indi wrote

Reply to by !deleted8445

As usual with the CBC, they've really gone out of their way to whitewash (pun intended) the story.

Gilfoil said his friend was kind and his political views have been deeply misunderstood.

"I know he has German heritage and he had a really big fascination with World War II-era history," Gilfoil said in an interview with CBC News.

"He collected a lot of Nazi, or National Socialist, memorabilia from that time and just kind of had a fascination with that time period.

"He never was overtly racist or anti-Semitic … he had an alternative perspective on that time."

Bull. Shit.

Anti-Racist Canada has this asshole's number. Turns out he was a member of Blood & Honour.


indi wrote

Reply to by !deleted7213

Am I some kind of schmuck for just sticking the post-it note over the camera lens without the origami?


indi wrote

How do you feel about gay marriage?

I mean, I think maybe we should date for a while before jumping into something like that.

Shouldent the governemnt stay out of the bedroom? Should they really be involved in marriage at all? Why cant people who are in love just say they are “married” and have whatever ceremony they want? Why does the government need to sign a piece of paper to validate feelings?

There is an astonishing amount of ignorance here.

You seem to think that marriage is just a government formalization of a fuck-partner arrangement, maybe with a couple "tax benifits".

In reality, a government-recognized, formalized contract between two people - you can call it "marriage" if you like, or you can call it a "fuck contract" if you prefer; doesn't matter - is very important for a lot of reasons.

Married partners can have joint ownership of stuff, and when there is a partner who doesn't earn a lot of money - usually because she (yes, it's usually she, but increasingly less so) isn't making as much because they're taking care of the kids instead - they are protected in the event that the partnership breaks up. In places that don't have that protection, it's not uncommon for men (yes, usually men) to turn women (usually) into virtual slaves: the woman can't leave the man because the man controls all the money, so the woman would be basically out on the street.

Married people can also become legal decision-makers for their partners. If you're in an accident, someone needs to decide what treatment you get - or if they should just pull the plug on you. Would you like the state to make that decision?

Married people can also get a lot of access to their partner and their stuff that other random people don't get. For example, a married person can have the right to demand to see normally sealed evidence in a crime involving their partner, and bring lawsuits. Imagine if someone you loved was gunned down by a cop, and you weren't married... all you could do is seethe and cry. But if you were married, you could start a case against the cops for wrongful death, and maybe... maybe... get some justice.

If you actually read a lot of the stories of gay activists who fought to get married, most of their issues were things like their partners not being allowed to share health insurance, or not being allowed to have power-of-attorney or life-or-death decision making in the event of emergencies, and things like that. People's lives were destroyed because their partnership wasn't given the same legal privileges as a het couple's - they lost their homes in some cases, they weren't able to get justice for their dead partners in others.

Gay marriage was about giving same-sex couples the same legal protections that straight couples have always enjoyed. It was not just a bunch of queers getting off on forcing Uncle Sam to acknowledge their bedroom debauchery.


indi wrote

What I'm coming to understand is if you're white just go screw yourself because no one wants your help. I just think that hurts the cause. The whites that aren't racist get lumped in with those that are racist. So there will be no progress on this front.

If that's what you're "coming to understand", then the real reason you're getting "lumped in" with white racists is because you're becoming one.

Racism is actually a pretty simple concept. It's racial bigotry + systemic oppression. Anyone of any race can do racial bigotry against any other race (or even their own!). So yes, when a black person makes fun of "honkies", they are doing racial bigotry just as much as when a white person makes fun of "n-words".

But the systemic oppression part makes a huge difference in those two cases. The systemic oppression of black people by white people means when a white person uses "the n-word", it's not just racial bigotry... it's racial bigory + systemic oppression... which makes it racism. By contrast, when a black person uses "honky", it's just racial bigotry without systemic oppression. That difference is why I can write out "honky", but have to say "n-word" rather than use the word.

Racial bigotry is bad. But racism, because it involves systemic oppression, is really goddam bad, and must be called out and fought against whenever it appears.

Now here's the really important thing about everything I've explained above... are you ready?... here it goes: There is not a single mention of "intention" anywhere.

That's because intentionality doesn't matter. When you said "[a]ctually OP states he didn't even think about race when he got the dreads so that means THEY weren't being racist", that is literally the dumbest fucking thing I read all week - and that's saying a lot because I'm an activist who reads a lot of right wing shit that is so stupid you wonder how they even mustered the brain power to move their fingers on the keyboard.

