This is a posting about “Freedom of Speech”. It will use some current events that are “offensive”. My position on them is NOT the subject of the posting. (In fact, I rarely care at all about emotionally overloaded issues. What usually interests me is the intellectual vacuousness of the arguments over what is, to me, mostly nothing. Welcome to the unemotive Aspe world…) So please don’t go trying to “project” some kind of “position” on me. I’m neither pro, nor anti, whatever it is folks will immagine.
Right there in the title. When people are “offended” by some symbol or other, that is an emotional state that they create inside their own head and for their own idiosyncratic reasons. It is neither rational, nor reasonable, to make any law, ruling, or policy based on “offense”.
The basic problem is that anyone can be offended by anything. The choice over which offense to elevate to a law, ruling, or policy then becomes a political football. It has no foundation in reason. No foundation in fact.
Yet we in the U.S.A. are busy getting all wrapped around the axle over various “offense” crimes. BTW, this is also why I find “Hate Speech” and “Hate Crimes” of all sorts absurd. How many crimes are committed from a pleasant warm and fuzzy point of view? Tacking “hate” on the front is only for the purpose of political elevation of some injured parties ahead of others. Does it really matter if a person was killed by a party that hated them, or just wanted them dispassionately dead? Does the emotion of someone change the degree of the crime? Frankly, I’d find the dispassionate sociopath killing a dozen folks more of a concern than one guy who hated another.
So with that said, some examples of, IMHO, the stupidity of making policy based on emotional state.
In the news today is the flood of folks stumbling over each other to publicly hate the Confederate Battle Flag. It’s our Two Minute Hate of the day. Very Orwellian. A week ago it was not in the news. Now it’s four walled everywhere. Hillary is jumping up and down. The Republicans are largely rushing to see who can become a Democrat Lite on the topic first. Why?
Because some racist idiot killed some fine and peaceful black people in a church, and said idiot had a Confederate Battle Flag.
So a bunch of professionally offended folks took their offense to The Media (of all sorts) in an attempt to further the Race Baiting tactics of the Democrats (who adore the Two Minute Hate especially when racial offence can be drug out and flaunted).
Somehow lost in the noise is the fact that Southern Democrats were major supporters of slavery, while Lincoln was a Republican pushing a war to overturn it… at least in the last half. (The war started over other issues and it was only in the last half that Lincoln started pushing the race card and “freed the slaves” as a tactic.) So, over time, the “right and wrong” sides have gotten exactly reversed in the public propaganda. Sigh.
Sidebar on Democrat History:
For those thinking me off kilter on Democrats being pro-slavery, I’ll just quote the wiki on Dixiecrats. I’ve bolded a couple of bits:
The States’ Rights Democratic Party (usually called the Dixiecrats) was a short-lived segregationist political party in the United States in 1948. It originated as a breakaway faction of the Democratic Party in 1948, determined to protect what they portrayed as the southern way of life beset by an oppressive federal government, and supporters assumed control of the state Democratic parties in part or in full in several Southern states. The States’ Rights Democratic Party opposed racial integration and wanted to retain Jim Crow laws and white supremacy in the face of possible federal intervention. Members were called Dixiecrats. (The term Dixiecrat is a portmanteau of Dixie, referring to the Southern United States, and Democrat.)
The party did not run local or state candidates, and after the 1948 election its leaders generally returned to the Democratic Party. The Dixiecrats had little short-run impact on politics. However, they did have a long-term impact. The Dixiecrats began the weakening of the “Solid South” (the Democratic Party’s total control of presidential elections in the South).
The term “Dixiecrat” is sometimes used by Northern Democrats to refer to conservative Southern Democrats from the 1940s to the 1990s, regardless of where they stood in 1948.
For a long time in parts of The South it was darned near impossible to get folks to vote for a Republican just due to them having won the war and applied the reconstruction horrors on the south. My Texas Uncle still can’t quite bring himself to not register as a Democrat, but did manage to vote for a Republican (Bush) once.
Back At The Flag
But even more stupid are all the folks calling it the “Confederate Flag” or “The Flag Of The Confederate States” or similar things. It isn’t. It is the Confederate Battle Flag. In wars, then, they didn’t have radios and telephones. You knew where your troops were by where there was a flag. It was used by soldiers, for soldiers, so you knew where your side was at. It was not a political symbol, but a battle field communications device. “Attack them near their flag, find support near your flag”.
