Thursday, 5 December 2019

Nazi Sympathiser

A friend of mine showed me a photo yesterday of somebody in the OSR Twittersphere describing me as a Nazi sympathiser. (The same person was describing another RPG blogger in the same thread as something like "radical centrist scum".)

I wasn't going to write a blog post about this - it really just struck me as funny. A lot of what happens on Twitter, and particularly OSR-related Twitter, looks to me like the antics of some obscure race of decadent high elves or sentient androids, long ago descended into insanity and ennui, incapable of understanding basic human interactions and preoccuppied with their own bizarre and whimsical flights of fancy. So I was going to leave it at that.

But then a colleague came by my office to ask me for a favour. He's a staunch left-winger of the genuinely socialist variety, a shop steward and union activist to his very core. We get along very well, and he wanted me to witness his application for a renewal of his driving license. It struck me as we chatted that here was I, somebody on the centre-right politically, having a normal friendly conversation with him, a hard leftist, and neither of us could have cared less about our genuine and serious disagreements about who should be running the country. In the real world, this shit doesn't matter. Yet for some extremely online people, it apparently does. To them, it's actually important not to associate with people who have bad opinions, and, what's more, to then paint those people as the extremists.

Thinking this is strange, and probably a bad idea, makes me a "Nazi Sympathiser".

Would George Orwell even have a role if he were alive today? What is left to satirise when the world continually satirises itself? Answers on a postcard.

[Addendum: I have had to go back to moderating comments because the spam/Kent sock puppets have been getting ridiculous. Apologies for that.]

103 comments:

  1. Radical centrist scum, I love that label!

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  2. The political doesn't matter for some people, yeah. Usually, it doesn't matter for a specific narrow slice of people who have had the system work in their favor. If you're a PoC, queer, or smth along those lines, the political does matter, because a shocking number of people's "political" opinion is that you shouldn't be allowed to exist in peace.

    I have to care about pople's politics IRL because as a, and I mean this in the most literal terms, survival mechanism. Apoliticism is a luxury.

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    1. and politics means being nasty to people who happen to disagree with you? :-o

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    2. "a shocking number of people's 'political' opinion is that you shouldn't be allowed to exist in peace."

      This is basically how everyone perceives the "other side's" political positions. (Religious people think this about the left, for example. Libertarians think it about socialists.).

      It's not that politics "doesn't matter" *at all* -- it clearly does. It's that it doesn't matter when it comes to our ability to have actual relationships with people we vehemently disagree with.

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    3. I believe the point here is that it is possible (and preferable) to respect one another despite legitimate political differences, and that this is something (some) people used to know and still largely know outside of online interaction.

      I don't believe the point is that you should ignore others' politics. People who do not respect you and are using political means to oppress you have already broken the above contract, and so it is absolutely your right to fight against them. You don't have to be their friend.

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    4. What Ivan and Matt said.

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    5. What happens, then, when those people who just have political differences with you vote for and lend power to someone, or a party of people, who do not respect you and use political means to oppress you? If it is absolutely our right to fight them and not be their friend, doesn't that apply to the people who give them power?

      Why should I be friends with someone who provides power to someone who wants me to be illegal?

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    6. (To be clear, this isn't rhetorical, it's a question I have to deal with every day, and I don't have a good answer.)

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    7. Let's put it this way: I think hard left politics in the abstract are disastrous and among the most dangerous and oppressive ideas humam beings have come up with. Where would I get if I made that a relevant consideration in deciding to be friends with someone?

      People are complicated and nobody believes what they believe out of choice. Literally nobody. Once you accept that and accept people for what they are life is much better. As Matt said, OBVIOUSLY that doesn't apply to people who actually personally wish you ill. You don't have to be friends with people who hate you, but that's kind of a moot point, surely?

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    8. Clearly, it isn't "obvious" if people are taking your comments as "I'm not going to rock the boat if a person is supporting or lending credence to political powers that are seeking the elimination of minorities."

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    9. People are taking it that way because that's how they want to take it. I learned long ago that a certain percentage of people read what they want to read into everything.

      The idea that there is a manichean struggle going on betwen goodies and baddies is a figment of the internet's collective imagination.

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    10. "Does this person support politics that seek my demise" is a fiddly question for some of us though, especially those of us in the United States. When someone says "i vote republican", that means they voted for a package of ideas that includes some things that I can disagree with and still be friends with them over- things like economic direction, for example- but, in many areas, it also means that they've voted for policy that actively seeks for my removal from society (I'm not using hyperbole here, in some parts of the country you can be arrested for "walking while trans"), when I hear someone say "I voted republican" it puts up my hackles. I'm not going to instantly discount them as someone I can know, but I AM going to keep an eye on them.

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    11. Also vis a vis Ivans point: Im not talking about reading in to people's decisions or creatively interpreting their politics when I say "people who don't want me to exist." I get cussed out in the streets and live in fear of physical violence because of my gender identity. I have had to talk to quite a few people who argue that people like me are perverts, insane, or abominations. Several of them argued that I shouldn't care so much what their thoughts were because, after all, it was "politics shouldnt matter that much." This is what I mean when I say apoliticism is a luxury: For some of us, we have to engage in politics no matter what, because for some derranged reason our EXISTENCE is seen as a political issue.

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    12. Can you point to the Republican policy position that is designed to end your existence?

