Neo-Nazis are no joke—they just want you to think they are: Tabatha Southey

Southey on The Daily Stormer style guide – nails it:

“Generally, when using racial slurs, it should come across as half-joking—like a racist joke that everyone laughs at because it’s true,” reads the style guide used by The Daily Stormer, a copy of which the Huffington Post got its hands on this week.

The Daily Stormer is a prominent America-based neo-Nazi and white supremacist website that takes its name and more from Der Stürmer, the tabloid newspaper of the Nazi Party. And what it seems to be saying with that “half-joking” advice and much else in the guide is: “Don the Magic Cloak of Plausible Deniability and come with us!”

This likely won’t come as a surprise to anyone who spends much time online. Many will have observed some of these far, far right fools prancing about under that just-kidding-maybe cover. They do this as if somehow we can’t see exactly what they’re up to, and as if what they’re up to isn’t being Nazis and working to recruit more Nazis.

The style guide instructs prospective contributors on how to use memes, “humour” and “ironic hatred” to “blame the Jews for everything,” that being the site’s “prime directive.” That Jews cause all the bad things “is pretty much objectively true,” says the 17-page primer, apparently penned by site editor Andrew Anglin. “As Hitler says, people will become confused and disheartened if they feel there are multiple enemies. As such, all enemies should be combined into one enemy, which is the Jews.”

The phrase “As Hitler says” is rather the point to that sentence. You use the words “As Hitler says” in that benign, casual, and authoritative way, and it doesn’t much matter what comes after them. You type “As Hitler says, ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’,” and you are telling any burgeoning Goebbels looking for a home for their murderous musings that “yes, we’re those Nazis. Goose-step on over and pull up a chair.”

The guide also provides advice on formatting and grammar, site-specific terminology—“Moslem,” not “Muslim,” is the preferred Daily Stormer house style—along with a list of “racial slurs” that are officially “allowed and advisable” that leaves me wondering what exactly crosses a line.

Think of this document as Strunk and White Power.

Keep it simple, keep it anti-Semitic: This is the guide’s message. Not all problems are created by Jews, aspiring Nazi ghostwriters are encouraged to say, but “if we didn’t have the Jews, we could figure out how to deal with non-whites very easily.” Similarly, “Women should be attacked but there should always be a mention that if it weren’t for Jews they would be acting normally.” “Jews are like hormones” seems to be the gist of it, as far I can tell, but until I hear someone say, “Yes, I ate half a cake and cried to an Adele song, it must be my Jews,” I can’t be certain.

The guide’s acceptable terms for women are, by the way, “Slut, whore, bitch, harlot, trollop, slag, skag.” That some of these words are antiquated to the point of near-whimsicality is by design. “The indoctrinated should not be able to tell if we’re joking,” Anglin explains. Put a funny hat on your hatred, play to the crowd.

Effectively utilizing these jokes—the so-called “lulz” in Internet parlance—is vital, the guide cautions, because “most people are not comfortable with material that come across as vitriolic, raging, non-ironic hatred.” Adding the “lulz”—expressing oneself dead seriously but in the cadence of a joke—throws that Cloak of Plausible Deniability over not just to the writer, but the audience as well. “No, I’m not really consuming literal neo-Nazi propaganda,” an as-yet-unconverted reader can tell themselves. “It’s just dead baby humour.”

“The goal is to continually repeat the same points, over and over and over again,” the guide stresses. “The reader is at first drawn in by curiosity or the naughty humour, and is slowly awakened to reality by repeatedly reading the same points.” It bears repeating that, to the writer of this guide, “awaken to reality” means “embrace genocide.”

We’re living in the Irony Age, and we’re forging it into deadly weapons.

What should be completely avoided by anyone who hopes to get their work featured on The Daily Stormer—where the policy is “if we don’t like [the articles] you can put them on your own blog or whatever, if we accept them for publication we will pay you $14.88”—is the “sometimes mentioned idea that ‘even if we got rid of the Jews we would still have problems.’ ”

“The Jews should always be the beginning and end of every problem,” Anglin cautions. Specifics include “poor family dynamics” and the “destruction of the rainforest.”

Regardless of whether you were wondering, the “14 words” represent, for neo-Nazis, the words of David Lane, an American white supremacist leader and convicted felon whose mandate was: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” Why 88 cents? Because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet. That “88” is an abbreviation for the “Heil Hitler” salute. Several photographs found on the website registered to white-supremacist mass murderer Dylann Roof featured the number the 88 and 1488 was written in the sand in one picture. (If I have to learn Nazi numerology, you’re gonna join me.)

