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Old 10th September 2019, 11:09 AM   #1
Cavemonster
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Proud Boys and Nazis and Alt-Rights, oh my.

In a recent discussion of the "Straight Pride" parade, there was some discussion of whether the racists elements in a number of groups within the US constituted a real threat or if they're merely tiny groups of idiots who can't possibly have a meaningful negative impact.

I'd like to discuss what threat these groups pose (if any) how we analyze the nature and seriousness of that threat, and what if anything could or should be done about it.

I'm somewhat sympathetic to the view that there is reason to be cautious against an overreaction to fringe lunatics.

But on the other hand, plenty of real threats have looked somewhat silly until it was too late. I personally didn't think Trump's candidacy was anything but a publicity stunt. My fiancée who comes from a third world country recognized that's exactly what it looks like when extreme corruption comes to power. It looks ridiculous until it becomes reality. I've become a bit more cautious about dismissing seemingly silly threats, or counting on any number of voters to be reasonable.

We've reached a point where the President can say there were "good people" on the side of a demonstration who were marching with torches while chanting "Jews will not replace us". And he walked away from that with roaring approval from half the country. We could argue endlessly (and we have) about what that means, but to me it means that what may have previously seemed ridiculous or unacceptable can become the norm here very quickly.
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Old 10th September 2019, 11:46 AM   #2
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There’s really nothing to debate.

The facts speak for themselves.
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Old 10th September 2019, 11:52 AM   #3
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What are the demographics of these groups? If they're mostly young then there's a good chance they'll simply grow out of it.
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Old 10th September 2019, 11:58 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
What are the demographics of these groups? If they're mostly young then there's a good chance they'll simply grow out of it.
We've alread got a Cain.
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Old 10th September 2019, 12:36 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
In a recent discussion of the "Straight Pride" parade, there was some discussion of whether the racists elements in a number of groups within the US constituted a real threat or if they're merely tiny groups of idiots who can't possibly have a meaningful negative impact.

Until comparatively recently that was the general view of Brexiteers.
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Old 10th September 2019, 12:42 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
Until comparatively recently that was the general view of Brexiteers.
And it's my understanding that it was the general view of the Nazis practically up until they took power.

So clearly not every group that seems small and ridiculous is truly harmless.
But of course some groups ARE just small groups of idiots.

So how do we distinguish between the small, silly looking groups which have a potential to spawn huge negative effects and those that don't? Our resources and attention aren't endless. We can't be watching out for the takeover from the flat earthers and the freemen of the land etc etc.
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Old 10th September 2019, 12:50 PM   #7
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I don't think that the flat-earthers want to kill anybody.
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Old 10th September 2019, 12:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
I don't think that the flat-earthers want to kill anybody.
Ok, so we can cross them off the list.

But that leaves us with a pretty large number of tiny groups which are in some way preaching hate, or overturning the government, or conspiracies that followed to their logical conclusion would mandate the need for violent revolution... or whatever terrifcying thing that should have us up in arms if they actually stuck to their stated convictions and had some power to make them happen.
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Old 10th September 2019, 12:59 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
We've alread got a Cain.
I was being serious. Youthful firebrands of all political leanings tend to cool down over time.
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Old 10th September 2019, 01:10 PM   #10
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Except when they don't, and it takes a WW to stop them ...
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 10th September 2019, 01:14 PM   #11
Cavemonster
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
I was being serious. Youthful firebrands of all political leanings tend to cool down over time.
Richard Spencer is in his 40s
Gavin McInnes turns 50 next year
David Duke is just about 70

I'm doubting it's a phase.

But you might say that their followers are young. Maybe, but so were many of the ardent nazis before they took power. Most authoritarian takeovers have relied on young angry men as their muscle.

All that said, I'm not sure what the demographics of these groups are, and I'm sure some may change their minds. But we don't have a shortage of angry middleaged and old folks embracing their core ideas.
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Old 10th September 2019, 01:14 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
Ok, so we can cross them off the list.

