Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Posts Tagged ‘anti-racism

Evil is, as evil does

with one comment

Today, I encountered a blog post titled The nazi-behaviour of the lefte (“Vänsterns nazistbeteende”), written by a member of the controversial and much maligned party Sverigedemokraterna (SD)—perfectly timed for the blog post I had planned. A pertinent quote:

I jämförelse med judarna i 1930 talets Tyskland har jag det avsevärt lättare. Men jag har drabbats av Berufsverbot och stötts bort från ett arbete. Man har inte målat Davidsstjärnan på min dörr, utan texten RASIST. Varför? Jag har varit folkvald riksdagsledamot för SD.

Är det någon skillnad i den grundläggande mekanismen om en jude får Davidsstjärnan målad på sin dörr och får yrkesförbud eller om en sverigedemokrat får sin dörr hatsprejad och likaledes beläggs med yrkesförbud?

Så vilka är de verkliga fascisterna?

(Compared to the Jews in the 1930s Germany, I have it considerably easier. But I have been affected by Berufsverbotw and been rejected from a job. The Star of David has not been painted on my door, but the text RACIST. Why? I have been a publicly elected member of parliament for SD.

Is there a difference in the basic mechanism if a Jew gets the Star of David painted on his door and receives a profession ban or if an SD member gets his door hate-sprayed and also receives a profession ban.

So, who are the real fascists?

This is a special case of something I have seen again and again: Some people are merely because of their opinions considered so evil that evil actions are taken against them in the name of good. To make matters worse, as with SD, the opinions in question are normally not even the actual opinions of the victims, but the opinions that their abusers claim they would have…

The politically correct, leftists, self-proclaimed anti-racists and equally self-proclaimed anti-fascists are among the dominant sources of such evil. (A recurring topic in my writings. Cf e.g. [1], [2].) These people are often blind to the burning cross in their own eyes, while complaining loudly about the ember in their neighbour’s.

Let us repeat and generalize that important question:

So, who are the real fascists?

So, who are truly evil?

The underlying problem seems to be the neglect of a simple principle:

Evil is, as evil does.

It is neither urges nor opinions that determine whether someone is evil, but his actions. Indeed, the figure who actually considers himself evil is found in children’s cartoons and comic books—not real life. Even the likes of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao tend to see themselves as … good. Did Hitler kill Jews because he enjoyed causing suffering or out of a mere disregard for human life? No: He did so because he considered the Jews a force of evil that must be fought with all means for the benefit of society … Whether he tried to exterminate Jews, Nazis, the educated, or sailors is beside the point, as are his exact motivations: What matters is that he tried to exterminate and in doing so caused the world an evil that outweighed anything positive he (strictly hypothetically) could have achieved.

To bring out the difference between action and thought, consider two people:

The first is a pedophile. The second is dedicated to the well-being of fellow humans. The first has resisted every urge, for fear of harming children. The second is a believer in corporeal punishment as a means of building character and discipline, and takes every opportunity to give a child a solid thrashing.

Which of the two does harm in this world and which is harmless?

Now, some may protest that the pedophile is an accident waiting to happen or that the risks are too large. To a large part, this is just prejudice, built on media portrayals and political propaganda: To my knowledge, there is no indication whatsoever that pedophiles would be more different from non-pedophiles than homosexuals from non-homosexuals, Christians from atheists, or women from men. (Indeed, compared to the last case the difference is bound to be smaller, and the same may well be true for typical individuals in the former two cases.) Further, most of us spend a majority of our lives with sex partners that are far from what we consider optimal—or go without partners entirely. Why should pedophiles be considered unable to control themselves when almost everyone else is?

Indeed, this is one of the most common problems with the issue: It is seen as near unavoidable that the pedophile will lose control and rape the neighbour’s children; that the member of the “extreme right” will (metaphorically or literally) build concentration camps and invade Poland, should he land in power; etc. Notably, this happens even when the risk is objectively small and when in direct opposition to the own judgment or stated opinion of the presumed perpetrator. A particular problem is circular reasoning along the lines of “X is evil because he has opinion A. That X denies having opinion A is irrelevant—after all, he is evil and, therefore, a liar.”, which leaves the victim without a defense.

Besides, if we set out to eliminate every possible risk of evil, we would create a despotic police state with no regard for human rights—which certainly would be a thing of very great evil.

To expand on the above discussion of Hitler: How do we know that Hitler was evil? Well, Hitler’s evil did not manifest in hating Jews or being a nationalist—but in waging unjustifiable wars and committing genocide. If we look merely at his opinions and ideology, there are, today as well as then, hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of people with opinions of a similar extremeness—some on the left, some on the right; some Christian, some Muslim, some atheist; some men, some women; some German, some Tibetan; some vegan, some meat loving; some racist, some anti-racist; … What makes the difference is not what they believed, but what they actually did. Someone who hates Jews is merely misguided—not evil. Someone who kills the Jew-hater, despite his being innocent of anything other than thought—now, he is evil. Indeed, if hate against a particular group of people was a crime worthy of punishment (be it capital or otherwise), then very few of us would go unpunished: Those of us who have never hated another group, no matter their current feelings, are a very small minority. Then again, how many of us actually acted on that hate? In contrast, how many have now overcome it?

My urgent plea to those who are convinced that they do the work of good and that the means justify the end against the evil they fight: Remember that “evil is, as evil does” and re-examine your own actions for signs of actually having become a greater evil than the evil you set out to fight. The road to Hell is built with good intentions.

Disclaimer: The above is not intended to be a full treatment of the concept of “evil”, and deliberately ignores a number of issues (including whether evil truly exists and whether e.g. a mentally ill person could be considered evil). The topic is more narrowly focused on a “bad guy”/“good guy” differentiation.

