The N-Word

A number of readers have taken me to task for quoting Chris Rock below, specifically criticizing his use of the word "nigger" and my apparent endorsement of this use.

I did not respond in that thread because I did not want to encourage trolling, which is what two of these readers were trying to do. They are upset at me because in the past I have called Hans-Hermann Hoppe a bigot for his anti-homosexual views. My problem with Hoppe has never been with his use of a particular epithet, but with his ordinary language hatred of homosexuals, and his equating them with all sorts of (libertarian defined) criminals.

As I explained then, this doesn't mean that I hate Hoppe or think that he is terrible thinker or person. We all have our flaws, and much of what Hoppe has to say about economics and libertarianism is valuable and important. But that does not mean that he should be given a free ride when he says hateful things about homosexuals. If we wish to remain thoughtful and reasonable people and not fall into the ideological traps that many orthodox Objectivists, Marxists--and for that matter many mainstream Democratic and Republican party activists fall into, then we must be willing to criticize each other's flawed views.

Looking back, though, I may have erred in my choice of timing, as I criticized Hoppe during his recent controversy with UNLV. I should not have given the impression, by criticizing Hoppe's views during that controversy, that I supported UNLV's attack on academic freedom. I don't. Although this is an issue that falls outside of libertarian rights theory, I personally believe that universities, as institutions first and foremost interested in the pursuit of truth and knowledge, should go out of their way to tolerate as much disagreeable speech as they possibly can.

As for the use of the word "nigger," there is nothing racist about Chris Rock's use of the word, when taken in context, nor is there anything racist about my quoting his use of the word. Which, incidentally was taken from this Guardian article. It is interesting to note that the Guardian decided to edit out the word "motherfucker" and replace it with asterisks, but chose to leave in the word "nigger." The Guardian also has a fascinating article about the controversy caused by Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy's book Nigger, which is about the history of the word, its changing meaning across time, and whether it is ever appropriate to use. Kennedy, who is black, concludes that it is sometimes appropriate, and supports Chris Rock and other comedians' use of it.

I personally would not use the word "nigger" in my own writing (except to refer to the word directly as I just did, or to quote other people's use of the word, as I did with Rock), because there is a cultural taboo against using certain epithets if you are not yourself a target of that epithet. Blacks can refer to themselves as "niggers," yet it is generally inappropriate when whites do it. The same is true with Jews and the word "kike," lesbians and the word "dyke," and many other epithets. Sometimes, after a word is regularly used in this way, it loses its offensive qualities, which is what happened to the word "queer" as an epithet against people with nontraditional sexual preferences. In many ways this is a good thing: by embracing the use of offensive words, and in the process satirizing bigotry, the offended groups can deactivate and neutralize the harmfulness of these words, which is partly why black comedians like Chris Rock use the word "nigger," and why parts of black culture in general use this term amongst themselves. But we have not yet progressed far enough as a society to a point where the hateful connotations have been fully removed from the term, so we are not at a point where it is appropriate for white people to use it. It remains to be seen if we ever will get to that point. I have my doubts.

Now, we can sit here and complain about how unfair or inconsistent we think these cultural taboos may be. A reasonable argument can be made that since these terms are so dangerous and carry so much connotative baggage, minority groups should not even risk attempting to defuse these epithets by embracing them. I think the successful neutralization of the word "queer" is sufficient evidence against this argument, but I am willing to consider other points of view. However, that is not what is at issue here. These critics were trying to make me look inconsistent or hypocritical for criticizing Hoppe's anti-homosexual bigotry, and they did so in an abusive, unserious, and troll-like manner. That is not the kind of argument that deserves a reasonable response.

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An appropriate link. Rock

An appropriate link.

Rock on, Micha.

You don't like being caught

You don't like being caught up in the hypersenstiive standards of your own making do you?

HHH does not have "anti-homosexual views".

Stupid, silly, petulant brat. Hypocrite. Grow up. Why are today's boys such PUSSIES?

"They are upset at me

"They are upset at me because in the past I have called Hans-Hermann Hoppe a bigot for his anti-homosexual views."

Thank God you are such a nobody that no one has to be "upset" with what you say. You are just useful as an example of the brainwashed leftist punks college is generating nowadays.

"My problem with Hoppe has

"My problem with Hoppe has never been with his use of a particular epithet, but with his ordinary language hatred of homosexuals,"

You brainwashed, insippied moron. He nowhere does that.

"and his equating them with all sorts of (libertarian defined) criminals."

And he equated childern and old people with criminals too! He's ageist too! Gasp! What a PUSSY!

"As I explained then, this doesn’t mean that I hate Hoppe or think that he is terrible thinker or person."

Oh, how fucking GENEROUS of you! What petulant brats we see nowadays.

"We all have our flaws, and much of what Hoppe has to say about economics and libertarianism is valuable and important."

Really? Then why did you join in the Not Reason ridicule and jeering of the idea that he is a world-renowned and important figure? You asshole.

"But that does not mean that he should be given a free ride when he says hateful things about homosexuals. If we wish to remain thoughtful and reasonable people and not fall into the ideological traps that many orthodox Objectivists, Marxists–and for that matter many mainstream Democratic and Republican party activists fall into, then we must be willing to criticize each other’s flawed views."

Not when your comments are tantamount to character assassination and libel that are serious charges that demand more than your silly, college-boy politically correct Princess and the Pea standards, boy. Not when you join in the jeering of a great and significant thinker by a bunch of jealous, envious, malicious loser nihilists. Prove yourself before you dare to comment on a man as great as that. Punks, fucking punks.

