Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Posts Tagged ‘propaganda

Some thoughts around Germany’s World-Cup Fiasco

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  1. Germany just blew the group-phase (again)—and I am happy. The Germans deserved to go under for their distasteful abuse of the tournament for political grandstanding.

    Firstly, politics and sports should be kept apart.

    Secondly, the type of political message that was propagated by the Germans pretends to be one of love and tolerance, while truly being one of hate and intolerance. For instance, the “onelove” bracelets, around which much controversy has focused, pretend to say (some variation of) “we must all be tolerant and love our fellow humans—even if they are X”, but the true message, for all purposes, is “the world is filled with evil people that we have a duty to hate because they do not feel the same way as we do”.

    This is the worse, as the image painted is largely a misleading one. It might or might not hold for Qatar,* but the simple fact is that the same message is used even in countries in which it does not hold, and is paralleled by a variety of similarly misleading messages, e.g. the bending of knees against alleged “systemic racism”, where a straw-man is built and then attacked with a message pretending to be of love and tolerance, while truly, again, being of hate and intolerance. Notably, even those who are of a different opinion tend to be much more moderate than claimed, e.g. in that someone disapproves of “gay marriage” (nothing more; nothing less) and is accused of actually “hating gays” or “wanting to oppress gays”. Indeed, we usually have situations where a clear majority shares the approximate same opinions, and the main division goes between those who are vocal and aggressive about those opinions and those who are not. Of course, in these situations, not being vocal and aggressive can turn into a sin of its own…

    *And even if it does, should e.g. LGBT-etc.-etc. be a priority in light of all the other problems around Qatar? Hardly.

  2. How far the mighty have fallen:

    2014 saw the German team become champions, reaching the highest ELO number in history,* and destroying the Brazilian team in the semi-finals—Germany was back at the top, where it “belonged”,** and I had a first World-Cup victory,*** even be it by migration.

    *At the time. The ELO rating is continually updated in various ways, including that past numbers are revised. (Moreover, ELO numbers from different eras are not necessarily comparable.)

    **When I went through the height of my sports interest, Germany was a virtually consistent top contender, including a 1990 World-Cup victory. Germany and soccer went hand in hand.

    ***My native Sweden came reasonably close in 1994, taking third and only losing narrowly against eventual winner Brazil, which left me simultaneously happy and hungry for a “more” that took those twenty years to manifest.

    2018 saw a German fiasco, but partially to Swedish benefit, with Sweden reaching a decent quarter-final, while Germany, as defending champions, was last in the joint group. (Cf. at least [1] and [2].)

    2022? Germany just saw another fiasco through failing to reach the knock-out phase. For a while, it even looked like a new last place in the group, which was averted only by a strong finish in the last game. (Sweden appears to have missed even the qualification.)

  3. Germany’s group saw some odd results, notably that Spain beat Costa Rica 7–0, while Japan lost to Costa Rica 1–0, and Japan beat Spain 2–1. (Japan vs. Costa Rica forms an interesting parallel to Sweden vs. Germany last time around—the group winner lost against the last placer in the group.)

Written by michaeleriksson

December 1, 2022 at 10:37 pm

Politicians dictating opinions to the people / evil circle of opinions

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In a functioning representative democracy, the representatives are elected through convincing the voters of their suitability, be it in terms of competence, of compatibility of opinions, preferences, priorities, whatnot, or of some other factors. Once elected, they, to some degree, act to execute the will of the people; to some degree, act to make decisions on behalf of the people.*

*In a bigger picture than this text, one of the main problems is an over-emphasis on the latter at the cost of the former. However, neither here, nor in general, is this the sole problem. A more important issue might be a shift from “on behalf of” to “for”.

Looking at opinions (preferences, priorities, whatnot), however, there is usually a very negative and outright perfidious loop, contrary to the democratic ideal: Those in power can (and very often do) abuse that power to manipulate the opinions of the voters. This gives them and their opinions an immense advantage over those not in power and can lead to undeserved reelections. Moreover, it can lead to a more fundamental change of society than if power was restricted to the more immediate tasks of ruling and making laws, e.g. in that Overton windows are shifted (cf. an upcoming text) and that the population is indoctrinated to hold certain opinions.

To some part, this is virtually unavoidable, as those in power gain more publicity and have more (literal or metaphorical) platforms to speak from. However, other mechanisms include direct or indirect control of schools, teaching, news media,* etc.; use of tax-payers’ money to spread propaganda; and various party-support mechanisms** of dubious value.

*If in doubt, because journalists and publishers might see unofficial benefits (or absence of disadvantages) from being cooperative. However, there are also issues like owned and/or controlled media. My native Sweden, e.g. had a TV-monopoly vested in SVT until around 1990 (cf. excursion), and SVT is still the most important Swedish TV company, carried by unfair tax support and ultimately, directly or indirectly, government controlled. The situation in Germany is very similar. Outright censorship is still an issue in many countries. Etc.

**The sufficiently established (not just ruling) parties have given themselves a sweet deal in many countries, where they receive tax-payers’ money to help run their parties, engage in propaganda, etc. This with the motivation that it would be “good for democracy” or similar. In reality, it often causes a lock-in effect that gives the established parties an advantage relative newcomers and smaller parties. (Also note an upcoming text series on insiders vs. outsiders, guilds, and the like.)

To look at some such propaganda that I have seen with my own eyes, I note e.g. a semi-recent attempt by the German government to, extremely contrafactually, claim that Germany is a Rechtsstaat; attempts by the City of Cologne to spread misandrist men-beat-women (but not the other way around) claims (cf. [1], [2]); various “X has no place for Y”*; variations of “immigrants are welcome”;** variations of “you must vote”;*** and, of course, any amount of COVID-related bullshit.**** (Similarly, attempts to steer behavior in various forms are common, e.g. in that “unwanted” choices are taxed more heavily and “wanted” ones are given subsidies: the government tells the citizens what to do, instead of the citizens the government.)

*Where X is some location and Y typically one of “hate”, “racism”, and “intolerance”—often extremely hypocritically, as these typically stem from Leftists and as hate, racism, and, above all, intolerance are extremely common on the Left. Indeed, the “X has no place for Y” is very often a manifestation of exactly intolerance, often of exactly hate, and sometimes of exactly racism.

**Here there are at least two problems, both of which apply even from the point of view of someone positive to immigrants/immigration: Firstly, that the politicians (or, worse, civil servants) behind the message presume to make a statement for the community as a whole. Secondly, that the message is not primarily directed at immigrants, but at the people, to indoctrinate the people into a pro-immigration attitude. (Or, worse, to alienate those negative towards immigration, to further sow discord, and to gain possibilities of later attacking these critics for, e.g., radicalization.) Of course, it also entirely misses the point of how many immigrants might be accepted in during what time frame, under what circumstances, and what type of immigrant is welcome (e.g. in terms of want-to-work-hard-and-earn-money vs. want-to-receive-social-aid). A blanket “welcome” simply does not make sense.

