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Thoughtcrime

Last week, our newly re-elected Prime Minister, David Cameron, said something quite remarkable in a speech outlining his new government's legislative plans for the next five years. Remarkable not because it's unexpected that a newly formed Conservative government with a working majority would bang the law and order drum, but because of what it implies:

"For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens 'as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone'."

Think about it for a moment. This is the leader of a nominally democratic country saying that merely obeying the law is not sufficient: and simultaneously moving to scrap the Human Rights Act (a legislative train-wreck if ever I saw one) and to bring in laws imposing prior restraint on freedom of political speech (yes, requiring islamists to show the Police everything they say on Facebook before they say it is censorship of political speech, even if you don't like what they're saying).

We've been here before, of course.

Back in 2005, during one of the regular law'n'order circlejerks to which we have grown inured—this one triggered by the terrorist suicide bombings of 7/7 in London—the Labour Party brought in a spectacularly ill-conceived over-reaction in the shape of the Terrorism Act 2006. Among other things, they attempted to give the police the power to detain and question suspects without charge for up to 90 days (in the House of Commons this caused a rebellion, and it was eventually cut to 28 days—still far too long for arrest and interrogation without criminal charges), but moreover, created (Tony Blair's words): "an offence of condoning or glorifying terrorism. The sort of remarks made in recent days should be covered by such laws."

Get that: glorifying terrorism was to become an offense.

We all know of those vile Da'esh beheading videos, which is probably the sort of thing the Home Office had in mind. But the law was drafted so vaguely and broadly that a bunch of unintended consequences emerged. For example, what is "glorification" and what is "terrorism"? Lest we forget, Nelson Mandela was identified as a terrorist. So was that other Nobel Peace Prize winner, Menachem Begin. The current Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, with whom Tony Blair was doubtless on a first name basis, spent many years in British prisons for murders he allegedly committed while leading a terrorist organization. Is it "glorifying terrorism" to express happiness at the success of the ANC in forcing the overtly racist system of Apartheid South Africa to the negotiating table?

The law was drafted in such a way that works of fiction fell within its scope. So a group of bolshy, lefty, civil-rights-focussed literary academics with an interest in the SF field got together and published a slim anthology, the title of which was intended to provoke the Director of Public Prosecutions into either shitting or getting off the pot.

I'm afraid you can't buy a copy of the Glorifying Terrorism SF anthology (it's out of print, and not going to be reprinted or published as an ebook any time soon, because of the ongoing VATMESS headache). But ... the majestic organs of the state took one look at it and said "na na I can't hear you, not going there, you can't make me, I'd look like a tool". A few years later the "Glorifying Terrorism" charge was quietly written out of the statute books. And I'd like to think we had something to do with it.

Which brings me to the topic of the very short short story below, which now exists in a kind of counterfactual limbo, an alternate history where the financial crash of 2007/08 never happened, Tony Blair kept on getting worse, the "Glorifying Terrorism" offense stayed on the books, and UKIP never happened. Instead, the BNP—the knuckle-dragging neo-fascists who UKIP have largely supplanted— somehow parlayed an unspecified terorism-related crisis into a rise to government, and then the inevitable reductio ad absurdum ensued:

(See if you can figure out who I cribbed the declaration from?)




MINUTES OF THE LABOUR PARTY CONFERENCE, 2016

PREAMBLE TO THE MINUTES OF THE LABOUR PARTY CONFERENCE, 2016

Greetings from the National Executive.

Before reading any further, please refer to the Security Note and ensure that your receipt and use of this document is in compliance with Party security policies. If you have any doubts at all, burn this document immediately.




SECURITY NOTE




This is an official Labour Party Document. Possession of all such documents is a specific offense under (2)(2)(f) of the Terrorism Act (2006). Amendments passed by the current government using the powers granted in the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act (2006) have raised the minimum penalty for possession to 10 years imprisonment. In addition, persons suspected of membership of or sympathy for the Labour Party are liable for arrest and sentencing as subversives under the Defence of the Realm Act (2014).

You must destroy this document immediately, for your own safety, if:

You have any cause to suspect that a neighbour or member of your household may be an informer,

You have come into possession of this document via a suspect source, or if your copy of this document exhibits signs of having been printed on any type of computer printer or photocopier, or if you received this document in a public place that might be overseen by cameras, or if it may have been transmitted via electronic means.

The Party would be grateful if you can reproduce and distribute this document to sympathizers and members. Use only a typewriter, embossing print set, mimeograph, or photographic film to distribute this document. Paper should be purchased anonymously and microwaved for at least 30 seconds prior to use to destroy RFID tags. Do not, under any circumstances, enter or copy the text in a computer, word processor, photocopier, scanner, mobile phone, or digital camera. This is for your personal safety.




MINUTES OF THE LABOUR PARTY CONFERENCE, 2016

1. Apologies for absence were made on behalf of the following:

Deputy Leader, Hillary Benn (executed by junta)

Government, Douglas Alexander (executed by junta)

Government, Kate Hoey (detained, Dartmoor concentration camp)

EPLP Leader, Mohammed Sarwar (executed by junta)

Young Labour, Judy Mallaber (detained, Dartmoor concentration camp: show trial announced by junta)

...

2. Motions from the national executive:

1) In the light of the government's use of its powers of extradition under the US/UK Extradition Treaty (2005), and their demonstrated willingness to lie to the rest of the world about their treatment of extradited dissidents, it is no longer safe to maintain a public list of shadow ministers and party officers. With the exception of the offices of Party Spokesperson and designated Party Security Spokesperson, it is moved that:

Open election of members of the National Executive shall be suspended,

Publication of the names and identities of members of the National Executive shall be suspended,

The National Executive will continue to function on a provisional basis making ad-hoc appointments by internal majority vote to replace members as they retire, are forced into exile, or are murdered by the junta;

From now until the end of the State of Emergency and the removal of the current government, at which time an extraordinary Party Conference shall be held to publicly elect a peacetime National Executive.

(Carried unanimously.)

2) In view of the current government's:

  • suspension of the Human Rights Act (1998), Race Relations Act (2000), and other Acts,

  • abrogation of the Treaty of Europe and secession from the European Union,

  • amendment via administrative order of other Acts of Parliament (including the reintroduction of capital punishment),

  • effective criminalization of political opposition by proscribing opposition parties as "organisations that promote terrorism" under the terms of the Terrorism Act (2000),

  • establishment of concentration camps and deportation facilities for ethnic minorities, political dissidents, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered citizens, and others,

  • deployment of riot police and informal militias against peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins, with concomitant loss of life,

  • and their effective termination of the democratic processes by which the United Kingdom has historically been governed,

We find, with reluctance, that no avenue of peaceful dissent remains open to us. We are therefore faced with a choice between accepting defeat, and continuing the struggle for freedom and democracy by other means.

We shall not submit to the dictatorship of the current government, and we have no choice but to hit back by all means within our power in defence of our people, our future and our freedom. The government has interpreted the peacefulness of the movement as weakness; our non-violent policies have been taken as a green light for government violence. Refusal to resort to force has been interpreted by the government as an invitation to use armed force against the people without any fear of reprisals. It is therefore moved that:

A National Resistance Movement is created. The Movement will seek to achieve liberation without bloodshed or violence if possible. We hope—even at this late moment—that the government will come to its senses and permit a free and fair general election to be held in which parties representing all ideologies will be permitted to stand for election. But we will defend our supporters and the oppressed against military rule, racist tyranny, and totalitarianism, and we will not flinch from using any tool in pursuit of this goal.

The Movement will work to achieve the political goals of the Labour Party during the state of emergency, and will cooperate willingly with other organizations upon the basis of shared goals.

The Movement will actively attack the instruments of state terror and coercion, including functionaries of the government who enforce unjust and oppressive laws against the people.

At the cessation of the struggle, a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission shall be established and an amnesty granted to members of the Movement for actions taken in the pursuit of legitimate orders.

In these actions, we are working in the best interests of all the people of this country - of every ethnicity, gender, and class - whose future happiness and well-being cannot be attained without the overthrow of the Fascist government, the abolition of white supremacy and the winning of liberty, democracy and full national rights and equality for all the people of this country.

(Carried 25/0, 3 abstentions)

3) All Party members who are physically and mentally fit to withstand the rigours of the struggle are encouraged to organize themselves in cells of 3-6 individuals, to establish lines of communication (subject to the Party security policies), and to place themselves at the disposal of the National Resistance Movement. Party members who are unable to serve may still provide aid, shelter, and funds for those who fight in our defence.

(Carried unanimously)

3. Motions from the floor

The party recognizes that that our own legislative program of the late 1990s and early 2000s established the framework for repression which is now being used to ruthlessly suppress dissent. We recognize that our neglect of the machinery of public choice in favour of the pursuit of corporatist collaborations permitted the decay of local and parliamentary democracy that allowed the British National Party to seize power with the support of no more than 22% of the electorate. We are therefore compelled to admit our responsibility. We created this situation; we must therefore repair it.

Never again shall the Labour Party place national security ahead of individual freedoms and human rights in its legislative program. It is therefore moved that the following quotation from Benjamin Franklin be inserted between Clause Three and the current Clause Four of the Party Constitution:

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

(Carried 16/12)




163 Comments

1:

I'm not surprised that, even in these circumstances, 43% of Labour Conference still refused to admit that they were wrong.

2:

I await with anticipation the first Perl-based automatic subversion web crawlers, programmed to spread incoherently misspelled rants that simultaneously break this law, and cause grammarians to collapse in convulsions.

3:

Is there any chance that the comrades might be persuaded to give permission for a free ebook release of the anthology?

(Also: yes, quite.)

4:

"For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens 'as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone'."

It's amazing how accurate satire can be, even 40+ years later.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1p1tnvdx9JU&feature=youtu.be&t=44s

5:

I didn't think I had much to say on this, but just heard this NPR profile of Senator Lindsey Graham, potential Republican candidate, quoting him:

"If I'm president of the United States and you're thinking about joining al-Qaida or ISIL — anybody thinking about that?" he asked to laughs. "I'm not gonna call a judge. I'm gonna call a drone and we're gonna kill you."

So, just thinking about it means death? Gee, Mr. Graham, you sound like a terrorist to me. Thankfully there's about no chance of him being the actual candidate, never mind Pres.

As for the story; I suspect, taken out of context, in another time and country, it would lead to a short note: "Welcome to the Blacklist, Mr. Stross --signed J. Edgar."

6:

Sorry C. for my grammarnaziness but it's "reductio ad absurdUm"
I think you know it!

cheer,
s

7:

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Another great Franklin quote from the 1736 Poor Richard's Almanack:
"He that lives upon Hope,
dies Farting"

and from the 1751 edition:
"He that is conscious of
A Stink in his Breeches,
is jealous of every Wrinkle
in another's Nose."