If you rolled your eyes as you read that, because it’s difficult to take the whole concept of 1488 — it’s like someone telling you their “lucky lottery numbers” of genocide—the reality is that it has  worked. Somewhere between guessing and guffawing is where StormFront wants you to be, but make no mistake—gassing is where they want this to end.

There’s no ambiguity here. “This is obviously a ploy and I actually do want to gas [Jewish people, but that’s not the term he uses]. But that’s neither here nor there,” writes Anglin, and such an extreme position—and once again, this is a feature not a bug—is sometimes discounted as near-self-parody. Stormfront is not a site you have to go digging about on the net to find; it pops up, I have been sent links, and Anglin warns about the kind of posts that can get them booted off Facebook. But it is sometimes dismissed as too fringe to be worth addressing.

This ghastly glibness has, however, seeped deeply into the mainstream—even before it was revealed, theirs was basically a playbook in heavy circulation—and everything Stormfront does serves to make much that would have shocked many of us a few years ago start to look comparatively centrist. They’re the reason people get to the thinking that “those guys in Charlottesville with tiki torches were just blowing off steam.”

The internet is a vast, fresh pitch, but we’re watching an old game. “Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies,” wrote Jean-Paul Sartre in 1946. “They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves. …They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert.”

FBI statistics released in November show that anti-Semitic incidents accounted for 11 per cent of hate crimes of all types in the United States in 2016, and over 50 per cent of religious hate crimes, a slight increase from the year before. African-Americans, like the people Dylann Roof targeted in their church, account for by far the most number of hate crimes, yet again. This “foolishness” is fuel on a very real fire. It’s time we treated them as such.

via Neo-Nazis are no joke—they just want you to think they are –

Alt-right’s jocular façade attempt to deny responsibility: Southey, Proud Boys’ behaviour goofy, but hardly ‘deplorable’: Blatchford

Interesting contrast between Tabatha Southey’s description of the “Proud Boys” and Christie Blatchford’s.

Starting with Southey:

The Halifax incident made national headlines, as a story like this should, particularly as all the men involved – who later celebrated at a local Halifax pub, posting pictures of themselves making the “okay” symbol with one hand, a beer in the other – turned out to be members of Canada’s Armed Forces. As a nation, we are now forced to ask ourself the question “Who the hell are these jokers?” and, always anxious to serve, I present A Brief History of Slime, the story of the Proud Boys.

It’s best to think of the Proud Boys as a group of guys possessed of a seriously shaky grasp of history and a burning desire to wear the same shirt as the guy next to them, who want a white supremacist to tell them when they are allowed to masturbate.

It’s not a fetish I’ve encountered before, but were the Proud Boys not also a far-right group of self-described “Western Chauvinists who will no longer apologize for creating the modern world,” who are against “racial guilt” and who “venerate the housewife” and believe “that the last 50 years have been a disaster for women” (one doesn’t have to be Alan Turing to break thatcode), I wouldn’t kink-shame.

As it is, I have concerns.

The Proud Boys were launched and are headed by Gavin McInnes, Vice magazine co-founder (although they parted long ago) and current contributor to The Rebel Media, the right-wing website founded by Ezra Levant; and yes, a strict limit on masturbation is one of their many peculiarities.

They “believe that this energy,” the energy spent masturbating, “is better spent … getting married, and having children,” and I suppose that’s their call but I can’t help thinking that if you truly believe that by not masturbating you’ll be able to save enough energy to raise a child, you are doing one of these things very, very badly.

Some of you may remember Mr. McInnes as the man who made a bit of a splash with neo-Nazis in March when a number of videos he recorded on a recent trip to Israel were posted.

In these videos, one of which was called “10 things I Hate About the Jews,” Mr. McInnes variously put the word “Holocaust” in air quotes, complained that Jews, who he said “are ruining the world with their lies and their money and their hooked-nose, bagel-eating faces,” have a “whiny paranoid fear of Nazis.” He repeatedly spoke in a grotesque cartoon Jewish accent and said that people in Israel spit when they talk and that “Middle Easterners reek.”

Ensconced in his hotel room in Israel, which he believes was likely paid for, along with the rest of his “propaganda tour,” by private Israeli donors and the Israeli government, Mr. McInnes told viewers that while they “assume we’re going to listen to all this shit we get fed” it’s “having the reverse effect on me: I’m becoming anti-Semitic.”

