Morning Ed: Politics {2017.09.07.Th}

Will Truman

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

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280 Responses

  1. fillyjonk says:

    [Po5]: Generation X: “Maybe we don’t WANT to save your crummy world!” (Honestly, if I read ONE more article about how I’m supposed to sacrifice for either the good of the decaying Boomers or the rising Millennials…..well, gag me with a spoon, as we used to say)Report

    • Kim in reply to fillyjonk says:

      Do you realize we just tried out “Plan B” for evacuating Miami?
      The one that was designed for a low shitstorm (yes, literal, sewers are below ground level), not a Freaking Hurricane?Report

  2. Kolohe says:

    Is this something that comes from someone who has a good management style and is a good executive?

    Isn’t being a decent judge of people a necessary condition?

    And what’s the deal with this, the new org that Clinton is CEO of? Lots of press when it launched a few months ago, but still now just a little more than a landing page.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

      But to be fair, Clinton can write about political machinations in a fantasy epic faster than George RR Martin can.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

      The Verrit thing is weird. Deeply weird. The verification code thing? That’s like the Juicero for reality-based factual reporting. Our report is true and we can prove it. Why, look at our database!

      I can easily understand looking at Vox and thinking “I can top that…” but Verrit is weird.

      Maybe it’s nothing more than a money laundering front and I can feel better.Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to Jaybird says:

        I’m still completely uncertain of what Verrit is even claiming to be or why it’s supposed to be interesting.

        Is this like that bank before the crisis that was selling credit default swaps against its own debt?

        “What you’re saying isn’t true.”

        “Sure it is. Look. We put a number next to it.”Report

      • j r in reply to Jaybird says:

        My personal belief is that things like the rightwing news echo chamber or the squishy center-left Voxosphere are just dress rehearsals for a coming reality where we can literally be ensconced in a virtual bubble. As in, you’re a Hillary supporter and you wake up on November 9th and she has won the election. There’s a digital filter over everything you see. Every news report has her as the winner. Whenever the president speaks, you see HRC. The government passes all the laws you want it to pass and everyone you interact with says cheery Hillary-friendly things. You never have to confront the reality of a President Trump and you live out your life blissfully ignorant of the idea that there could be any other world.

        Verrit looks like a step down that path.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to j r says:

          That’s…not what Verrit is. Verrit, if anything, would be moving things in the opposite direction, towards a consensual reality based in facts…if it worked at all, which it won’t.

          Verrit is a completely stupid idea that verifies quotes. The theory is, whenever you see a Verrit quote, you can click over to Verrit and type in the number, and confirm it. That’s it. That’s what Verrit does. It also will generate a image with the quote, although presumably you can just append the ‘quote number’ (Or whatever their fancy term for it is.) anytime you replicate the quote.

          The problem is, of course, that the people who would bother to confirm quotes already have a perfectly good way of doing that (Just googling the entire quote) and the real thing that needs solving is people who pass quotes (And other facts) in memes around _without_ confirming them.

          It sorta reminds me of those idiotic ‘Verified by Verisign’ and whatever SSL image badges that SSL signers used to give out for people to put in their secure pages. Now, in addition to the actual padlock in the address bar, you can put a stupid graphic on your page that anyone can fake, and people can click on and go to Verisign or whatever fake page someone else set up! Surely that will help…it’s not like people who understand SSL certs already can look at the cert to see who you are, and people who do not understand SSL will be fooled by anything. Oh, wait, no.

          And _of course_ people started immediately faking Verrit images and codes. Obviously, the codes do not work if you try to confirm them at their site, but, again, people do not actually do that!Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to j r says:

          Now that is a good story idea!Report

        • Stillwater in reply to j r says:

          Orwell FTW!Report

    • DavidTC in reply to Kolohe says:

      Is this something that comes from someone who has a good management style and is a good executive?

      While Verrit is somewhat goofy and pointless, I feel this level of criticism of Hillary for signing up for it is a bit unwarranted.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to DavidTC says:

        Something like 90% of criticism of Clinton is basically unwarranted. There’s plenty enough actual stuff to criticize, but instead it’s endless BUT HER EMAILS and HER TONE and the like.

        And I mean “all the way back to the beginning”.

        She’s on what…20 or so completely manufactured scandals?

        And every time, the same people — otherwise sane people — jump on the new one like THIS TIME IT’S GONNA BE TRUE GUYS. Even the people supposedly on her side.

        It’s weird as hell — it’s like some real-life TV tease, where gosh darn it, the audience is tired of “Will they or won’t they” and demands resolution before the series ends.Report

        • Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

          Maribou doesn’t like the truth.
          *yawn* Can’t say that I approve either.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to Morat20 says:

          Something like 90% of criticism of Clinton is basically unwarranted. There’s plenty enough actual stuff to criticize, but instead it’s endless BUT HER EMAILS and HER TONE and the like.

          I just find the comment ‘Is this something that comes from someone who has a good management style and is a good executive?’ completely inane.

          Verrit is a damn fact checking site with a gimmick. That’s it. That is all it is. It will accomplish practically nothing.

          But there’s nothing _wrong_ with it.(1) And Clinton’s not running around claiming it will save the world, or that it is all we need, or that it’s the greatest thing ever.

          She just said ‘Hey, look at this new thing I signed up for. Here’s a quote from me that’s on it.’.

          And Kohole apparently thinks, what? That this is _obviously_ disqualifying for leadership? It’s a damn gimmick site that will ‘verify quotes’!

          Look, I think Verrit is really dumb, because the problems it thinks it is solving are not problems at all, and in fact I’ve come to the position that a lot of people do not _want_ to restrict themselves to spreading ‘true’ fact, or are even operating in a world where political facts can be true or false. And Verrit isn’t even a _good_ fact checking because it’s explicitly left wing instead of non-partisan like other sites claim to be!

          But deciding that someone is does not have a good ‘management style’ from that? What is that even supposed to _mean_?

          Good managers don’t sometimes ‘support’ impractical ideas, and by ‘support’ I mean ‘say something nice about them.’?!

          ‘Sorry, we’re going to have to pass you over for that promotion, you apparently made a Facebook post linking to a campaign to save Dollhouse, something that you had to know was completely pointless.’

          ‘Sorry, we’re going to have to pass you over for that promotion, you said your favorite song was Imagine by John Lennon, and that’s all utopian nonsense that no good leader would ever support.’

          As I’ve said before, the sheer amount of irrational Clinton dislike that Republicans have managed to inject into society is almost astonishing. One wonders where we would be if that had been directed at disliking poverty.

          1) It is perhaps worth reminding people we are still living in a universe where the current president associates with a lot of people and organizations that have openly supported white nationalism. I know it is easy to forget that’s our real reality, but there are indeed websites that politicians should stay the hell away from…and do not.

          Verrit…is not one of those. Verrit has never done anything even slightly objectionable in any sense. The guy who made it, Peter Daou, while an _extremely_ weird person with an odd history, has never done anything objectionable either.Report

          • Kim in reply to DavidTC says:

            … I’m sorry, did no one tell you the scheme?
            I’m so sorry to tell you, but the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy is Dead. In the Grave.
            Slick Willie spoke at his funeral.Report

          • Kolohe in reply to DavidTC says:

            Over the past few months, she tweets modestly, about 2-3 tweets a week on average (mostly coming in bursts of all in one day)

            She went out of her way to promote this stupid verrit thing. (getting to that before a tweet about DACA)

            That indicates to me what sort of priority matrix she uses (even putting aside that half her tweets are self promoting retweets of other people talking about her – which is fine; she’s got a book to sell after all.).Report

  3. pillsy says:

    Two points about [Po2].

    First, the link to the Chris Beck piece actually goes to something about Joel Osteen.

    Second, I’m less worried about Antifa and whether their violence is justified than I am about how many people on the (broad) left think it’s an important issue, and how many are coming down on the side of Antifa. And pace a lot of the “discourse” about the matter, I don’t think the intra-left debate over splits liberals cleanly from leftists. In my own circles, I’ve seen an unusual and unnerving number of previously staid #ImWithHer types get enthusiastic about the prospect of street fights with Nazis, and TBQH, as one of those sorts myself, I find the idea weirdly tempting where it might once have seemed not only wrong, but completely ludicrous.

    I’ve speculated a fair amount how the apparent uptick in American political violence may just be a regression to the mean after some decades of unusual quiescence. I still think that may well be the case, but the mean sucked pretty bad.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

      I have a short post about this, but I am swamped with work for the moment.

      In short, when it comes to violence, my concern is one of normalizing it, coupled to really bad target identification.Report

      • pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        In short, when it comes to violence, my concern is one of normalizing it, coupled to really bad target identification.

        Quite. What worries me so much is that what once were slam dunk arguments like those appear less and less applicable to more and more people. Some of that is inevitable–some folks in any crowd will have more rage than sense–but all of those arguments are rooted in contingent facts about the world[1] that a lot of folks who are left-of-center are starting to doubt apply.

        I think they're wrong about the state of the world, but I get it. Because of that, well-reasoned pieces like the one from Current Affairs aren’t going to persuade them.

        [1] For instance, if political street violence is already normalized, worries about normalizing it are much less salient.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:


          Are you suggesting that political violence is already normalized, or close enough to it, that it’s a lost cause to be concerned about stemming it?Report

          • That’s the thing. A society where political violence had been truly normalized would look quite different than this. Much worse.

            This I was the sort of thing where a bloodied sprite from the future enters and says “buddy you have no idea.”Report

            • fillyjonk in reply to Will Truman says:

              on bad days, I suspect there have been no time-travelers to warn us because the human race destroyed itself before viable time travel became possible 🙁Report

            • j r in reply to Will Truman says:

              I put this firmly in the camp of the things are getting better all the time, but our selective media attention makes it difficult to notice.

              Here is what I observe There is a long list of things that people choose to worry or freak out about: literal Nazis getting close to the levers of power, street violence from the leftist activists, the Ferguson Effect and out of control street crime, an epidemic of hate crimes against ethnic minorites and Muslims, Islamists turning whole areas of Western countries into Sharia administered “no go zones,” the list goes on.

              And when you talk to people about which of these is a real concern, their responses map almost perfectly to the things that their prior political beliefs dictate that they should be worrying about. So, what are the chances that political priors can grant that level of predictive power? Not very high, in my opinion.

              The truth is that all of these things have some basis in reality, but mostly represent an overblown version of a much more mundane reality.Report

          • pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            That’s a nightmare scenario I occasionally scare myself silly with: we’re sitting in a rapidly moving handbasket, and a gate that says “Abandon all hope…” just whizzed by.

            More realistically, though, it’s become somewhat more normalized, while still being rejected by the overwhelming majority of the country, and people are losing all perspective in the face of a new and unfamiliar threat.[1] Alongside that, the Nazis have become somewhat more prominent and mainstream, where before they were absolutely marginalized.

            Finally, a lot of people, mostly but not entirely on the left, have (somewhat more reasonably, IMO) lost all faith in the ability of law enforcement to stem a tide of racist violence.

            People see new, unfamiliar dangers, and believe the state is either unable or unwilling to do anything about it. This is not a recipe for making good decisions.

            [1] C.f., 9/11, War on Drugs, online pedophiles, ad nauseam.Report

            • Kim in reply to pillsy says:

              The old dangers are enough, I think.
              What do you say to opening a Commonwealth State to international traffic simply to sate The Powers that Be’s need for pedophilia?

              [note: Maribou, I never did see the reason you banned me last week. Didn’t realize till you said something, so I’m heretofore apologizing for ignorance, hopefully before the bannhammer.]Report

        • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

          One of the dynamics that makes me wonder is how the whole University of Missouri thing will continue to play out.

          We’ve seen no shortage of stories talking about how enrollment is down and we’ve seen no shortage of explainers explaining how enrollment being down is not indicative of anything but if the leadership/management of the (other) U of M thinks that the protests were the cause (or the lion’s share of the cause) of the current crisis, then that will have an effect upon how stuff will be handled in the future.

          Do the leadership/management of *OTHER* colleges look at Mizzou and think “well, you have to understand, there are a lot of structural factors going on here…” or do they think “we need to avoid even the appearance of some crap like the Click fiasco”?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

          Antifa-style violence strikes me as strangely dated in the internet age.

          Like it’s something that was designed for a world with cameras the size of your torso that used film that took hours to develop and most certainly not for a world where everybody has cameras the size of a deck of cards that can send video instantaneously.Report

          • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

            I disagree. I think the contemporary upswing in Antifa-style violence (and sympathy for same) is, on the contrary, a reaction to such a world.

            Because people, especially a lot of people who’ve become more radicalized and Antifa-curious, live in a world where those tiny little cameras show a lot of people getting away with racist violence, and doing s with impunity. People who should be the bulwark we can rely on to be the first line of defense against racist violence.

            People who are agents of the state.

            Also, watching Richard Spenser get punched on YouTube is always good for a smile.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

              It might be a reaction, but it’s a strangely regressive one.

              As is the nature of reaction, I suppose.Report

            • dragonfrog in reply to pillsy says:

              I don’t like Richard Spencer any, but watching anyone get punched ruins most of my day. I saw a video of Spencer getting punched and had gross shaky appetite-ruining stale adrenaline for hours. Once was enough thanks.Report

              • Maribou in reply to dragonfrog says:

                @dragonfrog Yeah, I feel the same way – there are situations in which I would punch someone but hateful speech (no matter how abhorrent, and Spencer’s certainly is that) is not one of them. Like you, it literally makes me sick. Having grown up in a violent and threat-based environment, the last thing I want is for my friends to start embracing that attitude. And yet, the punch-cheering is, as @pillsy says, more common than I would have expected among my generally not-radicalized friends. They’re not at the “and if you don’t punch Nazis TOO” stage, but they’re getting pretty close to the “if you don’t cheer nazi-punching too” stage.

                Contrary to what some might expect, my most explicitly intersectional friends are mostly NOT the ones talking in this way. Those folks are mostly young and mostly not white, and they are busy dealing with actual problems of racism, etc., in their own lives. They might be in favor of having been violent in Charlottesville, for example, but only if they believe that the violent left was mostly protecting people from violence initiated by the other side. They might be learning how to shoot a gun, for example, but only because they don’t feel safe based on the level of epithets they get hurled against them when they’re just going about their daily lives (at the gas station, walking down the street, etc.). I worry about them, but I don’t so much worry that they’ll be contributing to problems as caught up in them.

                It’s the folks like me that are relatively comfortable and secure in their day to day lives, and older, that seem to be embracing it…. far from a majority – just a lot more than I would’ve thought. Maybe because they want to do something and they don’t believe in the other ways of doing something any more? I dunno but it worries me a lot.

                Meanwhile a significant number of my same-age friends on the right are insisting that antifa is much worse / more of a threat than Neo-nazis, that everyone who showed up to counterprotest was antifa, and that the left is incredibly dangerous to the point where you can see why reasonable people might march *with* Nazis instead of ignoring them and shunning them. Which… completely boggles me. And isn’t what they would’ve been saying five years ago.

                it’s pretty overwhelming, both ways, and since it isn’t generally 20 year olds who start wars, the fact that I’m hearing it more from people I know who are my age and older is particularly stressful. Of course they are FAR from a majority, on either side, and I try to bear that in mind. Still I miss the days when almost no one I knew was sympathetic to using violence against speech, and the few who were in theory sympathetic to it were in reality the gentlest and most fragile people I knew, incapable of hurting a lizard, much less another human being no matter how much they disliked them.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

                @dragonfrog Maybe I feel a bit differently in that I’m fine watching MMA and wrestling? But real life punching, particularly unbalanced punching, is exhausting and disgusting.Report

              • trumwill in reply to Maribou says:

                My early take was “I can’t approve of a guy punching a Nazi, but at any given moment there are a lot of other things going on that I disapprove of a lot more than that.”

                I’ve since decided that this is too dismissive. Not so much because I really cringe at the thought of an asshole getting hit, but because there really are a lot of bad places this can go and not many good ones.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Maribou says:

                @maribou , I didn’t grow up in such an environment, but, well, I’ve gotten my ass kicked much worse than Spencer did for talking a much less hateful sort of shit. So my first reaction (and sometimes my reaction still) is that what happened to him is something that happens to hundreds of guys in bar parking lots every Friday night, and is really a silly thing to get too worried about. Laugh away if you like, and don’t if you don’t.

                I’ve come to worry a lot more because people have decided that punching Spencer and his ilk is a moral necessity. Partly because I think they’re wrong in a lot of important and potentially dangerous ways, but partly because, though I think they’re wrong, I still get it.Report

              • Maribou in reply to pillsy says:

                @pillsy Oh, yeah, I’m not really worried that it happened to Spencer insofar as I’ve experienced plenty worse and so have plenty of other people I like a lot better than I like him. I’m worried somewhere that I’m pretty sure is very close to why you are, that people think one OUGHT to be pleased about it, or else one is somehow morally deficient. Regardless of one’s reasons for not being pleased. I’ve seen people say (in social media, not to my face – but real people who have really been my friends for years) that being raised by a physically abusive parent is not enough reason to not cheer on Nazi-punchers, that I of all people ought to appreciate and applaud and share video of such people – and again, these are people who in general are relatively *moderate*. Other people are willing to make an exception for me (“of course!”) but still, get out of the way, there’s nazis that need punchin’.

                If I was standing in front of Spencer I probably would’ve been angry enough to punch the guy. Maybe I would have punched the guy! But if I did, I would have regretted it and figured assault charges were a necessary check on my behavior, not a sign that the state is white supremacist. (I actually think most Western states ARE white supremacist, and I still wouldn’t have read things that way.)

                It’s a short step from one-ought-to-be-pleased-about-it to one-ought-to-do-it. And enough middle-aged people thinking one-ought-to-do-it can, IMO, lead to war.

                tl;dr I’m pretty sure we’re roughly in agreement.Report

              • dragonfrog in reply to Maribou says:

                Contrary to what some might expect, my most explicitly intersectional friends are mostly NOT the ones talking in this way. Those folks are mostly young and mostly not white, and they are busy dealing with actual problems of racism, etc., in their own lives.

                Gosh, it’s almost like intersectional social justice politics might actually be a reasoned theoretical framework with practical application, not just a caricature of academese jargon…

                Meanwhile a significant number of my same-age friends on the right are insisting (…) that everyone who showed up to counterprotest was antifa,

                A semantic confusion not helped by the fact that some people use “antifa” to mean “anti fascist and choosing black bloc tactics, specifically of physical violence against persons, not merely property crimes” while others use “antifa” to mean “anti fascist to the extent of taking any concrete action at all, such as writing letters to their elected representatives, or marching in staid protests with their nurses’ union local.”