8:

This all brings back disturbing Thatcherite echoes of that administration's treatment of [i]Spycatcher[/i]*... when it was available in English, in mass-market-paperback editions, at many airport bookshoppes that were the last stop to Gatwick or Heathrow (or GHQ). And that's not the only example I can think of — just the one most likely to have any real awareness.

Wait, did somebody think that the ghost of Iron Maggie had not been taken as a model of how to both (a) obtain electoral leverage and (b) maintain discipline in the ranks; not just the Tories, but Labour and Liberal-Democrats? SNP, you're next...

* Without either confirming or denying the accuracy of anything contained in the book, knowing what was actually in is was sort of important to Her Majesty's officers in the intelligence/counterintelligence community regardless of its accuracy or omissions.

9:

Let me see -- you've got a nation where class-consciousness is quickly unraveling in favor of racial and national identity; Cameron is about to try to redraw constituency boundaries which, if his own backbenchers don't stop it, will essentially hand the Tories a majority for a generation; an alliance of ultra-wealthy Conservative backers and UKIPper grassroots voters are stampeding Cameron toward the Brexit vote, under the assumption that what's really needed for economic growth is more vegelate and fewer worker protections; and the NHS is being handed over to private companies whose primary concerns are for profits, not patients. Oh, and Labour seems convinced that their biggest problem was tilting *too far* to the left and showing too much support for trade unionists, and seem to think that what they really need to do is to dig up the fetid corpse of Blairism and wave its wretched jaws about in a vague parody of Orange Booker rhetoric. That about cover it?

I mean, it's still better than Texas, but crap almighty this is a mess.

10:

The counter-argument to the point being made here is that, some time in the mid-1930s, a bunch of German conservative party grandees set up a meeting with Hitler. At it, they pointed out that they had, in fact, correctly drafted the enabling legislation with all the right clauses and contingencies such that he had no alternative to hand power back to them.

Of course, he had them taken out and beaten up, and that was their last involvement in politics. He didn't even need to have them shot; any politician who can be openly beaten up without them being able to do anything about it has demonstrated their irrelevance.

Fascism isn't a game of gotcha, noone gets to set up camps because of the presence or absence of a comma, or a missing footnote defining a particular word. They get to set up camps when the legal system lacks the ability to stop them.

Note this is not a Godwin; the OP is already talking about camps.

11:

Regarding the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.

While I have no doubt that there is blood on his hands there is no record that he "spent many years in British prisons for murders he allegedly committed while leading a terrorist organization". Indeed he only seems to have done porridge in the Republic and has never enjoyed Her Maj's hospitality either as a convict or on remand.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1275040/Martin-McGuinness

12:

I do not know what the obstacles are to a free Ebook, but it would
be useful to know in case we can help resolve them. I can't think
of anything that I could contribute to help resolve the VATMESS.

13:

I've seen that breathtaking comment by Cameron several (many) times now and it seems to be completely tone-deaf. What is the context of it? That is, what is he saying before and after?

14:

Sounds like a sour grapes essay because Labour lost and UKIP did extremely well. As for the BNP taking power because Blair stayed in office, that's a suspension of disbelief too far. Well, almost too far. Scrub the BNP being the baddies, and have NuLabour setting up the concentration camps and it's a lot more plausible.

And Cameron... we get the government we collectively deserve. The UK public voted against AV, and for the Tories. If only people were more intelligent eh?

15:

The moment I saw that I thought of Judge Dredd; welcome to Megacity One, where everything that isn't forbidden is mandatory.

Cameron is probably going to have a hard time learning that a majority really doesn't guarantee he'll get everything his own way - the rumblings of a nurse's strike look like they may be the first salvo against him.

Nice to see your story again - I still have the anthology somewhere, and will be happy to do OCR for any author who wants to re-release their story and doesn't have a backup of the files.

16:

I bought a PDF from Rackham Press website, still have it.

I also have a .txt file of it.

This is a great anthology, there is also Ken MacLeod's story there which I have not seen anywhere else.

Thanks for making your story available, Herr Stross.

17:

@Host - I'm unaware of your reading habits, but this piece was picked up by Hacker News & had 200+ comments. (Articles on HN have extremely fast turnover, so it'll probably have vanished by tomorrow).

Just a head's up in case you were unaware of fans out there!

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9564281

18:

Dang, forgot to post it on HN myself (I'm trying to grind my karma up over the 10,000 mark).

19:

Dirk, I think you completely misread the entire OP, both context and substance.

(You're not the only one: Mencius Moldbug didn't get it either, and wibbled in my email inbox.)

20:

Achievement Unlocked: Attempted to teach Host how to suck eggs.


I probably should have assumed you were a reader, but you can never tell.

21:

Our Host: "(See if you can figure out who I cribbed the declaration from?)"

Umkhonto we Sizwe?

22:

Probably - I tend to be very literal minded and don't like metaphors. In which case you could probably have presented your argument in a couple of sentences, although I doubt you will find anyone here to disagree that both major parties have had nasty creeping authoritarian tendencies for decades.

23:

How will it actually play out?

Who needs camps when you can automatically identify affinity groups and cut their working hours to zero?

24:

in the House of Commons this caused a rebellion, and it was eventually cut to 28 days

The irony being IIRC that it was the House of Lords that was busy putting the boot into both the Terrorism Bill and effectively killing the Identity Card Bill - doing what was right, not following the vote-hunting whims of the Prime Minister.

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/constitution-unit/research/parliament/house-of-lords/lords-defeats

And that importance of the House of Lords Reform grew, because you can't have a second chamber that dares to defy the elected chamber, can you?

And getting the Chief Constables onside is made easier if you announce plans to combine forces and cut the number of Chief Constables... after all, you don't keep your job by opposing the Home Secretary.

25:

Stefanmom,

The ongoing problem with "reductio ad absurdum" is that the bar for absurdum keeps getting lowered. Every time one thinks that "They couldn't mean THAT, could they?", we find out THAT (imprisoning someone for "dangerous thoughts"?) really is what they meant.

26:

I suggest providing an alternative version with "Labour" replaced by "Democrats" and "junta" by "Party" to reduce the number of people Missing the Point.

27:

Ah, the usual Underpants Gnome's step 2 towards taking over the Internet.

28:

Without reading the intervening comments ...
Very funny - not.
Except that:
1: We had an EDL march round here recently (euw) & the spearation between them & even partial supporters of UKIP is immense, judging by the comments I heard ...
{ See also: http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/12941278.VIDEO__Fourteen_arrests_as_EDL_march_through_Walthamstow/
I was seriously annoyed - see the pub in the background at the "still" start of the video?
That's one of my locals - I came out of "the plots" to find the pub SHUT ... grr - now there's a reason to hate the EDL!
Oh, I got a bag of fresh horse-manure off the mounted police, so it wasn't all bad ... }

2. Camoron isn't stupid, so he cannot actually believe what he just spouted, so ....
2a) He is dog-whistling, which is scary.
2b) He is publicly advocating abandoning the policy adopted by Elizabeth I ("No windows into men's souls") & reverting to that of Bloody Mary ("thoughtcrime")
Very, very unpleasant.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Several people have pointed out that "Withdrawl from the EUHCR, if not impossible, is going to be very diffcult - being an international treaty provision & all that.
IF the EUHCR is/may be "bad" - then how come the French, etc are not having problems with it - after all, they have terrorists, too ... No-one seems to have explained this one adequately.

JPR @ 5
Yes ....
More dog-whistling?( See also Jonathan M @ 13 ...

Dirk @ 14
Agree re Tony B Liar setting up camps.
As for "popular" vote, approx 24% of the country voted for Camoron, actually ....
Worth remembering, that.

Martin @ 24
And why do you think the SNP are cosying up to their own creation of "Police Scotland", modelled on Glasgow, incorporating Rail_Plod & annoying lots of people?
A nice, friendly, politically compliant constabulary, eh?


29:

I'm sorry, but 2b) is, exactly, that he believes what he says.

I for one have no reason to doubt he does. Oh, sure he thinks it is only against the real bad guys, but this is how skin-deep the values of democracy are for their supposed defenders.

30:

"Camoron isn't stupid, so he cannot actually believe what he just
spouted, so ...."

Actually, I think that you are mistaken. I think that he is both
intelligent AND very, very stupid, and is essentially a puppet,
though I am less sure who his puppeteers are and how many camps
there belong to. I used not to believe that otherwise intelligent
people can simply block out data that contradicts their beliefs,
because I cannot do it, but (in my old age) I now realise that
most people behave that way to at least some extent, and treat it
with baffled acceptance. It's an Asperger/ Blair[*] spectrum
issue, incidentally.

[*] The converse of Aspergers, characterised by an inability to
accept demonstrated facts when they contradict beliefs, and a
belief that saying something strongly enough will change facts,
up to and including mathematical and physical laws.

31:

#14 - subtly missing the point, I think. I don't think anyone is suggesting the BNP siezing power is a realistic option, more an illustration of why we should not allow bad law because it is made by a 'reasonable' government.

The gist of which is always - 'we need this badly worded law because - bad people. You know who they are, and we won't use it against non-terrorists'.

And then the next thing you know, they're arresting anti-arms trade protestors under the Prevention of Terrorism act - thus proving the government and police force cannot be trusted with a bad law, because it becomes too tempting to use it.

(At the very least, it should be tied up like police firearms usage - so much paperwork, that it would genuinely be a last resort option).

If the story had been based around any party that might realistically hold power, it would definitely have come across as sour grapes, or a gross mischaracterisation of UKIP.

Good law withstands such hypothetical challenges (even if an actual fascist government would not be constrained by it).

32:

"And then the next thing you know, they're arresting anti-arms
trade protestors under the Prevention of Terrorism act ..."

They have used it for MUCH worse things than that! An elderly
delegrate at a Labour party conference was arrested under that
for speaking out against Blair. A student was arrested and
suspended from his university for reading a university library
book he was told to read by his supervisor. There were many
others, at least as bad.

33:

Greg - you're up the road from me then. There is something slighly amusing about the EDLs insistence that Walthamstow is 'muslim bandit country' and Brick Lane a 'no go area'.

I think someone needs to get them an up to date copy of Time Out.

For those outside the area, houses in Walthamstow are just starting to break the £1 million barrier, as London's middle-class flee the tidal wave of Russian and Middle-Eastern money.

It's still a very diverse area - but that means a sizable Cypriot and Portugese population, plus a huge number of Russian speakers - and yes, a sizable Bangladeshi and Pakastani population, and Hindus. Which is not going to make the EDL happy, but their perception of it as a 'muslim area' is so way off that it's funny.