“Well, we’re at the Holocaust museum, and we’re being told, ‘The Germans did this. The Germans are horrible people …’” he sulked, apparently irritated that Holocaust deniers might not be getting a fair hearing at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial.

“Well, they never said it didn’t happen,” he said, in an attempt to remedy this perceived injustice. “What they’re saying is it was much less than six million and that they starved to death and they weren’t gassed …”

Mr. McInnes was quick to ask that the viewer not “take that clip out of context.” He’s not saying “it wasn’t gassing” – that’s just what the “far-right nuts are saying” and, being “sick of so much brainwashing,” he felt compelled to articulate the theories of said nuts.

Mr. McInnes worries that we’re too caught up on the Holocaust in general. “There’s been a lot of genocides,” he says, most notable to him being the Soviet Holodomor, of which he says, “I think it was 10 million Ukrainians who were killed. That was by Jews. That was by Marxist, Stalinist, left-wing, commie, socialist Jews.”

It seems that the major distinction between the alt-right and Mr. McInnes’s preferred “alt-light” is that the former are very concerned about “Judeo-Bolshevism,” the Nazi conspiracy theory that Jews were secretly behind the rise of communism; and the latter just wish to inform you that the Soviet Union (or at least the more genocidal aspects of it) was secretly run by Jews.

Jews have been very busy in the Proud Boy’s founder’s bizarre understanding of history. When not engineering the downfall of the Russian Czar, they were “disproportionately” influencing the Treaty of Versailles, forcing terribly unfair terms of surrender on Germany. The treaty “sucked and the Germans hated it” Mr. McInnes says, indicating that “Jewish intellectuals” were, at least in part, responsible for the Second World War, and the Holocaust, such as it was.

If this sounds extreme, anti-Semitic, or perhaps dangerous to you, it’s okay: Mr. McInnes chortles when he says these things, allowing his fans to assure us that it’s just harmless comedy.

If much of what you see on the alt-right side looks and sounds so ridiculous, such jocular goose-stepping, these days, that’s deliberate. Share a photograph of you and your be-polo-shirted buddies flashing the Nazi salute, and the popular discourse knows just what to do with you. Substitute the “okay” gesture – unofficially but lovingly adopted by this crowd – and anyone who points out the white-supremacist imagery is just a crazy leftist snowflake who probably thinks a cartoon frog is a hate symbol too.

What we’re seeing here, and in Halifax, is white supremacy painted over with a coat of irony, euphemism and plausible deniability. All of that just barely thick enough that Mr. McInnes still gets airtime on CBC’s Power & Politics. He used this airtime, speaking in his capacity as the Proud Boys’ founder and leader, to ask the host “Can you see why Cornwallis issued a bounty on Mi’kmaqs?” and spread, pretty much unchallenged, a number of hateful and damaging historical inaccuracies about the Mi’kmaqs. (The CBC has since apologized for the segment.)

Source: The alt-right’s jocular façade is an attempt to deny responsibility – The Globe and Mail

Blatchford’s alternative universe:

A small crowd was gathered around the statue, one of them carrying an upside-down Canadian flag with the word “decolonize” written on it, there to mark the various atrocities committed against Indigenous people while Chief Grizzly Mamma, who is originally from British Columbia, shaved her head.

According to what McInnes later told the CBC, the five were in a bar on July 1, heard rumours of an anti-Canada protest, and decided to go check it out.

Also for the record, the men were well-spoken, polite and respectful; they were met by a young woman, from the protesters, who was equally polite and respectful. The men explained they were curious and wanted to see what was going on; she said they’d be welcome to listen quietly if they didn’t disrupt things.

But a couple of other protesters were not similarly inclined.

One snarled, “This is a fucking genocide.” Someone else said, “This is Mi’kmaq territory, to which one of the Proud Boys replied, “This is Canada.” Members of each side tossed about historically inaccurate facts in the manner of the young and unschooled. Another young woman bristling with hostility kept moving closer to one of the men until she was practically touching him. “You don’t seem to like me standing so close,” she said. “You’re very close,” he replied calmly.

But then the Proud Boys left, having been chastised for their pronunciation of Mi’kmaq and for their disrespectful tone, or, as a protester put it, got “the —- out of here.”

There were no harsh words from the Proud Boys. There was even some humour; once, told by a protester to speak more softly, one of the men said, in effect, “What? This is a library now?” But he did as he was asked.