                I’m fine in theory with consensual combat like boxing and MMA and whatnot. Folks should enjoy what they enjoy. But if I walk into a pub for lunch and that’s what’s on the TV screens, I do a quick assessment of whether I’d be in-bounds to ask them to change the channel, or if there are others currently watching the fight and I’m better off just going somewhere else to eat.Report

              • pillsy in reply to dragonfrog says:

                It’s interesting how different people’s experiences of the, er, intersectionalists in their sphere is. The ones in mine tend to be pretty big on being pro-Antifa, but pace @leeesq , are very aware of anti-semitism and routinely say insightful things about it.Report

            • DavidTC in reply to pillsy says:

              I disagree. I think the contemporary upswing in Antifa-style violence (and sympathy for same) is, on the contrary, a reaction to such a world.

              Because people, especially a lot of people who’ve become more radicalized and Antifa-curious, live in a world where those tiny little cameras show a lot of people getting away with racist violence, and doing s with impunity. People who should be the bulwark we can rely on to be the first line of defense against racist violence.

              People who are agents of the state.

              Yes and no. That might be why more people are joining now. They see the violence of the police against minorities and how the police and legal system have no problem at all with much more serious lawbreaking by ‘the right sort of people’. (Hey, remember when all those people wandering around the Bundy Ranch pointing weapons at Federal agents were going to go to jail?)

              The origin of antifa was police violence…but not racist violence as much ‘violence against protesters’, way back in the 90s. Before cameras. Protesters started showing up as antifa people because they knew protesters were being physically and legally attacked by the police, because it literally had happened to them.

              The simple fact is that antifa, in America at least, exists almost entirely because police acted in _extremely_ fascist ways towards the left in the past. Towards them, or at least towards people they are aware of. They aren’t joking, they didn’t just make up their name.

              People know antifa sorta originated in a bunch of WTO protests, and wonder why antifa thinks the WTO is fascist (I mean, sometimes I wonder how much of a good idea it is, but _fascist_?)…but antifa doesn’t think the WTO is fascist. They think the _response to protesters_ (And, they eventually decided, the entire government structure) was fascist.

              They…aren’t that wrong. At least not about the police.

              Granted, this doesn’t excuse a bunch of their current activities, which have in fact made things much worse. OTOH, protesters were always going to be attacked until they snapped, that is the _entire purpose_ of the police at any left protest. Antifa just come pre-snapped. (And for some reason they don’t understand that is playing right into the police’s hands.)Report

              • pillsy in reply to DavidTC says:

                Right, Antifa has roots in the Black Bloc and street-fights between racists and anti-racists in various communities and subcultures both in the US and Europe.

                But it’s been around for ages, and is getting a lot of support and sympathy from people who are way less radical, and even if that support is entirely notional or rhetorical, I think it’s interesting and rather concerning that we’re seeing an upswing now.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to pillsy says:

                The worst elements of what’s called “antifa” – a term with too broad a scope to be descriptively useful – are anarchistic radicals who embody a sentiment with long roots in American society. Power concepts are at the core of Americanism, seems to me.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to DavidTC says:

                “The simple fact is that antifa, in America at least, exists almost entirely because police acted in _extremely_ fascist ways towards the left in the past”

                This may have been consistently more true in the 60s, not so much today.

                The left held a highly authoritarian position for the last 8 years. The antifa are being aggressively offensive as a faction, not defensive.
                There are some indications that in cities where the police factions lean heavily leftist that antifa can act more aggressively without recourse from the police faction.

                My only point being that it is more complicated than how you are framing it.Report

          • j r in reply to Jaybird says:

            Pretty sure that the Antifa stuff is largely just an evolution of Black Bloc tactics that were originally developed to let left-anarchists protest various forms of capitalist centrism.

            It started as a tactic with a particular purpose, allowing individuals to avoid police identification by being indistinguishable in a large crowd and it still helps in that purpose, but surely some folks are just attracted to the aesthetic.Report

            • pillsy in reply to j r says:

              The interesting thing isn’t, I think, it’s existence, but increasing sympathy towards if from the broader left, often coming from people who really loathed the Black Bloc.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

                People enjoying some vicarious Nazi-punching?Report

              • pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Oh, that contributes, but I don’t think that’s the main thing driving it.

                It boils down to fear, and a sense of being under siege. It’s not so different from a lot of what drives similar sentiments on the right.

                I don’t mean this in a BSDI sense, so much as the sense that no matter which team you’re on, you’re still a human under that jersey, and you’re still prone to doing all the same old stupid human shit.Report

            • Troublesome Frog in reply to j r says:

              “Attracted to the aesthetic” seems like it has a ton of explanatory power. Getting poetic about punching Nazis feels like the gangsta rap of the activist left.Report

            • j r in reply to j r says:

              @pillsy and @troublesome-frog

              There is a reason that I used the term fan fiction below. The number of people willing to actually put on the balaclava and do battle with the riot police on a regular basis is and will continue to be vanishingly small. A somewhat larger number of people sitting in coffee shops in Bushwick and doing freelance assignments for Jacobin will say sympathetic things about these tactics because that’s how you get re-Tweets, but let’s not pretend that those folks are in any danger of being legitimately radicalized.

              Every time I am tempted to worry about a future of increased political street fighting, I do Google image searches of the people writing these dumb articles. And that reassures me that it simply ain’t gonna happen.Report

              • pillsy in reply to j r says:

                I’m not totally sanguine about this, any more than I’m totally sanguine about the fact that most of the far-right militia types are just doing Wolverine Cosplay with actual AR-15s. The overwhelming majority is harmless, but it doesn’t take a lot of not-so-harmless folks to cause real damage and draw escalating responses from both private citizens on the right and law enforcement.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                Contradictions are being heightened.

                Hell, we saw this just last week? Two weeks ago? During the “can we get this person to condemn Nazis without appending ‘and Antifa too!'” games being played?Report

              • Kim in reply to j r says:

                You’ve not heard of flash mobs?
                Please investigate.Report

            • Stillwater in reply to j r says:

              but surely some folks are just attracted to the aesthetic.

              And the violence.

              Good comment. I agree.Report

      • notme in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Come on Oscar, all alleged Nazis should be punched vigorously until they prove themselves innocent.Report

        • George Turner in reply to notme says:

          No proof is possible. In Berkeley the antifa mobs were hunting a Japanese guy and a Samoan, convinced they were white supremacist Nazis. Now of course there’s a possible connection because the Nazi Germany was allied with Imperial Japan, so maybe Japanese Nazis in California would be a real thing – if the Wehrmacht and Imperial Japanese Navy were still around.

          But instead of trying to beat them up, wouldn’t it make more sense to just round up all the Japanese in California and put them in camps? That would go a long way toward reducing the threat of resurgent white nationalism.Report

          • Maribou in reply to George Turner says:

            @george-turner Please stop joking about stuff like this. I get that it’s a joke and I get why you think it’s funny but I’ve also told you a lot of times that joking about rounding up people of color, etc., is off limits, whether you can see that pattern and the problem or not. Do it again and I will suspend you.Report

            • George Turner in reply to Maribou says:

              I’m pointing out the absurdity of the Berkeley situation. They really did beat up a Japanese guy (he had to go to the hospital) and a Samoan, convinced they were white supremacists. A few months prior the Samoan had been beating up Trump supporters because he thought they were racists. That’s how right-wing and racist he is.

              This pattern has been repeated, with lily white antifa people assaulting black and Hispanic conservatives and even BLM protesters, to fight “white supremacy”. The irony is lost on them. They have no self-understanding and are incapable of self reflection.

              Thus, it’s easy to imagine a situation where a whole bunch of liberal white folks target a whole bunch of ethnic Trump supporters “to fight racism”. In fact, that’s been happening. Look at the embattled liberal Jewish professor at Evergreen college. White students are demanding he be fired to fight white supremacy, and are indeed arguing that he is an example of how white supremacy functions.Report

              • Maribou in reply to George Turner says:

                @george-turner As I said above, I actually do understand it and I understand why you chose to use it. Believe it or not, one of the reasons I have this moderating job is because my reading comprehension is quite good.

                This doesn’t keep me from saying you need to stop. I need you to stop with the pattern that takes it to the furthest logical conclusion in order to highlight said absurdities, and thus ends up speaking flippantly about real things that actually did happen to real people, or making grossly absurd unpleasant claims, in order to score your rhetorical points. People of color, trans people, etc., are not your rhetorical tools and you need to stop using them that way.

                The problem with the comment I addressed was, specifically, this sentence: “But instead of trying to beat them up, wouldn’t it make more sense to just round up all the Japanese in California and put them in camps? That would go a long way toward reducing the threat of resurgent white nationalism.” To be clear, the exaggeration lies in how you are speaking, not what you are speaking about. (I am aware that FDR did exactly that and claimed it was necessary because WW2.)

                The rest of the comment was fine.

                You are perfectly capable of expressing yourself without these absurdist exaggerations (you just did in your followup comment!), and the pattern is not okay. Again, if you keep following that pattern, I will suspend you. And I won’t keep explaining it either.Report

              • notme in reply to George Turner says:


                Just accept that the new regeime doesn’t have much tolerance for folks on the right making absurd examples even if they are a great to make a point sometimes.Report

              • Maribou in reply to notme says:

                @notme I (aka the new regime) don’t have tolerance for people of any political stripe using absurd examples that involve Nazis being better than some other group of people, or people of color being used to make rhetorical points over and over again. I don’t care what their political persuasion is. Nor do I care if I fundamentally agree with what they’re saying or not. (The Berkeley situation IS absurd.)

                I also have limited tolerance for you notme-splaining everything I tell people in this new role, and you’re reaching the end of it. More leeway when complaining about the moderator and not other people doesn’t mean you can keep playing agent provocateur indefinitely.Report

      • fillyjonk in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        +1. It’s kinda like what I said a few days ago about burning books.

        Once we’re done punching the Nazis, then everyone else gets a chance at punching people in the groups they don’t like. And it winds up like that scene in “The Quiet Man,” only, not funny.

        Also normalizing violence means violent people become the norm.Report

        • pillsy in reply to fillyjonk says:

          I suspect many of the people who are newly receptive to Antifa violence believe we’re already at the “everybody gets a chance at punching people in the groups they don’t like” stage, or at least really damn close to it.Report

          • Will Truman in reply to pillsy says:

            Perspective is rarely the young person’s strong suit.Report

            • pillsy in reply to Will Truman says:

              I don’t know about your circles, but in mine it’s hardly just young people. It’s folks your and my age[1], or even older. The old and the not-so-young are also very good at losing perspective in response to shocking changes.

              It’s not people in their 20s who swept Trump into office, or who succumb to Fox Geezer Syndrome.

              [1] IIRC the sun is setting on your thirties as well.

              [2] oh god i’m linking to rod dreher what’s wrong with me?Report

              • Will Truman in reply to pillsy says:

                More’s the pity. I guess I shouldn’t cut them that slack.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Will Truman says:

                I dunno about cutting them slack, but I think it’s worth at least trying to understand where they’re coming from. Especially if you think the trend towards supporting Antifa is a real problem, instead of one of those occasional kerfuffles that roils the Extremely Online despite being a minor sideshow.[1]

                [1] This is also an entirely plausible position that I find myself holding about a third of the time.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to pillsy says:

                I’m certainly a believer in understanding the perspective. And I think I do well enough to Turing it.

                But it is what it is and my view of it is not flattering.

                I don’t consider it tl be a huge problem yet. It only becomes one if the broader left starts embracing – or excusing – it more than it has. Report

              • pillsy in reply to Will Truman says:

                Fair enough. I haven’t seen a lot that makes me think the perspective is that well understood, including (for instance) the linked articles.

                That may well be that the perspective is, in a sense, wronger than many of Antifa’s critics understand.Report

              • fillyjonk in reply to pillsy says:

                I’m 48 and I’ve responded with variants of “I’m way too old for this s***” to news stories for at least the past three years.

                I dunno, but if it just becomes a fistfight in the public square, maybe I buy a cabin on the side of a mountain, raise goats, and try to live like Heidi. I don’t know. I’m not EXACTLY a pacifist but I’m also disgusted by violence and I also know that I wouldn’t be able to hold my own in a brawl, so I figure my place is among the Conscientious Objectors.

                The problem is, there are those who would say that i belong to the Evil Side (however they choose to define it) because of my lack of blood-thirst.Report

              • pillsy in reply to fillyjonk says:

                Yeah, tons of people are going to withdraw more or less completely from politics (and maybe society in general) if it turns into a literal street fight.

                Others who see that happening are going to pick up a brick, or at least cheer on the more vigorous folks who pick up bricks.Report

    • pillsy in reply to pillsy says:

      On a somewhat related note, I’ve heard almost uniformly terrible things about Angela Nagle’s book, Kill All Normies, but while I will doubtless grit my teeth through a lot of it, this bit from a interview that Conor Friedersdorf excerpted[1] makes me think it might be worthwhile:

      And equally, if you were on the Tumblr side, your view of the world, that everything is a kind of white supremacy, that everything is an expression of patriarchy, that Western societies are these incredibly oppressive, bigoted, horrible places––because they were looking at each other, they were reinforcing one another’s view of the world. And you could see it throughout, they were always using examples from the [alt-right] as proof of the very dismal view they had of the world and Western society and where it’s all going.

      One of my persistent frustrations with “discourse” about SJWs/PC culture/whatever is that there isn’t much examination of what’s inspiring it and driving it, or if there is, it’s totally stupid shit like “feminization of culture” or “participation trophies”.

      [1] I don’t, as a rule, listen to podcasts.Report

      • InMD in reply to pillsy says:


        I think the problem is that it isn’t at all clear whats inspiring it (this started pre-Trump so I dont buy that explanation). I’m a pretty vocal critic of the intersectionalist left but I don’t think there’s no merit to anything anyone of that persuasion says. There are some legitimate critiques of our society deep down in there but its buried in all kinds of cultural and class signaling wrapped up in the zeal of a religious convert.

        Their view of the world, full of sinful attitudes and slights and constant oppression isnt anymore recognizable to people than the one espoused by Neo Nazis where race war is not only in progress but some sort of desirable state as long as the right group wins. For most people things just aren’t that apocalyptic and acting as though they are (especially when things like de jure segregation are still in living memory) seems disconnected from reality. Even accounting for our persistent inequities, by any objective measure, it is.

        The more legitimate liberal goals for improving our country are tied to that type of thinking the harder it will be for them to succeed. You may think the alt-right are buffoons but that doesnt mean youre ready to stand with people who think the moral issue of our time is forcing professors to address college students by a pronoun of his or her chosing.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to InMD says:

          I believe Pillsy’s it is that the violence is being inspired by the other side’s violence and by others’ allowing it tl happen. He’s talking about that side if things as much as the policy (though specific policies with a violent component such as law enforcement or immigration enforcement may qualify).

          So I don’t think it’s about the sort of intersectionality you are critical of. Report

          • InMD in reply to Will Truman says:

            I actually think the case for that is even weaker. People into this sort of crap can always point to some past event perpetrated by someone actually or percieved as being on ‘the other side’ to justify their own violence and misconduct.

            Meanwhile the case for worthwhile things like reform of our broken law enforcement and immigration policies fade into the background of shrill arguments over the legitimacy of violence against fellow citizens.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to InMD says:

          At least the *violent* component is ostensibly not about that. Report

        • pillsy in reply to InMD says:

          That lack of clarity is one of the reasons I found Nagle’s point valuable: I think it sheds some light on what is driving it. As @will-truman said elsethread, perspective is not the young person’s strong suit, and a lot of the “intersectionalist left” skew young and very engaged online [1]. As such, they are likely to see a picture of society that’s distorted all to hell by the presence of people who like to make funny jokes about sending Jewish people to the ovens, or outing trans people for some sort of supposed “lulz”.

          In short, they see a world that is inhabited by a lot of viciously cruel, bigoted people. Not a representative one, of course, but to excerpt that interview again:

          Klein: I know a lot of journalists, and I don’t know any who do not find themselves deeply emotionally affected when they’re on the receiving end of one of these mobs … We have emotional hardware from being in a 200-person community. The idea that you turn on a computer and 1,000 people are attacking you, we’re not built for that.

          This can also severely distort people’s view of who is on what side. It’s one thing if that professor is a sort of rude and stubborn and unwilling to do you a small but meaningful courtesy[2], because if you’ve been to college you probably know that such behavior is not that uncommon among faculty. But if the other people who you’ve seen make a big fuss about rejecting your pronouns also talk about how they’d like to kill you and have avatars of anime girls dressed in SS uniforms, you may make a totally wrong but understandable leap about where that professor stands.

          Is this the whole story? No, of course not. But it’s one that doesn’t get nearly enough attention.[3]

          [1] In some cases, because it offers them access to a supportive community they simply can’t find offline.

          [2] Seriously, it may not be the moral issue of our time, but it’s not exactly a heavy lift either.

          [3] Even though an analogous process is routinely listed as contributing to the rise of the alt-right, the election of Trump, et c.Report

          • InMD in reply to pillsy says:

            I can understand how that might happen for the truly wired generation. Maybe the fact that I’m just old enough to remember the world before the internet makes it easier to distinguish between it and reality. Nevertheless I see this as something that requires correction, not capitulation. Just because its understandable doesnt make it right.

            I also think its telling (and no coincidence) that Klein refers to our tribal wiring. That’s also probably a major contributing factor to persistent racism. These ideas and attitudes are, in my view, coming from the same place.Report

            • pillsy in reply to InMD says:

              Like I said, I think it’s mostly understandable but wrong, so I’m all for looking at ways to correct it. I just am not sure what they are.

              Nonetheless, I will be so bold as to say that people who worry about bubbles and “hugboxes” and deride safe spaces are probably going in exactly the wrong direction.Report

              • InMD in reply to pillsy says:

                Well, to the extent the derision is just culture war I agree. Its hard to see criticisms from people with their own echo chambers of escalating insanity on talk radio, cable news, and online as operating in good faith or out of principle.Report

              • pillsy in reply to InMD says:

                It goes beyond that. While those people are in echo chambers (too), they’re in, well, the worst sort of echo chambers. They’re in echo chambers that relentlessly pick up and amplify the worst, stupidest, or scariest things done by members of Team Blue, and you get Fox Geezer Syndrome, as mentioned above.

                Not so different from what happens on SJ Tumblr or Twitter.

                Where really, what a lot of the people on SJ social media, and I suspect a lot of people tuning into Fox and Rush, are looking for a sense of community, and maybe would do well to have a respite from the awfulness.

                Add to this all the social science stuff I’ve seen over the years that says that confronting people with contradictory facts and arguments often makes them more convinced of their rightness, and I start to think that the problem isn’t that the modern (social) media environment creating bubbles, but breaching them.Report

              • InMD in reply to pillsy says:

                I start to think that the problem isn’t that the modern (social) media environment creating bubbles, but breaching them.