(I also presume they have never wondered down Brick Lane in the evening. Not their kind of night clubs I'd imagine)

34:

As well as being added to a no-fly list, in secret, with no appeal, you can then be added to a no-talk list.

"a requirement to submit to the police in advance any proposed publication on the web and social media"

Locked in, unable to legally call for help. Sounds great.

35:

I had reason to check on Consumer Protection laws today. The Tories seem to be doing stuff to make it easier for business to deceive us. The OFT has been replaced by the CMA, meaning that Google links are pointing at obsolete information and context details. Your local Trading Standards has suffered from the general budget cuts.

The law hasn't changed, but actually checking and getting anything done against the lies in the shops has been made harder.

36:

There's a track by Boards of Canada called "One Very Important Thought" that samples a voiceover from the end of an adult film, about why it's important to resist censorship: "...the same people who would stop you from viewing an adult film may be back next year to complain about a book, or even a TV program. If you can be told what you can see or read, then it follows that you can be told what to say or think."

The Terrorism Act 2006 established what we can see and read (and to some degree say). And I hate to say an obscure 1982 porn film told us so, but here we are ten years later being told what we can think.

37:

We're lucky the US protects the right of free speech by enshrining it in the constitution. This makes it hard for politicians to limit it, although some try and use other laws, like the 1918 Sedition Act to get around it (applicable while we are at [permanent] "war" a la 1984).

As Greg points out, thoughtcrime is getting us back to the early Elizabethan Age. The US already uses torture, which the UK tacitly supported. Restricting speech for "those people" (today Muslims instead of Catholic supporters of Mary, tomorrow who?) is the next step, and extended to anyone the state no longer deems acceptable (cf the FBI infiltration of environmental protest groups, and the UK equivalent).

38:

It was never enough just to follow the law; you also had to be the kind of person the law was meant to protect. I think this is what Ernie Kovacs was getting at in Our Man in Havana when he said you can only be tortured if you belong to a class that consents to be tortured. He asserted the British do not so consent, but the poor in Cuba do. Until now, that is? (This is not a nationalist dig; the U.S. is hardly immune to the same insidious process and regardless it would still be a horrifying prospect even if it was confined to your isle.) Cameron is giving notice that the goal posts ain't where they used to be.

39:

I've seen that doubting of inconvenient facts over and over, mostly when reality looks to inconvenience them. When an ordinary person does it, we think "The stupid, it burns!", so why do so many think otherwise when it is emitted by a suit? And might those neckties restrict carotid blood flow and reduce cerebral efficiency?

40:

I've seen that doubting of inconvenient facts over and over, mostly when reality looks to inconvenience them.

Sure. You can see it very consistently with telepathy and precognition. People experience it, and then they say they know it didn't really happen, because it doesn't fit into their view of the world.

That is not an unreasonable thing to do. Which should you believe, your rational understanding of how the world works which has never ever been contradicted by experience, or your lying eyes?

41:

You can see it very consistently with telepathy and precognition. People experience it

They experience something. That doesn't make some [incorrect] interpretation a fact.

42:

You can see it very consistently with telepathy and precognition. People experience it

They experience something. That doesn't make some [incorrect] interpretation a fact.

43:

I wasn't talking about the doubting of inconvenient facts, which is
almost universal. I was referring to the absolute refusal or
inability to even recognise any information that contradicts the
belief (dogma, really). I do mean that people literally do not
hear or see such data - their ears and eyes do, but it is dropped
in the bin between there and their brain. It's very strange, but
amazingly (to me) common.

44:

Yes, I can see that, but perhaps it's more like they hear things they expect, almost like an out-of-range error and the recipient substitutes something compatible. BTW, please note I wasn't referring to any "woo" in the previous comment, just the tendency amongst some to try and make the world bend to them.

45:

"You can see it very consistently with telepathy and precognition. People experience it"

They experience something. That doesn't make some [incorrect] interpretation a fact.

Yes! Exactly!

46:

That certainly happens. In the extreme cases I am referring to, I
have not been able to collect any convincing evidence whether they
are blanking out the information or substituting something, though
I have tried to do so. Gathering reliable psychological data is
not an easy task ....

47:

Yes - very, very diverse.
Did you read my listing of the different origin-groups/inclinations(*) that are met on "the plots" a few threads back?

(*) Because "Race" is cobblers -see Hetromeles in the previous thread on the differences inside & utside groups, when geneatically scanned?

48:

CORRECTION
today Muslims instead of Protestants under Mary, tomorrow who?
Catholics mat have been executed under LizI, but it was always for a secular crime ... some were openly tolerated, notably William Byrd ...
If the situation had been reversed under Mary, he would have been burnt alive - a catholic specialty, in England ( Elsewhere, especially in Geneva, Protestants copied their enemies in this vile practice.)

49:

Why is Judy Mallaber (born 1951) the designated representative of Young Labour?

50:

I presume there's some snark involved with one of her campaigns:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/derbyshire/5299576.stm


Although that's firmly on the dark side of snark. I'm guessing that the idea of providing third party private entities with criminal data is a fairly bad one if you don't think through the implications.

51:

"Get that: glorifying terrorism was to become an offense."

How is this different from 'inciting to riot'? Apart from urging '10 or more people'. Same with 'glorifying' ... there are probably quite a few types of behavior that are already on the law books deemed as very bad for society (i.e., child abuse/molestation).

If it passes, I'm assuming that this law will be subject to challenge in the court system in the same way as all other laws are ... on an individual basis before a judge, jury, or panel of judges... although being held without cause for weeks sounds like an attempt to subvert/bypass this due process.


"We all know of those vile Da'esh beheading videos, which is probably the sort of thing the Home Office had in mind."

In today's news there's lots of talk (locally) about the want ads that the Saudi government has recently put up: wanted 8 swordsmen, job description: executioner. Based on the current phrasing of this act ... would the Saudi government be found guilty? (More specifically, any Brit who applied for the job.)

52:

Articles 4 and 5 of the United Nations Convention against Torture should be sufficient to convict an applicant for that position. Carrying out mutilations is part of the job description; mutilation is torture; attempting to commit torture or complicity in torture is an offence under article 4; article 5 establishes a state's jurisdiction over its own nationals.

54:

There's wiggle room here. Consider a person who holds dual citizenship ... Saudi and English. Whose law would take precedence?

55:

I guess it might be an evolutionary advantage. Primate neocortex size is driven by group size and energy demands, which indicates we didn't evolve our grey matter to deduce any "scientific laws", but to thrive in a group.

Being resistant to some local trickster's sweet talk could be quite important, as starting an arms race to counterheist said trickster.

Oh, and BTW, err, "Aspergers", err, high-functioning autists and people scoring highly on the diagnosis check list are as up for deluding themselves as others. In fact, one could argue they might be even more so in some cases, since deficits in "Theory of Mind" might show as autists being somewhat more prone to the False-Consensu effect. Take that from somebody on the ADHD-Autism spectrum...

56:

This is a general failure ( of imagination, thought & reasoning ) that seems to be spreading amongst guvmint generally ...
A lot of time & effort is ( unnecessarilry, IMHO ) being put in to creating & devising "new offences", when existing law is entirely adequate to deal with the circumstances.
Classic recent example(s), the "hacking" of people's private e-comms & the smearing by the gutter-press of innocent private persons ( & also the occasional complicity of the police in this behaviour )
All of this was already illegal.
All of the behaviour listed could & should have been prosecuted under existing laws.

57:

"Oh, and BTW, err, "Aspergers", err, high-functioning autists and
people scoring highly on the diagnosis check list are as up for
deluding themselves as others."

Despite the claims in the media, and even the classification used
by many professionals, the sort of Aspergers I am referring is
NOT a form of autism, except in the absence of any innate ability
to read social cues, which must be consciously learnt. I know of
none (and I am one and know a great many) who can delude
themselves by ignoring evidence, but only by making erroneous
deductions. It is THE characteristic of pure mathematics, which
is traditionally where many ended up, though it later included
engineering, science and (especially) computing.

My point is that it is one end of a spectrum of abilities, not a
disability as such (i.e. unlike autism), and there is a converse,
which has not been given a name. That is what I called Blair's
Syndrome, characterised by an inability to accept demonstrated
facts when they contradict beliefs, and a belief that saying
something strongly enough will change facts, up to and including
mathematical and physical laws. My point is that I believe
Cameron has it, just like Blair did, and that is why looking for
a rational explanation of much of his behaviour is futile.

Consequently, and with relevance to this thread, the importance
is not what Cameron, er, 'thinks' but what his controllers (many
of whom are largely rational, but utter shits) think they can
get out of it. All they have to do is to persuade Cameron to
believe something, and he then executes automatically. Thatcher
was pretty similar, though was more rational in at least her
first term. Blair, of course, has one overriding drive: me, Me,
ME! See "The Winner Effect" for a neurophysiological (sic)
analysis.

58:

Then you should better not call it Asperger, just as you should not call people showing various contrary behaviours "schizophrenic". The term has a certain usage in medical slang, and ideosyncratic usage of words is interesting, but not that good for clarity.

As for ingnoring evidence, err, what to do if the street light is green, but the intersecting cars are still going? E.g. it's quite usual behaviour, even in people on the autistic spectrum. Though those might chose to ignore the cars and cross the street... ;)

59:

"Incitement to Riot" is just the start.

Crimes of incitement go *far* further than that. Incitement is criminal, and should be.

I've been a juror in a murder trial where a chap got kicked to death by some kids in a park at 2am. It was tragic in all possible ways, for all involved, and inexpressibly FUCKING STUPID.

But it means I'm quite aware that a 15 year old inciting some drunk mates to kick the guy on the ground in the head some more is murder. Just as kicking him to death is. And a jury will find you guilty of murder for it, as they should, and you will be taken from school and home and sent to prison for longer than you would believe possible.

But you don't need special Thought Crime laws for that. Which is why extra Thought Crime laws are scary: because they aren't about simple criminal incitement.

60:

It might depend somewhat on the definitions of "incitement" and "riot" etc.

As for the Terrorism acts, the definition used is the one from 2000, e.g.

Section 1. – (1) In this Act "terrorism" means the use or threat of action where-
(a) the action falls within subsection (2),
(b) the use or threat is designed to influence the government [or an international governmental organisation][3] or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and
(c) the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious[, racial][4] or ideological cause.
(2) Action falls within this subsection if it-
(a) involves serious violence against a person,
(b) involves serious damage to property,
(c) endangers a person's life, other than that of the person committing the action,
(d) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or
(e) is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.
(3) The use or threat of action falling within subsection (2) which involves the use of firearms or explosives is terrorism whether or not subsection (1)(b) is satisfied.

