“But Arabs are semites too!!”
It has become a staple of internet discussions. Someone will refer to anti-semitism. And then somebody else will say that so-and-so can’t be anti-semitic because “arabs are semites too”. They think they are displaying their erudition, yet in fact they are dispaying their stupidity. Clearly words acquire their meanings socially and historically. A word such as “radical” does not simply mean “of roots” but refers to particular political traditions and forms of politics. As such its fairly obvious that a word such as “anti-semitism” can refer to something different from the sum of its constituent parts “anti” and “semite”, and via history has come to refer to specifically anti-jewish feeling. Quite simply, it is no great shock that the meaning of a word can diverge from its etymology.
I wonder how these people react when they hear that something is diamond shaped, given that a diamond doesn’t actually look like a diamond shape.
Playing word games is the lowest form of political discourse
“You deleted my comment, your suppressing my right to free speech.”
As you know I support free speech, even for racists, fascists and people who like watching track and field events. Free speech refers to the idea that the state should not prevent people expressing and spreading their opinions. It does not mean that any given publication – online or offline – is compelled to offer somebody a platform. If the guardian refuse to publish something I write, they are not denying my right to free speech. Equally if I delete a comment here (as happens very rarely) I am not impinging on anybody’s right to free speech. I am simply exercising the freedom to determine he content of my publication. If I prevented you setting up your own blog then I would be.
This point was lost on a bunch of BNP supporters who appeared here after Old Holborn linked to us.
I support the right to free speech but not the right to be offend
Scratch the first part. You don’t.
“If you join the labour party your condoning the bloody war in Iraq”
Nope. For grown up people, political activity isn’t a means of displaying your moral convictions but about seeking the best means to fight for more socially just outcomes. Now there is a whole worthwhile debate to be had about whether socialists can achieve anything by putting up a fight inside labour. But moralising at people for joining labour contributes nothing of no value.
Please do suggest your own.