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    13. There are laws. There are constitutions. There are institutions. The idea that an election will somehow cause some segment of the citizenry to suddenly be persecuted is paranoid "othering" and shows a lack of historical perspective. That said, seems like the nearly extinct National Socialists idiots have become the new boogeyman and a favorite slur to throw at the "other". I'm sorry anybody has to endure that kind of slander.

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    14. Don't pretend you're not enjoying this :-)

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    15. My first reaction to this is, "You're catastrophizing. Stop it." My second though is that, " you shouldn't be allowed to exist in peace" is exactly how loads of people on Twitter feel about anyone who publicly disagrees with them, however politely. Thus I comment here as a proud Anonymous Coward.

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    16. @Scott, A few off the top of my head that are relevant include:

      -A case on the supreme court that will determine whether or not it is legal to fire LGBT+ people for simply being LGBT+. Republicans overwhelmingly are supporting the 'yes' position. Further reading: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/08/us/politics/supreme-court-gay-transgender.html

      -'Walking while trans' laws, which in certain parts of the country allow for the arrest of trans individuals on charges of prostitution. To repeat: wearing clothes that don't align with your birth sex can literally get you arrested in certain parts of the USA. Again, these laws are overwhelming supported by republicans. Further reading: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3122565

      -The "Trans panic" legal defense. If a trans woman is killed by someone who she had a romantic attachment to, the killer can plead guilty and use 'trans panic' as an defense. This basically boils down to 'I didn't know she was trans and when i found out it freaked me out so much I killed her.' It is used as a 'Defense of provocation', 'defense of temporary insanity' or a 'defense of self defense.' In many cases, it has seen people who have admitted to the murder of a trans woman walk away free. There is also the defense of 'gay panic', which defends the killing of gay men or women who are seen as 'hitting on' straight people.

      Further reading: https://lgbtbar.org/programs/advocacy/gay-trans-panic-defense/
      Or, if using a pro-lgbt site is 'too biased' for you: https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-end-of-the-gay-panic-legal-defense
      An article about how six states have banned it. In other words, it's still applicable in the other 9/10ths of the country.


      When I say 'these issues are important to me', I am not speaking abstractly. I am not catastrophizing. I am not attempting to paint those who support republicans as evil or heartless- many people don't know about these issues, or assume that the left is exaggerating. Nevertheless, when I say being apolitical is a luxury, this is what I mean. I have to worry about politics, because politics can directly effect my life in tangible and worrying ways.

      I'm going to step back from this argument now- I know its unlikely to convince anyone since, well, its the internet. That said, if 4+ sources and a heartfelt personal plea isn't enough to convince you I'm not being genuine here, I dunno what to say.

      Have a lovely rest of the day.

      Delete
    17. ...I just realized my big post listing different pieces of republican legislation and lawmaking that effect my life included a bunch of links to sources and the spam filter might cut it out. fuck.

      In case it IS filtered, the TLDR:
      -Google 'Walking while trans' laws (Allow being arrested for being trans)
      -Google LGBT supreme court employment rights (Could allow being fired for being LGBT+)
      -Google trans panic defense (Does allow being killed for being trans)

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    18. But you are catastrophizing. Right from the start of the conversation. It's all drama and righteous victimhood. And then on top of that, you round off by saying you won't convince anyone here, because well, it's the internet which implies those who don't agree with you are nasty knuckleheads. So why bother, execpt for the personal gratification you derive from it? People like you are the worst enemies of their own cause.

      It's not that I'm unsympathetic to LGBT issues, I just don't care for the kind of SJW-troll attitude that mirrors the hysterical extreme right.

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    19. @Anon8107: I want to engage with this in a spirit of sensible and fair-minded discussion. So, in that spirit:

      -The article you linked to on SSRN says that there is no data on the "walking while trans" issue except for anecdotes. It starts off with the initial premise that there *is* such a phenomenon and then bemoans the fact that it is hard to get data showing it. It's not that I don't think that there is a problem. It's that I'm not convinced the issue is "people being arrested for being trans". It sounds more likely that in certain neighbourhoods in certain cities, trans women are likely to be stopped by police on suspicion of prostitution. I don't like police profiling in that way, let me be clear. But it doesn't sound anything like "you can be arrested just for being trans".

      -The issue before the Supreme Court is to do with legal interpretation. Nobody is arguing employers should be allowed to fire people just for being gay or trans. The issue is that the law prohibits discrimination on the basis of *sex*, and there is disagreement on the proper role of the judge in those circumstances. Should the judge creatively interpret the word *sex* to include sexual preference or trans status, or stick to a textual interpretation and leave it for the legislature to make a new law or amend the existing one so it includes discrimination on the basis of sexual preference or trans status. In general my sympathies lie with the latter: I prefer law making to be done by the legislature rather than creative interpretation by judges. The proper solution here is that legislation is passed prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual preference or trans status.

      -I looked at the article you linked to about the so-called gay-panic defence and it says the number of instances of it being used are in the dozens - ever. That's vanishingly rare. And I'm not sure from reading that article that there has been a single instance of a "trans panic" defence being successfully used. Not being an expert, it sounds to me like the reason why most states have not made that defence unlawful is that it simply has never arisen in that particular jurisdiction.

      I would not use the word "catastrophizing" - I just think there is more nuance here than you're perhaps aware of from your reading.