Come to think about it, who thought about sending paratroopers to Northern Ireland?

Though usually, the term terrorism is reserved for non-state actors, since states can do as they like. Oh, the funs of the Westphalian system...

61:

When politicians respond to crisis, I suspect something like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTmfwklFM-M
only not as funny.

62:

"Come to think about it, who thought about sending
paratroopers to Northern Ireland?"

That (in context) is IRA propaganda, though revisionists now
adopt it as the truth. They were sent with the intention of
keeping things calm, and the one thing that IS known for certain is that Bloody Sunday was a total cock-up, due to
government negligence. The paratroops were not trained for
crowd control and were inadequately briefed. Once the first
shot was fired, they thought they were being fired on, did
what they HAD been trained for, and killed anyone who looked
at all hostile.

What is NOT known is what set off the firing, and the most
plausible theories are a rogue officer or soldier, a soldier
firing accidentally or a deliberate IRA set-up. We shall
never know.

The point here is that, following Bloody Sunday, they WERE
adequately trained and briefed, and no such event recurred.

64:
(b) the use or threat is designed to influence the government [or an international governmental organisation][3] or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and ... (b) involves serious damage to property, (c) endangers a person's life, other than that of the person committing the action
EU refugee policy and strikes by the fire service or hospital workers qualify, then.
65:

Just this last few days here in Spain... feel free to ignore if you dont care about our banana monarchy...

In the middle of "Operación Araña III", the third crackdown against "terrorism apology and disrepect to the victims on the social networks", the Guardia Civil arrested a well know rapper. Looking forward to 2 years prison, for things like tweeting that Ortega Lara (famous for being kidnapped by ETA for 532 days) should be kidnapped now - as he is presenting himself as candidate by a far right party.

Now, to be clear, for me that is an idiotic comment and in bad taste.

AND SO WHAT?

I'm now safer because a stupid loudmouth have been arrested?

Is this relevant because it is on Twitter, when worse than that can be heard in any bar?

Why its always with stuff from the "left" to the "right", but never when a far right idiot calls to kill all reds?

Shouldnt the Guardia Civil have something better to do? I mean, as in actually persecuting terrorists?

Meanwhile in the electoral campaing, the ruling party candidate for Madrid, has basically set up, with the help of her media partisans, a whole narrative that voting for the left candidate is voting for ETA.

Is not that a disrespect for the victims?

66:

the ruling party candidate for Madrid, has basically set up, with the help of her media partisans, a whole narrative that voting for the left candidate is voting for ETA.
Is anyone else thinking that this sounds a lot like what the Con party were saying in England during the recent General Election here?

67:

Yes and no. It would be like saying, in 1990, that voting
Labour was voting for the IRA. And don't forget that Labour
were also playing the same card in this election.

68:

Either way, the base point still stands that any politician who's saying that is trying to scare you out of voting for someone else rather than that you should for their party because $positive_thing.

69:

In fact, she has not presented her platform yet. As in, absolutely no programme at all of what she plans to do if she wins.

All we know is that she is not ETA, everybody else is.

70:

Saying that everyone else is associated with ETA sounds rather
like what Falange y Tradición would say.

71:

Well, to do a quick translation of a German saying, "the opposite of good is good intentions". And I agree with your analysis of the events.

Problem is, with this definition of "terrorism" I see nothing against some moderately IRA-philic judge persecuting those in charge for using threat of violence to intimidate part of the public. Hell, even a police officer trying to stop a right-wing mob on a rampage might qualify...

72:

Here's a link that might (*cough*) be linked to all of this (the keyword being TTIP) by Golem XIV.

http://www.golemxiv.co.uk/2015/03/two-videos-one-politics-one-philosophy-2/

The Death of Democracy

The important parts being able to go to arbitration for future profits.

73:

What is NOT known is what set off the firing

No, they're fairly certain. An officer (OC Mortars) had the bad idea of firing warning shots; this escalated things rather dramatically. The bulk of the firing and killing was done by a handful of soldiers. The result of the inquiry is quite detailed, and available on-line. Read from page 90 for the relevant summary.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/279133/0029_i.pdf

Although there were IRA in the area, no-one seriously thinks that they actually contributed to the fact that innocent civilians were murdered. Like many, I'm not a fan of the "they were players, they just had the guns and bombs carried away" view of the killings; it's a bit like suggesting that the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four were anything other than totally innocent and tortured into confessions by the police.

Having said that, you are quite correct about the efforts that went into training soldiers for Northern Ireland; units would spend several months working through a training package under the guidance of the NI training and advisory team, including weeks spent on range packages designed (among other things) to introduce soldiers to the concept of shoot/don't shoot ranges, or to identify where a shot has come from (echoes make it very difficult). These situations are incredibly demanding for junior officers and NCOs; and units would sack young officers who didn't cope with the work-up training (or put them behind a steering wheel rather than a rifle).

One example was a range with lots of moving target dummies, where a target of an armed terrorist would be exposed among scores of civilians. Except that the terrorist would duck behind a wall (from behind which a woman and child would appear), or run in front of a bus queue. A group of firers would be briefed, filmed on the range (smallbore tracer rounds show up very well on video), and then shown the film and commentary as a debrief. No arguing about what you fired upon, it's all there on screen.

Out unit used some of these ranges, purely for interest and as an initial exposure to the concepts involved; and it was interesting to see how a group of inexperienced reservists coped. I'd seen the ranges as a child, was familiar with the concepts, and by then was quite a capable weapon user - I only fired within the rules of engagement, and hit the four terrorist targets exposed to me. My Sergeant, a sensible reservist NCO, fired on two terrorist targets and two civilian targets. A newly-arrived young officer (intelligent enough, but slightly stressed and a bit overwhelmed) fired on four civilian targets. All three of us were reasonably bright, had passed various selective courses, and were trying our hardest to do things "properly"...

Thankfully, this was just a first exposure to advanced ranges; any mobilising unit would have spent weeks on such ranges, not a couple of days, and the big leap in performance comes the second time you do the same exercise - it's a learning curve like a cliff face.

That's not to say that such training resulted in perfect behaviour. See Lee Clegg's patrol. But as an example of how seriously any overreactions were taken, the result of a PARA platoon deciding to beat up the drinkers in a Coalisland pub after a colleague had been killed, was that the Brigade Commander, the Battalion CO, and the Battalion RSM were all sacked immediately.

74:

That is what I called Blair's
Syndrome, characterised by an inability to accept demonstrated
facts when they contradict beliefs,

Actually, it does have a name - & it has had that name for a very, very long time.
It's called: RELIGION.

75:

@ 65-70
They are all greedy politicians, of various parties.
How can you tell they are all lying?
That's right, their lips are moving .....

76:

(Been busy for a couple of days; still busy, ducking in briefly ...)

"Get that: glorifying terrorism was to become an offense." How is this different from 'inciting to riot'?

See comment 60. Your end state for this vague and over-broad offence is that, say, a Fire Service trade union striking might cause property damage or loss of life; if their employer is the state (indirectly admittedly, but that's who pays them ultimately) then striking for more money is an attempt to influence the government through a threat of property damage/loss of life: ergo, terrorism. And the "Glorifying Terrorism" charge would cover recruiting members for the Fire Service trade union ("stand together and we can negotiate for more money? Isn't that a good idea?")

Yes, this is a reach. However, it's a reach intended to demonstrate the slippery slope this law introduced in law.

It starts with prosecuting people for making jihadi suicide testimonial videos and ends with something like the prosecution of Atena Farghadani (note the specific charge of "spreading propaganda"; it's just a short step along the dotted line from "glorifying terrorism").

In general principle, laws that criminalize speech where the speech isn't a direct causal factor in some other crime ("incitement") are a really bad idea, because speech isn't easily defined, so such laws are inevitably over-broad and present an irresistible temptation to misuse.

77:

Greg, my point was that the un-named individual in @Latro's #65 is using the negative politics of fear-mongering as well as being economical with the truth.

78:

''"What is NOT known is what set off the firing."
No, they're fairly certain.''

Perhaps. Unfortunately, all of the major 'political' enquiries
over the past 50 years have produced the results they were set up
to find, and at least most of them suppressed evidence and
created 'facts' out of hearsay and falsehoods to do so. We know
for certain that was done for at least the Widgery, Franks,
Taylor, Sheen and Hutton enquiries. Was Saville any better?
My recollection of the evidence available is too rusty, and the
references all sufficiently inaccessible, to check the Saville
enquiry for plausibility.

This is very relevant to this thread, because it gives the
government powers to gag anyone who might publish such
inconvenient information.

79:

Sorry about following on. Actually, Wikipedia contains a reference
to the report's details on how things started, and that looks very
plausible. Summary: after all this time, and because of the
confusion, we shall never know. Anyway, it was all an almighty
cock-up, and letting it happen was gross negligence on the part of
the government. That's clear.

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20101103103930/http://report.bloody-sunday-inquiry.org/volume02/chapter019/

But my real point stands. This gagging law is almost certain to
be used to prevent people publishing facts that contradict even
clear errors in whitewashing and scapegoating enquiries, such as
the ones I listed.

80:

Unnamed individual is Esperanza Aguirre, the candidate of the Partido Popular for Madrid's mayor. (In)Famous in Spain, but I bet nobody else cares here - would I have the pleasure to be able to ignore her :P

81:

There are definitions to be resolved here. When my side bombs the other side, it is legitimate warfare, and needs to be glorified.

When the other side defends itself, that is terrorism, and has to be condemned.

82:

Here is the full David Cameron quote:

"For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance.

“This government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach. As the party of one nation, we will govern as one nation and bring our country together. That means actively promoting certain values.

“Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. Democracy. The rule of law. Equal rights regardless of race, gender or sexuality.

“We must say to our citizens: this is what defines us as a society.”

Here is the source.

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/may/13/counter-terrorism-bill-extremism-disruption-orders-david-cameron

83:

You could ask, failed in what way? In what way have the govenrnments of the last 30 years failed to defend freedom of speech, democracy, rule of law and equal righs.

84:

Thanks. I didn't actually care about the name of the person or her party, but had to call her something in order to make the point about how negative I think her campaigning style is, and my point that I do care about is about how distasteful I find negative campaigning.

85:

In what way have the govenrnments of the last 30 years failed to defend freedom of speech, democracy, rule of law and equal rights.

Read the link.

He's saying that to protect free speech and freedom of religion etc, the government may have to close down some mosques where extremists try to influence people.

Basicly, you have all the normal rights under the law provided you are not an extremist. If you try to persuade other people to be extremists, that goes beyond free speech, freedom of religion, democracy, etc.

