Morning Ed: World {2017.09.04.M}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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59 Responses

  1. Avatar InMD says:

    Wo6- ‘Seriously, why should anyone be proud to live like a dog?’ is the best line I’ve read in quite awhile.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Wo8. If they want to dance in bars, they should move to Somalia.Report

  3. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Wo6: I really couldn’t make out what this author was trying to say besides the fact that Identity Politics/Social Justice is not a real form of leftism, that it originates in America, and its infected leftists movements across the world with American ideas on race, gender, and class. Therefore, Identity Politics is just another form of American imperialism.

    Identity politics isn’t really an entirely American phenomenon. It started in the 1960s when anti-Colonialism became the forefront of leftist political thought because the USSR and other Communist countries could not serve as a source of political inspiration anymore because of their failures and brutality. Instead, Leftists began placing their greatest hope and inspiration in the new countries/Global South that arouse after Communist. If these countries could be seen as angry and revolutionary like North Vietnam, PRC, or Algeria than the better. Anti-colonialism existed as a force on the Left through out the Western world. The late 1960s added Second Waive feminism, the movements of various minority groups, and the early LGBT movement into the cauldron of modern leftist politics.

    These early Identity Politics/Social Justice groups were very radical and imagined a total remaking of Western or world society. This radicalizing persisted through out the 1970s and 1980s but became more moderate during the mid to late 1990s because progress seemed to be being made and the collapse of Communism took out the source of revolutionary vitality. Early Identity Politics/Social Justice groups might have identified as only Leftist rather than Marxist but they got their desire to remake the world from Marxism. The Internet led to a other spreading of Identity Politics/Social Justice.

    The Alt-Right and the Social Justice Left could not exist without the Internet. The Internet provides the space where they meet and discuss things. Internet techniques like trolling, memes, gifs, and emojis are how they spread their message and attack the other side.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I have not finished reading it, but my take away was that large blocks of the American left is devoid of actual thought, and is more just empty sloganeering.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Thats the standard Non-ID Left complaint about Identity Politics. I don’t quite agree with it. The Social Justice Left does have a lot of thought behind them. They might not be the best at expressing it because they tend to use high academic language and Internet speak as status symbols in the same way the Alt-Right does. They should learn from Chomsky’s stress on using plain language.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to LeeEsq says:

          The problem with the identity-politics left is that they’re methodological bigots. Their whole shtick is passing blanket judgments on large groups of people based purely on their demographic attributes.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

          They may use high language, but only because it’s learned by rote. It’s like arguing science with anti-science evangelicals, many don’t have the deep understanding of the material needed to discuss it. They have the script, and when the script fails, they fall back on bullying.

          PS personally I think this is why a lot of them stick with media forms that encourage brief messaging.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


        I don’t think this is true but there are a lot of people who think/want it to be true.

        What I think is happening is a split on the left as to the causes of Donald Trump’s victory.
        There is a faction on the left that wants to view everything in terms of socio-economic class. Often times, this is the “Bernie woulda won” crowd.

        Another faction declares that you can’t analyze American politics without discussing race issues. I’m largely sympathetic to this side.

        That being said, the essay by the Croatian Marxist struck me as largely being knee-jerk anti-Americanism.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          I think the distillation is not that the American left is merely analyzing American politics via racial issues, but that it is making racial, and, more broadly identity issues the basis of the American left:

          If we were to take “American thought” seriously, it would look as if the goal of Marxists is to preserve national, ethnic, local, and even religious cultures or identities — all of which developed over centuries through economic exploitation, political repression, and primitive social hierarchy — instead of destroying them.

          Which the author argues is not simply an American quirk, but a fundamental category error. A category error the acts like a virus on Marxist thought.

          It is not the usual “concern trolling” of the Neo-liberal left, it is a dart at the heart from the Marxist left. A dart that is meaningful only in so far as the American left conceives itself as Marxist, which I don’t really know.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Marchmaine says:

            That tends to be the ultimate critique of Identity Politics/Social Justice from the Marxist Left; that it preserves things that should be destroyed. That and it allows bourgeois liberals to gain political power via the usurpation of identity politics language and issues and not really do anything about the underlying problems, economic inequality.

