Comment of the Day

My attention was drawn to this comment on Martyn Martin Bradbury’s hate speech blog, where Bradbury gets schooled on issues regarding hate speech and its pernicious effects.

Bradbury had been mansplaining about how it was OK for Muslim hate-speech preacher Shaykh Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib was really just a silly old man rather than the nasty antisemite  and misogynist he actually is.

This has got to be one of the silliest posts to have turned up on the Kiwi blogosphere for some time, with a fair number of suspects competing for that dismal accolade.

Maybe the most disconcerting thing here, Martyn, is your blitheness about the stress that hate speech causes real people: members of vulnerable minorities; especially young people, and children not least of all. “What’s so controversial about claiming Jews and Christians are the enemies of Muslims?” What’s the matter with you, Bomber? How do you imagine that hate speech, or the wholesale denigration of an entire minority actually works?

A boy of four wearing a yarmulke, assaulted in Mt. Eden last year – because Jews are portrayed by some fanatics as the enemies of Islam and as members of a race trying to take over the world. That’s how hate speech works. A Muslim kindergarten child in the US harassed verbally – and physically – by his TEACHER – because all Muslims are supposed to be terrorists. And one day that child is supposed to grow up to become one. That’s how hate speech works.

You bring up Gaza. Did the Islamic Women’s Council of NZ, who are a thousand-fold more qualified to talk about Gaza then you are, raise Gaza? Of course not. They rebuked Sahib unequivocally and expressed nothing toward the Jewish community but magnanimity and solidarity. Not much sexy contrarianism there, Martyn. But I’m guessing that they know all too well the thing that you’ve completely managed to miss: that children or young people of any minority are not in the least bit responsible for Gaza, for Isis, for anything else – but they’re always the first victims of the radical evil that hate speech is.  

So talk to any frightened minority child about “countering, arguing and contextualizing.” Talk to a gay teenager bullied in school over the past fortnight by some kid who was emboldened by the hate speech of demagogue in a church and south Auckland about “countering, arguing and contextualizing. Talk “countering, arguing and contextualizing” to the hundreds of U.S. educators who wrote harrowingly of the epidemic of hate speech and racially-motivated bullying in response to a Southern Poverty Law Center survey in April. These are professionals who had painstakingly “contextualized” decency, empathy, respect – only to see one instance of hate speech from the most visible and amplified human presence on the planet blow all of that away in an afternoon.

And perhaps you begin to see – hopefully – just how fanciful that approach is. If you posit otherwise, then it’s as if hate speech was just one more fascinating facet of human communication, or a genus of rhetorical provocation from which some meaningful counter-discourse could be satisfactorily leveraged at any time! Not as a radical evil to be anathematized, punished. Not, Christ forbid, to be treated as a crime.

“If you wish the sympathy of the broad masses,” Hitler wrote, “you must tell them the crudest and most stupid things.” But chill; it’s not that serious. After all, we can always counter, argue and contextualize. And yet, inexplicably, in the same post, Mr. Bradbury, you want a religious reprobate to be treated as “a waste of time [because] building him up as more than the charlatan he actually is only increases the persecution mentality of his Stockholm syndrome followers.” Exactly, which spitball are you rolling with, brother? “Countering”? Or treating the man as a “waste of time?” If it’s the latter, that’s exactly the approach they took to Hitler, Martyn! Donald too! Ian Kershaw may have referred to Hitler as a “bizarre misfit” but that was retroactively. 50 million dead retroactively.

“I disagree with all three of these people.” Really. This isn’t gritty, Martyn. It’s one bar removed from the kind of “good-luck-with-that” liberal fecklessness which holds that we can all sit around on Q&A or the Panel and talk about that shiny new young thing with the updated Adolf comb-over, leading the charge for the “alt-right” with his Heil Donald and “are Jews really people?” How outré! Should he be taken seriously? Oh no; punish him and you just build him up! Treat him as the waste of space he is!

Just as CBS and CNN did with the “alt-right” “Daddy,” to use Mr. Yiannopolous’ term of suitably deranged endearment.

Yep, succumbing to radical evil is of that kind. Boy, Martyn, have you bombed major league.

The commenter is dead right, even though there are hints of his own leftism.

But given the original post by Bradbury, does he now suggest that he’ll extend that sentiment to me now?

Until now he has felt that I needed to be shut up, forcibly if necessary, and certainly using criminal means like hacking.

So…I am somehow worse than slightly racist Santa, Tamaki and a misogynistic Muslim?

We would never want to shut down Martyn.  He’s been destroying political parties and movements at a much higher rate than I will ever be able to.

 

– The Daily Bog

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