***Higher numbers of voters help the elected politicians to project legitimacy; and, as uncertain voters are more easily manipulated, higher numbers of voters can give the better manipulator an advantage and/or offset the disadvantage that the party with the weaker arguments has.

****I note with interest that many of these examples, picked of the top of my head, are of a reality-distorting kind, rather than a plainer and more direct propaganda. (For instance, if Germany was a Rechtsstaat, politicians would look better; for instance, if “X has no place for Y”, the implication is that Y is problem in X, and specifically a Rightwing problem, that needs to be addressed, which is hardly ever the case.) I am not certain whether this is a coincidence or whether it reflects something larger. The “something larger” would be plausible, in as far as pushing a too specific and obvious agenda could backfire. (Consider a “Vote Biden!” campaign immediately pushed by, and in the name of, the U.S. government as an extreme example.) It also plays in well with that text on shifting Overton windows.

Excursion on other issues:
This abuse of power is not the only issue that can sabotage a democracy. A notable other example is that a too party-centric system can reduce the importance of the individual’s characteristics to his chances of being elected. In e.g. Sweden, the primary choice for voters is “What party?”, and what individuals are elected through that choice is largely determined by the parties, forcing the voters to take the bad with the good.

Excursion on Swedish TV:
I did some reading on Swedish Wikipedia to gain some more specific information on the level of government control. This was not very successful due to a mixture of vagueness, changes over time, and the complication that the de jure situation does not necessarily determine the de facto situation. Some notes from [3] on the monopoly situation, however: SVT (predecessor) broadcasts began in 1956 with a first channel. A second was added in 1969, and these remained the only legally watchable (!*) channels until the mid-1980s (excepting TV from neighboring countries, for those close enough to the border). A third, independent, Swedish-language program was launched per satellite in 1987—and the ruling Social-Democrats tried to kill access by (unsuccessful) attempts to ban (!) satellite dishes. A first terrestrial competitor arrived only in the early 1990s.

*I do not vouch for the correctness of Wikipedia, but the formulation used (“de enda kanaler som tittarna kunde se i Sverige enligt svensk lag”) could imply not just that there were only two channels available, but that viewers were only allowed to watch these two channels—by law.

This is a long-standing backlog entry, which is worthy of a more in-depth treatment. I find myself wishing to reference it in the aforementioned text on shifting Overton windows, however, and have decided to get it out of the way, even at the price of a shortened treatment.

Written by michaeleriksson

November 27, 2022 at 1:31 am

Radicals and radicalization

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A common complaint or family of complaints, and a highly annoying one, from some Leftists is that those on the “Right” would become “radicalized” if they are exposed to certain sources—and therefore these sources must be censored or removed from the Internet, those exposed to these sources must be “de-programmed”,* or similar. (Overlapping, we have issues like “angry young men”, as discussed in [1]. Indeed, much of that discussion is relevant here.)

*Something particularly perverse; as it is the Left that tends to adopt a quasi-religious belief and fervor, engage in deliberate indoctrination, and/or take on something sect-like.

Not only is this use of “radical-” dubious*, but the idea violates the right to make up one’s own mind, the approach is highly hypocritical, the claims are almost always misleading, and the whole thing often seems more like excuse making.

*Cf. excursion. However, I will often use the poorly defined everyday sense below, for consistency.

To begin with the excuse making, this is not necessarily a matter of finding a “reason” to censor, although censorship might be a large part of it, but it centers more, I suspect, on being able to “discredit” the opinions, arguments, and ideas of someone without having to resort to actual (counter-)arguments, facts, and logic—where the Left tends to fare very poorly. Neither the sources of this alleged “radicalization” nor the “victims” must be trusted—because of “radicalization”.

In fact, this “radicalization” often amounts to nothing more than learning how much various politicians (in particularly of the Leftist persuasion) lie and how incompetent they are; where real science says something radically (hah!) different from what Leftist politicians, journalists, social “scientists”, and activists claim in order to further their agenda; what other views and perspectives exist on a certain matter; etc. This especially with an eye on how the Leftist house of cards might collapse on too close an inspection, e.g. when someone is not content with “proportionally more Blacks are X-ed than Whites—structural racism!!!” and actually takes into consideration that “after adjusting for the proportion that Y-s, there is no difference in X-ing” or, even, “after adjusting for the proportion that Y-s, fewer Blacks are X-ed than Whites”.*

*Where X and Y can refer to a great many thing, e.g. being frisked on the street (X) after behaving suspiciously (Y) and doing poorly in college (X) after being admitted on a lowered standard (Y). Note that this does not even require any claims about e.g. underlying differences in I.Q. distributions, albeit well documented, as it is enough to look at cause and consequence beyond mere skin color. (And, no, I do not count being Black as part of “behaving suspiciously” above.)

In this, we might even have the paradoxical result that exposure to “radicalizing” sources might actually move someone away from a radical position…

Often the Leftist distortions can be subtle and hard to see through. For instance, I grew up (in Sweden) with an image of Cuba as a mostly harmless country, trying to do its own thing, and only failing because of U.S. embargoes and whatnots. My readings of fiction as a young boy included a family that had gone to Cuba to volunteer as farm workers to help the poor people—but not one word was spent on the overall situation in Cuba, including how Socialism invariably seems to cause poverty.* News reporting “critical” of Cuba, encountered when I was a bit older, could mention the unfortunate situation that a trained physician might prefer to drive a taxi to working as a physician, as it payed more,** but bigger problems often went unmentioned, the market mechanisms involved were not truly discussed, and there might well have been a subtext of “ungrateful taxi driver, who took the free education and then did not earn his keep”.*** Etc. As late as five years ago, almost to the day, I wrote “Cuba, […], was never that bad”, but that claim seems optimistic in light of information that I have encountered later, even if we give Cuba a pass for the civil-war phase and the immediate aftermath—no, Cuba was no second Cambodia, but it was likely worse, not better, than most of (the non-USSR) Eastern Europe. (In case of both Cuba and Eastern Europe: once the dust had settled.)

*This was a very long time ago and I have no clue about the book’s title and author, except that both were Swedish.

**The stated premise was that education was very cheap, but that post-graduation salaries were unimpressive. In the comparison with a taxi driver, there were likely additional aspects of tips, probability of being paid in U.S. dollars or other foreign currencies, and/or the opportunity to take money under the table.

***A subtext that is not entirely unjustified, but which ultimately fails on the lack of choice. If the aspiring physician had the option to pay his own way and then to earn market rates as a physician, but chose to take the free education and the government set rates, the point might hold. As is, he had the choice between becoming a physician on Castro’s terms or not at all.

The Cuba example is a part of a larger trend: I tend to be overly optimistic about something Leftist and only belatedly find this out. In a next step, if I become more well informed and, as a consequence, am less and less willing to give the Left the benefit of the doubt, less and less willing to trust what someone on the Left says, less and less willing to X, Y, and Z—does that make me “radicalized”? No, it makes me more realistic (“realisticalized”?), less likely to make mistakes, less likely to be fooled, less likely to do harm unto others through faulty statements/advice, and, looking at the sum of all parties, fairer. If someone regularly cries “wolf” without cause, he has no right to blame his own lack of credibility on others—the blame is his and his alone.

