Monday, May 18, 2015

Russian police detain LGBT flash mob

So, here's a happening in Russia:
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian police detained 17 protesters on Sunday as they gathered in central Moscow to release colorful balloons into the air to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, an organizer of the failed flashmob said.
Some 50 people assembled on a square outside a Moscow theater but crowd control police drove up a bus and started shoving the protesters inside before they managed to unfurl any banners or chant any slogans.
On one level, I think this is reprehensible. It's something I would oppose normally, and I would have opposed in the past. I favor free speech. I think people should be allowed to gather, make their points, give their arguments - unless they're actually and inappropriately bothering people (blocking traffic, rioting, etc). Even if I disagree with them.

Now, consider a complicating factor.

The LGBT movement in the US, with every advance, has attacked and silenced those who disagree with them. They've shut down adoption agencies that don't want to place children with same-sex couples. They've backed the firing of people who have opposed same-sex marriage in the past. They've gotten the Boy Scouts shunned in society for simply not approving of sodomy, and done so in ways which squelch speech - and in a broader way - than the russians are squelching it.

Here's the puzzle.

If I were russian and I cared about free speech, or civil rights in general, would I support or oppose the russian authorities - having seen the effect of the LGBT movement in the west?

I remember what Vox Day said about libertarianism. Basically: he can't be a libertarian, because the very things which are required to maintain a libertarian society (in a maximal sense) requires, in his view, taking positions which libertarians would oppose (controlled borders, etc.)

Is something similar in play here? Morally, intellectually, do I oppose or do I support the russians?

I will say one more thing. The fact that they apparently caught this protest and shut it down before they could engage in any theatrics... that's some funny shit right there. It's institutional-level cockblocking, probably in more ways than one.

11 comments:

Heuristics said...

One way of thinking that I have been adopting lately is to stop asking if some action is in line with maximizing liberty and instead ask if it works, if it builds up civilization. For what is the point to stand up for your principles if the principles lead to bad results.

jamesparliament.com said...

This is an interesting question, and interesting times for challenging libertarianism.

In short, the best avenue seems to be one which is guided by free speech, but not ruled by it. Free speech, then, is only one more value shared by a nation - like isolationism could be, or capitalism.

Thus, the free speech of those who would usurp most or all of the other values is not protected. The sticky wicket - how do you decide when that is happening?

Well, that's why people get elected and appointed. They're supposed to be qualified to do that, and already value all the things you value by virtue of being your countrymen.

In this case, I am theoretically with you and free speech, but in practice (given the context) I am with the Russians. Their country, their values.

Crude said...

Heuristics,

The worry I have is that 'maximizing liberty' is slippery. Go ahead and tell these people that they're not maximizing liberty. Most will look at you wish shock and tell you that they are adamantly in favor of free speech. It's just that 'hate speech' doesn't count.

James,

Well, that's sticky indeed. These are people who have a habit of insisting, "We would NEVER do what you suspect us of doing. Goodness, that's the stuff of conspiracy theories. You crazy person. We just want a little bit more..."

And then we have the situation we have now, and them laughing openly about how far they've come.

It's a puzzle, but none of the solutions are pleasant.

B. Prokop said...

Slavish worship of "free speech" or even "democracy" can get you into trouble now and then. Remember how they once talked about how the democratic process would be usurped in newly independent former colonies, where there'd be "One man, one vote, one time" as newly minted dictatorships would take power in country after country.

Personally (and I know I caught a lot of flak for this opinion over on Dangerous Idea from a certain 2 posters) I think Putin's been getting something of a bad rap in the Western press of late. No, I'm no admirer of his, but he's no hypocrite - he's sincere in his beliefs and is willing to put his money where his mouth is. And you honestly know where he stands - no "spin" for Putin.

The execrable group "Pussy Riot" deserved everything they got. Had I been the judge at their trial, I'd have thrown the book at them, and they'd still be behind bars. I have zero tolerance for blasphemous disruption of religious observances. It's my major beef against the self-styled "Westboro Baptist Church" (for their demonstrations at funerals). I never could get Mr. Linton Wilson (a.k.a., Papalinton) to own up to his support of identical tactics when he praised some idiot demonstrator for disrupting an Anglican service in the cause of "gay rights". And what Pussy Riot did was worse - far worse. Had they behaved in such a manner at a mosque, they'd have been in the Next World long ago.