Racism doesn't stop being racism just because you didn't mean to hurt anyone. And it certainly doesn't stop being racism just because you were being selfish and not giving a fuck... oh, pardon me, "doing something to make yourself feel comfortable".

If dreads really were culturally appropriated, then it does not matter even one tiny bit whether the OP appropriated them deliberately or even knew they were appropriated. Yes, ignorance is not a defence, and "not caring" is certainly not. Good intentions are also not a defence - culturally appropriating something because you like the culture you're appropriating it from does not make you a hero. (I mean, duh, right?) Cultural appropriation is stealing, and stealing is stealing. Saying "I didn't think about race when I culturally appropriated this" is no different from saying "I didn't think about the people I was stealing this from"; you can't seriously believe that is a sensible defence, can you?

Now... all that being said, I don't know if dreads really are a cultural appropriation issue. I've never met a person of colour who really cared - not even activists sensitive to the issue of appropriation - because it's not something actually deprives the source culture of anything. It's not like a white artist doing indigenous-style art, or a white musician "acting black" and making black music. Those things are actually taking away opportunities from the source culture. Another reason people have told me they don't care is that it's not like white people are being rewarded for wearing dreads while people of colour are being punished for it. That's what I've always been told about the issue. But you shouldn't take my experience or anecdotes as the final word. If you care, you should ask people of colour what they think (but not every rando PoC you know or meet - ask in places where those kinds of questions are welcome; there are plenty of groups who are happy to discuss those kinds of topics).

And that's really the problem that I'd say everyone here has with both your and the OP's attitudes. Doing something racist is not in itself a crime, because we all grew up in a very racist society and racism is deeply embedded in everything we've learned. We are all "white trash" (well, those of use who are white, anyway). We will fuck up and do racist shit from time to time... all of us. And if we're lucky, we'll have friends who call us out for it. What happens next is where your and the OP's problem lies. When you do something racist and someone calls you out on it, do you humbly ask experts - usually the targets of the alleged racism, who are almost always the experts on the topic - about their opinions, and what you should do next? Or do you act like an ignorant, privileged asshole, assume you know best about racial issues that really don't have any impact at all on you and that you've never really thought about before, and start whining about how much it sucks to be white?

One of those choices is correct. The other is how you get lumped in with white racists.


indi wrote (edited )

I don't think that's wingnut conspiracy theory at all. Even if there weren't any material support, I think we've all seen the dog-whistling and nudge-nudge-wink-wink normalizing support of Nazis, anti-immigrant groups, islamophobes, etc. by conservatives all over the world.

But when it comes to material support... we've actually seen evidence of that recently in Canada: there has been a string of people in the Alberta United Conservative Party outed for having Nazi connections - some of them were even running white supremacist businesses. And there have been a bunch of connections between the federal Conservative Party and far-right media - for example (and I may get the details wrong here because this was reported on a few months back and then... nothing) - the guy in charge of the Conservative election campaign was also one of the chiefs at The Rebel Media (basically the Canadian Breitbart), which has a huge YouTube channel and which, surprise surprise, is aggressively promoting the Conservative Party.

So yeah, I don't think there's anything nutty about this conspiracy at all; I think there's plenty of evidence that it's happening.

EDIT 2018-12-12: In just the two days since I posted the above, news has broken that the federal Conservative party may have ties to a business that was selling white supremacist swag, and their campaign manager has been pushing money to a far-right meme machine called "Ontario Proud". So I reiterate: not really that nutty a theory at all.


indi wrote

Yes, but I don't think it's just about privilege you were born with.

Consider someone who lived in abject poverty their entire life, then suddenly became ultra-rich. (Doesn't really matter how; you can assume they "pulled themselves up by their bootstraps" if you believe that myth, or you can just assume they won the lottery.) I think a poor person could consider them just as distasteful as a rich person who was born into their wealth.

And I don't think it matters whether they were trying to get rich, or it happened without their choice (like, say, they lived in poverty their whole life, but then some rich uncle they never knew they had bequeathed them a massive inheritance). They're rich; that's all that matters. They have that privilege. The poor person does not.

And I don't think that giving away all their wealth will "fix" anything. Once you have privilege... you have privilege. That's the beginning, middle, and end of it. I don't see that it matters if they weren't born with it - I don't think a person who lived in poverty most of their life, got ultra-rich, then gave it all away is any less a fraud than a person who was born ultra-rich and gave it all away. To person who never had the privilege of being rich, both had that privilege, and both used that privilege to choose to be poor - a choice that a person without that privilege could never have.