It might very well be that those with a greater exposure to non-Leftist sources show a greater amount of anger (cf. [1]), but this is not a matter of radicalization and, more, it is perfectly justified in light of the immense scope of Leftist lies, defamation, and reckless behavior with the money, futures, and whatnot of others. We can discuss how constructive or destructive anger might be, but it is a perfectly natural reaction in light of the facts. Here there is, of course, an increased risk that someone would resort to violence, but (a) political violence is predominantly a Leftist phenomenon, (b) the issue is more likely to be natural tendencies combined with uncomfortable knowledge than “radicalization”, and (c) sometimes even violence is justified.*

*Those who would automatically claim the opposite usually have no objections to e.g. the actions of the French Resistance during WWII. (Note, however, that I do not make any statement on when violence would be justified—I merely acknowledge that such times and situations exist.)

A potential true source of problems is that sufficiently weak critical thinkers or those sufficiently marginalized might run through a gamut of opinions, eventually landing on a sufficiently poor non-Leftist opinion that it matches parts of the Left in its incorrectness, misguidedness, whatnot. Even here, it might be a lesser evil, but, more importantly, consider the main reason: that opinions considered “wrongthink” by the Left are driven out of the sphere of regular debate and, as a result, can develop with little outside influence and are never put to proper scrutiny and critique.* Vice versa, many who land there have, equally, been driven out of mainstream debate because of “wrongthink” or, even, an interest in a topic area considered taboo, without necessarily expressing an own opinion within that area. In as far as this causes something that would qualify as true radicalization, the Left has itself to blame. (And, again, the problem of true radicals is far greater on the Left to begin with.)

*No, screaming “Racist!!!!!!” is not critique. It is not even criticism. What it is, is hysteria.

A related issue is that much of the Left seems to operate on the belief that “if someone is exposed to an opinion, he will automatically adapt that opinion”. While this idea is ridiculous to a strong critical thinker, it does explain why the Left puts such emphasis on striking down other opinions over arguing in favor of its own, and why there so often is a “must agree in detail on everything” push. It is also very telling about the low ability to think critically typically found within the Left.

However, this allows us to segue to the Left and radicalization (indoctrination, whatnot): Consider, as a counterpoint, the systematic abuse of the education system to further CRT, (Gender-)Feminism, “action civics”, biology denialism, etc. These are much more worthy of labels like “radicalization” than almost anything found outside the Left—but does the Left do anything to stop them? No, quite the contrary. Certainly, by any reasonable standard, someone like Biden is more radical than someone like Trump, someone like Sonia Sotomayor more than someone like Clarence Thomas, someone like Gavin Newsom more than someone like Ron DeSantis, etc. Indeed, to the degree that the aforementioned Republicans can be considered at all radical, it is a sign of how far Leftwards U.S. society has already shifted and/or how far it deviates from the ideals of the founders, while the aforementioned Democrats are doing their darnedest to shift it even further and to make the deviation even larger.

Excursion of what radicalism is:
The root of “radicalism” is “root”; specifically “radix”, the Latin word for root. The core of the matter, then, is the wish to change society (or something else) from the root. Two immediate observations is that (a) this attitude is much more common on the Left, (b) it does not automatically involve e.g. a willingness to use unprovoked violence or other extreme methods (whether it automatically involves extreme opinions, except in as far as a radical position is automatically considered extreme, might be open to debate). There might even be room to argue a third/(c) that even a radical change is not automatically a fast change. While it is true that radicals often tend towards extreme methods (and fast change), especially when on the Left, it would go too far to equate “radical” with e.g. “evil”, “out of bounds”, “nutcase”.* (In all fairness, I cannot rule out that I have, in the past, slipped on this point myself—and in this particular text, to re-iterate, I often use the “poorly defined everyday sense”.)

*Although, a “radish” case might be made.

Written by michaeleriksson

November 19, 2022 at 3:45 am

The blind-but-famous leading the blind

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As much as I am in favor of free speech, there are many cases where I wish that the speaker would refrain from speaking—not because I disagree,* but because the speaker combines two very dangerous characteristics: ignorance and influence.**

*But, yes, I often do disagree, because opinions spoken by the ignorant and stupid are very often wrong—and when they are not wrong, they are almost invariably in the category of “believing the right thing for a poor reason” and correspondingly weakly reasoned. (Also see older texts like Other aspects of opinion than right and wrong.) Other common reasons for my disapproval, also not relevant below, include the use of misleading rhetoric, distortion of facts, and similar.

**But I stress, very strongly, that I suggest nothing more than voluntary reticence.

Take successful actors, singers, athletes, whatnot: Many of them make massive noise in favor of some pet Leftist agenda and/or against Trump, MAGA, Republicans, whatnot, while having no true understanding of the topic at hand. Mostly, they seem to have swallowed, hook, line, and sinker, some cheap and one-sided portrayal, often with a “bleeding heart” angle, and without applying critical thought or checking other sources for other points of view.* In some cases, they even seem to be picked by some cause in a manner similar to how “spokesmodels” are picked. To boot, excepting athletes, these loudmouths have often gained their original success more through beauty, or some other more incidental characteristic, than through actual ability.

*Note that this would be wrong, even had they arrived at the truth—again, “believing the right thing for a poor reason”. (However, mostly, they are simply wrong.)

Yet, many of these actors, singers, athletes, and whatnots have fans that might be influenced in their opinions, especially among the young, in a “the blind leading the blind” scenario.

Consider Alyssa Milano: she had a stint as a child-/teen-star and lived on her looks for a good long while, but even acting-wise she is nothing special and in terms of education and intelligence, she seems a complete nobody. Wikipedia on Alyssa Milano, e.g., shows no higher education and no signs of intellectual accomplishment.* She won a few awards for acting as a teen,** but the last was in 1990. There follows a handful of nominations, usually for lightweight awards, but no wins. Then, 2016, finally a win—for “Spirit of Compassion”, awarded by the UNICEF. Then, 2018, another win—the “Ariadne Getty Ally Award”, for being supportive of the LGBT-etc.-etc. movements… Actual acting awards? Absent. Her political opinions, meanwhile, are a horror show. Nevertheless, when it comes to speaking her political opinions and using her influence as someone famous, she is one of the most notable.

*There is, on the contrary, a mention of dyslexia, which often, but by no means always, is a euphemism for “can’t handle school”. Some books are mentioned, but they seem to be autobiographical, written by someone else, and/or for children.

**The list given includes five wins, three of which were for “Favorite TV Actress” and not necessarily a matter of acting ability. All five wins were for “Who’s the Boss?”.

Selena Gomez? Much the same. Yes, she does appear to have a very successful music career,* but success in music, at least these days, is so much a matter of the talents of others (including writers, producers, marketing people, backing musicians/dancers/singers, etc.) that it does not necessarily say that much and what it does say is rarely of an intellectual nature.** Looking at acting, I have watched the (currently) two seasons of “Only Murders in the Building” and she has not impressed me.

