I generally agree with you, and Nazis are an edge-case scenario, but the problem is that line is constantly moving. If an employer can fire someone for being a Nazi in his or her private time, an employer can fire someone for pretty much any political view that the employer doesn’t like… even giving the president the middle finger…
At the end of the day, the Nazi being fired and the woman flipping off Trump have both been punished for something they did in their own private time, for their beliefs, totally unrelated to work. If one is OK, then so is the other.
You cannot possibly think those two things are even remotely equivalent. One is - while vulgar and simple - speech critical of a political figure, something we’ve already decided is perfectly alright. The other is basically advocating bigotry and genocide, which we have already deemed as a society to be unacceptable. There’s no real equivalency there, and I’m disgusted you’re even suggesting there is.
It’s not a case of “Oh, they got fired for saying something their employer didn’t like”, it’s a case of “That person is a fucking nazi, get the fuck out with that abhorrent shit.” If someone is a card-carrying NAMBA member and openly advocates for the right to fuck kids, you think that a single person would shed a tear for them being fired for it? Of course you don’t, because we’ve decided as a society that it’s morally wrong to have sex with children. We’ve also decided that bigotry is morally wrong, as is bigotry-supporting ideologies like Nazism.
There is no place for Nazism, no place for white supremacy, no place for other abhorrent ideologies in our society, and we not only need, but I think have a moral obligation to crush them out. As Karl Popper wrote in The Open Society and it’s Enemies:
Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise.
But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.
And we’ve already long proven that we’re past that test in the middle, and these shitty people are not willing or prepared to meet on the level of rational argument, and essentially denounce all argument, only using it as an excuse and a cover, and when their people do listen to rational argument, they are generally cut off and excluded as “The enemy”, or as having “Gone wrong/bad.”
The beliefs are not remotely equivalent, but they’re still both beliefs. THAT’S my point.
A person’s beliefs might have nothing to do with how that person functions at his or her job. A white supremacist can make hot dogs just as well as anyone else.
No, we shouldn’t shed a tear for that person, but that doesn’t make firing that person right, or more importantly legal, unless that person maybe works with kids. Can PETA fire someone who was tagged in a photo on Facebook eating a cheeseburger during a July 4th BBQ?
In the 1940s and 1950s, society decided that being a Communist and a Socialist was wrong, and tons of people lost their jobs because of their political views. Was that right? Again, I’m not comparing being a Communist with being a Nazi, I’m saying that what society deems proper changes and what’s acceptable today might not be acceptable tomorrow.
I’m saying that I don’t want to give employers the power to fire people based on out of work activities, if those activities have nothing to do with their jobs. I’m saying that punishing someone for thought crimes is wrong, but if it’s ok for one employer to fire someone for being a white supremacist, why shouldn’t it also be ok for another employer who loves Trump to fire that woman because the employer thinks she disrespected the president?
We also changed our minds. We have not changed our minds about Bigotry and Nazis being abhorrent, and nor will we, at least if I’m to have any hope whatsoever for the human race going forward. We also thought being gay was wrong, we changed our mind. We still think being a nazi scumbag is wrong.
Bullshit. People who fuck children or advocate for it, like bigots, have and deserve no place in society. That includes a job.
Of course they can. Meat-eaters are not a protected class, nor have we really taken a moral stance as a society on eating meat. But we fucking well have about nazis and bigotry.
Uh, at-will employment was basically the common-law default before you were born. You’ve never lived in a world where employers don’t have that power. What you’re advocating for is giving protections to nazis and bigots that are not afforded to others at this time.
What a load of fucking rot. This is incredibly simple - if you are advocating views that considered abhorrent by society, fuck you, you don’t get a job. Guess how you hold those views, and don’t get punished? Don’t get caught advocating them in public. There’s an element of personal responsibility here, if you don’t want to be punished for being a fucking Nazi, don’t go about in public advocating Nazism. Your employer cannot and will not punish you for what is inside of your own head. But let it out on the streets? Adios, you goose-stepping motherfucker, shouldn’t have done that shit in public.
