Should white supremacists be preferred over ISIS?

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, April 27th, 2019 - 117 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, blogs, censorship, Deep stuff, democracy under attack, facebook, International, internet, Politics, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, twitter, us politics - Tags:

So here is one of those big debates.  Normally they happen over decades but suddenly the earth is shifting and we only have months to get the balance right.

And we are dealing with a private corporation that appeared out of nowhere but now forms a central part of our political interaction.  Not Facebook, but Twitter.

It started off as a site to allow mass communication.  Think texting but instead of your bestest receiving your message it was a collective of your bestests and others who you might know and others who others might know.  And everyone had the chance to respond.

It is a fascinating platform.  For me its ability was clearly demonstrated after the second Christchurch earthquake in 2011 when minutes after the event I saw a photo of the Christchurch cathedral spiral having toppled.

Since then it has been a go to any time news is breaking.  As a recent example during the Christchurch Mosque massacre Twitter gave me an insight into what happened that I am not sure I like but it was magnificently detailed.

And the good old left right arguments that used to happen on the blogs now happen on Twitter.  If you want an example of what used to happen there is this Standard post from 2012 which involved Slater himself, Cactus Kate (remember her?) various people on the good side and an arrange of intermediaries.

For the modern equivalent go to twitter.  Nothing else compares.

But it is a corporate start up that has suddenly assumed responsibility for what is said in every town square in the world and for profit continues to allow people to argue with each other.  But under its own rules.

So recent news that Twitter is happy to censor ISIS propaganda but not white supremacist propaganda is worrying.  Especially because the justification is that censoring white hate speech would cause problems for Republican politicians.

From Maggie Serota at Spin:

Twitter execs are hesitant to use its algorithmic content filters to automatically ban white nationalists and neo-Nazis from the platform because too many Republican politicians would be kicked off the site in the process, Motherboard reports.

According to sources who attended an all-hands meeting for Twitter staff held in March, one employee asked why the micro-blogging site wasn’t using its AI to scrub white nationalists from the site with the same dedication and efficiency they did for accounts pushing Islamic State propaganda. A Twitter executive and tech employee reportedly responded by explaining too many Republican politicians would be kicked off the platform if they purged white nationalists.

The exec explained that because of Twitter algorithms, there are accounts that will be purged as collateral damage once certain groups are targeted. From Motherboard:

With every sort of content filter, there is a tradeoff, he explained. When a platform aggressively enforces against ISIS content, for instance, it can also flag innocent accounts as well, such as Arabic language broadcasters. Society, in general, accepts the benefit of banning ISIS for inconveniencing some others, he said.

In separate discussions verified by Motherboard, that employee said Twitter hasn’t taken the same aggressive approach to white supremacist content because the collateral accounts that are impacted can, in some instances, be Republican politicians.

The employee explained that GOP accounts getting swept up in a purge of neo-Nazis by the algorithm isn’t something Twitter execs think the public would accept. Under such a system, someone like Rep. Steve King (R-IA) could get purged from Twitter after quote-tweeting white supremacist propaganda and adding his own bigoted commentary, except apparently Twitter management doesn’t want to deal with the pushback from King’s base. Of course, the more obvious explanation would be that the algorithm can’t differentiate between the racist viewpoints of certain members of the GOP and someone like David Duke.

So white supremacist hate speech is given a privileged position because otherwise Republican politicians will face problems.

Anyone see a problem here?

Shouldn’t we be saying that if the speech of Republican politicians trigger these issues their speech should not be tolerated?

And to the Free Speech Coalition why should one form of bigoted violent speech be tolerated but not another form of bigoted violent speech?

117 comments on “Should white supremacists be preferred over ISIS?”

  1. vto 1

    It is simply another indicator that the world is in the midst of a 1930's Europe repeat mode.

    Actually, make that two indicators. This post itself is another indicator – many such questions and debates raged at the time then as well.

  2. Stuart Munro. 2

    One of these things is not quite the same.

    The comparison of radical Islamists and white supremacists might be closer – the difference being that much of the rhetoric of both groups goes unrealized, whereas the ISIS actively did things many other groups only talked about.

    The legal requirement of both the guilty mind and the guilty act may be relevant – without the act the views, however hateful, are traditionally permitted. The role of such groups in incitement does suggest that that kind of enterprise must be deterred, but a broad approach ignoring the guilty act criterion would tend to invite political misuse – the accurate characterization of NZ's less savory politicians for instance, is a privilege of which the public should not be lightly deprived.

     

    • RedLogix 2.1

       'Supremacist' can be added to the list of words that have been stretched and battered out of shape by identity politics. ISIS is a clear cut case of Islamic supremacy in action, yet no-one dares call it that, while Europeans who express a non-violent affinity for their own culture are thrown in the same bin with Nazi's.

      Nor ISIS is not an isolated group of marginalised radicals; it doesn't distort Islam, rather the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war. It reads Islamic scripture very seriously and the purity of it's interpretation is extremely appealing.

      The blunt fact is that Islam fundamentally regards the Judeo-Christian West as morally inferior. Muhammad is titled the 'Seal of the Prophets', the perfect man and exemplar, and the Quran is in the inerrant, final Book of God for all time. It places itself firmly at the final apex of Divine Revelation and is thus a supremacist movement, not only in sentiment but in monstrous action. Let me rip off the scab; 'action' glosses over the reality of the industrial scale rapes ISIS have committed in precise accordance with Islamic scripture. Sex slavery as open policy, utterly barbaric, vile and intolerable.

      Yet denouncing this is now labelled Islamophobia, a form of racism and 'white supremacy'. It enforces a silence and fear that enabled Muslim rape gangs to operate with impunity in the UK for over a decade. Or consider the tens of thousands of weasel words expended over Assange, yet a silence is enforced on this.

      I hesitate to relate my personal encounter with this. It was decades ago, but in a former life I became socially close to a Middle Eastern woman and her husband. As a teenager she and her sister where imprisoned for 18 months in Iraq. They were both raped on a daily basis for that entire time. It's a narrative that is at least an order of magnitude worse than anything that has ever happened to anyone here in NZ. At the time I was shaken and stunned, but now I understand it was not an aberration, it was policy derived directly from Islam.

      I've spent a lot of time over the years not telling the story behind that short paragraph above. First of all it's not my story and I didn't want to appropriate it. Also the details are beyond horrific, I've left almost all of it out. I've only decided on relating it now because of the final sentence; the personal story is just that personal, but it's political implications took me many, many more years to apprehend.

      • Stuart Munro. 2.1.1

        ISIS is a curious trope, I think it has more in common with the millenarianism Eco wrote about in The Name Of The Rose than contemporary beliefs. The perfect Islamic state is supposed to, like the perfect Christian republic, bring on the end of days.

        I'm sorry about your friend, but the violence available in religion is not unique to Islam, prior to the rise of the latitudinarianists Christianity was red in tooth and claw too, putting inoffensive people to death for blasphemy as late as Aikenhead in 1689.