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    20. I tend to agree with you here, but:

      "Nobody is arguing employers should be allowed to fire people just for being gay or trans."

      When you say "nobody" -- I take it you mean nobody on this forum? It is a very common Republican position that a private business should be allowed to refuse to employ gay/trans individuals. The case currently before the Supreme Court will involve statutory interpretation, true, but it also reflects a standard republican objection to any rule prohibiting LGBT discrimination (that's why there's no federal law prohibiting it, and no state law in many states).

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    21. Yes--allowing people to discriminate against gay people, especially on religious grounds, seems to be a fairly high priority for the Republican Party.

      This is probably an example of what I meant by saying that not wanting to associate with Republicans in the US isn't the equivalent of not wanting to associate with Conservatives in the UK, but more like not wanting to associate with, say, UKIP.

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    22. @Ivan: I meant nobody in the link that was provided.

      But I wonder if we're getting sidetracked. The point is that everybody can percieve these sorts of threats to their own way of life in the activities of political opponents. A fairly big news story this year in England has concerned Muslim parents objecting to classes in their school (a primary school) which teach sex education including about gay and trans lifestyles. For these parents, this teaching is a threat to their religion and culture as a minority group. We all have an issue which we can spin as: this means the other side are the ENEMY. But if we all do that, we get a political landscape that only divides people further.

      This is especially true, I think, in a very binary political system like the US, where both parties are really, really broad umbrellas. If you say "I won't associate with Republicans/Democrats because of X" you're also writing off their politics for every other letter of the alphabet, which is crazy.

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  3. As A Leftist, I approve this message.

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  4. I believe the modern equivalent of "answers on a postcard" is "reaction GIFs only"

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  5. But this stuff does matter in the real world. Even if your coworker wasn't aware of your political affiliation, if you vote for mr "I hate foreigners", whose most famous quotes and actions are anti-foreigner speeches and laws, there's a lot of people out there whose lives are personally seriously affected by these. Its not 'just politics' to debate a queer persons right to exist, or if some people deserve rights, or if people deserve to be able to afford medicine.

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    1. I'm not American.

      So much of this stems from people seeing the world through an American lens.

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    2. And of course he knows my politics - that's because we're normal people who have normal relationships.

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    3. A different Anon here, but I don't see where the first Anon said you were American.

      Here, in Britain, there are ongoing struggles for trans-folk to accepted as the gender they are, among other issues effecting queer people, plus we are seeing the continuation of a fight by the right-wing plutocrats to end the free-at-point-of-use NHS - Both Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage are documented for supporting the horrendous insurance-based form for medical care. The Windrush issue is still ongoing, where a great number of black people, some born in this country, are being driven to destitution due to a Home Office desperate to add to the "people we've 'kicked out'" total to try and appeal to those who would otherwise consider themselves "mild-mannered", "civil" and "centre-right". In short, a number of issues one may dismiss as only effecting Americans are, actually, also present in other countries.

      As Anon #14093 above said, apoliticalism is a luxury, and it's one that many can't afford.

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    4. And meanwhile the other option is to support an active anti-semite who wants to bankrupt the country and loves terrorists.

      We can all play that daft game. Gets us nowhere fast.

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    5. I'm a Canadian, so I'm neither British nor American.

      Am I the only one reading this who sees two different "anonymous" people arguing about "the sin of being apolitical" then refusing to sign their names to something as a certain kind of argument-torpedoing hypocrisy?

      No? OK then, it's just me...

      Delete
    6. Well, you've successfully depressed me a little bit this, afternoon. *Anonymous* didn't really write anything particularly contentious, whereas you repeated some fairly lascivious (to my reading) propaganda. I don't feel there's anything remotely like equal weight between your two statements.

      I know you're centre right..
      . you've mentioned it before in your blog and occasionally I wondered about it, whilst hoping that I'd never have to discuss it. That's because I see real desperation in my community and in the work that involves, nearly every day. It becomes difficult to separate the aspects one admires and respects, from the attitudes required to rationalise or distance oneself from suffering (I feel this way about many of my right wing friends. If the debate moves a certain direction, anger comes... and it comes from me, never from the other. Is that a comment on my temper or the selfishness of my friend/opponent? Not sure).

      I don't think socialism is the end goal of human society. It's a stepping stone towards something better. This world is dreadful and filled with senseless 'rocks fall, you die' moments, yet the eternal challenge remains, to love in spite of that...to not allow this cruel reality to rob one of one's soul or kindness, if you will.

      I'm digressing. Your original point is decent. We all have reality filters and the internet assures us that we receive 50% stuff we agree with and 50% the worst opinions of the other side. We can all learn from each other and find a way forward.

      Yoon Suin is still my favourite rpg supplement. Ha.

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    7. This nonsense about the NHS being sold off to plutocrats and Boris being anti-immigration are just as much lascivious propaganda to me - that's the narrow point I'm trying to make.

      The wider point is: there is not a single person who holds the opinions they hold because they think it will make the world a worse place. Everybody wants "something better". They just disagree about how to get there and what it looks like.

      My own perspective on matters is Lionel Trilling's. You can have a very compassioniate society or you can have one which embraces freedom but you can't actually square that circle. Broadly human beings in the West seem to fall into one or the other of those dispositional camps: people who think a better State is one which cares for its population and people who want a State which enshrines the freedom of the individuals comprising the population. It is competing visions of the good and you can't really reconcile them except with messy trade-offs.