Not a blow was struck. Not a disrespectful word was uttered, unless, of course, one counts the mere questioning of Indigenous protest as disrespectful. Not a gram of cereal was consumed or thrown.

Source: Christie Blatchford: Proud Boys’ behaviour might be goofy, but is hardly ‘deplorable’


Renaming Langevin Block isn’t rewriting history – it’s unearthing it: Tabatha Southey

I tend to be more in the third camp that maintaining historic names and monuments may be better than erasing them as we can’t (nor should we) erase history (with appropriate interpretative plaques). But I understand the views of the Indigenous MPs and related factors that led the government to make the name change:

The building, constructed in 1889, was named after Hector-Louis Langevin. Mr. Langevin, a member of Sir John A. Macdonald’s cabinet and one of the Fathers of Confederation, was also one of the fathers of the Canadian residential school system, which he saw as the best way of ensuring that Indigenous children didn’t “remain savages.”

Of the resulting residential school system, I can only say this: If you haven’t yet, read the report, especially if you’re in a panic about us misremembering our past. Residential schools are part of Canada’s history, and in removing Mr. Langevin’s name from a building – one from which we are partly governed, no less – at a time when Canada must attempt reconciliation, we’re not burying our past. We’re unearthing it.

There has been an incredible level of hand-wringing about the name change, as there is about many name changes these days, and there seem to be three schools of lack-of-thought around monuments, statues, tributes, and the renaming and removing thereof.

The first is that change is simply impossible, or at least immoral. “Don’t trust that lying song, it’s still Constantinople,” this argument goes. “Or are you denying that Constantine the Great ever existed?”

The second argument is that we mustn’t apply modern standards to old heroes, and that everyone objecting to the perpetual celebration of people who tormented or enslaved their ancestors or their living relatives, like their auntie over there knitting them a scarf, is being far too sensitive.

Generally, this “don’t be such a snowflake” argument somehow manages to come around to not wanting to hurt the ghostly feelings of whatever dead hero’s statue or honorifically-named school is under discussion. Often, there’s a codicil that the once-celebrated figure meant well, or at least only meant as badly as everyone else did at the time, so don’t be such a meanie, snowflake.

The third line of defence takes one look at Defence Number Two, standing there boasting, “Look how bizarre I am, I am a complete freak of logic,” and simply says, “Hold my rhetorical beer.”

“Yes,” says Defence Number Three, “the old dead person in question was in fact horrible, you’re right. He was not at all the sort of person who deserves a great big statue or a major street named after him, and clearly the only the way to ensure future generations remember how horrible he was is to keep a lot of statues of him around and name an assortment of streets, schools, bridges and other miscellaneous public property after him. Not that I like the guy or admire his politics or anything, but lest we forget and all …”

Close observers may note that Defence Number Three and its devotees generally draw a line at which specific historical figures we must keep around under the guise of not repeating them.

…Some have pointed out that, given the issues still to be resolved, if we are to achieve reconciliation with Indigenous people, renaming a building is merely a distraction. But it is a gesture asked for by Indigenous MPs. In February 2016, Liberal backbenchers Don Rusnak and Robert-Falcon Ouellette and NDP MP Romeo Saganash, as well as Independent Hunter Tootoo, called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take Mr. Langevin’s name off the building. Do it, it was argued, in deference to survivors of the residential schools who shouldn’t be subjected to constant reminders of a man who “devastated their lives.”

It’s hardly a gesture that could be said to drain resources from other initiatives. Be wary of anyone who claims that the potable water budget was all spent on new PMO stationery, and perhaps not negotiating from a building basically called “In Your Face!” will help in some small way.

Some delicate flowers are seriously claiming that renaming a building in Ottawa is a grave insult that will cause irreparable damage to their culture. These highly selective stalwart defenders of culture and community ought to consider the fact that the man for whom that building was named insisted in a speech to Parliament that while Indigenous children left with their families could learn how to “read and write”, they must be separated from them if they are to “acquire the habits and tastes … of civilized people” – and pipe right down.

Anxiety about preserving our culture might be better spent on renaming something. Nothing threatens our culture more than refusing change; toppling statues is one of our traditions, and history is renaming. If you’ve spent any of the past week whining about the renaming of Langevin Block, you better have done so as a proud citizen of Turtle Island.

Source: Renaming Langevin Block isn’t rewriting history – it’s unearthing it – The Globe and Mail

The other related debate was regarding the appropriateness of the former US Embassy as an Indigenous “space.” The symbolism of the location, across the street from Parliament, contrasts with the symbolism of the architecture.