But that leaves us with a pretty large number of tiny groups which are in some way preaching hate, or overturning the government, or conspiracies that followed to their logical conclusion would mandate the need for violent revolution... or whatever terrifcying thing that should have us up in arms if they actually stuck to their stated convictions and had some power to make them happen.

I hope that you aren't one of those who haven't noticed that ordinary everyday life in a contemporary democracy is based on violence.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 10th September 2019, 01:15 PM   #13
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Question is do they pose enough of a clear and present danger to throw basic Constituional rights out the window in order to suppress them?

Never forget, the same exact reasons some people on the left are using to justify outlawing the alt right could be used by people on the right to outlaw Antifa.

Yes, I am something of an absolutest when it comes to freedom of speech.
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Old 10th September 2019, 06:07 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
I'd like to discuss what threat these groups pose (if any) how we analyze the nature and seriousness of that threat, and what if anything could or should be done about it.

I'm somewhat sympathetic to the view that there is reason to be cautious against an overreaction to fringe lunatics.

But on the other hand, plenty of real threats have looked somewhat silly until it was too late.

Well, that's the problem, fascists never seem anything but silly, until they're not. Their philosophies are grossly oversimplified distortions of reality, their "virtues" are both self-destructive and highly performative, and when taken on their own seem petty, mean, and pathetic. The "shoddy theatrics" of fascism cannot stand up to criticism or ridicule, because it is inherently irrational and artificial.

The problem is, those shoddy theatrics and oversimplified philosophies are also highly seductive to a particular type of person, the absolution of responsibility, and the identification with others who are similarly irrationally-minded, those are very appealing to the self-centered irrationally-conservative mind.

On their own, they're nothing, ineffectual. The problem is that fascism is a form of groupthink, despite a show of elevating the individual, it's inherently a collectivist worldview. Once those amenable to fascism start banding together, with a focus, they start to become dangerous. There have been numerous volumes written on the nature and effects of group psychology that I won't bother to quote here as they're easily findable. But given that sort of easily-manipulated collective will, a suitable scapegoat for its failings, and a sufficiently charismatic leader; well, we've all seen what will, not can, but will happen under those circumstances.

Thus, all such groups should be treated as a clear and present threat, and efforts made to quash it and reeducate its adherents; because such a threat is much more difficult to stop once it begins to gain power and momentum. As we are now re-leaning (since clearly we do not learn sufficiently from history).

Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
Never forget, the same exact reasons some people on the left are using to justify outlawing the alt right could be used by people on the right to outlaw Antifa.

The problem is that is 1) the right has never needed any justification for outlawing anything that conflicted with their own worldview except the presumed supremacy of their own worldview; and 2) without the fascists, antifa simply wouldn't exist, by definition.

Quote:
Yes, I am something of an absolutest when it comes to freedom of speech.

No, you're not, you simply don't understand what free speech is, or its inherent limits.
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Old 10th September 2019, 06:24 PM   #15
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TragicMonkey has a point that men tend to outgrow criminality by their late 20s to 30s or so.

But as long as the ethnonationalist "the browns and blacks are gonna outbreed us" myth hangs over their heads unchecked it could be cause for alarm for decades to come.
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Old 10th September 2019, 07:02 PM   #16
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Thought the discussion on the other thread was whether that lot are real Nazis or not?
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Old 10th September 2019, 07:04 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
No, you're not, you simply don't understand what free speech is, or its inherent limits.
Free Speech: The freedom to say anything that I agree with.
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Old 10th September 2019, 07:29 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
We've reached a point where the President can say there were "good people" on the side of a demonstration who were marching with torches while chanting "Jews will not replace us". And he walked away from that with roaring approval from half the country. We could argue endlessly (and we have) about what that means, but to me it means that what may have previously seemed ridiculous or unacceptable can become the norm here very quickly.
It could also mean that it was the norm already.

The vocal minorities don't speak for the many who feel too marginalized to speak out against the "progressive" agendas that governments pursue.
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Old 10th September 2019, 09:08 PM   #19
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It's a good point that the ridiculous can suddenly get real. President Trump was, indeed elected.

