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Further to previous value judgement "argument failure" point

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Nov. 19th, 2008 | 10:30 pm

The leaking of the BNP membership list has brought out a whole new generation of "but who are the real fascists?" posts. I wrote about this not too long ago, but as far as I am aware, the principle hasn't changed - you can't just universalise everything from whatever position you want.

Dear Assorted Person On The Internet: Saying "well how would you like it if your details were posted on Redwatch?" is not the killer argument you think it is. It is entirely consistent to say "I have no problem with members of racist parties like the BNP being named" and also "I do not think my details should be put up on a site devoted to encouraging the harassment of 'reds'". Inconsistencies in arguments in this case might arise should one have previously said "I don't think that membership lists of any political party should ever be released", as that is a general statement across all political parties, but without that sort of initial argument it's not an inconsistency.

Similarly it is not a killer argument to say "oh well how would you like it if someone lost their job because they were named as a member of (socialist/green/other party X)?" The answer may well be "not much, but I wouldn't mind if they lost their job because they were a member of the BNP". (As a side point, the BNP occupies an odd position with regard to employment in certain public bodies such as the police - it is not allowed to be an active political campaigner for any party, but it is not allowed at all by regulation for a police officer to be a member of the BNP, even if they do nothing but pay the subs. Police Regulations 2003 Schedule 1.)

Also, sorry, if you can't see the issue with non-ironically quoting Neimoller on this issue you might want to think a little. "First they came for the Nazis...."
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Comments {4}


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from: mordantcarnival
date: Nov. 19th, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC)

Do people honestly not get that the BNP isn't just an eccentric fringe group, nor is it like unto the SNP or Plaid Cymru but just with different letters? Saying "oh well you wouldn't want someone to get fired for being in the Green party so why should they get fired for being in the BNP" is basically like saying "oh you wouldn't want someone to get fired for owning a Scalextric so why should they get fired for having a Howitzer under the bed and a shedful of home-made nail-bombs."

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from: blahflowers
date: Nov. 20th, 2008 07:14 am (UTC)

I liked David Aaronowitch's claiming that people don't support the BNP 24 hours after their membership list was leaked. By the weekend he'll be claiming that the BNP is a fictional organisation and that the guy who was elected to the London Assembly is merely swamp gas and coloured lights.

Do I get to occupy the high ground for once as I am listed on Redwatch in their 'noncewatch' section?

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from: fridgemagnet
date: Nov. 20th, 2008 10:32 am (UTC)

I've seen some people claim that there's nothing wrong with them and "your leftie groups" are as bad or worse somehow. But quite a few seem to appreciate that they're, as somebody put it, "a party run by racists for racists with racist policies", and still go for this "inconsistency" argument, as if supporting X in case A was always the same as supporting X in case B, regardless of the differences between A and B. Speculating, I might say that this was a consequence of hypocrisy having become the ultimate political sin somehow so looked for everywhere, as well as the usual internet "I am not going to read your actual argument, tl;dr, I am just going to reply to something I think you said".

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BNP list

from: anonymous
date: Nov. 20th, 2008 10:12 am (UTC)

Wonderful quote from a woman on the list in The Guardian: "I have nothing against coloured people at all. They can't help their colour. I can't help being white".

So why are you in the BNP lady? Oh, immigration? So you don't want those nasty, dirty, strange-smelling Australians, New Zealanders, north Americans or white South Africans coming to the UK and stealing our jobs and our women either?

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