It makes a certain kind of sense. If you are a threat to other people's liberties, why should you be allowed any of those liberties yourself?

They're going to have another bill to reduce privacy more than before, so the government has a better chance to catch extremists. I think that Cameron and everybody who votes for that bill should agree to stay under surveillance themselves, for the rest of their lives, to prove they are not extremists and have nothing to hide.

86:

Of course it makes a 'certain' kind of sense. But presumably you are unaware of the history of the last 50 or so years re. human rights, racism and the supression of free speech in this country?

88:

This gagging law is almost certain to
be used to prevent people publishing facts that contradict even
clear errors in whitewashing and scapegoating enquiries

Which shows just how terminally stupid the politicos are.
Even in Putin's Russia the internet exists & people can see what is going, even if most, at present, still believe Putin's lies.
Here, it's going to be even tougher to whitewash such stuff out of existence, beacuse of teh interwbs.
Which brings us back to "is Camoron really that stupid?"
And, it's beginning to look as if the answer is - "Yes"
Pushed, of course by the Civil Service "establishment" that woudl LURVE to see the Official Secrets Act re-instated.
I happen to think it's too late for that, but we are in for some interesting fights along the way.

89:

One could, maybe, argue that certain (almost always "religious") groups have been allowed too much leeway in promoting their Dark Ages &/or neo-fascist agendas, without people having the nerve to confront them, for fear of being labelled "Waycist".

When people like Bahar Mustafa make terminally stupid remarks, one does begin to wonder .....
Or people bend over backwards to allow openly misogynistic (religious again) separation of men & women in Public Meetings, as happened during the recent election campaign ... again, one wonders.

Camoron's language, however is open to all sorts of interpretations, many of which - as we have collectively demonstrated - do not fill me, or any of you with gladness, ot the joys of Spring.
Um.

90:

I'm not sure if you're taking a deliberate or accidental tangent, but "Savile" and "Saville" are two very different things. Mostly so far the comments have been referring to the "Saville Enquiry" into the Bloody Sunday shootings in Northern Ireland in 1972.

91:

Oops, I forgot and got confused by name similarity.

92:

To add a different Spanish example... the first one may be very much open to discuss at which point saying stupid shit on the Internet is or no a crime (for example, would it be harassment?), while I'm sure calling everything "TERRORISM!!!!11!!1!" is not useful at all.

But a few days ago a popular TV journalism programme made an interview with an former member of ETA where he basically admitted that the whole terrorism thing was a huge mistake, a criminal enterprise where he did a lot of harm to other people motivated by a sort of peer pressure mentality in the gang... basically that he was an idiot that killed people he didnt knew just because somebody told him that was his duty as a patriot, and that he was sorry for all of it.

The reaction of many from the right was that the whole idea of having an interview where an "etarra" could talk was an insult to the victims that should not be allowed. Even if to ask for forgiveness. Even if in the end it doesnt matter if you forgive him or not (I dont feel particularly inclied to do so, myself), but think of the use this can be to make a lot of possible new recruits think about what being a member of a terrorist gang really is about.

No, the whole idea of somebody related to ETA talking is "offensive" and the only "democratic" way of handling this is to ensure everybody does not talk about ETA in any kind of terms but the ones that are approved by the right. Anything else is dangerously naive at best and collaboration with the terrorists at worst.

Funny enough... the ETA-friendly circles in the Basque country ALSO found the programme a travestry of all that a good journalist should do...

93:
No, the whole idea of somebody related to ETA talking is "offensive" and the only "democratic" way of handling this is to ensure everybody does not talk about ETA in any kind of terms but the ones that are approved by the right. Anything else is dangerously naive at best and collaboration with the terrorists at worst.
Irresistably reminded of the broadcasting bans on Sinn Fein and the IRA (among others in British media, but alone in Ireland. For years people wondered what mystical powers Gerry Adams' voice had).
94:

My own view is that if you're in favor of free speech and democracy and all that, but you decide ahead of time that you don't think you can get enough people to agree about it to keep it in place so you're going to censor people to keep them from arguing against free speech, and you're going to keep them from voting against democracy, you've already admitted that you can't have what you want.

Maybe it wouldn't work if you let it work, but if you can't give it a try then you've already lost.

"This is why we can't have nice things."
http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/this-is-why-we-cant-have-nice-things/photos

95:

I imagine Cameron is moving towards something like the German system where groups advocating the destruction of democracy are illegal.

96:

It makes a certain kind of sense. If you are a threat to other people's liberties, why should you be allowed any of those liberties yourself?

No, put that way it doesn't make sense. It would make a certain kind of sense if you replace "any" with "all". It's okay to deny the enemies of liberty some of their own liberties, but denying them all liberties is certainly too extreme.

97:

Is it a thought-crime to not like David Cameron very much?

Guilty as charged.

98:

"Pushed, of course by the Civil Service "establishment" that would LURVE to see the Official Secrets Act re-instated."

I think there are some readers of this blog who would also LURVE to see the Official Secrets Act re-instated—especially Section Three. ;-)

99:

* Shudder *

No, because that would imply my fictional universe was real, in which case merely committing suicide is no way out of the approaching horror ...

Last week, on Twitter, I was reduced to making up innovative scatological collective nouns out of the names of Tory cabinet ministers. A Cameron of Rabid Felchturkeys, a Gove of Assclowns, that sort of thing.

Anyone got any good suggestions?

100:

"I imagine Cameron is moving towards something like the German system where groups advocating the destruction of democracy are illegal."

No, that's not how it works in Germany, at least not if the group in question is a political party. A political party cannot be banned for merely advocating the destruction of the "freiheitliche demokratische Grundordnung" (free democratic basic order). It must actively, aggressively fight against this order. This is the goalpost set by the Constitutional Court in the trial that resulted in banning the KPD in 1956.

The ministries of the interior (both federal and statewise) have more leeway in prohibiting activities of (or even banning) organisations that are not political parties, though.

101:

"The government has interpreted the peacefulness of the movement as weakness; our non-violent policies have been taken as a green light for government violence. Refusal to resort to force has been interpreted by the government as an invitation to use armed force against the people without any fear of reprisals."

Thank you, Mr Stross, for articulating something I struggled to get across to my peers during my association with the Occupy movement.

Considering the direction the Tories appear to be going in this country it's now more relevant than ever, and if I get back into serious activism I'm going to be banging that drum very loudly.

102:

Just so long as you keep in mind that that quote is from the fictional story above, and not necessarily a Manifesto/Call to violence. It may be accurate, but be careful. Just sayin'.

103:

Ah, the “dictatorship of democracy” approach. The idea seems somewhat absurd; what if the majority of the population decides that democracy is ineffectual or immoral and wants to live under a theocracy, monarchy or dictatorship? Shouldn't they be able to vote out democracy, or is democracy some divine law?

104:

anonemouse has started an hare here, too ....
The parallels with Ireland are many - but the one I want to pick up is th attitude shown by M McGuiness.
He always claimed there was a "war" on, which the Brit guvmint always denied.
[ At the time, I thought they should have taken him at their word - it would have meant that IRA could be killed anywhere on the planet as a result - I strongly suspect that I was wrong... ]
However ...
That attitude also has another side - McGuiness has, effectively stated: "We had a war, now we've had a peace conference & a treaty - the war is OVER."
Which also explains his attitude to the utter fuckwit "ultras" who want to drag us all back to that set of horrors. This parallels the comments of the ETA-ist that you mention.

No-one said that it was going to be easy, though.

105:

WHICH section 3?
I assume you mean the "International Realations" disclosures version?

106:

THAT is what happened in 1933-34 in Germany, actually.
The ultra-right thought they were using Adolf, to get rid of that nasty Social Democracy ... right up until 30th June 1934.

107:

Interesting point, more applicable to places like Egypt and Turkey than here though. My view is that "the people" should NOT be allowed to vote in a system that they cannot vote out at a later date.

108:

...what if the majority of the population decides that democracy is ineffectual or immoral and wants to live under a theocracy, monarchy or dictatorship?

I may have misunderstood, but I think Cameron is saying that democracy is a central part of the one British culture, the culture that must be maintained against all other cultures.

For Britain to give up democracy would be like tearing down Big Ben or turning Westminster Abbey into a bowling alley. British citizens cannot be allowed to talk about whether it's a good idea, anybody who suggests such a thing must be prevented from influencing people. If there is a church that condones someone talking like that, the church must be shut down. If the government suspects someone is spreading that idea, then the government must have authority to spy on him to find out for sure.

I think he's saying that democracy, free speech, religious freedom etc are so important that we can't allow anybody to threaten them.

109:

I definitely have this bridge for sale! I don't know what is
passing through what Cameron is pleased to call his mind, but I am
absolutely SURE that he does not mean that. He may well be
mentally separating the use of those by 'well-meaning' (i.e. 'our') side from that by 'ill-meaning' (i.e. 'their') side, just as
HowardBrazee said in a related context.

110:

I can't help much, not being good at using scatology, but here's
a go with the epitome of various classes. The May of ProDommes?
The Osborne of Slave Drivers? The Cameron of ScrewLoose
SockPuppets?

111:

He always claimed there was a "war" on, which the Brit guvmint always denied.
[ At the time, I thought they should have taken him at their word - it would have meant that IRA could be killed anywhere on the planet as a result - I strongly suspect that I was wrong... ]

See the shooting of the three IRA members in Gibraltar by the SAS. Any time the British Government really did act as though there was a "war", the complaints of human rights violations were long and loud -- generally it was ok to declare a "war" so long as it left some moral grey area where the terrorists and paramilitaries could randomly kill "legitimate targets", not so much the other way around. (And yes, I am well aware that that the Gibraltar killings are not as cut and dried as either side would like to present them; nothing about NI ever is.)

112:

It's a position similar to Stokely Carmichael's famous quote about non-violent strategy.

Have you come across the literature on conditional non-violence?

113:

I 'umbly suggest the phrase "Michael Gove" can't actually be made more insulting.

114:

Of course there's also §129a (5) StGB "Werbung für eine terroristische Vereinigung": support or encouraging support for "terrorist" groups.

That has been used to prosecute sympathizers of the Red Army Faction and even anti-nuclear protesters who organized rail blocks. Rarely ended in a convictions though, so it was mainly used for its chilling effects.

115:

I may have misunderstood, but I think Cameron is saying that democracy is a central part of the one British culture, the culture that must be maintained against all other cultures.

You're American, aren't you?

Democracy is not a core part of British culture -- especially not among those of Cameron's class.

116:

Check Philip Ebersole's #82. He provided this link:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/may/13/counter-terrorism-bill-extremism-disruption-orders-david-cameron

Cameron will tell the NSC: “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance.