        The greater part of educated modern Muslims however, recognize the dangers inherent in using their book to do evil, and thus they do not keep slaves and so forth any more than contemporary Christians stone non believers. To encourage such beliefs, I venture it is important to distinguish between the inoffensive believers of both religions, the genuine malefactors, and the irritating proselytizers.

        As for white supremacy, it has been my observation, on many ships and in a fair number of countries, that every culture holds themselves superior to their neighbours, a belief not without merit on a few criteria, but which cannot stand on others. As with the religious, discussion of white supremacy needs a little refining.

        • RedLogix 2.1.1.1

          that every culture holds themselves superior to their neighbours, a belief not without merit on a few criteria, but which cannot stand on others.

          Nicely put. It's a point I've made many times before, but never so concisely. 

          Every culture has it's own sense of integrity and worth; we all want to feel an affinity with what we regard as good and valuable. We naturally oversubscribe to our culture's strong points and prefer to downplay it's often manifest failures … but to conflate this with the 'supremacist' word is just another version of a very tired trick used by radicals everywhere.

          • Stuart Munro. 2.1.1.1.1

            One of the things I would hope progressives would do, would be to be on the lookout for desirable aspects of other cultures we can magpie. The Greeks did it to the Egyptians, the Romans did it to the Greeks, the Europeans did it to the Romans (at least to the extent of civil engineering). But we should be proud of the better aspects of our culture, and also proud to borrow the best of others.

  3. One Two 3

    It is not the binary situation as you describe it, MS…Twitter has a number of other censorship scenarios that the company may or may not be seeking to work on…

    Attempting to shape it in this context is to not adequately understand the technology or the actual problem…

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    Yes, public policy ought to apply equally to both groups of fundamentalists.  Making it real will test the abilities of legislators and policy wonks.  Any fool can specify a desire, but most fools prove incapable of translating a political aspiration into effective law.  The old saying `the law's an ass' is traditional evidence of the design problem.

    The most relevant criterion of design is that incitement to violence ought to trigger enforcement.  Fundamentalists are free to advocate their delusions in the public arena, but exhorting followers to violence is when they have crossed the line.  For instance, citation of the prophet's instruction to followers that they must kill unbelievers (in the Koran) is the most obvious enforcement trigger for islamic nutters.

    Proclaiming one's in-crowd superior to all other in-crowds doesn't cross the line.  It is merely elitist.  Victims of Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) will gnash their teeth at this – rationality is onerous for them.  Too bad.  Laws are rational by design.  Unless the reasoning is sound, parliaments routinely fail to adopt them.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trump_derangement_syndrome

  5. francesca 5

    I dunno 

    The recent furore over the Notre Dame fire was in sharp contrast to the silence over the obliteration of ancient and sacred buildings in Yemen, and for that matter Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.Is that because we can more easily"other " those countries, whereas we wring our hands over destruction in essentially European  ("us")countries

    Does our native  Eurocentrism enable white supremacy or at least lead us to turn a blind eye until its too late?

     

    • greywarshark 5.1

      Notre Dame fire was not caused by war and as you say it is one of our western landmarks.   We can relate to it.    The Middle Eastern wars and the African wars and skirmishes have become ubiquitous and we are dragged into their ambit by our white heritage which connects us through the UK to the USA which is the heart of "whiteness", but which needs a wash and dry in the sunlight.

    • Is that because we can more easily"other " those countries…

      If paying more attention to things within your culture than things outside it is "othering," then yes, and we engage in it the same as everyone else on the planet.  If you'd like Whitey to be something other than human, you're facing inevitable and continual disappointment.

    • Gabby 5.3

      We're not allowed to get cross at the saudies francy.

  6. marty mars 6

    'White' supremacy is built within the system. It is the backbone of colonisation and is an important key factor for capitalism, environmental destruction, climate change, patriarchy and inequality imo.

    We, as a society, are like the guy with his hand stuck, trapping him, dead and holding him down – that is 'white' supremacy – a dead, decaying hand that refused to fall off.

    We aren't going to fix anything with that hand – the hand will destroy everything if it stays on. 'White' supremacy will destroy us all if left to rot.

    • francesca 6.1

      Yes Marty, and until we as a country own up to the terrorism of white colonial troops against innocent Maori women and children , the illegal confiscation of lands etc, we can't really consider ourselves to be a decent nation.

      https://www.radionz.co.nz/stories/201818953/'tainui-has-never-forgotten-the-atrocities-against-their-women-and-children'

      Some kind of weird cultural hegemony at work here , and I've got heritage from both sides, my waka is Aotea, and the ship Rosanna from 1826

       

      • greywarshark 6.1.1

        …until we as a country own up to the terrorism of white colonial troops against innocent Maori women and children , the illegal confiscation of lands etc, we can't really consider ourselves to be a decent nation.

        I thought that an enormous lot of work had been put in to collating our history and owning up to the colonial wrongs, for the last quarter of the last century and ongoing to today – through Treaty of Waitangi hearings and deliberations, water guardianship etc.

        We've done it as well as we can.   Red-faced white men with white hair pop up like virulent weeds and deny all the work and the findings, and we must stand tall against them.    These are the ultimate tall poppy syndrome exponents.   But please acknowledge what has been done – don't deny it and want us to take up the burden of guilt again.   We need to take our relationship with Maori in a different direction, the two threads of our nation forming a rope with other colours woven in as well, and pulling together.   

        • solkta 6.1.1.1

          We've done it as well as we can. 

          Bollocks.

          We don't even require the teaching of our history in our Schools. My daughter goes to a large secondary school in Northland, where our shared history starts, yet they offer no courses at all about it all. Not compulsory, not voluntary, just nothing.

          Most adults also still do not have an accurate account of our history. We have just had a commemoration for our war dead yet no mention is made of the many who died in our civil wars and the atrocities committed then. Again just nothing.

          • Dennis Frank 6.1.1.1.1

            I agree.  33 years since Belich did the long-delayed historical revision.  The staunch hold-outs in the education establishment are still intent on defending the last bastion of imperialism.  Preventing revision of the curriculum.

            Is this reality, or just my perception?  Do schools have the option of teaching our real history in defiance of the curriculum??  Perhaps someone who knows how the educational bureaucracy actually works can enlighten us…

            • solkta 6.1.1.1.1.1

              The problem is that it is not in defiance of the curriculum. The New Zealand Curriculum doesn't actually require them to teach it. They cannot be held to account.

              Nice to agree for a change. Belich's book is a good read.

               

              • Dennis Frank

                Okay, when I got educated the curriculum was compulsory in respect of core subjects.  I presume either history was never defined as a core subject or Lange's `tomorrow's schools' restructure made it all optional – but I'm guessing.  Social studies was core, and it included history, but that was just primary & intermediate schools as far as I can recall.

            • patricia bremner 6.1.1.1.1.2

              I managed in Rotorua,  20 years ago,where the Maori population is high by NZ stats.

