Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Nick Griffin, The BNP, And Why Hate Crime Laws Are Still A Really Bad Idea

Nick Griffin

People who advocate the enactment of hate crime laws in the U.S. usually do so with well-meaning intentions. They seek to increase the penalties for bias-motivated crimes so as to discourage others from engaging in similar anti-social actions. Unfortunately, it’s not too far a jump from hate crime laws to hate speech laws, which punish persons for merely uttering hatful remarks. In fact, several universities in the U.S. have already enacted extremely restrictive speech codes on their campuses, and the time may not be far away when we will see such codes being proposed on a statewide or even nation wide level.

For a scary look at where all of this can lead, consider the case of Nick Griffin. Griffin is the leader of the ultra-right British National Party (BNP), and has been on the British government’s sh*t list for quite a while. He and several other BNP members were recently charged with “inciting racial hatred” after an undercover journalist taped a BNP meeting during which racist sentiments were expressed. Griffin himself was charged because he strongly criticized the Muslim religion, declaring it too be “a vicious, wicked faith”. Keep in mind that this was a private meeting, not a public one, and that the participants had no idea their comments would leave the room. It’s also worth considering that quite a few Americans (myself included) have made comments about Islam that are about as harsh as what Griffin said. In Britain, columns like this one, written by American conservative Cal Thomas, are enough to get one thrown in jail.

This is not meant as any defense of the BNP. It’s quite clearly a racist organization, and its membership seems to be comprised mainly of thugs and idiots. But it’s easy for leftists to use such right-wing extremists as justification for passing restrictive speech codes. Then it becomes just as easy to turn those codes against the general public, and thus stifle any constructive debate on topics such as the threat of radical Islam to democracy.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

An Academic Look At Anarchists

Readers of this site have no doubt picked up on my distain for academia and its theoretical pretensions. I must however admit that this paper, penned by a professor of mental health and an Oregon cop and published in an academic journal, is an exception. The authors sought to conduct a threat assessment by which law enforcement officers could better gauge the potential for violence when dealing with anarchists. The paper brings up a couple of interesting points:

The authors suggest that authorities should be cautious of a potential alliance between far left and far right groups acting towards the common cause of overthrowing the existing government (p. 9). Although lots of radicals on both sides of the political spectrum have suggested such an alliance, it seems very unlikely to come about. Extremists have in the past always put their own petty personal differences above the needs of the revolution, and are therefore unlikely to work with people whom they politically despise, even if doing so might help to forward their cause.

This paper introduced me to the term “Anarchist Berserker” (p. 9). That would be the all time coolest name for a punk band.

The example of an anarchist berserker used in the paper is Andrew McCrae (p. 9), an individual I was not previously familiar with. McCrae shot and killed a cop in 2002 in an effort to bring attention to “police state tactics”. The nitwit then posted a full confession and manifesto on the San Francisco Indy Media site. It makes for chilling reading.

Finally, the authors make some very valid points on why people become anarchists in the first place (p. 5-6). They note that most people join primarily out of a need for social contact and a surrogate family rather than true ideological commitment. They also suggest that the anarchist groups who ceaselessly travel the country looking for confrontations with law enforcement are behaving in a manner similar to that of youth street gangs. It all kind of gets back to one of my main conclusions regarding political beliefs in general and extremists in particular: Most of us don’t consciously choose our political ideologies. Rather, they come about as the result of a need to satisfy an emotional or psychological desire within ourselves.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

G. Gordon Liddy Meets PETA And Other Strangeness

G. Gordon Liddy, former leader of president Nixon’s “Plumbers” and current far right talk show host, has done a voice over for a PETA radio ad. No, I’m not making this up. I’m really at a loss to explain this one. I would suggest that this might cause Liddy to catch some flack from his fellow right-wingers, who generally take a very dim view of animal rights groups in general. But then again, they might have to take into account that Liddy is completely out of his mind, and has been since he took the fall for Nixon back in the 70’s.

Staying on the subject of bizarre goings on in the extremist world, someone had the brilliant idea to take Gizoogle’s ghetto translator program and apply it to a white power site, namely the Stormfront discussion board. The result is both offensive and hilarious. In the interest of fairness, here’s what this site looks like using the same program. I can’t decide which version I like better.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Ah, The Great Times We Had

For a really depressing look into the mindset of animal rights extremists, check out the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) Press Office. It lists a chronological series of crimes which anonymous ALF members have taken credit for. What’s interesting here is how few of the listed actions actually involved helping animals in any way. In almost all of the cases, private or corporate property was vandalized because the owners had committed some action that had angered the local ALF people. For instance, a university president’s home was vandalized because of his choice to invite a representative of the pharmaceutical industry to speak at a school function. Apparently, this ticked off the animal rights folks because the said representative has done business with the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmith Kline, who in turn has given money to the Huntingdon Animal Research faculty, a favorite target of animal rights fanatics. When I was a kid, I committed some acts of property destruction myself. But unlike these losers, even at age 16 I had the personal integrity to admit that sometimes it’s just fun to thumb your nose at society and raise hell. I never felt to need to justify my youthful indiscretions with a confused political doctrine that I would discard as soon as I reached adulthood (although it’s worth noting that some animal rights people never seem to leave behind the ignorance and irrationalism of youth). But at any rate, it should give them some fond memories to look back on as they mature into inactive, boring leftists.