As for your little lecture on racial epithets, do you really think anyone needs you to explain to us in kindergarten language the various types of racial epithets? Please.

"These critics were trying to make me look inconsistent or hypocritical for criticizing Hoppe’s anti-homosexual bigotry, and they did so in an abusive, unserious, and troll-like manner. That is not the kind of argument that deserves a reasonable response."

The reason you got such a reply is that YOU do not deserve a reasonable response, you irresponsible ingrate punk. YOU are the one who blithely joined with the PC mob in hurling the damaging "bigot" charge, based on stupid, flimsy, paltry "evidence," and using ill-defined, vague, self-contradictory, incoherent, arbitrary, unjust, but obviously hair-trigger standards--standards which would no doubt ensnare your own comments. The point is to show that your STANDARDS ARE RIDICULOUS since they catch even you. You can tip-toe all you like and bend over backward trying to mollify the PC police but nothing you say will ever be good enough for them. To do this is to make the mistake of granting them the right to be the grand inquisitors, as if their character and standards are beyond reproach, or at least better than yours; when, far from it, they -- and you, who have joined them -- are far worse.

Grow up, be a man, and get a conscience.

...Not when your comments

...Not when your comments are tantamount to character assassination and libel that are serious charges that demand more than your silly, college-boy politically correct Princess and the Pea standards, boy. Not when you join in the jeering of a great and significant thinker by a bunch of jealous, envious, malicious loser nihilists. Prove yourself before you dare to comment on a man as great as that. Punks, fucking punks....

MY DAD CAN BEAT UP YOUR DAD!!!!

>pinches Kinsella's nipple< .
.
>Kinsella squeals in delight<

">pinches Kinsella’s

">pinches Kinsella’s nipple< .
.
>Kinsella squeals in delight<"

oooh, look, homophobia, bigotry! let's have a wittle trial!

Micha, While I disagree with

Micha,

While I disagree with you, I'm glad you've responded on this issue. However, I still object to your characterization of my comments as trolling.

Since I've spent lots of time here posting recently, I won't continue the debate here; but, I am glad you acknowledge that the issue of whether "nigger" should be used at all is at least debatable, and not to be dismissed out of hand.

Stephan, I'll kindly ask you

Stephan,

I'll kindly ask you to seriously tone down your comments in terms of their pejorative content and vulgarity. As Jeffrey Tucker pointed out to JTK during his visit to the Mises blog, this blog is in essence private property and if you can't behave in a civil manner in our public comment sections then I equally kindly ask you to go home to your own blog, computer, office, or what have you, and stop commenting here. Thanks in advance; I know that you'll do the right thing either way.

"I’ll kindly ask you to

"I’ll kindly ask you to seriously tone down your comments in terms of their pejorative content and vulgarity. As Jeffrey Tucker pointed out to JTK during his visit to the Mises blog, this blog is in essence private property and if you can’t behave in a civil manner in our public comment sections then I equally kindly ask you to go home to your own blog, computer, office, or what have you, and stop commenting here. Thanks in advance; I know that you’ll do the right thing either way."

No problem, Brian; of course I respect your property. No more profanity here.

I assume any forum that has rules about profanity would at least have a rule prohibiting the site being used to LIBEL someone. Or does "civility" permit personal attacks and LIBEL? It's crazy to permit people to LIBEL others on your forum. It's irresponsible and dangerous. I wouldn't permit it on any blog I ran, for my own sake.

P.s.: Is it okay to refer to

P.s.: Is it okay to refer to other people generically as "my bigot"? To highlight how silly the charges are? Or is sarcasm and sense of humour also prohibited?

What about the terms "bleater" or "dimwit-Serioso" libertarian--? also verboten?

What do you mean by libel?

What do you mean by libel? Do you feel Hoppe would be morally entitled to invoke legal force against Micha for what Micha has said about Hoppe?

Would it be libel for me to

Would it be libel for me to say that all who advocate the physical removal of homosexuals from libertarian society would themselves need to be physically removed from society, if one is to maintain a libertarian order?

Which is worse: calling for someone to be physically removed from society, or calling someone a bigot for calling for others to be physically removed from society?

JTK: "What do you mean by

JTK: "What do you mean by libel?"

What the word means. Look it up in a legal dictionary. "to publish in print (including pictures), writing or broadcast through radio, television or film, an untruth about another which will do harm to that person or his/her reputation, by tending to bring the target into ridicule, hatred, scorn or contempt of others."

"Do you feel Hoppe would be morally entitled to invoke legal force against Micha for what Micha has said about Hoppe?"

I have no idea. Am I some expert on morals? I think libel laws are unjustified, but so are roads.

Ghertner:

"Would it be libel for me to say that all who advocate the physical removal of homosexuals from libertarian society would themselves need to be physically removed from society, if one is to maintain a libertarian order?"

I doubt it. But you are lying again. Hoppe specifically referred to ADVOCATES of things hostile to the normal order, including homosexuality. He never said anything about homosexuals being removed, but rather, certain "advocates".

"Which is worse: calling for someone to be physically removed from society, or calling someone a bigot for calling for others to be physically removed from society?"

He was not "calling for it" at all, and anyway, as I said, he was talking about certain "advocates", not about all people of a certian sexual orientation. Further, no matter what you say, it is immoral and incivil and rude and disrespectful for you to refer to someone as a bigot when (a) it is not true; or even (b) you are not sure it is true.

At the least it is incumbent on you to promulgate a sane and coherent and justified definition of "bigotry" and then adduce sound evidence to back it up. You have not done so. You have joined the bleaters in yapping it up based on a few knee-jerk responses that "everyone knows".