In summary:

  • Once you have the privilege of being rich - no matter whether you were born with it, you worked to get it, or it just fell into your lap - you are tainted by that privilege for life. You can't give it away.
  • You can give away your wealth - either by choice or because someone/something forced you to - but you can't give away the fact that you had the privilege of that wealth.
  • Sure, we can probably have more sympathy for the ultra-rich person who lost their wealth because it was stolen or taken away from them in some way than for one who lost it all because of foolishness or bad actions. And we can probably have more sympathy for both of them than for a rich person who just chooses to give it all away. But the bottom line is... they all had it - they all had the privilege, no matter how they got it, and no matter long or brief a time they had it, no matter how they lost it (if they did) - they all had the privilege. Someone who never had it can justifiably begrudge that.

The only thing you can do with privilege is use it. If you want to atone for privilege, the only thing you can do use that privilege ethically.


indi wrote

I think the answer is quite simple: Support the good channels.

The reason there's so much right wing garbage on YouTube is because the fans of right wing garbage support it. They view the videos, they share the videos, they rate the videos, they comment, and - most importantly - they pay for it: they give money to the creators' Patreons and whatnot, they buy swag, and so on.

YouTube is a business, and most right wing agitators are just opportunistic assholes in it for the green. Right wing shit thrives because right wing shit makes money. If left wing stuff started making money - and especially if it started making more money than right wing crap - you just watch how fast YouTube stops promoting their videos or tolerating their shit; they will fall over themselves to be the next big business that "takes a principled stand" against Nazis and other bigots on their platform. And you just watch how many right wing channels quickly switch to fishing for lefties by changing their tone.

When I say "support", I don't mean just with money - viewing, sharing, liking, and commenting is very important too. But yes, money is an important part of support. Making content for YouTube is not free, so the more you can help support the voices you like, the more content they can make. And that will have a snowball effect.

For all its many flaws, the alt-right has always been very good at supporting its voices (I mean, up until they point that they're no longer useful to the movement - then they dump them like old garbage). Even when its factions despise each other, they still come together to support stuff they like. The left? We can't really get our shit together. We don't cooperate all that well. And we don't really support our best or most prominent voices. There are a lot of reasons why this is so - for example, the right is authoritarian so they'll support whoever their "leaders" tell them to, whereas the left doesn't really put that much stock in "leaders", let alone following their instructions... but there are also structural reasons, such as that the people who care most about left-wing stuff are often the most marginalized and least powerful, while righties have the powers-that-be in their corner - but the bottom line is the right pays for their shit - both in money, and in views/clicks/likes/shares - while the left generally doesn't.

Now, all this said, while it is theoretically true that if lefties all started supporting left-wing content as much as or more than right-wingers support right-wing content, that would quash the right-wing dominance of platforms like YouTube... I have no idea whether that would actually work in practice. There are a lot of powerful forces behind right-wing voices and right-wing messages, and the platforms are generally susceptible to the kinds of power they wield. The power of the right is money, authority, established networks and power structures... all things that can easily sway the executives at a for-profit company. Meanwhile the power of the left mostly lies in being correct and in touch with reality, and in the long-term inevitability of what they're fighting for... but those things mean fuck all to the decision-makers at YouTube.


indi wrote

I love the idea, but hydrogen is dangerous and helium is non-renewable. Thermal (hot-air) airships may be the way to go, but they're slow and hard to handle, can't really fly in high winds, and can't carry much.

I'd say before we can seriously think about a large-scale airship infrastructure, we'd need:

  • Better materials, not so much for the bag itself, but for all the attached hardware that will hold the cargo and passengers. The materials have to be fairly strong, very light, and - this is probably the most important hurdle - extremely cheap.
  • Better (lighter, more energy-dense) energy storage (for the power for the propellers and other stuff - likely heaters are going to be a huge draw if it's a thermal airship). But that's already being heavily researched because it's just generally badly wanted.
  • Ideas on how to load/unload cargo/people cheaply and safely. Once you've got your airship loaded (and assuming winds won't be a problem), you're golden... it's a practically free, usually smooth, fairly safe trip (albeit a somewhat slow one, but one assumes that's acceptable if you've chosen to go airship). The tricky part is getting stuff on and off the airship. Airship landings are not easy, and even once you manage that, mooring can be tricky if there are winds.