              However,  I found British born citizens the most critical of any perceived "Maori Privilege".  I enjoyed pointing out laws that favoured "us" and hamstrung "them".   
              I would get,  "Why are you supporting them?"  Often followed by "I don't believe in this Treaty rubbish"  I would enjoy pointing out how our ancestors fought tooth and nail for the rights of Parliament over "The absolute power of Kings" giving us constitutional monarchy. The Treaty was supposed to recognise Maori interests,  but was subverted by two Treaties.   Asking Questions and having pupils interview Kaumatua was revealing to many.
              I wish I had kept the tape recordings we made.

              • Dukeofurl

                I hope you werent teaching this at a  school

                " how our ancestors fought tooth and nail for the rights of Parliament over "The absolute power of Kings" 

                It was mostly fights between various factions of the Ruling class and nobility  ie Magna Carta

                 Only by accident  did the ordinary people  become eligible for parliament and of course  that was because the Lords still existed  in a powerful form.

                The  peasant  rebellions were brutally defeated . probably the only sucessful internal rebellion against British rule was the  Irish Easter uprising/ later rebellion  from 1916 -1922

                • Dennis Frank

                  True.  One of the few instances when a marxist-style class analysis explains history moderately well (depending how one defines classes).  Patricia was using ancestors in a broad sense, I suspect. 

                  Readers of history get the general view that various factions between the monarch and the masses achieved transformation via critical mass and leverage in various historical contexts, and calling these groups middle class is anachronistic unless you apply it to the 19th century.  Usually, as you suggest, it was  shifting coalitions of aristocrats shuffling rulers…

          • greywarshark 6.1.1.1.2

            solkta
            True we haven't done it all as well as we can when we haven't included it in general education.    There were for a time special Treaty workshops around the country and information packs, but you can rely on NZ to go at things in a way that that leaves gaps.   It is as if you would only be allowed to do so much Maori and NZ history provision before whining started that Maori were taking over the curriculum or such. 

            Learning our own history is one of the ways we could have built pride in our country that would withstand the cringe that accompanied the 1984 collapse into economic modelling that led to neolib.   

            Expanding the curriculum so we really embraced the Treaty and all the work put in by Maori explaining their past history, and the government's in enabling and remedying is still not fully accepted.  It's like the decision makers for education were afraid that new stuff had come along and the kids would know more than they would.  Maintain the status quo and be safe.

    • Anne 6.2

      'White' supremacy is built within the system. It is the backbone of colonisation and is an important key factor for capitalism, environmental destruction, climate change, patriarchy and inequality imo.

      Which is why White Supremacist (read neo-Nazi) hate speech and hate deeds will always be tolerated and even accepted by many as the norm. Only in the most horrific of cases – such as the ChCh atrocity – will the neo-Nazis be treated in equal proportion to Muslim extremists.

      • RedLogix 6.2.1

        marty's definition of 'white supremacy' is so broad it captures everything. Worse still is presumes the preposterously racist idea that if there were no white people in the world there would be no 'capitalism, environmental destruction, climate change, patriarchy and inequality'.

        Yet the number of actual neo-nazis in NZ could hold a convention in two telephone booths joined side by side. They are a marginalised, contemptible group nobody takes seriously. 

        hate speech and hate deeds will always be tolerated and even accepted by many as the norm.

        Maybe you could give some examples of what you mean because it's not clear whether you mean someone talking up nazi genocide, or just anything a white person says.

        • vto 6.2.1.1

          Agree red. I wonder if there was such a thing as Egyptian Supremacy a few thousand years ago, or Roman Supremacy later on. Or Han Tang or Song Dynasty Supremacies? Or Samoan Tongan Supremacy? Or Tutsi Supremacy in Rwanda? What about Homo Sapien / Neanderthal Supremacy?… 

           

          It is a human thing, not a white thing. Shouldn't even need pointing out, but seems to …

          • patricia bremner 6.2.1.1.1

            The seeds of the right were reinforced by America accepting the Nazi scientists after WW11.  They also took a large number of Germans from "West" Germany.

            They were in agreement with the idea of black inferiority,  supported by their churches often.

            The Nazi creed was they would be back, even if it took a thousand years. We need to watch carefully heavy State controls and armed Police.  They may turn out to be our Brown Shirts. Organisations can be subverted.

            • Psycho Milt 6.2.1.1.1.1

              The USSR also accepted German scientists after WW2, in fact they did such a good job of attracting to them to the Soviet Union that the western allies effectively got into a bidding war with them to ensure that some of the expertise came west.  Racism had nothing to do with other it, just cold-war politics.

            • Poission 6.2.1.1.1.2

              The German problem Almacht (omnipotence) was problematic in the first world war eg Kellog (headquarter nights)

              https://archive.org/details/headquarters00kell/page/12

               

        • marty mars 6.2.1.2

          lol

          This is what I said
          White' supremacy is built within the system. It is the backbone of colonisation and is an important key factor for capitalism, environmental destruction, climate change, patriarchy and inequality imo.

          This is what you said

          “marty’s definition of ‘white supremacy’ is so broad it captures everything. Worse still is presumes the preposterously racist idea that if there were no white people in the world there would be no ‘capitalism, environmental destruction, climate change, patriarchy and inequality’.”

          See the difference????? Your agenda is showing buddy.

          Are you a believer in 'white' supremacy?

          If not, then it isn't talking about you is it.

          If yes, then read it and weep.

          • RedLogix 6.2.1.2.1

            I am a believer in the worth and value of my own culture marty, just as you are in your own. My agenda is simple, I will not be made to be shamed for being of European descent, nor will I be made to be guilty for actions I did not commit.

            And as I've said before, that was explained to me most forcefully by a certain kaumatua in the King Country many years ago.

            In the weeks after 15/3 you could barely contain your delight, posting one racist anti-white rant after another, empowered and enabled by the slaughter. At the time I wondered what might come next; and far too soon I had my answer in Sri Lanka. Your response was one comment, just the one, expressing regret at the deaths … but otherwise silence. No critique, no outrage over the widespread, hateful and dangerous ideology that motivated it … nothing. You just didn't care. You don't give a shit about the victims of these massacres, they were nothing to you if they couldn't be used to energise your anger and resentment.

            There's the agenda marty, it's your anti-white racism writ large over almost everything you say these days.

            • marty mars 6.2.1.2.1.1

              lol You're a misshapen fool. You slur me by saying what my motivation is or was around the murders – that is very low even for someone like you – shows what a weak person you are and how thin your veneer of decency is, that you meticulously present and pretend so much on, within this forum – you seethe with insecurities and inadequacies buddy. And you are just another racist imo – a sad sack of irrelevance pretending a bigger brain and awareness and empathy than is there – just a pathetic fouler of all of the world. You're not proud of your heritage you're ashamed of it dumbarse and you cant't even see it lol.

              • RedLogix

                You can say whatever you want … it's your actions that cannot be denied or taken back.

                • marty mars

                  What I said on the Sri Lanka post – as the first comment too

                  I'd just like to acknowledge the pain and suffering of the victims and their families. There has been a lot of war and killing in that country and this atrocity will really hurt. So much trauma for people to somehow get through – years and years of work for people ahead. Kia kaha and arohanui.

                  As to why – hate of others – intolerance, bigotry, fear.

