Even though I feel socially and politically aligned with the people posting them, I guess my read on history prevents me from enjoying guillotine memes? I mean, if things went down like they did last time, wouldn't the followup round to hit the guillotine be people who made and posted guillotine memes?

@cwebber Thanks, this.
I just can't get behind murder jokes, no matter how odious the people we're joking about murdering.

@cwebber This is how I feel when I see a grad student who claims to be a maoist.

@cwebber Yeah this is true with almost any type of mob rule. It's great when you are part off the mob, but they can turn against you at any time.


Yes, those "jokes" about mass executions worry me too.

There should be a strict taboo on advocating executions of political enemies, even in jokes, because it's jokes that allow people to flirt with terrible things.

Violent extremism often arrives hidden inside good intentions, it's got to be resisted no matter which direction it's coming from.

@switchingsocial @cwebber Yes but strict taboos can lead to executions.

Best is to let people say the stupid stuff, and then call them out on it, or at least ignore them.

The problem is that many people boost these types of posts.

@yisraeldov @cwebber

By taboo I mean we should regard jokes about executing political enemies the same way we would regard rape jokes, racist jokes, homophobic jokes, sexist jokes etc.

It's something you shouldn't say, because it corrodes and endangers civil society.

@switchingsocial @cwebber OK, but how do you deal with this? Do you ban the people who say "taboo" things? That doesn't help, they people will just find another platform that is more of an echo-chamber for their "bad" ideas. Better to have an open dialog, where you can discuss why something is taboo.

@yisraeldov @cwebber

Just to make clear, my use of the word "taboo" is in its cultural meaning, not legal.

Legal stuff is a very political issue and I'd rather avoid commenting on it on this account.

I don't think anyone should find it culturally acceptable to joke about murdering enemies.

For example, if someone joked about raping an unpopular politician, I think most people would find that unacceptable even if they hate the politician.

It should be the same with exection jokes.

@switchingsocial @cwebber I'm not arguing that "execution jokes" should be socially acceptable. Rather how a society deals with the unacceptable. One way is for a society to enforce a strict taboo, and ban the unacceptable.

IMHO the better way is to attempt to "socialize" the offender. Make them a productive member of the society.

And in some cases ( not this one), the society might learn that if they change their view the entire society will benefit.
Most of the time it will be the former.

@yisraeldov @cwebber

Bans, legal stuff, that's a political issue that I don't really want to comment on that side of things because this isn't a political account.

I would say though that it's not a simple issue, and there may not be a simple ban/not ban solution, because contexts can be so different. Societies and cultures are complex, solutions may have to be complex too.

@switchingsocial @yisraeldov There's an even simpler first step: call it out when you see it, and let friends know why they're doing something that you think is tasteless and kneejerk-y.

@cwebber's post does just that.

@gaja @cwebber "The issue was systemic—the competition for centralized dictatorial power—not a matter of individual wrongdoing." Hmm, yes, quite. Though, I might follow it up with "There will always be an individual eager to do the wrongs, so long as there is a system in place that will reward them." -_-

@gaja @cwebber This is timely in that I was reading the end of Frank Herbert's DUNE, and noticed that while Paul Atreides killed Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in a duel, he was content to strip the emperor Shaddam IV of all of his power and the vast majority of his wealth before sentencing him to life in exile on his own prison planet.

As tempting as it is to fantasize about putting billionaires to the guillotine, maybe it really is enough to strip them of all wealth and power and exile them?

@cwebber In an effort to discover the context of this comment, I searched for "guillotine memes" & was immediately troubled by the list of search results which I include here:

pol, violence Show more

@cwebber In some ways it does make me uncomfortable sometimes, but most who post such memes aren't super serious about them, and to some people posting such memes might allow them to blow off some steam from situations they feel pressure from.

Yes it is terrible how such thing actually went down but darkness can comfort whether joking about something a few centuries back or some other means.

@Codeawayhaley but I dunno, I feel like the devolution of chan culture "ironic memes" into actual non-ironic and scary activism makes me wonder about whether or not that's a general potential pattern for other similar jokey/ironic memes

- guillotine jokes are not funny
- actually deploying guillotines would be a mere inversion of power dynamics, not the abolition of rulers
→that's very reactionary and in no way anarchist

@cwebber It's a tough call when someone whose toots you otherwise like posts or boosts calls for violence/killing (even in the guise of "jokes"). Obviously no more acceptable than rape jokes.

I've turned off boosts from more than one person for continuing to boost them. They should study history and see how well that way of changing things has turned out throughout human history (spoiler alert: not well--just changes one set of oppressors for another & no, it won't be different "this time")

I purchased a domain,, where EHIAD is an acronym for eight heads in a duffle. The idea (suggested by a meme circulating that 8 men control 50% of the world's wealth) is that the 1% control 99% of the wealth, but the majority of the benefit of global redistribution of wealth could be realized by focusing on 8 people among those 80 million - 1/2

The direction I want to take this is, given a scope in which you could conceivably solve all problems associated with unequal distribution of wealth and assuming a moral imperative to do so, what would you do instead of killing them?

I'm not defending these men or appealing to principles. I'm thinking pragmatically about how possible it will be to create the society we envision given a particular course of action. - 2/2

@yaaps @cwebber arrest them for crimes against humanity, and throw them in prison? It's not ideal, but it's way better than killing anyone. The death penalty should have been discontinued everywhere last century, if you ask me.

Or we could just, you know, seize their assets and distribute them and/or make them collectively owned, where it makes sense? It would be "so easy" to do, if a majority of americans actually wanted to bury capitalism.

Imprisoning even 1% of the population is excessive and a sign we need to do things differently

My path to radicalization follows the pattern of a negative proof. Assertion: Governments are instituted to protect human rights. Observation: Government is an instrument of oppression contrary to this stated purpose. Conclusion: The government must be abolished

At issue is the means, and the OP is compelling in this regard

@yaaps Systemic redistribution of wealth through policy is one thing we could do, since it's policy that allows the current 8 heads to reign (and the next 8 that would near-immediately replace them).

Marxist dogma is that the bourgeoisie will not surrender power and I'm a communist because I believe that there is material evidence for that assertion. Even though I believe that liberal institutions will ultimately fail their stated purpose of protecting personal liberties, I am convinced that ending the state monopoly on violence without a thorough trial of those institutions would be catastrophic

Also, it would be nice to be wrong on either point here

alas, refraining from enjoying those memes won't get us spared
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