The political flag of The Confederate States Of America was this, the “Stars And Bars”:
The Original Confederate Flag, the actual “Stars and Bars”
As this was easy to confuse with the Stars and Stripes in the confusion of battle, the need for a distinct battle flag came along. From the wiki:
At the First Battle of Manassas, near Manassas, Virginia, the similarity between the “Stars and Bars” and the “Stars and Stripes” caused confusion and military problems. Regiments carried flags to help commanders observe and assess battles in the warfare of the era. At a distance, the two national flags were hard to tell apart. In addition, Confederate regiments carried many other flags, which added to the possibility of confusion. After the battle, General P. G. T. Beauregard wrote that he was “resolved then to have [our flag] changed if possible, or to adopt for my command a ‘Battle flag’, which would be Entirely different from any State or Federal flag.”
So there is exactly zero racial overtone in the Battle Flag. All that Two Minute Hate ought to be directed at the “Stars and Bars” if anywhere. (This, too, gets more confusion as “Stars and Bars” is sometimes used as a name for the Confederate Battle Flag, even though it isn’t the real Stars and Bars…)
But, as usual, there’s complications. Eventually the Confederate States changed their political flag to incorporate the battle flag as an inset. Here’s the third national flag:
The Blood Stained Banner
The red bar at the far right for the blood of those lost in battle.
So it would be possible to contend that toward the end of the war the Battle Flag had gotten some kind of political reuse in The South on the third political flag. Yet is is not the Blood Stained Banner that is being held up as an issue. It is the Battle Flag.
Where To Stop?
Now the various folks who have ancestors who fought and often died in those battles have a legitimate right to remember the sacrifice and honor of their family. Those who suffered through the horrors of “reconstruction” and the carpet baggers have a right to their own sense of “offence” at the Damn Yankees who exploited them. So if one bases “take it down” on “someone is offended”, then the flag of the United States Of America needs to come down too. See, that’s the problem with “offended” as your rubber ruler…
Me? I find a lot in the Koran to be offensive. It frequently says that I’m to be enslaved, have body parts cut off, be punished with fines, have my liberty eliminated, and in the end, killed. See, I’m an “infidel” as I am not a follower… So how about we ban ALL Korans and ALL Mosques from America? What, don’t like that? In principle it is no different at all from banning the Confederate Battle Flag. I’m offended by someone who is perpetrating a Hate Crime with Hate Speech against me. Get cracking on those bans… And while you are at it, get that Crescent down off the domes. It is just a symbol of oppression of Christians by Muslims and was / is used in battle on their Battle Flags. I’m offended, so it has to go… (See the problem?)
And that’s the problem.
Jews hate the swastika as a Nazi symbol, even though it started life (and is still) as a good luck symbol in India and Japan. There was a bit of fuss a few years back about a game from Japan that had a swastika on the cover. Folks here didn’t understand that their offence that they generated inside themselves was not from the symbol itself. That symbol was just a peace and sun good luck symbol. The offence was brought by the offended to an innocent party (and an innocent symbol stolen by evil people for evil ends). So do we ban the swastika? If so, what about the offense to all those Indian and Japanese folks who have it as a peace and good luck symbol in their culture? (BTW, we have some swastikas built into government buildings here in the USA from prior to W.W.II when we, too, saw it as a ‘sun and good luck’ symbol.)
Back at me again: I find the raised black fist of the Black Panther party to be offensive. I find their speech to be racist, bigoted, and anti-white. Can we please start banning sales of any of their merchandise at Walmart, Ebay, Sears, K-Mart, Amazon, etc.? It is a racist, offensive symbol. So why NOT ban it? Hmmmm?
Muslims find the Christian Cross offensive (as, it would seem, do many atheists, given their tendency to sue anyone who has one on display and isn’t a church). It is a symbol of torture and a tool of “hate crimes” (after all, crucifixion was torture…) So how about we ban all crosses and crucifixes on shirts and walls, paintings and cars? Isn’t it “hateful” to be pushing that cross on folks who were historically damaged by it in the Crusades?
And that’s the fundamental problem with using either “hate” or “offense” as your rubber ruler.
That’s the big lump, but there are some other minor points. For one, reenactors. I know, not high on anybody’s list of concerns. But I was invited to a Civil War Reenactment once and loved it. Living history. Real people recreating as accurately as possible the reality of the event. Right down to having a mock battle with black powder cannon (blanks, but loud! ;-)
Now how do you have Reenacting if you can’t buy the flags to do it? Hmmm?
BTW, the person who invited me was on the Confederate Navy. They had white uniforms and a different flag. The wiki link can show you the several flags of the Confederate Navy, but here’s one of them:
So now you get to ask yourself if any blue field with a circle of 7 stars is also to be banned. It, too, is a battle flag of the Confederacy…
So when all those stores ban the selling of the Confederate Battle Flag, they are slapping the face of all the Reenactors. And, BTW, having a reenactment with only Union forces is not going to work out very well. (The one I attended was in California, BTW. California was not involved in the whole war to any noticeable extent and folks see it more as a fun picnic kind of thing. Substantially zero political / racial / whatever content on display. Just folks playing dressup and making noise with big toys. Folks were encouraged to take the Confederate side as they rarely had enough for a decent reenactment without some ‘converts’.)