My take is that a creative architecture should be able to “repurpose” the space in a manner than includes Indigenous identity, much as the Global Centre of Pluralism’s renovation of the former war museum on Sussex Ave did with its Islamic screen motifs and choice of materials, colours and finishes.

Andrew Cohen’s critique is one of the better ones even if I don’t agree:

Beyond the venue, the building itself is unsuitable. It was designed by an American architect and finished in limestone, mimicking Beaux Arts. John Ralston Saul, the provocative writer and philosopher, calls it “an imitation of an imitation,” inconsistent in tone with the parliamentary precinct.

If it is questionable artistically, symbolically it’s awful. Do we want to offer Indigenous organizations an outpost of the American Empire, which deceived, displaced and murdered native Americans? Do we want Indigenous Canada to bury its heart on Wellington Street?

Let us recognize, as well, that this centre is not conceived in yesterday’s Ottawa, which was deaf to the aboriginal story. It comes amid a spirited effort to reverse a history of sorrow. Last week, for example, the National Gallery of Canada opened its new galleries of Canadian and Indigenous art. Next week, the Museum of Canadian History will open its new Canadian History Hall. Its president, Mark O’Neill, says that “Indigenous history is incorporated into every part of the most comprehensive exhibition of the Canadian story ever presented.” The National Arts Centre has announced its first artistic director of Indigenous theatre. The other day the Governor-General gave awards to 29 Canadians showing “outstanding Indigenous leadership.”

No, all this does not put things right. But institutional Canada, in its earnest way, is starting to embrace the Indigenous reality. Indeed, the elevation of the relationship between the government and first peoples may become the proudest legacy of the Trudeau government. But this repurposed Indigenous space is a bad idea. On the 150th anniversary of Confederation, why not think more boldly? Mr. Saul suggests razing the old embassy. He proposes a larger, elegant building, flowing from a rigorous international design competition. It would echo the motif of Parliament, draw on its materials and produce something modern and arresting.

It might hold two museums of political and aboriginal history, and offices for parliamentarians. Or serve as a repository of our founding documents, like the Quebec Act and the BNA Act. This would be the right building in the right place at the right time for Canada. It would make, in itself, a dazzling moral statement about this country and the people we are.

Turning an embassy into ‘Indigenous space’ is a classic government misjudgment

How the crazies and the pundits give IS exactly what it wants: Tabatha Southey

Great piece by Southey, and take down of those who should know better (David Frum) and those who don’t (Ezra Levant), although she is being unfair to Premier Wall:

Also working overtime for IS’s PR machine this week was former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and current senior editor at The Atlantic, David Frum. Despite the fact it appears that none of the people involved in the Paris massacre were Syrian refugees (statistically, refugees are among the groups least likely to commit acts of terror), Mr. Frum tweeted: “We must accept these peace-loving refugees from ISIS or else they will get very angry and try to kill us.”

What was the thought process there, Mr. Frum? “Good morning, I helped to provide justification for the Iraq war but I still don’t have quite enough blood on my hands, so I’d like to take a moment to characterize an entire nation of people as terrorists, thereby helping to ensure that the most vulnerable among them will suffer”?

Were you simply constrained by Twitter’s character limit there, Mr. Frum? Basic human decency and professionalism were clearly not issues for you.

Mr. Frum’s tweet may literally be the worst joke ever made, and it would be even if it didn’t spread just the kind of disinformation that actual IS murderers labour to disseminate.

What he should know, or admit to knowing, is that IS is not overly keen on Syrians escaping Syria. The optics are bad.

If you’re trying to position yourself globally as a utopian caliphate, Muslims running away from you as fast as they possibly can at grave risk to their lives is seriously bad press.

Muslims fleeing, not embracing you as an even marginally better alternative to the government that won’t stop bombing them, does not look good, and IS is acutely aware of this; no one wants would-be Syrian refugees kept in Syria more than does IS.

David Frum, among others, appears happy to help them out. David Frum: Unpaid Intern of The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

There’s method to IS’s macabre dramaturgy. They want to be depicted as the authentic Muslims, as some evil mystical empire with whom the West is at war, and volunteers queue up to help them.

In reality, IS’s progeny is recruited more at the malls than at the mosques and, in both their youthful demographic and their disaffection distorted into a kind of grotesque idealism, the recruits can seem more like murderous groupies than anything else.

In mentality and, to a certain extent, military capability, IS is more massive Manson family than major martial force.