*I have no recollection of any exposure and cannot give a personal opinion.

**I had a cursory look at Wikipedia on Selena Gomez, but found no signs of writing credits for her music. Looking elsewhere, I found two songs for which she had an award and a writing credit, but one had four (4!) other credits—the other a dozen (!). (Specifically: Lose You to Love Me, Baila Conmigo.)

Now, there is nothing wrong with having an opinion,* nor necessarily with volunteering an opinion, and certainly not with giving an opinion when asked for it. However, it is a sound policy for everyone to think, to think critically, to expose oneself to different sources, etc., before making far-going statements or taking far-going actions. If in doubt, there is no shame in admitting to not having a firm opinion on a given issue.** This applies the more so to the famous and/or influential, whose opinions can so easily be contagious—and it applies the more so the younger the person and the greater the investment. Imagine being someone like Greta Thunberg, turning 30, 40, 50, and having to come to terms with teenage years like hers—it might be a blessing for her, if she never turns sensible and never has to confront her past.

*Not even, necessarily, if the opinion is objectively wrong, although a more weakly founded opinion should be a call for greater reticence, and although adhering to such an opinion in the face of contrary evidence is wrong. (And “more weakly founded” correlates strongly with “objectively wrong”.)

**More, I advocate a policy of agnostic scepticism.

Vice versa, the listener should pay great attention to the difference between a position supported by arguments and one supported by “I am famous”, “I am beautiful”, “I can slam dunk”, “I am successful in a completely different field”, etc.

Disclaimer on examples:
While the two actresses mentioned have long struck me as not only highly politically naive and uninformed but as less than bright in general, I know neither in person or great detail. Should it be that my impression of one or both is faulty, however, this would only remove the tip-of-the-tip of the iceberg. (And their professed political opinions remain what they are.)

Excursion on myself:
Yes, I make a lot of noise too—and sometimes I am wrong. However, I move on a different level to begin with; I have usually spent time thinking, contrasting sources, etc. (cf. above); and I am not even remotely famous. Moreover, if I, against both my expectations and my preferences, ever do become famous, it will likely be because of my opinions/writings, which gives others a different line of judgment than if I, by some freak development, became a teen idol and used my fame to push my opinions/writings.

Written by michaeleriksson

November 17, 2022 at 6:19 am

Leftist appropriation, straw-manning, false threats (no noose is good noose)

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Overlapping with tolkningsföreträde, there is a great area of Leftist appropriation, straw-manning, invention of threats, whatnot. I have already written about the artificial conversion of the Swedish word “neger” from a perfectly everyday word to something “racist” and “offensive” that is almost as disallowed as the English “nigger”, with remarks on how the same has happened to e.g. Confederate symbols: the Left unilaterally declares something to be “offensive”, “racist”, “a symbol of [X]”, with no regard for historical and current use and the actual intentions behind the use, and then pushes this angle so hard that, eventually, no-one in the mainstream dares use the word, and the word effectively becomes something only used by e.g. those identifying with/as X. In this manner, the Left creates the situation that it proclaims to fight against—and in a manner that neatly allows unfair attacks on existing users, be it those who used a word in writing decades before it was artificially turned offensive or those who are not up-to-date with the latest changes in Leftist approved use.* Ditto e.g. use of the word “Oriental” and various symbols.

*The latter has happened to members of the Left, it self, e.g. to naive Feminists who have failed to realize that being transgender trumps being a woman in the “woke” hierarchy.

Certainly, I have long wondered about how the alleged offensiveness of “black face” came about. As late as Al Jolson, it seemed not to be an issue, and there is no obvious reason why “black face” would be worse than any other type of mask, dress-up, disguise, whatnot. Of course, in the last ten-or-so years, any type of alleged “cultural appropriation” has become considered a deadly sin, in yet another example, but the condemnation of “black face” goes back much further. (Now, if someone were to argue that “black face” is silly, pointless, and/or childish, I would tend to agree—but that is a different story entirely.)

However, there are many other cases. Consider e.g. the “take back the night” stunt of college Feminists, which raises questions like “Take back from whom?”. What happened was effectively that Feminists told naive fresh-womyn that there used to be a time when women could walk across a campus, even in the middle of the night, without being raped or assaulted (and similar scenarios), that these days were gone, and that it was time to restore the status quo ante. This, however, was a severe distortion of the current conditions, and the surface result was groups of students walking around at night in a purely symbolic act, fighting a non-existent enemy, and incurring no risk to themselves, because, again, there was no enemy. The deeper result? The youngsters were indoctrinated into a hateful and distorted worldview where men are a threat to women, where there is a rapist behind every bush, etc.

Or take the repeated recent claims of hate-crimes through nooses. Apart from most or all of these going back to yet another hoax or yet another misinterpretation of something harmless: Since when are nooses a symbol of [whatever]? On whose initiative? Yes, a considerable number of Blacks were lynched using nooses, once upon a time—but so were a significant number of Whites. Whites have been hanged with nooses since long before the U.S. slavery era. Nooses are everywhere and only a miniscule proportion have ever been used for hanging. A recent post by Steve Sailer (and the impetus for my text) gives an example of a dog leash causing a noose-panic. The ensuing discussion contains claims like:

Rob McX:

How did nooses acquire such totemic power in the first place? I don’t remember any significant event that brought this about. Twenty years ago, the appearance of a noose would have had no effect on people at all. Then all of a sudden the country is gripped by noose hysteria.

Steve Sailer:

I never heard of nooses as a symbol of racism until the 2007 Jena 6 brouhaha.

Or take the alleged current wave of (anti-Black) racism, “White Supremacy”, and whatnot. Looking at U.S. reality, Blacks are the main source of racism and Whites and Asians the main victims, while “White Supremacy” is an artificially constructed spectre detached from reality.

Or take various claims of “appropriation” by e.g. Whites, which imply that some other group, e.g. Blacks, is de facto appropriating something for their own sole use—even in the face of past historical use by many other groups.

Or take the wish to “re-appropriate” this or that, with similar flaws in reasoning. To re-appropriate something implies that someone was once the rightful owner of something, that someone else took it away, and that it is time to restore the status quo ante. (Much as with “take back the night” above.)


Excursion on anti-man, anti-White distortions:
A related problem is the distortion of an actual problem to point to the wrong group. For instance, Sweden has an actual problem with drastically increased rape numbers in the wake of immigration, and African immigration in particular. (As well as a related general increase in crime, mostly for the same reason.) However, in Swedish media and Leftist/Feminist propaganda, this is reduced to an increase in rape—period. Men, in general, are given the blame, and, by implication, the majority of White men are given most blame. This then conveniently fuels Feminist anti-male hate rhetoric of “men’s violence against women” (“mäns våld mot kvinnor”; a standard slogan among Swedish Feminists), “all men are rapists”, “men oppress women”, “men only see women as sex objects”, etc.

Excursion on Sailer and breeds:
In other noose, sorry, news, the Sailer-verse seems to be catching up on topics like breed vs. race.

