Cartoon: Centrists and Civility


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The challenge in a cartoon like this – which really has to be ultra-simple to be effective – is to find ways to make the art worth looking at despite being so simple. So I worked on trying to make the figures seem active and alive, and to really vary their poses and costumes. Hopefully it worked!


Transcript of cartoon

This cartoon has three panels, plus a small additional “kicker” panel underneath the bottom of the cartoon.

PANEL 1
This panel shows three well-coiffed white people – they could be politicians, or pundits on TV – on the right side of the panel, facing towards the left side of the panel. They look angry and are speaking with hostile expressions. There is a large caption superimposed over the image.
CAPTION: RIGHT
WHITE GUY: Cattle don’t get to keep their kids. Why should immigrants?
WHITE GAL: Teh law should protect elections from Black vot- I mean, from illegal voters!
OTHER WHITE GUY: George Soros paid scientists to make up global warming!

PANEL 2
This panel shows two lefties, dressed like college students or protesters, on the left side of the panel, facing towards the right side of the panel. They look angry and are speaking with hostile expressions. The woman’s race and ethnicity is ambiguous, the man is Black. There is a large caption superimposed over the image.
CAPTION: LEFT
WOMAN: $#%*! those people!
MAN: They’re terrible hateful bigots!

PANEL 3
This panel shows a white man and an ethnically ambiguous woman, both facing towards the left with scornful expressions. The man is making a “stop that, get away” hand gesture towards the left; the woman has her arms on her hips. There is a large caption superimposed over the image.
CAPTION: CENTRISTS
MAN: Tsk! Why must the left be so uncivil?
WOMAN: Do they want Trump re-elected?

SMALL KICKER PANEL BELOW THE BOTTOM OF THE STRIP
This panel shows the leftists glaring at the centrists, while the centrists smile back.
CENTRIST WOMAN: We’re only saying, both sides are equally bad!

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107 Responses to Cartoon: Centrists and Civility

  1. 1
    Sai Nushi says:

    As someone who is fed-up with the bigotry of both sides… I recognize that it’s not everyone on the right who’s saying the things in the top. The bigots on the left say things like “You’re literally Hitler”, “Kill all men”, and “Cops are pigs”.

    I get that comics aren’t the place for nuance, but please don’t compare the reasonable people on the left with the bigots on the right and say it’s a fair comparison. There are bigots on both sides. I disagree with all of them.

  2. 2
    Tatterdemalion1983 says:

    The interesting thing to me about this cartoon is that – apart from the inset at the bottom – I think the centrists you draw are basically right, and I find it telling that rather than give any reason to suppose that those sentiments are wrong, you’ve just drawn them in the mouths of unsympathetic-looking people.

    There is no surer or more effective way to change minds and influence people than to make siding with you an unpleasant experience; it’s just not the influence you want.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/115/37/9216 isn’t remotely conclusive – it’s a single study showing a result in a very limited circumstance – but it’s suggestive, and it supports my prejudice that nowadays most political activism on both left and right probably does more to increase turnout for the other side than it accomplishes anything else, and that if all the partisans on either side were to sign a pact to rigorously tone-police themselves, and stick to it, they’d probably put themselves at a considerable electoral advantage (not to mention making the world a better place).

    Of course, that’s incredibly hard – I usually cringe when I reread stuff I’ve written on the internet to see how confrontational it is, and I suspect this post will be no exception, so this is very much a “do as I say, don’t do as I do” – but I think it’s absolutely something to aspire to, and I don’t agree with your condemnation of those promoting it.

  3. 3
    Harlequin says:

    As I read it, the point of the cartoon isn’t the correctness (or lack thereof) of the centrists’ criticism of the left… it’s the absence of criticism of the right.

  4. 4
    Ampersand says:

    you’ve just drawn them in the mouths of unsympathetic-looking people.

    Really? I don’t think those two are drawn to look especially bad. The spiky-haired woman was intended by me to look attractive and well-groomed. (In terms of conventional physical attractiveness, I was thinking of the blonde right-wing woman as the most attractive figure in the cartoon.) But sometimes my drawings don’t come across as I intended, of course.

    that nowadays most political activism on both left and right probably does more to increase turnout for the other side than it accomplishes anything else,

    But that was only a study of the effect of online comments. A great deal of activism isn’t visible that way. Most of the activism I see people I know engaging in currently, is get-out-the-vote efforts – postcards, phoning, door-to-door.

    and that if all the partisans on either side were to sign a pact to rigorously tone-police themselves, and stick to it, they’d probably put themselves at a considerable electoral advantage (not to mention making the world a better place).

    The electoral advantage thing seems unproven to me. But as an aesthetic preference, I’d certainly like to live in that world.

    But it’s an imaginary world. It will never happen that 100% of lefties (or righties) will do as you describe. It’s like saying it would be a better world if we all had Wolverine’s healing power. Neither one is a pragmatic strategy, because neither one is possible. (Short of some sort of actual fascist police state enforcing civility, which I’m sure you’d agree is not desirable.)

    In this world, no matter how many lefties are civil and kind, some will not be, and those people will get a focus in the news media (especially but not only Fox) wildly out of proportion to either their numbers or their actual power.

    Given those realities, although I’m willing to sometimes touch on it, I don’t see tone-policing other leftists as the best use of my limited time and energy.

    (That said, I do try and tone-police myself. But I don’t think it makes me more effective that I do; it’s just the way I’m best able to function.)

    My point in this cartoon is two-fold.

    First, that it’s hypocritical of “centrists” to be concerned about civility but only to direct their fire about this issue to the left. (As Harlequin said.)

    As for the second, that brings me to Sai Nushi’s comment:

    (Hi, Sai! Welcome to the blog.)

    The bigots on the left say things like “You’re literally Hitler”, “Kill all men”, and “Cops are pigs”.

    When did, say, Barack Obama tell someone “you’re literally Hitler”? (By the way, I can think of a big-name, very popular centrist blogger who said something similar about feminists.) When did Hillary Clinton say “kill all men”? Or “cops are pigs”?

    The answer is, never. Because people who say that don’t rise to the top of the Democratic party.

    In contrast, virtually every top-ranking Republican is a climate change denier, or if not will become one the moment they decide to run for President. Donald Trump, the elected Republican President, says disgusting things about undocumented immigrants and drops antisemitic dogwhistles about globalists and George Soros. The Republican party leadership is unified in its support of measures designed to suppress the Black vote – and that includes some people on the Supreme Court, as well as the President himself.

    A major difference between the people on the left who you’re criticizing, and the people on the right my cartoon criticizes, is that the people I’m criticizing have real-world power. Republicans en mass have chosen to make them the rulers of the world.

    If you think having a global warming denialist in the White House, and having a lefty yelling “you’re literally Hitler,” are comparable problems deserving equal attention (or even, like the Centrists in my cartoon, giving more passion and concern to opposing the people yelling “you’re literally Hilter!”), then in my opinion your priorities are incredibly misplaced.

  5. 5
    Michael says:

    @Harlequin#3- but who are these centrists that don’t criticize the right? Chait has a zillion criticisms of Trump. Haidt and Lukianoff have also criticized the Right plenty of times.
    The cartoon’s argument is basically whataboutism.

  6. 6
    Ampersand says:

    I think whataboutism is reasonable, when criticizing critics who seem to be considering uncivil behavior from college kids, and incredibly dangerous beliefs of people who literally rule the country, as equally worthy of censure.

  7. 8
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Ampersand,

    when criticizing critics who seem to be considering uncivil behavior from college kids, and incredibly dangerous beliefs of people who literally rule the country, as equally worthy of censure.

    Seem.

    So this ‘seems’ to be just your subjective perception that you state as true. Do you think that these critics would actually agree that a college kid should be criticized as much as Trump? Or could this be a highly unfair characterization on your part?

    Even if the critics themselves do criticize others more than Trump, this can have various reasons, that don’t require a believe that Trump should experience less criticism. To name a few:
    – they can believe that Trump is already criticized a lot, but others are criticized less than they should
    – they can believe that their audience’s biases are not pro-Trump and that they need other kinds of push back against their biases
    – they can believe themselves more knowledgeable and interested in a certain topic or problem and restrict themselves to that

    They can also reject your frame, for example because they believe that the left is getting wrapped up in a broader ideology which they believe is very destructive in the long term. So in their view, it’s not college professors vs Trump, but a clash of ideologies. In that view, who is president can be relatively unimportant compared to long-term developments and the views of people in society (who also have power).

    Also, some may simply expect more from the left or otherwise be more irritated by their faults. This tends to be especially true for those who feel like their ‘tribe’ has moved away from them and/or who otherwise grew disillusioned, as well as those who grew up in a tribe and thus got to experience their faults very intimately. There is a reason why apostates are often the fiercest critics.

    PS. Have you considered that criticism of right-wing beliefs/ideas/people may feel weak because of your own beliefs, while you may be much more sensitive to criticism of things you agree with? Can it be that only a very biased environment seems fair to you, because of your own biases?

  8. 9
    Tatterdemalion1983 says:

    Given those realities, although I’m willing to sometimes touch on it, I don’t see tone-policing other leftists as the best use of my limited time and energy.

    This, I think, is the heart of where I disagree with you.

    I think that your blog is aimed at, listened to and pretty exclusively by people on the left.

    Given that, I think that talking about how awful the right is, or about specific awful things they have done, is essentially a waste of your time, because everyone in your target audience already thinks that.

    If you wanted to effectively reach out to, and change the minds of, people who aren’t already on the left, I think you’d need to use a rather different, less certain, less mocking timbre, and a very different emphasis – I guess you’d need to focus more on explaining why right-wing talking points are mistaken and less on restating left-wing ones.

    I think that Nathan Robinson on Current Affairs is an example of someone trying to do this, although I don’t think he does it very well; I’ve tried it occasionally on Slate Star Codex open threads, which seem to be one of the few places on the net left and right actually talk to one another, but it’s really hard and I don’t think I do it terribly well.

    (Most of what I post on the internet is aimed at people (like you) with views adjacent to – rather than aligned with or diametrically opposed to – mine, because talking to people who already agree with me is a waste of time, and talking to people across too large a gulf becomes really hard.)

    Of course, you might well lose much of your existing left-wing following who like the stuff you’re currently producing if you did so. It would also probably be quite unpleasant, because more of the feedback you’d get would be from people who hate you, and less of it from people saying “preach it, brother!” or similar.

    So given that what you’re doing here is preaching to the choir, the question becomes “what sermons is it most useful for the choir to hear?”

    I think that the answer to that is some combination of proposing strategy and challenging things that you believe them to be wrong about. And I think that the most important part of both of those is, essentially, tone-policing. The best lecture on political strategy I ever got was from Patrick Swayze. And I think you undervalue concerns about left-wingers being horrible to people – incivility is too mild a word; Maxine Waters (an elected congresswoman) was actively encouraging harassment.

    Essentially, I think that you have a pulpit which is useless for correcting the faults of the right, and of very limited if any value for convincing the remaining undecided voters to move left rather than right, but which could be effectively used to change the views and behaviours of left-wingers. And I think that “stop being horrible, because it doesn’t work” is the single best message you could use it to send. You’d need to mix it in with current pointless-but-stirring stuff to keep left-wingers coming and reading, but it would enable you to change the world in a way that I don’t think confirming people’s prejudices does.

    And if you prevent ten people from each writing one post that would be read by five people who would think “this person is awful, I’m not going to side with them”, that’s fifty votes fewer for the opposition, which is as good as fifty votes more for causes you support.

  9. 10
    Tatterdemalion1983 says:

    Incidentally, I suspect that Barry is probably already familiar with it, but for anyone who isn’t, the best articulation views similar to mine I’ve seen is by Kelsey Piper, e.g. here; also this is tangentially relevant, and I think she has some other good posts on related ideas at the same blog, but I’m failing to find them.

  10. 11
    lurker23 says:

    if you are a centrist then if you are talking to left people you would try to make them be more right (move to center) because that is what you want, more center.

    you would also want to aim for things that are very high value on the right and low cost to the left. i do not know for sure but it seems like tone is probably one of those, people get very angry by tone but you can still usually say things with better tone, so maybe high value / low cost?

    but the left people you talk to are all going to see you as a right person because when you talk to THEM you are arguing for more right, because they are left of center. obviously you do not agree with them, if you did you would be left and not center.

    you would do the other thing on the right. and the right people are going to see you as a left person. obviously you do not agree with them too, if you did you would be right and not center.

    also, each right and left side will always think they are being treated WORSE. like if you are sure that you are right then you will think that any attack on your side is extra-mean and any attack on the other side is less-mean. that is why right people think centrists are really left wing, and left people think the same centrists are really right wing.