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  6. "In the real world, this shit doesn't matter."
    "it's [not] actually important not to associate with people who have bad opinions"
    I strongly disagree with the first (which I suspect you didn't mean quite literally) and mostly agree with the second but with qualifications. I think you made a mistake posting this as is to a gaming blog - there's a lot to unpack and discuss, your post is more conversational than rigorous, and a lot of people feel it's an important subject, so to the extent people reply I expect more confusion than clarity.

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    1. Of course it matters nationally, even locally, but it doesn't matter in interpersonal relations.

      Maybe it is a mistake to post this here but the OSR is literally the only place where I encounter this as an issue.

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    2. There's a good portion of people who likely see their association with the hobby as a "community", and from that perspective politics matter to a similar degree that they do nationally (or at least locally) scale.

      Online very few relations are "interpersonal". Because it's all public and written down more-or-less permanently there's always some larger social context to every single thing that gets said (whether we want it to be interpreted that way or not!)

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    3. But is my workplace not a community? It certainly feels that way.

      Real communities aren't homogenous - certainly not when it comes to political views.

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  7. The "online left" aka Woke Twitter (which is its own thing, not to be confused with the actual left) seems to be suffering from a strange inversion of the conventional understanding of politics and political power. At a time when the left is completely on the ropes, and reactionaries control the governments of almost the entire developed world, the online left thinks that the best way to move forward is internal Maoist purity testing and purges of its own ranks.

    Furthermore, those who seem to understand the powerlessness of the individual to change anything about the large structures (political and economic) that govern our lives, rather than focusing on local issues where they might conceivably effect change, instead redouble their efforts to overturn the behemoths on whose backs we are all forced to reside.

    It's weird and annoying, but I have to believe that the most deranged voices are the ones that become most salient, and that overall people are still mostly sane.

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    1. Well put.

      I suppose what they would say is that for them this is "local" in the sense that it's their hobby/community?

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  8. I'm so happy I'm not on twitter. What a cesspit.

    I almost want to know who that was so I can ignore that person's other online presence. Almost.

    Anyway. Like you say, "we're normal people who have normal relationships."

    I do think it matters, but not to that extreme level, not for normal people.

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    1. Tell me about it.

      Twitter is all downside, no upside as far as my career goes.

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    2. Twitter being awful is something we can agree with, at least. No one can be happy on twitter (at least outside of meme jokes strategically aimed to create retweets so that they can attach a fundraiser to the original tweet.) If you're happy, you're making light of other people's suffering. Far safer to be depressed.

      I've spent the past two weeks following people on twitter and it is A) incredibly addictive and B) incredibly soul crushing. I don't think that is healthy for anyone involved.

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    3. I agree. Social media is the enemy really.

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  9. I'm sorry...what? You sympathize with Nazis? I missed this post.

    While I don't find it an unfair practice to draw some hard lines on what we want to associate with (depending on one's particular moral compass or ethical ideals), I think it's quite good for us to acknowledge our shared humanity and strive to have some sympathy for our fellow humans, even those whose behavior and beliefs we find abhorrent. Yes, even individual humans who happen to have been Nazis.

    However, I take the term "Nazi sympathizer" to mean you're been accused of being pro-Nazi (in the Mein Kampf, skinhead sense) or, at least, some sort of apologist for the atrocities committed by the Third Reich in the 1930s. I haven't seen this to be the case in the years I've been reading your stuff, so I'm going to assume this is mainly bombastic rhetoric based on...I don't know what. Something you wrote somewhere, sometime? I really don't know.

    There are a lot of things that matter to a lot of people that carry less importance to ourselves (duh) and while it's nice to be considerate of others' feelings (double duh) you really can't please everyone all the time (triple duh). If you're a wannabe Nazi, well, that's news to me, and I sure hope you'll reconsider your position. Mostly what I've observed from you over the years is thoughtful and intellectual (two things I don't really associate with Nazi-ism) and I hope you'll continue to exhibit more of the same.

    And don't let the name calling bother you too much.

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    1. It's because I once said I had had good conversations with an apartheid-supporting white South African. I didn't agree with his views and told him so. But we got on fine as co-workers and so did the - almost entirly non-white - people we worked with. I just wanted to make the point that in life you can rub along with people and, hopefully, make them more integrated and maybe, just maybe, resile from their extreme and crazy views.

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    2. But I made the mistake of not stating that really clearly, so in some corners of the internet it has turned into: noisms loves white supremacists.

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  10. http://monstersandmanuals.blogspot.com/2018/03/would-you-play-d-with-donald-trump.html

    I believe this is the article in question that people get the most upset about, JB. No comment, besides noting that the name of the blog post probably didn't help things, noisms.

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    1. It probably didn't. I was being deliberately provocative, in a semi-ironic way, but I thought that was kind of obvious.

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    2. Sure, and the actual post isn't *nearly* as bad as the headline. When the rest of the internet is using dumb clickbait titles who can blame you?

      Still, my gut instinct is that it is probably responsible for people on the left not taking that post very charitably.

      (Also, clearly I hit the wrong reply button. Sorry about that. Blogger is hard, lol.)