My take on groups like the Proud boys is that they don't appear to harbor political aspirations. The Nazis, for example, always did. I think the alt-right circle-jerks are closer to a clique of dingleberries in high school that want to make some people's lives miserable, but don't even remotely want to take over the school.

Treat them like the petty twats they are, but keep your ideals in mind. First Amendments and whatnot. They take it to the next level, they get dealt with appropriately. But in the meantime, dropping the fascist hammer down because...you think they are wannabe fascists....is kind of...fascist.
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Old 10th September 2019, 09:20 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
It's a good point that the ridiculous can suddenly get real. President Trump was, indeed elected.

My take on groups like the Proud boys is that they don't appear to harbor political aspirations. The Nazis, for example, always did. I think the alt-right circle-jerks are closer to a clique of dingleberries in high school that want to make some people's lives miserable, but don't even remotely want to take over the school.

Treat them like the petty twats they are, but keep your ideals in mind. First Amendments and whatnot. They take it to the next level, they get dealt with appropriately. But in the meantime, dropping the fascist hammer down because...you think they are wannabe fascists....is kind of...fascist.
I don't see this in evidence:

far-right extremists groups have a very long history in this country, and they always aim to achieve political power, usually by intimidating their opponents. What we see today is not a fluke, but the continuation of a long line of attempts of the far-right to become a political fixture.
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Old 10th September 2019, 09:36 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
I don't see this in evidence:

far-right extremists groups have a very long history in this country, and they always aim to achieve political power, usually by intimidating their opponents. What we see today is not a fluke, but the continuation of a long line of attempts of the far-right to become a political fixture.
You wouldn't allow that a group could be white supremacist, but not politically bent?

Does a person advocating for Universal health care have to be a communist, because other groups that advocate it were?
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Old 10th September 2019, 10:02 PM   #22
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Quote:
My take on groups like the Proud boys is that they don't appear to harbor political aspirations.
The leader seems pretty political to me:

https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/proud-boys
Quote:
January 2017: McInnes spoke at The Deploraball (a right-wing celebration of President Trump’s inauguration) in Washington, D.C. He later bragged about punching a protester outside the event.
Quote:
McInnes has pursued the spotlight in right wing media, as a contributor to Ezra Levant’s far right site Rebel Media. He has also hosted the Gavin McInnes show on Compound Media, started the website Street Carnage, and was a guest on Alex Jones’ Infowars, as well as a number of Fox news shows. Today, McInnes hosts two shows on the Conservative Review website.
Quote:
In October 2018, Proud Boys also posed with members of the 211 Bootboys, an ultranationalist skinhead group, after McInnes’ speech at the Metropolitan Republican Club in New York City.
...ad this is just when they're not engaging in street-violence.

Significantly influencing the Republican party is a type of "political aspiration".
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Old 10th September 2019, 10:29 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
The leader seems pretty political to me:

https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/proud-boys






...ad this is just when they're not engaging in street-violence.

Significantly influencing the Republican party is a type of "political aspiration".
Kanye West has spoken right in the Oval Office, too

Yapping when you have a mic and an audience indicates you want a mic and an audience. What was the content of the speech? More importantly, what did he actually do, politically? Anything?
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Old 10th September 2019, 10:39 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
More importantly, what did he actually do, politically? Anything?
Speaking at a candidate rally increases voter enthusiasm for the candidate, and in this guy's case, he's selling his brand of political leanings to the audience.

He's a "political figure" in the sense that Anne Coulter is. Actually being an elected official yourself is only one of many ways of exercising political power.
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Old 10th September 2019, 11:04 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
Speaking at a candidate rally increases voter enthusiasm for the candidate, and in this guy's case, he's selling his brand of political leanings to the audience.

He's a "political figure" in the sense that Anne Coulter is. Actually being an elected official yourself is only one of many ways of exercising political power.
Shouldn't we be speaking in the past tense? Mcinnes stepped down from the pbs last year, no? What he did was, in the end, nothing politically. What he does now is nothing.

