The First Rule of the Movement Conservatism:

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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61 Responses

  1. LeeEsq says:

    And they wonder why African-Anericans do not vote for them?Report

  2. Vikram Bath says:

    Pretty sure the second link features Ben Carson saying that the shooting says “racial based hate is still very much alive”. To read it another way smacks of trying to spin a narrative.Report

    • nevermoor in reply to Vikram Bath says:

      Sure, the framing “though [this] really [that]” can’t fairly be read to be dismissive of “[this].” To do so is to try to spin a narrative.

      Completely agree!

      [in seriousness, though, he’s at least better than the ten others cited, so at best he’s a semi-exception to a pretty well established observation, and one OP didn’t emphasize]Report

  3. greginak says:

    You could have thrown in Rand P saying there is nothing government could have done to prevent this without having remotely enough information to know if that is true. We don’t much info about the situation to know what could have stopped him if anything. But that didn’t stop Rand from giving us his generic beliefs.Report

  4. Saul Degraw says:

    “Conservatism can’t fail, it can only be failed.”

    Interestingly this is really the one time they could have very easily talked about how the guy was a racist lunatic and terrorist and thug. He was obviously a malcontent who wore the flags of Rhodesia and Apartheid-era South Africa. This would have been an easy homer for them.

    And they failed.Report

    • aaron david in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      So when Santorum said: “”It’s obviously a crime of hate. Again, we don’t know the rationale, but what other rationale could there be?””

      Or Carson said: “Though racial based hate is still very much alive as last night so violently reminded us.

      Or Dr. Alveda King, MLK Jr. niece of all people: ” So now this disturbed young man, I understand he’s caucasian and he shot black people and that’s not good, but evil is not just limited to color.”

      They were what, not say it was a hate crime? That none of them thought it was racist?

      Those quotes all came from Tods links. I don’t think either of you read them.Report

      • Richard Hershberger in reply to aaron david says:

        “Those quotes all came from Tods links.”

        Actually, these are carefully selected snippets from Tod’s links. The bits you cut out explain how, now that the obligatory nod to race has been made, we are going to talk the stuff that matters to us, like abortion or turning this into an attack on Christianity.Report

        • aaron david in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          Then put them in and show me where I am wrong.

          Oh, and the abortion part, don’t forget that it was MLK’s niece who said it.Report

        • aaron david in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          ZOMG they aren’t liberals, and don’t believe the same things as liberals!

          So, what are we actually doing to convince them? Because what strikes me most is we have been having the same conversation every time. And now, as they are saying that “yes this is racially motivated” the left wants to scream that it isn’t the only thing that they believe. Well, no, its not.

          So please feel free to put the whole quote in, it makes no difference.Report

      • The first link quotes only people saying that it was an attack on religion. One cautions against assuming it was about race.

        The second link is less convincing, because the quotes are do short. But it does include three quotes stressing the shootings being in a church over the obvious fact of which church was chosen.

        The third expands a bit on the Santorum quotes from the second.

        But when someone who flies a racist flag, goes to a place frequented by member of a specific race, and kills them while telling them he hates them because of his race, and you say things like “We’ll never know his motivation” or “Maybe he hates Christians”, you’re being either very stupid or very dishonest.Report

        • I do think the second link is difficult to interpret if we don’t have the context of the rest of the quote in question. The title of that post/article is “Politicians trying to make Charleston shooting about anything but race,” but I’d have to read the rest of what each of them says to identify it that way.

          The third quote, as I read it, does seem like a bit of minimalizing what appears to have been the racial motivation, and therefore I respectfully disagree with the idea that Mr. Santorum is identifying this murder as a racist hate crime, but even that quote is taken out of a larger context of a radio address Mr. Santorum was giving. I haven’t read/listened to that address, so I’d need to before making the final decision.Report

    • Dave in reply to Saul Degraw says:


      “Conservatism can’t fail, it can only be failed.”

      Like CrossFit and veganism?Report

      • Chris in reply to Dave says:

        Conservative Crossfit vegans being the most obnoxious people possible?Report

        • Dave in reply to Chris says:

          I don’t know but I just shuddered at the thought of that. I think I’m going to review the commenting policy to see if I can find a way to call you out on a violation.

          I’m going to have nightmares for the next several weeks.Report

        • Glyph in reply to Chris says:

          Based on anecdotal experience with vegans, I’m pretty sure they would pass out if they tried to do Crossfit.

          Then again,

          • Dave in reply to Glyph says:

            Ok I almost choked on my snack.