  11. 12
    Kate says:

    Of course, you might well lose much of your existing left-wing following who like the stuff you’re currently producing if you did so. It would also probably be quite unpleasant, because more of the feedback you’d get would be from people who hate you, and less of it from people saying “preach it, brother!” or similar.

    @1 Si Nushi
    @2 & 9 Tatterdemalion1983
    @3 Harlequin
    @4, 6 Ampersand
    @5, 7 Michael
    @8 LimitsOfLanguage
    And since this was posted:
    @10 Tattedemalion1982
    @11 lurker23
    The only one I see agreeing with Amp on this thread is Amp, and maybe one short post by Harlequin. Everyone else in this thread is being critical.

  12. 13
    lurker23 says:

    i agree with alot of what Ampersand says, and my post was trying to explain a way in which the same thing can look very different to different people. it is not correct to put me in the “disagree with Ampersand” list, i do not know about any other people?

  13. 14
    Kate says:

    when criticizing critics who seem to be considering uncivil behavior from college kids, and incredibly dangerous beliefs of people who literally rule the country, as equally worthy of censure.

    Unsurprisingly, this is the way it seems to me as well (I place myself at roughly Racheal Maddow/Elizabeth Warren on the left/right spectrum).
    Just in the past month (October 12-November 11), self-identified Trump supporters sent pipe bombs to 14 prominent Democrats, and shot up a yoga studio (inspired by misogyny), killing 2. Someone further to the right shot up a synagogue, killing 11 – citing fears about the caravan of refugees Trump has been whipping people up about.
    In the wake of these incidents…Trump and countless supporters in the Republican party and right wing media continue to stir up fear about a caravan of refugees currently in southern Mexico – claiming they are funded by, variously, Democrats and anti-Semitic dog-whistle, George Soros. Trump continues to hold rallies in which his supporter call for the some of the targets of those pipe bombs to be “locked up”.
    I’m sure the left-wing hive mind here could come up with more.
    What is the worst to come out of the left in the past month?

  14. 15
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    As I read it, the point of the cartoon isn’t the correctness (or lack thereof) of the centrists’ criticism of the left… it’s the absence of criticism of the right.

    This is definitely a thing. I’m probably just projecting, but to what degree is this the result of “centrists” being formally more alligned with the left, and then moving away and voicing more anti-left opinions as they move to the center? I ask this because People formally on the right who have or are abandoning the right (think Max Boot or Jennifer Rubin) spend more time criticizing the right. It seems to me like most centrists are either ex-libertarians or ex- leftists, few are ex republicans. People criticize the movement they moved away from because they want to make damn sure no one confuses them with their former political identity, but also because they feel more comfortable being critical in a space where the arguments are familiar, and they may have some frustration with those whose ideas made them decide to change their identity. I also believe, for reasons that would take to long to describe here, that centrists just spend more time in intellectual conversations with people to their left than their right.

    If people really do spend more time criticizing the side they have moved away from, I think the fact that people often move to the right as they age will just amplify expression of anti-left sentiments from centrists.

  15. 16
    Celeste says:

    This is definitely a thing. I’m probably just projecting, but to what degree is this the result of “centrists” being formally more alligned with the left, and then moving away and voicing more anti-left opinions as they move to the center?

    Honestly, I think it’s more that there’s a general understanding among educated people that the modern right is just simply fucking nuts.

    Being perceived as fucking nuts has a lot of disadvantages, sure, but it has some advantages too. One of those advantages is that people don’t take the crazy/bigoted shit you say seriously enough to focus on it, they just shrug and think to themselves, “well whatever. He’s nuts.”

    This is how we can have a president literally encouraging violence against members of the press, threatening to censor television networks, and trying to get people fired for engaging in political speech he disagrees with – and still somehow the narrative is that leftist college freshmen are the serious threat to free speech in America. It’s because the general feeling is that the leftist college freshmen ought to know better, but … Trump? That guy’s nuts.

    We certainly can’t hold the President of the United States or his supporters to the same standards as a teenage kid.

  16. 17
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Honestly, I think it’s more that there’s a general understanding among educated people that the modern right is just simply fucking nuts

    Yeah, I was alluding to that when I said centrists have less intellectual conversation with people to their right.

    I still think you need to explain why so many centrists, and I place myself in this category, spend so much more time making smart arguments against the left. Several IDW types have recently tweeted support of Democratic candidates, or pro “blue wave” sentiments. James Lindsay comes to mind. But if you actually read his Twitter account, he spends more time overall criticizing people on his left. Perhaps what your saying is that no centrists expects to reach those to his right through intelligent dialogue? I have sympathy for that.

    I think some of the centrist criticism of the left exists out of genuine concern that louder radical voices aid the populist right, but that quite a bit of it is simply a drive to signal “I’m not one of those aggravating woke people.”

  17. 18
    Gracchus says:

    “We certainly can’t hold the President of the United States or his supporters to the same standards as a teenage kid.”

    Extremely well put!

  18. 19
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Celeste,

    Trump changes his opinions/claims/etc like a person with diarrhea changes underwear, so from a rational standpoint, there is little to engage with. The logical conclusion is then that people don’t support him for having a logically consistent position that matches the facts, but for something different*.

    To name a few:
    – dislike of the changes that are happening and at traditional politicians for not intervening
    – being upset that their interests get catered to much less than is reasonable, while the opposite is true for other groups
    – being called names, seeing people like themselves being harmed, etc
    – feeling that the system/culture is set up to silence them

    I think that many of these complaints have a valid core and that if the traditional politicians don’t address them and/or have (partial) solutions, then many people will become resentful and upset. Complaining about how less educated people have no case, are bad at arguing their case or being too selfish seems like a losing electoral strategy to gain their vote as well as being highly hypocritical, since I think that many of the things that the well educated fight for are strongly influenced by their own selfish desires. The latter group are a lot better at rationalizing why their selfish desires are good for mankind, though.

    Anyway, I personally believe that a huge mistake on the left was to move away very strongly from traditional leftism, in favor of a very strong focus on Social Justice (far beyond what the actual levels of racism/sexism/etc justifies). I’ve heard/read quite a few stories of well-educated progressives who tried to help the less educated poor, only to find how self-destructive behaviors undermined their efforts. For example, a person who ran a gym for kids for free in a neighborhood with many non-white, poorly educated people. After a while, he realized that he couldn’t afford to keep it completely free, so he asked for a small fee. The kids left en masse, despite them walking around with expensive smartphones and expensive clothing. They instead went back to hanging around on the street and making mischief there, making their community worse, instead of building their community up.

    It used to be that the left greatly valued uplifting people, teaching them not just workplace skills, but life skills as well. Nowadays, favoring that and arguing that many do have a substantial ability to improve their situation, individually or as a community, is seen as conservative and right-wing ‘victim-blaming’ (even though many on the right don’t seek to uplift the poor). Many on the left are now openly discriminating, judging people by the color of their skin or other irrelevant traits, rather than the content of their character words.

    Many on the left now treat ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs’ as two separate sentences, where those deemed ‘privileged’ or far more absurdly ‘oppressors’ have to sacrifice, while those deemed ‘unprivileged’ or ‘oppressed’ get to demand from others. The judgement of who belongs in what group is usually done based on a single trait that is highly imperfect. So the poor white man sees himself being called privileged and in need of being held back, while he sees black people and women from much more privileged backgrounds getting called ‘unprivileged’ getting help that he is being denied. In both cases, people are judged not by their actual personal traits, but based on prejudice. Then if these people complain or refuse to vote for those who discriminate against them, they get called sexist and racist.

    So to summarize, I think that many leftists are greatly misguided on how “simply fucking nuts” their own movement is. Even outright racism and sexism is rationalized as being the right thing to do and resistance against it is often seen as evidence that it is actually the other side that is racist/sexist.

    * Before voters for traditional politicians become too smug, let me declare that I believe that many of their voters are also motivated by other reasons than the claims of the politician being correct and consistent. Interesting in this regard is a study where the highly educated subjects were more resistant to new facts than the less educated, perhaps because they are better at rationalizing away the new evidence. In general, I would say that the well educated have better rationalizations for their opinions, but that this doesn’t necessarily make them more correct in the factual or moral sense.

  19. 20
    Polaris says:

    Analog paper ballot voting does not only prevent illegals from voting but is also impossible to hack.

    Sure you would get the final results in something like 48 hours but why the rush?
    You would actually KNOW that Putin/Soros/Trump/Whomever didn’t change the vote in his favor.

  20. 21
    Gracchus says:

    It’s one thing to say that the left is more likely to respond to rational critique of their positions because we hold them to a higher intellectual standard than the right.

    But Amp isn’t criticising people who critique the actual intellectual assumptions of the left (he has criticised them in other places, but not for the act of critique, just for the fact that the critique is often ill-founded). Rather, he’s criticising people who tone police the left.

    And frankly, “they’re hateful bigots” is, in so far as it goes, a perfectly cogent and intellectually defensible criticism of the modern right. It’s about as accurate as such a concise statement can be.

  21. 22
    Celeste says:

    I still think you need to explain why so many centrists, and I place myself in this category, spend so much more time making smart arguments against the left.

    Because there’s a political point there to argue against?

    How do you argue against “Hillary Clinton is running child sex slaves out of the basement of a pizza place that lacks a basement”? You just say, “Well, that’s nuts,” and go back to arguing about the marginal tax rate.

    Most of the “smart arguments against the left” are just that – broad arguments against ‘the left’. The intellectual apparatus underpinning the right hasn’t gone away – it’s just currently not in use. So most of the smart arguments against the left are about basic principles, like LimitsOfLanguge posts, not about concrete things done by elected officials.

    Again, we certainly can’t hold the President of the United States or his supporters to the same standards as a teenage kid.

    So to summarize, I think that many leftists are greatly misguided on how “simply fucking nuts” their own movement is.

    No, you’re just describing things you disagree with. And they’re super vague, “the left does this” and “I heard a story about a guy who ran a gym.” Give me an elected official on the left who regularly traffics in the kind of easily debunked lunatic conspiracy theories that The President does.

    Let’s talk about the caravan. The leftist-funded/Soros-funded caravan full of Middle-Easterners that won’t arrive for months but needs an armed response of thousands of troops at a cost of between 2 and 3 million dollars.

    That’s fucking nuts.

    Pizzagate. Qanon. Obama’s birth certificate. Obama’s a Muslim.

    Fucking nuts.

    And it’s not a conspiracy theory, but the President openly encourages violence against the press and protesters. Not in a “yeah if I squint I can see how it could be viewed that way” kind of way, but in a “go assault these people and I’ll pay your legal fees” kind of way.

    That’s fucking nuts.

    And see, this is the thing – I shouldn’t have to explain to anyone why “I heard about a guy who owned a gym and the kids were mean to him,” isn’t the same kind of thing as, “The President of the United States traffics in easily-debunked anti-semitic conspiracy theories.”

    I shouldn’t have to explain to anyone why, “a right-wing personality tried to speak at a college and the kids were mean to him,” isn’t a threat to free speech in the same way that, “The President of the United States encourages violence to silence his critics,” is. Yet, of course, the people who’ve spilled gallons of ink worrying about the former don’t seem to give a shit about the latter, which makes me suspect that their commitment was never to free speech, it was to “pwning the libs.”

  22. 23
    RonF says:

    Cattle don’t get to keep their kids. Why should immigrants?

    Really? You think that’s a legitimate representation of a conservative viewpoint? I’m supposed to take seriously people who claim that it is?

  23. 24
    lurker23 says:

    Gracchus says:
    November 6, 2018 at 6:49 am
    “they’re hateful bigots” is, in so far as it goes, a perfectly cogent and intellectually defensible criticism of the modern right. It’s about as accurate as such a concise statement can be.

    which is true, but also not very accurate, right?

    calling a big group of people “hateful bigots” is probably a pretty good way to make everyone who already agrees with you like you more than they already do. but it does not seem like a very effective way to make those “hateful bigots” change their mind and decide to join you, or even to make those “hateful bigots” change their mind and become moderates.

    centrists do not disagree that insults can theoretically be “perfectly cogent and intellectually defensible criticism”. centrists disagree about whether those insults WORK to move people towards the center. also centrists tend to think that the claim to “perfectly cogent and intellectually defensible criticism” often ends up being a claim that your underlying position is right and theirs is wrong, and that as a result the “perfectly cogent and intellectually defensible criticism” is very similar on both right and left.

  24. 25
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Gracchus,

    And frankly, “they’re hateful bigots” is, in so far as it goes, a perfectly cogent and intellectually defensible criticism of the modern right.