                  What you said on the same post

                  Does anyone imagine this will be the last massacre? This is so dangerous, there is nothing safe to say about it. 

                  lol not much to say there oh brave one eh lol big man strides along doing nothing, saying nothing…

                • marty mars

                  You might want to think about why you get it wrong so much too.

                  You said, "Your response was one comment, just the one, expressing regret at the deaths … but otherwise silence."

                  But what about this on the day of the murders

                  /open-mike-21-04-2019/#comment-1609941

                  So bad – the haters keep hating and innocent people keep being murdered. 

                  Six bombs have been detonated at three churches and three hotels frequented by tourists in Sri Lanka, authorities say.

                  At least 50 people have been killed and 280 more injured in the Easter Sunday bombings around 8.45am local time, according to Sri Lanka police.

                  https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/asia/112184313/at-least-20-dead-after-easter-bombings-in-sri-lanka

                  you even replyed

                  It isn't over, a seventh explosion just happened and the death toll is now at 156. 

                  and I again replyed to you

                  Horrible murderers.

                  and then the post on Sri Lanka happened and I also commented on that

                  /sri-lanka/#comment-1610484

                  That is three comments so your slur is proven not true.

                  Your way of slurring is common to the type that thinks themselves better than others – you're not better, not even slightly.

                  • RedLogix

                    But what was missing was the weeks and weeks of comments from you about 'Islamic radicals' or 'Muslim supremacists', no mention of ISIS who have claimed open and joyous responsibility for inspiring, maybe even assisting, the attacks. Nothing. 

                    One tragedy served your agenda, the other didn't.

        • Anne 6.2.1.3

          I recognise marty is referring to white supremacy in its broadest sense and that is why I replied in an equally broad sense. No-one (including marty I am sure) is denying there are many tiers to the attitudes held towards people of colour, ethnicity and religious beliefs ranging from those who merely express negative views through normal channels of communication, through to those who subscribe to the neo-Nazi fanatical groupings around the world and who encourage/enable others to commit attrocities on their behalf from time to time.

          Capitalism, as practiced by the Trump regime (and to a lesser extent elsewhere) has always erred on the side of commerce at all cost, a lack of environmental considerations, willful denial of CC and prolonged patriarchy and inequality. (And bear in mind we are only talking about capitalism here – not any other ism.)

          So it stands to reason that "overall" white supremacist criminal activity is going to be regarded as more acceptable by 'capitalist' nations (read Western nations) than Muslim extremist criminal activity – or its most extreme form ISIS.

          Edit: I am also have trouble typing comments… especially trying to use quotes from other commenters using italics. 🙁

          • Anne 6.2.1.3.1

            Point of clarification : when I use the term "capitalism" I refer to the style of government practiced in the West as opposed to that practiced in the East and not so much the attendant ideologies.

        • francesca 6.2.1.4

          Its a white cultural chauvinism that sees European culture as the apex of civilisation . It is so much a part of us we don't see it .Our cultural identity blinds us to our common humanity.Maybe thats the case for all cultures, but being the dominant party, who has benefited the most from the status quo, its a dangerous blind spot.

          • RedLogix 6.2.1.4.1

            Its a white cultural chauvinism that sees European culture as the apex of civilisation 

            Yet it's also a willful blindness to ignore the dominant impact this culture has had, especially over the past 200 years or so. In terms of science, engineering, technologies, legal theory and democratic political systems it has been better than anything which has come before it. At the same time it has come with some dreadful costs and appalling mistakes.  Yet for all that I see very, very few people actively demanding we undo it all, throw away 200 years of material progress and return to the life in the 1820's. 

            In other words, most people have judged that the price we've paid, high as it has been, was over all worth it to reach the point we have made it to. But it was never, ever an end-point; European culture was never the apex of human civilisation; that would be an utterly absurd claim.

            Quite the contrary, the obvious challenge staring us all in the face, is the unfolding of an entirely new, global civilisation, one that embraces every race and culture drawing on their strengths and turning away from their shortcomings. 

            This is the 'end of history'. The end of tribalism, nationalism, religion'ism, the end of ancient rivalries and hatreds. It is a call for radically new conception of humanity, a moral system that encodes for our common humanity first and foremost. This is my agenda, and always has been. It is in reality deeply more radical and difficult than any of you imagine; it challenges everyone at their deepest fears and prejudices, it demands we all stop feeding our resentments and past hurts … and step forward with truth and courage into an entirely different world.

            The left used to have a strong conception of this; until we were seduced into the faux-tribalism of identity politics;  a system that explicitly emphasises the differences between groups, analyses everything in terms of power and exploitation, actively generates antagonism where we need understanding, and polarisation when we so desperately need unity.

            • francesca 6.2.1.4.1.1

              Of course people don't want to throw away the European concept of superiority, which you so clearly elaborated…"better than anything that has come before it"Of course you believe that RL, you are part of it and have benefited from it, very many haven't.

              I suggest that more naturally based peoples, close to the land and constrained by its limits have learnt far better ways of living lightly on the face of the earth.

              Look at the Australian aborigines, who apparently inhabited every part of Australia prior to invasion, whose culture enabled them to live for thousands of years in what we find inhospitable environments.And now that knowledge has been destroyed, while we look wanly to other planets and more technologies that will shield us from the realities of life.

              • RedLogix

                I suggest that more naturally based peoples, close to the land and constrained by its limits have learnt far better ways of living lightly on the face of the earth.

                A point I've made many times before. Trust me, travelling around Australia has made me vividly aware of how indigenous peoples devised remarkable ways of adapting to harsh landscapes that you and I wouldn't last a day in.

                Or another example working in the Canadian Arctic I was sitting at dinner with a local man who when I asked where he was from, replied 'from around here'. Given there was literally nothing within 100's of kms of us (the nearest town was Cambridge Bay) that struck me as odd, so I asked what he meant. Turned out he grew up in an isolated valley about 3km from site, literally surviving -55degC winters, and raising a family in a stone hut. Yikes, you've no idea how extreme that is.

                Yet not for one instant would he choose to return to that life. Yes these people had remarkable skills we should not forget, but romanticising what was a hard, brutal and often dangerous life is foolish.

                The simple truth is that right now in 2019 most of humanity has escaped brute poverty and are living in a modest security and dignity never seen in all of our history. And almost none of them want to revert to being 'noble savages' … it's a life we may have forgotten, but most of them remember only too well.

                • francesca

                  And I suggest it is our very divorce  from nature, its intense pleasures and beauties but also its constraints and  terrors has led us to where we are now, on the very brink of annihilation, not just for us but other life forms as well. In our rush to escape death, we've inflicted it on all other life forms, and the western culture has been the most voracious. Technology can't fix that, only an altered, less egoistic view of the world can

                  • RedLogix

                    And I suggest it is our very divorce  from nature, its intense pleasures and beauties but also its constraints and  terrors has led us to where we are now,

                    I spent many of my formative years in the Southern Alps doing just that. All very well when you're young, fit and can cope with hardship. 

                    I'm not unsympathetic to what you are saying, there is a real aspect of truth to it. But trust me, throwing away the last 200 years of material progress is absolutely not the answer.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Business as usual is absolutely not an answer.