If and when we decide Nazism isn’t an abhorrent ideology, we can reconsider that. But we haven’t, and while I may be setting myself up for the most horrible fall this conversation could produce by saying so, we almost certainly won’t.
And I’m saying that it’s easy to say we changed our minds in hindsight. At the time though, if you took a poll of most Americans, I’m pretty sure that they’d say that being a Communist and a Socialist was right up there with being a Nazi. And like you said, we thought that being gay was wrong, and we changed our minds on that as well. Just because society thinks about one thing now doesn’t mean that view won’t change in the future.
And just so I’m perfectly clear, I’m NOT saying that we’ll change our minds about being a Nazi, nor should we, but once we start “outing” people on social media for one thing, it will never end. Being a Nazi is not a protected class. Neither is being a meat-eater, as you pointed out. Being a Liberal or a Progressive isn’t a protected class either. I’m not trying to give Nazis protections that aren’t afforded to others, I’m saying that either way you slice it, unless you ARE in a protected class, everyone else is the same.
I’m saying that if an employer can fire someone for being a Nazi, they can fire someone for being Antifa. They can fire someone for eating meat. They can fire someone for giving Trump the middle finger.
And that scares me. Not because I have anything to be particularly worried about, but because I don’t want to live in a world where I have to look over my shoulder every time I step out of my house because any action I take could end up on social media and get me fired. I don’t want to have to worry that my employer can fire me because I go to March A versus March B. I don’t want to be fired because I ate a cheeseburger instead of a veggie burger. And that’s where we’re heading.
[quote=“jabrams007, post:908, topic:125”]
I’m saying that if an employer can fire someone for being a Nazi, they can fire someone for being Antifa. They can fire someone for eating meat. They can fire someone for giving Trump the middle finger.
And that scares me. Not because I have anything to be particularly worried about, but because I don’t want to live in a world where I have to look over my shoulder every time I step out of my house because any action I take could end up on social media and get me fired. I don’t want to have to worry that my employer can fire me because I go to March A versus March B. I don’t want to be fired because I ate a cheeseburger instead of a veggie burger. And that’s where we’re heading.[/quote]
We’re already there. An employer (generally) doesn’t need to state the reason they want to fire you. Although they can’t explicitly say they fired you because of race, gender, sexual orientation, or religious reasons because that is illegal, they don’t need to “prove cause” either.
While the article about the biker hasn’t been discussed here, I’m seeing tons of people in the “Liberal Blog-o-sphere” or whatever you want to call it, crying out at the injustice of what happened to her. And that seems like total hypocrisy to me.
I posted because I want to see if people on this forum are OK with her getting fired for giving Trump the middle finger. I know many people on this forum are in favor of “outing” Nazis, and until pretty recently, I was too. I still am to some degree because I agree with Churba that Nazis are worse than pretty much any other group on the planet.
But then this article made me realize the true implications of that. That outing Nazis is starting a social media war where the Nazis are going to do the same to other people. If you’re a member of Antifa, you better wear a mask. If you’re a prominent Progressive-type person, you better not do anything embarrassing or even remotely shady. If you work for PETA, you better not eat any meat at a friend’s BBQ or eat that smoked salmon hor d’ourvre at your cousin’s Bat-Mitzvah, because someone might take a picture of that and out you on social media.
Many liberals hold inconsistent views on employment at will vs just cause, if they have a formed or coherent opinion in the first place. Many states still have laws that make it illegal to be a communist in the US. California famously in the past year refused to repeal that prohibition. So much for free speech. Even the much vaunted free speech advocates cannot summon the energy to demand repeal and the courts seem content to let the illegality of being a communist stand.
Let us leave aside the social media outrage machine and take the policy and institutions as the fundamental issues here. The pro-employment at will position on this issue is the classical liberal position. It is understandable, if monstrous, and can be left aside.