The point here is just that the assumption of an attitude of racism by anyone wanting to buy a Confederate Battle Flag is flat out wrong. It is entirely projection on the part of those too easily offended. There are quite legitimate and benign non-political reasons many of them are purchased. And, while I don’t have one, I did briefly think it would be fun to sign up for the “Kitchen” detail. I did a fair amount of research on ‘period correct’ foods and how to make them. Had I signed up, it would likely have been on the Confederate side, but not for any political reason. Only because that was the side my friend was on and they needed more people. About as close to ‘random selection’ as you can get. I’d have been flying a Confederate Battle Flag then, too (though he was in the Confederate Navy so it would have been the blue field 7 stars one).
Then there is the problem of precedents set. There is another pet project of The Left. To erase any reference to Native Americans in sports. No, they don’t phrase it that way, it’s just the practical effect. And they use the “offended” weapon there, too.
A judge Tuesday heard arguments in U.S. District Court on a lawsuit filed by the team seeking to preserve its trademark registration for the Redskins name. Last year the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled that the team’s trademark registration should be canceled on the grounds that it may be offensive to Native Americans.
U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee, who will decide the case, asked lawyers at the start of the hearing to focus on how that Supreme Court case affects the Redskins’ case.
Jeff Lopez, lawyer for the Native Americans, said their case has been boosted because the high court ruled that Texas was not infringing on the free speech rights of a Confederate heritage group by rejecting a special interest license plate design that shows the Confederate flag. Similarly, he argued, the federal government is not infringing on the Redskins’ free speech rights just by denying them the protection of a federal trademark.
So now ANY trademark can be shot down if you can dredge up someone to be offended at it.
I’m offended by “Coke”. It reminds me of illegal drugs.
Not rational? Excuse me, but we are talking emotions here, not reason. I choose to be offended, then I am, and that’s all that matters.
Heck, I’m not fond of “United” either. I want liberty and diversity. United offends me.
There’s a whole lot of ways that kind of “offense” can be used for effect, now.
How Is ISIS Different from Democrats and Republican Lites?
Both ISIS and those desiring to ban the flag have a lot in common. The news on CNN tonight was, with some glee, covering the pogrom to remove Confederate statues from places all over the south. Gone would be the Generals and Presidents of the past. History and statuary to be torn down, and flags burned and banned. How, exactly, is that any different from ISIS / ISIL blowing up statues from their past and burning / banning symbols of those they do not like?
I’m having a hard time seeing any real difference.
Oh, you have a sense of moral outrage about one, but not about the other? How you feel determines right and wrong?…
Really, both of them are doing a victory dance over the other. Both are banning and destroying things that remind them of a prior historical time when they were not filled with the Moral Outrage of the day. They don’t want to be reminded that this Two Minute Hate will be replace at some future time by a different Two Minute Hate, just as that old one was replaced. Better to erase their history than to come to grips with it.
In San Jose, the statue of the founder of the city was removed. Replaced by a statue of a native ‘god’. A coiled snake that on first look looks a lot more like a pile of dog poo. Why? The founder had kept native americans in bondage or some such. He was a “white guy plantation owner”. Not PC, so gotta go. A court challenge was brought that the replacement Quetzalcoatl feathered serpent god was a religious symbol, so not allowed under the separation of church and state. The court found that as nobody was currently worshiping Quetzalcoatl it was not religious. Really? A “god” of a religion is not religious?
But it was time for the Get Whitey “Two Minute Hate” so the snake god gets to stay and he got the heave ho. History lost, replaced with PC political sop to the new loudest “offended” party.
So is that the New USA? History to be constantly re-written by the most offended? Statues to be blown up in the cause of the “Victor Of Today”? How much history can you preserve if it is erased every generation? What moral compass are you using when you decide to blow up statues and ban flags? Democrats, meet your soul mate in ISIS. Republicans who endorse it, meet your soulmate in ISIL.
What? You think that harsh or stupid or that I’m an evil racist for not endorsing the Hate Fad of the day? Think about it some more… The only difference is who is the victor, who the minority, and just what moral justification is applied. ISIS / ISIL are absolutely certain they are doing the right and moral thing. They have authority and spiritual guidance telling them so. Just like those wanting to ban statues of Robert E. Lee and remove the Confederate Battle Flag. The only difference is which moral justification set is applied. Both are erasing history in the process and assuring only their approved symbols and history survive.