                      Selectively and orderly relinquishing some of the material progress achieved in the last 100 years might be part of an answer, but we are so entitled now, and our creature comforts and conveniences so 'essential'.

                      In truth, most could adjust to living reasonably well without meat in our diets, without air travel, without at least 50% of the energy we each currently use, without at least 50% of the consumer goods we currently purchase, without a car, etc. etc.  Our lives might be a few years shorter, and a little less comfortable/convenient, but what of it?

                      Unfortunately none of that will happen, and it wouldn’t be enough anyway – moves in the right direction, sure, but not enough.

                      There are too many of us, we are each consuming too much, and most of us want more.  God knows why – it's a mystery.

                    • RedLogix

                      If I had said 'business as usual' anywhere you'd have a point. Emphatically the way out of this mess is not more of what we already do. 

                      There are about 1 billion people living developed middle class lives, about another 3 billion living entry level middle class lives and another 3 billion still in poverty. The vast majority of new demand is going to come from that middle 3 billion. The top 1 billion could halve their demand, and while that might be useful, it doesn't solve the problem.

                      The solution lies in two aspects; there is a tsunami of new tech coming online with the next few decades that will radically improve our material and energy efficiencies. And we can rely on at least one wholly new science to appear within this century. 

                      The other aspect is simply this. All of our really big problems are global in nature, tackling them demands solutions with authority at the same scale.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      The statement "Business as usual is absolutely not an answer." is true, no?  That's the point, and it’s good that we agree on this.

                      The 'solutions' you tout seem 'business as usual', i.e. we can continue to feed our greed. I’m simply suggesting that doing with (significantly) less is a realistic option for most in the ‘West’.

                      At this stage in human history, having our cake and eating it too won’t fly. Dial it back, ‘going forward’.

                    • RedLogix

                      I’m simply suggesting that doing with (significantly) less is a realistic option for most in the ‘West’.

                      That may be true, but overall it will make little difference; it's the other 6 billion or more who are rapidly moving out of poverty who constitute the greatest increase is resource demand.  

                      The existing 'greedy' top 1 billion could vanish off the face of the earth altogether with no real change in outcome.

                       

                    • In truth, most could adjust to living reasonably well without meat in our diets…

                      We could, yes.  However, there's no obvious reason why we would.  Certainly, indigenous Australians or any other hunter/gatherer societies of the kind Francesca considers superior to ours wouldn't see any reason why they should try and adjust to living without meat in their diets – especially not the lovely, nutritious offal.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Your comment (RL) reminds me of a Fonterra application to increase the amount of waste discharged into the Manawatu River.  Part of their argument was that the river was already so badly polluted that overall a little more waste really wouldn't make a difference.

                      Personally I believe that the 'sustained' resource demand of the already well-off should not be ignored, but I guess it's too much to expect such rarefied populaces to lead by example.

                      PM – what lovely offal you have. https://xkcd.com/1338/

                      https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/afternoons/audio/2018682338/how-to-eat-to-save-the-planet

                    • The significant bit in that graphic is the big blob of humans in the middle.  Replace all the livestock with crop monocultures and the wild animals are still a few green squares on the fringes.  

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      But maybe the 'wild animals' would have a bit more space? And any species that eventually survive might have a lot more space.

                      "Meat is also considered one of the prime factors contributing to the current sixth mass extinction."

                      "In November 2017, 15,364 world scientists signed a Warning to Humanity calling for, among other things, drastically diminishing our per capita consumption of meat."

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_meat_production

                      Of course, any changes would take time – what to do, what to do?

                    • RedLogix

                      What to do?

                      It seems like so many hand wringing lefties you're more consumed by an envy and resentment of the rich, than any authentic concern about the poor. 

                      The human population should peak at around 9 billion. Unless you propose some murderous Stalinist plan (like kill all the farmers and then pretend the resulting famine was an accident) to depopulate the planet … this means there are 8 billion people who rightfully look to have the very real benefits of modern civilisation extended to them. You tell them otherwise.

                      The only morally legitimate question is just how fast can we do this and what new technologies do we implement to achieve it. That and pushing aside all the cultural and political impediments to doing so.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      “The only morally legitimate question…”?

                      I do apologise RL, in my cringingly handwringing envy-fueled resentful lefty way (The Lefties are coming, the Lefties are coming!) I seem to have strayed off topic.

                      Carry on, and more power to you.

                      P.S.  I'm doing O.K. financially – thanks for your ‘concern’. “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness.

                    • But maybe the 'wild animals' would have a bit more space?

                      Why would they have more space?  Feeding 8 billion people on processed soy bullshit food takes up a lot of room.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      PM – agree that food production already takes up much land area.  Heavens, seems like every other day the NZ media has a story about the pros/cons of using arable land for more 'profitable' purposes.

                      I had the impression that when comparing the land area required to grow plants to feed humans, with the land area required to produce animals to feed the same number of humans, more land is required for the 'animal case'.  I could be wrong – the only link I have is to an old (2003) U.S. paper.

                      Lest I give the impression that I'm advocate for strict vegetarianism or (shock horror) veganism, let me assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.  While I do admire the commitment it must take to stick to a plant-based diet, and am personally pleased with the financial and health benefits I've experienced since decreasing my consumption of red/processed meat (alas, haven't managed to make much of a dent in the dairy), I'm aware that such advocacy has not previously be well received.

                      Worldwide, an estimated 2 billion people live primarily on a meat-based diet, while an estimated 4 billion live primarily on a plant-based diet. The US food production system uses about 50% of the total US land area, 80% of the fresh water, and 17% of the fossil energy used in the country. The heavy dependence on fossil energy suggests that the US food system, whether meat-based or plant-based, is not sustainable. The use of land and energy resources devoted to an average meat-based diet compared with a lactoovovegetarian (plant-based) diet is analyzed in this report. In both diets, the daily quantity of calories consumed are kept constant at about 3533 kcal per person. The meat-based food system requires more energy, land, and water resources than the lactoovovegetarian diet. In this limited sense, the lactoovovegetarian diet is more sustainable than the average American meat-based diet.

                      https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/78/3/660S/4690010
                      The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Sept 2003

                    • ” had the impression that when comparing the land area required to grow plants to feed humans, with the land area required to produce animals to feed the same number of humans, more land is required for the 'animal case’.”

                      Yes, that's right – given current farming methods.  Many countries grow crops that they then feed to livestock, so it's inevitable that meat production uses more land, water etc.  Feeding grain to cattle has to be among the stupidest, most environmentally-damaging things humans are doing.  Grass-fed meat production is different, especially since livestock can graze on land unsuited for crop production.  It looks like a mixture of vegetable crops and grass-fed livestock is the best way to go (with a lot of trees planted, not the shelter-free deadzones that constitute current NZ farm paddocks).

                • francesca

                  Actually Red , there are many documented instances of white women who were abducted by Native American tribes who were none too pleased to be liberated back into white society and pined for their "savage" lives

              • I suggest that more naturally based peoples, close to the land and constrained by its limits have learnt far better ways of living lightly on the face of the earth.