“This government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach. As the party of one nation, we will govern as one nation and bring our country together. That means actively promoting certain values.

“Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. Democracy. The rule of law. Equal rights regardless of race, gender or sexuality.

“We must say to our citizens: this is what defines us as a society.”

He appears to be claiming that these values are what defines britain as one single society, and that the british government cannot allow anyone to threaten those cultural values which are central to british unity.

I don't claim he believes it.

117:

Did both you and @82 failed to notice that it the same article that Charlie links to at the beginning of this post? I think he's read it.

118:

One wee correction - I don't think it was the ultra-right, rather the right wing of the ruling and officer classes. Calling it ultra-right suggests a small and uninfluential part of society, rather than a large chunk of the ruling class.

119:

D-t-P @ 111
Exactly the sort of thing I meant, in fact.
The practicalities showed up in your example, which is why I said I thought I might have been wrong previously...
Thank you!

120:

Correct
My mis-wording at fault there ....

121:

No, but I'd very much like to read up on it.

122:

I particularly liked this gem in the paper today.

My favourite soundbite is the It should be noted that other countries with a pre-transmission regulatory regime are not known for their compliance with rights relating to freedom of expression and government may not wish to be associated with such regimes.

And Cameron has gone out of his way to endorse May's approach.

123:

Did both you and @82 failed to notice that it the same article that Charlie links to at the beginning of this post? I think he's read it.

I don't know about @82 but I missed that. I saw people talking about the one sentence soundbite, and then somebody posted a link to more context.

I thought it was funnier in context. Britain is a single culture and nobody will be allowed to challenge the foundations of that one culture. He's redefining with a vengeance.

124:

I find this very disturbing for a number of reasons:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-3092860/British-bomber-jailed-life-murder-U-S-sergeant-Iraq.html

"A London taxi driver, convicted of making bombs which were used against U.S. forces in Iraq, one of which killed a U.S. sergeant, was jailed for life on Friday and told he would spend at least 38 years behind bars."

Why? It was a war, he was targeting soldiers who had invaded his nation. The soldier was not British. The "crime" was not committed under UK jurisdiction.

Would we expect former colonial "terrorists" who killed our soldiers to be prosecuted if they are now in the UK? It seems to me that this is purely political and aimed at wannabe jihadis who have joined IS - they are not going to be allowed back.

125:

I well understand the various modes in which Democracy can produce sub-optimal results.

But it is still, quite beyond my fathoming, what exactly happened in this last election. How could such an extreme minority win so big in a national election? The UK isn't even in crisis AFAIK. (well, it is now).

Can someone explain it to me (like I'm 5) - how every "lesser-evil" alternative lost so badly?

Or can we chalk this up to slutty voting machines?

126:

EL5.

People guessed that since Scotland failed to get independence there would be a predictable back-swing and the SNP would do well.

Due to historical oddities (known as the
West Lothian question) the minority of Scottish voters (4mil-ish vrs 50 milish in mainland England) hold a lot more seats in West Minister than their population would suggest. The SNP were visibly salivating / relishing a minority government or becoming power brokers in West Minister, which caused a lot of patriotic types to move right.

Lib Dems made a pact with Faust then were wet and spineless during said pact and everyone lost respect for them. They got less votes than the Green party in many seats.

Labour ran with a wet dog PM candidate and there's still a lot of hatred for Blair / Nu-Labor around. (Look to Maggie - takes at least 12 years for it to wear off). Balls got axed because everyone hates him. Most of them are still from the time when it was cool to ape the Democrats and sign up for consultancy positions in dodgy places like arms firms. (No, seriously). The remnants of Old Labour don't care for that much, and everyone else has seen PFI and knows that they're just Conversative-lite-but-with-worse-personalities at this point.

Since everyone is under austerity, everyone knew the racist immigrant card would be played. To save everyone the embarrassment of acknowledging the working classes, UKIP was created to siphon off and attract voters who would otherwise be forced to be akin to the BNP or EDL. They got a lot of votes (4million+) but due to splitting Conservative blocks only got a single (? two?) seat.

And so the Conservatives returned to power.


But, real reason? You get 8-10 year cycles in these things, it's all fixed in advance.

127:

"Lib Dems made a pact with Faust then were wet and spineless
during said pact and everyone lost respect for them."

I cannot let that pass. Faust was not the devil; it was he who
made a pact with the devil.

And, since I am posting, to be fair to the Liberal Democrats, much
of their ineffectiveness was that they were fairly honourable, and
did not realise that the new Conservatives do not know the meaning
of the word. They would not have been so thoroughly betrayed by
Douglas-Home or even Macmillan.

128:

What are "voting machines"?
And see previous discussions on how elections are conducted here, & (certainly in Parliamentary ones) how steps are teken to ensure that the vote-count is fair.
We had a 66/67% turnout, & the largest share of the vote (approx 36/37%) went to the tories.
It was a fair election.
But, if you multiply that up, it gives you approx 24% of the TOTAL population that voted for the tories, also remembering that 33/34% of the populace did not vote at all.
But this is emphatically NOT "an extreme minority".

Please try again?

129:

Wait a minute, did Call-Me-Dave just say that in order to uphold freedom of speech you have to abolish freedom of speech?

Mind. Boggling.

130:

Except that the Verfassungsschutz and co. were explicitly formed to stop rightwing-extremist, white-supremacist groups like the Nazis from taking over Germany ever again. These special institutions are the direct result of a unique history.

Pray tell, what is the WWII-, Holocaust-level crime Muslims committed that warrants equivalent institutions that combat Islamist activity?

131:

Or can we chalk this up to slutty voting machines?

The UK does not use voting machines. It's pencil on paper the whole way, with a very resilient counting protocol to prevent fraud (I've attended a general election count and seen it working).

There has been a marked increase in postal voting in the past decade, and there have been attempts at electoral fraud via postal votes -- the system needs improvement -- but again, there are mechanisms in place that result in prosecutions when this is detected: I doubt it would swing a national election result.

What I think happened was a combination of the most negative electoral campaign in British electoral history convincing Labour voters in key marginal constituencies to stay at home, and the "shy Tory" effect (conservative voters are reluctant to express their voting intention to pollsters because they know deep down that the Tory party are a pile of nasty shits: British diffidence then comes into play). Bear in mind that the first past the post system means that 80% of constituency outcomes are pretty much pre-determined -- it takes something like the Scottish landslide (a 20% to 30% swing towards the SNP across the entire country) to dislodge incumbents. Finally: a majority of the voters who turned out voted for someone who was neither Labour nor Conservative -- but the minority parties split each others' votes.

132:

>a majority of the voters who turned out voted for someone who was neither Labour nor Conservative -- but the minority parties split each others' votes.

Nope. 30% Labour plus 37% Tory = 67% for the big two across the UK, not just a majority but a supermajority.

Not entirely sure what you meant here tbh - in most seats, the winner was on a plurality not a majority and tactical voting could in theory have put the second placed candidate first, but that's a bit of a truism under FPTP...

133:

Wait a minute, did Call-Me-Dave just say that in order to uphold freedom of speech you have to abolish freedom of speech?

Yes, he did. I did a double-take at that too.

However, he didn't exactly say to *abolish* freedom of speech entirely. You can say anything you want as long as he agrees it isn't extremist. As long as what you say is consistent with british culture. With the only british culture.

Talking about separating britain into multiple nations? Does that conflict with britain's single solitary unitary culture? Well, maybe. But you couldn't argue that such an idea is extremist, right? So that one is sure to be OK, for now....

134:

I cannot let that pass. Faust was not the devil; it was he who made a pact with the devil

Well, yes: despite what you may think of the Tories I don't see many people actually labeling Cameron the Devil. They will, however, happily concede he probably did a pact or two...

But yes, you got me and I used the reference in the wrong manner.

Pray tell, what is the WWII-, Holocaust-level crime Muslims committed that warrants equivalent institutions that combat Islamist activity?

I'm not going to wade into this too far, but:

Slavery in the Ottoman Empire was a legal and important part of the Ottoman Empire's economy and society[1] until the slavery of Caucasians was banned in the early 19th century, although slaves from other groups were allowed.[2] In Constantinople (present-day Istanbul), the administrative and political center of the Empire, about a fifth of the population consisted of slaves in 1609.[3] Even after several measures to ban slavery in the late 19th century, the practice continued largely unfazed into the early 20th century. As late as 1908, female slaves were still sold in the Ottoman Empire.[4] Sexual slavery was a central part of the Ottoman slave system throughout the history of the institution.[5][6]

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_S%C3%A8vres

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

In 1981, Mauritania became the last country in the world to abolish slavery,[2] when a presidential decree abolished the practice. However, no criminal laws were passed to enforce the ban.[2][3][4] In 2007, "under international pressure", the government passed a law allowing slaveholders to be prosecuted.[2] Despite this, the number of slaves in the country has been estimated by the organization SOS Slavery to be up to 600,000 (or 20% of the population)

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

In response to the Hazara uprising of 1892, the Afghan Emir Abdur Rahman Khan declared a "Jihad" against the Shiites. His large army defeated the rebellion at its center, in Oruzgan, by 1892 and the local population was being massacred. According to S. A. Mousavi, "thousands of Hazara men, women, and children were sold as slaves in the markets of Kabul and Qandahar, while numerous towers of human heads were made from the defeated rebels as a warning to others who might challenge the rule of the Amir". Until the 20th century, some Hazaras were still kept as slaves by the Pashtuns; although Amanullah Khan banned slavery in Afghanistan in the 1923 Constitution,[23] the practice carried on unofficially for many more years.[24]

In the time of the Crimean Khanate, Crimeans engaged in frequent raids into the Danubian principalities, Poland-Lithuania, and Muscovy. For each captive, the khan received a fixed share (savğa) of 10% or 20%. The campaigns by Crimean forces categorize into "sefers", officially declared military operations led by the khans themselves, and çapuls, raids undertaken by groups of noblemen, sometimes illegally because they contravened treaties concluded by the khans with neighbouring rulers). For a long time, until the early 18th century, the khanate maintained a massive Slave Trade with the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East. Caffa was one of the best known and significant trading ports and slave markets.[74] Crimean Tatar raiders enslaved more than 1 million Eastern Europeans.[75]

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

Five centuries of institutional slavery and even modern countries still having 20% of their population as slaves is pretty much genocidal behavior (esp. given that slaves were largely targeted to ethnic populations in Africa).

To pretend there isn't a heavily cultural tie between slavery and Islam in certain parts of the world (i.e. M.E. / Central Asia rather than Asia) is blinkered thinking at best.

European and even Russian history is somewhat free of this taint, barring that whole unfortunate colonies thing.