Their lifeblood is the gratuitous message amplification so many proffer.

Big IS shout-out to Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, as well, for helping to stigmatize Syrian refugees and for suggesting that the appropriate response to terrorist intimidation tactics is to drop everything and be intimidated.

That’s exactly what his calls for additional security screening of Syrian refugees on top of the measures already in place do – measures that Michel Coulombe, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, this week called “robust … and appropriate.”

The grassroots efforts on IS’s behalf should not be overlooked this week, either; every vile, racist tweet sent is like a bake sale held on IS’s behalf; and, speaking of sales, Sun TV detritus YouTube channel, Rebel TV, is offering black-and-white, very much IS-on-brand “Fuck ISIS” hats, T-shirts and coffee mugs.

This Christmas, Rebel TV wants you to say it with massacre merch.

Former Sun TV personality Ezra Levant high-tailed it to Paris this week to whine that its citizens continue, in the aftermath of last week’s horror, to be philosophical and resolutely secular, and to drink wine in the cafés. Why must they be so French?

Mr. Levant, disappointed rage-tourist and unofficial ambassador for the IS agenda, did not seem to like the fact that the attacks did not bring Paris to its knees. He is perturbed by your joie de vivre, France, by your determination to not let terrorists change you into a vicious, angry, funhouse mirror of your attackers.

President François Hollande announced the country will accept 30,000 refugees as planned.

Vive la France, and, terrorism dilettantes, go find meaningful employment.

Source: How the crazies and the pundits give IS exactly what it wants – The Globe and Mail

You mean, the free market actually works? vs The Slow Death of Free Speech

Funny piece by Tabatha Southey bringing some perspective to those who claim the decline of free speech following the Hirsi Ali Brandeis controversy:

Socrates is not remembered as that guy who, found guilty of corrupting the young minds of Athens, was denied an honorary diploma – but invited to come back to the agora to debate any time.

Galileo is not remembered as the man who claimed the Earth revolved around the sun and, for that sin, was banned from becoming pope.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wasn’t trolled on Twitter for writing One Day In the Life of Ivan Denisovich – he was exiled. And Lady Chatterley’s Lover wasn’t published instantly, in its entirety, in 1928, then given a lot of uncharitable reviews on Goodreads. Indeed, it wasn’t published unexpurgated in the United Kingdom until 1960.

In short, a little perspective suggests that recent reports of the death of free speech have been greatly exaggerated….

The dystopian world of “political correctness,” of repressed expression and sexuality, not irrationally predicted in the sometimes silly 1980s, never materialized. We’re a gloriously loud, bawdy bunch these days. But a sleight of hand that equates being answered with being “silenced,” dissent with being “bullied,” allows old soldiers of that 1980s culture war to reenact battles and claim the victimhood they once dismissed as the left’s low moral ground….

To be to be less than universally celebrated is to be censored. The ideology that lambasted the “nanny state” whines for a “wet nurse state” and what you smell from those babies is hardly books burning.

You mean, the free market actually works? – The Globe and Mail.

On the other side of the argument, Mark Steyn:

Oh, don’t worry. There’ll still be plenty of ‘offending, insulting or humiliating’ in such a world, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the Mozilla CEO and Zionists and climate deniers and feminist ‘cis-women’ not quite au courant with transphobia can all tell you. And then comes the final, eerie silence. Young Erin Ching at Swarthmore College has grasped the essential idea: it is not merely that, as the Big Climate enforcers say, ‘the science is settled’, but so is everything else, from abortion to gay marriage. So what’s to talk about? Universities are no longer institutions of inquiry but ‘safe spaces’ where delicate flowers of diversity of race, sex, orientation, ‘gender fluidity’ and everything else except diversity of thought have to be protected from exposure to any unsafe ideas.

As it happens, the biggest ‘safe space’ on the planet is the Muslim world. For a millennium, Islamic scholars have insisted, as firmly as a climate scientist or an American sophomore, that there’s nothing to debate. And what happened? As the United Nations Human Development Programme’s famous 2002 report blandly noted, more books are translated in Spain in a single year than have been translated into Arabic in the last 1,000 years. Free speech and a dynamic, innovative society are intimately connected: a culture that can’t bear a dissenting word on race or religion or gender fluidity or carbon offsets is a society that will cease to innovate, and then stagnate, and then decline, very fast.

As American universities, British playwrights and Australian judges once understood, the ‘safe space’ is where cultures go to die.

The slow death of free speech