Crude said...

To be frank, Bob, I think Putin - for all his sins - seems to actually love his country and want it to prosper, and not just because the rest of the world allows it this or that scrap. Is he corrupt? Probably. But that's not exactly an area the west has a good track record on.

I agree about Pussy Riot. I do not hold up Charlie Hebdo or Geller as heroes, but I believe they should be defended, as should their rights, even as we condemn them.

Pussy Riot is different. If they want to blaspheme, cause destruction and insult - violating other's rights in the process - I have no sympathy for them. I am not among the idiot number that condemned Russia over their actually getting a stinging sentence. In fact, I found it to be good news.

The Fez said...

As far as I see it, Russia is caught in one of those "promote the national good" conundrums where allowing LGBT thinking to propagate doesn't make much sense when your population is experiencing a catastrophic demographic collapse.

If you're Russian, and you want what's best for Russia, then you probably want to promote stable, monogamous relationships that produce abundant children. The LGBT scene has never been, particularly, about stability or monogamy.

Liberty or long-term survival? That's an easy call if you're Putin.

What's happening in Russia should temper the spirits of the LGBT crowd in the United States. When national priorities shift, and they always do, social agendas drop right off the top of the totem pole. In essence, the LGBT movement is one national crisis away from irrelevancy at any given point.

jamesparliament.com said...

Crude, I'd have to say that the tenor of the comments here is what I'm banking on.

That is, you call it a puzzle, but I don't think that's the right metaphor. I think it's a balancing act.

Think about it - the closest we were ever going to get was a system of checks and balances, which was intended to prevent (or forestall) corruption of one leading to tyranny over all. But even that system, as a whole, has been shown corruptible.

That was an attempt to solve the puzzle, if you will. But our problem is not a puzzle with missing pieces - it is a high-wire act depending on coordination with an eye toward mastering reality.

The very first requirement is that one cannot have his left arm flailing and his right arm trying to compensate to keep the whole in balance. They must act together, each dedicated to keeping the body upright.

(Yeah, I'll push a metaphor too far from time to time. Sometimes I drink too fast and spill on my shirt, too).

I think that's where there is give and take with something like free speech. It cannot be a total absolute, which we knew from the start. But it must nevertheless be strong, even when we don't like it. You need that room to balance.

Crude said...

Fez,

As far as I see it, Russia is caught in one of those "promote the national good" conundrums where allowing LGBT thinking to propagate doesn't make much sense when your population is experiencing a catastrophic demographic collapse.

Putin's said as much explicitly.

I think it also has to do with keeping Russian culture distinct from western culture, because really, western culture and links are used as a trojan horse to subvert governments at this point. See: Ukraine.

In essence, the LGBT movement is one national crisis away from irrelevancy at any given point.

I've thought similar. Mostly that LGBT 'issues' cannot remain top dog forever. It's just so effing petty.

James,

Oh, I don't believe in ideal 'solutions'. I know better. When I talk about solutions, I'm thinking short term, here and now, relatively speaking. I know what you mean, I think, and I largely agree.

GoldRush Apple said...

@Heuristics: I like that attitude.

GoldRush Apple said...

>>They've gotten the Boy Scouts shunned in society for simply not approving of sodomy,

Maybe I haven't been up-to-date with the BSA, or just reading the articles wrong, but I never took that the BSA were shunned - as you put it. They recently have allow open homosexual troop leaders in. After the raise of the ban of open homosexual scouts, the BSA has been given the "about time" eye. It never seemed that the BSA were seen in the same light as, say, the Catholic Church. I take the BSA were a "side issue" of the LGBT activists/"equality" supporters that if it were to "progress" it would be an extra feather in their cap, though not a main feather.

Crude said...

This post was written before that change. And the BSA had a whole lot of funding cut, they were increasingly denied the ability to so much as use public property because of their stances, and in California it was forbidden for judges to be members of their organization because of their stance and SSA.

There is no such thing as side-issues with LGBT. There are just different fronts in a very broad war.