A question of ethics (cw: fascism, suicide)

Submitted by celebratedrecluse in lobby

i have a, i think at this point on this forum, well received critique of universalizing ethics.

However let's take a thought experiment which will push towards each other what I see as a thesis (critique of universal ethics) and its antithesis (an opinion which I believe is widely shared on this forum)

After receiving essentially cold-call suicide goads recently, I began to think-- what if they were better at it? What if they surreptitiously befriended me online, embedded themselves in my communities there, and then did what they tried to do with much more effective and personal language? The possibility chilled me. Sure, an intrusive thought, yet-- that would undeniably have been an effective way to kill me, given the right timing and a good measure of patience on the part of my enemies.

The conversation in my head then turned in another, perhaps more disturbing direction. One that I would never endorse personally, but which occurred to me nonetheless. The implications of which, while not relevant to my life or choices directly, brought up what I think is a fascinating dialectic which might interest people here. It was fascinating because I have trouble finding real objections to it.

We are, now, in a situation of germination for the fascist movements of the future. They have even been able to draw significant political power from the vapid weakness of liberal capitalist hegemony. Unfortunately, radical movements are only now beginning to take root in many areas. There is an alarming similarity to the European situation of the 1930s, and the global situation of the 2020s.

In my country, the fascists are much better armed than anyone else except the state itself. This presents, on the face of it, a serious problem. In open battle, the revolutionaries could easily be crushed, just as the commune of 1871 or so many other efforts were. If we wait, surely something like this will happen eventually, just due to the material conditions of the political situation i am in.

However, might this situation, when taken into context with the profound epidemic of mental unwellness which reaches deeply into far-right communities, actually present an asymmetrical advantage to revolutionaries with no commitment to universalist morals?

Is it possible to convince fascists to kill themselves without causing harm to others? Is this desirable, in the overall resistance to fascism? (Edgy takes today...)

I don't know. I immediately saw a number of counterpoints, including but not limited to: collateral damage from suicide-by-massacre situations, reification of right wing gun culture (although that ship has sailed centuries ago imo), and collateral losses of dead fascists who might otherwise have withdrawn or disengaged or defected from fascist political movements to non-combatant or revolutionary communities if approached by a different praxis.

Of course, there is also the possibility that these people will go on to kill people, whether institutionally or in extrajudicial massacres, militias, so many things which I feel that even now we are not seeing nearly the full extent of. If we really mean "never again", and we are able to discern reasonably well which people are working for "again", shouldn't we use "any means necessary", to take inspiration from Malcolm X? I don't have a moral reason not to fight dirty.

But the thing that I came back to is the fact that the investment of time and energy of revolutionary people in death dealing or psychic manipulation like this is anathema to our goals and thus is not good praxis. However that's only true in my personal context-- for other people, the calculus might be different. I might get downvoted a lot for bringing up something as...inherently controversial here, as this, and maybe it deserves to be buried or pushed back on. That's part of the reason I brought it up, actually. I thought this inner monologue I had deserved a thread to manifest itself.

Thanks for reading

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Pop wrote

I think there are probably easier ways to kill fascists, and that aggravating the mental unwellness of fascists is often the same as aggravating the fascism of fascists

I think you will likely hurt and dehumanise yourself if you try to build intimate relationships with these people in order to manipulate them to suicide

I think your counterpoints are significant, but I won't presume to say that there would never be an appropriate time for this

I'm not sure what this has to do with universalist or non-universalist morals, couldn't a universalist potentially endorse this for fascists also?

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celebratedrecluse OP wrote

I think there are probably easier ways to kill fascists, and that aggravating the mental unwellness of fascists is often the same as aggravating the fascism of fascists. I think you will likely hurt and dehumanise yourself if you try to build intimate relationships with these people in order to manipulate them to suicide

Very true

I'm not sure what this has to do with universalist or non-universalist morals, couldn't a universalist potentially endorse this for fascists also?

The way i was thinking of it, I would say the universalist position on suicide is that it is not desirable for revolutionaries to ever increase suicide because suicide in general is anathema to the kind of society that is worked towards by revolutionaries. Whereas your position, and mine, seems less universalist on this problem. But it is still an interesting problem, because I would argue there isn't a clearly universally applicable answer to this problem within the ideologies we are both interfacing with.

But ultimately I agree with your assessment that the costs outweigh the benefits. Presumably, this is part of why this isn't more of a phenomenon right now (antifascists targeting our enemies for this type of psychic warfare).

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Factualist wrote

This just seems like killing fascists with extra steps

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blog wrote (edited )

In general, I don't see the value in suicide goading, period. On one hand it's pathetic and cowardly. It's no different than sending death threats except you're also announcing that you're too much of a fucking coward to own your threats.

On the other hand if you truly think someone should die you may as well kill them yourself and in many jurisdictions successfully goading someone to kill themselves carries the exact same legal jeopardy as killing them, so literally what's the point?

also if you infiltrate alt-right groups consider that most of the time suicide goading simply doesn't work. It's like trying to kill someone with a soccer ball. Yeah, you could probably do it if you were creative enough or you picked a vulnerable enough target, but I think the main value of suicide goading as a weapon is that it serves the goaders' cowardice and possible unresolved conscience.

also being eugenicists the alt-right would probably just thank you for culling their "weaker" shock troops.

EDIT: significantly rewrote for brevity, also misintrepreted OP slightly so excised a section based on a misunderstanding

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celebratedrecluse OP wrote

cold-called fash

You misunderstand. I was talking about receiving random suicide threats via PM, not being called a fascist by other people here. I don't think that's ever happened to me.

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blog wrote (edited )

Oh, I see. Doesn't much affect my point, though.

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Tequila_Wolf wrote

I'm not a fan of this approach for some of the reasons outlined here, but I wanted to point out that one of the chants at french yellow vest protest is directed at cops: "Kill yourselves!", together with a lot of antagonism, means cops are 36 times more likely to kill themselves there right now.

Stim talks about it in the most recent episode.

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Uwusketamine445 wrote

(Cw:suicide and suicide methods) Yeah, a lot of incel groups are very pro-suicide. Ss is run by them, and they tend to direct incel guys to kill themselves for being 5’8. You could probably get into those and try and push that as much as possible as the overlap between fascists and incels is very large. I’ve debated trying to infiltrate alt right groups to dox their addresses/meetings/identities, but my mental health is really bad already and adding the twisted logic and gaslighting of the alt right into the mix would probably fuck me up pretty bad. I also have a tendency to absorb other people’s personalities and beliefs, so I’m not touching that shit with a ten foot pole. But I’m not anti getting fascists to kill themselves, if any of you do you should try and get them to do a really painful method (lights out, or partial suspension)

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rot wrote

If youv'e ever been on a forum like 4chan you'd know that they often encourage eachother to commit suicide jokingly.

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Factualist wrote

"jokingly"

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rot wrote

they see it as a joke. What i mean is that there is a culture of picking on each other so real suicide goading may not work

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celebratedrecluse OP wrote

see this is kind of what i'm sayin' here

my life been lit recently, i'm almost not even depressed on a regular even though i have trauma symptoms to deal with. and it's all because of the communities i'm part of, coming through. fascists don't got none of that and maybe we should take advantage, in a targeted way. but maybe it's a terrible idea. IDK

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10011001001 wrote

My opinion is simple and may even be a bit juvenile. I read this quote years ago playing Baulder's Gate: **Be careful of the monsters you fight lest you slowly become one. **

I work on helping people. There are enough destructive things in my life that I don't need to pretend befriending people. I don't have enough mental stamina for head games.

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