            The Social Justice faction would argue that a pure class/economic analysis allows too many ills to go unnoticed like sexism, racism, and homophobia and you do need independent action on these ills.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

              it allows bourgeois liberals to gain political power via the usurpation of identity politics language and issues and not really do anything about the underlying problems, economic inequality

              To what extent are bourgeois liberals gaining political power via the usurpation of identity politics language and issues while, at the same time, not really doing anything about the underlying problems?

              Is this something that is best addressed by telling people to not notice?

              I mean, assuming that it’s happening, of course.

              Maybe it’s not happening.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

                A lot of Anti-Idpol speakers explain Clinton’s victory over Bernie Sanders this way. Most of the anti-Idpol left sees identity politics/social justice as a way the wealthy create false consciousness among the workers and prevent them from uniting. Marxist analysis never really worked that well in describing American society because Marxism is bad at dealing with racial prejudice. It just assumes that once the Revolution occurs, these things will magically disappear.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Is something like “bourgeois liberals gaining political power via the usurpation of identity politics language and issues” even measurable?

                Maybe it’s not measurable.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                “I assume the worst about a person. What’s the worst reason they could possibly have for saying what they say, and doing what they do? Then I ask myself: how well does that reason explain what they say and do?”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Not to give away *TOO* much about myself, but, what is “the worst” for a good person might well indeed be a “that’s really cunning” thing for a person who is a bad person.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                I hadn’t thought of that; that’s really cunn… oh, wait.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to LeeEsq says:

      The Alt-Right and the Social Justice Left could not exist without the Internet. The Internet provides the space…

      Spot on. And this is important. There are a lot of folks out there who claim to be doing politics or activism or whatever, but who are really just doing Twitter.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to j r says:

        I wouldn’t be that hard on them. The people whose activism is limited to the Internet are at least doing propaganda work and are spreading the message. Thats a part of activism even if they aren’t fighting the fight in the real world. Most people who end up doing real world activism start as members of discussion groups. The Bolsheviks got into politics by talking about Marxism among themselves before really trying to topple the Russian Empire.Report

        • Avatar j r in reply to LeeEsq says:

          I’m not sure why you’d want to use the Bolsheviks as a positive example of anything. That aside, saying revolutionary things on the internet is something completely different than participating in a revolution.

          We are in a moment where it is fashionable to bash moderates and centrists, from both sides. And yet, the future almost assuredly belongs to moderates and centrists and not the alt-right or the far left; that’s partly because most people simply aren’t that ideological but more so because moderates and centrists are the ones who are bothering to do the work. Dank memes, tiki torch rallies, Black bloc, occupying parks, etc, none of that is work. It’s mostly bad performance art.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to j r says:

            This. The tactics of the far-* are often ones of shame or intimidation, and the employment of careful thought or education regarding their positions are a secondary or tertiary concern\effect.Report

          • Avatar James K in reply to j r says:


            This is an underappreciated point. Revolutions are romantic, but they seldom succeed. And when they do they often end up making things worse (something the Bolsheviks are a good example of).

            It turns out the skills required to engage in, as you put it, bad performance art, do not translate especially well to building and operating a government.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to James K says:

              I want to push back a little bit here. While the romantics revoluting in the street are not likely to realize change themselves or ever actually assume the levers of power — or even get close for that matter — there is the possibility that they initiate or re-frame conversations with impacts that reverberate far and wide.

              Perhaps speaking a bit out of my ass… but if the Occupy movement never happens and the term “1%” never takes hold, does Elizabeth Warren rise to the prominence she currently as? My guess is no. Yet now she’s being discussed seriously as a Presidential candidate in 2020. And if she wins, that could very well lead to changes we wouldn’t otherwise see. Does that mean that Occupy caused those changes? I’m not sure I’d go that far. But it probably means their ultimate role was above performance art while still falling well short of an actual revolution.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to James K says:

              When the Nazis took power in Germany they realized that none of them had the skills to run the machinery of government, so they left the existing bureaucrats in place. All the non-communist leftist parties in Germany wanted to avoid the chaos of the Bolshevik disaster because German newspapers had run lurid accounts of the murder, violence, and devastation involved in the Soviet style of worker’s revolution. Germans weren’t going to risk that.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to George Turner says:

                @george-turner Is this your sense of humor at work again? Either way I’d suggest you refrain from talking about Nazis for a while. This comment presses my “did he really just say that?” button fairly hard, by logical implication if not by direct statement.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Maribou says:


                Is this responding to the right comment? George’s comment here appears to be a straightforward exposition of information, and is not attempting any humor or snark?