                In other words, you also are a cultural chauvinist, but for a different culture.  Beam in one's own eye, an' all that.

                • francesca

                  I'm for a sustainable culture, I admire those who take only what they need , they tend not to be chauvinist with the world's creatures and resources.

                  I'm for any kind of culture that isn't based on greed or self aggrandisement, maybe somewhat like the Bhutanese a few years back who articulated the notion of gross national happiness, rather than GDP.

                  If thats cultural chauvinism in your eyes I couldn't give a tuppeny proverbial 

                   

                  • joe90

                     

                    And side of ethnic cleansing to go with gross national happiness.

                    /

                     

                     

                    After tightening its citizenship laws in the mid-1980s, Bhutan conducted a special census in the south and then proceeded to cast out nearly 100,000 people — about one-sixth of its population, nearly all of them of Nepalese origin, including my family. It declared us illegal immigrants, even though many of us went back several generations in Bhutan. It hasn’t let any of us move back.

                    The enormity of this exodus, one of the world’s largest by proportion, given the country’s small population, has been overlooked by an international community that is either indifferent or beguiled by the government-sponsored images of Bhutan as a serene Buddhist Shangri-La, an image advanced by the policy of “gross national happiness,” coined by King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in the 1970s.

                    Bhutan even helped inspire the United Nations last year to declare March 20 the International Day of Happiness — a cruel irony to those of us who were made stateless by the king, who was an absolute monarch when we were expelled.

                    http://archive.li/xPq7X

                     

                  • If thats cultural chauvinism in your eyes I couldn't give a tuppeny proverbial 

                    And fair enough too.  But you seem to believe we should care what you consider to be cultural chauvinism.  Beam in your own eye, an' all that.  

                    • francesca

                      Like I said, I don't give a tuppeny, you can believe what you like.

                    • Oh, I'm well aware that my assertions about cultural chauvinism have a net value of $0 outside my own head.  I just want to make sure you realise that the same applies to you, ie when you write "Its a white cultural chauvinism that sees European culture as the apex of civilisation," it has a net value of $0 outside your own head.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      "I just want to make sure you realise that the same applies to you [francesca]".

                      A genuine attempt to educate, 'mansplaining', or 'lastworditis'?  You be the judge.

                    • marty mars

                      "In conclusion (I hope!), there have been many incredible innovations in technology, culture, inquiry and the pursuit of knowledge in the world. There are many ways you could break down or categorize the patterns of who was involved and who was recognized; who provided credited and uncredited support; where potential was invested in or squandered or suppressed.

                      Many of these people fit our unfortunately familiar categorization of “white”. But nearly all people in history who could be called “white” had nothing to do with these innovations; and many who could not be called “white” had a huge role in them.

                      Crediting “the modern world” to “white people” has no explanatory power; because understanding the world has nothing to do with the motivation behind that claim.

                      To carve a boundary around thousands or millions of people from hundreds of different cultures and times that follows only the contours of complexion is perhaps the most tortuous and pathological gerrymander in history."

                      https://medium.com/@benjiwheeler/white-pride-the-most-tortuous-and-pathological-gerrymander-in-history-36d01a70420f

      • marty mars 6.2.2

        Yes Anne – sadly some people can't just see people as people. They are the losers and they are a drag on everyone else imo.

    • Gabby 6.3

      If your own dead hand should cause you to offend mardymardy, cut it off.

  7. Incognito 7

    The so-called free speech debate is like any other major public debate on complex and controversial issues. It is polarised, tribal, simplistic, and thus easily hijacked by invested interest groups and people with an ‘ideological’ agenda. If we want to progress this in any meaningful way, we need to reframe it. As is the case, this will have to be a top-down transformation, not a bottom-up. Unfortunately, there is a leadership vacuum that does not seem to be filled at any noticeable rate; politicians are most certainly shunning it. The youth voice seems to be the only one that is trying to step in and up but the ‘silverbacks’ don’t like it one bit as it challenges everything they stand for …

  8. marty mars 8

    @ francesca

    Kia ora – yes I agree.

     

    This country is built upon crooked foundations and until that is sorted we will forever create an unstable structure.

    Edit. Comment editor still playing up for me.
     

     

  9. greywarshark 9

    Discussion on what constitutes hate speech this morning with Kim trying to find what will be regarded as hate, or anti, with new official.    She was trying to find out if Jeremy Corbyn's comments were, in fact, anti-semitism under the current or future criteria.

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday/audio/2018692572/paul-hunt-nz-s-new-human-rights-commissioner

    • Formerly Ross 9.1

      Paul Hunt didn't come across very well. I strongly suspect he wants to see comments that offend him criminalised.

  10. These companies like to portray themselves as global, but they're actually just American companies that operate internationally.  For that reason, the issue of Arabic-language media being blocked as collateral damage from blocking ISIS can be dismissed by Twitter execs with a casual "Who gives a shit?", whereas the prospect of the local Republican demagogue in Bumfuque, Iowa being blocked as collateral damage from blocking white supremacists would be a major problem and must be avoided at all costs.  They're not global, they're American and their policies reflect that, which is another reason to treat them with disdain. 

  11. Formerly Ross 11

    Micky,

    You seem confused on this issue when the matter is simple. The answer to hate speech is more speech. Why do you think the civil rights movement in the US and the gay rights movement had so much success? Protestors and activists did not hide under a rock and say "woe is me". They fought for their rights. They spoke out. And they continued to speak out until they got what was rightfully theirs.

    • Sacha 11.1

      "The answer to hate speech is more speech."

      Can you give an example where that has worked.

      • Formerly Ross 11.1.1

        I suggest you watch the video, Sacha, because it worked for the gay rights movement and civil rights movement. 

  12. Ad 12

    You would have a point if Rep. Steve King was broadcasting the same kinds of things as ISIS on Twitter.

     

    Until he does, it's fair for Twitter to only censor that speech which terrorises. They may be comparable, but they are not remotely the same in force.

  13. Formerly Ross 13

    The other point is that you're looking at the issue from the perspective of being offended. You have the choice whether or not to be offended. You don't have to be offended. At the same time you have the right to speak out if and when you take offence at what someone says. Not only that but there are resources and options available for anyone unable to handle someone's right to speak. Resilience training is one option. 

    "Resilient people bounce back from difficulties faster, thrive under pressure, adapt better to changing environments, have higher energy levels and are better able to manage stress."

    https://www.brightstar.co.nz/training/developing-resilience-and-mental-toughness/home

    • Ad 13.1

      If the speech directs or incites violence, you don't have a choice. And no, it doesn't depend on your level of wokeness, right-on-ness, mental capacity, or whether you "thrive under pressure".

      Inciting violence through portraying violent acts, now that's the issue Ardern and Macron are in discussion about. 

      If this post had gone for a more plausible grey area, such as whether to ban both ISIS and Alex Jones, that would have got closer to the mark. 

      • Formerly Ross 13.1.1

        If the speech directs or incites violence, you don't have a choice.

        We already have laws prohibiting the incitement of violence. I very much doubt that Ardern and Macron are discussing something which already exists.

