Noam Chomsky

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Wed Oct 28 07:53:44 PST 1998

>>> jf noonan <jfn1 at> 10/28 10:05 AM >>>
On Mon, 26 Oct 1998, Charles Brown wrote:

> One simple way to consider this logically
> is the following. Take someone who holds
> Freedom of Speech as their highest political
> ideal. It is absurd for them to advocate in
> favor of "freedom" to argue for
> the end of the right of free speech !
> This is exactly what the Nazis , KKK and
> fascists advocate and institute: the end
> of freedom of speech. So, if their ideas
> succeed and persuade, they will lead
> to the end of the most important
> institution in the "free speecher's" opinon !
> Even radical free speechers should oppose
> the right to advocate the end of free speech
> or fascism.

It is not absurd for me to defend their right to speak. I think my position(s) are the correct ones and I expect to convince, if not the Nazi, at least members of the audience, that his position is flawed. It makes perfect sense to allow him to speak. __________

Charles: You have just as much likelihood of convincing "members of the audience" that the Nazi position is flawed without an actual Nazi speaker. There is plenty of evidence of the theory and practice of Nazism and KKKism in history for making a convincing argument.

Also, you pose the issue as if all is just a debate before an "audience". The ACLU position on this issue ignores that Nazis and KKK speech results in ongoing repression of their vicitims lives and speech.

> The legal standard of international law
> on this issue, in the Convention on Genocide
> and The internation convenant on human rights,
> et al. is to outlaw incitement and advocacy
> of racism and genocide, unlike the more
> backward U.S. standard of the Supreme
> Court case of _Brandenburg vs. Ohio_. As
> noted in this thread, France, a fully "democratic"
> country makes denial of the WWII holocaust
> a crime. The fascist Le Pen was convicted
> under it recently. Canada has a similar
> law. The former socialist countries had
> laws outlawing advocacy of racism.
> Charles Brown
> Outlaw the Nazis and KKK.

Thanks for the additional support for my position! I hadn't thought to include LePen and France in my argument!

___________ Charles: LePen's politics and status do not support your argument. You seem to be mixed up. Are you a LePen fan ? What are you talking about ?

France outlaws some forms of fascistic speech, such as denial of the Holocaust. This has not at all made France less free or with less freedom of speech than the United States. In fact, it has made France more free. As far as I can tell, France is a more progressive and free country than the U.S.

As I mentioned in a previous post (and nobody has chosen to respond to), Germany outlawed the Nazi party and all of its symbols and literature 50 years ago. That has not limited the development of a significant neo-Nazi movement. In fact, by driving it underground, it may have made it much more virulent. Shine the light of day on these cretins. Expose them to examination and ridicule. Don't make martyrs or "oppressed" people of them, it doesn't help. ________

Charles: This is easy to answer. There may have been MORE neo-Nazis today, if they had not been outlawed !!! and you can't prove otherwise. In the latest election in Germany, the neo-fascists got NO seats. Look like the method of outlawing them worked !

The driving underground/expose to light argument is Justice Brandeis' from the 1920's. He says noxious doctrine or the like should be released into the air ( he was before the modern environmental movement or he probably wouldn't have used this metaphor). But the "exposing to the light" within bourgeois socio/political context is a myth and a pipe dream. There is no evidence that allowing fascists to be above ground is a more effective way to fight them than driving them "underground" , i.e. crimnalizing them. This whole approach relies on a bourgeois idealist paradigm of society as this open and honest forum in which public issues are debated fully and fairly for purposes of decision. This is false. The public discussion is warped,controlled skewed by the monopoly media and hegemony over consciousness and opinion forming institutions. The bourgeoisie are glad to have a few "legitimate" Nazis and KKK in this debate, helping to pull the overall discussion to the right. Directly on your paradigm that Nazi or KKK ideas will be exposed and become unpopular in a open and full public debate, there is a very low likelihood of this, because of the control of the bourgeiosie over public discourse.

Concretely, David Duke' s platform for governor, a KKK /Nazi public discussion, did not fade or become unpopular. It became the basis for the Republican Party Contract on America, with anti-affirmative action as a center piece.

What is lost in "legitimizing" the fascists by granting them freedom of speech is not gained back by your highly uncertain and naive conception of U.S. society as debating society with fair play of debate , etc. ___________

Similarly, Germany has outlawed the Church of Scientology. Whatever for? AFAICT, it is a church for flaky yuppies with too much money to burn. Fuck 'em if they want to piss their money away. I'd much sooner advocate making the Catholic Church or the CofE illegal for their actions as tools of oppression of the imperial powers. Bring the Pope up on charges of crimes against the women in developing counties that can't get birth control because of his actions. But banning a church because its "weird" seems to prove my point that the State really shouldn't be trusted in this area. __________--

Charles: This gets into different areas. as far as I know the Church of Scientology is not fascist like the Nazis or KKK. The German state is not following my theory of jurisprudence in general. I don't propose outlawing churches. However, I would support outlawing the advocacy of misogyny, specifically.

Charles Brown

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