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    3. Yeah, fair enough, although I don't really care all that much. If people are going to stop reading the blog and gossip about and misrepresent me because of it...well, let 'em. It's not going to stop me doing this, and I also have a real life.

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  11. Our weekly face-to-face GM is the polar opposite of me, politically. I'm pretty sure my politics don't match with anyone in the group. But they're good people in person and it hardly ever comes up.
    I've had friends tell me I shouldn't hang out with such folks, but it seems to me that the stuff that happens in person is the most important... and works against the sort of abstract categorization people like to engage in online.

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    1. Well this is it, isn't it? People are complicated. And reducing them to good v bad just makes them double down and get pissed off.

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  12. Christ! How grim and mad.

    One of the great joys in life is friendship with people with different experiences, origins and views - political views very much included. Some of my most treasured conversational experiences are from those dinner parties where it's two in the morning and debate is raging and whoever's the host breaks off from the fray to say "Right - another bottle, then?". It was the norm for my parents (still is), and it's the norm for me, but I wonder if such experiences will be less common for my children when they're adults. That would be a huge shame.

    An observation: online channels for discussion of *wargaming* pretty much exclude political and personal stuff, allowing a welcome focus on the pastime. But with RPGs, for some reason, that doesn't hold. No idea why that should be the case, given that there's huge overlap between the groups.

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    1. It's a fairly recent thing. It was never an issue at all until I would say the mid-2010s. In 2008 people would have thought it utterly bizarre not to want to associate with people with different political views. I think Trump definitely deranged people across the pond, on both sides. They went into meltdown and we seem to be dealing with that still.

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    2. I suspect, overall, wargaming is a somewhat more homogenous subculture... but have you visited The Miniatures Page? It used to be one of the biggest online forums about wargaming... but despite the owner's claim to tamp down politics there was a toxic element that crept in and pretty much trashed the place.

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  13. "In 2008 people would have thought it utterly bizarre not to want to associate with people with different political views."

    This is rose colored glasses. Trump is uniquely polarizing for sure, but he's a symptom, not a cause.

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    1. Is it though? Cast your mind back to 2008 - was this puritanical obsession part of public discourse at all really then? Especially when it came to the OSR - nobody cared what anybody's politics were.

      I don't believe Trump's election is the cause but it seems to have sent quite a lot of people on both sides haywire.

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    2. I recall heated disagreements over the legality of OSRIC (time has put this particular bugbear to rest) and whether Dragonlance could be considered OSR (not on my watch, commies!)

      Delete
    3. I can't speak knowledgeably about the state of the OSR in 2008. You're probably right, though I don't really know because the only "OSR" blog I was really reading back then was ... well... this one. But I suspect the difference is mainly because it was very very new, so everybody was joyfully producing and being engaged by the exciting new thing rather than self-cannibalizing.

      As to the right-left divide in general though, you're not right. I'm never quite sure what your sense of American politics is because you comment on it a fair amount, but often it's to differentiate/distance yourself from it.

      The right went bonkers in 2008 with the election of Barack Obama. People started planning "independence" towns in order to escape the socialist hordes. Prior to that the anti-Bush Jr. movement was so heated that someone on the right (Horowitz?) coined "Bush Derangement Syndrome" to describe the level of personal hatred the left felt for that president.

      For an example that may hit close to home to OSR folks, consider the 1968 Galaxy magazine controversy during the Vietnam war. Sci-fi authors lining up on either side into mutually hostile pro- and anti-war camps (they each took out opposing ads so they could stand and be counted with their side). The whole thing began with the anti-War side kicking pro-war authors out of a conference.

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    4. Yeah I have to disagree with that. Trump didn't have much to do with the level and tone of the rhetoric and "othering" except in being more publicly bombastic than his predecessors. The political divide has always been there in the US (remember the civil war?) but the current puritanical obsession in public discourse really took off with Bush Jr. and the Iraq war. Hasn't stopped since.

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    5. Fair enough - I'm just observing what I saw in this area of the internet, really, especially on G+. G+ was tolerable before 2016 but after the election things just went BATSHIT. That's when it really felt noticeable to me. (I am not blaming Trump exactly by the way - just the hysteria surrounding the election on both sides.)

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  14. Scott Alexander had an interesting post on his blog about how in the 2000s, every corner of the internet had an atheist vs theist argument going on, and thats disappeared almost completely and been replaced by an equally omnipresent argument between advocates and opponents of social justice. Maybe 15 years from now another issue will have come along and conquered the web.

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  15. The Uncyclopedia on fascists (several years ago, actually): "Formerly a follower of the doctrine of Fascism, a vicious political philosophy of a militarist totalitarianism. Nowadays, the word Fascist refers to anyone who annoys you, even slightly."

    And so on and so forth.

    I will also note that the same Twitter people will just as gladly eat their own over minor points of orthodoxy or slips of the tongue, so in the end, you are better off as their enemy.

    Also furthermore, post the drama link damnit.

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    1. I don't really want to draw attention to it because I think attention-seeking is a big part of what drives all this.

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  16. 1) for some people politics is their religion
    2) online it matters but irl it really doesn’t
    3) I had no idea you think yourself on the right
    4) how did “nazi” get associated with the political right in the first place? It seems just asinine

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    1. Agree with points 1, 2 and 4.
      I am basically what Hayek called an "old Whig" (that will never catch on again, sadly). I basically believe in old-fashioned British constitutional liberalism, which means these days that you are a conservative - I believe those are the traditions of my society and worth preserving. The State abides by the common law but otherwise leaves us alone.