That leaves Just Cause employment defenders. I take it that your point is that the people who believe in just cause employment or something like it, are hypocritical for thinking that Nazi expression should not be protected, and can be considered a fireable offense while the flipping of off President Trump should be protected and not considered a fireable offense? I frankly do not see the hypocrisy in it at all and I will give you my reasons. I do not believe in letting Nazi’s off or insulating them from the consequences of being genocidal pieces of human garbage. I don’t agree with being able to fire at will but I am willing to admit that evil systems may occaisionally make a just ruling. Am I supposed to be suspicious of all good works done by evil people? Doctrine emerges from the font of principles, not the other way around. If the text of my doctrine has a loophole I reevaluate and revise. It doesn’t make a person a hypocrite to have a depth and flexibility to their doctrinal views. It is all a part of the essence of human growth. I used to be a liberal that was troubled by the seeming contradiction between commitments to just cause employment and freedom of speech. I interrogated my principles against the words I used and I came to a deeper understanding of them and myself because of it.
The hypothetical of a Nazi that never lets his view slip into his job is a hypothetical that I do not believe and I won’t pretend to countenance it for a second. Having worked people who hold regressive views, they don’t shut up about them. Even the strongest Just Cause protection laws allow for grievances to be filed against fellow employees that actively or passive aggressively say things that harm their fellow employees or customers. Courts and mediation committees of employers and unions in other countries have dealt with these issues. If someone goes online and says that they believe that (insert x group that Nazi’s hate) deserves to die or that they believe that such group is a danger to the volk and must be dealt with am I supposed to not file a grievance and demand mediation, thus confronting them with the rights at my disposal? How can a person of any of the groups Nazi’s hate ever feel safe when they have to work with them? Is a black co worker or supervisor supposed to sit there and take it while that person says that received their position through an injustice that can only be solved through race war? Is a brown woman supposed to let some leering shit heel who thinks they are a profligate who should be sterilized get away with it? Is a queer customer supposed to let a bigot treat them like a second class citizen? If they said these views on social media in clear view of their coworkers is it any different? I would immediately tell all of my coworkers that if one of us was a Nazi. They are a clear and present danger to everyone they interact with. All of these are implicit and explicit views of fascism. They are not incidental but the natural extensions of this person’s principles. They are also clear cases of actual harm and not the bullshit invented grievances of edgelords. If when confronted by it they turn out to be a soft Nazi and are mollified by the process enough to revisit why they have these principles and change then great, miracles may sometimes happen. If however, they are unrepentant they should be let go.
What class of persons needs to be protected from the person who flipped Trump off? What utility would firing her bring the rest of her coworkers? How threatened do they feel working with her? What would the vanishingly small amount of customers who might complain matter in the long run? There are many explicit issues that branch off from this one, and many edge cases that can be considered but they are questions with only political solutions and have no clear universal answer set in stone for all time.
Any such system won’t be perfect because we live in Capitalism, with all the caveats that apply to a legal system erected to protect the powerful.You certainly aren’t going to get an argument from me that the wealthy and powerful conspire to thwart good at every turn. Nazi’s will occasionally make it through, but not because they have some fundamental right to be a malicious omnicidal asshole. Freedom of speech and expression are not absolute rights(a dubious term to say the least) but instrumental goods, with many explicit restrictions and rules.
If, like you said, that people who hold regressive views can’t shut up about them, AND Just Cause protection laws allow for people to file grievances against fellow employees, then why haven’t all the hidden white supremacists and Nazis been fired already? The answer seems to be that either the white supremacists and Nazis have been all fired already (which we know is not true) or it IS possible for a Nazi to keep his or her ideology out of the workplace.
But all this is besides the point. I’m not defending Nazis and I don’t want to defend Nazis.
In your post, which makes a lot of good points, you decide to ignore and leave aside the “social media outrage machine.” But THAT’S the point of what I’m talking about. That’s the important thing here. Employees who are revealed to be white supremacists or Nazis aren’t getting fired because all of a sudden they’re violating hostile work environment laws, because if that was the case, they would have been fired before being outed. They’re getting fired because the “social media outrage machine” is trying to pressure employers into firing them, and the employers are capitulating. Just look at what’s happening with all the recent sexual harassment stuff that’s been recently going on. The Weinstein Company didn’t just suddenly fire Harvey Weinstein because it discovered all the shitty things he had done, they knew about that for years, it was the social pressure on them that caused them to finally take action. It was mob justice.