    It is also a perfectly cogent and intellectually defensible criticism of the modern left.

    Being “obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices” (as Merriam-Webster defines bigot) is part of the human condition. Claiming that only the other is subject to this, not only dehumanizes others, but also makes us blind to our own bias & prejudice and how it shapes our perceptions.

  25. 26
    Zunf2 says:

    Celeste:

    You don’t think I could mine some gems from Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, Shiela Jackson Lee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz or even Hillary Clinton?

    I won’t even bring out the big guns of moronic statements like Cynthia McKinney or Monica Conyers.

    I hear stuff every day. There is a video on YouTube showing a democrat woman screaming at everyone about Trump’s visit to Pittsburgh after the shooting at the synagogue. The woman screams that “he is not welcome here” because he and all republicans are racist, but she is better than him because she and the democrats “welcome everyone”. Huh.

  26. 27
    Zunf2 says:

    Oh … another one just popped into my head. Hank Johnson was worried about the island of Guam tipping over:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7XXVLKWd3Q

    The military man – to his credit – doesn’t burst out laughing. He just says that “we don’t anticipate that”.

  27. 28
    Zunf2 says:

    A couple of Maxine gems:

  28. 29
    AcademicLurker says:

    I think the reason that some of us are reluctant to accept “But Trump/the synagogue shooter/Dillon Roof is worse!” as a valid refutation of criticisms of leftists is that, if you genuinely accept that, than you literally accept that leftists are immune to criticism (at least until they start shooting up houses of worship).

    It’s possible to walk and chew gum at the same time. I can believe that leftists behaving badly are behaving badly and that Trump is horrible. Both at once!

  29. 30
    Celeste says:

    Zunf2, I’d readily agree that Hank Johnson’s concern about Guam tipping over was dumb, but the thing is, I didn’t ask for examples of Democrats saying dumb things.

    Of course individual Democrats say dumb things … but this isn’t an individual problem, it’s a systemic problem. Let me know when we allocate a few million dollars and thousands of troops to go stop Guam from tipping, to widespread support from elected Democrats, Democratic voters, and left-wing media.

    There’s no comparison. Every movement has people who are fucking nuts, but the modern Conservative movement is lead by them, and slavishly believes whatever (fucking nuts) things dribble out of their lips.

    This isn’t a commentary on Conservatism vs. Liberalism. I don’t think that Liberalism is immune to this. But right now, it’s a problem of the right, not the left.

    Hell, I realize that this probably applies to some people here, but not believing in Anthropogenic Climate Change is fucking nuts, and it’s become standard on the US right.

    And AcademicLurker, I agree with what you’re saying, but it sounds like a response to something nobody here has said.

  30. 31
    Ampersand says:

    I think the reason that some of us are reluctant to accept “But Trump/the synagogue shooter/Dillon Roof is worse!” as a valid refutation of criticisms of leftists is that,

    No one here has made the argument you’re responding to here.

    “Centrists are disproportionately criticizing student activists on the left, while ignoring and treating them as an equally or more urgent danger than much greater dangers from the people in power on the right” is not a refutation of criticisms of leftists. It’s not saying the left is beyond criticism, and it’s not saying the left shouldn’t be criticized.

  31. 32
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Celeste,

    You are missing my point.

    This is not some game where we compare Trump with Obama, decide that Obama is the more decent person, whereupon Trump resigns and Obama gets to be president again and where the discontent that exists then evaporates because we declare it improper.

    I see various left-wing writers & journalist scramble to find the stake that will banish the vampire from their lives, so they can sleep soundly again. I see them present the newest scandal with excitement, hoping that this will be the kryptonite that weakens Trump enough so he can be destroyed. Yet their disappointment is predictable, because we don’t live in a fairy tale.

    I see left-wing writers declare that the support for Trump is due to racism because his supporters are mostly white. Or due to sexism, because his supporters are mostly men. Yet the strongest correlation is examined much less because it doesn’t fit the narrative: Trump supporters mostly feel powerless and voiceless.

    These people are the losers of globalization. Again, look at the article I linked. Employment has declined substantially for this group. Wages fell for this group. So the most logical explanation why poorly educated white men are especially attracted to Trump is because they are the losers of globalism. Remember Bill Clinton’s slogan: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

    Across the West, the left has increasingly abandoned this group in favor of migrants, women & black people, and then especially the well-educated among them (so those who least need the help). The left has become a movement for the winners and against the losers of the changes that are happening. A movement which blows in the same direction that the wind is already blowing and then either takes credit for the sails moving (after all, the statistics show that the groups that the modern left concerns itself with are all bettering themselves and that the discrimination against these groups has declined immensely over the last decades) or even worse, denies that the sails move at all, to justify the biases.

    You ask for a specific example. Before I give it, let me point out that this is not going to be an example of a Democrat calling for violence. It’s not an example that you can compare with the worst that Trump has said or done and then declare that this was obviously less disgusting. No, it’s going to be an example of something that the proponents thought was totally fair and reasonable & to the benefit of the downtrodden, but which actually helped to worsen the situation for poorly educated white men and reinforce the belief in them (and others in their community) that neither the traditional left or right cares about them, so the only chance of a change to their fortunes is radicalism.

    During the recent recession, it was mostly poorly educated men, especially in building, infrastructure and such who lost their jobs. The initial plan for Obama’s stimulus plan was to spend a lot of money on the hardest hit sectors and groups, by spending a lot on ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure projects, which to me seems like the progressive thing to do. You help those who are hit hardest by an economic downturn. It is even simply good policy to invest in infrastructure during a recession, because America already has major problems with aging infrastructure and working to fix this during a recession is way cheaper than doing it during an economic boom when there is little unemployment among builders & infrastructure workers.

    Yet after lobbying by feminists, including NOW, Obama changed his plans. Ultimately, of the $800 billion, only $28 billion was spend on infrastructure. The most stimulus spending went to the state with the lowest unemployment. This is the face of the modern ‘left’: the winner takes it all.

    Where did the actual progressives go?

    Why do I criticize the left so much? Because I want the real progressives back!

  32. 33
    Michael says:

    Barry in Russia in 1913: “You’re disproportionately criticizing the Bolsheviks and treating them as an equally or more urgent danger than the Czar”.

  33. 34
    Celeste says:

    Me: The modern right is openly delusional. They are primed to believe any paranoid fantasy, no matter how implausible, as long as the left is somehow vilified in the process.

    Michael: The left will stage a Communist revolution, violently overthrowing the US government in the short-term future.

    Me: Well, I stand corrected. Very normal thing to believe.

  34. 35
    Michael says:

    Celeste I wasn’t suggesting that the left was going to stage a Communist revolution. I think the right is too conspiracy crazy myself. My point was that Barry’s logic is flawed because in 1913, it would have required us to limit our criticism of the Bolsheviks, even though they wound up in power a few years later.

  35. 36
    Kate says:

    Celeste @22 said:

    How do you argue against “Hillary Clinton is running child sex slaves out of the basement of a pizza place that lacks a basement”?

    Let’s talk about the caravan. The leftist-funded/Soros-funded caravan full of Middle-Easterners that won’t arrive for months but needs an armed response of thousands of troops at a cost of between 2 and 3 million dollars.
    That’s fucking nuts.
    Pizzagate. Qanon. Obama’s birth certificate. Obama’s a Muslim.
    Fucking nuts.

    And, Zunf2 responded @28

    A couple of Maxine gems:

    Seriously, this is the worst you have? Maxine Waters is not a good speaker. I also think it might be fair to say she is the most radical Democrat currently in congress. But, I didn’t see anything in there that I thought should be out of bounds, much less totally nuts. I saw no calls to violence, no dehumanization of groups of people, no bigotry. There is nothing remotely comparable to the things Donald Trump and his follower say and do. If the Republican equivalent of Maxine Waters was as powerful as Maxine Waters and as radical as the Republicans got (I’m thinking maybe someone like Rand Paul), I would not be the slightest bit alarmed at the direction of the U.S..

  36. 37
    Zunf2 says:

    Seriously, this is the worst you have?

    Not really. It’s just the worst I have with a 20-second Google search, which is all the time I wanted to spend on it. (Note on reality: I didn’t even spend 20 seconds, I just typed it in and took something bad about Maxine.) Some of her stuff was good, though, like her threat to the oil company guy to nationalize his company.

    How’d you like the thing about Guam tipping over if they put too much material on one side of the island? There’s even better stuff from lefties in Congress if your Google finger isn’t broken.

  37. 38
    Kate says:

    I didn’t even need to google to come up with these incidents from just the past month @14
    .

    ..self-identified Trump supporters sent pipe bombs to 14 prominent Democrats, and shot up a yoga studio (inspired by misogyny), killing 2. Someone further to the right shot up a synagogue, killing 11 – citing fears about the caravan of refugees Trump has been whipping people up about.
    In the wake of these incidents…Trump and countless supporters in the Republican party and right wing media continue to stir up fear about a caravan of refugees currently in southern Mexico – claiming they are funded by, variously, Democrats and anti-Semitic dog-whistle, George Soros. Trump continues to hold rallies in which his supporter call for the some of the targets of those pipe bombs to be “locked up”.

    Nothing the modern left, much less the largely centrist Democratic party, is doing even comes close.

  38. 39
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Can someone approve my comment that ended in the spam box? WordPress is punishing me again for providing evidence (links) for key claims.

    [Done! –Amp]

  39. 40
    Celeste says:

    The point is that you don’t get to know that they are going to be the Bolsheviks in advance. Though there are notable exceptions, the vast majority of Right-Wing Government Vs. Left-Wing-Students conflicts do not actually go for the students.

    Most of the time, when you come down harder on the left-wing students than is justified by their relative position and power in society, you’re just doing the Tsar’s work.

    And nowhere in any of this is the fact that The Trump Administration is objectively a greater threat to free speech in America than a bunch of college students, both beause ii’s a government, and because, Bolsheviks or no Bolsheviks, I’m sorry to say, the student protester s of the left just won’t have seized the reigns of power in 4 years.

  40. 41
    Gracchus says:

    ” it does not seem like a very effective way to make those “hateful bigots” change their mind and decide to join you”

    I wasn’t arguing it was an effective way to win conservatives over. The truth often isn’t a very effective way to persuade people. But being truthful is still worthwhile.

  41. 42
    Kate says:

    Bolsheviks or no Bolsheviks, I’m sorry to say, the student protester s of the left just won’t have seized the reigns of power in 4 years.

    I wasn’t arguing it was an effective way to win conservatives over. The truth often isn’t a very effective way to persuade people. But being truthful is still worthwhile.

    Well put.

  42. 43
    Ampersand says:

    Of course individual Democrats say dumb things … but this isn’t an individual problem, it’s a systemic problem. Let me know when we allocate a few million dollars and thousands of troops to go stop Guam from tipping, to widespread support from elected Democrats, Democratic voters, and left-wing media.

    Yes, this.

    It’s completely fair to mock this one Congressman for saying that (although the next day, he claimed he was joking, although if that’s true he’s terrible at telling jokes). He should be mocked for that.

    But it’s not party-wide. In the GOP, no one is forced to walk back climate change denial; in fact, GOP politicians who hope to run for President absolutely have to become public climate change denialists, even if they once knew better. In the Republican party, believing ridiculous, absolutely batshit things gets you the support of the party, and if you’re the worst one of all, you’re put in charge of that committee.

    One is a idiotic thing a single Democrat said once and walked back the next day, no harm done. The other is an incredibly dangerous position that is doing immeasurable harm, and virtually the entire leadership of the GOP has signed on to, and are absolutely unwilling to budge.

    Arguing that the two things are even remotely comparable is ridiculous. And it’s not at all far from the position my cartoon is making fun of.

  43. 44
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Ampersand, thanks for approving my comment.

    Celeste & others, please see my comment #32, which only just now became visible.

  44. 45
    Zunf2 says:

    Nothing the modern left, much less the largely centrist Democratic party, is doing even comes close.

    Kate, a mentally ill person sent ineffective pipe bombs.

    On the other side, a mentally ill person shot at Republicans a while ago on a baseball field, severely wounding one Congressman.

    Senator Susan Collins got a threatening letter at her home that contained a substance the letter writer claimed was ricin poison.

    In Minnesota, a man punched state representative Sarah Anderson in the arm after she confronted him for destroying Republican campaign yard signs. “He was charging at me, saying, ‘Why don’t you go kill yourself?’ ” she told the Washington Free Beacon.

    In Minnesota, state representative candidate Shane Mekeland suffered a concussion after getting sucker punched in the face at a restaurant because of his political views.