Unfortunately, most of the world is stuffed full of folks who love their Two Minute Hate. It is equally filled with folks who practice “you are with me or against me” and can not see an unbiased dispassionate observer as neutral.
Due to that, many folks will see this as support for racism or hate of the Democrats. It isn’t.
I have no dog in this fight, other than a bit of “offended by stupidity”. (Would that that was sufficient to ban it, too…)
My Mother is from England. Neither North nor South. My Dad was from Iowa, so “north”, but the family traces back to Virginia, so “south”, but the Amish line was neutral, and the Irish side came over in the Potato Famine so had only been here about 10 to 15 years and didn’t fight on any side. And I’m from California. Essentially, for me, The War Between The States is mostly a romantic thing in Gone With The Wind, or a bit of history that didn’t really involve most of my family. So “not my war”.
I have little interest in “race issues” either. It mostly just descends into squabbling about things long past, or squabbling about overactive imaginations in the present, or people taking as ‘racist’, being disliked for other reasons. I’ve been close friends with some blacks, and found others unpleasant. I’m sure some of the unpleasant ones thought me a “white honkey’ and racist. The reality was that I found them black racists and found reason to not hang around them. I’ve dated a black lady and one of my first ‘crushes’ was on a black girl (though I was about 5, so nothing came of it ;-) Oh, and I’ve both hired blacks and worked for a black superior. So those who think I have some kind of hidden issue are just wrong.
But it is the history of my country. I’d like to preserve it. (but not stew on it in a festering way).
Still, most folks seem to demand their right to Stew and Spew. And when a Two Minute Hate grabs the media and popular muse, going against it can be political suicide. So I understand the weak willed just going with the mass of rage. But perhaps could they try to do it in a non-damaging way?
The real risk, though, comes from the manipulators for effect.
You do not get this kind of mass protest, march in the street, politicians on camera with speeches; without coordination. “Flag” is not high on most folks list of “must protest” things. So behind this “popular movement” is a whole lot of political coordination. Similarly the “push” for more gun banning. (It isn’t “control”…) It’s an “on the shelf ready to go” response from the Democratic political machine. Every chance, the professional Two Minute Hate machine cranks up and sets about fanning flames. It is no accident that both the Race Baiting and the Gun Hating memes are favorites of the Democrats and at the same time pop on the scene with force at every opportunity.
They are practicing the equivalent of a Knight Fork in chess. Positioned where either side you take, they win. Defend the rights of folks to buy any damn flag they want? Or to practice free speech (that you may not like)? Then you are a racist. DON’T defend that right, you lose it. Defend gun rights? Then you are an evil hater and love baby killers. Don’t defend it, you lose that right. The only “win” strategy is to directly call it out for what it is. Faux concern over a chosen political ploy used to herd the “useful idiots” better and to remove individual liberty so that Central Authority can take more.
And that is my bias. My position in all this. I really don’t give a damn about the Confederate Battle Flag, or statues of Robert E. Lee. I don’t care at all about who hates whom from which races. None of it involves me. At all. But I do care about lies used to herd innocents. I do care about “fire for effect” on political machine tactics. And I really care a lot about loss of individual rights and self determination with the astounding growth of Central Authority and tyrants in training. So I find myself wanting to see a Confederate Battle Flag over some State capitol in The South as it shows that the Several States still have some self determination. That The Union has not completely destroyed States Rights and individual rights thereafter. That PC Mandates are not fully dominating and free speech is not dead. I want to hear speech that offends me, as that tells me free speech still lives.
I also want to see statues of The Last Evil Bastard, as that reminds me of the past. And, in an odd way, causes me to wonder which person currently headed for a statue might just be The Next Evil Bastard… I’d rather remember the evil that men (and women) do, so as to avoid it again. So keep those Evil Bastard statues. Put up signs saying why everyone thought they were great then. Maybe someone will think about who they think is great now. And question why.
If that offends you, well, maybe you ought to be more introspective about “offense”. It comes from inside. If you let the outside bring you to emotional grief, then you give to others the power to make you miserable any time they want. Letting others ‘wind you up’, lets them make you a tool of their avarice. It hands control of you, over to those that set the stage around you.
IMHO, it is far far better to not take offense. To just observe and think. To look for the hidden motives of the race baiters and daily haters. To, in the Buddhist way, “be the empty vessel”… Only then are you truly in control of you, and those outside agitators lose power over you.
But do expect to need to duck rocks. There is no hatred quite as strong as that applied to the indifferent bystander at a hate rally… and in the daily Two Minute Hate rally, you are expected to show your allegiance to The Leader (Big Brother in the book). Those who do not support the Daily Hate are seen as subversive in some way; and I suppose I am. I find the whole manipulative process offensive… Hey, maybe we could ban it instead…