Written by michaeleriksson

July 10, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Let no man pull you low enough to hate him

with one comment

I just encountered a post titled Quotes I likee stating:

Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.
Martin Luther King Jr.
US black civil rights leader & clergyman (1929 – 1968)

I was struck by the great contrast between this and the very often hateful attitude of the self-proclaimed anti-racists of today. For instance, just yesterday, I saw the following commente:

Rasister är vidriga. Måtte de döden dö.

(Racists are despicable. They should die. [Lit. “May they die the death”, a Swedish expression.])

Written by michaeleriksson

June 26, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Comment censorship and comment policies VIII: Coloured bloggers in need of a reality check

with 4 comments

Recently, I encountered a blog discussing censorship of commentse (a recurring topic on my own blog). After leaving a comment and a follow-up, I have received email notifications about a number of comments that would need addressing.

Notably, statements like those by AfroCan are likely to have a negative effect on the cause and on society, by antagonizing many who would have been supportive, by making others less likely to pay attention when true issues are raised (if one cries “wolf”…), and by causing unnecessary rifts in society between the “true believers” and the rest of the world.

To give these their due attention is not within the scope of the time I have, so I will give a selective overview of some issues:

  1. The initial post has a very one-sided and over-generalizing view on the “-isms”. Formulations used include (emphasis added)

    Some people argue that bloggers have a responsibility to moderate hateful comments, but this abstraction often assumes that the blogger is an able-bodied, middle-to-upper-class, heterosexual, white, cis man who is not the target of the hateful comments.”

    (Note in particular the use of the word “cis”, which by the standards applied by the politically correct where women and minorities are concerned must be considered offensive.)

    Through-out, there is an excessive repetition of the word “hateful”—a word that in my experience is usually used with very little basis in fact. (I grant that I have not investigated the general take and justification on this specific blog.) An upcoming post of mine will deal with this topic.

    Generally, I recognize the kind of artificial polarization and division into groups that it so common within many PC-movements. Effectively, one group is cut off from the others by throwing labels at it, to the point that it eventually can be disputed whether the group actually has any members, and the members of this group are called privileged oppressors based solely on group membership—irrespective of their own actual opinions and situations.

  2. The commenter AfroCan proved to be particularly prejudiced and white-people-are-out-to-get-us—the black version of some of the feminists I have written about on earlier occasions. Consider statements like

    It’s critical for People of Colour to have a (relatively) safe space to voice and dialogue on the issues of race, privilege and other intersecting social oppressions. One of our great frustrations is not having a forum or platform to voice any of these concerns/alternative perspectives in the mainstream media.

    (The feminist version of this argument, I have dealt with previously. The same counter-arguments, m.m., apply. [Note: Wrong link, I will dig up the right one later.])

    […]yet another demonstration of psychological privileges and “terror” dominant Whites wield over people of colour.

    (Yet another demonstration of feminist-style lack of perspective and insight.)

    At the heart of many rebuttals disputing the existence of White male privilege/domination, is the “blind spot” of perception, where the White privileged naysayers can recognize only their own oppression in a refusal to recognize intersectionality, an inability to see across and evaluate social categories/ oppressions of gender, sexuality, class, and ability. They also fail to see they ways in which their very language/rhetoric is actually exposing the deep rooted White domination, arrogance and contempt POCs are trying to identify and dismantle. They are providing the EVIDENCE of racism in Canada’s so-called multicultural egalitarian society.

    (As with feminists: “Either you recognize our claims—or your failure to do so is proof of our claims!”. Now, unlike with e.g. Swedish feminists, I am not qualified to judge whether there is at least a partial truth behind this statement; however, it is at best a gross over-generalization and exaggeration. Further, it is AfroCan, himself, who demonstrates the blind-spot of perception, living in his own reality.)

  3. AfroCan, in a later comment, goes on to say that he is

    […] still a male feminist committing myself to anti-racist feminist thought, through READING feminist works and BECOMING an ally.

    (The feminism of today is an anti-equality movement, filled with bigotry and based on an extremely twisted world-view. See a number of previous entries.)

  4. Other statements by him include rhetorical nonsense like

    Many of the uncritical bloggers are mobilizing false rhetorical “freedom of speech” and “censorship” claims to subvert discussion, not recognizing that these practices are in part what racism, privilege and White domination are all about to begin with.

    (Apparently aimed at giving a pseudo-justification for the unethical censorship discussed in many of my previous entries.)

  5. With the following, utterly absurd claim, he really takes the Orwellian prize

    Another curious I discourse I see going on in these blogs, is calling [people of colour] racist—an utterly absurd rebuttal. Granted—some POCs can be “prejudiced” but not “racist”.

  6. Commenter Jennifer Kesler gives a number of flawed arguments in favour of censorship. Some of these have been dealt with in earlier installments, some do not make sense, others go against common sense, constructive behaviour, or Hanlon’s Razor. (I do not rule out a partial justification of some of them in at least some contexts, however. Even so, they would make for a very poor comment policy on the vast majority of all blogs.) In the main, they would tend to reduce exposure to alternate ideas and arguments—the very lack of which is a major reason why the PC movement actually is one of the bad guys.

    (Ironically, the blog owner explicitly mentions the danger of groupthink—but he does so with the prejudiced and role-reversed claim that “[…]tech news readers tend to boost the signals of sexist or misogynist comments.”, proving that he does not know many of these and that he has a severe blind spot for the sins of the PC movement.)

Written by michaeleriksson

October 31, 2010 at 8:45 pm