Defending a Nazi Won’t Get You Into Free Speech Heaven

Angus Johnston, who you should be reading if you are not:


Here’s why I’m not defending them.

I don’t care about them.

And I think most of the people who do, with the exception of true, TRUE civil libertarians like the fucking saints at the ACLU, are just showing off.

Here’s my problem with wanking all day on Twitter about if we should punch Nazis or not, if Milo should be allowed to yell incoherently and incite mobs to attack trans students on university campuses and whatever: I almost never see the “defend to the death your right to say it” absolutism being preached by anybody who’s not a straight white comfortable dude.

I would respect the argument that we should let Milo yell his yelling if that argument came from a trans student in actual physical danger from Milo’s idiot army. I would respect the argument that we shouldn’t punch Nazis if the argument came from someone who the Nazi thought was subhuman. If people who are gay, trans, Muslim, minority, poor, want to tell me that they will get in the street to support the right of total assholes to exhort others to exterminate them, then hand me a damn sign and show me where the pro-Nazi protest is.

What I will not listen to is one more person with zero skin in the game deploring the tone in the room.

Because that’s always what it comes down to, from the Internet Constitutional Lawyers who scold everyone else for applauding a protest that shut someone down. Some airy, detached examination of “the real issue” which is, naturally, the speaker’s making himself sound superior to those who get all uncouth and het up about their impending deaths in gas chambers.

It’s not that I don’t see the opportunity for academic debate, mind. Or for study. It’s that I don’t actually give a fuck right now about being scolded, not by people who are not in any kind of danger.

“Well, what would you say if it was YOUR campus homophobe protest that was being shut down, HUH? HUH!?” I would say the grown-ups are talking right now, hie your whitebread ass head to some sophomore college coffeehouse and see if the kids there will tolerate your snide shit because no one here cares.


8 thoughts on “Defending a Nazi Won’t Get You Into Free Speech Heaven

  1. Your standard of having “skin in the game” is too narrow. We all have skin in the game, even if we’re not all as personally and immediately affected as others.

    What you describe as “deploring the tone in the room” is sometimes just pointing out that certain actions can be counter-productive. As an example, I think that Black Lives Matter took a great message and did themselves and their supporters no favors by their selection of things to protest and the manner in which they engaged at those protests.

    It’s not enough that people are on the right side. People need to be smart about how they express themselves if we’re going to prevail in what remains a democratic society.

  2. Hooooooooooly shit.

    You can’t deplore the tone in the room when you’re totally fucking tone deaf.

  3. NAZIs, like Confederates, are traitors. Enemies of the American People, enemies of the American Way of Life, and if not taken out behind the barn and summarily executed need be rounded up, stuffed into railroad cattle cars and escorted, at gunpoint, to a reservation somewhere out in the hinterlands. Preferably Mars, or the moons of Neptune.

  4. I think the definition of hubris, as opposed to a strong faith, is praying for the devil.
    But I think a lot of folks are flushed with strong faith from time to time, and forget that they’re speaking to a wider audience, if they’re speaking aloud or writing for public consumption, than the God whose mercy they’re importuning.

    I don’t have to agree with what you say to understand that my oath to the Constitution covers your right to say it. Arguably, I have an even bigger obligation to protect speech I don’t agree with.

    But I have the right not to agree with it; and while I have to defend your right to say it without government interference, I damn sure don’t have to protect you from other consequences — such as having people turn their backs, walk away, shout back at you, give you the finger or throw pie. (Brickbats and Molotov cocktails, it shouldn’t need to be said, are reason to hustle you away rather than open fire on the crowd.)

    Nor do I have to relinquish my right to say you’re wrong.
    To explain why you’re wrong.
    Or to point out that your beautifully constructed set of arguments are founded on wet horseshit.

  5. As a super queer, absolutely punch those Nazis. Let’s raise taxes versus Let’s lower taxes is grounds for a debate. Let’s raise taxes versus let’s burn all the Jews is a beating.

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