I'm no futurist, but if I had to make a bet, I wouldn't bet on airships. I would bet on propeller lifters (basically helicopters or quadcopters, likely with quite a few rotors) that use clean power.

Regarding that von Kármán calculation in the Scientific American article: I don't put much stock in any calculation of the "price" of a mode of transportation that doesn't include the entire cost... meaning a full lifetime assessment including all environmental costs (such as pollution clean-up), from well to wheel as they say. A freight train may need (relatively) little energy to move... but by the time you factor in the cost of laying all the rail - not to mention maintaining it - I don't believe it would look as good.


indi wrote

I don't think "choice" is a good way to frame this.

As a thought experiment, imagine a person who - for whatever reasons you can come up with that make sense to you - can't stop being rich. Let's say, as a crazy example, they have been threatened that if they give away their money or try to live humbly and sustainably, someone will murder a million orphans. As a less crazy example, I suppose you could imagine someone who, even if they try to give away all their wealth and live in poverty, their rich relatives will step in and fuck it up by dumping more money on them and/or gentrifying wherever they try to live.

Would you say it would be ethically wrong for a poor person to hate that person just because they aren't choosing to be rich? I wouldn't.

Here's another way to look at it: Most rich people didn't actually choose to be rich; they had their wealth dumped on them by their rich parents. Even if they choose today to dump all their money and live in poverty... the fact is, they had all that wealth and privilege. I think it's still perfectly reasonable for a poor person to hate that (formerly) rich person even though the rich person chose to give away their wealth and live in poverty.

I think you're barking up the wrong tree by making "choice" an issue. The issue is privilege, and I don't think it matters whether they choose... or chose (at some point in the past)... to have that privilege or not. They have/had it. That's all that matters.

That means that a rich person can't "fix" things simply by choosing to give away their wealth and become a poor person. I mean, just think about it: if you were a poor person, and you knew someone who was filthy rich but then gave away everything they had... wouldn't you still kinda hate that person? And justifiably? Would them giving away all their wealth suddenly make them "just like you"? No. Bullshit. That's as ridiculous as saying that if a white person could get some kind of surgical treatment to change their genetics to that of a black person and then they went to live in a black community, that would make them no different from an actual black person.

You can't "give away" privilege like that. And you can't blame privilege on choice. The only ethical thing you can do with privilege is use it as ethically as possible. If it's justifiable to hate someone for having privilege - regardless of how they obtained it - then that's reason enough for a poor person to hate a rich person (and of course it doesn't justify a rich person hating a poor person).


indi wrote

It does violate my principles (I am vigorously opposed to copyright law), but my principles are not at issue here. What's at issue are the Satanic Temple's principles - that's what determines whether their action is hypocritical or not. And it clearly doesn't violate their principles, since they regularly use the state's own rules to challenge the state's hypocrisies. In fact, that's kind of their jam.

You don't agree with the tool they used to protect their public image - and, indirectly, public perception of Satanists in general? That's fine, and I don't disagree in theory. But they're fighting systemic discrimination, and there's nothing "lame" about using your enemy's own abusive rules and tools against them. Using the state's laws to challenge state discrimination is pretty much their routine.

In this case, a big and powerful media company stole the Satanic Temple's media and used it to perpetuate negative stereotypes against them... seems perfectly logical and legitimate to use the same tools that media company would use use against them back against the company. I mean, do you doubt for a second that if the Satanic Temple had used images from the Sabrina show to depict Netflix execs as evil, that Netflix wouldn't use the same law to sue the Satanic Temple? Of course they'd do that, so it's pretty effective to use their own tactics and tools against them. There are few things more effective than using an opponent's own weaponry against them.


indi wrote

"Corny" I'd say is actually pretty apt, from what I know of them. They're almost always on the right side of the issues... but... yeah, they're a little... much.

But about the suit, it's not the IP infringement that's their real beef, it's the stereotyping while using their identifying symbol. (I'm not aware of anyone using their statue in any other shows, but I have a hard time believing that they'd sue a show that used the statue while not negatively stereotyping them.) There's nothing "lame" or hypocritical about standing up for free speech and the freedom to offend while simultaneously objecting to someone putting bullshit words in your mouth in a way that makes it look like you support it.


indi wrote

They're suing Netflix because that show apparently made Satanists the villains and then stole the Satanic Temple's statue design. I don't see anything "terrible" about that; it seems a perfectly legitimate reason to sue. If someone made a show about an evil person and then used a picture of you without permission for that evil person, you'd have a pretty damned good reason to sue, too.

