gay bashing and laws

jf noonan jfn1 at
Thu Oct 22 14:35:11 PDT 1998

On Wed, 21 Oct 1998, Chris Burford wrote:

> At 09:09 PM 10/20/98 -0500, Joseph Noonan
> wrote:
> > I will assume that your are in favor of making "Aids cures fags"
> >placards illegal. They most assuredly are offensive, but they are
> >not, nor should they be, illegal.
> I find this an odd argument. This placard sounds about as acceptable as one
> that might say "Jews make good lampshades". It is a flagrant psychological
> attack that legitimises humiliating an enemy even to the point of joking
> about his death. It is an invitation to physical assault, and with ideas
> like this in circulation 1 in 500 hundred confrontations will lead to
> assault.

I don't know whether it is an invitation to physical assault or not -- it does make me feel like punching the fucker carrying it. As far as psychological attacks go, I have no idea what that means, but maybe Carrol has something to say about it.

> The massacre of millions of Jews is presaged a few years earlier by their
> public humiliation making them clean streets with toothbrushes on their
> knees.
> The use of bourgeois laws is of course bourgeois. But Joseph Noonan seems
> to show a false radicalism in arguing that such provocative and offensive
> verbal attacks should not be made illegal. This seems to make a fetish out
> of bourgeois democratic rights. But the right to make physically
> inflammatory remarks about a minority means there is no right for that
> minority to be free of inflammatory taunts.

I makes of fetish of nothing. It is an assertion of my (and yours) inherent right to freedom of thought and expression. What could possibly be more valuable than that?

> The argument that follows misses the point. I am arguing not for a law to
> make killing of a gay person a super crime, worse than killing of a black.
> This is about a law that consciously restricts the right to completely
> abstract equal free speech. An equal bourgeois right typically isolated
> from the context is unequal because people are in unequal situations.
> Joseph's defense of homophobic provocative language is unequal because
> there is no concrete situation in which heterosexual are taunted with
> insults and threatened with attack.

Sorry if I took to US-centric a view, but currently there are proposals flying around everywhere to enact various "hate crimes" laws. Some of these are meant to enhance the penalty of already proscribed actions when "hate" (whatever that is) is "proven" (however that is done) to be the motivation. I am opposed to these.

Then there are the proposals, such as yours, that this sort of speech should be made illegal. I am opposed to these as well. You have already admitted, in another post, that you have no stats, hard or soft, to back up your assertion that this government imposed civility results in a reduction of hateful acts. I would offer as a counter example Germany. In Germany it has been illegal to fly a Nazi flag or publish Nazi literature for 50 years. That sure has stopped there from being a neo-nazi movement, eh? Stamped anti-Semitism right out too.

> >No real power relations are changed
> That is not so. A platform should be denied to homophobia as it should be
> to racism. I have no doubt it is denied on this list.

This list is a private group of individuals that have agreed to be here for as long as we want to be and Doug doesn't kick us off. The worst thing that can happen to me if I start fag-bashing is Doug will throw me off. The State, OTOH, can throw me in prison; that is hardly analogous. Leaving the State to determine what is and is not hate seems like a terribly dangerous thing to do. What if speaking out against the CofE became a hate crime (hardly unimaginable in a land with a State church)? Do you really have that much faith in the State? If so, you're much more bourg than I.

> What is this intense radical libertarianism that regards bourgeois
> democratic rights as some abstract higher value, that should prevail over
> the concrete social situation?

I do not trust the State to be able to tell the difference between dissent and hate. I'd rather be called a shit-eating fag 7 times a day than let the State determine what is hate.

> Chris Burford

P.S. You don't have to call me "Joseph Noonan" every time you refer to me. Just Joseph or Joe will suffice.


Joseph Noonan jfn1 at

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