                That is a disturbing thought indeed.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to InMD says:


          As a soon to be 37 year old, I can also roll my eyes at the passions of the intersectional left at times. They certainly don’t know how to include Jewish people in the cosmology.*

          Yet, I don’t think you can analyze politics or economics in the United States, especially in the 2016 election, without looking at how deep race is an issue in the United States. Trump ran on and received a freak victory on the most race baiting campaign for the Presidency since George Wallace. It seems clear to me that he is a man of deep racist hatreds (and there are decades worth of statements and actions to prove it). In many ways, his entire Presidency seems to be an attempt to get revenge on Barack Obama for burning him at the White House Correspondents Dinner and doing so with grace. He might not be able to repeal Obamacare but he sure can sabotage it.

          I don’t think anyone can reasonably doubt that a extreme white nationalism has been emboldened by the Trump Presidency. Even if the overwhelming majority of Americans don’t believe in it, there are still lots of white Americans who have a kind of vague anxiety about the idea of a United States that is not a white-majority and the GOP has put this in their playbook for decades. Trump is the logical conclusion of years of dog whistling on racism.

          Look at how upset some members of our own community have gotten when we discuss taking down Confederate monuments and calling it “manufactured.” Or how defensive people can get when you even raise the slightest suggestion that law enforcement might unfairly target people of color. The Just World thesis seems so embedded in the hearts of many people (especially white Americans) in this case, that anything that shatters that view is to be attacked by all means necessary.

          Now many of these people are far from being Richard Spencer or Stephen Miller but they can be useful tools because how dare you say that law enforcement unfairly targets people based on their skin color.

          So I get why the intersectionalist left can be extremely frustrated by this even if I don’t fully agree with them.

          Plus there is that strange thing that is “anti-elite”politics on the Right. Now elite here doesn’t mean people who are in the upper echelons of Corporate America or Political America. It generally seems to mean upper-middle class professionals whose taste run urban and (sometimes) quasi-Bohemian, if events like the Moth and shows like Portlandia count as quasi-Bohemian. We have our own occasional posters here who seem to be filled with insecurity about the tastes of upper-middle class liberals. They also seem filled with rage that many white upper-middle class liberals have sympathy for Black Lives Matter like it is a variant of being a race traitor to do so.

          During the summer there was an essay by Garrison Kellior theorizing that Trump yearned for but never received the respect of sophisticated Jewish Manhattanites but he could also never quite understand liberal Jewish Manhattanites. He never understood their interests in art, modern/minimalist home decoration, and civil rights. Garrison Kellior said something along the lines of “In Queens, Blacks were seen as a threat to property values.”

          So I wonder how much of this is still true in the view of Trump voters. Maybe they are not the full Richard Spencer but they can’t understand why an upper-middle class white person would support Black Lives Matter either and do see it as an act of treachery. Along with listening to boring NPR and thinking it is good to know about Herman Miller furniture.

          *While many Jews are not white, most American Jews are and are often members of the upper-middle class. If you are an elite person, you probably know a disproportionate number of Jews. A woman I know grew up in Singapore and now works in tech in the Bay Area. She was surprised when I told her that there were only 15 or so million Jews in the world. She went to a top undergrad in the U.S. as well. I am still shocked that a lot of people don’t pick up on the fact that Bernie Sanders is Jewish. My reaction to Bernie Sanders is “how can he be anything but a Jewish guy from Brooklyn.” He has lived in Vermont for 40-50 years and he still has his Brooklyn accent!Report

          • InMD in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            I think the really important distinction that you’re making here between generalized white anxiety about cultural and demographic changes and people who march in the steeets in Third Reich costumes is being missed by the activist left and it’s a critical error. Most intersectionalists vastly overestimate ‘whiteness’ as an identity. Yes it exists but its also divided into all kinds of class and wave-of-immigration distinctions. Some middle class person whose great great grandparents immigrated from Ireland or Germany in the late 19th century isnt going to necessarily see themselves as having a lot in common with a New England WASP with generational wealth. Neither will necessarily see themselves in the same boat as white out of work coal miners in Appalachia or Italians whose grandparents immigrated here and have only really been ‘white’ for a generation or two.

            Again this isnt to say ‘white’ isnt an identity, but its a very loose, weak one with lots of internal divisions, and it has been in most historical contexts of this country (there are obvious exceptions like parts of the South with high black populations or even majorities). Your always interesting question of whether or not Jews are ‘white’ in America is emblematic of this. My fear is that the type of identity politics we are seeing, even where its got some justification, is going to strengthen white identity in a way that is dangerous, and bad for the country long term. Its a natural outgrowth of constantly saying the personal is the political.

            Look at the BLM example you used. I think you can make a damn good case, even to people with racial anxieties, that something like what happened to Philando Castille is not how any citizen ought to be treated. You can also point to instances of excessive force against white people and say ‘its not just about race, it could happen to you too.’ However, when you have influential BLM activists writing about how ‘white’ people (which ones exactly?) should leave or gift their property to non-white people, or try to get their bosses fired, you’re going alienate a plurality of them.

            Whether or not Trump is personally racist isn’t really relevant to me in this context. The movement we’re talking about predates him, just as do white racial anxieties and various racist political movements. My view remains that the way to make political progress isn’t lumping every fool with a MAGA hat in with Neo-nazis, its pealing away those parts of the coalition that can be based on common interest, which has been done in the past and can be again.Report

            • Saul Degraw in reply to InMD says:


              In the defense of the Intersectionalist left, I think the concept of “white ethnic” has vastly collapsed over the past few decades (say since 1960) and the world where white-ethnic meant something is very foreign to 2017.

              Everything you say is true and there are still a lot of people who will describe themselves as Irish or Italian or German even though their families have been in the U.S. since 1850. However, I think we are very far away from the world where it would be scandalous for an Irish Catholic to marry an Italian Catholic and they no longer live in separate neighborhoods or suburbs.

              But blacks and Hispanics and to a lesser extent Asians, do live in different neighborhoods. The Bay Area has a huge Asian population but some cities and towns are a lot more Asian than others.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:


              • InMD in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                I don’t think they’ve collapsed entirely but they’re very much a shadow of their former selves. They live on moreso in class/culture than actual ethnic or religious differences. What I dont think is that its a given that what replaces those old identity groups has to be a European style nationalist white identity, and that treating it as an inevitably plays into the hands of those out there who want it.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to pillsy says:


      I see the same thing you are seeing but I wonder how much of it is rhetorical v. actual. I suppose you can’t tell until push comes to shove.

      As for political violence, I think the returning to the mean issue is difficult. We are a lot less violent than things were in the 1960s and 70s. There is no Weather Underground planting bombs or robbing armored trucks for cash. There is no kidnapping of Patty Hearst type figures. Crime is way down from the 1960s and 70s. Frankly, the U.S. never had political brawls like the types that existed between the right and left in Europe in the aftermath of WWI.

      However, this is an age of strong partisanship and that is a return to the mean.

      I still think that a lot of people fretting over all this stuff don’t have an answer to issues on my tea party problem. People like Conor F. pearlclutch and think that all political and social debates can be held in the tones of an incredibly polite tea party. Even say Richard Spencer talking about how he wants to get rid of all the Blacks and Jews and Gays. If you are talking about getting rid of people then polite rhetoric is off the table.Report

      • pillsy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I think you’re absolutely right about the “polite tea party” thing, and I think people like Friedersdorf actually do a minor disservice to liberalism and free speech by tending to lump peaceful but obnoxious or angry protest in with “suppression” or “violence” or whatever.

        As for the rest, I’m sure at this point that it’s mostly rhetorical.

        But the “mostly” worries me. As does the “at this point”.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        And bluntly, antifa (and even Black Bloc) seem to exist solely to throw rocks and get (other) people arrested. (They’re often not around when the arrests happen).

        So like…the most violent of the left is basically along the lines of mild football hooliganism.

        Property damage and the occasional assault, which while deplorable, isn’t exactly anything new — or, despite all the media coverage, that widespread. A couple hundred thousand people marched on Washington after the inauguration and if there were even 50 people trying to start crap, I’d be shocked.

        A bit early for the fainting couches, and certainly hard to compare to heavily armed Nazi’s running people down.Report

      • Alan Scott in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Saul Degraw: I see the same thing you are seeing but I wonder how much of it is rhetorical v. actual. I suppose you can’t tell until push comes to shove.

        This is what I think our discussion about Nazi Punching is missing.

        It’s all rhetoric. It’s not about actually punching Nazis, it’s about the idea of punching Nazis and what that represents conceptually

        Look about what gets held up as an ideal of Nazi punching: The Jack Kirby cover of Captain America #1. It was published in March of 1941, and would have to have been conceived and drawn months before that, before lend-lease. It’s an attack on the notion that the US should seek the neutral ground between the powers of Europe when some of them are fascist. It’s not about the violence, it’s about using the imagery of violence to symbolize the idea that “America should be fighting against this” in a time when America was treating the fight between the Allies and the Axis as a polite tea party.

        Consider also, noted Nazi-puncher Indiana Jones. Consider the fact that the quintessential Indiana Jones action scene consists of Harrison Ford engaging in roguishly charming dialogue, realizing that the talking is pointless, and only then taking a punch. Hell, there is a scene where Indiana Jones punches a Nazi out of a window in a zeppelin cafe full of elegant people drinking tea.

        On of the themes in that first link about Jason Kusnicki’s book is the interplay between various forms of pressure to behave by society’s rules–state and non-state, violent and non-violent, obvious and subtle. This Nazi-punching thing is an example of that. The old pressures by which our society had discouraged Nazism have eroded and collapsed. Memes and discussions about Nazi-punching are a byproduct of that change.Report

        • Maribou in reply to Alan Scott says:

          @alan-scott ” The old pressures by which our society had discouraged Nazism have eroded and collapsed. ” Have they though? I mean, the most obvious one, that people like Presidents were obviously against it, is gone, and that’s both shocking and disturbing.

          Otherwise, @j-r’s cite of the SPLC statistics seems relevant.

          (Not a rhetorical question, I actually would like to hear more about what you think.)Report

          • pillsy in reply to Maribou says:

            I think that big one is enough.

            But it’s not the only one. The weird alchemy of social media has ushered Nazis into places where no one would have imagined them before, and doubled and redoubled the number of people who are aware of them as the Twitter-logic of, “This tastes terrible. Try some!” takes hold.

            And the more traditional media, always looking for new characters and new stories battened onto the growing awareness of Nazis to investigate and profile them. Sometimes they did a good job of it, as with the alternately chilling and pathetically funny Vice video about Charlottesville marchers. But sometimes they did an egregiously bad job of it, with soft-focus profiles of “dapper” white supremacists, further eroding the sense that being a Nazi will cut you off from polite society, and render you a pariah.Report

            • Maribou in reply to pillsy says:

              @pillsy Wait, “has ushered Nazis into places where no one would have imagined them before, and doubled and redoubled the number of people who are aware of them “?

              Like, people really were ignorant of there being nutty people with Nazi regalia and abhorrently racist beliefs before lately? I am not disbelieving, necessarily, I’m just surprised. Like, Nazis were a problem on the internet back in the mid-90s and everyone I grew up with was aware there were fringe Nazi weirdos.

              The other point about bad soft-sell profiles is a very valid one.

              And the president & his regime is definitely a big one.

              But I’m a little baffled by the idea that people are literally suddenly aware of Nazis and weren’t before…. or did you mean more that they (we) think about them more than we used to? Because film of assholes with torches is a lot more threatening than a random newspaper article, etc?

              Again, I’m not saying you’re wrong if you do mean people didn’t realize there were still Nazis, it’s just far enough away from my experience that I’m surprised to hear it.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Maribou says:

                It’s less that they didn’t know they were Nazis, and more that Nazis went to a small handful of people who existed “out there” in some vague sense, to a (not actually any larger) handful of people who were right there yammering about White Genocide and the Jews and feminist video game critics on your Twitter TL, or at least your friend’s Twitter TL, and they were courteous enough to post a bunch of screenshots on Facebook so you, too, could enjoy the awfulness.Report

              • Maribou in reply to pillsy says:

                @pillsy Ah, I see what you mean now. Thanks for clarifying.Report

          • George Turner in reply to Maribou says:

            I would argue that there are virtually zero Nazis left, just some racist nut jobs, “Aryan” prison gangs, and a few Wehrmacht fan boys who don’t actually know much about Nazism other than that they were history’s ultimate bad guys.

            They’ll have some select Hitler quotes but probably haven’t read Mein Kampf (most Nazis didn’t read it either), and they haven’t delved into Nazi economics and propaganda or they’d either have to reject the absurdity of it all or realize that virtually none of it is still even applicable.

            You could probably stump them all day long with simple questions like “Why is it important to reoccupy the Sudetenland?” “Why must Switzerland be destroyed?” (Hitler’s generals were constantly talking him out of that one). “Why does Germany need more farmland?” “After WW-II, what West German party was formed by the Nazi leadership, and did they side with the Soviets or the Americans?” (The Socialist Reich Party, which wanted to help the Soviets finish their invasion).

            What they are today is little more than “white power” and “we should be in charge of this place.” It’s edgy attention seeking behavior on par with Satan worshipers. I doubt any of the self-described Nazis are clamoring for a greater Germany, the abolition of private property, gun control, or the purge of Eastern Europeans. Nazis have never mattered since 1945 and over here they never will. The modern ones are in it for the shock value. We’ve always had a handful of those.

            The difference today is that the Internet is full of people who themselves don’t know much about Nazism and virtually nothing about Fascism, but who are convinced that the ultimate evil walks among us. We sometimes go through bouts where Christians are freaking out over Satanists, stirring up paranoid conspiracies about Satanist cults running daycare centers, and convincing people that anyone you meet might be a Satanist who will sacrifice your children in some bizarre blood-soaked ritual. Sometimes the paranoia borders on societal panic.

            Basically, we have yet another witch hunt, and witch hunts always find witches, even if there are no real witches to find. And of course anyone who denies there are witches is obviously a witch.

            But witch hunts also create witches. People who’d never thought about witchcraft a day in their lives think “Witches are real? How do I meet them? Can I join? They must be really powerful if everyone is so afraid of them.”

            At that point the dynamic has to run its course until the fanatics get tired.

            The only bright side is that the Nazi hunt might distract people from attacking Civil War re-enactments.Report

            • Maribou in reply to George Turner says:

              You could probably stump them all day long with simple questions like “Why is it important to reoccupy the Sudetenland?” “Why must Switzerland be destroyed?” (Hitler’s generals were constantly talking him out of that one). “Why does Germany need more farmland?” “After WW-II, what West German party was formed by the Nazi leadership, and did they side with the Soviets or the Americans?” (The Socialist Reich Party, which wanted to help the Soviets finish their invasion).

              You could almost certainly have stumped most Nazis with those questions (other than the last one) at any time before or after WW2, too. No one is saying modern Nazis are military geniuses, or even particularly well-informed, and treating the conversation as though people are is pretty tendentious.

              People treat banal, unintelligent, and craven thugs as evil because people – even much better people than these modern Nazis are – can and do commit evil acts for exceptionally banal reasons.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

                @george-turner Agreed that witch hunts create witches, as well as pillorying non-witches, though. With the caveat that both those pillorying and those embracing witchhood already had a desire to hurt others but possibly shied away from expressing it / acting on it without an appropriate outlet. Then again, maybe they didn’t shy away from it, and we just didn’t hear about their actions because they didn’t have a convenient label to attach to them…

                It’s a mess.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Maribou says:

                Very true. Lots of Nazis didn’t realize which parts of the rhetoric was real and which was just talk, and much of what was going on was being hidden. But pretty much all of them knew the evil butchering they were doing themselves was really happening.

                It would be interesting to somehow poll a bunch of the current ones. I imagine they don’t realize that they have Holocaust deniers at a rally rubbing shoulders with people who glorify the Holocaust. They might not even have much of a shared version of reality beyond the spiffy uniforms.

                It might be worthwhile to ask them that if they so believe in white supremacy, why are they following an ideology that killed Frenchmen, Englishmen, Irishmen, Canadians, Dutch, Belgians, Norwegians, Poles, Romanians, Czechs, Greeks, Germans, Hungarians, Italians (toward the end), Lithuanians, Russians, Americans, and Jews (who are white) by the millions, but hardly touched Egyptians, Libyans, Arabs, blacks, and Asians? Of course real Nazis, standing in the rubble in ’45, realized that it didn’t work out well for Europeans.

                Contradictions like that might be why so few people are dumb enough to still become a Nazi. Someone should ask Spengler why he follows history’s biggest loser who holds the world record for killing white people. I’m not sure he could answer that one.Report

          • Alan Scott in reply to Maribou says:

            Maribou: Have they though? I mean, the most obvious one, that people like Presidents were obviously against it, is gone, and that’s both shocking and disturbing.

            I don’t think you could have gotten to that point without a lot of other things eroding first.

            I’ll start by saying I don’t think counting how many hate groups there are is particularly useful, since those changes may or may not reflect changes in the number of hate group members. After all, if a hundred groups that are just twelve white supremacists meeting in a garage shut down but one neo-nazi website with two thousand regular users opens up, that’s not a change that actually indicates a reduction in white supremacy.

            I think we’re seeing a confluence of a bunch of things that have taken place over a long period of time come to a boiling point. In no particular order:

            1) Following the decline of the Bush Administration and the subsequent loss by John McCain, there was an explicit push by right wing media figures like Glenn Beck and Andrew Brietbart to expand the overton window–they weren’t doing to specifically make space or a platform for hate groups, but it provided a resource that others would take advantage of later.

            2) In the wake of gay marriage acceptance and the collapse of the Christian right as a respected political force, The New Atheist movement struggled to find new targets, and target of choice for many was “Identity Politics”. That’s a big group of people who categorically reject the sort of social opprobrium traditionally used to exclude Nazis while simultaneously being very accepting of science-coded language rationalizing the superiority of one group over another.

            3) The internet spaces where people communicate have evolved in ways that make them harder to moderate while at the same time making them harder to avoid. Old internet spaces were either unregulated swamps which right-thinking people avoided precisely because of the Nazis, or moderated spaces from which Nazis would be banned. New Internet spaces have grown enough that they can’t be effectively moderated so the moderation is automated or outsourced, and uses tools that curate the experience of the individual user rather than the platform as a whole (something that fails to exclude Nazis from the platform in the way that a ban would).