Given that the Satanic Temple has a vested interest in combating the widespread social perception of Satanists as "evil", why wouldn't they object to a show that spreads that stereotype? Since when is it "terrible" to object to being stereotyped? And it's not just that the old stereotypes are being perpetuated; Satanists are being stereotyped as evil with the identifying symbols of the Satanic Temple. I mean, it would be bad enough if the Sabrina show just played the old "Satanists are evil" stereotype... but the fact that they're doing with something that pretty directly points at the Satanic Temple specifically was just asking to be sued.

I don't know what "bad takes" they've had on Twitter because I don't Twitter, but everything else I know about the Satanic Temple has to do with them trolling US lawmakers by saying "either allow all religions or no religions" in various ways. For example, when they want to put up a Ten Commandments display, the Satanic Temple tries to put up a massive statue of Baphomet (incidentally, that's what was used in the Sabrina show)... or when they're doing only Christian prayers before government meetings, the Satanic Temple tries to do a Satanic invocation... and so on. I don't see anything "terrible" about any of that, and in fact they've had some good results forcing (Christian) religious privilege into the spotlight and triggering change.


indi wrote

Reply to comment by !deleted8205 in by !deleted8205

So one can simplify it with "which candidate will kill the least people" and at that point walking away from that shit makes way more sense to me.

I'm not sure the people who will be killed by the candidate will agree that this position makes more sense.

If we were living in a society much like we had even 10 short years ago, where there really wasn't all that much difference between candidates, then fine. But look around. You can't seriously say there's no real difference between, for example, Bolsonaro and Haddad. Those days are over. We are living in a period where the far right is not only ascendant, they are getting real power. And they are doing real harm.

A vote against Bolsonaro wouldn't have changed the world, sure. It wouldn't have ended capitalism; it wouldn't have ushered in a new age of voluntary association; yes, not much would have changed. Except... a lot of vulnerable people would have suffered a lot less than what they're likely to suffer in the next four years. That's not nothing. Walking away from that does not make way more sense to me.

I'm frankly appalled that people are so casually willing to put esoteric and ultimately meaningless principles over the very real suffering of vulnerable people. I am very opposed to violence - I do not believe that violence should ever be used to advance a political agenda, it should only be used in self defence... but if I happen to pass by a queer person or Jewish person or whatever being beat on by a gang of neo-Nazi thugs... yeah, I'm fucking going to get in there and help that person. I don't believe that action violates my principle of non-violence, because it was an action I took in a crisis to save someone who needed help. People are always more important than principles.


indi wrote

Reply to comment by !deleted8205 in by !deleted8205

Is it really necessarily true that voting legitimizes the system? I'm not ready to accept that uncritically.

If you are in a situation where there is a realistic chance that a far-right, race-baiting, anti-immigrant demagogue could take power - a situation that is depressingly common of late - it can't really be true that the right thing to do in the situation is to sit back and just watch it happen. That just doesn't compute, ethically. Even if the alternative isn't great, stopping the demagogue seems important enough - especially taking vulnerable minorities into consideration - that you should take whatever action necessary to prevent it. There's really no more impactful action you can take to stop an asshole trying to use the democratic process to attain power than to use that very process against them. So that should be an action you should be taking, no?

Put that way, a vote against a racist demagogue is not a vote in favour of the system. It's exactly what I just said it was: It's an action against the demagogue. Nothing more, nothing less. It can be done at the same time as other actions, like protesting the system itself. There's no contradiction or hypocrisy there.

You could also think of it as a form of "self-defence". I think we all realize that punching back at someone who is in the process of trying to murder you is not in any way a legitimization of violence; it's not the same thing at all as punching someone who wasn't attacking you. Same action (punching), very different meaning. Context matters. The same action - voting - could be about legitimizing the system... or it could just be an act of desperation in taking the most-likely-to-be-effective action to protect yourself against a threat.