      My political ideal is probably England before WWI. The State spends 8% of GDP and the only time anybody really encounters the State is at the post office or the police station. No British political party is remotely in favour of this but at least the Tories aren't quite as bad as the others.

      Delete
    2. "4) how did “nazi” get associated with the political right in the first place? It seems just asinine"

      Maybe the Alt-right has something to do with political right being associated with nazis, given that they are neo-nazis and link themselves to right side of politics.

      Delete
    3. Thank you for explaining that Nazis got associated with the right because people you call Nazis are on the right.

      Now tell us you’re correct because smart people agree with you and you know they’re smart because they agree with you.

      Delete
    4. Nazis are associated with the right because, despite their use of the term 'national socialist', they were on the far right in the opinion of everyone including themselves.

      Smart people do agree with me, but this is a consequence of my being correct rather than evidence for it.

      Delete
  17. Interestingly, National Socialism is a Leftist political idea ...

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    1. Historically, the German National Socialist Party has always been seen as a right wing, anti-socialist fascist political party, opposed to left wing Communism and Socialist movements. After taking power, they banned the Social Democratic Party and sent its leaders to the concentration camps. They are as Socialist as the Republic of North Korea is Republican.

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    2. https://fullfact.org/online/nazis-socialists/

      TL;DR: "While their name did include the word “socialist”, their policies and treatment of left-wing opponents show they were not socialists in any meaningful sense."

      Delete
    3. I can leave quotes too.

      John Bruss, MS Eng + Philosophy, Theology and Psychology
      Answered Jun 28, 2018

      "Some left wing folks “declare” Fascism is a right wing concept but it’s not. Hitler was a progressive. When progressive experiments in societies go badly, some progressives try to pretend there never was any support for that social experimenting. Even worse, some use the radical Alinsky trick to claim it came from the right…clever but very corrupt.

      The left wing is very often as Fascist as the Right. FDR was a strong admirer of Hitler and Mussolini but the left in America scrambled after the holocaust was made public to cover that up.

      from left leaning Noam Chomsky no less:

      (TL:DR) Chomsky on America's Ugly History: FDR Was Fascist-Friendly Before WWII"

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    4. Except Mr. Bruss mischaracterizes what Chomsky says and put an awful lot of words in his mouth. A transcript if you'd like to read it yourself: https://www.alternet.org/2016/11/chomsky-americas-ugly-history-fdr-was-fascist-friendly-wwii/

      And despite the list of qualifications at the end of Mr. Bruss's name, none of them read "History".

      The fact of the matter is that one Hitler's very first acts as Chancellor was to abolish the labor unions, seize their treasuries, and outlaw collective bargaining and strikes.

      Listen, I know we all love a good game of "No, You're A Nazi!", but you're not arguing from fact here.

      Delete
    5. Post WWI Germany’s leftist leadership was forced to adhere to the Treaty of Versailles, with it's crippling war reparations. Unbalanced socialist programs devastated the nation's economy further. The atmosphere was rife foe political upheaval and the socialist NSDAP acted, eliminating their competitors, who were indeed other socialist – the difference being that they were not nationalist in any way, shape, or form.

      While you are correct that Hitler's first acts as Chancellor were to remove his rivals and placed struggling big businesses under national control, you neglect to mention that he also centralized and nationalized the German Bank, rejecting any foreign banking institutions while authorizing socialist programs that put nearly all Germans to work – as many smaller business had gone bankrupt in the pre-National Socialist coup and unemployment was in the millions. He called himself and his party Socialist in speeches and interviews – though I will grant you, it was probably lip service and wasn't the first or last time a politician might or would lie to his constituents. Interestingly, Goebbels also claimed to be a staunch Socialist, but this too may be suspect considering his post as Propagandist for the Reich. Never the less, country was left leaning Socialist in it’s recovery state.

      The Third Reich implemented a Gun Control program almost immediately after they took power, a classic socialist tactic used by dictators, communist, and authoritarian alike, right? Not exactly. I'm absolutely not claiming that far left communists like Mao's Chinese or Pol Pot's Cambodian gun control policies are in the same category as primarily right leaning capitalist states such as Great Britain's Japan's, or Australia's gun control policies, by any means. The right leaning counties' policies, though strict, do make some allowances for gun ownership; whereas communists outlaw public gun ownership across the board. Hitler's usage of this tactic was pretty slick though; enemies of the state were not permitted to own guns – yes, a slippery slope when the state can claim who their enemies are in a dictatorship with no public voice.

      Under the fascist state that Germany steadily evolved into, businesses did whatever the state told them to do, which is, technically, by today’s definition, Corporatism. But is either Lenin’s, Mussolini's, or Hitler’s Fascism/Corporatism left or right wing? They’re neither. Fascism was a revision, a step forward, of Marxism that employs ideology from the left AND the right. Fascism is economically centrist and extremely authoritarian. It falls pretty much between Free Market Capitalism and Communist ideology.

      The NASDAP were obviously Nationalist, suppressing the individual over the whole and supporting racism, so that defines them right-wingers? Nope. Ho Chi Mihn and Ghandi were both Nationalists and Leftists.