            Anecdotal meaning they lack the strength? Big surprise there. I shouldn’t be too general about that though seeing that I’ve seen one of these vegan Youtube fitness types going after just about every major fitness channel on YouTube and making a name for himself by attacking them. There a few vegan personalities like that on YouTube and they’re all f–kheads.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Glyph says:

            If you want to eat vegan, you need to know about nutrition. Make sure you get everything you need. It’s entirely possible, even for people who have high maintenance, athletic bodies.

            But you have to learn a lot about what your body needs, and what foods have it, and how much — and eat accordingly. (But honestly, if you’re doing something like crossfit you should be paying attention to your food anyways!)Report

  5. aaron david says:

    Holy Smoking Jebus, people have different opinions! They think the causes are something different! They express themselves!

    This is Breaking News!

    Oh wait, they are conservatives, so let just shit on them instead. ‘Cause that will help.Report

    • Chris in reply to aaron david says:

      I would agree if “We can’t say this is about race,” accompanied by “This is an attack on religion,” weren’t used in the context of a guy who was openly racist driving across state to attack people in a well known black church. It was about race, and denying it is definitely not just another opinion, it’s part of the problem.Report

      • aaron david in reply to Chris says:

        I would agree with you if it wasn’t for the links Tod provided showing how these people think it was racist. They are going to think we need more religion, because that is what they think is often lacking. But from the quotes provided, most feel that it was racially motivated.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to aaron david says:

      What did Moynihan famously say: “You are entitled to your own opinion but you aren’t entitled to your own facts.”

      1. The Killer wore white-power signs quiet openly. This included the flag of the Rhodesia and Apartheid-era South Africa.

      2. The Church attacked was associated very specifically with African-American history in general and resistance against Slavery specfically. Denmark Vestry organized a Slave revolt at this church in the 1820s or 30s. He was hanged for this along with many others.

      3. The African Methodist Episcopalian Church is the first independent African-American church in the United States and was founded specifically as a break away.

      4. The killer said “This is for raping our women” before launching in on his murder spree.

      If a person can’t call this an act of racist violence and need to spin at as a religious issue primarily, that person has problems.Report

      • Chris in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Aaron’s response is an interesting contrast to Mike’s on the other thread, too.Report

        • aaron david in reply to Chris says:

          How so @chris ?Report

          • Chris in reply to aaron david says:

            He seems to mock people having different opinions.Report

          • Chris in reply to aaron david says:

            By the way, I think you and others are correct to point out that some of the folks Tod linked to say it is about race. Others, however, openly question whether it is, and try to deflect the attention to other causes for which we have no real evidence (we know this dude’s feelings on race, we do not, it seems, know his feelings on religion).Report

            • aaron david in reply to Chris says:

              Thank you @chris

              I would say that if we actually want to start making real, helpful progress on deeply painful and unsettling problems like this, that Tod and Saul need to be called out. Just as an asshole like Giuliani needs to be called out. The minute pieces lite Tod’s get written, peoples backs get up and conversations stop.

              I know that people feel helpless and also full of rage, but saying that people are only sticking to the narrative, when they are clearly not – from the links the author provides! – causes greater damage.Report

              • Chris in reply to aaron david says:

                As I believe I’ve said before, I don’t find talk of “conservatives” or “liberals” as groups or classes useful at all.

                Though I will say that I don’t like liberals. I contain multitudes.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to aaron david says:

                I agree that my conservatism can only fail line was snide and sneering and wrong-headed. But I just came here from reading Mike’s snarky post and was in an annoyed mood.

                This case as Lee and Dave said below is really related to race. We don’t know how the shooter felt about religion and his friends and family say that the murderer was obsessed with race hatred.

                To be fair, Bill O’Reily called the massacre an act of racist terrorism that was no different from ISIS.Report

              • aaron david in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Thank you @saul-degraw

                One thing I will point out it that many of those quoted are African American, a community which has a very strong religious component.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        The facts in the case are so blindingly obvious that denying it was motivated by racism dens like your trying to hide something.Report

        • Dave in reply to LeeEsq says:


          I’m never comfortable taking a claim to that extent, but in this case, it’s a big WTF to hear people discount race.Report

          • Gabriel Conroy in reply to Dave says:

            That’s kind of where I am, @dave . While I believe that it truly is hard to know one’s internal motivation when they commit such things, to say that the situation isn’t “about” race, in this case, seems wrong. My only caveat–and I feel inconsiderate saying this–is that “about” can be a loaded word. Even if this guy’s motivation was somehow purely anti-religion or some sort of nihilistic “kill anybody” thing (I don’t say it is, in fact, I think the burden is on those who say it isn’t), the other facts, and the way some people are speaking of/dancing around the race question does in itself make these murders about race.Report

  6. LWA says:

    We can’t possibly know what motivated the 9-11 killers.
    They were obviously deranged individuals who seemed to have a grudge against commercial office workers.