I'll grant that it's likely that some people are going to interpret your vote as legitimizing the system, but fuck them, because the same people are probably going to interpret you not voting as the same thing (for example, by saying, "if you don't vote, you accept what you get"). If you're really that concerned about how your action will be interpreted, then be vocal about your reasons for doing it. But saying you can't take meaningful action to prevent real harm because someone might (likely wilfully) misinterpret your reasoning seems ridiculous to me.


indi wrote

Concrete examples are generally impossible, because dehumanization is so context specific. In plain English, it's like saying "an example of assault is punching someone"... except punching someone is not assault in a boxing match (or in self-defence, or when filming an action scene, or when someone says "hey, punch me as hard as you can, I want to see if I can take it", etc.). Understanding "assault" that way - through examples - doesn't really work. It's better to understand "assault" by the definition of "assault".

So rather than examples, just think of the basic definition of dehumanization: denying or stripping away someone's fundamental rights.


indi wrote

Reply to comment by throwaway in My Beliefs by GeneralHelghast

If it seems that way, it's probably only because Christianity was so much more flamboyant in violently spreading its doctrines, and much better at keeping records of its progress.

It's very likely - in fact, almost certain - that pagans butchered just as many heretics to establish their beliefs as dominant as any other religious tradition did, and the only reason we don't know it is because they didn't keep records. We know for a fact, for example, that ancient European religious practised human sacrifice, and that they used prisoners of war to do so. Who do you think they developed those techniques and practices on, if not nonbelievers in neighbouring tribes?

(It's also likely that even if we did have perfect records, people would probably be moving the goalposts about which traditions really "count" as pagan and which don't.)

Trying to determine what the "true" beliefs of your ancestors was is a waste of time. Even if it were possible to determine, there's probably no valid answer. It's possible that the very first tribal shaman who came up with the very first proto-religious claim used force and threats to get their tribe to go along with them, meaning that if you're ruling out beliefs forced upon your ancestors as not "truthfully belonging" to them, then no beliefs "truthfully belong" to them.

And not only is it a waste of time, it's counterproductive. All it's ultimately doing is separating humans into different "teams" based on bullshit. Who cares whether proto-European pagan beliefs are "rightfully and truthfully" yours and Semitic beliefs are not? We're all just monkeys from Africa in the end anyways.


indi wrote

I really don't have a better term, unfortunately, and frankly I've never really been fond of "dehumanization" either. You've actually hit on some reasons why - like that it encourages human-centric thought and implies that animals aren't worthy of even basic rights (like the right to not experience unnecessary suffering).

"Dehumanization" is simply the term of art most people use for the concept, so that's what I use. The concept isn't merely about doing things that you wouldn't do normally to other people - like punching them or ostracizing them - it's about denying the basic fundamental rights and dignity that everyone has. Using violence against people to stop them from acting badly is fine (assuming the violence is necessary and proportional, which it usually use when most anti-fascists are dealing with fascists) - that's not denying their fundamental rights or dignity. Hell, sometimes even your best friends need a smack or two to stop them from doing something stupid that might hurt other people (like trying to drive drunk or high, for example).

Perhaps a less theory-heavy way to think of the difference is to imagine the person at some point in the future when their head has cleared from the current clouding caused by drugs, emotion, or fascist thoughts, or whatever, and ask: would they thank you for what you did? In the cases of restraining someone who wants to drive drunk or punching or ostracizing a fascist who is advocating to take away others' rights... it's perfectly believable that some future them with their head out of their ass would say "thanks for trying to stop me then; I was a real shit, and you stopped me from doing things I would now be regretting". But in the case of raping a fascist (for example)... it's hard, if not impossible, to imagine them thanking you for that even after they've renounced fascism.

Anyway, now that it's clear you're not talking about dehumanization in the sense of stripping someone of their fundamental rights or dignity - that you're not talking about the kind of dehumanization that would make things like rape or enslavement okay - that's good enough for me.


indi wrote

Dehumanization is not just a form of violence. It is the only form of violence that justifies further violence, even when the need for violence is past. It is the only form of violence that says taking away people's basic rights and dignity is okay.

Punching Nazis (to use a popular example) is necessary because they are a threat to others, and must be stopped (and, as you note, you can't discuss things with them; there's almost certainly no peaceful way to stop them, so... punch away). But once the threat is over - once the Nazis have surrendered, and are no longer pursuing or pushing their ideologies in any way - then the job you needed violence for is done; there's no need to punch them anymore. At most you need to keep watch on them to make sure they stay surrendered, but so long as they do, you've won, and you don't need violence anymore.

