the 90s. If Antifa had
discovered and confronted these creeps before they were deployed and in
a way that got enough press coverage might the kid they beat still be
alive?
There seems to be some history to Antifa. I wonder if this issue of
equating relatively harmless political opponents with the most dangerous
on the fringe of the right has a history and if there are serious
members of their movement (Mark Bray for instance?) who would condemn it
as weakening the effort to prevent a new brood of Nazis from gaining a
foothold.
AFAICT, painting your opponent as a dangerous extremist is a tactic of
long standing. There is this: The internet has made it possible for
individual and small enclaves of rabid extremists to find and
cooperate with each other. Remember the joke? You post to google
looking for "people who have sex with goats that are on fire" and
google replies, "What breed of goat?" So what were historically
numerous isolated pods of assorted nastiness, demented hostility,
racism etc. can now become networked phyles that can coordinate
action.

Once the Third Reich got rolling, there were plenty or people ready to
be brownshirts, SS, Gestapo thugs. If Hitler had had the internet and
social media, he might have marshaled 10,000 for the beer hall Putsch
and it might not have failed.
--
Mike Spencer Nova Scotia, Canada
Mike Spencer
2017-09-01 03:50:09 UTC
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Another squib of possible interest on antifa:

http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/noam-chomsky-antifa-major-gift-right

FWIW,
--
Mike Spencer Nova Scotia, Canada
l***@fl.it
2017-09-01 10:49:49 UTC
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On 01 Sep 2017 00:50:09 -0300, Mike Spencer
Post by Mike Spencer
http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/noam-chomsky-antifa-major-gift-right
FWIW,
I think he is incorrect in the bit about it being a mistake to equate
this rise with the similar rise prior to WWII, the similarities are
there and the mistake then was not to do anything about it.

How? That is a toughie, freedom of speech is golden but can be
misused, but how do you judge who is misusing it. I think the rule
was it ended where someone yelled 'fire' in a crowded cinema but that
was well prior to the instant communication available today.
Mike Small
2017-09-02 12:44:53 UTC
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Post by l***@fl.it
On 01 Sep 2017 00:50:09 -0300, Mike Spencer
Post by Mike Spencer
http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/noam-chomsky-antifa-major-gift-right
FWIW,
I think he is incorrect in the bit about it being a mistake to equate
this rise with the similar rise prior to WWII, the similarities are
there and the mistake then was not to do anything about it.
How? That is a toughie, freedom of speech is golden but can be
misused, but how do you judge who is misusing it. I think the rule
was it ended where someone yelled 'fire' in a crowded cinema but that
was well prior to the instant communication available today.
I'd like to see where he develops this line of thought further:

"Chomsky has previously warned against conflating the rise of fascism in
Europe and the situation in America today. He has also argued that
tactics need to be reassessed in the light of the current context."

Chomsky's actually old enough and was politically conscious enough at a
young enough age to remember first hand for comparisons. And if there's
one thing you can say for him it's that he doesn't lack for
comprehensiveness when he gets going on a topic.
--
Mike Small
***@sdf.org
l***@fl.it
2017-09-02 13:23:17 UTC
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Post by Mike Small
Post by l***@fl.it
On 01 Sep 2017 00:50:09 -0300, Mike Spencer
Post by Mike Spencer
http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/noam-chomsky-antifa-major-gift-right
FWIW,
I think he is incorrect in the bit about it being a mistake to equate
this rise with the similar rise prior to WWII, the similarities are
there and the mistake then was not to do anything about it.
How? That is a toughie, freedom of speech is golden but can be
misused, but how do you judge who is misusing it. I think the rule
was it ended where someone yelled 'fire' in a crowded cinema but that
was well prior to the instant communication available today.
"Chomsky has previously warned against conflating the rise of fascism in
Europe and the situation in America today. He has also argued that
tactics need to be reassessed in the light of the current context."
Chomsky's actually old enough and was politically conscious enough at a
young enough age to remember first hand for comparisons. And if there's
one thing you can say for him it's that he doesn't lack for
comprehensiveness when he gets going on a topic.
He better be quick lol It is a conundrum as to how far can free
speech go before it is clearly just a tool for whipping up hatred.
However, it is a bit different to pre-war days, there's that bloody FB
for one, and twitter can be as bad at taking a situation and weaving
it right out of reality.

I'm really not sure what the correct answer is - I'm not as old as
Chomsky but I can just remember WWII, bombs dropping on us, my
shrapnel collection etc. They were quite exciting days to be a child
but no fun for adults, especially the ones waiting at home dreading
the telegramme boy on his red bike coming up the driveway.

At this time my heart goes out to the Syrians, just the ordinary ones
like you or I but I see the media is more intent on people in Houston.
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