Written by michaeleriksson

November 15, 2022 at 5:19 pm

Speculations around a COVID lab-leak

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In June last year, I wrote in an excursion:

I have long toyed with a (hopefully) hypothetical scenario: If (!) the lab-leak hypothesis is true, if (!) the virus resulted from gain-of-function experiments, and if (!) world-leaders knew of this, then it would explain the extreme and disproportionate reactions. They might then have known that the original virus was problematic and that the modified was worse, but, critically, they might not have known by how much. Of course, other explanations have to be found for the continued overreactions after the first few weeks or months of pandemic.

Yesterday, I encountered a text with similar speculation, but much more in-depth and by an author who seems much more deeply vested in the general idea than I am. A core idea is that a “lab-leak cabal”, using Birx as a tool, deliberately set about to enforce lockdowns. The text goes on to speculate on e.g. possible reasons.

While I by no means claim that the author is correct,* this remains an interesting possibility. Even if she is wrong, the text as a whole remains worth a read, especially with an eye on the unexpected behavior and unexpected claims by various politicians and (real or fake) experts.

*There are too many unknowns to tell, at least for now; I am a great fan of Hanlon’s Razor; and there are other conspiracy explanations to consider. (Note that the mark of a conspiracy theory is not that it is wrong or absurd—but that it involves a conspiracy.)

Written by michaeleriksson

September 9, 2022 at 5:10 am

Follow-up: Nazis VII: Left, Right, and the use of irrelevant criteria

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A while ago, I wrote:

There also appears to be a growing tendency to consider everything relating to violence as Right-wing, unless the situation makes the use of political labels absurd. For instance, I have seen references to e.g. soccer hooligans as “Right”-this-or-that, without any justification in actual political opinions. While I do not rule out that there is a weak political connection (also see excursion on Neo-Nazism) in some cases, the main drive behind hooliganism appears to be more violence-for-the-sake-of-violence or some other X-for-the-sake-of-X, with more in common with Alex DeLarge than with Adolf der Führer.

(More generally, we have a paradoxical situation of societies with a strong Leftist dominance, a Left that threatens civic rights, notably freedom of speech, a growing threat from the far and/or violent Left, etc.—all while the Left makes more and more noise about “Right-wing this.” and “Far Right that.”, giving the unobservant an entirely incorrect view of the world, as if the threat actually came from the Right… Consider e.g. the current U.S. situation.)

Earlier today, I encountered two texts that demonstrate this issue very well, especially with regard to the recent Buffalo shooting, and which otherwise echo some of my own writings.

The first, titled Media Falsely Claim Mass Public Shooters are ’Right-wingers’ When They’re Environmental Extremists, writes e.g.

If you believe the Los Angeles Times, the Buffalo shooter who left 10 dead emerged from “a far-right ecosystem.” A Rolling Stone headline echoed the claim: “The Buffalo Shooter Isn’t a ‘Lone Wolf.’ He’s a Mainstream Republican.” The New York Times links the mass murderer to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. Not to be left out, Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) blames Republicans for the attack, claiming: “The House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism.”


In his manifesto, the gunman self-identifies* as an “eco-fascist national socialist” and a member of the “mild-moderate authoritarian left.” [!!!] He expresses concern that minority immigrants have too many children and will damage the environment.

Capitalists, who the shooter argues are destroying the environment, are at the root of much of the problem. “The trade of goods is to be discouraged at all costs,” he demands.


The Buffalo murderer’s views are almost word-for-word similar to those of the shooters in 2019 at a New Zealand mosque and an El Paso Walmart.

But the Washington Post called the New Zealand mosque shooting, “One of the worst cases of right-wing terrorism in years.” Right-wingers don’t usually declare that “conservatism is dead” and that “global capitalist markets are the enemy of racial autonomists.” Or call themselves an “Eco-fascist.”


Of the 82 mass public shootings from January 1998 to May 2021, 9 percent have known or alleged [!!!] ties to white supremacists, neo-Nazis, or anti-immigrant views, and many of those, such as the Buffalo murderer, hold decidedly socialist [!!!], left-wing [!!!] views.**


Instead, the media is intent on construing any attack by a white shooter as an act of “white supremacy.”

*I note with satisfaction that we have someone self-identifying as both “national socialist” and “left”, well in line with the point of this text series. However, an interesting possibility is that the Left could abuse such claims exactly to categorize someone as Right-wing or far Right—“he says that he is national socialist; ergo, he is a Nazi; ergo, he is Right-wing”. This can, in a next step, easily lead to circular “proofs” of exactly that the Nazis would be Right-wing—after all, we have all these known Right-wingers referring to themselves as “Nazis”.

**And even without these “socialist, left-wing views”, “white supremacists, neo-Nazis, or anti-immigrant views” do not, by themselves, make someone Right-wing—outside of Leftist propaganda.

The second, titled If You Want To Know What Democrats Are Up To, Look At What They Accuse Others Of Doing, echos my own Heuristics to understand Leftist claims and my 2010 (!) observations on how the Left is keen on Reversing the accusation. It also points to how topics like nationalism and racism are automatically (and highly misleadingly) used to define someone or something as Right-wing—never mind other opinions. (Something that I have noted repeatedly, including in this text series.)

Interesting statements include:

The monster in Buffalo, New York, who murdered 10 people is, according to the left-wing political class, a direct result of Fox News and Tucker Carlson. Why? Because it’s politically expedient to connect a few disparate dots to blame your political opponents than it is to accurately quote what he’s said himself. When truth isn’t on your side, make it up. That’s what the left is doing, it’s what the left has always done.


The Buffalo shooter wrote a manifesto citing his racism as well as anti-Semitism and environmentalism as leading to his heinous actions. His opposition to illegal immigration embraced by Democrats is cited at “proof” he’s a Fox News monster! The people making that charge conveniently forget everything else he wrote.

That’s how they’re trying to blame Tucker and Fox – because he opposed illegal immigration. To make that case you have to ignore everything else he wrote, where he declared himself to be of the “authoritarian left.” With his environmentalism and hatred of Jews he could’ve easily been a member of The Squad.

Written by michaeleriksson

May 17, 2022 at 11:20 pm

My body, my choice-my ass!

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In the wake of a text on the Roe v. Wade leak, I have spent some thoughts on that ridiculous and ridiculously self-serving “my body, my choice” slogan. The main problem, which should immediately disqualify it, is that it is actually the body of the fetus at stake—and the core question is when and when not this fetus should be considered a human being, or sufficiently far along the way to have similar rights. (Other questions include when a right to live might be trumped by a danger to the mother and how pragmatical concerns like the risk for “back-alley” abortions should be handled.) As I have noted in the past, abortion is a highly complicated issue, involving e.g. ethics, medicine, and (for many) religion. To reduce this complicated issue to a cheap slogan (and a slogan that misses the point, at that) is inexcusable.

To this repetition, I would like to add two of the scenarios that I have considered these few days:

  1. To illustrate contradictions in thought and consequences when the baby has no rights:

    Two women (A and B) become pregnant at roughly the same time. They spend a few months doing what pregnant women do, be it having morning sickness, shopping for baby clothes, or working in the office.