      So this brings us back to the question; was The Third Reich a left or right wing state/product?

      I will consent to you that the NASDAP straddled the fence in it's political policies from socialism to fascist military dictatorship, but claiming that The Third Reich was right wing, by today’s standard, isn’t so cut and dried. Today’s political definition places Hitler just barely to the authoritarian right on center on the political spectrum, but much further left of the U.S. and the rest of the Allies – with the notable exception of Stalin. The identity, tactics, and early policies of Hitler’s Chancellorship were quite socialist and to the left (whether or not he or the Party believed in socialism any more than a means to the end,) but migrated toward the right of centralist practice during his military fueled dictatorship; yet still to the left of the Allies.

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    6. In the end, our seemingly divided political interests in this country are eroding what we should be standing for. The name calling is childishly slanderous on BOTH sides; we are better than that. I have no idea what politics has to do with playing elf-games, yet here we are; muckraking to no effective change until our voices and opinions are heard through the election process – which I still believe in.

      I already know and accept that you’ll probably dispute my response, and that’s okay. This is the internet and I know that anyone’s comment on this topic is subject to criticism and outright disbelief … I’ve never seen a post on the web that changed anyone's mind about anything, and again, that’s okay.

      As a veteran, I still hold dear the American values of our Pledge of Allegiance and our Oath of Enlistment as standards, whether left or right- of any creed, religion, or race; that equally unifies us as citizens of this great country that permits us to freely debate and express our opinions in a civil manner. These words spoke to me long ago, understanding their weight and implications, and I feel serve to remind us of who we are and what we stand for; whether citizen, immigrant, or serviceman.

      “I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

      “I, (state your name), do solemnly swear/affirm that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

      Delete
    7. The frequent accusation that the Nazis instituted gun control is basically wrong. Overall the Nazis made it easier for private individuals to own guns.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_gun_control_argument

      Delete
  18. The idea that anyone should be friends with someone who wants them exterminated is just about the most boomer thing of our time.

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  19. I think this is partly a reflection of the difference between politics in the United States and the UK.

    "I don't want to associate with Republicans" is probably more like "I don't want to associate with members of UKIP" than it's like "I don't want to associate with Tories".

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    1. I get that, but I wouldn't not associate with somebody just because they're a member of UKIP either. I think UKIP nowadays are mostly a sad rump of pathetic fools and bigots. But you don't change that by ostracising them.

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    2. Personally, if I could change their minds by associating with them, then I would.

      But I can't change their minds by associating with them, and I don't want to associate with them.

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    3. You misunderstand me. It's not about changing their minds. It's that if you ostracise people they will get worse.

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    4. Don’t you know that shutting people up and making them pariahs is a great way to make society run smoothly? Maybe we can even have special camps for people we disagree with where they can be forced to do what we want.

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    5. @Scott: You people aren't very good at irony. You should leave it to the left, the way you do with referencing your arguments and fact-checking.

      In reality, not wanting to be friends with racists is not, in fact, worse than racism, or a step towards the Holocaust, or a sign of intolerance (in the sense in which that word is used in the context of politics).

      @noisms: If you're talking about the spiral of isolation that turns people into incels and/or members of the alt-right, then yes, I agree. But I don't think this is something whose steps are a matter of common sense. I literally don't know how to identify and engage with such people.

      Delete
  20. So, this is from an American lens I guess, so not fully 100% applicable to what you're writing.

    I'm mixed (black/white) and non-binary. I don't talk about this much; I don't post on forums or tumblr or any of that, and I keep my gender lowkey and my race is whatever.

    But people on the right have told me that I suffer mental illness for my refusal to identify with cultural male or female standards. They've told me I'm an abomination because I'm mixed and race-mixing is a sin. I've watched people on the white half of my family spew shit about how all democrats are evil, and how all liberals are stupid, and how people like me are a problem in society.

    I understand that the far left can say nasty stuff too. But the far left doesn't say my ethnicity and my gender are mental illnesses or abominations. The far left doesn't sit down and publicly tell lies like the Right does in America. And it is very hard for me to sit down and be friends with people who are so hostile towards the existence that I live.

    This isn't to say I can't be civil. I can be. But if you voted for Trump, think "races" should stay poor, shit on the liberal arts, and so on and so forth, its very hard for me to reach across the isle, because you're telling me that everything I am and have done is trash.

    Again, this isn't a 1-to-1 response to your post. But there is no denying that, at least in America, the hard, far Right is doing a lot of damage to the country & to society. There will always be people with these extreme opinions, but it seems like every day more and more of them appear, and the hatred gets just a little bit louder. It kinda' sucks, man. It kinda' sucks.

    Note: I'm not trying to use my identity as leverage. I know someone will accuse me of this. All I'm saying is there are people who really only see skin deep and are very hatefully judgemental too.

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    1. Let's put it this way: there are idiots saying inflammatory things on both 'sides'. After the Brexit vote it became fairly common on Twitter and among the chattering classes to say, directly or indirectly, that poor white people are stupid, bigoted scumbags and that it's good that old people are dying because it means fewer Brexit supporters. This isn't a struggle of good against evil - it's that the extremes on both sides are extremely ugly.

      But the only surefire way to make all of it even worse is to make things more polarised by "refusing to associate" with people on the basis of the political views.

