17 July 2009

Deliberately deceptive arguing (also, Mary needs a feminist shoulder to cry on)

So, there's this man in the UK is considering suing Liverpool city council for flying a rainbow flag on International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Apparently what's at issue here is that council mightn't have planning permission (which they would get from themselves) to fly the flag.

I have to admit that when I first saw this story I thought homophobia was the motivating factor here. I sort of assumed that this guy didn't like the idea of the rainbow flag flying above a council building reminding people that compulsory heterosexuality is complete bullshit and damages people in the LGBT community. But after looking into the work Stephen Gash has done with the British Democrats (a charming party who think immigration and "political correctness" pose a threat to English values, whatever the fuck that emans to a former colonial power, but hey) and the Stop the Islamification of Europe group (which speaks for itself) I realised this had less to do with the gehys and more to do with... pretty much everything else that threatens white heterosexual men (poor guys, my heart bleeds).

A quote from the Freedom of Information request this guy submitted to find out whether the flag was raised illegally (I got the following quote from this article, I don't have access to the original request):
"I wish it to be known that I have no problem with flags being flown from public buildings provided the required planning permission has previously been granted and paid for.

"What I do object to is people being harassed for flying national flags perfectly legally from their dwellings or places of work, for which planning permission is not required, and being ordered to take them down."


If you think you can flay your rainbow flag when I can't fly my national flag to signify my English Values (tm) in my country you should think again, because I might just sue you if I can find a technicality to do it on!

Fucking disgusting. I need to take a shower after reading the websites for those two organisations. I heard someone sprouting this crap when I was coming home on the bus one night. Some English guy in his 20s was talking to a group of younger kids from around my area. I missed most of the conversation but caught him concluding that the politicians who allowed immigrants to enter the UK on humanitarian grounds had obviously forgotten "our working class and our employment opportunities". Between that kid's embellished, twisted recounting of history, the newspeak on the websites I deliberately didn't link to and Gash's bizarrely built argument it's obvious that the hatred and racism of fringe groups is preached disguised as reasonable concerns in order to get otherwise indifferent people on board.

And i have no fucking idea how to react to that. Part of me (a rather small part, the philosophy student) wants to attack these arguments premise by premise, exposing how fallacious they are, and how damaging their view of the wold is becasue it normalises and privileges their experience at the expense of other people's. What's your initial reaction to this shit when you're unfortunate enough to happen across it? Do you also get into that mode that automatically analyses the validity and soundness of an argument and then just itches to write an counter-argument and if so do you think it's wasted on these arseholes?

Who knew I was so attached to reason, I always thought the enlightenment was a wild, privileged goose-chase, but that's another post, I still need that shower.


  1. I share your feelings of needing a shower after reading/hearing shit like that. I know it's a very innocent and naïve statement to make but I find it completely heart-shreddingly astounding that these beliefs can claim such a large following in the 21st Century! Holy shit, the European Middle Ages are over. Can't we step into even some ghost form of the sophistication that we claim to have now? It's only that democracy is the less painful of political models that keeps me wanting to stick with it. Cause if I could get a dictatorship going that allowed me to get the wrists and mouths of racist/homophobic wankers bound, that'd be awesome. Sadly, though, that would make me nearly as bad as them and if they got hold of the dictatorship, we'd be screwed.

    I only bother making logical arguments with people if I feel that they're actually listening and are dedicated to true information. Most of the time you can say anything to people with rabid prejudice. You could say that grass is green and they'll angrily disagree with it (or flat out claim that it used to be red until "gays infected it"). I love logic and reason so desperately but, sadly, it somewhat relies on the person you're arguing with to also care about what logic and reason are.

    And that whole job and economy stuff is bullshit. What do they think immigrants do - mug a man who's white and looks heterosexual while saying to each other, "Check his wallet! He may have some jobs in there we can steal!"? Un-fucking-believable. The thing that threatens white heterosexual men the most? Is other white heterosexual men. CEOs, law makers, bankers, reality TV producers. Boy, are they a bunch of fuckers sometimes (and reality TV producers; all the time).

    Fuck it. I'm getting frustrated by the morons in the world just writing this! And I'd love to ignore them. Just forget that they exist and stop myself from getting stressed out. But, the more they're just ignored and not opposed, the more chances they have for getting power.

    I'm going to go have a shower as well.

  2. "I love logic and reason so desperately but, sadly, it somewhat relies on the person you're arguing with to also care about what logic and reason are."

    I think that's a pretty good analysis actually.

    As for immigrants posing a threat to the white working class, Womanist Musings has a really excellent piece up at the moment about how the working class (of every race) are oppressed by the wealthy. So this white working class anger is completely misdirected when these people fixate on immigration, because the immigrants also suffer from class oppression.


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