        • Ad 13.1.1.1

          It exists for broadcast speech. 

          Social media, not so much. That point was made at length in my post yesterday. And it is precisely what Macron and Ardern et al will be getting in to.

    • Sacha 13.2

      The only people who frame harmful public speech as some sort of personal 'offense' seem to be those trying to defend it.

  14. Sacha 14

    Twitter and other social platforms have no difficulty preventing nazi speech reaching their German users – as that nation requires by law. It's certainly not a technical problem, only a political one.

    • McFlock 14.1

      Some folks seem to be comparing the worst of ISIS videos with the white supremacists tweeting “Cultural suicide by demographic transformation must end.”

      Decapitation vids, like massacre vids, are easy. They're objectionable.

      The difficult bits are the ISIS articles that merely refer to ancient battles, tout fear of invasion and extermination, and other similar indirect encouragement to kill people. The point is that those are also banned when ISIS produces them, but not when white supremacists do it. Because we have too many politicians that distribute that shit (remember Prosser and Brash).

      Maybe we should just refer tweets to the office of the censor, rather than reporting them to the twitter vacuum.

      • RedLogix 14.1.1

         Because we have too many politicians that distribute that shit (remember Prosser and Brash).

        So says the guy who's spent literally years hand-wringing over the possibly rapey Mr Assange, while remaining assiduously silent on the monstrous crime catalog of ISIS.

        Like these are the guys who actually published a manual on how to rape your sex slave correctly and you conflate them with Don Brash. Despicable.

        https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/14/world/middleeast/isis-enshrines-a-theology-of-rape.html

         

        • McFlock 14.1.1.1

          Should we list all the crimes of ISIS, or is it more to the point to just lump them in the same boat as Nazis and be done with it? Because I prefer the latter, it's quicker that way. If rape were the only crime committed by ISIS members, we could just call them "rapists". But they do so many horrible things, all of the list equally horrible. So yes, I've called them Nazis before.

          But they're not all decapitation, torture, rape, genocide, and archeological destruction. ISIS also do the lesser spectrum of ethno-cultural supremacy propaganda, nicey nicey with no swear words or gross pictures. And, yes, Brash has done that too. ISIS just has a better social media game.

          If you can't see a continuum of acceptance between Brash's Orewa speech, Enoch Powell's "Rivers of Blood" speech, or density church's little escapade a few days ago on the one end, and genocidal, raping, murdering bastards (be they ISIS, Nazis, or non-denominational white supremacists), that's your problem.

           

          • RedLogix 14.1.1.1.1

            Should we list all the crimes of ISIS,

            No we should list them all and pursue every last one of the fuckers as we did at Nuremberg. Anything less dishonours their victims.

            If you can't see a continuum of acceptance 

            And that's the trick you pull all the time, conflating people doing evil actions with people saying things you don't like. It's a lazy smear. Just put anything you don't like on a 'continuum' with something truly awful, and label everything on it 'hateful' in order to discredit or silence it.  

            Worse still it diminishes real evil. There is of course real racism, real misogyny, real hate speech. There is incitement to violence and there are real symbols of oppression and hate. There is nothing new in this and we already have the legal and social tools needed to address them. Our forebears were not entirely stupid.

            But constantly 'crying wolf', mis-using these tools to silence our political opponents or those we merely disagree with, provides nothing but excellent cover for the truly dangerous to operate under.

            There is a categorical difference between someone who says, 'I hate Christians because they're the tool of the white male patriarchy', and someone who says 'I hate Christians and I demand we plan ways to slaughter them in their pews at their easter worship.'  We draw a big fat red line between the two, one is the legitimate expression of a bad idea, the other is an intolerable incitement. 

            • Incognito 14.1.1.1.1.1

              Well said!

            • Ad 14.1.1.1.1.2

              +1000

            • Poission 14.1.1.1.1.3

              These constraints and differences ( on the rights of free speech) have been reaffirmed in multiple binding resolutions of the UN security council .

              It should be recalled that, in all actions taken to counter and prevent incitement to commit terrorist acts, it is important to distinguish between communications that may be criminal in nature and others that, while morally repugnant, do not rise to that level. In its resolution 1624 (2005), the Security Council stresses that States must ensure that any measures taken to implement the resolution comply with all of their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, refugee law and humanitarian law. In the preamble to the resolution, the Council recalls the right to freedom of expression reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, reiterating that “any restrictions thereon shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary on the grounds set out in article 19, paragraph 3, of the Covenant”. Law enforcement approaches are undoubtedly appropriate in cases of criminal incitement, but the line between unlawful and lawful communications can be difficult to discern. As the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has observed, “simultaneously implementing both article 19 and article 20 [of the Covenant] to safeguard the right of every person to be free from the threat of violence, while protecting freedom of opinion and expression, necessitates careful choices of statutory policy and language”.1In the context of preventing and countering terrorism, effective counter-terrorism measures and the protection of human rights are not conflicting goals, but complementary and mutually reinforcing

              https://undocs.org/S/2017/375

              Article 19

              1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.

              2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

              3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:

              (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;

              (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.

              Article 20

              1. Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.

              2. Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.

              https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx

               

            • McFlock 14.1.1.1.1.4

              There is a categorical difference between someone who says, 'I hate Christians because they're the tool of the white male patriarchy', and someone who says 'I hate Christians and I demand we plan ways to slaughter them in their pews at their easter worship.'  We draw a big fat red line between the two, one is the legitimate expression of a bad idea, the other is an intolerable incitement. 

              But neither group says any of that.

              They say "we are special, and we must be preserved in our special status, and anyone who doesn't join us is a threat to us that must be destroyed". And to enable that plan there is a clear pattern of behaviour throughout history: create the perception of a threat; divide the opposition into component groups; progressively dehumanise those groups by calling them "backward", "criminal", invaders", and so on; deprive those groups of rights; start detentions, and work up from there.

              Fuck sake, the US took kids without any thought of how to reunite them with their parents, and put them in prisons to be abused. They even floated a plan of sending kids to Gitmo. You don't do that to people you regard as human. Is it as bad as ISIS? Not yet. And it started with rhetoric like the Orewa speech.

              This is not the same as demanding human rights here and abroad. But then you don't have to hate groups of people to do that.

              • RedLogix

                Every bad action can be linked to a bad idea somewhere and if there was a one to one mapping between the two you might be justified in saying 'ban the idea before it becomes a bad action'.

                But that isn't how ideas work. For a start it's not always obvious which ideas are going to inculcate bad outcomes. Almost certainly ideas like the anti-slavery abolitionists, the suffrage movement, the civil rights movement, the anti-apartheid movement would have been banned by the authorities at the time.  And in hindsight I rather wish Das Kapital and Mein Kampf had been banned, but at the time of their publishing no-one really imagined what the outcome would be.

                Most people have bad ideas at some time in their life, and while they can be unpleasant and annoying to be around … at some point they shift and never act out the worst implications. The vast majority of bad ideas simply erode away under the pressure of time and social disapproval. But when you stop people saying stupid things, this mechanism fails. You can stop people saying things you don't want to hear, but you cannot stop them thinking them; and in sullen silence they fester unchecked.