The pbs are a smarmy little hate group. No real leadership or political ambition at all, that I see. That their retired founder used to speak at small (obscure, really) right wing gatherings to no consequence kind of reaffirms my point. I mean, he spoke at the Deploraball? You really think anyone at an event of that name was swayed by Mcinnes? I think they were already there, and he was just parroting.
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Old 10th September 2019, 11:25 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
The pbs are a smarmy little hate group. No real leadership or political ambition at all, that I see.
I think you don't see any of these people's "political ambition" because you have an extraordinarily myopic view of all that political ambition can entail.

Do you think stuff like this is completely unrelated to the gospel being preached by these various groups?

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article...ol-epoch-times
Quote:
An arm of the Justice Department regularly sent summaries and links to articles from an online white nationalist publication over the last year, a BuzzFeed News investigation has found. In addition, similar newsletters sent to the Labor Department, ICE, HUD, and the Department of Homeland Security included links and content from hyperpartisan and conspiracy-oriented publishers.
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Old 10th September 2019, 11:40 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
I think you don't see any of these people's "political ambition" because you have an extraordinarily myopic view of all that political ambition can entail.

Do you think stuff like this is completely unrelated to the gospel being preached by these various groups?

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article...ol-epoch-times
This Buzzfeed story seems...a little unrelated to what we are talking about.

It says a contractor tasked with providing media coverage to Federal agencies included what looks like 7 out of 20,000 links and summaries that were from a known racist website. Now, I don't know what the context of those summaries was, and whether it was actually relevant to the Feds, because Buzzfeed didn't bother getting into that. Seems like a classic Buzzfeed clickbait story.

To your point, though: news flash! Everyone has political opinions and leanings. Not everyone has political aspirations. I am saying that the pbs and similar slime have opinions that they will crow to the cows come home. They have no aspirations that are being even indirectly acted on, or even promoted.
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Old 10th September 2019, 11:43 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
The leader seems pretty political to me:

https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/proud-boys

...ad this is just when they're not engaging in street-violence.

Significantly influencing the Republican party is a type of "political aspiration".
Is this something that you think should be outlawed?
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Old 10th September 2019, 11:58 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Is this something that you think should be outlawed?
No. I just don't think it should be minimized and dismissed as a total non-issue.

I have no idea how it should be dealt with, though.
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Old 11th September 2019, 01:00 AM   #30
Bogative
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Does a person advocating for Universal health care have to be a communist, because other groups that advocate it were?
Does a person advocating against the removal of a statue have to be a white nationalist, because other groups that advocate it were?

Of course not, just don't tell the OP, he seems to be confused by the notion that two different groups of people can share something in common, yet can still be different in other ways.
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Old 11th September 2019, 01:19 AM   #31
kellyb
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
You wouldn't allow that a group could be white supremacist, but not politically bent?
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dict...%20supremacist

Quote:
Definition of white supremacist

: a person who believes that the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races
That highlighted part is inherently political. A person or group can be "just" white and racist without necessarily being politically bent, but a group that's "white supremacist" is a political group, basically by definition.

What you're asking is like asking if a church can be part of the Christian right but not "politically bent". (It can't).
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Old 11th September 2019, 03:10 AM   #32
dann
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In this case, I tend to disagree with Merriam-Webster.
My definition: A white supremacist is a person who needs to believe that the white race is inherently superior to other races but fears that it isn't, which is why he insists that white people should have control over people of other races.

In the upper classes, this need is caused by their desire to exploit members of the allegedly inferior race with a good conscience, i.e. they want to think that they deserve their privileged position because they are superior and thus entitled to it. Their racism serves the same purpose as their classism, and they don't feel any more empathy for people of the inferior race than they do for people of the inferior class: white trash! ('There may be a deserving individual here or there, but would you like to see your daughter marry one?') Think Mitt Romney!

That is why racism is much more radical among the working classes, whose position (= jobs) are immediately threatened by immigrants (they used to be Irish!) or blacks released from slavery. In Denmark, I've not yet encountered a profession as racist as waiters - I was a language teacher at the Hotel and Restaurant School of Copenhagen in the late 1980s - and sailors. They used to be communists, and their trade union reflected that, but it changed completely when their employers began to replace Danish sailors with cheap labour, for instance from the Philippines.