      Nobody ever changed their minds because somebody refused to associate with them on the basis of what they believe.

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    2. "But the only surefire way to make all of it even worse is to make things more polarised by "refusing to associate" with people on the basis of the political views.

      Nobody ever changed their minds because somebody refused to associate with them on the basis of what they believe."

      That's easy to say when it doesn't affect you directly. I'm a gay white man so I only cop the gay part of the right's long term use of my identity as a political wedge issue, but that's enough for it to directly affect my life. Australia went through a really horrible marriage equality debate last year, which thankfully went decisively to the yes camp. But even with that victory, the right (specifically the religious right) has demanded, and will receive, laws protecting their 'right' to discriminate against me. They will have their hate speech and right to not employ or fire me based on me being gay.

      During the debate I had to have a number of really uncomfortable conversations, mainly with cab drivers, about it. I had to first weigh up if it was safe to come out to this person and then I had to try and defend both myself and argue for my rights as person to people who ultimately it didn't matter to and who believed some pretty aborrent things about the queer community. I was a child abuser, I wanted to abolish the concept of mum and dad, to wanted to destroy the family and society. It was pretty fucking draining.

      So, I can't just say "In the real world, this shit doesn't matter." because it does. Its my rights as person being were put up for debate. My life was used by the right as way to demonising something to make people afraid and vote for them, while attempting to reduce me to a second class citizen with less rights. It's really hard for me to be around people who are ok with that.

      It doesn't mean I'll avoid right wingers completely, but there is absolutely no point engaging with them politically. I've tried to with Trump supporters before and I just end up being threatened with violence so I've stopped.

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    3. But everyone can say this about extreme political opponents.

      If somebody says they are a Communist that means they have a vision of society which I find utterly abhorrent at every level. If their ideas are realised I think it will make things unbelievably bad for me, my family, the people around me, and my country. There is no doubt it will result in discriminatory practices against people like me. But there's no point in having an animus towards such a person. I just think of them as being misguided. Whether I want to be friends with them or not is up for grabs.

      It's not about people having to engage politically with each other - it's just about people not immediately turning their backs on each other just because they have certain opinions. You don't have a functioning society that way.

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    4. Ok, your example here is an intellectual construct or something that might happen should certain (at the moment very unlikely) conditions be met. My example has and is something I have and am directly experiencing.

      You mention rights you might lose and discrimination you might face if your construct was real, the threat to my rights is real and ongoing, and that discrimination is about to be written into the law of Australia.

      Basically its different when a political party actually attacks your identity for political gain. It's hard to brush off. The right has used queer identity as a weapon of division for decades, and now its moving on to trans kids. Its hard to view it all as abstract when your personal life is made into political weapon to be used against you against your will.

      Delete
    5. @noisms:

      It depends what you mean by 'a Communist'.

      If you mean, say, a Maoist who believes I'm a member of the decadent bourgeoisie and need to be put in a re-education camp--which it sounds like you do mean--then no, I wouldn't want to associate with them.

      I don't see this as inconsistent with not wanting to associate with fascists, but on the contrary as an application of more or less the same idea.

      If you mean someone who wants a society which you believe is utterly unrealistic and would collapse into tyranny, but who doesn't want that tyranny and would oppose it when/if it happened--well, that's different.

      Delete
  21. Oh! I remember why I didn’t know you were on the right: I don’t care unless someone brings it up.

    I really don’t care.

    And then in terms of games, I won’t care even if you do bring it up.

    Until you attack me, other me, dehumanize me, call for my destruction.

    At which point I’ll go play with someone else.

    Do you know I have a table of six people, we see each other 25 times a year or more, and I have no idea what their politics are?

    Because we play a game together.

    The other reason I didn’t know is because I get you confused with James Stewart who is very prickly about politics jokes

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  22. It's not strange, it's an oversimplification of very complex social interactions.

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  23. Why do lefties assume republicans care which butts you want to stick your erect penises into? We really don’t.

    We. Really. Don’t.

    President Trump just put another justice on the ninth circuit court of appeals. She is a gay Phillipina.

    The vote was 53-40 on a straight party line.

    40 democrats voted against a gay POC. 53 Republicans voted for her.

    Please use your pretzel logic to tell us why actually helping to promote homosexuals is bad while actually attempting to keep them down is good.

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    1. @Scott:

      Because it's a demonstrable fact that thwarting the 'gay agenda'--probably the 'gay and trans agenda' nowdays--is a fairly high priority for the current Republican Party.

      "She is a gay Phillipina."

      No, he isn't.

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    2. Jesus Christ man. Are you drunk? Are you trying to remind everyone why the inflammatory, hyper-political extremely online guy is so unpleasant?

      Delete
    3. What do you find objectionable, the two gay justices the republicans installed, the fact that every democrat voted against them, the central act of homosexuality? What?

      You are all apparently obsessed with the idea that all Republican think about is killing gays.

      We do not care. Nobody is trying to kill you. The West is the safest place in the world for Homosexuals.

      You won. It’s over. Put down the bloody shirt.

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  24. I’m tapping out on this one. Thank you all for the bicker and I look forward to seeing you on other threads and playing with you if we ever get the chance.

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  25. Scott, when you say "Why do lefties assume republicans care which butts you want to stick your erect penises into?", it makes it sound like you do care.

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