Originally a Facebook post by McGregor Peppercorn Francis. Text is first, then screenshots of responses by Axel, Roger Norling, Anders Linnard, and McGregor.
I am writing this to those of you who are fans, friends and acquaintances, and to those of you who are upset or confused by what you perceive to be my political beliefs.
I have done dumb stuff on social media while angry and in despair and I obviously regret that. Going through a rough time in my personal life (like a separation after a long relationship) while at the same time experiencing the pressures that come with becoming a public figure certainly didn’t help. But that was what it was: tasteless, dark humour and rage-use of social media; clicking “like” on memes or firing off angry comments as a stupid and useless way to mock and vent frustration. How I have reacted and behaved online back then was not cool and it is not something I am proud of and I apologise to anyone who has taken offence for any Nazi jokes and the like. I want to make it clear that I do not hold supremacist or Nazi views. I allowed my emotions make me act in a way I don’t stand for. I am more level-headed these days but I am embarrassed for having made myself look like I am something I am not and for all the inconvenience this has caused dear friends, some of whom are now being dragged through the mud completely without cause. To all of you I am sorry.
Growing up my friends and I, Swedes (some with Jewish and/or immigrant backgrounds themselves), suffered abuse from immigrants from the Middle East and Africa who attacked us and used racial slurs against us. When we complained or tried to fight back we got the “Nazi” label thrown in our face–not just from those bullies, but also from teachers and the other adults. The racism we suffered was always excused. We were taught we were less than others–that Swedes were dumb and evil and should just accept the abuse dealt to us.
In the end we just assumed that was the truth–that everything wrong in the world was the fault of the Swedish people, that we have no rights of our own and that we should just take any abuse and hate coming our way. That is soul-crushing and I don’t wish it on anyone.
The same thing happens now all over in Europe: voicing criticism of mass-immigration gets you the ill-fitting “Nazi” label. Suggesting identity is something that everyone needs and should enjoy (Europeans included) gives the same result. The left has created an extreme situation and call it normal while accusing anyone who asks for actual normalcy an extremist. This shutdown of dissident views is horrible when you see the consequences of taking self-respect away from a people. I see Swedes getting raped, murdered, robbed, humiliated, being afraid to walk in their own streets, in their own cities because of their ethnicity. I have been attacked for my ethnicity and have friends who have been victims of everything I mentioned above, including rape. And when you stand up and say that this is wrong, you are a Nazi.
Eventually labels like “Nazi” stop having any sort of meaning; it just becomes a grotesque joke.
I have always reacted very strongly to what I perceive as injustice and usually identify with the underdog. As a young boy, I got furious when my parents told me about the atrocities committed during the colonial period in Africa. I read about the Battle of Wounded Knee and wanted to beat up all the Americans for their crimes against the Native Americans. The understanding that now it is also my own people that are being abused is not something I react lightly to–especially with the injustice and glee coming from my detractors–and to see the double standard meted out by these people is incredibly aggravating. I get called a Nazi for bringing up the sickening Grooming Scandals in England, the religiously or racially-motivated attacks on and rapes of Swedes and other Europeans.
At the same time, there are people from the Thought Police crowd in this community and in society at large who have defended actual threats of rape and violence, who have made public racial attacks against Europeans and who have downplayed the atrocities committed by IS. One day they say that IS members moving to Sweden should be rehabilitated and that they only did what they did because no one listened to their grievances, then the next day they call us Nazis for voicing our own frustration through social media interaction as though it is a worse crime than actual sex slavery or decapitation. The hypocrisy should make anyone furious.
The Thought Police don’t care though, there is no room for nuance with them. For example, last year people called me a Nazi because I had liked a picture of a German family from WW1 or WW2. I remember that picture, it is up somewhere still. To me that picture represented a fascinating duality: here is this family sending their son off to war, fulfilling the ancient duty of fighting for their country, yet you can almost see in their eyes that there is something wrong–that there is doubt, that they know deep-down they could be on the wrong side of the conflict. The image was fascinating. There is also a quote out there with me saying racism is natural or something to that effect (the whole conversation is also still up on someone’s Facebook wall). I was referring to the fact that infants naturally prefer their biological kin to strangers and that we humans are not blanks slates. For the most part though, social media interactions such as “likes” or shooting comments from the hip are done in a moment without much thought to it, and we all know that.
There is obviously no sense of fair play here. Anders Linnard has had his “likes” photo-shopped to make it seem like he has liked stuff that he has not. I was added to a group called “Sons of Odin” without my consent in order for my membership to be screen-capped and used to defame me. That is the kind of people the Thought Police are. They are narcissistic bullies and opportunists with no real beliefs beyond promoting themselves and feeding on the dopamine high that comes from social media use. The last time my political views were up for public debate I asked to be allowed in on the discussion on a Facebook album in order to set the record straight and defend myself against false, hateful accusations but was refused. They flat out said their objective was to talk about me, not with me. Think of that what you will.