            4) General increase in the sort of lazy first-amendment absolutism that explicitly favors the abhorrent speech, while at the same time treating speech that counters or objects to abhorrent speech as not worthy of protection.Report

            • Maribou in reply to Alan Scott says:

              @alan-scott Thanks for expanding. Lots to ponder.Report

            • LeeEsq in reply to Alan Scott says:

              5) There are lots of angry and passionate young people about and angry and passionate young people have often been fertile grounds for radical political groups. For most of these young people, say people born 1985 to the 2000, the Nazis are more often encountered as media villains than actual historical figures. Its true that nearly all media portrays Nazis as bad but they tend to make them look really cool to because otherwise they wouldn’t be threatening. Unless your a Jew, the Nazis are kind of abstract at this point for a lot of young people. This means that when modern Nazis go recruiting, young white people don’t have the same antibodies that older white people might have had.Report

        • pillsy in reply to Alan Scott says:

          On of the themes in that first link about Jason Kusnicki’s book is the interplay between various forms of pressure to behave by society’s rules–state and non-state, violent and non-violent, obvious and subtle. This Nazi-punching thing is an example of that. The old pressures by which our society had discouraged Nazism have eroded and collapsed. Memes and discussions about Nazi-punching are a byproduct of that change.

          This is a really good point. .Report

      • Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Change at a moment’s notice.
        You’ve heard of flashmobs, I take it?Report

  4. Will Truman says:

    Link [Po2](b) fixed.Report

  5. LeeEsq says:

    This is very old historical politics but I’m reading House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution and found this delightful sentence on page 341, in a chapter discussing the urban theories of the Bolsheviks, “The Revolution’s last and decisive battle was to be against ‘velvet-covered albums resting on small tables covered with lace doilies.'”

    Very few people among both their detractors and advocates realize how weird the Bolsheviks were when it came to about everything.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Is this essentially the same thing as the ‘lace curtain Irish’ dynamic?Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Kolohe says:

        The Bolsheviks took their war against Bourgeois domesticity very seriously even if they failed to get rid of it.Report

        • Kolohe in reply to LeeEsq says:

          A war one still sees fought today by many elements of the further left.

          (It’s that thing where some people call something neoliberal when they’re not quite worked up enough to call it fascist)Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to Kolohe says:

            Today’s Further Left are pikers and bourgeois liberals compared to the Bolsheviks. What most of them want to do is to extend the bourgeois family to include non-traditional families. The Bolsheviks imagined outright elimination of the bourgeois family and all forms of domesticity. Most people of the further left would accept the idea that individuals or families should be able to have their own private space in an apartment building or their own house and that children should be raised by their parents or parent biological or not. The Bolsheviks believed in communal living with only washing, going to the bathroom, or sex being done in privacy. The ultimate ideal was communal raising of children.Report

            • Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:

              Like a Kibbutz!!!Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                The Kibbutz was never as popular as the moshav, the cooperative farm village, which gave more leeway to private family life. By the 1950s, many kibbutzim were also allowing more traditional family life.Report

            • Kolohe in reply to LeeEsq says:

              What most of them want to do is to extend the bourgeois family to include non-traditional families.

              But this isn’t a ‘further left’ thing, this is a standard Democratic party core value. And a minority, but still existing position among some Republicans. Plus that’s not to say that some members of the further left also are fine with it, but that others definitely do not.

              I’m going to defer to you on the particulars of Bolshevik thinking.I will say on the general subject of bourgeois thinking, and how *I* think of bourgeois thinking, two items for consideration – that aren’t necessarily about ‘families’, but they are about society and ‘bourgeois values’

              1) The Democratic Socialists of America call for abolition of police and prisons. Now, as far as ideas go, it is one. But without rendering any verdict on whether this a good idea or not, it’s definitely not a *bourgeois* idea.


              Feminism is about the collective liberation of women as a social class. Feminism is not about personal choice.

              Now, again, this is an idea. But again, it’s totes not a bourgeois idea; it’s completely the opposite.Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to Kolohe says:

            Further reading of House of Government reveals that many Bolsheviks themselves reverted to Bourgeois family norms despite their despite attempts to eradicate it.

            Page 494 describes how Bolsheviks living in the House of Government apartment complex found it’s straight lines and large windows too ‘bare and dry.’ Most did something about it: brought in old beds and chests, hung up swords, and photographs, or laid down carpets and bearskins…In 1935, no one seemed entirely sure whether this was in good tastes for the new times or the ‘spontaneous regeneration of the perennial and loathsome forms of life. Some House of Government residents insisted on leaving the walls bare and dry. Some drew the lines at curtains, the great disappointment’s symbol of philistine domesticity.”Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Kolohe says:

        The central thesis of House of Government is that Marxism is basically a millennial faith and that the Bolsheviks were a sect of that faith like the early Christians. One reason why so many Jews were drawn to Marxism was that Judaism was still a millennial faith at the time because most traditional Jews were waiting for the Messiah to take them back to Eretz Israel. The Jewish Marxists might have lost their religious faith but they remained millennial thinkers.

        A lot of the first half of Soviet history can be explained in terms of a millennial movement. The Russian Revolution and Civil War was the coming of the Real Day, the Apocalypse. The NEP era and the failure of Communist Revolutions was the era of disappointment that Millennial groups face after the Prophecy does not come true. Stalin’s Great Break Through was the Second Coming. The Old Bolsheviks behavior during this time was that of a sect and their attempts to remake society similar.Report

  6. Kolohe says:

    Po6 – I’m going to say ‘probably not’. I would guess that the anti-immigrant folks profiled in the article are as fringy as that one guy in New York City that is always going on about ‘Jewish Landlords’.

    It may have some sort of effect on extremely local intra-party politics (all ethnic and class divisions do), but on any macro scale, everyone’s still going to be on the same team.Report

    • LTL FTC in reply to Kolohe says:

      It’s fringe now, but keep in mind that eight years ago, immigration restrictionists were nutters who needed to be swept under the rug in order for Republicans to ever get the presidency back. The institutional GOP, focused as they were on high-dollar donors, received the first rude surprise back in 2006 when George W. Bush failed to pass immigration reform.

      The black political class and intellectual elite have craved the black-brown alliance for decades. I suspect that abstract notions of solidarity are irrelevant to a lot of people who just want a construction job.

      The idea that “we need to come together against the white power structure and then everyone wins, and wins more,” seems far-fetched. It trades the promise of immediate relief for a pie-in-the-sky project that has failed for centuries. That’s fine and well if you’ve got tenure or a gerrymandered city council district, but not if you just want a construction job.

      That doesn’t mean that black voters will be going to the GOP in any numbers, since immigration is just one of a long list of policy disagreements. In contrast, Latinos intermarry more than African-Americans and vote more like white people the longer their family has been in the country. But the idea that there are two sides – POC and white supremacy – is a dream of both the high theory types and the demography is destiny crowd. A pipe dream.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to LTL FTC says:

        LIke other people have said here, I’m totally agree that there are fissures between “the African American community” and “the Latino community” that manifest themselves in politics at the city and even metro area level. (and I don’t mean to exclude either rural/exurban areas – almost exclusively in the South – where the historic white/black divide (to elide *alot*) has been altered recent Hispanic immigration)

        But on a state, much less national level, we’re a long way away those fissures having any noticable affect. I find it less likely for the ‘black-brown rift’ to be A Thing then the longstanding, and still not yet realized theories that “One day Jewish Americans will shift towards Republicans” or “One day Asian Americans will shift towards Republicans.Report

        • LTL FTC in reply to Kolohe says:

          It’s not so much that “one day Hispanic voters will shift toward Republicans” in the same way that the GOP neocon dream imagines Jews might behave when temped by more “support” of Israel, it’s:

          1) One day the Hispanic vote will not be quite so lopsided, which could be important for state-level elections. There are many times more Hispanic voters than Jewish voters, so smaller swings matter.

          2) The children and grandchildren of today’s Hispanic voter may not care as much about “Hispanic issues” as they do today or may not even consider themselves non-white.

          The one-party nature of most big cities complicates this a bit, but it’s not unthinkable for Hispanic voters to one day behave a lot more like Greeks or the Irish instead of African-Americans. That’s more likely if the flow of new immigrants is greatly reduced.Report

  7. LeeEsq says:

    Po6: I doubt it. The percentage of African-Americans that voted for Trump is much lower than the percentage of Hispanic-Americans that did. Its going to take a lot more than anti-immigrant rhetoric to cause a big rift between black and brown Americans. Fun historical fact, during the immigrant waive of the late 19th and early 20th century, African-Americans also led the call for immigration restrictions.

    Po9: The ability of Joe Arpaio to continually win elections doesn’t say a lot of good things about the voters of Maricopa County. Either they are just as cruel as he is and do not care that he is costing them tens of millions of dollars because the infliction of pain is more important than money or they are tribal voters that can’t pay attention to the issues.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:


      He lost his 2016 reelection bid but your point generally stands.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        If you look at the votes Trump and Clinton got, compared with previous Presdiential contests, you could make the case that most of the same people voted for Sheriff Joe as they always have, but Trump caused a surge in anti-GOP voters that was enough to push him out (but still not quite enough to give the county to Clinton)Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Kolohe says:

          Worth noting that Clinton outperformed Obama 2012 in Texas (she matched his 2008 numbers). Another border state with a heavy Hispanic population.

          I think the “Wall” played, for some reason, really well in states a long way from Mexico — like the Rust Belt. But it played poorly elsewhere.

          I haven’t drilled down into demographics, but my anecdotal take is that even among white Republicans in Texas, the Wall was more often dismissed as idiocy than supported.Report

    • PD Shaw in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Po6: The black/brown rift in Chicago is a generation old and pretty much defines city politics. One can find A-A aldermen complaining that only blacks are victims of legal discrimination and no city jobs should go to these people who just arrived in the country. That’s old stuff, what is somewhat different is the rise of identity politics within a one-party city; it tends to be all about whose showing more respect for this group than another.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to PD Shaw says:

        How much of that is old ward style politics where you are supposed to “pay your dues” and rise up through the organization?

        Even one-party places are going to have factions.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          It seems to be a combination of old ward style politics mixing with civil rights activism in a bad way. Some African-Americans seem to believe they are owed more than Hispanic-Americans in Chicago because they were their longer and paid their dues, old school politics, and because of their longer struggles in the United States.Report

        • PD Shaw in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          I think its more the civil rights angle: blacks describe themselves as victims of slavery and de jure discrimination for which the government has a responsibility to provide affirmative relief; Latinos did not. It’s also about the decline of machine politics, and the lost ability of the City to provide jobs to loyal supporters. In age of decline, everybody probably thinks someone else is getting what they used to get.

          ADDENDUM: Trump doesn’t have much to do with this. He can create stories or situations where these problems reveal themselves, but they pre-existed him and will exist after he’s gone at this rate.Report

  8. KenB says:

    Po1: I guess a “review essay” means “I’m not actually going to review this, I’m just going to use it as a jumping-off point for what I really want to talk about”. Having not read Kuznicki’s book, I know hardly anything more about it now than I did before reading the review. But it was an interesting essay, hitting on an issue that comes up in several contexts (most recently free speech) — how much difference is there really between rules enforced by government and rules enforced by social norms with severe social penalties?Report

    • Kolohe in reply to KenB says:

      I agree, that was a good read. And as a bit of a libertarian nutjob, but also a bit of a cheapskate, I like that it was free, instead of over 120 dollars.Report

      • Maribou in reply to Kolohe says:

        Informationally, the reason Routledge charges so much for books is that they are a prestige academic publisher, they sell mostly to academic libraries, and they expect to sell < 1000 copies of what they consider a really strong seller. Maybe < 500 although I'm not sure about that smaller number.

        Just about everyone here could be interlibrary-loaning this or any other book that strikes their fancy, though, through their local public library. FOR FREE.

        (end PSA)Report

  9. Saul Degraw says:

    TNR thinks that the fantasy of a “unity” ticket needs die

    The Kasich-Hickenlooper plan is pretty standard stuff. It would keep the individual mandate—hated by conservatives—in place, guarantee that the federal government would pay insurers, and ensure that the federal government was still doing all it could to encourage enrollment. It doesn’t give conservatives much on their health care wish list, though it does increase autonomy in setting basic coverage requirements and make it slightly easier to get waivers for regulations. It doesn’t go as far as Democrats want, with the party quickly coalescing around some version of Medicare for All as an end goal.

    It’s basically the kind of plan that you’d expect from Kasich: modest, common-sense, and therefore bipartisan, albeit in a meaningless way. Other than coming down on the side of keeping the individual mandate, it steers clear of the minefields that have cropped around Obamacare for the last seven years in favor of minor fixes.

    The problem is that politics is minefields. And, as the success of Donald Trump (and on the left, Bernie Sanders) has shown, huge swaths of both parties want sharp-elbowed candidates who wade into these minefields, whether they be immigration or health care. These are issues about which little consensus exists between the two parties.


  10. Saul Degraw says:

    Vox looks at how tech giants are Democrats but split from the base in many ways:

    82 percent of tech entrepreneurs think it’s too difficult to fire workers and want the government to make it easier to do so, very similar to the views expressed by Republican donors and voters. 74 percent want labor unions’ influence to decrease (Democratic donors, despite their economic status, are by contrast the most pro-union group surveyed). 70 percent oppose regulating Uber-like taxi companies, while most Democratic citizens and donors disagree.

    What explains this? Part of the story might be simple self-interest. Sure enough, the authors find that while tech entrepreneurs are very likely to say that “government regulation of the technology industry does more harm than good,” they’re much less likely to say the same thing about regulation targeting banks, the financial sector, or the pharmaceutical industry. (Interestingly, Democratic donors and voters are also more favorable toward tech than those other industries.)

    But a lot of the story boils down to different views about the proper roles of markets. “We expected that individuals who self-select into becoming entrepreneurs would have more favorable predispositions towards entrepreneurs and markets on average, and that their experiences being entrepreneurs could further contribute to these views,” the authors write. And their results confirmed this expectation.


    • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The tech giant entrepreneurs are basically Left-Libertarians of the Bleeding Heart Libertarianism variety or genuine Neo-Liberals. They are drawn to the Democratic Party for the same reason that Right-leaning libertarian business men were drawn to the Republican Party, America is two party country and is going to remain that way for the foreseeable future. Trying to support a third party is going to be a waste of money. Its more sensible to give money to the more congenial of existing political parties. For the tech giants, this is the Democratic Party because of the social liberalism.Report

    • Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I think we get a little bit cynical when it comes to saying that people support X or Y out of “self interest” simply because the burden of a problem they perceive with government comes down on them. It’s possible that it’s true in a lot of cases that the government is doing the right thing and the people who feel the pinch are wrong to want it changed, but when the government is doing the wrong thing, the people who feel the pinch are usually the people who complain.

      If we over regulate manufacturing, manufacturers will notice it before the rest of us and complain. If cops pull over black people for nothing all the time, black people will notice it before the rest of us and complain. Is it “self interest” or just the fact that the burden of the problem is falling on them and the rest of us aren’t seeing it?

      In my experience, its’ really not that hard to fire somebody, so maybe they’re wrong about this one. Or maybe I’m missing something important. I haven’t heard what their specific complaint is on that point.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Troublesome Frog says:


        As someone who was laid off and out the door in about fifteen minutes, I would venture that is not that hard to fire someone.

        I think it depends wildly on the culture, the company, and the kind of employee. I’ve done freelance doc review projects where we were told it would last a few months and it lasted two or three weeks. I’ve seen other freelancers get let go immediately when the case they were working on settled or ended. All without ceremony.

        California’s anti-discrimination laws are very friendly towards employees and very broad. I wonder if tech C-suiters don’t like this because it makes it difficult to terminate someone in fifteen minutes and have them out the door.Report

        • Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          My experience has been pretty similar in actual tech companies. They put effort into not firing people because it’s hard to hire and train them, but if somebody has to go, I’ve never seen any real hesitation.

          It’s especially weird to complain about in a field like software development where underperformers stick out. If you’re going to fire somebody over nebulous “fit” problems and personality conflicts, that might be hard. But work product isn’t that hard to evaluate when your job is writing software that works properly and fixing bugs in a timely fashion. Unless you’re in a very poorly managed group, it’s pretty hard to fake it. It’s like being the veterinarian whose patients keep dying during routine procedures. There’s a scoreboard. People are going to start asking where their dogs are.Report

  11. pillsy says:

    I just linked to Rod Dreher, and while I don’t feel great about it, I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a goat. So here’s something he wrote about the Nashville Statement that may shed some light on the debate in comments that it inspired.

    In particular, he cites anonymous interlocutors from within the conservative Evangelical community making points that don’t sound so different from Sam Wilkinson’s. One good example

    The fact that it focused so narrowly on homosexuality and transgenderism, and including nothing about divorce and other faults of heterosexual Christians, makes it look like the signers are plucking the speck out of LGBT eyes while ignoring the log in the church’s own eye

    Another issue he notes is generational divide among evangelicals, where older evangelicals view the statement as something of a capitulation, while younger ones view it as a statement about committing to culture war. I wonder if we weren’t seeing a similar dynamic play out between members of the OT commentariat who very much oppose social conservatism but couldn’t really agree what the Nashville Statement was stating.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to pillsy says:

      To me, it seems the Nashville Statement talked narrowly about their LGBT stance because the other stuff they had already talked about in the Danvers statement back in the 80s where they blamed divorce on secularists and feminists and secular feminists.

      So they’re consistent in joining the fight of a battle that’s happening now, almost over, and on not just the losing side but also the wrong side.Report

      • pillsy in reply to Kolohe says:

        Another reason for a generational split, then. A lot of the younger people reacting to this were either little kids or not born yet when the Danvers Statement came out.Report

  12. j r says:

    Po2: Politics is full of really stupid conversations. And the conversation about punching Nazis is definitely in contention for one of the stupidest. It’s a bunch of people with little to no experience with actual violence writing about whether it’s right or wrong to do something that they will never actually do. It’s fan fiction. This is full on Underpants Gnome territory. Both Robinson and Beck are saying somewhat less stupid things, but they are still thoroughly ensconced in the stupid. Take this for example:

    …if Nazis ever again achieved control of a powerful state, the consequences would be inconceivably horrific for hundreds of millions, probably billions, of people around the world. The growth of white supremacist ideology in the 20th century led to slaughter on an unimaginable scale. It must never, ever happen again… The actions taken by leftists must be discussed in terms of their predictable consequences. The task is to stop the Nazis. A vital question, for any given left-wing approach, should be: “Does this help us, or does it help the Nazis?”

    wHat!? A few hundred odd alt-right idiots hold a march and this guy is talking about how we may need to re-fight WW2. Maybe someone should tell Robinson that there’s been white supremacist ideology in America before there ever was an America and almost none of it has involved Nazis. It wasn’t Nazis who ran the Transatlantic Slave Trade or forced the Cherokee onto the Trail of Tears or put Japanese Americans into camps. That was just regular old Americans.Report

    • pillsy in reply to j r says:

      No, but the organizations that explicitly hearken back to some of the worst traditions of racist violence in this country (i.e., the KKK) have effectively merged or adopted neo-Nazism as part of their platform. There were occasional glimmers of this in the ’50s and ’60s, but it really picked up steam in the ’70s and ’80s after the Klan was mostly dismembered and marginalized.