    Then, again at roughly the same time, the following happens:

    Woman A suddenly decides that she does not want a baby and has an abortion—my body, my choice.

    Women B is peacefully walking down the street, as she fantasizes about first steps and first words, while visibly pregnant. A stranger comes up and bashes her stomach with a baseball bat. The prospective mother survives with no major injuries, but the baby dies.

    Now, in the second event:

    What charges should be filed? Just assault and battery (and/or something else on a similar level) for attacking woman B? Or do we include a murder charge for the dead baby?

    If we forego the murder charge, chances are that the punishment for the perpetrator will be a slap on the wrist in comparison to what most, including, I suspect, a vast majority of pro-abortionists, would consider reasonable. If a first time offender, and if the assault and battery is judged as any similar incident without a (born or unborn) baby involved, a sufficiently contrite or contrite-appearing perpetrator might even be out on probation once the verdict is read—and might have walked the streets on bail before that.

    If we do go with a murder charge, how could we justify not filing a murder charge for woman A concerning the first event? Do we presuppose that woman A had some absolute ownership of the baby, transcending any rights that it might have had? If so, why just woman A and not the father too?* How is this compatible with a “no slavery” or “humans are not property” position?**

    *Note that a father typically has no say, beyond what the mother might allow him, in abortion decisions—and certainly none according to “my body, my choice”.

    **Systems have existed where children were the virtual property of their parents. Such systems have also tended to view the wife as the virtual property of the husband or otherwise contained elements that the Left condemns as outdated, barbaric, or whatnot. Child-as-property could also include a teenage daughter being given to a friend, as Lord Capulet intended. Be careful what you wish for.

    What alternatives do we have? Forego the murder charge, but charge the perpetrator with e.g. property damage, as if that blow had struck a car? File a pure civil suit for damages? (Which will likely remain unpaid, even if the civil suit is won, as the perpetrator is unlikely to be very wealthy.)

    I suspect that something along the lines of property damage, if maybe with a more euphemistic name, would be the necessary consequence, if a “my body, my choice” logic is applied to abortion. Could the average woman live with that? All those pro-abortionists? How does that match up with the ostensible ideology of e.g. the U.S. Democrats?

    For a slightly different perspective, assume that woman A is the perpetrator from the second event. Apart from the assault-and-battery part, how was her bat-abortion of woman B’s child different or worse from her own, regular, abortion? The two babies were at approximately the same stage of development and the same level of self-awareness and intelligence.* They had approximately the same future potential (see excursion) to become grown-ups, study, have a career, found a family of their own. They each had no say in their own demise. They were both killed by the same person.** From their point of view, any injustice done to the one must have equalled that done to the other. The only true difference is their relationship to that same killer.

    *That this level was low is unimportant for this comparison. The point is the similarity.

    **Presumably per instigation in the case of woman A’s own baby, with some type of medical practitioner performing the actual act. In doubt, this need for a third party might disappear over time, without affecting the overall problem under discussion.

  2. To illustrate that other parties than the mother (and the baby) might have rights and interests:

    A couple has no children and great problems conceiving. The husband has no greater wish than for a child (yes, this has been known to happen). The respective parents of the unhappy couple have no other children and only this chance for grandchildren—of which they have dreamt for decades. The wife is approaching menopause and, in desperation, the others all chip in for a (very expensive) in-vitro fertilization. The procedure is successful and everyone is happy for a few months, showering the wife with attention and baby gifts.

    Then the wife unilaterally decides to have an abortion—my body, my choice.

    With that, the hopes, dreams, and money invested of the others is gone, without their having a say, at the whim of someone else.

    Maybe the others could sue* for their money back, but this might do more harm than good, even if successful, and might hit the husband as hard as the wife. As to being successful, there is certainly no guarantee.

    *The likelihood that this type of woman would pay it back voluntarily is minuscule.

    Concerning children, the wife’s parents are entirely out of luck, while the husband and his parents might still have some chance through a divorce and a remarriage. Divorces, however, are messy and costly,* there is no guarantee of finding a suitable new wife, and the husband might still love the old wife—no matter how foolish this might seem, at this stage.

    *And I could see how this would play out in court: a “That sexist bastard just wants to divorce me because I exercised my rights as a woman. Sob! Sob!” followed by a “Poor dear! Here, have a tissue—and the house, and the car, and a large alimony!”.

The second case is also an illustration of the general need to consider the rights and interests of others, even when not encoded in law, as well as any ethical or moral obligations than we might have towards others. I would consider a widespread failure to do this one of the greatest problems in the modern world—and, yes, in my impressions so far, the problem is more common among women. (Some earlier discussion and examples can be found in e.g. [1] and [2].)

Excursion on treatment of humans vs. animals:
If we were to go strictly by criteria like level of intelligence and self-awareness, we would be hard pressed to justify treating many humans better than animals. Consider small children, severely mentally disabled adults, and the highly senile vs., say, dolphins, chimpanzees, elephants, or, sometimes, even dogs and horses.

Now, if we do not have such a justification, we would have to either treat animals better* or live in an even more dystopian world than the current.

*Which would be fine with me, but is likely practically unrealistic. For instance, how many would truly be prepared to spend as much to save the life of the family dog as the life of one of the children?

If we do seek a justification, what would it be? A Christian might argue that a human has a soul and an animal does not, but the rest of us have to find a justification elsewhere. Potential would often be a good way that can be made consistent, e.g. in that an infant is rated over a dog, because the child might grow up to be something far beyond what the dog could ever reach. This might not be enough to solve the case of the highly senile and the severely mentally disabled, but these are, at least, fewer.

Alternatives? Well, we could postulate some type of inherent superiority of humans, but what is to prevent, in a next step, an inherent superiority of human group X over human group Y? We could, similarly, postulate a “we humans need to stick together—humanity over fairness”, but then we again have that second step with human group X vs. human group Y. (Of course, with regard to the above comparison of babies, they would still be equal with regard to any such postulates in lieu of potential.)

Suggestions are welcome.

Excursion on “free”* this and that:
Many women, Feminists in particular, seem to consider both IVF and abortion something that others should pay for, e.g. within a health-insurance scheme. A slight modification of the second scenario shows how problematic this can be, both with regard to fairness and to incentives: Say that the IVF is paid for by the wife’s insurance—and then she has an abortion paid for by her insurance. This would not only be a gigantic waste of someone else’s money and money that could have been used much better, but a waste that is much more likely to occur in a paid-by-someone-else scheme than when the woman has to carry the cost herself.

*I.e. paid by someone else, usually taxpayers or other insurance members.

Of course, if we do say that a woman has the right to tens of thousands of taxpayer/insurance money to cover IVF, because having a child is sooooo important, how could she deny her husband the right to use her womb for just a few months more? Those who would grant the woman “free” IVF but, absent medical complications, deny the husband would show a grave hypocrisy.

