There is a new webpage, “Nazis auslachen” (translated: laughing at Nazis), supported by the German Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, that I am quite conflicted about. Now, I am a strong proponent of freedom of speech. Whether you think that you are touched by his noodly appendage (Go Pastafarians!) or that the politicians really should do something about the weather, as long as you abide by the laws of your country, please feel free to make an ass out of yourself in public. For me, this includes Nazis, as long as they are non-violent. I would be hard pressed to think of anything that I despise more than Nazis, but more strongly I believe that as long as they are voicing their opinion, and not calling for violence, they should have the same freedom as I have in writing this.
What if you make fun of a group of people for their opinion, now. I happen to have the same political leanings of the people who started “Nazis auslachen”. What if I didn’t? What if there was a page “Buddhisten auslachen” (laughing at buddhists). Or “Feministen auslachen” (laughing at feminists)? (Then again, mostly every picdump/4chan/wev page populated by white male teenagers is a “laughning at women/feminists” page.)
Now that I write this, I believe I would have to defend those pages as well. I might have to argue with the writers about the bullshit they are writing, but the *existence* of those pages, that should not be endangered. Now, I doubt whether “Nazis auslachen” can be a productive way of dealing with fascism. Ridicule breeds anger, and that pretty much eliminates the possibility of a constructive conversation. You could say that pages like this teach children how to deal with fascism, as the level of “criticism” is about that of a twelve year old. But is it healthy to teach children to laugh about people who have different beliefs? Should you show tolerance towards people that shout for intolerance? I think you should.
One of the many many reasons I love Shakesville so damn much, is that the writers call out the sexism of the media when dealing with Sarah Palin, even though they could hardly be more opposed to her politics. “Because that is how feminism works”. Fighting for the equality of human beings regardless of their attributes. I believe that is also how a free country should work. Fighting for the rights and freedom of people even if they themselves may fight to restrict yours.