One true Scotsman

September 20, 2015 • 8:45 am

Reader Richard sent me this video of an example of “hate speech” in the public forum—evangelical Christianity—being countered in the best way possible: counter-speech. The counter-speech happens to be classic Scottish.

This video was published only yesterday, and already has over 600,000 hits. Somebody must like what happened!

Although these people have the right to rant about their superstitions in public (though note the police car at the end), it’s annoying, and I see this all the time in downtown Chicago. Yet I’ve never seen an atheist shouting in public about nonbelief. So much for the claim that atheism is a religion!

64 thoughts on “One true Scotsman

    1. I can’t place the town centre – I’ll guess Stornoway, or some such place – but he is speaking “accent with a trace of English”.

    1. I was thinking that if I did not like bagpipes then surely this would be an occasion where I did. But I like them.

      1. I don’t like bagpipes generally but I make an exception for their use on the ACDC track “I’ts a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll” Heavy metal bagpipes, crazy but it works.

              1. Darn – video not available.

                Anyone seen the bearded Flying Burrito Brothers doing Scenes from Swan Lake in tutus?

        1. I wonder if one could do a Silly Walk while playing the pipes? I wonder if Cleese has tried? He does have long enough legs.

        1. I agree. Especially in the right situation. I was returning from a trip by car in upstate NY when I stopped at a roadside overlook to view the sun setting in the Catskills. A piper stopped some distance away and played beautifully for 30 minutes as the the sky got red and dark. Something I’ll never forget.

        2. What’s not to like? That monotonous drone in the background and the wailing sound they make, I suppose.

          But I like them. That drone adds ‘body’ to the music so it doesn’t sound thin like a single instrument often does.

          (I think, over the ages, one of the biggest challenges for instrument makers of every type has been to produce more sound i.e. make it louder. A challenge that largely disappeared when electronics arrived).


    2. You are aware that the bagpipes are actually classified as a weapon not a musical instrument? (I’m told – I don’t waste much time on military matters.)

      1. Don’t know about that, but the US Supreme Court famously outlawed their use in executions in Massachusetts v Blarney (1864), citing the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.


      2. Coincidence – I was going to comment on the bagpipes convenient use as a weapon.

        Of which use, in this instance, I thoroughly approve.


        1. I once heard that the Irish invented the bagpipes, gave them to the Scots and told them that it was a musical instrument. As a joke.

  1. Although I don’t have a problem with ‘hate speech’ per se, I think that in a public area with a loudspeaker is a step too far. Part of free speech is people being free not to hear speech that they don’t agree with in a public space when that public space must remain neutral for everybody. That’s obviously in contrast to an arena that is specifically about ideas and the freedom to express them, no matter how hateful they may be, such as college campuses etc.

    1. I agree. There look to be plenty of flats adjacent to that area, too. No one has a right to bounce artificially embiggened rants in such a space. It is also rather amazing how those cobbles and all those stone walls reflect and channel sound. Good one someone for using a space like that to foster gatherings & public speeches/talks, exchange ideas… but merely strutting around and booming distorted and incoherent ravings all day is a public nuisance, plain and simple.

    2. Yes, exactly. At one stage an evangelical idiot exploited queues by London’s Oxford Street tube station. He would shout his ‘message’ using a loudspeaker like this guy – especially annoying when the station gates close temporarily due to crowding and everyone is trapped there, forced to listen. The council eventually got a court order to shut him up. Alas, another evangelical has started plaguing commuters, again with loudspeaker. Someone should snip the wiring…

  2. Reminds me of Pete Seeger’s banjo, inscribed “This machine surrounds hate and causes it to surrender.” A while ago, during publicity after Pete’s death, a young (nonreligious) person I know said that banjos are annoying but it would take bagpipes to make him surrender!

  3. Half the time that I have heard bagpipes in a Hollywood film, they have been playing John Newton’s song “Amazing Grace” (even in Star Trek II- although Star Trek is meant to embody secular humanism and scientific scepticism).

    This was definitely a bracing switch from that.

    1. Pipe “music” is mostly dreadful. In Edinburgh they’re usually playing (poorly) for the american tourists. The bagpipes can strike the right note for funerals.

  4. I was expecting an argument, and as the video began I thought, I wish that guy would shut up so I could hear the piper.

    And when you and I are gone they’ll say, you should have seen them then, you should have heard them play.

  5. In England he would be committing a public nuisance unless he has obtained prior permission, from the police I think. I don’t know about Scotland.
    There’s an ear splitting begging bagpiper in Trafalgar Square London who should be shot through the airbag.

    1. Wait — I’m confused.

      Your comment implies some sort of correlation between bagpipes and recognizable tunes, but I’m at a complete loss to even begin to imagine what that could possibly be.


      1. Hey, I recognized the tune – Scotland the Brave – and I’m a Sassenach! (The only other bagpipe tune I know is Mull of Kintyre…)

        Much as I hate to spoil a good bagpipe joke…


      2. Seems to me any instrument capable of producing a loud and intimidating sound could be used for this noble purpose. A horn perhaps?

  6. I can not bring myself to watch videos or preachers. Even at Stanford and UC-Berkeley and UT-Austin and U-Arizone I have witnessed crazy people trying to proselytize their pitifully misguided view of the universe on others.

    I have never seen an atheist do such a thing. Might as well hold up a potted plant and say “Here it is. This is nature. Isn’t it grand?”

  7. There was another heinous assault on religion in Edinburgh last year. Two residents attacked a mosque with a packet of bacon.
    Bacon was wrapped around the handles and a couple of rashers hurled inside. The two masterminds were soon apprehended.
    This is where it takes a serious turn.
    From the BBC:
    “A teenage girl and 39-year old man who desecrated an Edinburgh mosque by attacking it with strips of bacon have both been jailed.

    Chelsea Lambie, 18, from Paisley, was sentenced to 12 months and Douglas Cruikshank, from Galashiels, to nine months.”

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