    The left-aligned political group “Antifa” is committing quite a bit of violence. There have been quite a few cases; one that sticks in my mind is a guy getting severely beaten by an Antifa guy with a large bicycle lock. The left is blocking traffic and there was recently some incident with an old man in Portland who didn’t take orders from BLM well.

    Maxine Waters famously told people to surround Republicans if they are seen in public, surround them, create a crowd and harrass them.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJCDe7vdFfw

    Republicans have been harrassed and driven out of restaurants etc.

    If I expend another minute on top of the minute it found me to think of the above incidents, I could think of others, but I’m not sure any amount of examples would convince you.

  45. 46
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Let me expand on my previous comment. If you look at history, as well as scientific research, fierce unhappiness and resentment is very strongly correlated with loss.

    For example, Russia had robust growth before the Great War, but that war caused a severe recession, which ended in the communist revolution. Germany had a period of decent growth, followed by a horrible recession, which ended with Hitler. Greece had strong growth, followed by a horrible recession, which resulted in a lot of anger and political violence (but fortunately, no revolution (yet)). Brazil had strong growth, followed by a nasty recession, resulting in the election of Bolsonaro.

    So getting people’s hopes up and then crushing their dreams seems to radicalize people, not poverty in itself.

    In countries that were poorer than my examples, but that didn’t experience a boom followed by a rather bad recession, you didn’t see such fierce unhappiness and resentment. The GDP per capita of Albania is less than a quarter than that of Greece, yet the level of anger is much higher in the latter.

    Nowadays, there are quite a few people who are happy to see white men experience loss, believing that this group had undeserved privilege, which should be taken away.

    There are major issues with this like the questionable measuring of that privilege (where people often regard the ways in which white men do better as privilege, but don’t see the ways in which they do worse as disprivilege & where people ignore that the men who most experience the current losses are those at the bottom). Or the immorality of being happy with a group doing worse on indicators that don’t seem to reflect undeserved privilege to me at all, like unemployment, education, etc. I would want everyone to have a decent job and getting the maximum education that they are capable of.

    However, if we disregard these issues, then there is still the issue that it is extremely predictable that the level of decades-long loss that especially poorly educated white men have experienced (although to a lesser extent also groups somewhat similar to them, like poorly educated white women and poorly educated black people) results in radicalization.

    My claim is that having the non-radicals tell these people that they are wrong, too radical, etc doesn’t work, because:
    – they have been told many falsehoods in the past, so trust is gone
    – their anger comes from real issues and they want these fixed, so they will only accept solutions that they may think will solve their real issues. Any demand on them to accept more of the same is not going to work, because they want change they can believe in.
    – they already feel worthless and push back very easily feels like further rejection of them as people (note how much anger there was over ‘deplorables’)

    So critics can fact check Trump’s statements until the cows come home, but it won’t meaningfully change the support for him, because the unhappiness and resentment are based on something real. It is true that some people identify the wrong causes and you may be able to convince them to change their beliefs if you have a reasonable narrative (which most leftists don’t have). However, they will only stop supporting Trump or Trump-like people if they will regain trust that an alternative will actually meaningfully improve their lives.

    Similarly, it is mostly pointless to point out that Trump has dangerous ideas, is guilty of fraud, misbehaves towards women, etc, because his supporters consider people like Hillary Clinton huge threats to their well-being. So they see Trump as the lesser evil, despite his huge faults. In fact, because they believe that the establishment is out to get them, the anger of the establishment at Trump is seen as evidence that Trump will fight for them, based on the motto: the enemy of my enemy is probably my friend. The more rabidly people go after Trump and the more authoritarian the suppression of the radicalism becomes, the more easily he can claim that all criticism comes from a desire to suppress his supporters.

    Heinrich Brüning tried to suppress the Nazis through authoritarian means, but this just made them feel more resentful. If he had instead adopted policies that would have helped the lower and middle class, instead of adopting policies that harmed them, we might have avoided the Holocaust & WW 2.

    At the beginning of the 20th century and during the Great Recession, not only Germany and Russia were at risk of radicalism, but all of Europe as well as the US. Yet the latter (mostly) didn’t succumb to communism or fascism. Why not?

    The major policy changes during this period were a built up of the welfare state (to spread the wealth), as well as limitations on migration (to limit the disruption caused by large scale migration). A winning recipe? Perhaps.

    Whatever the case may be, we need an answer for these people that is based on actually addressing their problems.

  46. 47
    Kate says:

    That softball game shooting was over a year ago, in the summer of 2017. We can play dueling anecdotes all day. Nonetheless, the ones you find are telling, mostly pushing and punching people, sometimes just protesting, There are good reasons why you needed to look back over a year to find a left-wing inspired shooting (one, by the way, that didn’t kill anyone), whereas I needed to look only at the past month to find two right-wing inspired shootings.
    According to the Global Terrorism Database at the Univeristy of Maryland, there were 65 terrorist attacks in the U.S. in 2017. Thirty-seven were tied to right-wing ideologies. Only eleven were tied to left winging ideologies. Their data indicates that this has been a trend since at least 2010. This database began in 1970, and has historically recorded a larger percentage of left-wing violence than right-wing incidents.

    Analysis from the Anti-Defamation League and the Cato Institute indicate similar results

    The real threat of violence comes from the right. The Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism reports that right-wingers and white supremacists were responsible for 74 percent of the murders committed by political extremists in the United States over the past decade. Only 2 percent were committed by left-wing radicals. Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration policy analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute, has calculated that“terrorists inspired by Nationalist and Right Wing ideology have killed about 10 times as many people as Left Wing terrorists since 1992.”

    The Anti-Defamation League has an interactive map.

  47. 48
    Kate says:

    I see left-wing writers declare that the support for Trump is due to racism because his supporters are mostly white. Or due to sexism, because his supporters are mostly men.

    Then you aren’t reading very carefully. We call Trump racist and sexist, not because he is white and male, but because his own words and actions stretching back decades can leave no doubt in any reasonable person’s minds.
    What do you call peoplem who support putting a proven racist and sexist into the most powerful office in the country, and, arguably the world? Racists and sexists.
    Moreover, his supporters cite that fact that he is “not politically correct” – meaning he’ll come out and say racist and sexist things – as one of the things they like best about him. The article you link to about economic anxiety is from 2016. Subsequent analysis indicates that was incorrect:

    These why-did-people-vote-for-Trump studies are clarifying, but also a little bit unsatisfying, from the point of view of a politician. They dispel the fiction—to use another 2016 meme—that the majority of Trump supporters are disenfranchised victims of capitalism’s cruelties. At the same time, deep-seated psychological resentment is harder for policy makers to address than an overly meager disability check. You can teach out-of-work coal miners to code, but you may not be able to convince them to embrace changing racial and gender norms. You can offer universal basic incomes, but that won’t ameliorate resentment of demographic changes.

  48. 49
    Kate says:

    calling a big group of people “hateful bigots” is probably a pretty good way to make everyone who already agrees with you like you more than they already do. but it does not seem like a very effective way to make those “hateful bigots” change their mind and decide to join you, or even to make those “hateful bigots” change their mind and become moderates.

    It is also effective at marginalizing bigoted views which has two very positive results – preventing conversions to bigoted views and limiting the harm the bigots can do publically. Once someone has become a hateful bigot, I think there is little if anything that political discourse can do make them more moderate. As far as I know, the only way to change hateful bigots is through long term exposure of the bigots to the people they hate.

    He converted because he developed relationships with people he was taught to hate.

    https://www.patheos.com/blogs/teachingnonviolentatonement/2017/10/convert-white-supremacist-case-christian-picciolini/

    It took relationships with teachers and families of color to remake him, he says. He soon threw off his blinders and faced the south’s full history.

    https://www.theguardian.com/global/2018/oct/08/the-white-southerners-who-changed-their-views-on-racism

    Matthew decided his best chance to affect Derek’s thinking was not to ignore him or confront him, but simply to include him. “Maybe he’d never spent time with a Jewish person before,” Matthew remembered thinking.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/the-white-flight-of-derek-black/2016/10/15/ed5f906a-8f3b-11e6-a6a3-d50061aa9fae_story.html?utm_term=.0ecf70c0b600
    That requires marginalized people putting themselves out there, with love directed towards people who hate them and might harm them. That’s a lot to ask.

  49. 50
    Mandolin says:

    Kate –

    Total agreement. A few years ago, I remember a lot of people being like “Fine, then, assholes. Express your racist views. It’s good to know for sure how to avoid.”

    But I think that’s really incorrect. We should strive to live in a world where white supremacist views are taboo enough that people fear social ostracism if they indulge in casual chatter about them. I think the march in Charlottesville that got some of the asshole neo-Nazis fired was both a turning point in terms of how willing neo-Nazi assholes were to make themselves publicly seen and known at marches—and a useful return to the norm that white supremacy will not be tolerated in civil society. They should be afraid to express their views overtly.

    There are a lot of ideas where debate is either basically fine, or extremely important. I don’t advocate silencing or firing pro-life activists (unless they are involved in terrorist action, but that’s a small part of the population). Their views, which I disagree with, are (IMO) necessary in our country’s current public square, where they reflect a division of genuine principles.

    White supremacy of the kind that neo-Nazis practice is a violent ideology that should not be tolerated by anyone, Republican or Democrat.

    (I note that I am talking about the most aggressive forms of white supremacy — the “Jews will not replace us,” “blood not soil,” “black women are half-savages,” “the Aztec invasion of California has begun,” total whackos.

    While I would argue that there are a lot of other problems and arguments that stem from a white supremacist background, there’s a big difference between “I want to defund welfare” on the one hand, and “the mud people are destroying our gene pool” on the other. The first is something that has racist implications, and supports structural white supremacy, but is a legitimate thing to express. The latter is overt white supremacy of the kind that leads to genocide.

    The NPC meme–the idea that liberals aren’t really people, but only preset collections of meaningless dialogue without volition or thought–is, as others have noted, consistent with the warning signs of brewing genocide. So is the public violence, terrorism, propaganda dissemination, systemic political corruption, and escalating political radicalization. We are at a very, very dangerous juncture.)

  50. 51
    lurker23 says:

    Mandolin says:
    November 7, 2018 at 11:49 am
    I think that’s really incorrect. We should strive to live in a world where white supremacist views are taboo enough that people fear social ostracism if they indulge in casual chatter about them

    i agree with this!! at least i do for a VERY small world of “white supremacist.”

    but i also think it is almost guaranteed that if this becomes true, the very first thing that people that have the taboo/ostracism power will do is to try to make the words “white supremacist” mean more and more, so that they can win more and more arguments. and i think it will also be that protests about the judgment of white supremacy are also an issue.

    this is not a left thing, is just human nature to use power as much as you can, left does it and the right does it, mccarthy did it, trump does it, left would do it more if they had more power. centrists hate it whoever is doing it.

    so even though i would sort of like it in theory i would not like it in reality, i think.

    White supremacy of the kind that neo-Nazis practice is a violent ideology that should not be tolerated by anyone, Republican or Democrat.

    yes, this is true!! but actual neo-nazis are a very very very small section of people. sort of like kkk people, there are a few thousand of those kkk. you could every kkk member in the mgm grand at the same time in their own room, and that is no so much in a country of 350 million people. and there are not many neonazis, maybe more than kkk but still what i have read is very low, again not that much–maybe 1 in 10,000, maybe less? after all there were only a few hundred people who went to charlottetown.

    and when they held a rally in boston it was a few dozen people surrounded by thousands of protestors. the police in boston were there to protect the nazis from being killed by everyone else, even though they are scary they are very small that is why they do not make me worry very much. if you lived in a city of 500,000 and it had 50 neonazis marching and no police i think those neonazis would probably be dead very fast. they are not scary.

    So is the public violence, terrorism, propaganda dissemination, systemic political corruption, and escalating political radicalization.

    maybe you mean something different by “public violence?” just like people there is a LOT of violence in the country, and a very very small amount of violence is done by neonazis. it gets a lot of press and scares people like charlottetown but it is very small.

    but when you say this

    propaganda dissemination, systemic political corruption, and escalating political radicalization

    i sort of wonder whether this is the thing i was talking about when the definition of “white supremacy” will get bigger. it sometimes seems like this sort of thing starts as “actual neo nazis” or “actual communists” and then it get applied to “political corruption” (hard to define or agree on) and “escalating radicalization” (hard to define and agree on) and next thing you know a lot of your opponents are out of luck.

  51. 52
    Mandolin says:

    Um, they were scary in Charlottesville. And they’re scary when they drive by my old house saying they’re going to curb stomp Jews. And they’re scary when they send 170 death threats in a week to a woman because she runs an organization they don’t like, many containing her physical address. They’re scary when they shoot up synagogues.