(See the history of the Danish left-wing party Fælles Kurs, Common Course: "The party's leader was Preben Møller Hansen, writer, cook, and leader of the Danish sailors' union, who was expelled from the Communist Party of Denmark in 1979 ... Its official immigration policy was quite restrictive, contrary to other parties on the left ... In an attempt to regain parliamentary representation, Common Course started cooperating with Mogens Glistrup's right-wing Progress Party, causing many members to flee.")
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Old 11th September 2019, 03:18 AM   #33
dann
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
You wouldn't allow that a group could be white supremacist, but not politically bent?

What does it have to do with allowing anything?
If you are a nationalist, the step from left to far-right is a very short one.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 11th September 2019, 03:30 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
That their retired founder used to speak at small (obscure, really) right wing gatherings to no consequence kind of reaffirms my point. I mean, he spoke at the Deploraball?

No, it doesn't reaffirm your point. Hitler also "used to speak at small (obscure, really) right wing gatherings to no consequence." But then, one day, it was no longer inconsequential.

Quote:
With the DAP founding in January 1919, Drexler was elected chairman and Harrer was made Reich Chairman, an honorary title. On 17 May, only ten members were present at the meeting, and a later meeting in August only noted 38 members attending.
(...)
On the orders of his army superiors, Hitler applied to join the party. Although Hitler initially wanted to form his own party, he claimed to have been convinced to join the DAP because it was small and he could eventually become its leader.
German Workers' Party (Wikipedia)
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 11th September 2019, 03:43 AM   #35
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This is a never ending game of chasing moving goal posts.

Q: At what point should we worry about Nazis?

A: When they stand to achieve any political gains.

Q: Arguably, they have achieved political gains, should we worry about them?

A: No, because they aren't putting people in camps and killing them.

Q: Well, there are camps and people are dying. Don't you think a little worry is warranted?

A: No, because it's not 1936 so they cannot be Nazis.
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Old 11th September 2019, 04:21 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Bogative View Post
Does a person advocating against the removal of a statue have to be a white nationalist, because other groups that advocate it were?

Of course not, just don't tell the OP, he seems to be confused by the notion that two different groups of people can share something in common, yet can still be different in other ways.
I don't think you need to share every political opinion with people you share a political demonstration with.

But when the central mass of people you're marching with start chanting "Jews will not replace us" and you think it's okay to keep marching by their side, you're not very fine people.
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Old 11th September 2019, 04:42 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
I don't think you need to share every political opinion with people you share a political demonstration with.

But when the central mass of people you're marching with start chanting "Jews will not replace us" and you think it's okay to keep marching by their side, you're not very fine people.
To be fair, that wasn't what they were shouting during the actual rally, but during the torch-march the night before. During the rally they were shouting "Gas the *****, race war now!" In other words, normal history lovers.
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Old 11th September 2019, 04:49 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
What are the demographics of these groups? If they're mostly young then there's a good chance they'll simply grow out of it.
And if they're old enough there's a good chance that things will grow out of them soon enough.
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Old 11th September 2019, 04:55 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
The problem is that fascism is a form of groupthink, despite a show of elevating the individual, it's inherently a collectivist worldview.
In my experience that's usually the case regardless of ideology. Some people "rebel" against authority but they always band together in even more tightly-knit, hierarchical groups. Nazis are no different.

Not disagreeing with your post. Just adding to it.

Quote:
No, you're not, you simply don't understand what free speech is, or its inherent limits.
However, dudalb did say he was an absolutist, which in fact denies those limits.
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Last edited by Belz...; 11th September 2019 at 04:56 AM.
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Old 11th September 2019, 05:12 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
Well, that's the problem, fascists never seem anything but silly, until they're not..
They're like dangerous dog breeds.

"Oh, but he was so gentle with the children.... until one day, he ripped my daughter's face off"
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