But with dehumanization, it isn't over. Once you've managed to dehumanize someone, you've justified any violence against them, for any means, without end. Even after they've surrendered, they're still worthy of violence. You're no longer using violence to stop them from hurting others, you're now just using it to hurt them, to punish them, because they deserve it; because they don't deserve the same respect a person deserves. At that point the violence is no longer justified violence... it's just abuse.

Every single atrocity in history - every single genocide, pogrom, ethnic cleansing, holocaust, and hate crime, and even every case of racism or systemic discrimination - it all starts with dehumanization. It's no accident that every fascist dictator wannabe starts with dehumanization of some group, be it Jews, immigrants, people of colour, Mexicans, Muslims, or whatever. Dehumanization is the only way to turn an otherwise "normal" population into one that cheers on denying certain groups their rights, rounding them up, throwing them into concentration camps, and ultimately extermination. You can't do that with any other form of violence: No amount of punching Jewish people in the face would ever lead to the Holocaust; it is only via dehumanizing them can you get people on board with the idea of targeting them.

And there has never been - nor can there ever be - any case where dehumanizing people led to good. Because dehumanizing is ultimately arguing that people don't deserve the basic rights and dignity that all people deserve - even fascists. And anyone who is arguing about stripping people of their fundamental rights or dignity is not on the side of justice, and never can be.

I don't think our disagreement here is about whether dehumanization is always wrong. I think the problem here is that what you're calling dehumanization isn't really dehumanization. "Subhumans, animals, or vermin" is a shorthand for what most people think is not worthy of any consideration or respect, so if you still think those things are worth of consideration or respect then we'd need different terms. Most people wouldn't think twice about exterminating vermin that infested their home - they wouldn't even consider the vermin's feelings on the matter, they wouldn't make any attempt at trying to find a less extreme solution, they wouldn't hope or bother to wait for the vermin to become better and benign, and they wouldn't give the vermin a second thought after they'd been eradicated. If that's not how you feel about vermin, then we need a new term to use with you to capture those sentiments.

Everything you've described about how you want to deal with fascists does not smell like real dehumanization. The fact that you recognize fascists can change their beliefs, and that you want them to "hopefully start to learn something and change", means that you are not really dehumanizing fascists. You are recognizing them as people. Bad people, yes; people who need to be stopped, yes; people who can't be reasoned with, yes; people who deserve a boot to the face for what they're trying to do to others, yes... but none of that is dehumanization - especially if you have good reason for thinking those things (and you do; they're fascists, after all).

None of the things you want to do to fascists is actually dehumanizing them, nor does any of it even require dehumanizing them. Wanting people to shut up, ostracizing them, and even using violence against them - none of those things require dehumanizing them; all of those things can be perfectly legitimate tactics to stop people if they're doing bad things... like fascists are.

If you were really okay with dehumanizing fascists, then you would be okay with raping them. But you're not okay with raping them, so you're not really okay with dehumanizing them. If you recognize that, as bad as they are, they are still people who might be able to change and become better, then you're not really okay with dehumanizing them.

That's what I think the nature of this disagreement is: What you are calling dehumanization isn't real dehumanization. If you won't support raping fascists, then you don't really support dehumanizing them. If you won't support rounding them up, gassing them and throwing them into ovens and mass graves, then you don't really support dehumanizing them. Because that is what real dehumanization leads to. If you listen to those who really dehumanize people, that's the kind of stuff they talk about (even when they try to pretend they're "just joking", as they usually do to cover their true desires). That is why it is the preferred tool of fascists. And that is why we can never use it ourselves.


indi wrote

I didn't say anything about using violence; I was talking about dehumanization.

Violence is not always wrong. It can be a legitimate tool to use against an oppressor (or "bully", if you prefer), for example.

Dehumanization is ALWAYS wrong. Even when you are fighting a fascist - yes, even when using violence against them - you should NEVER strip away or deny their humanity. You are not fighting them because they're not human, or because they're "subhuman" or "animals" or "vermin"; you are fighting them because they are treating others as not human, or as "subhuman" or "animals" or "vermin". And if that's not true - if you are fighting them because they're not human, or because they're "subhuman" or "animals" or "vermin" - then you are them; you'd just be a different flavour of fascist.

There is no "paradox of tolerance" here. Fascists are wrong for dehumanizing others, but we don't need to dehumanize them to fight them. We just need to fight them. We can do that while fully acknowledging and accepting their basic humanity.