    Anyway, propaganda and corruption are warning signs of potential genocide, but they aren’t only that. They can exist without leading to one. But having a genocide is unlikely without their presence. They’re, I don’t know, campfires lit in a forest that has no other immediate sources of fire. They might sit there being campfires, and be contained and even extinguished or relit. There won’t nexess be a forest fire. But if the forest catches fire, it’s likely that campfires were present. I know that metaphor doesn’t tie into actual forest fires very well, but I think it works okay if you don’t take it too literally.

    I think you may have misread me to some extent. I’m not saying propaganda and corruption are something we should be blocking with the same strategy of total ostracism. I’m not really talking in that section about what we should do with any of the other political warning signs at all; I’m saying they’re there, from my perspective.

    When I hear the kinds of rhetoric that are commonly used by groups that commit genocide being passed in popular media, do I wonder if this could be the slope that slips us to the radio broadcast that supplemented Rwanda? Sometimes. But not all those kinds of rhetoric—-some of which are relatively innocuous in other situations— should be treated as poison in the same way “let’s curb stomp some Jews” should be.

  52. 53
    Kate says:

    but still what i have read is very low, again not that much–maybe 1 in 10,000, maybe less? after all there were only a few hundred people who went to charlottetown.

    According to the Anti-Defamation League:

    The 2018 midterms were not kind to most of the country’s extremist and bigoted candidates, but a number of them did garner disturbingly high vote counts. More than 1.8 million Americans voted for known extremists and bigots who were running for national offices.(my emphasis)

    They defined extremist very, very narrowly, citing only seven candidates running for national offices, six Republican and one independent. They justify each identification at the link. This is no slippery slope. These are all Holocaust-denying anti-Semites and/or avowed white supremacists. The independent fared poorly. But the Republicans ranged from 26.50% to 50.40% of the vote, with one candiate, King in Iowa, narrowly winning his race. Now, as the article I linked to acknowledges, some people may have cast their votes in ignorance or out of blind partisanship. Still, even if we assume that half of those 1.8 million had no idea who they were voting for, that’s a hell of a lot more than 1 in 10,000 (U.S. population is 325.7 million). Moreover, that doesn’t include people who would have voted for an extremist if one were on the ballot in their area. My guess based on this is that we’re looking at something closer to 1 in 100, although there is probably considerable regional variation.

  53. 54
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Kate,

    What do you call people who support putting a proven racist and sexist into the most powerful office in the country, and, arguably the world?

    You are using a typical technique to disparage the outgroup, where you take the most uncharitable trait of the political candidate for the outgroup and then argue that his supporters support him for that reason. I see the exact same thing happening amongst extremists on the right, who take a true or imagined downside of a Democrat candidate and then claim that this is why Democrats voted for the candidate.

    When I read the arguments by Trump supporters, they usually say that they support him despite his transgressions or most extreme statements, so actually listening to people with an open mind tells me that you are wrong.

    The article you link to about economic anxiety is from 2016. Subsequent analysis indicates that was incorrect

    The article you link to uses cherry picking and misrepresentation of evidence to try to convince you of something that is false. For example, the article claims that economic reasons can’t be why people vote for Trump, because “manufacturing employment in the United States has actually increased somewhat since 2010.” Yet if you click on the link, you see something that they don’t tell you, that manufacturing jobs declined from 17.5m to 11.5m between 2000 and 2010, where-after there was a small rebound to 12.1m jobs. The total population and number of jobs increased during this time, so the real decline of manufacturing in the US since 2000 is even larger than the absolute numbers show. Note that the BLS predicts a further long term decline, once the rebound of the crisis is over.

    So the claim in the article that Trump supporters can’t really be upset over the loss of manufacturing jobs depends on an extremely deceptive presentation of the data, where the long term trend and future expectations are ignored in favor of focusing exclusively on a short term blip.

    Also, remember that Obama initially promised to spend a lot of the stimulus on sectors where mostly poorly educated men work, yet demonstrably did not actually do so. So it makes perfect sense to me that many of them had expected a major effort by Obama to help these hardest hit sectors recover from the crisis, as he promised to do, but were extremely disillusioned by the small amount of help that was provided.

    It is true that Trump supporters tend to be resentful of the support that they believe that black people and women unduly get (or to use a SJ term: they resent ‘undeserved privilege’). The left tends to call this racist and sexist. However, when the left does the same things but with the races and gender flipped, they don’t consider themselves racist or sexist. They typically also don’t seem to consider it racist or sexist if someone else on the left exaggerates the undeserved privilege of white men and demands more ‘dismantling of privilege’ than they themselves consider reasonable.

    So there is a large double standard at play here, where a difference of opinion on the extent to which racism and sexism hinders minorities and women & the extent to which (poor) white men are treated unfairly for their race or gender, is considered racist or sexist by the left if the disagreement is in one direction, but not when it is in the other direction. This boils down to the vilification of certain political standpoints and the vilification of those who speak in favor of helping groups that many of the left believe don’t have serious problems (except that the evidence shows that they do).

    This vilification in turn results in self-censorship, where many don’t dare do talk about the facts, as they are fearful of being sanctioned for being racist and/or sexist. This in turn makes people believe that poorly educated white men don’t have substantial problems, which in turn makes them more eager to sanction people who speak out for this group.

    Moreover, his supporters cite that fact that he is “not politically correct” – meaning he’ll come out and say racist and sexist things – as one of the things they like best about him.

    A large majority of the American people, including a large majority of black people, dislike political correctness. So by your reasoning, a large majority of black people like racism….yeah.

    If you look at the above link, you see that the reason why people dislike political correctness is because they feel that it silences them, not when their opinion is actually noxious, but when they don’t know the approved terminology, make an unthinking word choice, etc. Earlier, I showed that Trump supporters feel themselves especially silenced, so it makes perfect sense that they very strongly oppose political correctness, which again, a large majority of Americans see as silencing.

    I would argue that the extreme levels of political correctness that SJ advocates support makes people appreciate those who dare to be (very) political incorrect. Not so much for the opinions themselves, but for breaking open the Overton Window to an extent where they feel free to express themselves again.

  54. 55
    lurker23 says:

    Kate,
    when i read that article i am not as concerned as you are, because i think that voting for someone is a SUPER complicated question and there are so many different reasons to do it. as a good example i know a lot of people who voted for hillary who really really did not like hillary and who HATE at least some or even alot of her policies! don’t you?

    or, look at ocasio-cortez. i do not think it is fair to imagine that everyone who voted for her really agrees with everything she says or wants, at all. it is silly to think that everyone who voted for her wants the us to become more like venezuela, or that they think capitalism is bad. i bet there are a bunch of people who voted for her that do not fully agree with even ONE of ocasio-cortez policies, they might just want her to pull the country 1% more in the direction of socialism and they think she may do that.

    or it is like the women’s march and linda sarsour: there are a lot of reasons people were there marching and a lot of reasons they might like sarsour. i do not think that everyone there agrees with sarsour about jewish people or farrakhan, for example, even though sarsour seems antisemitic there are probably a lot of other reasons that people do the march or support sarsour.

    so i also think the same is true on the republican side.

    of course there are always some people who are specifically going to support antisemitism or white supremacy or racism, just like there are some people who are specifically going to support anarchy or communism or open borders or almost anything else. but i do not think that is most people, and i do not think that most of those people even come close to being “real” nazis, white supremacists, communists, anarchists, etc.

    Mandolin (does that come from music or cooking?)
    i see what you mean. i am worried because “things white supremacists think” are also things that a lot of NON-white supremacists think, if you see what i mean? only a very small number of things (like “whites are supreme!”) are only thought by white supremacists.

    if you go after things which are “done by WS” or “thought by WS”, which seems to happen alot, then it seems like you are going after a lot of things that we should not be trying to stop. and i think that is sort of maybe a power grab?

    to use the caravan as a good example: it is pretty clear that WS and racists would be anti-caravan. but there are a lot of anti-caravan people who are not WS or racist, and they do not like it for a lot of reasons which are not the WS or racist reasons.

    so, how is this treated?

    if it were not a power grab you would see the people in charge of saying “who is WS/racist” to be very limited in making a difference between WS/racist anti-caravan and “acceptable” anti-caravan. right?

    but i think the opposite is happening: the people are trying to make it so that it is very hard to be anti-caravan WITHOUT being called WS/racist. that is because the people who are in control of WS/racist accusations are all on the left, and they are almost all pro-caravan, and they want to make it as hard and socially dangerous as possible to be anti-caravan.

    that is very normal, we would expect them to use whatever power they have to win as many fights as they can, just like anyone else. that is just what people do.

    i feel like i can’t say this very well, but to me, one big way to know that something is a power tool versus a real classification is sort of shown by how willing people are to discuss the accuracy of the classification. power grabs => not willing; real classification => willing.
    in other words, if “socialist” is an insult then:
    – you are mostly interested in how you can apply it to bernie,
    -you will not take his objections into account because they come from socialists.
    -you will pay a lot of attention to accusers and accusations, and not so much attention to defenses and defenders.
    -you will use an analysis “well, that is what a socialist would do/say” without also using an analysis “that is what a non-socialist would do/say”. you will not agree that you SHOULD only be looking at “this is something that would only be said if someone was a socialist, and not otherwise.”

    but if “socialist” is an accurate category then you actually care exactly what bernie wants to make the USA do and you would let him explain, and you might or might not put him in the “socialist” category.

    with WS or racism, to use two examples, i see that it seems very difficult to defend the accuracy of the claims because the defense itself is often considered proof of WS / racism, right? which is why i see those often as power grabs and am worried about social rules that increase the power of those terms.

  55. 56
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    lurker23,

    i bet there are a bunch of people who voted for her that do not fully agree with even ONE of ocasio-cortez policies, they might just want her to pull the country 1% more in the direction of socialism and they think she may do that.

    I know a libertarian who voted for her in the primaries because she is not Joe Crowley, who he considers extremely corrupt.

    Interestingly, Ocasio-Cortez ran against a center-left Republican in the main election, a guy who apparently knew that the R next to his name made the election a formality, so he didn’t even file the paperwork to be able to get donations, nor made a website, nor had a facebook page.

  56. 57
    Kate says:

    You are using a typical technique to disparage the outgroup, where you take the most uncharitable trait of the political candidate for the outgroup and then argue that his supporters support him for that reason.

    No, I didn’t. I’m fully aware that many of Trump’s supporters are voting for Trump because they want tax cuts and other economic benefits, or because they are anti-abortion, and I never claimed otherwise. I’m arguing that caring more about those issues – or even one’s own “economic anxiety” – than fighting Trumps racism and sexism is both racist and sexist.

    When I read the arguments by Trump supporters, they usually say that they support him despite his transgressions or most extreme statements, so actually listening to people with an open mind tells me that you are wrong.

    Try watching what they do. Have you ever watched footage of one of Trump’s rallys?
    As for the argument about economic anxiety, Trump supporters are both higher income than supporters of Democrats and tend to live in parts of the country where the cost of living is substantially lower. The notion that working class white men and their wives living in the rust belt and rural red states have been driven to the Republican party because they have greater economic anxiety than single women and people of colour living in urban areas of blue states is absurd. Poor and working class white men who support Trump, like the rest of us, are oppressed by a very small group of wealthy white families. But, instead of identifying with their fellow workers to try to make a more just society for all, they choose to join their fellow white men in scapegoating immigrants, women and people of color.
    The Christina Hoff-Summers article you link to is classic. Any move of women and people of color to gain rights and wealth is framed as taking away from poor white men, ignoring that it is wealthy white men who are sucking up all the oxygen. When debating the 2009 stimulus package, women were advocating adding money to create jobs for women, not taking money away from men. So, instead of joining with their working class sisters and advocating for more spending on job creation for all and fewer tax cuts for the wealthy, they objected to women advocating for themselves – like crabs in a barrel.
    The main issues the Democratic Party is fighting for include healthcare for all, a color-blind social safety net, minimum wage for all, freedom to marry who you choose for all, reproductive rights for all, freedom from police brutality for all….none of these policies privledge people of color or women over white men.

  57. 58
    Kate says:

    when i read that article i am not as concerned as you are, because i think that voting for someone is a SUPER complicated question and there are so many different reasons to do it. as a good example i know a lot of people who voted for hillary who really really did not like hillary and who HATE at least some or even alot of her policies! don’t you?