    But in any case, we can’t really know, but what we do know for a fact is that there is absolutely nothing we could have done to prevent it, and especially nothing the government could do.Report

    • Gabriel Conroy in reply to LWA says:

      On one level–the sarcastic level you intended–I think you’re right.

      On another level–the level where we discard the sarcasm–you might also be right. Because we can’t really know what “motivated” them. We can adopt theories about free will and the meaning of actions, but it’s hard to “know” such things.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to LWA says:

      They were obviously deranged individuals who seemed to have a grudge against commercial office workers

      AKA “little Eichmanns”.Report

  7. nevermoor says:


    Roof has been described by people who knew him as obsessed with racial hatred, has been photographed with racist symbolism, told his victims he planned to murder them because of their race, and even let one live specifically so that she could let the world know the reason for his crime.


  8. Jaybird says:

    The ex-pat radio station announced this horrible event by giving the initial report then saying “terrible business, that. Man’s inhumanity to man.”

    Now that I have more info than the initial reports, I find myself thinking that the most appropriate punishment is to have him watch how his actions are used in political arguments for the next year and only after he sees what his actions resulted in should we apply the death penalty.Report

  9. Kolohe says:

    We are a diverse country but if you don’t express yourself in the way everyone else does, you are a terrible person. Those people not citing the correct shibboleths need to be punished until they cite the correct ones. Where does the septa keep her shaming bell?Report

    • LWA in reply to Kolohe says:

      “citing the correct shibboleths ”

      What shibboleths are you even talking about here?Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to Kolohe says:

      “We are a diverse country but if you don’t express yourself in the way everyone else does, you are a terrible person. Those people not citing the correct shibboleths need to be punished until they cite the correct ones. Where does the septa keep her shaming bell?”

      Exactly. This, exactly. Yes. You’ve hit upon the core, I think. Because in a pluralistic society, all ideas and opinions are equal, and criticizing any is a sign that you worship at the feet of shibboleths.

      Was a black church shot up by a racist who said he wanted to rid the country of blacks born of racism, or was it more a religious liberty issue, better tied to those pushing for legal SSM? The wise man will give equal weight to both.


  10. LWA says:

    More links from BJ:

    Bush, Perry, Huckabee, Graham…all desperately flailing, twisting and turning to avoid saying the obvious, or as Bob Schooley put it ” the real focus tested anodyne bullshit is dispersed like anti-aircraft chaff”.Report

    • LWA in reply to LWA says:

      Oh and lets not forget the ever reliable Erick bin Erick- that this massacre was the result of our acceptance of Caitlyn Jenner.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to LWA says:

        What? Really?


        • LWA in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Its part of our master plan.
          First we create gay marriage to whip up hurricanes, then legalize abortion to bring on a drought, then we give Bruce Jenner a sex change to unleash psycho killers…God only knows what plague Obamacare will wreak upon the citizenry.Report

  11. zic says:

    It was an assault on religious freedom; it was an assault on black Americans in their church; one with intent to make black Americans fear going to their churches. But not because of church; because of black.

    But yes, it was an assault on right to worship, but it ought not be conflated with the war on Christians we hear so much about. This was a real, violent attack. This boy (he’s not a man, though he’ll be tried as one,) sat with those people an hour before he butchered them. It’s like that scene in the movie where Tom Cruze’s character looks up the trumpet player, listens to his gig before he shoots him. Chilling.

    That’s an attack on religious freedom.

    Someone else getting married is not an attack on religious freedom.

    There is a difference. This was an attack. Most of the bs being claimed as attacks — the Benedict Option — are just hysterics.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to zic says:

      But yes, it was an assault on right to worship

      Why not go all the way down the rabbit hole and say it was an attack on free speech; or the right to peaceably assemble? I mean, we don’t have to actually know the shooter’s motives to say that each of those was attacked during the attack, yeah?Report

      • zic in reply to Stillwater says:

        I would go down that rabbit hole, @stillwater


        • Stillwater in reply to zic says:

          Hmmm. I meant that sorta snarkily. Saying that this act of violence – given what we know! – was an attack on religious freedom is like saying that an act of burglary is an attack on private property rights. Or snooping thru your spouse’s desk is an attack on the right to privacy. Or ….Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to zic says:

      The only way this could have ben worse is if he’d done it on Christmas Day and first wished them all “Happy Holidays”.Report