Excursion on a potential duty to have children:
I would not go as far as to stipulate a duty for a woman (or, m.m., a man) to have children to satisfy a husband or a parent,* but I would stipulate that both spouses do have a duty to make an aversion (ditto the physical inability) to having children crystal clear before a marriage takes place—possibly, even before a long-term relationship. For a marriage to result in children is the default assumption, arguably, even, the point of marriage; and unwillingness to live up to this simply must be communicated in advance. Should this unwillingness not have been communicated, then I would see an ethical (if unenforceable) obligation to put the unwillingness aside. This includes, if need be, dropping any “my body, my choice” attitude.

*Note that the second scenario is deliberately constructed to include both a prior willingness on behalf of the woman and a monetary investment on behalf of the others, which was made in light of this prior willingness.

(How to handle an aversion that has arisen during the marriage is a tricky question, and would likely need to be handled on a case-by-case basis. Having insufferable children next door seems too little; nearly dying because of complications during a failed prior pregnancy seems enough.)

Written by michaeleriksson

May 8, 2022 at 7:19 pm

Further problems with freedom of speech, etc.

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After my recent text on Odd reactions around Putin and Russia / Problems with cancellations, freedom of speech, etc. ([1]), it seems that I run into examples of issues with freedom of speech everywhere, especially of the “conform or else” type.

To give some examples:

  1. Swedish blogger Gunnar Wall writes that he and others have been condemned as “farliga” (“dangerous”) och “skadliga” (“harmful”) for questioning the very dubious and widely criitcized quasi-identification* of Stig Engström as the murderer of Olaf Palme and because they “sår tvivel” (“sow doubt[s]”), which society would not need. Should we conclude that it is more important to have an undisputed “truth” than to have a debate about what the (real) truth is? That anything claimed by officials must be taken as true and beyond discussion?

    *See [2] and a number of backlinked texts for more information on my own take.

    Commenter “Michael” (not me) has a particularly insightful comment at “12 mars 2022 kl. 19:45”. A part (and approximate translation) of this long comment:

    Det tycks som om totalitära tänkesätt nästan blivit mode även i västliga demokratier. Anklagelserna mot de som åtminstone försökt […] sakligt klarlägga vad som faktiskt hände den där mordnatten […] faller tillbaka på de som yttrat dem. Att benämna fria debattörer och journalister som både “farliga” och “skadliga” är oanständigt i en demokrati. Har man invändningar eller tycker att något inte stämmer bemöter man på ett civiliserat och sakligt sätt. Absolut tilltro till staten är minst lika farlig som dess absoluta motsats.


    It appears that the totalitarian way of thinking has become fashionable even in Western democracies. The accusations against those who at least have tried […] to factually clarify what actually happened during the night of the murder […] condemns* the accusers. To call independent debaters and journalists “dangerous” and “harmful” is indecent in a democracy. If one has objections, or believes that something is wrong, one meets them** in a civilized and factual manner. Absolute trust in the state is at least as dangerous as the opposite.

    *Literally, “falls back on”. Think “I’m rubber; you’re glue”.

    **The “them” is arguably an interpolation. Both “them” and “meets” are slightly speculative for “bemöter”.

  2. A U.S. source claims that the DHS will target those with non-conforming opinions, specifically those with concerns over the 2020 elections and the official COVID claims. This despite the former being very legitimate and despite the latter being highly problematic. Notably, problems with COVID claims include repeated changes* to the official line and valid scientific criticisms that have not been debated with facts and arguments but attacked with “Fake news! Fake news!”.

    *That the official position changes in light of more information is not a problem; however, such changes (a) validate prior criticism, (b) clearly imply that other claims might turn out to be in need of revision or be outright faulty—and must therefore be open to criticism.

    Based on what I have seen of the U.S. in the Biden era, and often before that, this is more likely to be a bad-faith political attack on the Conservatives than a good-faith attempt at anything. (The source, Gateway Pundit, should be taken with a grain of salt in its interpretations, as it is almost as partial, in the other direction, as most of MSM. However, I have seen enough from other sources and my own observations to not give the DHS the benefit of the doubt here. Indeed, there seems to be a strong drift to mark large areas of non-Leftist opinions (!) as “domestic terrorism”.)

    This is particularly dangerous with regard to the elections, as the result, should this approach be used permanently, is that even a clearly fraudulent election, as when a Socialist dictator gains 99 percent of the votes, could not be criticized. Effectively: We have a count from the election—and that count must be accepted, no matter what irregularities, miscounting, misreporting, ballot harvesting, whatnot, took place. Democracy, my ass!

  3. Multiple sources concern how DeSantis is pushing a bill to remove opportunities for early brainwashing of children in Florida. Firstly, this bill appears to hava been grossly misrepresented by the Left as a “don’t say gay” bill. (The more absurd, as the Left is far more likely to push for the ban of words and phrases and/or to prescribe other words and phrases than the non-Left.) Secondly, extremely childish Leftists have made a point, based on this gross misrepresentation, to get into the faces of Republicans and chant “Gay! Gay! Gay!” or to perform similarly idiotic stunts.

    That reality distortion is a core strategy of the Left is nothing new, but this is an extremely illustrative example, both of the type of “we are good and tolerant; they are evil and intolerant” distortions that are so often used (and, as here, often prove the exact opposite in the process), and what type of harassment is considered legitimate or illegitimate based on who is the perpetrator and who is the victim (instead of the act and the facts)—reverse the roles and the same act might be condemned as hate speech. Violate the increasingly far-Left teachings and you will be slandered and mocked.

  4. The Daily Sceptic discusses Roger Harbin and the BBC respectively their anti-scientific take on climate change. The problems include a 2006 unilateral decision that the science would now be settled (of course, with condemnation of gainsayers as “climate deniers” or some other derogatory term) and odd terminology changes like replacing “global warming” with “global heating”.

    The latter is not only extremely misleading in its natural connotations*, but (according to the article) was brought on by a lack of warming over a prolonged time—absent what we warn of, we must warn the harder and use the more alarming words, lest our support diminishes. (Note that this well matches my observations on the Left, e.g. in that Feminists cry the louder how disadvantaged women would be the less disadvantaged they actually are—let alone when women are actually advantaged, as in e.g. my native Sweden, where public debate might create the impression of 19th-century conditions for women.)

    *Contrast e.g. “warm day/air/water” with “hot day/air/water” with an eye at the temperatures involved. Indeed, with water as a baseline, even “teppid” might be an exaggeration.

    The former, more on topic, is a splendid example of an “Official Truth” that must not be opposed—or else. This is the more sad as my own take on global warming, climate change, whatnot, has become increasingly sceptical the more I have informed myself. While I have yet to arrive at a firm conclusion, I note that there is a disturbing tendency to just shout “Climate denier! Climate denier!” instead of rationally debating the many concerns raised by various scientists and debaters—up to and including whether a warming trend or trend towards more CO2 is automatically a bad thing. (Something, which is more assumed, as another indisputable “Official Truth”, than it is explained by factual arguments.) Of course, as with COVID, this refusal to engage in scientific debate makes it the harder for us laymen to actually develop a valid opinion.