    Are you seriously equating Hillary Clinton’s garden-variety faults with anti-Semitism and white supremacy? Seriously?

    or, look at ocasio-cortez. i do not think it is fair to imagine that everyone who voted for her really agrees with everything she says or wants, at all. it is silly to think that everyone who voted for her wants the us to become more like venezuela, or that they think capitalism is bad. i bet there are a bunch of people who voted for her that do not fully agree with even ONE of ocasio-cortez policies, they might just want her to pull the country 1% more in the direction of socialism and they think she may do that.

    The left wing equivalent of “white supremacist” is not democratic-socialist. It is totalitarian-communist (Stalinist/Maoist). There are no people with any social or political power in the U.S. supporting such far left thought. Hillary Clinton is a center left Democrat with uniformly mainstream policies, not the left equivalnt of Trump. Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders and Maxine Waters are about as far left at the Democratic party goes. Never have any of them said anything even close to as hateful about anyone as the right-wing extremists running as Republicans that I linked @53.
    Moreover, we’re not talking about just a single election. Steve King was just elected to his ninth term in congress and has also survivied primary challenges. Corey Stewart and Seth Grossman both won Republican primaries as well.
    John Fitzgerald came in second in a four-way jungle primary running on an explicitly anti-semitic platform. Being that he’s from the Bay Area, some of those voters may have been leftist anti-semites. Part of the danger of the right being more radicalized is that the left is starting to respond to that radicalization in troubling ways. But, this round is being driven by right wing extremism.
    Art Jones and Bill Fawell both got nominations by default due to the weakness of the Republican party in Chicago and people may well have just been casting protest votes, fully confident that the Democrat would win. But, as with Fitzgerald, the possibility of rising anti-semitism on the left should not be ruled out.
    The anti-defamation league takes left wing antisemitism and extremism every bit as seriosly as right wing. There simply isn’t as much extremism on the left today in the U.S..

  58. 59
    lurker23 says:

    Kate says:
    November 8, 2018 at 1:20 pm
    Are you seriously equating Hillary Clinton’s garden-variety faults with anti-Semitism and white supremacy? Seriously?

    personally, no, i distinguish them. for an analogy, yes, because i am making the point that lots of people vote for politicians even when they do not agree with all of their positions, or even perfectly agree with one of their positions. just because you think someone has a reason in one case but not the other case, it doesn’t change that.

    Part of the danger of the right being more radicalized is that the left is starting to respond to that radicalization in troubling ways. But, this round is being driven by right wing extremism.

    i do not think you can blame the problems of the left on the fault of the right. i certainly do not think you can blame the problems of the right on the fault of the left! maybe in some cases you might be able to predict that one side would react, but predict and blame are different, and i do not think anyone is forced into antisemitism.

    The left wing equivalent of “white supremacist” is not democratic-socialist. It is totalitarian-communist (Stalinist/Maoist). There are no people with any social or political power in the U.S. supporting such far left thought.

    i do not know if there are those people or not, if not, then okay! but i am not sure that you are correct to say basically that only full blown totalitarian-communist is a problem, that is like someone on the right saying only full-blown nazis are a problem and there are no actual nazis in power. if you want to use a broad definition of WS or antisemitism or anything else you need to use broad definitions everywhere.

    again before you jump on me, i do not think the left and right are equivalent. although i am more of a centrist, right now i think the right is worse (the party in more power is usually worse because people in power usually use power badly).

    but if you want to talk about antisemitism i do not think you can blame it on the right? or even say it is mostly on the right? there are certainly a lot of left people with “social or political power in the U.S.” who support the BDS movement for example and who seem to treat israel differently from every other country in their analysis and who are, mabe, pretty antisemitic? that is increasingly common in universities which are definitely powerful socially and politically. and also there are a lot of left people who prioritize their anti-racist credential over and above anti-semitism so they are not willing to challenge under-powered groups like blacks or us muslims if those groups are antisemitic. can you imagine someone on the right who was the christian equivalent of farrakhan, the left would HATE that person.

    like i said i think the right is worse, but also different. but i do not think anyone does the left a favor if they call that “garden variety” or “all the fault of the right”.

  59. 60
    Kate says:

    i do not know if there are those people or not, if not, then okay! but i am not sure that you are correct to say basically that only full blown totalitarian-communist is a problem, that is like someone on the right saying only full-blown nazis are a problem and there are no actual nazis in power. if you want to use a broad definition of WS or antisemitism or anything else you need to use broad definitions everywhere.

    Then it is a good thing I didn’t say that, or anything close to it. I said that it is not o.k. to equate left of center Democrats, like Hillary Clinton and democratic-socialists, like Ocasio-Cortez with right wing white supremacists and fascists. Whether you agree with them or not, none of these figures are making proposals that should be considered out of bounds of mainstream discourse.
    I’m not using a broad definition of either white supremacy or anti-semitism. In fact, the piece I linked to @53 used very narrow definitions. Nazi is too narrow, just as Stalinist or Maoist would be too narrow for totalitarian-communism.
    Although they do not identify as Nazis, there are, in fact, people in both congress and the white house who Nazis and other white supremacists believe are on their side. They did not view Republicans this way before Trump. And, as Jon Oliver said, “Nazis are a lot like cats: If they like you, it’s probably because you’re feeding them.” Now, before YOU jump on ME. I’m only saying that I think they may be working towards fascism, not that we can be sure, yet. I see this as reason to peacefully protest and work to vote these people out. I’m not advocating anything radical.

    like i said i think the right is worse, but also different. but i do not think anyone does the left a favor if they call that “garden variety” or “all the fault of the right”

    .

    This is really dishonest. I called Clinton’s faults “garden variety”, not left-wing anti-Semitism. Or, are you accusing Clinton of anti-Semitism?

    Nor did I say anti-Semitism on the left was “all the fault of the right”. I said that this round is being driven by the right. The anti-semitic candidates running in national races that I know of were almost all running as Republicans. None were Democrats. Republicans are the ones mainstreaming anti-Semitic candidates at this time, not the left and not the Democrats.
    Similarly, Antifa formed to protests white supremacist rallys. When violent fascist gangs and anti-fascist protesters get in fights, I blame the fascists.

  60. 61
    Duncan says:

    Kate: Hillary Clinton is *not not not* a “left of center Democrat.” “Center-right” would be more accurate, but still probably too kind. Putting her next to Ocasio-Cortez is seriously inaccurate; they are not in the same ballpark. (Compare, just for a start, O-C’s grassroots, non-corporate campaign with Clinton’s willing dependence on corporate money, which she repays amply. Ocasia-Cortez doesn’t yet have a place to live in DC; she doesn’t have enough money. This would not be a problem for Hillary Clinton or other corporate Democrats.) I applaud your efforts in answering apologists for the Right here, but this is misleading and indicates a certain ignorance about the American political spectrum.

  61. 62
    Ampersand says:

    Duncan, I interpret “left of center Democrat” as a phrase that can mean someone who is just slightly left of the center of American politics, as opposed to “left Democrat,” which refers to the left wing of the Democratic party. Like this quote, from the Washington Post: “Obama revealed himself to be a left-of-center Democrat, but not very far left.”

    And although Kate mentioned both Clinton and Ocasio-Cortez, nothing in what she wrote implied that the two are next to each politically.

    I definitely see how the term “left of center Democrat” could be read two ways. But I think you could have given Kate the benefit of the doubt, or asked which way she meant the phrase, rather than leaping to an unkind interpretation.

  62. 63
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Kate,

    I’m fully aware that many of Trump’s supporters are voting for Trump because they want tax cuts and other economic benefits, or because they are anti-abortion, and I never claimed otherwise. I’m arguing that caring more about those issues – or even one’s own “economic anxiety” – than fighting Trumps racism and sexism is both racist and sexist.

    Let’s use an imaginary example to investigate discrimination. An alien society has two races: Floops and Blibbers. Floops get 10% less pay for the same work across the board than Blibbers. Then a fair solution is to reduce the pay of Blibbers by 5% and increase the pay of Floops by 5%, right?

    Now imagine someone who falsely believes that the pay gap is actually 20% and fights to reduce the pay of Blibbers by 10% and increase the pay of Floops by 10%. The end result is now unfairness to Blibbers, as they now get paid 10% less for the same work. So instead of fixing the unfairness, it has flipped, where the other race is now victim of unfairness. So this solution has a racist outcome, although this person never meant to be racist. The injustice he fights for is because he is wrong on his facts, not because he intended to harm Blibbers.

    I am loath to call him racist, because the word ‘racist’ implies an intent to harm, which is not present here. Do you agree with this, including when a similar situation happens on earth, for example, when a black activist exaggerates the unfairness that black people experience? Or do you think we should call such a person a racist?

    Of course, people can be be mistaken about the facts in both directions. Imagine another person who falsely believes that the pay gap doesn’t exist and thus believes that the situation is already fair. So this person fights against attempts to change the salaries, which has a racist outcome, although this person never meant to be racist. The injustice she fights for is because she is wrong on her facts, not because she intended to harm Floops.

    I am loath to call her racist, for the exact same reason as I am loath to do so for the person who is wrong in the other direction. For me the situations are symmetrical, where in both cases there is no bad intent, but the desired outcome is unfairly harmful to one race and unfairly beneficial to another race. I don’t value harm to one race over harm to the other.

    In the example, I have stated the 10% less pay for Floops as a hard fact, but in reality the actual levels of discrimination is often quite hard to figure out. As I’ve argued earlier, one of the papers that is extremely often cited in support of the claim of high levels of racial discrimination against black Americans in hiring, failed to replicate when they used another set of black and white names. It is very easy to draw different conclusions depending on how one looks at the evidence (for example, you disagreed with me on the significance of the evidence against the initial finding).

    Note that my example may also explain why many white Americans feel that they are discriminated against, while this is obviously considered absurd by Social Justice advocates. Those white Americans are perhaps mainly judging the level of disadvantage they believe that white people have (which poorly educated white Americans probably exaggerate, since they tend to live in relatively poor communities) and the effort that they believe is expended to combat this, versus the level of disadvantage they believe that black people have and the effort that they believe is expended to combat this. So the claim of racism against white people is then a claim that the policy is racist by giving a fair amount of help to disadvantaged (poorly educated) white people, when compared to the help that other groups get.

    If you look at the Hidden Tribes survey, you see that your tribe of progressive activists seems to be very sensitive to guilt over historical misdeeds by America. There are various ways in which this may lead to a bias to believe in exaggerated levels of racism/sexism/etc. For example, one may be very wary of not believing people who claim to be victimized in a way that (somewhat) matches historical misdeeds. Believing in a certain narrative can also become a subcultural imperative, a marker of tribal allegiance and conformity to the group. Also, aside from bias, this guilt may also result in a different idea of fairness: undoing past injustice rather than merely providing equal opportunity going forward.

    Of course, the reverse kind of biases & ideas are likely to exist among Trump supporters.

    However, again I see no reason to chastise bias in one direction much more than in the other direction, because both result in injustice. Favoring one kind of justice above the other, also makes it more acceptable to harm one group over the other. Also, both trying to undo past injustice and providing equal opportunity going forward are very complex ideals with complex consequences. For example, if one tries to provide equal opportunity by aiding the poor in a racial-neutral way, this will help black people more often, as they are more often poor. So one can argue that this undoes past injustice to an extent. So I don’t think it is fair to call people racist or sexist for favoring a particular ideal, which is not explicitly discriminatory.

    As for the argument about economic anxiety, Trump supporters are both higher income than supporters of Democrats and tend to live in parts of the country where the cost of living is substantially lower.

    As I argued before, economic anxiety is less about absolute wealth, than it is about loss and expectations of the future. I’ve already shown the evidence that poorly educated white men have seen unemployment increases and loss of real wages.

    There are various reasons why Democratic voters have lower incomes. One reason is that they are younger. Typically, people’s income rises during their life and well-educated young people actually seem fairly poor at a young age, because they study for longer, while the poorly educated tend to enter the workplace earlier. So the people with the best prospects and the best future earnings actually seem far less advantaged than they are if you measure their income at a young age. The relatively common situation where privileged young people vote Democrat and then vote Republican later in life, makes Democratic voters seem like they are in a worse situation than they actually are (and vice versa for the Republicans).

    Another reason is that nearly all black people vote Democrat. Black people are much poorer on average than white people. This is in large part because black people do poorly in education. For the same level of education, black people also do worse, although that is entirely driven by black men doing poorly. Black women actually out earn white women with the same level of education. However, that is probably in large part caused by black men being poor providers.

    Presumably, we might be able to neutralize these effects by comparing the incomes of voters for the various Republican candidates in the primaries. Then we see that Trump voters did have the lowest income.