      Now a lot of this is intimately tied up with the marginalization of the Klan, but people who are fearful that overt, radical white supremacism is becoming more mainstream aren’t exactly reacting to nothing. They are seeing support and acceptance of it in from some bizarre and frightening places.Report

      • j r in reply to pillsy says:

        No, but the organizations that explicitly hearken back to some of the worst traditions of racist violence in this country (i.e., the KKK) have effectively merged or adopted neo-Nazism as part of their platform.

        I’m trying to suss out a meaning from this and I’m honestly having a hard time. I don’t see much evidence that radical white supremacism is becoming more mainstream. I see in the alt-right and in Donald Trump the same garden variety white supermacism that I’ve seen my whole life. It’s just that now some of them have taken up cosplaying as a hobby.

        It may be the case that this current climate has made a bunch of actual neo-Nazis and radical white supremacists comfortable enough to come in from the fringes and make their presence known, and that in itself is worth condemning Trump for, but I’ve seen no evidence that their numbers are growing.

        In fact, here is some data from the SPLC:
        The number of Neo-Nazi, white nationalist, and racist skinhead groups are all lower than they were ten years ago. And the biggest increases in hate groups are from anti-Islamic and black separatist groups. I’m not a huge fan of the SPLC’s methodology, but they are one of the few groups trying to quantify this. And what I’m getting from these numbers is that the online conversation is largely a function of the narrative that the media wants to tell more than any kind of disinterested depiction of the facts.Report

        • pillsy in reply to j r says:

          The crucial difference is that Trump is no longer some douchebag with a TV show. So even if the white nationalists aren’t growing in numbers, it’s really hard to argue that they haven’t grown substantially in mainstream acceptance and influence, because all signs point to them having the President on their side.

          I really think this gives Robinson and Beck’s worry about Nazis controlling the state seem a good deal more plausible.

          That’s not the only thing driving this, of course. This also happens hot on the heels of a lot of people being confronted with just how much the criminal justice system seems to protect and perpetrate racist violence itself. It’s not new, but awareness of it certainly is.Report

  13. Michael Cain says:

    Po9: On the timing prior to the election, and related to the recent special election in Montana where the candidate who won assaulted a reporter the day before election day. Arizona and Montana are both heavy vote-by-mail state (no-excuse permanent absentee ballot lists). IIRC, in 2014 >75% of votes cast in Arizona were mail-in ballots, with Montana’s number only slightly smaller. While there are multiple advantages to the arrangement, it does create the problem that the election is often settled before election day, and last minute news has minimal impact. Personally I think the positives outweigh the negatives. That’s a widely-held opinion here in Colorado — in polls since our system was implemented better than 80% for all of Republicans, Democrats, and independents favor keeping it.Report

    • Troublesome Frog in reply to Michael Cain says:

      I’ve never really been impressed with the idea that whatever news happens just before election day is somehow especially important. Is it more important than the news the day before it? Or the day after? If he had committed the assault the day after election day, voters would have been out of luck too, but that’s a dumb argument for moving election day back a week. Ultimately, we have to draw the line somewhere and call that line “the end of the election” after which no new information is relevant. Where we draw it is kind of arbitrary.

      And voting by mail is soooo convenient. I’d probably never vote if it wasn’t available.Report

      • pillsy in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

        On a somewhat related note, sometimes the news right before an election is particularly relevant, like in the recent MT special election, but my understanding is that totally random stuff like the performance of local football teams can also effect it. If so, dampening the impact of the situation in the days before the election is, at worst, a double-edged sword.Report

  14. Nevermoor says:

    This is one helluva job by TNC.

    I hope I’m only anticipating a post by one of our fearless contributors, but I couldn’t not put it here.Report

    • pillsy in reply to Nevermoor says:

      I expect it will surprise nobody that I really appreciated this bit:

      We are now being told that support for Trump’s “Muslim ban,” his scapegoating of immigrants, his defenses of police brutality are somehow the natural outgrowth of the cultural and economic gap between Lena Dunham’s America and Jeff Foxworthy’s.


      • Dan d in reply to pillsy says:

        In other words the yuppies and hipsters are justified in looking down their noses at me. How does Coats explain Rob Ford’s. I’m sick of people saying the the snobs and I deserve to be held in contempt. Why is is it so hard for people to believe that I hate the yuppie rather than minorities?Report

        • Maribou in reply to Dan d says:

          @dan-d Respectfully, Coates is not, at all, claiming that Trump’s election is the result of the working class being a bunch of racists vs. elites not being.

          I quote:
          “So when white pundits cast the elevation of Trump as the handiwork of an inscrutable white working class, they are being too modest, declining to claim credit for their own economic class. ” His argument is that poor / working-class whites are subject to manipulation and maltreatment by the same systematic, kyriarchical forces – that benefit, specifically, rich white elites – as black people are. Or are you suggesting that he’s saying that because “the honor accorded a “virtuous lady” was dependent on the derision directed at a “loose woman.”, virtuous ladies weren’t also experiencing sexism and a crappier life than the men (again, rich, white men) who put them in that position?

          He’s literally saying that the animosity between working-class whites and blacks is by deliberate design of, among others, rich plantation owners who wanted to push unity among white people to avoid unity among working class people. And he’s puncturing the claims of (elite! btw) people like Sanders, like Biden, like world-traveler Nicholas Kristof, like Harvard muckety-muck Lawrence Summers, that race *as a tool of the whites on TOP of the food chain* is not at play.

          So he’s not blaming working-class white people for being racist – he thinks they are, but not remarkably more so than any other white people – he’s puncturing the argument that the working class are who led us to this pass. And if you hate the yuppie rather than minorities (a position I can certainly understand, given that I’ve never liked yuppies and I actively fight by the side of minorities, as well as being one myself in some ways), one would assume that gold-toilet-seats everywhere, fly-to-Mar-a-Lago-every-five-minutes, new-york-real-estate-guy, only-fights-with-wall-street-when-they-see-each-other-as-rivals, owes-all-his-success-to-his-daddy’s-capital-and-his-asshole-personality, multiple-bankruptcy-despite-being-a-billionaire, nothing-but-a-silver-spoon-in-his-mouth-his-whole-life, no-actual-care-for-the-working-man-or-woman-whatsoever Donald Trump isn’t your candidate of choice either.

          If he is, well, the stuff I listed off is just the tip of the iceberg of why we might find it hard to believe you hate yuppies (though I imagine you still have plenty of room for hating hipsters… I take exception to them myself when they’re ironic-pretend-liking stuff I actually like).

          I don’t personally think Hillary Clinton is any more or any less racist than the average Trump voter (a point Coates also addresses when he talks about her rhetoric during the 2008 campaign). And I have some points of disagreement with the Coates piece here and there (though damn, the man can *write* – it’s a pleasure for me to disagree with him). But if you think he’s blaming everything on you, as a member of the white working class, man, read that piece again. Whiteness is the problem he’s addressing, and the power of elites to profit from it; you, dan d, a human being, are not his antagonist at all.Report

          • Nevermoor in reply to Maribou says:

            Yes. This is why I hope I’m only anticipating a more in depth discussion.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Maribou says:

            His characterization relies too heavily on racism, or more accurately, the fact that the problems of race in America are not front & center for much of the WWC.

            I can buy the argument for the people who voted for Trump during the primaries. But that is as far as that can go.Report

            • pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              Well, possibly, but a big part of his argument is that the post-election reaction has cast the WWC as the ones who made Trump President, while shifting attention away from wealthier white voters, and ones with more education, who also voted in large (if slightly less overwhelming) numbers for Trump.

              I have a different theory on this–I think a lot of commentators want to project responsibility for Trump onto people who are far away from them, in terms of class, culture, and geography. But there are a lot of people who make six figures, wear suits to work, and live in cities or affluent suburbs who pulled the lever for Trump, and more than a few of them did it because they’re racist as hell.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

                But that is still damning a lot of people for not caring* about race as much as Coates does, or you do. It also ignores the realities of our election system, in that once the primaries were over, you were going to be hard pressed to get Republican voters to pull the lever for HRC, and I find it hard to damnit people for voting along party lines when the parties themselves encourage this.

                *I think people should care much more about science and technology, but I save my curses for YECs, etc., not for people who just don’t have the time or energy to care.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                My thing isn’t that Trump voters are all racists–I think HRC’s estimate of half is rougher correct, and is consistent with the number of Trump primary voters, the number of Birthers, et c. But I also don’t think that’s what TNC is asserting either.

                However, he’s right that a lot of commentators, including ones on the left and in the center, really bent over backwards to gloss over any hint of racism at all, and that separating out the WWC from white voters in general is an ugly bit of sleight of hand. He sees the motivation for this as being rooted in the idea that it’s easier to exonerate them of charges of racism because they have other, pressing concerns (the famed “economic anxiety”, for one).

                I’m not saying that’s wrong, but I also think there’s another aspect of the story, where racism is treated largely as confined to the WWC, when there isn’t really much sign that this is true. It’s just that it’s a convenient myth for a lot of people, either because it makes racism easier to hand-wave away, or because it upholds a bunch of classist stereotypes.

                If I have a complaint about TNC here, and in general, it’s probably that he over-corrects, and goes to far in the opposite direction of the leftists he (mostly justifiably) criticizes for focusing totally on class and ignoring race. He ends up glossing over class in favor of race, which weakens his analysis, and the article.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

                Nope, still relies to heavily on racism as an active component, when it is largely a secondary or tertiary aspect of what people were concerned about.

                If I had to spell out a cause, I think sexism probably played a larger role, as well as a more general ‘othering’ of whatever subgroup Trump felt like pissing on on a given day. A lot of that othering could be expressed as racism, but it could also be expressed as sexism, or anti-LBGT, or anti-liberal.

                All of which is a long way of saying that Trump played the identity politics game better than HRC did, when it came to white voters.

                ETA: I’m not trying to say racism was never a part of Trumps victory, only that as a significant part, the explanation is too pat, too neat, tickles too many ideological priors of the left.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                ETA: I’m not trying to say racism was never a part of Trumps victory, only that as a significant part, the explanation is too pat, too neat, tickles too many ideological priors of the left.

                Why, yes, I do think that explanations that match my priors tend to be correct!

                And I really have never seen much of a remotely convincing alternative explanation for Trump’s primary victory than racism. Once he’d won the primary he had a puncher’s chance because of the R after his name, but before that he knocked out a ton of Republicans who were more reliably anti-LGBT, conservative, and so on.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                “The GOP base was sick and tired of the GOPe” has a lot of explanatory power.

                I mean, Trump ran as the Ultimate Outsider. He made *CRUZ* look like an insider.


              • Nevermoor in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I’m confused by this objection. He says explicitly “Certainly not every Trump voter is a white supremacist, just as not every white person in the Jim Crow South was a white supremacist. But every Trump voter felt it acceptable to hand the fate of the country over to one.”

                Your objection seems to be “not every Trump voter is a white supremacist” but many were willing to hand the country to him for other reasons. Which sounds like agreement, at least in part.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Nevermoor says:

                It helps to clarify what we mean by racism. Do I think 50% of Trump voters are full on White Supremacists? Not hardly, and that is an extraordinary claim one would have to work hard to support.

                Do I think those 50% were happy to put their concerns over the concern of race relations in the US? Sure, that I can buy, but that isn’t “Racism” in my book. Closer to ‘tribalism that happens to break along racial lines more often than not’, but it’s a different animal from Racism.

                This is what I meant when I said Trump played the IDPol quite well. He tapped into that tribalism, and he did it across multiple fronts. And I think the left continues to hurt itself by constantly calling it racism, since most people, certainly many who voted for Trump, do not see themselves as racist, since they do not buy into racial supremacy or inferiority (at least, not overtly, which is how they are going to define it). And every time Coates, or some other left of center pundit writes a think piece about how racism was a significant part of the Trump voter, even if it was unconscious, the right is going to sell it as “the liberal elites think you are all racist hicks!”.

                So yeah, tribalism. People would accept that yes, they voted for their families, communities, SES, … tribe. Tribalism doesn’t incite the knee-jerk defensive reaction.

                But, you know, keep calling it racism, let me know how many converts that wins you.Report

              • Nevermoor in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                But I don’t understand how that reaction applies to this piece.

                The point of this piece is that Trump voters AREN’T a bunch of hicks. It makes a lot of points, including nuanced ones, but that’s probably the single biggest. If people read that article and take from it that “the liberal elites think you are all racist hicks!” then I’m not sure what to do about that.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Nevermoor says:

                The gist, if I have it correctly from a quick read this morning, and from listening to his brief NPR interview, was that racism played a part because Trump is racist (given) and white people voted for him despite that, because of other issues much more salient to them, and this is bad (because racism).

                It strikes me as poor work because A) everyone tends to overlook glaring character flaws in leaders and potential leaders that appeal to them in other ways. I mean, do I have to make a list of deeply flawed popular leaders covering both sides of the aisle? And B) it really ignores how the system narrowed the choices to crap ones all around. And I know he touched on that, but again, part A.

                Listen, I love Coates, and when he is talking about structural racism, or how racism affects him personally, he is on fire. But here he is trying to talk about something he has no personal context for, and has a hard time gaining any for, because his personal pain overwhelms him. It would be like me trying to talk about how racism hurts poor black people. I could never do such a topic justice, because I have no context for it.

                So yes, there were hard core racists that elevated Trump, and there were a lot of educated, well off white people who elevated Trump, despite knowing what a dumpster fire he would be. But neither of those groups would be sufficient to get him through the primaries, much less to the Oval Office. Which takes me back to my original point, which is he played the identity politics disturbingly well, and if we can learn nothing else, it should be just how dangerous identity politics is, and how powerful it can be.Report

              • Nevermoor in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                That strikes me as a different objection.

                He’s saying two things to your point: 1) everyone who voted for Trump either is a WS or was willing to vote for one for other reasons; and 2) don’t go blaming the white working class for this, it was far broader.

                If your response to point 1 is only that, while true, you find it unimportant (because everyone tolerates flaws in their leaders), I think we could have an interesting conversation about why that flaw was easily forgiven when other far less problematic flaws could not be overlooked for others. Maybe not, since campaigns are somewhat inherently idiosyncratic, but maybe. If your objection is that 1 is false, though, which is what I first understood, that’s a different conversation.

                As to the second part, I think it’s an interesting point that I hadn’t seen made before, and I don’t see anyone really challenging on its merits. I don’t see why TNC is disqualified from writing about it, since its an election analysis about where Trump’s support actually came from.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Nevermoor says:

                One of the reasons I appreciated the second point is that I feel like I’ve been trying to make it since even before the election, and it seems very hard to get across. Indeed, it seems like the suggestion that white working class voters were not uniquely supportive of Trump is often received as an attack on the WWC.

                I find this rather baffling, TBQH.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Nevermoor says:

                I find it uninteresting that people tolerate flaws in potential leaders. Disturbing, yes, but not interesting. I find it uninteresting that white voters were willing to tolerate Trumps racism because white voters have a long and well established history of tolerating racism in political leaders, even when they personally find racism unacceptable among their peers. We could have a very interesting conversation as to why, but IMHO it boils down to the fact that for most white voters, racism is a distant secondary, or tertiary concern. Even people who are aware of, and upset with, the structural racism that remains baked into our cultural cake would, if you asked to rank their political concerns, have that racism far down the list. Because that kind of racism just doesn’t happen to them. Other things happen to them, and those other things are more important to them, and somehow Trump sold them on the idea that he’ll take care of those other things.

                That doesn’t make those people racist, and it does not make the issue about racism, unless you care to argue that not having racism be a top priority for a person makes them racist. To me, that takes it too far, it sets an impossible standard. You can’t damn a person, or a demographic, for not caring about any given issue as much you or your demographic does. You can certainly work to convince them that they should care, but (and this is what I felt TNC was doing in this piece) you can’t fault them for not caring. And to pile on to that, a lot of people who seem content to fault people for not caring (and I can’t recall if TNC does this in this essay) then make claims that those people who don’t care so much about racism have no excuse not to care, except because of racism, because “OMG They are white, what could they possibly have to be more concerned about? Their coal mining jobs?! So not only are they not concerned about racism, they hate the environment too?! Fish those people, they are obviously horrible people!”

                Sorry, no. It’s one of those mile in their moccasins kind of things, you can’t possibly know what concerns have captured a given person attention until you’ve talked to them.

                Now, if we want to talk about how a lot of Trump voters got taken in by a huckster promising them things he can’t possibly hope to deliver, I’m all for that. There is ample evidence that those folks got suckered in by a man preying on their desperation, so I’m happy to call them gullible, but I have a real hard time calling them racist, or linking his victory to racism, and TNC failed to convince me otherwise.

                I will give @pillsy his stats. I could believe that 5%-10%+ of the GOP votes for Trump came from people who found his racism, et. al. very attractive and voted for him specifically because of it. But those people probably wouldn’t have voted for HRC for “best well lit” if you had set her on fire. Their contribution was much more significant in the primaries, getting the field narrowed to Trump and making sure the rest of the GOP voters had a crap choice. So yes, racism had A role in his victory**, but as @george-turner notes, such things rarely have elements that are singularly critical, so we can’t say it was THE hinge pin.

                PS He isn’t disqualified from writing about this, but I think he has a very specific lens he sees such things through, and I can understand why he has that lens, but I also recognize that he has that lens, and so I will treat his work with a degree of skepticism that he is really seeing what is there.

                *I was more surprised that Trumps vulgar sexism and misogyny didn’t carry more weight.

                **And seriously, if the GOP wants to stop having racists stain their image, they have to be more clear about casting those voters to the wilderness.Report

              • Nevermoor in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Thank you for fleshing this out, and the lens point makes more sense.

                I can easily imagine him being dismayed that a nation of white people look at Trump and shrug off his uniquie combination of racism, lack of qualification, incoherence, misogyny, etc. and vote for him in overwhelming numbers, and his focus on one of those taking primacy for him (as it was always going to, for obvious reasons). I’d be lying if I didn’t say I personally am more dismayed by the second characteristic (and I think I can safely report Mrs. N was most dismayed by the fourth). All that said, I think whichever metric bothers you most, his argument (to the extent its true) that this isn’t just a “redneck hick” or WWC thing is valuable. Because that hasn’t been the narrative, and getting that narrative right is important. (For example, its worth giving real consideration to Krugman’s question today about whether our nation could even pull together to respond to an existential crises, and the answer can’t be “sure, except for those lunatics in the WWC” when that isn’t actually the problem.)

                My personal view is that our system of government can’t work without some basic sense of cooperation, I don’t see a path from here back to that place, and I’m running out of reasons to believe that the obvious conclusion of that thought is avoidable (at least in the medium term). But we certainly don’t avoid it if we can’t be honest about the problem, or if we scapegoat/imagine/whatever that the problem isn’t what it is.

