August 16, 2017

Shut Up, Nazis


So, Charlottesville happened. Guys with torches marching in the streets chanting about "blood and soil," "white lives matter," and "Jews will not replace us." I understand that the vast majority of those who were present at the Unite the Right rally don't consider themselves Nazis, and it's pretty evident that when they chant "Blood and Soil" they mean something different than what the Nazis meant, but you know how it goes... squawk like a goose, step like a goose - gotta be a goose. I don't think the guys at UtR get to say the things they did and then complain about false equivalencies to Nazis.

And at the risk of somebody accusing me of making dog whistles, I'm a fan of law and order. Not in the sense that, "Our leader is the law so you'd better obey his orders," but "We have laws to preserve hard-won social order." I accept that laws are arbitrary creations, and believe that what is legal may be wrong, and what is illegal may be right. And generally speaking, I think that criminality is corrosive to the social contract which permits the open society in which I live to afford me all the freedoms I enjoy.

Generally speaking, I don't think that all criminality is committed equally. I don't support the violent direct action of the anti-fascists. We've agreed as a society that it's important to have laws against randomly hitting people in the street, and I think that's a convention worth upholding. If somebody wants to speak, I think that - within the definition of free speech -  he or she should be free to speak without fear of government intervention or getting beaten by vigilantes.

But no matter what a cute little meme it's become to punch a Nazi, there's a reason that the anti-fascists are finding and beating these people in the streets. It's not because they hate white people (although I accept that some of them might), but because the openly stated and obvious extension of folks like the ones who marched at UtR is for segregation. We've already seen what happened with apartheid and Jim Crow, and to be honest it didn't work out so well for either side. I don't want to be a part of either side of those equations, and no matter my stated opinion on the anti-fascists, I think it's a false equivalency to compare them to the people marching with fasces and Swastikas, and both parroting Hitler and shouting Nazi chants.

But generally speaking, I also think that freedom of speech doesn't equate to protection of speech. Freedom of speech does not equal freedom from consequences, and just because you have a constitutional right to speak your mind free of government intervention, that doesn't mean you get to silence dissenting views while you're speaking it. Mocking racists in an open forum is freedom of speech.  People telling your employer that you're a white nationalist is them exercising their freedom of speech. Your employer dismissing you is freedom of speech. Counter-protesters screaming in your face is freedom of speech. Using obstacles to hide your protest or sounds to drown your chants is freedom of speech. Organizing mass protests is freedom of speech. Speaking venues cancelling your appearance is freedom of speech. Short of punching you in the nose or stealing your property, it's freedom of speech.

And I think it's important when these things happen to say that authoritarianism, fascism, and racism are not okay. With history as my guide, authoritarian, fascist, and racist societies are not places where a liberty-minded Satanist would want to live. And sure, you can tell me all about how you're apolitical and can survive anywhere in the world, but to carry this argument to the logical outcome: what happens when there is nowhere else to go? Aren't freedom and liberty worth protecting where you live right now? After all, in authoritarian, fascist, and racist governments a large priority is always immigration and both who's allowed to enter as well as who's allowed to leave. If your defense against these is the argument that you'll just find a new place to live, then you're going to find it very difficult to pick up and move when the political climate becomes inhospitable.

So for all these reasons and more, I'm exercising my freedom of speech to let Nazis know that they can shut the fuck up. Not that probably any of them are reading my blog - to be honest, not many people at all read my blog -  but I'm saying it anyway because this blog is a digital extension of my lair that I use to articulate my thoughts (and invite others to challenge them).

There's nothing original in what I'm saying, and I'd be surprised if anybody really believed that this is a controversial position to take within Satanism. After all, Magus Gilmore specifically condemns both fascism and racism as being incompatible with Satanism in his canonical Satanic Scriptures. And while the Church of Satan flirts with authoritarianism, I think it's pretty clear that in the end it definitely and unmistakably prefers liberty over tyranny.

The people at the UtR rally weren't conducting an exercise in aesthetics or trying to unnerve the thought police with their edginess. This isn't about channeling the power of taboo symbols. If the UtR attendees were only carrying symbols absent words and actions, it might be called ignorance. If they were only speaking words absent symbols and actions, it might be called harmless. If they were only acting absent words and symbols, it might be called theater. But symbols, words, and actions all in one place at the same time mean something, and that something is unworthy of the society in which I want to live.

EDIT: I wrote an addendum to clarify my position on the monuments (which weren't addressed in this essay) and the violence committed by the anti-fascists. Read more here. 

6 comments:

  1. They won't come for Satanists first, or second, or even third. We're not high up on their list, and when they fantasize about the "Day of the Rope," it's not the Satanists they're hoisting from those low-hanging branches.

    But sooner or later, they'll come for us all the same.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. As a Satanist, I've got a vested self-interest in speaking out against this sort of thing.

      Delete
  2. If I could please give you some feedback-
    1.]Please stop starting sentences with "And". The majority of which are better without the conjunctive.

    2.]As a satanist, how do you define Racism? Discrimination? Your hyperlink didn't define it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. I'll write however I please.

      2. And I'm not required to hyperlink things that are easily Googled.

      Delete
    2. Oh good for you. Celebrate your individualistic achievement of starting sentences with a conjunctive. I was just trying to give you some positive feedback.

      You hyperlinked a number of words. I was inquiring what you (as a satanist) define as racism. I understand the chants "blood and soil" and "jews will not replace us" were used as examples.

      Delete
    3. I don't think Satanists have any particular definition of racism beyond the ordinary person's.

      I suppose it is worth considering that words and terms we have a social or intuition-based concept of are hard to define formally when asked. But most of the time it rarely comes up.

      Delete

Freedom of Expression =/= Freedom from Consequences.