    When debating the 2009 stimulus package, women were advocating adding money to create jobs for women, not taking money away from men.

    Come on, that’s not how it works. In politics, typically a certain amount is allocated and then it’s decided what to spend the money on. So lobbying often involves trying to get the money spent on your cause and not on another cause.

    The main issues the Democratic Party is fighting for include healthcare for all, a color-blind social safety net, minimum wage for all, freedom to marry who you choose for all, reproductive rights for all, freedom from police brutality for all….none of these policies privledge people of color or women over white men.

    I’ve never seen Democrats or the left in general hold a rally to demand justice for a white person who was shot by the police unjustly. In contrast, I’ve seen many a protest for black victims, including for situations where the shooting seems justified. When critics of the exclusive focus on black victims came up with the slogan ‘All lives matter,’ this was adopted by some Democrats, but quickly got a backlash for taking the focus off black people. So today it has become something that Democrats no longer tend to say.

    When I point out that the same evidence that is used to show discrimination against black people, actually shows more of that discrimination against men, I only experience push back from Social Justice advocates. I never get: “Yes, let’s fight for justice for men and black people.”

    Another issue is affirmative action. I’ve argued here before that the data by Harvard itself shows that this mainly benefits black and white students whose parents are rich and/or well-educated, but harms the poorly educated. Yet again I get push back, rather than: “Yes, let’s fight to change the admission norms to favor the poor and/or those from poorly educated parents, rather than to discriminate by race.”

    So this solidarity that you claim to have with poorly educated white men is not very obvious to me, to put it mildly.

    But, instead of identifying with their fellow workers to try to make a more just society for all, they choose to join their fellow white men in scapegoating immigrants, women and people of color.

    You got it completely backwards. It was center-left political parties that abandoned social democracy. This change to Third Way (or neoliberal) politics was led by such politicians as Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. These politicians abandoned the ideal of helping the working class and instead focused on dismantling part of the welfare state and deregulating the economy. They still had some ideals of helping people, but based on Social Justice. So they focused on women, migrants, minorities, etc. For example, Tony Blair said: “My kind of socialism is a set of values based around notions of social justice…Socialism as a rigid form of economic determinism has ended, and rightly”

    Then when the group whose interests are no longer fought for by the left get angry and complain that the interests of “immigrants, women and people of color” are catered to, but not their interests, they get attacked for scapegoating, racism, sexism, etc. Of course some criticism is unreasonable (but all movements have unreasonable people and parts of their agenda), but legitimate criticism also gets dismissed where very often the identity of the complainant is used against him or her.

  63. 64
    RonF says:

    Meanwhile, the rational and intellectual left has decided to engage a conservative media commentator in thoughtful discussion to show him the error of his logic.

    About 20 protesters gathered in front of Carlson’s home Wednesday night, chanting loudly and using a bullhorn, according to a police report obtained by CBS News. Carlson said he was at his Fox News office, preparing for his 8 p.m. show, and his wife Susie was home alone at the time. The couple’s four children were not there.

    Carlson’s wife said she heard “loud banging and pounding on her front door,” the police report says. When officers arrived, they found politically-charged signs left on cars in the driveway, a sign on the front door and the anarchy symbol spray painted on the driveway.

    A group called Smash Racism D.C. posted messages on social media encouraging the protest and revealing Carlson’s address. “Fascists are vulnerable. Confront them at their homes!” the group wrote in a Facebook post. In a tweet, Smash Racism D.C. said Carlson spreads “fear into our homes” every night and would be reminded “that you are not safe either.”

    In videos posted on Facebook and Twitter, protesters are heard calling Carlson a “racist scumbag” and chanting, “Tucker Carlson, we will fight! We know where you sleep at night!”

    Carlson said in an interview with The Washington Post that the incident “wasn’t a protest. It was a threat.” He said someone “started throwing himself against the front door and actually cracked the front door.” He said his wife, thinking it was a home invasion, locked herself in a pantry and called 911. “They weren’t protesting anything specific that I had said. They weren’t asking me to change anything,” Carlson told the Post. They were threatening me and my family and telling me to leave my own neighborhood in the city that I grew up in.”

    Of course, I’m sure I’ll be told this has nothing at all to do with comments from Rep. Maxine Waters encouraging people to confront politicians and officials that she doesn’t like wherever they are. Because it seems to be axiomatic among many on the left that all the violence in public discourse these days is Pres. Trump’s fault, no matter who perpetrates it.

  64. 65
    Sebastian H says:

    “Kate, a mentally ill person sent ineffective pipe bombs.“

    I’m not willing to dismiss this, even though I agree with you that the person was very likely mentally ill. One of the things Trump does is change the discourse in an awful way to allow for many more vile emotions to be surfaced about his opponents. Part of being a civilizationaly supportive politician is not doing that. He not only does it himself, but he supports lots of other people doing it.

  65. 66
    RonF says:

    And here we have noted leftist apologist and Vox commentator Matthew Yglesias telling people “If your instinct is to emphasize with the fear of the Carlson family rather than with the fear of his victims then you should take a moment to reflect on why that is.”

    Because when Tucker Carlson delivers political commentary, people he talks about are victims. But when a mob of people descends on your home and shouts at you with bullhorns, spray paints your property and beat on the front door of your house to the point of damaging it and prompting a call to 911, apparently you are NOT a victim, and not worthy of empathy.

  66. 67
    lurker23 says:

    When debating the 2009 stimulus package, women were advocating adding money to create jobs for women, not taking money away from men.

    this is funny thinking?

    like if there was a stimulus that gave money only to non-black people, of course that would really “take money away from black people”, right?

    i suppose you could be very technical and say no, it is not taking away money from black people, they do not have less money, it is only taking away an opportunity to get more money. but that seems funny. because it would make black people poorer in relation to everyone else i think most people in normal conversation would agree that the “everyone but black people stimulus” was basically taking away money from black people. and if you wanted to make the technical argument about it being a loss of opportunity and not a loss of actual money, you need to make it, you would not just say “there is no money being taken away” or it sounds like you do not understand the real issue.

    same here, i think. “there is nothing being taken from men, it is only given to women” means you are ignoring opportunity, which is being taken away.

    maybe you think that makes sense and of course you CAN argue that men got “too much” money in the first place, so that they should not be entitled to any of the new stimulus money. lots of people think that! but that is a different issue. and it is not good to mix it up; if you mean “men got less but that is okay because they deserve less” you should say it, not just confuse “what men deserve” with what actually happens.

  67. 68
    Ampersand says:

    and of course you CAN argue that men got “too much” money in the first place, so that they should not be entitled to any of the new stimulus money.

    Could you link to a real-life example of someone of any influence (i.e., not a random blogger no one’s heard of) who actually made this argument?

  68. 69
    lurker23 says:

    it is bad what happened to tucker carlson, but i think it is also bad to see this like it is some huge dangerous mega-thing which is caused by the left. there are many many people in the US and it is not all that surprising that there are 20 of them who were really angry and horrible, or 1 of them who would kick a door and then run away.

    if you look at a country with 350 million people in it where there are 17000 homicides per year and many many more violent non-homicide things, that is a lot of violence that people are doing for all sorts of reasons: hate, money, mean, crazy, and other things.

    it is good for everyone to say that this is bad, everyone should put social pressure not to do this. but it is not right to blame maxine, she was not there!

    at some point these things seem silly. why stop at maxine? why not blame all of the other politicians who have come out against trump? why not blame all of the marchers in other places who made protests? why not blame the newspapers who wrote about them? why not blame Richard’s teacher union, or kate, who say we should not like people on the right?

    that is silly. everyone just makes up what they want to say and who to blame FIRST and starts finding connections which “support” (not really) them SECOND, and what is the point? it will not convince anyone.

  69. 70
    Kate says:

    You quoted me @63

    When debating the 2009 stimulus package, women were advocating adding money to create jobs for women, not taking money away from men.

    And replied

    Come on, that’s not how it works. In politics, typically a certain amount is allocated and then it’s decided what to spend the money on. So lobbying often involves trying to get the money spent on your cause and not on another cause.

    This is the quote you pulled in context, with my response to your objection bolded:

    The Christina Hoff-Summers article you link to is classic. Any move of women and people of color to gain rights and wealth is framed as taking away from poor white men, ignoring that it is wealthy white men who are sucking up all the oxygen. When debating the 2009 stimulus package, women were advocating adding money to create jobs for women, not taking money away from men. So, instead of joining with their working class sisters and advocating for more spending on job creation for all and fewer tax cuts for the wealthy, they objected to women advocating for themselves – like crabs in a barrel.

  70. 71
    Kate says:

    Thank-you Sebastian @65!!!! That is such an important point!!!

  71. 72
    Kate says:

    RonF and lurker23

    Protest belongs in public, and should be focused on adults. Protesters should stay away from people’s homes, and their children.

    Of course, I’m sure I’ll be told this has nothing at all to do with comments from Rep. Maxine Waters encouraging people to confront politicians and officials that she doesn’t like wherever they are.

    The exact quote was:

    “If you see anybody from that [Trump] Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them! And you tell them that they are not welcome, anymore, anywhere,”

    I took her to mean in public, as the list of places she began with implied. I have no problem with that. This is also how her comments were characterized by the LA Times:

    Waters, who is one of President Trump’s most outspoken critics, angered the group and others by calling on the public to “push back” on administration officials they spot in public.

    The Guardian summarized her comments as:

    …encouragement of anti-Trump activists who refused service to cabinet members and White House aides at restaurants and other businesses.

    A few incidents that occurred at that protest are really troubling. Again from the Guardian:

    A news reporter suspected of being a rightwing provocateur was chased across a busy street. He jumped into a car and drove off at high speed. A second man in a polo shirt had fingers jabbed into his face and was escorted away, even though he insisted he was a Waters supporter.

    When a flatbed truck with a large American flag in the back pulled up outside the office, activists spat at the driver and his passenger, threw water and eggs at them, and grabbed the flag, which they then burned to chants of: “One two three four, slavery, genocide and war. Five six seven eight, America was never great!”

    But, Waters did try to prevent this, according the the Guardian:

    Fearing the worst, Waters’ staff vacated the district office and Waters herself put out a statement discouraging counter-protests, for fear that they could turn violent.

    And the LA Times:

    For her part, Waters urged counterprotesters to stay away. She noted that the organization, which at various points over the last decade has formed militias across the country, also has a history of attempting to provoke violence.

    “The Oath Keepers would like nothing more than to inflame racial tensions and create an explosive conflict in our community,” Waters said in a statement.

    I think Waters is clearly trying to call for non-violent protest. I also think she pretty much stands alone as the most radical Democrat with a national platform.
    Nothing she said comes close to Trumps rhetoric about punching protesters and carrying them out on stretchers. Heck, one Republican congressman actually attacked a reporter, and Trump regularly refers to it positively at his rallys.

  72. 73
    Kate says:

    Let’s use an imaginary example to investigate discrimination. An alien society has two races: Floops and Blibbers. Floops get 10% less pay for the same work across the board than Blibbers. Then a fair solution is to reduce the pay of Blibbers by 5% and increase the pay of Floops by 5%, right?
    Now imagine someone who falsely believes that the pay gap is actually 20% and fights to reduce the pay of Blibbers by 10% and increase the pay of Floops by 10%. The end result is now unfairness to Blibbers, as they now get paid 10% less for the same work. So instead of fixing the unfairness, it has flipped, where the other race is now victim of unfairness. So this solution has a racist outcome, although this person never meant to be racist. The injustice he fights for is because he is wrong on his facts, not because he intended to harm Blibbers.

    Let’s you and him fight…pay no attention to the mostly Blibber CEOs, making 271 times the wages of the average worker – an increase of 930% since 1978.

  73. 74
    Zunf2 says:

    I think Waters is clearly trying to call for non-violent protest.

  74. 75
    Mandolin says:

    Expressions of mental illness are highly influenced by external factors. Schizophrenic imagery tracks with culturally important figures (e.g. Jesus) and changing technology. You get a sudden rash of fixation on UFOs that occurs at the same time as a surge in popular culture. The imagery varies worldwide, although I can’t pull out any specifics from memory right now.

    Fomenting paranoia is therefore dangerous. It’s impossible to avoid giving some paranoid people any basis for paranoia–but it’s useful, I think, to try. Trump’s behavior strikes me as similar to the “pro-life” people who publish the names of abortion doctors, or the leftist animal rights activists who do something similar regarding scientists who work with animal testing. There’s a point at which one’s rhetoric becomes clearly incitement. Defining that point is a question, and no doubt has fuzzy boundaries, depending on the observer and even things like how dire (or not) the situation is, but I think it’s important to be aware of the potential consequences of one’s actions–and especially the foreseeable ones.