                I could say more, but I’d quickly be rambling.

                (Also, for what it’s worth, I think part of what I disagree with you about in reacting to this article is your view that TNC is “fault[ing] them for not caring.” I think he’s focused on establishing they don’t care, resigned that they don’t care, and talking about who the “they” is. Lots of people don’t care about lots of things for lots of reasons.)Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Nevermoor says:

                @nevermoor I dare say I think we have an understanding, if not complete agreement.

                Regarding cooperation, yeah. ~30% of the voting age population selected Trump, and the party calls that a mandate. The system is busy eating itself.Report

              • Nevermoor in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Welp. Pleasure doing business with you. Seriously.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I think about 10-20% of Trump supporters are full-on white supremacists, based on polling for how they view the alt-right.

                I also think “full-on white supremacist” is a very high bar for “racism”, one which a lot of really racist-as-hell people won’t clear.[1] Virtually everybody insists they aren’t a racist, including actual white nationalists who will swear they’re just fighting “white genocide”, and are happy for members of all the other races to go back to their own countries. This dingbat claimed he isn’t racist in the same interview that he called Martin Luther King, Jr., “Martin Luther Coon”.

                So the fact that it’s what they say, or even what they believe, is really unconvincing. And just because it might not be an effective way to win converts doesn’t mean it’s not true, you know?

                [1] Think we should have de jure equality of the races, but members of some races are usually dumb, lazy, rude, and violent? Well, by this standard, you aren’t racist. It’d exclude Steve King, too, fergawdsake. Trump himself, too.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

                Sure, but that is applying a general assumption to an entire demographic. Didn’t we just have a big long discussion about how that is really bad form?Report

              • pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I’m pretty sure that “Trump supporters” aren’t a general demographic, and I’m very sure I’m not applying a general assumption to all Trump supporters, though.

                EDIT to add: Sure, he wasn’t able to cross the line with just the racist vote, but he definitely wouldn’t have been able to cross the line without the racist vote, either. If they’d stayed home, voted third party, or split along other lines, he’d have been super-boned.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

                Are we defining Trump Supporters as people who actively rallied for him? Or just people who voted for him?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I’d suggest that the term “Trump supporter” apply only to people who voted for him in the primary as well as the general election. (Which is what? 17% of the electorate?)

                And even those people mighta been voting for what they viewed as the least worst option.

                Add: Democracy: the least worst option.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Actively rallied, which I peg at about half of his final total in the general, maybe a bit less. His primary vote share was 45%. That tracks with the various measures of “strong support” he has in post-election polling (which has been hovering in the low 20s).Report

              • Nevermoor in reply to pillsy says:

                I think this is one of the hardest parts about having conversations on this point. First, everyone’s a little bit. So talking about racism isn’t some sort of “othering.” For example, I just took the IAT on this to remind myself and scored a “Your data suggest a strong automatic preference for White people over Black people.”

                Now, I suspect no one thinks I’m a white supremacist under pillsy’s definition. I don’t sit around denigrating other races. I don’t think black people are lazy/stupid/etc. But when you take that test you can feel what it’s measuring and the result is unsurprising given that feeling. So what do you do next? You could whine about the test, say it’s unfair, that those jerks at Harvard don’t know what they’re talking about, that it’s stupid anyway, and how dare they?!? Or you could take the results seriously, think about what it means that everyone’s a little bit racist (and used to be a lot more overtly so), and apply that to policy going forward.

                I suspect where I land on that choice is obvious.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Nevermoor says:

                While I agree with the general point, I’ve seen a fair amount of reasonably convincing stuff casting doubt on IATs, like this article from Jesse Singal.Report

              • Nevermoor in reply to pillsy says:

                It’s certainly a fair critique. But I think, at least for me, it’s measuring something real (in the sense that I can feel it happening taking the test). I very much hope that article is correct that the thing being measured in fact does not lead to real-world actions motivated by that thing.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Nevermoor says:

                @nevermoor I don’t disagree with your main point, however the IAT indicates how strong someone’s implicit associations are and not how racist they are. Often the two will line up, however they don’t always. For eg if someone is a person of color and has been beaten about the brain for decades with particular implicit associations, they will be *highly aware* of those implicit associations, constantly engaged with them, and may combat them very actively – but score higher on the test than a white person who is just relatively uninterested and oblivious to the problems that people of color face. I don’t think it’s fair to tell that activist person of color they’re racist, and it’s also not something the test actually purports to measure (although it usually gets misapplied that way, sometimes even by the makers of the test).

                I say this as someone whose implicit associations favor black people slightly strongly every time and have since before people really knew what an IAT was (I was one of the test populations for the original online version).

                I also say this as someone whose brain is very full of implicit associations about *herself* that were ground into her, and who would very much resent you telling her that is in any way equivalent to her actually believing them, or acting on them out in the world in the cases where they might apply to larger groups, in any meaningful sense. I think most victims of serious childhood abuse would feel the same. (If anything I’m biased in favor of these folks that I identify with, and have to be aware of that in situations where a bias would be a big problem – I’m not biased against ’em.)Report

              • Nevermoor in reply to Maribou says:

                That’s a fair point, and I’m not saying I’m strongly racist (at least under any definition that steps away from that test result). But that’s my point, and the problem. If I’m interviewing someone for a job who is black, and I come away not thinking they’re a “good fit,” that could be for any number of reasons. One could be that I’m objectively right. Another could be that I’m objectively wrong, and my bias is the problem. A third could be that I’m objectively wrong, and my desire to hire people who remind me of me is the problem. Etc. Etc.

                But I need to know how my brain works, and be willing to admit the same, in order to have any hope at all of not rejecting the best candidate for a stupid reason. (And, of course, the lesson generalizes outside the interviewing context.)

                And, of course, stepping back to the comment that I was responding to, that makes the semantic argument about where the “racist” line is a whole lot less meaningful and interesting than just admitting that everyone is (at least) a little bit racist under an expansive definition so we can move forward to how we deal with that. Strikes me as a far better approach than the guy @pillsy quoted, at least.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Nevermoor says:

                @nevermoor I actually worry a *lot* about using the IAT to prove that everyone is a little bit racist, not because I disagree that we are but because using really bad science to win an argument is likely to not produce lasting conversions and to harden those who weren’t already inclined to be persuaded.

                My tendency to be biased in favor of black people (and Muslims and women working outside the home and etc etc etc, it’s actually kind of an amusing quirk of mine apparently) when I take an IAT doesn’t mean I don’t have implicit biases *in the other direction* (I do my best not to but I still pull my brain apart anytime I even sniff the hint of one, trying to expose and counter it), and simplifying things to IAT scores is really mistaken.

                As I said, I 100 percent agree with your main point. Just respectfully suggesting it would actually be stronger, not weaker, without the IAT claim. Because the IAT claim falls apart so easily for so many people that it ends up being a shoot ’em in the foot kind of argument.

                If we were all using the IAT as a self-reflection tool and to alert us to what we’re swimming in like fish in water, as it is prescribed to be used, that would be one thing. *But even the purveyors of the test who say we should, don’t do that.*Report

              • Nevermoor in reply to Maribou says:

                Fair enough. For me it’s a valuable experience for that reason, but if that’s not a generalizable experience I certainly agree with you that the rest of what I said is right either way.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Nevermoor says:

                For whatever it’s worth, I think its efficacy is generally looked down upon in social science circles. I can flag Chris down, if you’d like me to.Report

              • Nevermoor in reply to Will Truman says:

                I mean, I’m interested generally because the first time I did that test represented a meaningful moment in my personal development, but I’m not suggestion that because X% of people score Y therefore Z, so critiques about use of the test to predict real world behavior (assuming they are completely correct, as I have no reason to doubt) aren’t really on point to that story.

                If, by contrast, it didn’t measure anything and was essentially no different from a “does he like me” test in some supermarket magazine, I’d certainly prefer to know that rather than hide from it.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Nevermoor says:

                @nevermoor Sorry to be so rabid – it’s not just the intellectual objection, but I’ve just seen it used in ways that do harm a lot. People of color beating up on themselves about their “secret racism” when they Are. Amazing. Anti-Racists, a victim of pedophilia (not me, but a close friend) being put through a version designed around pedophilic desires as a “screening test” for the priesthood (she’s a priest now, but it almost last-straw chased her out of the church) … it’s f’d up a lot of things.

                It seems to me like the sort of thing that people who have zero testing anxiety (ie a bunch of highly educated harvard profs) think it’s good to put other people through, rather than the neutral-to-useful tool it’s generally represented as being. FWIW I have fewer issues with its use in CEO / trustee settings, given that neither of those groups of people are as likely to experience psychological harm from being required to take it.Report

              • Nevermoor in reply to Maribou says:

                Hey, fair enough. Its clear there’s a lot of background on this one I hadn’t heard about. For me, it was a valuable thing to do personally so it seems like it should be valuable to others (it’s part of how I got to be honest with myself about the substance of my comment), but I certainly didn’t risk psychological harm from being required to take it.Report

          • pillsy in reply to Maribou says:

            I don’t personally think Hillary Clinton is any more or any less racist than the average Trump voter (a point Coates also addresses when he talks about her rhetoric during the 2008 campaign).

            I don’t really know how this can be true, not because I think HRC is innocent of racism (Coates’ point about 2008 is well taken) but because it sort of glides past how ~50% of Trump’s supporters (like Trump himself) believe in deranged racist conspiracy theories and the like.Report

            • Maribou in reply to pillsy says:

              1) math: taking your percentage as a given, if about 50 percent of Trump’s supporters are nut jobs on the race front, that leaves still another 50 percent that are of unknown amounts of racism. the trump voters i know (only a handful) are passively racist or even *actively* anti-racist and have some other kooky theory as to why they wanted Trump to win.

              2) There are a million different ways to be racist. I don’t think that someone who is as educated and as advantaged as Hillary, making the racist decisions that she has had the power to make and has made (eg the whole superpredator debacle, even more powerful eg, many of her hawkish decisions / advice to the President as Sec. of State), is necessarily less racist than someone who lives in a 99 percent + white county, and then embraces a lot of deranged racist conspiracy theories that may or may not have any relationship to how they would actually treat black people if they knew any. Which racism is worse could be measured by “how much negative difference has this one person made? how much positive difference could they have made and failed to do so?” as easily as by “how well has this person figured out what to say when it’s politically convenient for them to do so?”

              Basing this more on my experience of people I actually known than on any personal knowledge of a) HRC or b) people-who-believe-deranged-racist-conspiracy-theories, so I’m entirely agnostic on how right I am. Which was kind of my *point* in saying I don’t personally think she’s more or less racist….

              Does that make more sense to you when spelled out like so?Report

              • pillsy in reply to Maribou says:

                Which was kind of my *point* in saying I don’t personally think she’s more or less racist….

                Well, my objection was mostly nitpicking about math, because that’s how I roll. But as a statement of agnosticism, sure.Report

        • pillsy in reply to Dan d says:

          In other words the yuppies and hipsters are justified in looking down their noses at me.

          That is an impressively bizarre reading of the sentence in question, both in and out of context.Report

      • Dan d in reply to pillsy says:

        That black people, who have lived for centuries under such derision and condescension, have not yet been driven into the arms of Trump does not trouble these theoreticians.

        Toronto’s black population were Rob Ford’s strongest supporters.Report

      • Dan d in reply to pillsy says:

        When a woman “exploded” and told Packer, “I want to eat what I want to eat, and for them to tell me I can’t eat French fries or Coca-Cola—no way,” he sees this as a rebellion against “the moral superiority of elites.” In fact, this elite conspiracy dates back to 1894, when the government first began advising Americans on their diets. As recently as 2002, President George W. Bush launched the HealthierUS initiative, urging Americans to exercise and eat healthy food. But Packer never allows himself to wonder whether the explosion he witnessed had anything to do with the fact that similar advice now came from the country’s first black first lady.

        Because no on objected when Bloomberg was pushing the same stuff. In Coats’s world objection to food snobbery must be motivated by racism. What a jerk. I’m really sick of this crap.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Dan d says:

          To Coates, West Virginia’s voting shift (Hillary vs Obama, Hillary vs Trump) is explained entirely by their extreme racism. Candidates’ positions on the future of coal and their apparent opinions of coal miners had nothing to do with it.Report

          • Maribou in reply to George Turner says:

            @george-turner I’m not so sure how important this point is to Coates’ overall thesis, but it’s a good point nonetheless.

            I’m not sure how their apparent opinions of coal miners line up with their *actual* opinions of coal miners – I can certainly see an argument that respecting a coal miner means being honest with him, and not feeding him a line of self-serving bullhocky – but as long as Trump’s smoke and mirrors and cash-flashing (since when are subsidies a tool of conservative government? and how does subsidizing Western coal help Southern Appalachian miners?) do the job, he’s got a lock on the majority of miners’ votes.Report

    • Koz in reply to Nevermoor says:

      This is one helluva job by TNC.

      Really, what’d you like about it? Like, seriously. I have a higher opinion of Coates than most conservatives I read, but that opinion is being in the process of being adjusted downward. He’s increasingly turning into a clownshow. This latest effort was really disappointing.Report

      • notme in reply to Koz says:

        As far as I can tell, TNC is a one trick pony. It’s always about reparations, white people and that the problems of black America are someone else’s fault.Report

        • LTL FTC in reply to notme says:

          “TNC thinks phenomenon is completely explained by white supremacy, is half-right, woke whites genuflect” is a headline that can be run a week after the release of any one of his 10k word thinkpieces.

          He was far, far more interesting as an inquisitive blogger than a polemicist, if only because he has exactly one polemic he writes over and over again. R.L. Stephens takes aim at this from the left here.Report

        • Nevermoor in reply to notme says:

          And yet this article is not about two of those three things, so maybe you should re-read it.Report

      • Nevermoor in reply to Koz says:

        Well, it’s impressively well written, it makes an argument that I haven’t heard much of (he is, at minimum, correct that the main analysis of Trump’s victory is that he mobilized support among working class whites), and it supports it both by connections to data and to TNC’s larger analysis of American society.

        I certainly think the high-level analysis does a pretty good job of explaining the world I’m observing.

        What didn’t you like about it?Report

        • Koz in reply to Nevermoor says:

          Before Barack Obama, niggers could be manufactured out of Sister Souljahs, Willie Hortons, and Dusky Sallys. But Donald Trump arrived in the wake of something more potent—an entire n****r presidency with n****r health care, n****r climate accords, and n****r justice reform, all of which could be targeted for destruction or redemption, thus reifying the idea of being white. Trump truly is something new—the first president whose entire political existence hinges on the fact of a black president. And so it will not suffice to say that Trump is a white man like all the others who rose to become president. He must be called by his rightful honorific—America’s first white president.

          Just embarrassingly bad, and even worse is the way his white lib fans want to cheerlead for it.Report

          • Maribou in reply to Koz says:

            But what’s bad *about* it, @koz? Right now, you’re saying … what?

            (I’m not dismissing your opinion, I’m just of the opinion that you and @Nevermoor can go back and forth trading “well-written” and “embarrassingly bad” all night and you’ll never get further than the trivial insight that one person’s well-written is another’s dungheap…)Report

            • Koz in reply to Maribou says:

              Ok, right. It is embarrassingly bad the way Coates connects the racial context of Sister Souljah, Willie Horton, Sally Hemings, and the Presidency of Barack Obama (specifically health care reform, climate change agreements, and criminal justice reform), considering there is little or no common thread between them, and in fact Coates never makes any argument otherwise.

              It is further embarrassingly bad the way Coates attempts to connect these things to Donald Trump who has little or no connection to any of them, and then ignores the changes in our economy and culture which created the plausibility for Donald Trump to become President which have little or nothing to do race, and even less to do with race as Coates describes it.

              It is further embarrassingly for the white lib cheerleaders such as a good fraction of the commentariat here to cheerlead things like this most recent piece from Coates, typically as a mindless exercise in self-alienation from mainstream America.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Koz says:

                @koz Thank you, that’s an argument people can agree with or disagree with.

                I would generally expect that you don’t cast aspersions on the motives of other commenters in the aggregate or individually (“typically as a mindless exercise in self-alienation from mainstream America.”), but given that you were asked both to state your opinion and to expand on it, I’ll allow it. I mean, we did *ASK*.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Nevermoor says:

          TNC opened his piece with “His political career began in advocacy of birtherism, that modern recasting of the old American precept that black people are not fit to be citizens of the country they built.

          Well, what’s wrong with that sentence? Pretty much ever clause and premise.

          Trump’s political career didn’t begin with birtherism. He spent $100,000 to run an ad saying “America should stop paying to defend countries that can afford to defend themselves and should present Western Europe and Japan with a bill for America’s efforts to safeguard the passage of oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.” He did that in 1987. Nobody knew who Obama was back then. Ronald Reagan was President. Trump considered running for President the very next year, and kept that option open. He twice considered running for governor of New York. Bill and Hillary attended his wedding. He’s always hobnobbed with powerful politicians, he’s always delved into politics.

          Onward. Birtherism has nothing to do with black people, it has to do with whether someone was a natural born subject or not. It is not a recasting of anything. It goes all the way back in English law until there’s almost no English law recorded, and then it goes back further into Medieval history.

          In the US, Chester A Arthur was its first victim. A lawyer who bitterly hated him claimed Arthur was born in Canada, because nobody born in Canada can ever be President, including Ted Cruz. Barry Goldwater was another target, being the sole example of an American Presidential candidate who was born on the Western frontier prior to a territory’s statehood. Note that the case didn’t hinge on whether both of Goldwater’s parents were citizens, they were. It hinged on whether a territory counted as being within the United States for natural born citizenship. Then came John McCain, who was born in the Panama Canal Territory. The arguments hinge on whether someone was born on US soil, and that goes back to English common law, especially Calvin’s Case of 1608.

          In Obama’s case, the question was whether he was really born in Hawaii. That was the only question. It would apply to any candidate, no matter how white, and no matter if both parents were US citizens. If US citizens have a kid while vacationing in France, the kid can never be President without amending the Constitution. Even Winston Churchill said as much, as have legal scholars since the Revolution.

          And who started Birtherism regarding Obama? Hillary’s people back in 2008. Trump is the man who put the issue to rest.

          And finally, birtherism has nothing to do with the concept that black people are not fit to be citizens of the country they built. Those questions were decided with the Civil War, subsequent amendments, and all that followed. Long prior to the war most of the North had no problem with blacks being citizens, nor with Jews being citizens after a few bumps in New England. Birtherism is purely about who had sovereignty over the dirt you were born on. Whether you were born in a part of the US under British occupation during the War of 1812 would be a good birther question. If you were born in Alabama there’s not even anything to discuss.