  5. A Substack interview with Eugyppius goes into related issues with an eye (mostly) on COVID.

    To just quote a portion of the first question, as it sets the scene well (and note that “random internet denizens” are increasingly prevented from speaking their minds):

    Over the last 6 years or so I’ve seen a kind of (as of yet) unidentified sclerosis creep into widely used online infrastructure; the internet as I knew it became less responsive to my questions and interests, more prone to elevating mainstream sources to satisfy query inputs, less likely to guide me to the individuals actually concerned with whatever problems I was facing. The usual channels for learning more about niche experiences like Google and YouTube became virtually useless, and I began to spend more of my time looking to people on Twitter or rustic web forums for answers, most of whom were anonymous like yourself. But this phenomenon seemed intuitively backward—random internet denizens were somehow producing more insightful commentary on pretty much every matter than highly credentialed experts and capital-heavy institutions.

    (I recommend reading the entire text.)

Finally, I point to a long discussion of both free speech and Russia–Ukraine by a Catholic archbishop. While the free-speech part probably does not add anything new relative my own writings, the Russia–Ukraine part goes through much of what amounts to the other (non-Western) side of the story in [1], which makes it a good complement to that text.

Written by michaeleriksson

March 14, 2022 at 9:52 pm

Hate and free speech in the U.K. / Follow-up The power of a false consensus

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I just encountered a few pages that provide a good illustration of both the problem of The power of a false consensus ([1]) and of Tolkningsföreträde.

The Daily Sceptic, extensively quoting The Free Speech Union, writes that

Harry Miller, the ex-copper who refused to take it lying down when he was told by Humberside Police that retweeting a comic verse about transgendered people would be recorded against his name on the police database as a ‘non-crime hate incident’, has won a tremendous victory today in the Court of Appeal today.

As its noted on the page, the approach behind this database is chilling free speech and it is borderline absurd to have an official* registry of non-crime incidents of any kind that still is intended** to serve as a mark against someone.

*As opposed to a private one that e.g. tracks statement and behavior of sufficiently public persons, where those statements and behaviors are of relevance. Consider e.g. the value neutral tracking of the opinions of politicians on various issues for easy access by potential voters.

**The intent and the associated skew is of importance. Consider, contrasting with the previous footnote, a registry of just any allegedly xenophobic statements made by politicians, so that “the voters can avoid xenophobic politicians”. Also note that the intent behind the “non-crime hate incident” registry almost certainly includes turning a de jure non-crime into a de facto crime.

There might be a deeper problem, however: With what right was the original incident (and any other registered incident) deemed as hate? In all likelihood tolkningsföreträde. We on the noble Left decide what you mean when you say X. We on the noble Left decide what your ideology is. We on the noble Left decide what motivates your actions. We on the noble Left decide what is or is not offensive/hateful/racist/whatnot. Etc.

The application of “hate” to a registry like this is inexcusable.

(Similarly, but with a slightly lesser lack of justification,* the use of “hate” in phrases like “hate crime” is highly dubious, as it makes assumptions about intent that will very often be incorrect.)

*No, I will not speak of “more justification”.

I will not discuss the many other potential explanations in detail, nor (as my familiarity is too superficial) speak of this specific case in detail. However, I do note that the Left very, very often acts in bad faith when it comes to alleged hate, racism, sexism, …; and that this is very likely to relate to attempts to stamp out any dissent as discussed in [1]. Further, that there is a very wide range of statements and opinions that are negatively loaded without being hate (and are very often justified, at that).

As an example of the latter, consider many of my own writings and statements about the Left, e.g. concerning use of methods, disregard for the rights of the individual, censorship, whatnot. None of these statements are hate or motivated by hate—they are motivated by the enormous problems that the Left, and those who use similar methods, cause in the world. Yes, I am often filled with loathing and disgust when I encounter such problems, but these are not hate—and even had I reached the state of hate, it would just be a very natural and highly defensible result of the Left’s own behavior.* Nevertheless, someone on the Left could just throw out some nonsense about “anti-Left hate speech” and, sadly, convince many of those who (a) take such claims at face value and without any own investigation or critical thinking, and (b) assume that anything related to hate is automatically evil/invalid/whatnot.

*Interestingly, in areas like this, there never seems to be any reflection over whether the hate might be justified or justifiable. Considering e.g. the proportion of Leftist who profess to hate racists, Fascists, whatnot, even the Left should have an awareness for the possibility. I have noted the common hypocrisy on hate, especially on the Left, in the past, e.g. in [2]. (Note: I do not claim that justified hate would be a good idea—just that it would be justified.)

Similarly, note how often attempts by various serious debaters and persons with genuine concerns to discuss matters like immigration and crime or U.S. Blacks and crime have been silenced with blanket claims of “xenophobia” and “racism”, without any discussion of the actual merits of the case.

The Free Speech Union was not familiar to me, and I moved on to its Wikipedia page.

Here I find claims like “The organisation views itself as countering cancel culture […]”, which puts the own opinion of the organisation in doubt; and like “The group has been criticised by journalists and former student members who believe it has a right-wing agenda and that its stated aims are misleading.”, which prominently pushes a likely* Leftist and certainly partisan view of it.

*There is too little information for a certain claim, but the mixture of the sentiment, the use of the word “right-wing” as were it something automatically bad, and a source of “journalists” point very strongly in this direction. Also note that the lacking quantification is highly problematic—chances are that we can find two or three journalists who are critical of almost anything. (And more are not needed to speak of “journalists”.) Besides, do the opinions of modern day journalists, with their typical anti-journalistic approach, actually matter?

Or consider, to expand on the “student members”:

In January 2021, student members of the Free Speech Youth Advisory Board resigned after they discovered the board had close links to the Free Speech Union rather than being an independent grassroots movement that they had been led to believe. The students had hoped for a group addressing free speech issues around the world but found one dominated by Young’s right-wing perspective.

Here an account of some unspecified “student members” is stated as true, with no acknowledgment of potential differences in opinion and with no counter-statement by The Free Speech Union or any “student members” who did not resign. I note that a “right-wing perspective”, which the article does not explain, on free speech is typically nothing more than “free speech applies to everyone—not just the Left”. (To be contrasted with the typical Leftist view “Free speech is only intended for those with the correct opinions—and we, having tolkningsföreträde, decide what those are.”)

The entire article reads as one big attempt to discredit The Free Speech Union—not to give it a fair and unbiased encyclopedic treatment. This matches typical tactics well: Paint an image of any opposing organization as, e.g., a far-right hate movement. Discredit anything the opponent says, even e.g. in defense of free speech. Condemn anyone defended or supported by this opponent, because no-one not also a far-right hater would be supported by a far-right hate movement.

Note on language:
In some cases, I have adapted my own writing to match that of the quoted texts, e.g. by use of “right-wing” instead of “Rightwing” or “Right-wing”.

Note on quotes:
Some formatting might have been lost or altered in copying. References have been deliberately removed from Wikipedia quotes. See the original text for these.

Written by michaeleriksson

December 21, 2021 at 8:43 am