                But most fatally of all mass censorship simply means that everyone quickly learns to parrot the officially approved lines, and every transaction gets built on a lie. Entire societies becomes disconnected with reality when not even children can tell the emperor he's wearing no clothes.

                The relative freedom to speak our minds, for better or for worse, is what we fondly imagine distinguishes us from authoritarian leaning regimes such as Putin's Russia and Xiping's China. Yet for some reason which baffles me, we seem all to willing to give this historically extraordinary gift away.

                https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-28/freedom-democracy-threatened-china-america-west-must-do-more/11048480

                 

                • McFlock

                  Leaving them to fester does slow down their recruitment rate.

                  But yes, what you say is the flipside of the discussion. So back to the original point, should we censor white supremacist propaganda in the same way that ISIS propaganda is censored? Especially the like-for-like level stuff that isn't in itself legally objectionable (e.g. violence, incitement), but does serve a recruiting purpose? And if not, why not?

                  We know that we don't treat WS rhetoric the same as ISIS rhetoric, otherwise Twitter could tweak the filters so it catches ISIS material and extreme white supremacist material, but no repug politicians.

                  In other words, the AI can't distinguish between politicians spewing ISIS-level white supremacy bs, and actual ISIS bs.

                  Maybe we should open things up to ISIS – make it a level playing field?

                  • RedLogix

                    Nah.

                    Pretending you can't tell the difference between ISIS and US politicians is a transparent dishonesty. You're just playing the lazy conflate and false equivalence game again. 

                    • KJT

                      Yes. There is a difference.

                      US politicians have and are, responsible for many more murders than ISIS.

                      That is why it is so ironic that Twitter cannot distinguish between Neo-Nazi hate speech, and the moronic twittering's of US Republican politicians.

                    • McFlock

                      "False" equivalence? Reread the post. It's not an equivalence between the parties, it's an equivalence in the rhetoric, according to the twitter AI:

                      According to sources who attended an all-hands meeting for Twitter staff held in March, one employee asked why the micro-blogging site wasn’t using its AI to scrub white nationalists from the site with the same dedication and efficiency they did for accounts pushing Islamic State propaganda. A Twitter executive and tech employee reportedly responded by explaining too many Republican politicians would be kicked off the platform if they purged white nationalists.

                      Would Steve King be happy if some immigrants got massacred? No idea, but Twitter can't tell the difference between his comments and people who are and who want it to happen frequently.

                      So why is an equivalent supporter of ISIS censored and white supremacists are not? Because there are too many politicians like Steve King and enough people vote them in to make that rhetoric is suddenly ok.

                    • RedLogix

                      Same old lazy trick; 'they're all as bad as each other'. 

                      Nah … let's make this clear. ISIS made a theology of murder, torture, rape and genocide. It was their stated goal to bring about an 'end times', a genocidal war between Islam and the West. Out of the ashes would spring an eternal Caliphate ruling over an exclusively Muslim world. All others got exterminated or enslaved as rape toys.

                      Unmitigated supremacist evil at scale. These bastards stepped right outside the boundaries of tolerable; they are outlaws, outcasts and beyond redemption. We hunt them down, try them and execute them like we did the Nazi's. 

                      Get back to me on all the other shit when you've dealt to this.

                    • McFlock

                      and white supremacists aren't after their own little pure dominion to result from a "clash of civilizations", too?

                    • RedLogix

                      I can't say with any authority as they're not the circles I run in. But it's my impression that most are more anti-immigration than anti-Muslim. White nationalism really wasn't a significant thing until after large numbers of Muslims started arriving in Europe; a definitely fraught process Europeans were never asked about.

                      In WW2 both the Allies and Axis governments used comparable rhetoric and propaganda, but this did not make them the same thing. It would be like saying the SS and the US Marines both wore uniforms and killed people, therefore they’re as bad as each other. This is the hell-hole post-modern relativism lands you in.

                      Enjoy.

                    • McFlock

                      Well if you can't say with any authority, how do you know they're not as bad as ISIS? Is there much difference between bombing churches and shooting up mosques or synagogues? Maybe we're just lucky that we didn't have a food shortage at the time of the GFC that further destabilised an unstable region, providing opportunity for extremist militants to carve out their own little totalitarian state.

                      I'm sure MLK would have been relieved to hear that white supremacy only became a thing after mass muslim immigration. You do realise that former chief klansman David Duke is probably one of those politicians causing twitter a filtering problem, seeing as he ran for president?

                      And yeah, you should see some of the WW2-era things Dr Seuss drew. Some definite similarities there. Would probably be censored these days.

                       

                • Mark

                  "And in hindsight I rather wish Das Kapital and Mein Kampf had been banned, but at the time of their publishing no-one really imagined what the outcome would be"

                  You are way way off the deep end when you put Das Kapital down there on the same moral plane as Mein Kampf.

                  Indeed may of the freedoms and notions of equality that are at least superficially or otherwise publicly taken for granted in the West, flow directly from the thoughts and writings of Karl Marx. The fight against racial inequality was pioneered and fought primarily by communists (not 'socialist' working men's parties which were overwhelmingly racist)

                  The 1917 October revolution was perhaps the greatest event in human history, and its legacy is still being built right now.

                  Open your mind, don't suck up the propaganda of the corporate media.

                  Joseph Stalin was one of history's greatest men, and he is extraordinarily popular in Russia. That should tell you something:

                  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/04/16/record-70-per-cent-russians-approve-stalin/

                  • Ad

                    Only tells you the 70% survived Stalin.

                  • RedLogix

                    From your link:

                    Respondents were almost evenly split on whether the human casualties under the iron-fisted leader were “justified” by the “grand goals and results” achieved. 

                    And our mass murderer in Christchurch also believed his grand goals justified the casualties.  

                    • Mark

                      that's just fucken stupid.

                      Stalin never went out to kill people for killings sake. People died as collateral damage, but that was in extraordinary times, and the result was Russia was turned from a backward peasant country to an industrial and scientific and military superpower in the blink of an historical eye. The Christchurch shooter killed out of hate.

                      Stalin did not shoot like kids in the back of the head. He executed rivals, but that was a kill or be killed environment. That is quite completely different.

                      Stalin's measures to develop the soviet union, caused less than a fraction the immense human suffering the West was founded upon.

                    • McFlock

                      ten or twenty million "rivals", wasn't it?

                    • RedLogix

                      Stalin never went out to kill people for killings sake.

                      Neither did our Christchurch murderer, he made a very detailed case of why he was doing it and was highly righteous about it. As all mass murderers are.

                    • Grant

                      A taste of one small part of the 'fraction of suffering' inflicted under Stalin.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katyn_massacre

                       

  15. Incognito 15

    Why can’t Twitter exclude accounts of Republican politicians from the AI trawling safety net? Give them some kind of Parliamentary Privilege in the sense that they will be exempt from and excluded from being blocked or censored by (the) algorithms. Surely, Twitter can do that. This would leave them free to exercise their free speech rights and communicate with their electorate or whatever. To me, it all sounds like a huge cop out.

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