          Other questions were more subtle. Were Indians citizens? What if they were taxed? What if they were born on a reservation? Are they natural born citizens? All these were legal questions that we resolved. An early answer from the Supreme Court was that Native Americans (white folks) are citizens, Indians born on reservations under tribal government can become naturalized citizens, and Indians born under state government are natural born citizens. Eventually we just declared them all natural born citizens by saying that the Indian lands are US soil for Constitutional purposes, just as we did for Puerto Rico and Guam. Ironically, we declared the Indians to be Native Americans just like us, and a tomato is a vegetable by law.

          And of course if blacks built the country, which he just slipped in at the end, how come it came out looking like England instead of a typical African town from the 1700’s? How did the North get built? The answer is that everybody built this country in one way or another. He just wants to claim its construction for one and only one race.

          So, that’s what I found wrong with “His political career began in advocacy of birtherism, that modern recasting of the old American precept that black people are not fit to be citizens of the country they built.

          Holy smokes. That opener is followed by another sentence! This will take a while.Report

          • Maribou in reply to George Turner says:

            @george-turner I don’t even know what to think about a comment where well over 90 percent of it is extremely well constructed and well argued, totally the sort of comment we value, and one sentence says that “Trump is the man who put the issue to rest.” Which is just baldly not factual and twisting the situation. He DID, but only after beating it into the ground for a really really really long time. A time that extended well past the 2011 date where he claims to have forced Obama to show the country his birth certificate. If he put it to rest, he put it to rest because it had served him until it couldn’t run no more.

            You puzzle me, man.Report

            • George Turner in reply to Maribou says:

              That’s a simple response to the birtherism charges that were flung at him from the Hillary camp. The issue was going to fester forever until someone with sufficient weight raised enough of a ruckus to get Obama to release the certificate. Obama’s position was that the charge was too ludicrous to stoop down to address, but that was leaving the issue out there, No other politician in either party had the guts to do what Trump did. The quickest way to figure out a Schrodinger’s cat speculation is to simply look. So we looked, the question got resolved, and the birthers are now few and far between compared to before.

              There is a fringe element of them that think Obama is disqualified because his father wasn’t a US citizen, but that’s another argument that’s not supported in law. Unfortunately, that group screwed up the cases against Ted Cruz’s eligibility in the primaries (I corresponded with the lawyer handling those cases) because he and his cohorts keep relying on an early Swiss book on citizenship that holds that both parents must also be natural born citizens at the time of birth to produce a natural born citizen. That’s not how English or American common law works, and his book was very obscure when the Constitution was written. In contrast, Blackstone had explained natural born subjects quite clearly.

              Interestingly, when you dig into it deeply, common law has three kinds of people; aliens, denizens, and citizens. Natural (native) citizens are those born on the sovereign’s soil. Naturalization is making an alien or denizen like a natual born citizen in almost all respects.

              A denizen is someone whose rights are in between an alien and a citizen. They can be taxed differently and can’t vote or hold office. In England, the Parliament made subjects but only the king could make denizens, and the most common way to grant trade rights to Jews in England and England’s colonies was denization. In the US, the right to make naturalized citizens was reserved to Congress, but the right to make denizens was reserved to the states by omission. Since the adoption of the Constitution no state has ever come out and said they were making a denizen because the idea was to make all immigrants into citizens. It’s a forgotten power.

              It could be important though, because what DACA is really talking about is denization, the granting of rights short of full citizenship, with terms attached, such as the right to remain, the right to do business, etc. The legal arguments over where that power actually is would be extremely interesting. In 1803 St. George Tucker, one of our earliest and most pre-eminent legal scholars, said it absolutely resided with the states. Nobody has really brought it up since.Report

              • greginak in reply to George Turner says:

                You do know the definition of Bull Spit right? Stuff that everybody knows is a lie but someone insists on saying like it is true. Nobody is even meant to believe the BS.Report

              • George Turner in reply to greginak says:

                CNN’s list of 14 Trump birther comments

                It was an issue because Obama had claimed he was born in Kenya.

                Now the real importance during 2016 was that if being born in Kenya to an American mom would be disqualifying for the Presidency, so would being born in Canada to an American mom. There’s no way Hillary wouldn’t go straight there if Trump got knocked out by Cruz.

                You can bet the DNC had lawyers and judges lined up and waiting for Cruz to win the nomination, and you can bet people like Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Reince Priebus, and John Kasich were salivating because as soon as Hillary won the case, which she would before the right judge, they’d get to go into a smoke filled room, laugh maniacally, and pick a replacement candidate that wasn’t Trump or Cruz.

                Would Trump go there? He did go there, repeatedly. Is it because he’s a racist who hates Canadians? Are Canadians even a separate race?

                Meanwhile, until that all played out, Hillary would get to keep calling Trump a racist. It’s not a racist issue. The Founders would have much preferred a President born in Kenya to one born in Canada or England, because Kenya wouldn’t be a threat to the US.

                The birth issue concerns allegiance. The view back then was that a person maintained a primary and lifelong allegiance to the sovereign that protected them in infancy. They could develop other allegiances, but those would never be as strong as the first. Anyone born outside the United States can never be completely trusted with the powers of the Presidency. They worried about that, because a President whose true loyalty was to Great Britain could also misdeploy US forces responding to an English invasion, especially one from Canada, while the only mechanism to remove such a President is the slow political work of impeachment.

                They only put three requirements on the Presidency: 35 years old, 14 years a resident, and a natural born citizen. The British had similar requirements for the Privy Council, but had special laws so sovereigns could be born in places like France because kings were often occupying each other’s territory, and also intermarrying. The Founders noted that those exceptions had cost a lot of European countries their freedom, as a royal match results in a sovereign born and raised in an enemy nation. It’s basic Game of Thrones stuff.

                None of that here. We’ve had some of that at the state level regarding residency requirements for high office. The result is that a particular governor can be erased from ever having held office, their acts nullified because they were never really what they claimed and never really in office. So it’s really important that all the i’s are dotted and all the t’s are crossed.

                And it’s not a difficult concept because, coming from the common law, we all naturally share it. We still use it at the state level. A native born Floridian is someone born in Florida. It’s not something that can be passed through blood. Two Floridians can’t have a baby in New York and have that baby be a native Floridian because the baby is from New York. It doesn’t matter where his parents were from, or if they had citizenship in the state. It’s cut and dried except in cases of military occupation, and there are a ton of court cases on that, too.

                Many American parents on overseas US military bases have been told that their children born on base can’t run for President. Now, I would take that one all the way to the Supreme Court and suggest a simple test for such citizens.

                1) You’re living on a military base. What flag flies over it?
                2) You have a baby in the hospital. What flag flies over it?
                3) You take the baby home, think you hear a burglar, and call the police. What flag do the police or MP’s wear on their arm?
                4) The cops notice something and arrest you. They take you to the jail. What flag flies over that jail?
                5) You are taken into court. What flag is behind the judge?

                If the answer to all five questions is the American Flag, the baby is a natural born citizen because he was born under the complete sovereignty of the United States, regardless of geographic location, and sovereignty is the heart of what the common law was trying to get at.

                If you pursued that further, however, you’d certainly conclude that where a person was born, though perhaps important, isn’t nearly important as where they spent their childhood. That’s when you learn your language, get your sense of community, and figure out the ways of the world. It’s where your worldview comes from and where your loyalties form.

                A better Constitutional requirement would simply be to drop the natural born citizen requirement and rewrite the 14 year residency requirement to say “14 of the first 21 years spent on US soil”, where soil is anything passing the flag test above. Something like that might also solve the Dreamer problem.

                But it would have disqualified Obama, and perhaps rightly so. One thing that dogged him was the question of whether he was loyal to the US because he was raised in Indonesia. The whole “57 states” thing and a lot of other incidents that left many wondering what team he was playing for. That’s not racism. The English had expressed those same doubts for centuries about anyone born and raised abroad. The feeling was that such people could never be fully trusted with power (based on lots of examples), and those instinctive notions produced the common law which we inherited. We only want to be ruled by one of us, not someone who just shows up from somewhere else. You can change the law, but you can’t change the gut feeling.

                Sorry for going off on a tangent, but to dismiss birtherism as purely racist, much less even a little racist, is nonsense. It’s a deep issue that digs into who we are relative to people who come from abroad.Report

              • Maribou in reply to George Turner says:

                @george-turner, birtherism in general is not racist, though it is (tautologically) xenophobic (perhaps for good reason, as you describe). The claim that the birther movement *around Obama* is racist relies on an implied claim – implied because so often made before that people generally assume it’s understood by now, whether or not one agrees with it – that were he not black, the furore around the topic would have died down with a lot less effort, *particularly* after 2011, and people would not be continuing to spout all kinds of misinformation about birtherism.

                To address just one such claim that you yourself have chosen to repeat, Obama did not and thus has never been proven to have claimed to be born in Kenya. His literary agent f’d up because that’s what they do when they’re rushing through blurbs, lord knows I’ve complained about how cruddy and inaccurate such blurbs are many many times.

                Please embrace the use of . They’re quite value-neutral and they’re very diligent. It’s tiresome and unnecessary for you to build arguments around easily snopes-able claims. In this particular case your tangent was a lot more interesting (and more pertinent to your criticism of Coates) than your dubious claims about Trump and Obama were.Report

              • KenB in reply to Maribou says:

                were he not black, the furore around the topic would have died down with a lot less effort,

                Note that (a) this is not a provable assertion; and (b) it says nothing about any particular person’s motivation for supporting/promoting birtherism. So pointing to Trump’s promoting birtherism as proof of his alleged racism doesn’t get us anywhere, because the idea that his support of it is based on racism is itself an allegation and not a fact.

                In general, those on the left should watch out for this sort of circular argument — because Republicans are assumed to be racists, anything they say or do that could possibly be interpreted as being motivated by racism is taken to be in fact racist; and then those same actions are used as additional support for the thesis that Republicans are racist.Report

              • Maribou in reply to KenB says:

                @kenb My personal “why Trump is a problem” speech depends on a lot of things, but rarely “because he’s racist,” (even though I do believe it strongly to be true) – for this reason among others. I mean, also there are more effective examples of “Trump is a racist,” if that’s where you want to put your argument.

                What I was saying to George is that dinging Coates in the ways that he was ignores the sphere in which Coates is moving, a sphere in which that argument has already been had and people largely agree with him about it.Report

              • KenB in reply to Maribou says:

                Sure, I wasn’t attributing that argument to you personally, but it does come up around here from time to time.

                I’m not sure I understand your defense of TNC though — it’s certainly understandable that he would make such a claim, but it still seems fair to criticize him for treating an ideological assumption as if it were a fact; or was his article specifically directed at liberals?Report

              • Maribou in reply to KenB says:

                @kenb Coates is (quite obviously) writing for people who already accept that the Birther Movement around Obama existed in the manner that it does for structural reasons having to do with Obama’s race. He’s trying to shift their thinking, not the thinking of folks who still haven’t accepted that, for example, Obama didn’t lie about being born here.

                I was telling George, in perhaps an overly indirect manner since I obviously confused you, that expecting Coates to relitigate the entire history of Trump’s involvement in said movement and its motives from scratch, given *whom he’s trying to persuade*, is a misunderstanding of how people write essays. Coates doesn’t have to start from “let me quote snopes for you” when that isn’t the thrust or the goal of his essay.

                There’s plenty of room to disagree on the merits about the essay or even that first sentence.

                But my actual purpose with that comment, *truly*, was merely to give George a headsup that throwing in statements that are untrue – not just unproveable interpretations, but contrafactual despite plenty of facts being available – is a problem. That we don’t want to have to litigate consensus reality on a regular basis and stuff like: Obama lied and said he was born in Kenya, or Trump is the one who laid the birther movement to rest, is outside our consensus reality to the point where he needs to stop harping on it. These particular examples were part of the pattern I’m trying to get him to quit.Report

              • KenB in reply to Maribou says:

                Fair enough, I didn’t read the TNC article, was just going by the discussion here.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Maribou says:

                It’s tiresome and unnecessary for you to build arguments around easily snopes-able claims.

                This is why liberals are losing.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Stillwater says:

                @stillwater What is?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Maribou says:

                That George, who’s a master bullshitter btw, engages in world-building to justify his pro-Trumpian/conservative views while the liberal response is “check You’ll see you’re wrong.”

                Add: when I say he’s a master bullshitter I mean it as a compliment. He’s not a deluded kool-aid drinker. He knows exactly what he’s doing.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Stillwater says:



                See, I think you misunderstood the character of the conversation.

                George, with whom I have been engaged in a fairly long series of engagements this week that mostly – not exclusively by any means – took the tone “Stop doing this certain pattern of behavior or I will suspend you,” appears to me to have been moderating his behavior accordingly or at least trying to learn to do so. He has also disclosed that he suffers from PTSD (something that resonates with me based on similarities between his behavior when on tilt and mine when I’m beset with symptoms).

                The world-building you mention is, on this topic, while not at all my perspective, mostly based on historical fact. George seems as an individual to be someone who cares about historical facts.

                So me telling him that he needs to spend more time with snopes wasn’t me engaging in a futile argument as a liberal. (FWIW I’m not even a liberal! I’m a canadian new democrat pragmatically and a social anarchist daydreaming-ly.)

                It was me continuing to try to assist him to make comments that actually meet our standards because that is part of my job as a community editor, when I feel like someone IS making an effort. Which he seems to have been, lately.

                Another part of my job is to suspend and/or ban when I see that it’s not going to work OR when they cross a really bright line that just isn’t walk-back-from-able.

                I let everyone start from scratch when I took over as community editor.

                @george-turner is either going to shape up or ship out and me telling him that he needs to spend some time with snopes is part of that effort. If he doesn’t, and keeps posting things that are easily identifiable as conspiracy theories aka straight up lies, he won’t be around here much. And there are things he posted in the past that would get him insta-suspended or insta-banned right now.

                But at the moment, on this topic, I’m in problem-solving mode and not suspending/banning mode.

                And definitely not in liberal-argument mode.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Maribou says:


                I read some of ya’lls discussion (from 8/31) and get what you’re getting at. It ain’t about politics. Lotta stuff going on there and obvs much more important than an analysis of political narratives. Don’t know quite what to say about it all. Tragic. I hope the best for George.Report

              • KenB in reply to Stillwater says:

                FWIW I don’t think George is a bullshitter in the sense that he expects people to believe what he’s saying — he riffs and says things facetiously, but that sort of humor is often misinterpreted when crossing an ideological border.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to KenB says:

                that’s plausible, tho I think the bullshitting part isn’t so much to get you to agree with his affirmative views as to undermine another person’s beliefs. Something like a nihilistic positive agenda.Report

            • Dave in reply to Maribou says:

              @George Turner I don’t even know what to think about a comment where well over 90 percent of it is extremely well constructed and well argued, totally the sort of comment we value, and one sentence says that “Trump is the man who put the issue to rest.”Which is just baldly not factual and twisting the situation. He DID, but only after beating it into the ground for a really really really long time.A time that extended well past the 2011 date where he claims to have forced Obama to show the country his birth certificate. If he put it to rest, he put it to rest because it had served him until it couldn’t run no more.

              You puzzle me, man.

              If I may help you with that.

              I find people that need to construct a long-winded crap comment in order to hide something as stupid as fish comment and then has to write even more long-winded crap comments to defend it under some veneer of civil discourse to be (insult redacted by Maribou) and I have no problem calling them out (insult redacted by Maribou).

              I neither the time, nor patience, nor tolerance, nor respect for the bullshit I’ve seen and I have no problem calling it.

              Thank goodness that bullshit isn’t stinking up the place in my posts.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Dave says:

                @dave That is one plausible argument. Not the only plausible argument and I’ve been considering all of them. And trying to work with @george-turner to see if he can run with what we need from our commenters or not.

                In the meantime, please desist from calling him names. Ignoring the commenting policy because you feel like someone doesn’t meet the rules just leads to more drama and it’s definitely not civil.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Nevermoor says:

      Lana Del Raytheon had a well-received twitterstorm on the TNC post that I thought was pretty interesting.

      The main point was that his essay was, quote, “beautiful, but deeply limited analysis that only comforts the already comfortable.” (And the storm goes on for a while after that making points in support of the thesis.)

      Of course, the fundamental assumption of the thesis comes from a position that the root problem is Capitalism in the first place and we’re never going to address White Supremacy until we destroy Capitalism and so if you’re not particularly Marxist anymore, you’re probably not particularly likely to see her conclusion as anything but toothless.

      But I can’t help but notice that “It’s not identity politics, it’s *CLASS*!” (with or without a “stupid!” at the end there) seems to be coming back.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        I think there’s another analysis: that the essay only comforts those who are comfortable in their discomfort. Much like the reparations essay TNC promoted earlier, it ain’a gon happen.

        More seriously, tho, I think TNC’s white-community-temperature-reading instruments weren’t calibrated accurately. Identity politics lead to fracturing not coherence. Conservatives own that platitude. And that’s the problem.Report

      • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

        It comes and goes. Usually it reads to me as, “Stop caring about those identities and care about these identities instead!”Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

        When you talk about neoconservative and neoliberal horrors of the Obama administration, you are also only talking to hear yourself talk, and comforting the comfortable, just a different set of comfortable.

        (And I have my criticisms of the Obama admin, and thought the TNC piece was meh)Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

          So I’ve been thinking about this and while it’s a good point, I’m trying to imagine a set of positions about which this criticism would not be true.Report

          • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

            1. I don’t actually think this sort of “comforting the comfortable” is particularly bad. It serves a number of useful political purposes to address people who largely agree with your basic position, and I think that’s applies to both Mr Coates’ essay, and Ms del Raytheon’s Tweetstorm.

            2. Sometimes people really do try to construct arguments that are directed at the unconverted and unconvinced. It’s hard, though, because you have to understand the people who aren’t convinced well enough to address their specific objections and hesitations, and in doing so you will almost certainly have to forego the arguments you find most persuasive yourself.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

              I’m familiar with the argument that it is important to preach to the choir as well.

              I mean, hey. The choir shows up every dang week. They deserve a sermon for them every once in a while.

              The problem is that we’ve got two different churches here.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                We’ve got more than two. The different denominations of Libertarianism alone remind me of that Emo Phillips religion joke.

                Still, religious education is all to the best. It helps to be familiar with other creeds. Especially when you want to try your hand at arguments of the second type.Report

      • trizzlor in reply to Jaybird says:

        This election has been regurgitated and re-digested so many times and yet people are still finding ways to talk right past each other:

        Coates: Trump’s victory is a reflection of ingrained racism that is not explained by class.
        Lana: Beautiful essay, but why you not say the solution to Trump is a classless society?