My point is that in the case of Nazis and sexual harassers, we like the outcome of mob justice, but the nature of a mob is that you can’t control it. You ask the question of:
I have two answers for you. The first is that a Conservative who deeply supports trump could very well feel threatened by someone who flipped him off. That could very well create a hostile work environment. This is especially so down in DC and VA, where many people work for a government agency or for the administration itself. My second answer is it doesn’t matter. If the mob turns against the biker, and applies that same social pressure to her employer, she could get fired just as easily as a Nazi.
But as I was thinking about all this last night, I realized that there’s a larger point that I’m trying to make with all of this. I’m not against Nazi punching or Nazi outing because I’m contrarian or because I don’t see the threats or harm that Nazis pose, I do, very much so. I realized last night that my larger point is that with the election of Trump, with the sudden more visible and open acceptance of white supremacists, the Left is making decisions that I don’t fully think we(they’re) fully thinking through).
After September 11, 2001, the way the entire US viewed the world changed. As a result of the 9/11 attacks, the US instituted a whole bunch of laws (both legal and not) that sacrificed personal freedom for the sake of security. As a country, whether you agreed with President Bush or not, we lashed out irrationally. In 2003, in response to the Iraq War, Johnny Depp said that “America is dumb, it’s like a dumb puppy that has big teeth that can bite and hurt you, aggressive.” Say what you will about Johnny Depp, but his quote is spot on. It describes the US perfectly. The US got injured, and it lashed out instinctively, without thinking, just like a puppy would. We got into wars that in hindsight were stupid and unnecessary. We passed laws that gave tremendous power to agencies like the FBI and NSA to surveil us. It became common to fear and be suspicious of Muslims and others people who weren’t white. I could go on and on. My point is that after 9/11, the US changed in ways that, in hindsight, we realize were not only wrong, but detrimental to the fabric of our society and the foundation of our democracy.
The thing with laws though, is that while they may be hard to repeal, at least they’re codified. At least you can point to Statute X and say we need to get rid of THIS! What’s happening now is in many ways worse than what happened after 9/11 because we’re not changing the law, we’re changing what society thinks is acceptable.
Just like after 9/11, what we’re doing now, what we’re normalizing, whether it’s punching Nazis or doxxing them, will have unforeseen consequences. At the time, the Patriot Act was hugely popular, but in hindsight, I would guess that pretty much every Democratic lawmaker who voted for it wishes they could take back that “Yes” vote. But like I wrote above, at least the Patriot Act is a law. If you want to get rid of it, which still isn’t easy, at least there’s an established method to do so.
What I see a lot of people doing now is so much scarier to me. Again, not because I want to defend Nazis, but because making it socially acceptable to punch someone for his or her thoughts or using social media to “out” someone for an activity you don’t like will have repercussions that I don’t see anyone thinking about. I see the biker flipping off Trump as a direct repercussion of this “outing” mentality. Once we unleash the mob on Nazis, there’s no way to rein it back in when it decides to turn on something else.
I think the people on this forum are well meaning, and truly care about social justice and equality. I am too. People want to fight Nazis, and I do as well. I just think that a lot of people are reacting to Trump, to Charlotteville, to everything that’s going on recently emotionally, without thinking. They’re reacting to this the same way that people reacted to 9/11. America is acting like the “dumb puppy” again. What I want, what I wish people would do, is to take a step back, calm down for a second and think about what they’re advocating for. Because it’s not just punching and outing Nazis in isolation. Making it acceptable in society to do those things starts us on a path that I honestly don’t know where we’ll end up. But what I do know is that unlike a law that can be repealed, trying to change what’s acceptable to a society is much more nebulous and challenging.