I have most likely made friends with people from more ethnicities and cultures than anyone else in HEMA thanks to my own hard work and the wonderful reach HEMA has across the globe. My doors are open to anyone willing to put in hard work—I exclude no one based on their identity and the Thought Police know this full and well. Many of these people think just like me, but from their own perspective, and some don’t; but they know my character and I know theirs and we are friends despite our differences. I am grateful for each and every one of them.
I do believe in the inherent necessity of identity (not because I think that is ideal but because I believe that is a reality) and I don’t want humanity turned into nothing more than economic units. Without identity we are all replaceable, worth nothing. This is why cheesy pictures of your culture matter–they reinforce who we are and strengthen us against the mindless consumer society of the modern age. Here the left and I overlap to an extent (I have a lot of left-leaning ideas in general). Humans need identities to form stable societies. At the moment I am reading the famous liberal Political Economist Francis Fukuyama’s book, “Political Order and Political Decay”, and he has this to say on the matter: “Natural human sociability is built around two phenomena: kin selection (this is what the Thought Police call “racism”) and reciprocal altruism”. That quote pretty much sums up my concerns: there is always a tendency to favour one’s own group over other humans, and we need to trust each other in order to have stable societies. Ignoring these issues would be disastrous.
I am in favour of helping refugees and I don’t want anything for Swedes that I do not also wish for all other people: self-determination, peace and hope. Just as sure as there are ethnic Swedes, others can (and do) become cultural Swedes and blend perfectly into our society through integration. Unfortunately, that is not, on the whole, what is happening; instead we are being replaced through numbers. Some immigrant communities are absolutely over-represented in various crimes, often directed specifically at Swedes. We have the right to our own country. We have no other place to call our own and maintaining the Swedish culture as the dominant culture in Sweden is our right and makes the whole country more stable. Moreover, a stable Sweden creates a healthy premise for other peoples and cultures to live in as well. This is the problem with mass-immigration and forced multiculturalism: it enlarges chauvinist tendencies amongst all groups and erodes social trust and the ones who blindly argue for more of the same are the ones responsible for the increased problems.
If it was not for these developments I would probably still be a happy Social Democrat. I can appreciate countries like Hungary, Poland and Israel who seem to have governments which at least are acting in the interests of their people (the same can be said for Palestine. I can understand why Israeli Hawks and Hezbollah or Hamas all have their views: they share similar problems from mirrored viewpoints, and it illustrates, again, the problem of forcing people to compete over the same land and political system). I wish every people had that. I wish every culture remained strong and proud and stood up for themselves, because it is absolutely necessary for a functional society. Take care of your people, don’t make the same mistakes we have made in Sweden.
You don’t have to agree with me on this, and that is fine. I don’t demand a full screening of my friends in order to like them. Do ask me directly if you are interested in what I think. I can’t recall and answer for each and every of the thousands of social media interactions I have engaged in over the years, but I am happy to talk ideas, politics and philosophy and how (and if) it relates to fencing.
If you want to send a list to SPES about the name of my jacket, then I can sign it too. My name being on the jacket was nothing I have ever profited from financially, nor was it ever the intention for me to share in the profits. My motivation was to provide a good product for the community when a product like this did not exist. If you guys want to change the name, I don’t mind.
If you are one of those engaging in the angry mob right now, I am sorry if I have upset you. Go ahead and continue to rage against me online if you wish; I can only say that I too have raged online and it didn’t give me much. I get why you do it, and I know that not only righteous anger (my big character flaw) but also tough life situations outside of fencing can lead to a need to vent and feel in control online. I can completely relate, but I let it go a while back and I am a happier man for it. My gratitude to a dear friend with a very different background than me who gave me invaluable advice on the cost-reward dynamic the other day: “Name your price upfront” for the kind of things you spend your time and energy on. I will remember that.
Roger Norling: you have never seemed to like me ever since you joined GHFS. I have always respected your research and our shared commitment to Meyer but have never appreciated your von oben ways of criticising the works of others when it comes to actual fencing, competing and community work of the kind that you don’t engage in yourself. No one can do everything. I don’t claim the authority of being a researcher, but I don’t try and speak with hollow authority or hamstring people because I can’t get respect in areas I don’t know much about. Maybe you have felt that vibe from me and that is why you don’t like me. If you want to keep on railing against me, go ahead. Alternatively, meet up with me for a coffee and a chat (we do live in the same city after all) and I’d be happy to talk about anything from our old grudges to fencing to politics. But never, ever again drag Kristine into this again. My actions and beliefs are my own, not hers. You are giving in to your worst sides when you try to smear the woman that I love as well.