135:

Regarding Russia, Peter the Great nominally abolished slavery in 1723, converting them to serfs. Of course, the history of the serf class in Russia ends up with a genocide / pogrom all of its own, but there we go.

/goes to find an uplifting story or two.

136:

Pray tell, what is the WWII-, Holocaust-level crime Muslims committed that warrants equivalent institutions that combat Islamist activity?

You argue that islam in general is genocidal like the Nazis because they were and are a century or two late getting rid of official slavery.

Meanwhile you shrug off the european cultural history of genocide.

To me this looks like your weakest effort so far.

137:

& Catina
Islam is not islamism, any more than christianity is Calvin & the Inquisitions .....
However:
1. They are all loonies, it's just that most of them are "mostly harmless".
2. The bigots are the true believers - & it can be very difficult to argue against them. See the history of Scotland, the expulsion of the moriscos from Spain & the current troubles inside islam. (etc)
3. To argue that the islamists are "not muslims" (The no true Scotsman argument) is also false ...
The islamists ( & the christian dominionists ) are really truly believers in theor nominated religion - it's just that they are emphatically NOT "mostly harmless"

And the politicians have fucked it up big-time, because, the way out is EDUCATION & not promoting "moderate religion".
The whole idea of BigSkyFairy needs a systematic, scientific (as in evidence that will stand up in a laboratory or a court of law) demolition-job done on it.
It has already been done, many times, actually, but the politicos, for some reason, still crawl to religious leaders, spouting platitudes.
Except, yesterday in Ireland YAAAAY!

138:

Err, major fail. While the history of slavery in Islam is detestable, there is little reason to think Medieval European history that much better. Hint, just remember where the word "slave" is coming from. And ask yourself why they didn't use the Arabic word for said slaves, saqaliba, though both likely derive from "Slavic", e.g. "those with a voice (slovo - word)", in contrast to the mute(němci) Germans. Note that there are alternate etymologies for the latter two.

139:

You argue that islam in general is genocidal like the Nazis because they were and are a century or two late getting rid of official slavery.

Meanwhile you shrug off the european cultural history of genocide.

Err, major fail. While the history of slavery in Islam is detestable, there is little reason to think Medieval European history that much better

European and even Russian history is somewhat free of this taint, barring that whole unfortunate colonies thing.


I see advanced level snark isn't taught around these parts.

Firstly, "a century or two" just isn't the case. Islamic societies were, in some cases, 1,000 years late (e.g. Magna Carta, 1215) - and there's no doubt that they were Islamic societies based on Islamic faith. Now, you can accurately state that Arabian slave trading existed before the rise of Islam, but Islam itself is connected deeply with slavery and racism in African societies.

Try some Tatah Mentan
on this.

Now: if we want to play historical revisionism 101, ignore this.

If you want to play actual real life things, the Arab slave trade continued after the Roman Empire fell (Constantinople, where is it? sigh) and predated European interactions with Africa by approximately, oh, a thousand years.

There's a very good case to be made that colonialism was shaped by the Arab-African interaction in terms of 'how things were done', (there's a reason I mentioned Peter the Great, look up the disaster of the emancipation of the serf class in 1823 or whenever it was in that in many cases the emancipation of the serfs (not slaves, this was 100 or so years later) was more disastrous but I digress) in that slavery predation in north / central Africa had already become a social fact. Of course, they made it much more brutal and efficient (that machine logic of Capital at work).

Africa had already been shaped by this trade long before Europeans arrived in the pith hats.

The British Empire, for all its faults, spent not inconsiderable parts of the 19th century bribing other European nations to cease slavery, at least above the Equator. (Portugal, Spain etc). There's a reason I linked to the Treaty of Sèvres, as 'the sick man of Europe' was a trope at the time to describe the Ottoman Empire. (Of course, the British Empire wasn't doing this purely out of good will, but go look up the figures - very much in the realms of 'Egypt gets $1 billion / year aid from the USA')

The 'official' toll of slavery in this period is 14-20 million actual slaves taken (without considering European activities, so on top of that) not to mention the distortion and deaths caused by it, which cannot be accurately determined.


Far from ignoring genocide (which I'd be insulted by if it wasn't so crass an insult), I'm calling out your ignorance. There's a major difference. Oh, and Saudi Arabia? 1950's, 20% of the population were slaves.

If you're not smart enough to work out why the figure 20% keeps reoccurring and why it should chill you to the bone, it's called the quintile factor, and it's used in economics a lot. The Arab world worked on the lowest quintile being slaves for over a thousand years: I'd strongly suggest that some cultures have noticed this and quite like the idea.

If you know what I mean.

140:

As Trottelreiner hasn't weighed in on this yet, I'm going to do it:

"Except that the Verfassungsschutz and co. were explicitly formed to stop rightwing-extremist, white-supremacist groups like the Nazis from taking over Germany ever again."

Emphatically no! The Verfassungsschutz and co. were formed out of former members of Gestapo and co. to stop the dirty communists from taking over West-Germany ever again. Throughout their history the Verfassungsschutz and co. have displayed a remarkable bias towards the left and have at the same time shown remarkable blindness towards right wing extremists. (To say it cautiously: at times their behaviour comes dangerously close to looking as if they were actively supporting Nazi groups.) For the most recent—and indeed one of the most stark—example I refer you to what is known as the NSU affair.

141:

Err, I was not that sure if I was up to date on these issues, and for once I decided to keep my damn mouth shut. Or whatever metaphor suits.

As for the beginning of the BfV, there is this nice paper by the CIA:

https://web.archive.org/web/20120227041344/http://www.foia.cia.gov/docs/DOC_0000689577/DOC_0000689577.pdf

And as for the actual prohibition of the KPD, there were these two articles, from an USian perspective, for those addicted to Legalese:

http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1554&context=iclr

http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2791&context=ilj

142:

I see advanced level snark isn't taught around these parts.

Oh, I see! So you didn't mean it, you were just snarking. Sorry for the confusion. That happens to me some too, I say something snarky hoping people will see how illogical it is and they think I'm being illogical.

Except in that case, why did you spend 50 lines saying it again, after you'd just explained that you didn't really mean it? What kind of snark is that?

So OK, you look at 1500 years of history to say that muslims are bad, and you ignore 1500 years of history that say europeans are bad. You point out that muslims do not have a history of democracy, which in europe dates back 1000 years -- that's right, biches, europe has had democracy for a thousand years! Since the Magna Carta brought democracy to europe -- but then, nobody else has that history either. When Sun Yat Sen brought democracy to China in 1911, he included the heroic censors as one of the 5 pillars of government, because China had no tradition of free speech.

And yet the Nazis, which inspired the Verfassungsschutz, a secret police without police powers, which spies on people suspected of extremism and which can get political parties banned, originally composed largely of ex-Gestapo members -- happened in a european country with weak democratic traditions. You are arguing that islam is like this european phenomenon....

Yes, very snarky indeed.

143:

The question was:

Pray tell, what is the WWII-, Holocaust-level crime Muslims committed that warrants equivalent institutions that combat Islamist activity?

I've shown you data that has a direct cost of 14-20 million people with indirect effects / unregistered deaths at probably twice that, not to mention the social costs in attitudes towards women (a large percentage of slavery was sexually based).

It's also a factual case that Islam and slavery have an extremely recent history of being causally linked.

It is rational to ward against this kind of activity.

Q.E.D.


I'm simply not having the argument that you think we're having, visa vie "comparative genocide" or right-wing versus left-wing politics. I do happen to know all about Gladio and what various European spooky dooky peeps get up to in using extremists from both ends of this outdated dichotomy.


Your minds are working in 20th Century spaces; sorry, I don't.

144:

Something you seem to be missing is that slavery was not a single
situation. It varies from the plantation slaves, who were treated
at best as domestic animals, up to ones who were essentially just
indentured workers - a category that has never vanished from the
UK (let alone the colonies!), and is being expanded by our current
rulers. Islamic slavery was traditionally and, I believe is
today, far closer to the latter category.

No, I don't approve - and nor do I approve of indentured working!

145:

Something you seem to be missing...

Of course, they made it much more brutal and efficient (that machine logic of Capital at work).

I'm fully aware that there is a horrible 'spectrum' to slavery, and I'm fully aware that it's not solely the province of Islam: I'm also aware that no-one has mentioned a possibility for the lead quote. i.e. sexual grooming of low socioeconomic class girls (8-16) in cities, predominantly by second or third generation self-proclaimed Muslims.

Which also explains some of UKIPs popularity, but no-one seems comfortable mentioning it. (For the usual boring reasons where conflation is the standard, noise is louder than clarity, yadda yadda yadda).

However, regarding women and slavery, I'm afraid it's not a case of the latter:

10382: Ruling on having intercourse with a slave woman when one has a wife

Our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also did that, as did the Sahaabah, the righteous and the scholars. The scholars are unanimously agreed on that and it is not permissible for anyone to regard it as haraam or to forbid it. Whoever regards that as haraam is a sinner who is going against the consensus of the scholars.

http://islamqa.info/en/10382

Admittedly, this source is so extreme that it's banned in Saudi Arabia (but only due to it issuing fatwas), but it's theologically accurate. i.e. this is what it says on the tin, whether or not you take it literally is a different matter.


This issue is the kind of thing that starts problems like Bosnia, fyi (but hey, the title of the post is Thought Crime). You can bet money that people are on this like hot cakes. Given the choice between Iceland or the Sudan, I'm afraid I have absolutely no sympathy for the latter on this matter.

146:

Oh, nuts - you are posting bigotry, pure and simple, by not also
damning Judaism and (almost all) Christianity[*]. See Genesis 16
and 30, and I don't care whether the original ancient Hebrew meant
servant or slave - the handmaid was used like the latter - and that
text was used to justify having sex with slaves in the so-called
Christian world, too.

[*] There may well be some Christian sects that deny the validity
of the Old Testament as Holy Writ - there certainly have been, but
I don't know about today.

147:

Well, let's just agree that the Middle Eastern monotheisms are all repulsive ideologies that should be actively discouraged in any civilized society and certainly not granted any special privileges or immunity from being satirized, offended or laughed at.

148:

Oh, nuts - you are posting bigotry, pure and simple, by not also damning Judaism and (almost all) Christianity[*]

Whose to say I don't condemn them for the same thing?

The question was asked about Islam and practices that were common less than seventy years ago.

There may well be some Christian sects that deny the validity of the Old Testament as Holy Writ - there certainly have been, but I don't know about today.

It was called Marcionism.