The problem with breaking societal norms for Nazis is that even if Nazis were to suddenly and magically disappear, those broken norms where those actions are now acceptable are still in place. As an example of this, I’ll once again go back to Nazi punching. Even if Nazis suddenly and magically disappeared tomorrow, the people who want to punch them will not decide to go back to their normal lives and holster their fists, they’re going to look for someone else to punch. Once you give people the tacit permission to punch someone they don’t like or disagree with, you can’t put that genie back in the lamp. Rare is the group or organization that accomplishes their goal and decides to end. No, what happens is that the group or organization picks a new goal or a new target. People may just want to punch Nazis today, but tomorrow it will be a different group. Just look at the March of Dimes organization:
The organization was founded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938, as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, to combat polio. After Salk’s polio vaccine, did the March of Dimes say “Hey guys, mission accomplished, you can all go home now?” No, of course it didn’t. The goal of the organization evolved over time. There’s a name for this and it’s called “Mission Creep.” Since 2005, research and prevention of premature birth became the organization’s primary focus. Their current goal has literally nothing to do with their original goal.
While it might feel good to punch a Nazi, society giving an individual tacit approval to punch someone else can lead to completely unforeseen consequences. And while we might cheer for a Nazi being fired from his or her job, the weaponizaiton of social media scares the crap out of me and will also lead to more unforeseen consequences. The biker giving Trump the middle finger is a perfect example of this. Today it’s a woman telling Trump to go fuck himself getting fired. Tomorrow, people could be punching someone else because they don’t like their views on healthcare or immigration, or someone who works for a religious hospital or college could be fired for being photographed coming out of Planned Parenthood or buying birth control at a CVS. A Rabbi could be fired for being seen going into McDonalds. An Imam could be fired for going into a liquor store.
I’m not telling people that they shouldn’t fight Nazis. I’m certainly not telling people that being a Nazi is the same as giving the president the middle finger or any other ideological point of view. What I’m trying to bring attention to are the unforeseen consequences of our actions. Like I wrote in a previous post, if you’re OK with a Nazi getting outed on social media and getting fired, it’s only a matter of time before something similar happens to someone else that you may agree with.
At the end of the day, we’re making thought crime acceptable. Today it’s thought that we find abhorrent and despicable. Tomorrow? Tomorrow I have no idea who’s going to be targeted, and neither does anyone else, and that’s not a good thing.
Assuming your hypothetical absurdist cased would result in the same critical mass “social outrage machine”
Gomez’s argument about threat is valid. There is a difference between saying you dislike a political figure and you want to genocide people, in potential impact on employees and clients. Your hypothetical of the secret Nazi who doesn’t affect coworkers probably doesn’t exist. Many people get away with being the broken stair, because those who are impacted or have knowledge do not have the safety or willingness to take the risk & come forward.
Assuming that issues that result in a critical mass of social outrage is the result of a dismissively named “social outrage machine” & is not worth consideration in a democratic society. Society, democracy, and law are just layers of reskinned and restrained mob/large group dynamics. There is a truism here: if a majority of people find something offensive, a majority of people with react vehemently against it. What a democratic society considers moral/immoral is a function of majorities within the population, as are the laws defined in response. The law and execution of the law can only reflect the values of those majorities. If the view of majority changes, the laws will also change, for better or worse. (I would also add that generic social morals like “rights” are useful in law as a metric to highlight when principles the majority prefers aren’t applied equally to the minority.)
The question should be how those situations are resolved. Does the behavior significantly harm/threaten other people? On what basis? What defines valid harm/threat? Is there a clear, low personal cost/risk method of documenting & submitting grievances that also prevents abuse? Are there mitigating factors? Is there an adequate channel of appeals? Are the consequences of mistaken judgements reversible and reparable?
Depending on the five districts that were too close to call but three trending Democrat the Virginia House of Delegates is looking like it will at least be split 50/50 and maybe a Democratic majority by one. Either is great because Democratic executive down the line.
An old friend of mine that’d I’d not seen in years ran for local office (board of reps). I found out last night she won! I’m pretty excited for her. To my knowledge this is definitely the first trans person in local office in my area and I’m happy to have been a personal part of that.
Side note is that when I knew her, she went by her dead gender and name and that’s been tricky to shake. I have to keep correcting myself inside my own head. We were pretty damn close many years ago and she kinda showed up out of the blue mid transition.
From my own experiences with trans friends, if you knew them pre-transition, they seem to be pretty understanding if you accidentally refer to them using pre-transition names, terms, etc., so long as you are not a jerk about it.