                Am I missing something?Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                @oscar-gordon The most straightforward reading of the implications of his comment are that a) the Nazis were leftists (a theme I’ve already said he doesn’t need to harp on); b) Nazi Germany was prudent enough to leave the bureaucrats in place (actually they imprisoned or murdered any bureaucrat that they were aware didn’t go along with them) so things wouldn’t descend to the level of the Bolsheviks (as opposed to, you know, genocide?).

                Both of those things are inaccurate and literally compare Nazis preferentially to the Bolsheviks, and the site really isn’t here for anybody to talk about how the Nazis were bad, but at least they didn’t….

                And next time I’m not going to spell it out because I don’t really enjoy writing out those claims myself either. I just want to be really clear on why it’s not okay. And if it’s not meant to be humorous, it’s extra not okay.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

                (@oscar-gordon I should say, I’m agnostic on the idea that Nazis were worse than the Soviets. Soviets did a shit load of bad things, particularly under Stalin. I have no problem with people believing that, or with saying “Soviets were even worse than Nazis.” That’s history. I just don’t want to read about how Nazis were better than X, more prudential than X, or learned from the example of X, or to make the common sense of Nazis their go-to example as George did here. Those kinds of arguments don’t have a place here.)Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Maribou says:

                So less about the information, and more “just stop talking about Nazi Germany already”Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                @oscar-gordon Something closer to that, yes.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


                This is the new micro moderating, especially of those on the right.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to notme says:

                @notme I’ve been micro moderating everybody who isn’t grasping how we expect people to behave, actually, and will continue doing so until those folks have figured it out, or kept pushing beyond what seems a reasonable figuring-out process.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Maribou says:

                That makes me feel better b/c I’d be sad to think you only wanted us folks on the right out of here.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to j r says:

            I read a fascinating piece of reporting on the alt-right in Berkeley. It’s a piece of actual journalism!

            Matt Labash hooked up with the founder of the racist white supremacist “Patriot Prayer” group, Joey Gibson, a Japanese father of two, and his hulking henchman Tiny, a 6’6″ 345 lb Samoan. Joey was a non-political person who became upset when he saw videos of antifa types beating up random old folks at Trump rallies, and thought “That’s not right!” Tiny had been beating up Trump supporters until he had a change of heart and decided the world needed open dialog and love.

            Together, they’re a dynamic duo and the focus of paranoia and hatred in the Bay Area, so the reporter followed them as they got hunted, chased, assaulted, cut, beaten, and sent to the hospital.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to LeeEsq says:

      This is a very handy framework of understanding for Wo6. Thanks.

      Given that many consider 14th Amendment jurisprudence to be a uniquely American export, it seems less surprising that identity politics are also an American export.Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Wo8: New York’s partner dance seen is routinely hindered by New York City’s cabaret license law. The cabaret license is a type of permit that establishments need to get if they want to hold dances. It was passed during the 1920s for opaque reasons. Critics of the cabaret license like to link it with the racism of the time (i.e. preventing mixed race dancing) and Prohibition but I have my personal doubts about this because New York City was never really into Prohibition enforcement, something that the Drys were well aware of.

    Whatever the reason the Cabaret license passed, it still exists today. Applying for it is apparently a very complicated, long, and expensive process. This means that few places bother. The partner dance community would like the law repealed because it will create more places where dances can occur and therefore lower the price needed to rent a space. Since most people don’t partner dance, there isn’t a lot of movement for it politically though.Report

  5. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Wo: There are so many fatal flaws with the map. Switzerland is obviously the center where all the twenty-four canton nations emirate from in a circle. There is no reason why the Swiss would give up their prided independence and neutrality without a fight though, especially after the First World War. The same goes with every other country, especially the ones that were the big winners after the First World War and just became nation-states or gained territory.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to LeeEsq says:

      It’s a map that only an incompetent occupying power could love.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Will Truman says:

        incompetent occupying power

        Hmmn… that’s how our County voting map is laid out.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Will Truman says:

        It’s more like a link of incompetent technocrats that are skeptical of the nation-state, patriotism, and national identity. Like the people who gave us the EU but unrealistic and bad at their jobs.Report

        • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to LeeEsq says:

          Reminds me of a point Edmund Burke tried to make in his Reflections on the Revolution in France. At one point (I forget the page number) he discusses a plan that would have divided up France into roughly geographically equal (in terms of area and shape) territories, and he warned that doing so would disregard and run roughshod over important and established local cultures and ways of doing things.Report

          • You didn’t memorize the page numbers?Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

            That wasn’t a scheme, that’s something that actually happened and it was one of the most successful and enduring legacies of the French Revolution. What Burke is referring to was the transformation of France’s traditional provinces into departments, cantons, and communes. The new system of administration localities worked so well that all subsequent French political regimes kept them. Not only that but many European and Latin American countries imitated the French system rather slavishly.Report

            • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to LeeEsq says:

              I’ll grant that it was enduring. I’m not sure about successful, but I don’t know enough to say whether it was successful or not. Even if it was successful, that doesn’t make it not a scheme.Report

              • Sorry. That was a pretty snarky comment from me. Truth be told, I didn’t realize the plan lasted as long as it did. So good point.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

                Mike Duncan in the revolutions podcast talked about how fubar the legal, tax, and administrative systems were in pre-revolutionary France. Between the overlapping secular and eccesiastical authorities, and plenty of cruft leftover from medieval periods carried through the two long Louis reigns, it was almost the case that no two French men were under the same set of laws.

                I think the only Revolutionary thru Napoleonic reforms that didn’t really stick was when they tried to mess with time and the calendar.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kolohe says:

                The French Revolution is popularly seen as a failure because it didn’t result in a stable republic that endured to this day or for a decent amount of time. It did have a lot of success in rationalizing the French government and getting rid of centuries of administrative gunk.


              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to LeeEsq says:

                So yer sayin’ sometimes “burn it all down” is a valid approach to “rationalizing government and getting rid of administrative gunk?”

                Well that’s a category scrambler.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Marchmaine says:

                The problem is they went well beyond breaking a few eggs to make an omlette – they kept on breaking eggs and throwing the omlettes in the trash can for 25 years. (And then at the end of all that, they brought back the chef that gave everyone indigestion in the first place)

                In the parlance of our time, there was violence on many sides; many sides to blame for burning it all down.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

                From what I understand, Thomas Paine was over there for some of it.

                Which, technically, means that Libertarians were responsible for everything that happened.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

                Thomas Paine had some porto-socialist ideas on welfare measures.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Marchmaine says:

                The French nobility were being obstinate and insisting that their privileges continue, Louis XVI attempted to manage the best he could but found things above his abilities, and the French Third Estate were hungry for change. When you add the fact that a French constitutional monarchy or French Republic with a fair franchise posed a threat to other Ancien Regimes in the way that the American Revolution did not because it was more immediate and might give their subjects ideas, your asking for chaos.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to LeeEsq says:

                One of the things Duncan mentions is that it’s a bit of a myth that the other great powers of Europe were concerned with contagion or domino effect from Revolutionary France. Rather, they all went to war with Revolutionary France because Revolutionary France went to war with Europe first – and surprising to everyone (especially in hindsight) won some early battles decisively.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kolohe says:

                Revolutionary France had an ambitious and aggressive foreign policy.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Vieanna is in the center. The justification is that in order to end war, it will eventually be understood that “middle Europe” needs to become a nation. The artificial lines are intended to eliminate nationality. (I can see the point in theory, though leaving Great Britain, Russia, Scandinavia, and much of Greece and Italy on the outside, European war is not going to be ended.)

      But then it recognizes four internal states: Romans (mainly France), Germans, Slavs and Magyars, so its not entirely disruptive.

      The oddest thing to me was the creation of a Hebrew Empire, that to my eye looks wider than Israel today. Interesting European project.

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to PD Shaw says:

        It’s an intriguing scheme. One thing that I found interesting is that one of the proposed flags had an image of Christ in the center. The creator seemed to have desired Christianity, and I’m guessing Catholic Christisnity in particular, to serve as a unification element.Report

  6. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Mid-Atlantic: Anyone else watching Irma? The forecasters keep shifting their track farther south and west. I’m thinking straight in over the Bahamas, then hits Miami as a category 3. We all get to find out how good Kimmi’s predictions about South Florida are.Report