        Del Raytheon’s subsequent claim that Jeff Sessions is just a continuation of Eric Holder is about as clear a demonstration of lefties being blinded by class as you could find. But the strangest part is her claiming that Coates just wants to sit around and complain without proposing solutions, even though Coates wrote a massive, widely-read, front-page piece on reparations. A piece that proposed multiple actions, down to a specific bill up for vote in Congress. I mean, why even bother framing this as a response to Coates piece when it’s just a literal cut-and-paste of the materialist argument made in response to every single modern political event.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to trizzlor says:

          I mean, why even bother framing this as a response to Coates piece when it’s just a literal cut-and-paste of the materialist argument made in response to every single modern political event.

          Why? Because the cool game in town is MetaPolitics. Inaccessible and ever-elusive reality doesn’t matter so much anymore*.

          (Which is why we have Trump.)

          * Channeling Orwell: “What is this strangeness which obtains in front of my nose?”Report

        • Jaybird in reply to trizzlor says:

          In fairness to them, they made a lot of subsequent claims. More than just about how Holder’s embrace of high finance hurt just as many people as Sessions’ racism will.

          These claims include Obama’s embrace of arms deals with the Saudis, the fact that Obama deported more undocumented immigrants who just wanted a better life for themselves and their children than any other president in history, Obama’s failure to prosecute banks for illegal activities… and, of course, how Trump did better with POCs than Romney did. (Heck, they even pointed out how Holder now has a sinecure with a Law Firm that lobbies on behalf of big banks.)

          Lana’s tweetstorm wasn’t about creating a classless society. It was about how solidarity will do more to address racism than identity politics will… and it even gave Fred Hampton as an example.

          I’ve got no problem with the argument that Lana is making the same mistake that Ta-Nehisi is by preaching to the choir instead of to the heathen… but arguing that Lana is arguing for some utopian classless society isn’t fair to the points that she’s making.Report

          • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

            Not a major point but as i remember the numbers Clinton did as well as a typical D, except for Obama, did with POC. Obama did better with blacks then previous D’s, Clinton, and therefor Trump, was just a regression to the mean.Report

            • Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

              On the other hand, lots of Obama-voting Ds switched to Trump last year. I’d guess that lots of those were from a) hispanics and b) the ill-defined WWC.

              Hillary, on the third hand, undoubtedly was the beneficiary of lots of trad. conservative voters (ie., pro business/trade folks) switching sides as well. But that never seems to get as much attention as the Obama-Dem defectors.Report

              • Nevermoor in reply to Stillwater says:

                Can you explain the reference to WWC? Is it because there’s a reason to believe the move to Trump among whites was isolated there?

                Asking out of genuine curiosity, as that would be a pretty strong response to that part of TNC’s article.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Nevermoor says:

                The general perception is that Trump gained non-college whites and lost college whites. This corresponds with the mythology, of course, but not just that. If Trump made gains among non-college whites then he must have had losses among college whites, because his 20-point margin among whites was the same as Romney’s. Beyond that, it correlates with what we’ve seen among country data, where non-college white population had some predictive value over swing, even in not-entirely-expected places such as Rhode Island and Maine.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Nevermoor says:

                Not sure it’s a response to TNC’s thesis, but there’s data suggesting that lots of people in the (scarequotes) “WWC” who voted for Obama in 08/12 voted Trump in 16. At the margin, such data is at least a prima facie case that racism wasn’t the primary motivator of those voters, since they voted for the black guy at least once before. And by some lights, there were a sufficient number of those voters to flip the election to Trump.

                Add: Point being, that even tho there’s a very pronounced racist element to American politics Trump’s election isn’t necessarily a signal that he’s the first “white” president.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Stillwater says:

                Relatedly, I trust David Shor on all things elections-data, and he made this comment that relates to your above one and fits into this thread:


              • Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

                Yes, that. The guy didn’t cite the specific data but it’s in line with the idea that voters didn’t like Clinton more than they liked Trump.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Stillwater says:

                I think people tend to over-interpret the fact that many of them voted for Obama once or even twice. It suggests a lower prevalence of racism thank among people who didn’t vote for Obama at all, but it’s not of an iron-clad guarantee. It’s common for bigots to make exceptions for “the good ones”, and Obama, in terms of his biography, his rhetoric, and his personal life, fit well into the role “one of the good ones”.

                On the other hand, as I state from time to time, the case is, I think, much clearer and more damning about racism driving Trump’s primary victory, as there the racism was one of the most significant things that differentiated him from other candidates, and other explanations (partisanship, antipathy for Hillary, desire for “change”) are much less applicable.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to pillsy says:

                Some people didn’t vote for Obama because he was black. Some other people voted for him but not for Clinton and their behavior is now being subsumed by a critique in which their voting behavior is racist-motivated. Doesn’t make any sense to me.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Stillwater says:

                Some people didn’t vote for Obama because he was black.

                Others did vote for Obama despite him being black.

                Either way, the fact that Trump undoubtedly got a lot of votes from people who were not particularly racist during the general election doesn’t really change the nature of his primary campaign, or the people who supported it.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to pillsy says:

                I don’t know what to say in response, pillsy. You’re insistent on defining Trump voters as racists, so have at it, I guess. But you’re not going to win future elections by doing so, and you’re not going to persuade fence-sitters that you’re right merely by citing “his primary campaign”. He said racist things in that campaign, no doubt. He said sexist things too. Ignorant stuff as well. Ergo, by your logic, any person who voted for Trump is an ignorantist and should be shunned (I guess?) accordingly. But the fact is, his voters don’t give a rats ass about you calling them “ignorant”, and in fact it only makes more people wanna vote that way.

                Add: I mean, look: the tide’s are changing. The bare fact that trump was even competitive against an institutional Dem candidate, let alone won the election, suggests to me that your view of politics is in the moth-balls. Time to get caught up to speed, dude.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Stillwater says:

                Since I’m not planning on running any political campaigns in the foreseeable future, I think it’s entirely true that my statements will win no elections. Then again, I also think it’s entirely true that they will lose no elections. As such, the question of whether they’re effective at winning over voters is of little concern to me.

                After all, many entirely truthful statements do not make for effective election slogans. I think we could maybe consider a phrase for statements that we decide must be true on the basis of their usefulness in political campaigns. It should be snappy and memorable, and perhaps lend itself to an instantly recognizable abbreviation.

                How does “political correctness” sound to you?

                We could even call it “PC” for short.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to pillsy says:

                In fact, the very thought of “It might be true but doesn’t win elections” is false.

                You cannot win elections if you’re denying facts on the ground. Perhaps you must lie about them to win elections, or perhaps you must work around them, but the first step towards any goal is weighing up the pluses and minuses, identifying problems and figuring out where you are.

                Although I do love the “Trump won, ergo Democrats are wrong and should change” logic — you know I’ve heard many, many people say that. And the funny thing is — how the Democrats should change in response is entirely contradictory from person to person, and always seems to fit their ideological priors.

                It’s hard to tell which mutually contradictory path to follow….Report

              • Kolohe in reply to pillsy says:

                Though Trump didn’t win a majority vote in the primaries/caucuses until about 30 contests in, and that was in the Northern Marianas. (the next one he won an outright majority was New York, but then wound up with the rest of them, about 15, as Cruz & Kaisich couldn’t muster more than 20 percent apiece.)Report

          • trizzlor in reply to Jaybird says:

            I took her tweet about destroying capitalism to be advocacy for a classless society, but it’s mostly immaterial to my point, I’m happy to be wrong on that. There are two main axes along which people are dissecting the election: racial resentment and class resentment. TNC’s point is that Trump’s campaign and presidency is unique in it’s use of racial resentment. And that this needs to be emphasized because it challenges a self-perception that whites have long-held and are trying to maintain. For LDR to read his piece about how important the race axis is and then present a bunch of similarities between Trump and Obama along the class axis is talking past him. For LDR to read the piece and then conclude that Sessions == Holder because of financial crime is not just talking past him, it’s glibly and flagrantly ignoring his whole argument. TNC has written a piece about different shapes, LDR takes a square and a circle and says – “you couldn’t be more wrong, in flatland these are both identical lines”. She then uses this as the foundation for her solidarity vs. identity argument, ignoring all of the other advocacy TNC has done for specific racial identity policies, as well as his critique of solidarity-based solutions.

            Another problem with making this argument from a single axis is that you can wind up refuting yourself. LDR claims that Trump == Obama on financial justice and foreign policy. Stipulating that this is accurate, isn’t that an indicator that Trump – who ran as the swamp-draining antithesis to Obama – understands that his core supporters are not motivated by class struggle or non-interventionism as long as the right racial resentments are being stoked? Isn’t Trump’s continued commitment to white solidarity over class solidarity a reflection that racial resentment is the uniquely defining value for his core voter? Isn’t that precisely the point TNC was making?Report

            • pillsy in reply to trizzlor says:

              The same is true of her comments about Obama’s foreign policy, where the things she complained about were largely things Obama has in common with his predecessors. I’m happy to admit that as an argument that capitalism must be destroyed or Obama was bad or whatever, but the argument she was trying to make, about how Trump isn’t interested in dismantling Obama’s legacy, is actually not advanced at all by those observations. Maintenance of the status quo isn’t really part of a President’s “legacy”, and why would it be?

              Hell, even granting that, her comment about “neoliberal and neoconservative carnage” doesn’t really go the direction she intends. One of the arguments used by paleoconish or alt-rightish Trump supporters, and left-wing anti-anti-Trump types, is that he was going to stand up neoliberalism and neoconservatism.Report

          • Nevermoor in reply to Jaybird says:

            Well, on the merits her attacks on Holder are nutty. He went back to the firm he used to work at (which is one of the best firms in the country, and does a lot of things for a lot of clients). He also extracted major settlements from a bunch of big banks. Although I would have loved to see more people go to jail, my personal view is that would have required different laws, not a different AG.

            Her view that somehow drone strikes hurt American PoC more than the ACA/DACA/etc helps them is absurd. That Hillary lost some PoC votes that Obama got is too bad, but unsurprising since she is neither a person of color herself nor as good a candidate as Obama was. And that’s before examining the question of whether it’s theoretically possible that sexism is a force in presidential voting patterns.Report

      • Nevermoor in reply to Jaybird says:

        I hadn’t heard about it until your comment, and I’ll admit I was hoping for better.

        Trump is, in fact, attacking a bunch of Obama’s good policies while being completely incoherent on replacements, which (at minimum) makes the suggestion that he’s doing it to erase Obama’s legacy reasonable (the ACA, DACA, Paris, and Iran being four easy and big examples). That Obama also did things LDR (and, in many cases, I) don’t like doesn’t really refute the observation. At best, it goes to her “both parties are equally bad because neither are pure enough for me” tendencies, which I reject.

        She also seems to agree with the observations I found most interesting about electoral behavior.Report

    • As with most of what TNC writes (and that I’ve actually read) I have mixed feelings. I don’t particularly dispute him on the facts. While I’m not a fan of Roediger, what TNC takes away from him is mostly stuff I agree with. (Roediger strikes me as reductionist. I’m more inclined to be impressed by Alexander Saxton’s similar, yet better argued, owork in Rise and Fall of the White Republic.)

      Perhaps part of it is that TNC doesn’t acknowledge the contradictions in his own thesis. He seems to say Mr. Trump is the first white president in the sense that he (Mr. Trump) won because of an explicit appeal to whiteness. Yet he also says that racism has been at the heart of US politics since 1776. He ignores the very explicit appeals to whiteness and white identity that folks like Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson indulged in and appealed to.

      I also have some concerns about his parting thoughts:

      When W. E. B. Du Bois claims that slavery was “singularly disastrous for modern civilization” or James Baldwin claims that whites “have brought humanity to the edge of oblivion: because they think they are white,” the instinct is to cry exaggeration. But there really is no other way to read the presidency of Donald Trump. The first white president in American history is also the most dangerous president—and he is made more dangerous still by the fact that those charged with analyzing him cannot name his essential nature, because they too are implicated in it.

      I find the “instinct to cry exaggeration” comes from two things. One is the difficulty that whites like me have in seeing the many, many ways we are advantaged by our whiteness. But the other is the possibility that while American whites identify as white largely (maybe always) in contradistinction to a presumed non-white (usually black) “other,” they’re not always identifying themselves as “white.” They’re not always thinking about their whiteness, although they probably think about it more than they believe and although they definitely enjoy the advantages being white confers more than they probably see.

      And TNC’s statement that “those charged with analyzing him [Mr. Trump] cannot name his essential nature [by which TNC seems to mean his white supremacism], because they too are implicated in it” is unclear. By “cannot” does he mean “will not” or does he mean “are not able to”? If the latter, then those “charged with analyzing” Mr. Trump seem like hapless people whom one can’t blame. If the former, then how much is really going to be resolved by naming white supremacy? They can write articles and blog posts and say it’s white supremacy. And there’s a certain value to calling a white supremacist for what he or she is. But it’s not clear to me how much we get out of that.

      In this comment, I realize I come across as overly critical, even pedantic. But as Maribou said somewhere above, TNC is a good writer. If he weren’t as good a writer and if he didn’t say something worth engaging, I would not have engaged. And though I’m tempted for good (and not so good) reasons to criticize, I can’t jettison his argument from that article as easily as I’m tempted to.Report

      • trizzlor in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

        They can write articles and blog posts and say it’s white supremacy. And there’s a certain value to calling a white supremacist for what he or she is. But it’s not clear to me how much we get out of that.

        I see a lot of parallels between TNC’s position and the conservative position that it is very important to emphasize the *Islamic* in Radical Islamic Terrorism. These beliefs are not at all morally equivalent, but the reasoning is structured similarly:

        PRO: If you do not identify the root ideology you allow it to fester and expand.
        CON: By lumping non-ideologues in with the extremists you marginalize the most persuadable elements and make cooperation less likely.

        I think TNC’s point is that a lot of white people see the sort of “vulgar” bigotry of, say, Lester Maddox as either long behind us or relegated to some poor backwards enclaves. And Trump is a human-sized middle finger saying, NO, the *majority* of whites in every enclave are still comfortable enough with a vulgar bigot to elect him president. Well meaning liberals now have a choice to confront this reality or to ignore it, and we’re seeing them – from Biden to Bernie – choose the latter.Report

      • Nevermoor in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

        First, recognizing I’m not Maribou, I was surprised at the last paragraph because this read to me as a thoughtful and thoroughly fair comment.

        I had two reactions:

        TNC doesn’t acknowledge the contradictions in his own thesis. He seems to say Mr. Trump is the first white president in the sense that he (Mr. Trump) won because of an explicit appeal to whiteness. Yet he also says that racism has been at the heart of US politics since 1776.

        I think that’s his point, not a contradiction. The Wilsons/Jacksons/Nixons of the world certainly appealed to racism, but his argument is that its different now because (1) this is reactionary to the Obama presidency; and (2) Trump has none of the qualifications of those guys, and therefore his whiteness wasn’t backgrounded in the same way. It may be an argument you disagree with, but it is presented pretty clearly in the piece and worth discussing directly.

        As to your comments on the closing thoughts, I read TNC as saying “cannot” in the sense of “are unwilling to” and the article as an argument for thinking about Trump’s base as something other than “redneck hicks.” Maybe it will fail either on the merits or because the “cannot” is too strong, but maybe it won’t. Either way, I don’t see how he is worse off for the effort. Hell, talking about it here is at least a minor win in and of itself.Report

        • Maribou in reply to Nevermoor says:

          @gabriel-conroy @nevermoor I didn’t think Gabriel’s comment was overly critical and pedantic either, fwiw.

          In general, Gabriel, when you comment I think “oh, good, I always enjoy his comments, he should comment more.” If that was in question :).Report

        • Nevermoor: I think both your points are good ones. TNC does indeed touch on Mr. Trump’s lack of qualification and on people’s willingness to choose someone so dangerously incompetent.

          And you’re certainly right that a good part of TNC’s argument is based on “Trump is the negation of Obama.” I find that particular point, though, to be true more in a *literary* sense than a (for lack of a better word) “analytical” sense. By “literary” I mean, if we wrote a novel about the first black president who was succeeded by a reactionary member of the opposing party, that reactionary person/character would have to be someone like Mr. Trump. If done well, we’d say of the novel that it elucidates the contradictions in our society and polity. If done poorly, we’d say of the novel, “that’s too far-fetched to ever happen and the negation is so complete and so unrelenting that the novel’s author is banging us over the head with a political screed.” I guess by “literary,” then, I’m just repeating the cliche that truth is stranger than fiction.

          At any rate, I do think you’re treating TNC’s argument more fairly than I did.Report

          • George Turner in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

            Touching on Trump lack of qualifications is nothing compared to Hillary’s lack of qualifications. If you want to see what the opposite of competent leadership is, she has her new book coming out. Based on the blurbs, no liberal is spared. Nothing is ever her fault.

            She is a woman who would invade Russia in winter and then shoot everyone who advised against it, and then shoot everyone who advised for it. It’s who she is. It’s what she does. Everyone without blinders can read her like a book. In contrast, nobody can figure out Trump.Report

          • Nevermoor in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

            Two reactions:

            1. As of now that’s true (and a useful–indeed, quite clever–way of looking at it)
            2. The reason it is true is that Trump and the GOP are too incompetent to actually negate Obama’s legacy in the “analytical” sense (that Obama’s policies pencil out while the GOP proposals are deluded fan-service they cannot sell on their own merits, of course, doesn’t help).Report

  15. Jaybird says:

    Jerry Pournelle has passed away.

    I read his books and enjoyed them.
    Some of them more than once.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird says:

      Sad… His work was right up there with Heinlein and Niven in my formative years.Report

    • George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

      I still miss his Chaos Manor columns in Byte magazine.

      I tried to leave my condolences at his page but got “Error establishing database connection.” He’s already deeply missed.Report

    • Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:

      @jaybird I hope he’s not stuck in his own Dante retelling, or that if he is, it works out well for him. He was a very enjoyable novelist.Report

      • Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

        (I just realized that may sound like faint praise, but it’s not. If only more of the novels that get published every year were very enjoyable, I would be a happy camper. So much even of the excellent stuff is more work than pleasure, lacking Pournelle’s clarity and readability. Full disclosure: Pretty sure I haven’t read anything by him that’s less than 15 years old. Part of the reason I’ve been reading so many comics and kids’ books these past couple of years.)Report

    • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

      His There Will Be War anthologies contained some good stuff, and he did a lot to codify what we think of as the “military SF” genre with them. His collaborations with Larry Niven were often great. The Mote in God’s Eye is one of the classic space operas, and The Legacy of Heorot is a really superb, and under-appreciated SF adventure story.

      Almost despite myself, I have to say that Lucifer’s Hammer is also great adventure story, and pretty much the only disaster novel I’ve ever come across that was worth reading.

      He will be missed.Report

    • Gabriel Conroy in reply to Jaybird says:


      I’ve read his re-tellings of Dante (on your recommendation) and enjoyed them. I’m sorry to hear he has passed away.Report