Tertullian claimed Marcion was the first to separate the New Testament from the Old Testament. Marcion is said to have gathered scriptures from Jewish tradition, and juxtaposed these against the sayings and teachings of Jesus in a work entitled the Antithesis.

http://www.gnosis.org/library/marcion/antithes.htm

Got suppressed by the usual suspects. AD 144, pretty sad it's a topic that still has to be discussed.

~

You're also conflating labeling an issue as very real and supporting those (right wing or otherwise) who make the category error of moving to a universal stance on the subject.

Which I explicitly denied: this is what it says on the tin, whether or not you take it literally is a different matter.

Which is the same response I'd give to anyone (Jewish, Christian, Hindu etc) quoting problematic ancient texts as guides to the modern mind.

~

If you want a really big Thought Crime, don't ask me about the G_D zone of the mind.

149:

And yes, I'm ironically aware that Nazism is tied to Marcion - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Christians


Attempting to place me on the right / authoritarian part of your political spectrum would be an intense error, however.

150:

OK. But my point - and it is IMPORTANT - is that slavery is NOT
justified by Islam any more than it is by Judaism or Christianity.
By all means damn the Wahhabists, Salfists and other extremist
sects, or the Saudis, ISIL and other extremist societies, but do
not assist the anti-Muslim bigots in their crusade.

151:

And let's not confuse anti-Muslim with anti-Islam. Anyone who believes in Western secular liberalism is automatically anti-Islam, but not anti-Muslim. The latter, like many other religious believers, are obviously deluded and will in time hopefully see the error of their ways.

152:

Pray tell, what is the WWII-, Holocaust-level crime Muslims committed that warrants equivalent institutions that combat Islamist activity?

Yes. I still don't know how much of what you're saying is snark, though, as opposed to what you actually want people to think about you.

I've shown you data that has a direct cost of 14-20 million people with indirect effects / unregistered deaths at probably twice that,

Sure, but what's the bottom line? Speaking as a moral relativist, I understand that when muslims come into land controlled by christians and fail to fit in they can expect to be stomped on, just like christians going into lands controlled by muslims or either of them going into lands controlled by atheists. But so what?

Some of the social unrest in the USA has come from atheists taking over land formerly controlled by christians. It used to be we had religious freedom, which meant that Christians passed "blue laws" that nobody could work or buy or sell on Sunday. This was free because anybody was free to sit at home and pray to whoever they wanted while the Christians prayed together. Jews and muslims and 7th day adventists could all hold religious services on Sunday if they wanted to, it was religious freedom.

But now the atheists (or maybe the capitalists) have taken over and people can be required to work on Christmas day and Easter, usually with some extra pay. Christians don't like to admit that they're too weak to stay on top and they raise a fuss. They're still strong enough to raise a big fuss.

I'm simply not having the argument that you think we're having, visaI'm simply not having the argument that you think we're having, visa vie "comparative genocide" or right-wing versus left-wing politics. vie "comparative genocide" or right-wing versus left-wing politics.

Your minds are working in 20th Century spaces; sorry, I don't.

Yes, I don't get it.

The 20th century approach would be to say that european types know the right way to live, so we should enforce it on others. You aren't doing that. You aren't saying that muslims are more genocidal than europeans, so we need to do something about them. That would be so 20th century....

So what's the new line? If you aren't claiming that european atheists are morally better than muslims, what's your slant on it? Is it that europeans are powerful and arabs are weak, so we should impose our will however we want? Is it that you have the real moral truth, different from the old hypocracies, so we should follow you? Are you beyond good and evil? Or what?


(I kind of like that spelling. We don't have democracy, we have hypocracy. Yes.)

153:

Speaking as a moral relativist

But you're not a moral relativist, that's very clear.

The 20th century approach would be to say that european types know the right way to live, so we should enforce it on others.

That's explicitly not what 20th century thinking would say - try 18th (Kant etc). If anything, the 20th century was a tooth and nail fight between competing ideologies. The argument would be 'our ideological system (Capitalism) is better than all others, it will defeat theirs, and here's the proof'. (With a generous helping hand of violence / power / game playing and ruthlessness - RIP John Nash)

Are you beyond good and evil?

That's 19th century thinking, not 20th.

Is it that you have the real moral truth, different from the old hypocracies, so we should follow you?

Why would anyone desire that? Throwing out the baby with the bathwater is a surefire way to repeat the same mistakes. Given that I'm heavily using technology to gain knowledge to post shows that I'm learning rather than wanting to lead. For one, linking Marcion with Nazism was surprising to me, but obvious in hindsight (I knew about the Luther connection, AD 144 is a different matter, although I spot Simon Bar Kokhba, again. Old school generation through destruction, sigh).

~

Anyhow, kibarkochbázni.


OK. But my point - and it is IMPORTANT - is that slavery is NOT justified by Islam any more than it is by Judaism or Christianity.

I don't think slavery can ever be justified, it's insanity to do so.

154:

"Speaking as a moral relativist"

But you're not a moral relativist, that's very clear.

Hey, speak for yourself! I say I'm a moral relativist and who are you to disagree? If I said I was a christian would you say that you have christians defined and I'm not one? If I said I was jewish would you have the right to tell me I'm not? (Some Orthodox Jews have told my sister she isn't Jewish because she's Reform and they say they have the right to pronounce who's really Jewish and who isn't.

So are you the kind of moral relativist who gets to tell me whether I'm eligible to join the club or not? I don't think so. Who died and made you Pope of the moral relativists?

The argument would be 'our ideological system (Capitalism) is better than all others, it will defeat theirs, and here's the proof'. (With a generous helping hand of violence / power / game playing and ruthlessness - RIP John Nash)

Yes, and part of that is "We will force you to live by our ideology for your own good". That was still going strong in the 20th century.

So anyway,what is your new 21st century approach that people who're behind the times haven't heard of yet?

Given that I'm heavily using technology to gain knowledge to post shows that I'm learning rather than wanting to lead.

The two are not incompatible. The time comes when you must make a choice informed by all the information you have now. We had analysis paralysis in the 20th century but it might be gaining on us.

For one, linking Marcion with Nazism was surprising to me, but obvious in hindsight (I knew about the Luther connection, AD 144 is a different matter, although I spot Simon Bar Kokhba, again. Old school generation through destruction, sigh).

People who value tradition, will look for authorities for what they want to do. If it hadn't been Marcion it would have been somebody else. Christians in Nazi Germany were not safe, there were plenty of christians in the camps getting worked to death, and room for plenty more.

If an influential group of christians in the USA needed support for a move like that, they could look to Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson, men who are far more influential in the USA than Marcion.

Human brains can create connections between anything and anything else, as the Law of Fives asserts and demonstrates. The value is in creating connections that have some sort of use to you.

155:

Christians in Nazi Germany were not safe, there were plenty of christians in the camps getting worked to death, and room for plenty more.

I can understand if people don't want to wade through academic articles (or sadly lack the access, not much I can do about that apart from suggest searching out the authors and hope they've put the working papers on personal pages), but not reading the wiki-links is a bit much.

The 'German Christians' were avid Nazis, it wasn't an excuse, and Marcion's gnostic teaching were absolutely in tune with their goals. They were explicitly not in tune with protestors such as the White Rose / Sophie Scholl.

It doesn't mean Marcion would agree with that goal - again, read the links. Marcion was attempting to remove Christianity and Jewish links because the Judaism had gone full end-times apocalypse mode, with three (!) quick rebellions against the Romans (!!) all featuring a new 'Messiah'. Which, frankly, deserves a medal in brash, suicidal desire to not to exist. It's not as if the Romans didn't advertize Carthage or make things clear.

Marcion was attempting to 'save' Christianity from Roman association with Jewish rebellion (he was also obscenely rich and bribed his way back into the (proto) Church hierarchy after being excommunicated: natch, there's your bought pardons origin story right there, right up to Luther); the 'German Christians' were attempting to purge Judaism from the faith so that Nazism and Christianity could merge with ideological purity.

It's a reversed focal point, on multiple levels: I'd suggest looking into it since it's your faith and all.

Human brains can create connections between anything and anything else, as the Law of Fives asserts and demonstrates. The value is in creating connections that have some sort of use to you.


The value is seeing what's been laid out in front of your eyes.

156:

You may-or-may-not spot parables between the apocalyptic teachings of ISIL / IS and the past.

That's up to you: but everyone is gearing up for more time in country, and you can bet some dollars that it'll get messy.

157:

It's a reversed focal point, on multiple levels: I'd suggest looking into it since it's your faith and all.

You're telling me what I am, again, and you keep getting it wrong.

The value is seeing what's been laid out in front of your eyes.

"Some things must be seen to be believed, most things must be believed to be seen."

What people lay out in front of your eyes wouldn't have its meaning without what you already think you know, and they wouldn't know what symbols you'd respond to without having a model of you that they improve when they see things not working. It's because you're so similar to other people they've convinced that they can be effective on you.

158:

You're telling me what I am, again, and you keep getting it wrong.

You're not good at meta-jokes, are you?

What people lay out in front of your eyes wouldn't have its meaning without what you already think you know, and they wouldn't know what symbols you'd respond to without having a model of you that they improve when they see things not working. It's because you're so similar to other people they've convinced that they can be effective on you.

Cute. Am I the One?

Meta-meta-meta joke:

This is the re-run, but with the captions turned on. (Literally in this case).


I know what you did last Summer

159:

You're not good at meta-jokes, are you?

Far too often, when I tell them people just don't get them.

Maybe it's something about my delivery.

I naturally want to blame the audience for not getting it, but when I'm the one telling it to them, and I'm the one who wants them to get it, that means it's me.

160:

Far too often, when I tell them people just don't get them.

Since you're sniffing around, take a page out of my book:

Explain them, even if it's dangerous to do so.

#YOLO

161:

Which also explains some of UKIPs popularity, but no-one seems comfortable mentioning it.
Because anyone who does is an "EEEEVIIIL WAYCIST!!!" That's why.

Of course, bith the christian bible & the muslim's recital approve of slavery .....
How uncomfortable, for some.

162:

Explain them, even if it's dangerous to do so.

Don't you hate explaining jokes?

I know you do.

163:

the minority of Scottish voters (4mil-ish vrs 50 milish in mainland England) hold a lot more seats in West Minister than their population would suggest.

Some of the Scottish constituencies are geographically vast though. For example:-
The Orkney and Shetland Islands is ONE Westminster constituency, and constitutes sufficient land area that there are scheduled air services between individual islands in each group:
Some of the Scottish Highland constituencies cover more geographic area than Greater London (using the generous definition of GL as "anything inside the M25 ring"):
It will take about 6 hours drive and 1.5 hours on a ferry to get from one inhabited end of Eilann Sear (Western Isles) to the other.

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on May 18, 2015 1:51 PM.

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