  75. 76
    Ampersand says:

    Then a fair solution is to reduce the pay of Blibbers by 5% and increase the pay of Floops by 5%, right?

    Sort of, but I don’t think that’s a solution any significant Floop economists and legislators would actually suggest. Probably they’d focus more on making the workplace fairer going forward, so that over time that 10% gap can be diminished.

  76. 77
    Celeste says:

    I wouldn’t worry about it, Ron. It looks like Tucker lied about the incident.

    Lies aren’t much of a surprise come from a Trump supporting Fox News conservative like him, but still.

  77. 78
    Celeste says:

    Maybe Tucker was just confused and it was actually Jim Acosta who ‘cracked’ his door?

    Give them some time and a copy of Final Cut Pro and I’m sure they’ll have proof for their gullible followers to gobble up.

  78. 79
    Sebastian H says:

    Lurker, “it is bad what happened to tucker carlson, but i think it is also bad to see this like it is some huge dangerous mega-thing which is caused by the left. there are many many people in the US and it is not all that surprising that there are 20 of them who were really angry and horrible, or 1 of them who would kick a door and then run away. ”

    First this comes in the context of the Nazi punching stuff from last year, and the Maxine Waters stuff. It isn’t AS BAD as Trump, but it feels like it contributes to the same type of overall degradation of civilizational **** (I’m not sure which word to put here, because I’m still mulling it through. “glue”? “structure”? I hate to leave the word hanging, but its something I’m not sure I’ve settled on because it is so basic and assumed that we don’t think about it much). Whatever that word is, I feel like a big part of the crazy right’s concept is to degrade it until we really are just warring camps (in a literal sense).

    Second, these things come in steps. How we react to it NOW influences how people on our side act NEXT time. If our reaction to going around trying to scare people’s families is “meh, he’s loathsome” we are really legitimatizing the idea that scaring people’s families if you think they are loathsome is ok. Which isn’t going to help things at all.

    It is why Matthew Yglesias’s response was so disappointing. His tweet thread (now deleted) was:

    I think the idea behind terrorizing his family, like it or not as a strategy, is to make them feel some of the fear that the victims of MAGA-inspired violence feel thanks to the non-stop racial incitement coming from Tucker, Trump, etc.

    I agree that this is probably not tactically sound but if your instinct is to empathize with the fear of the Carlson family rather than with the fear of his victims then you should take a moment to reflect on why that is.

    I met a woman who didn’t leave the house for months because she was afraid of being picked up by ICE and never seeing her US citizen kids and husband again.
    What sense was there in terrorizing her family?

    I honestly cannot empathize with Tucker Carlson’s wife at all — I agree that protesting at her house was tactically unwise and shouldn’t be done — but I am utterly unable to identify with her plight on any level.

    This is close but wrong. Right is “my empathy for the immigrant woman who felt trapped in her house makes me feel for Tucker Carlson’s wife, and I hope we can extend that to each other into a future where we can all feel safer in our own homes”. Or something along those lines. Now MY was angry, and we’ve all said intemperate things when angry, so I get that.

    But the response was obvious right? It was literally someone saying in a response tweet: maybe you could feel more empathy if people protested at your house and made your wife afraid, your address is “XXXXX Street”.

    And on some level that person isn’t wrong under the kind of rough street logic that involves going to the house of someone you don’t like and trying to make their family feel unsafe.
    But the problem is that playing with rough street logic is actively helping us get to the state that Trump and his supporters would prefer.

  79. 80
    Sebastian H says:

    I forgot, this is the thing that really hit me.

    ” but if your instinct is to empathize with the fear of the Carlson family rather than with the fear of his victims then you should take a moment to reflect on why that is.”

    This is literally buying into their moral frame. The problem is that he was arguing with a bunch of people on the left, not the right. So ‘rather than’ is buying into the warring camps thing that Trump wants instead of understanding that it could easily be “in addition to”.

  80. 81
    Celeste says:

    So look, I don’t disagree, and I don’t want to say “you guys did it first,” but where does locking babies up in internment camps fall in this whole uncivil behavior conversation? Where does encouraging physical assault of reporters fall? Where does doxing people (WHICH TUCKER DID) fall?

    Like I said, I don’t disagree with the points you’re making. I would rather live in a world in which we did not demonize and personally attack our political opponents. I worry about the glue of civilization too. That’s part of why I voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. That’s part of why he did everything he could to reach out to the right. And every time he reached out, he was taught the lesson that trying to compromise with these folks or deal with them in good faith is a fool’s game.

    So where do we go from here? I don’t know. But I’ll tell you this: if we want things to become more civil, if we want more compromise, being civil and compromising has to work.

    I know a lot of people think that the left has gone off the rails. I think of it more like the left has finally stopped unilaterally disarming. They treat like with like.

    And yes, yes, “an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.” but if you are on the right and you are trying to say that, then you have to understand that everyone on the left thinks of you as the guy who just poked out our eye with a sharp stick than held his hands up and said “hey hey hey let’s not be violent here okay?”

    We have learned the lesson you were teaching.

    Good job guys.

  81. 82
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Ask moderates who in their lives is the most uncivil to them, those on the left or those on the right. This is hard, because as I said earlier, I suspect many moderates disproportionately engage in conversation with people on their left. That said, this isn’t even close for me. Only once has someone on my right become unpleasant during a political conversation, whereas this happens frequently when I’m around people to my left, to the point where I definitely self-censor in ways I don’t need to around those on my right, and I’m a Obama/Clinton supporter. I think my story is a common one.

    If I had to guess why, the simplest explanation is that social shaming as a tactic is just more common than it used to be, and like most political tactics, the right is a little slow taking it up, but they will eventually.

  82. 83
    lurker23 says:

    Jeffrey Gandee says:
    November 10, 2018 at 7:56 am
    Ask moderates who in their lives is the most uncivil to them, those on the left or those on the right. This is hard, because as I said earlier, I suspect many moderates disproportionately engage in conversation with people on their left.

    also, the right is sometimes too far to really hurt? imagine i say something moderate on immigration, to a right and left wing guy, and:

    the right wing guy says “you are an unamerican communist, you are red and a traitor and you don’t deserve to be here.”

    the left wing guy says “you are acting like a racist and supporting white supremacy”

    the right wing example is so silly that it does not even really register to me as a conversation, i would not call it uncivil maybe but would instead call it crazy, but the left wing person is non-ridiculous enough so that it registers as a conversation and also therefore shows up as a very insulting one.

    some of the things the right says are reminding me of being screamed at by some crazy random street person, so they are easy to ignore, the left not so much though?

  83. 84
    Kate says:

    Ask moderates who in their lives is the most uncivil to them, those on the left or those on the right. This is hard, because as I said earlier, I suspect many moderates disproportionately engage in conversation with people on their left.

    I think you’re universalizing too much from your own experience. From what I can see (correct me if I’m wrong) you are a white man in an environment in which the left is dominant. So, I think there are probably a few things going on here.
    1.) If conservatives are a minority in your community, of course they are going to be more interested in forming alliances with moderates in their personal lives. I suspect that moderates in small towns where conservatives are dominant might have very different perspectives.
    2.) People on the right respect hierarchy. White men are allowed to have their own opinions. White women are allowed to have the same positions as their white male relatives. But, white women who speak out of turn, get treated like the Dixie Chicks, Anita Sarkeesian and Christine Blasey Ford (who has had to move four times and counting due to credible death threats). Black men who silently take a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality are greeted with outrage totally out of proportion to their “offense”.
    3.) Most modern American conservatives have no interest in trying to reason people on to their side. They know reason is their enemy. They will smile. They will sweetly say “bless your heart” and pray for you. Then, they will move to dominate you, by creating arcane rules that make it more and more difficult, if not impossible, for people like you to vote, access reproductive healthcare, obtain legal status, marry who you love……

  84. 85
    Celeste says:

    the right wing example is so silly that it does not even really register to me as a conversation, i would not call it uncivil maybe but would instead call it crazy, but the left wing person is non-ridiculous enough so that it registers as a conversation and also therefore shows up as a very insulting one.

    I think that there’s some of this – you argue with people who obey human logic, not raving conspiracy theorists spouting paranoid conservative nonsense – but I think there’s something else there as well.

    Conservatives have been saying such transparently crazy/racist/xenophobic/etc stuff for so long that it gets brushed off as “well, that’s just how they talk.” They got a pass on their lunacy for a long time because everyone just assumed it was just rhetoric to pump up their base.

    That’s why everyone was so shocked when Trump took office and the Republicans started doing all the crazy/vicious shit they’d been threatening for years: “What? They want to eliminate pre-existing condition protections? But I need those!”

    Yeah dude. They told you. WE told you.

    But I hear some college kids said something unkind about literal Nazis somewhere, so that’s clearly more pressing.

  85. 86
    Zunf2 says:

    Yes, Kate and Celeste, the Conservative can be spotted because of his protroding brow, beady eyes and steady grunting noises. The Conservative will brutally punish the women of their type, along with anyone who dares kneel or utter any kind of opposition to their proclamations. At least the ones you can understand through their disgusting tobacco-stained teeth! They sweat a lot and are always looking for opportunities to take your money away via tax cuts for the rich.

    They are utterly foreign creatures who only utter conspiracy theories. They are never right and never can be right as a foreign species. They are worthy of tremendous amounts of hate and should be driven to the edges of town. They are worthy of no respect; only members of your tribe are worthy of any respect or make any sense.

  86. 87
    Ampersand says:

    Zunf, I certainly don’t agree with that.

    But I also don’t agree with “both sides are equally bad, and saying otherwise is calling the other side demons” argument.

    Take climate change, for example. That’s an issue where the Republican party is simply, flat-out wrong, and flat-out wrong in dangerous ways that will cause tremendous damage, including largescale deaths of humans, if their policy views prevail. (And they are likely to prevail, alas). And the party machinery is so aligned on this that no one with a reasonable view about climate change has any chance of either heading the appropriate committees in Congress, or of being elected President.

    Another example: voting rights. One side is reacting to a fictional threat of “millions of people who voted illegally,” as President Trump put it. That same side is doing all it can to make it harder to vote, and to maintain anti-democratic institutions like gerrymandering to make sure that the voter’s preferences are taken less into account in elections.

    Whether or not there’s a threat of millions of illegal voters is not a question that has right and wrong on both sides. One side is flatly wrong. Whether or not democracy is a good thing, or is something that should be fought by making it harder for voters to vote, and through policies like gerrymandering, is not a question I can see both sides of.

    It’s true that conservatives aren’t literal monsters. But that doesn’t make it wrong to notice that some of the policies conservatives support – not just at the margins, but at the top levels – are irrational and have evil results.

  87. 88
    Celeste says:

    Zunf2, it’s way easier to argue against positions you make up, isn’t it?

    I do think that it’s emblematic of the discourse that leftists accurately describing conservative positions is seen as uncivil, but actually holding those positions isn’t.

    Like, if I were to describe conservatives as, “the kind of people who think it’s okay to lock toddlers up in cages,” I’m sure a lot of conservatives would be very offended at the insult … and then continue to support locking toddlers up in cages.

  88. 89
    desipis says:

    Celeste:

    Like, if I were to describe conservatives as, “the kind of people who think it’s okay to lock toddlers up in cages,” I’m sure a lot of conservatives would be very offended at the insult … and then continue to support locking toddlers up in cages.

    Conservatives see the non-citizen / citizen divide as significant in where the government priorities should fall in protecting the rights and well-being of people. This causes progressives to see conservatives as “uncivil” on matters of immigration.

    Progressives see the pre-birth / post-birth divide as significant in where government priorities should lie in protecting the rights and well-being of people. This causes conservatives to see progressives as “uncivil” on matters of abortion.

    The core issue of civility isn’t whether one side’s policies seem sufficiently moral to be classified as “civil”. The above examples shows that’s can be framed either way depending on political viewpoint. The issue of civility is about the process by which society determines what is right and what is wrong. If society at large doesn’t keep a dedication to making civil discussion and democratic politics the number one priority then the outcome will be civil war.

    Civil discussion needs to be a priority even when the other sides policies seem uncivil. Civil discussion needs to be a priority even when the other sides policies cause significant amounts of human suffering. Civil discussion needs to be a priority even when the other sides policies cause significant amounts of environment damage. Civil discussion needs to be a priority even when the other sides policies cause significant amounts of human death. Because the alternative is civil war, and that brings far more incivility, far more destruction, far more suffering and far more death than even the worst policies of either side.

  89. 90
    Ampersand says:

    Desipis, that seems hyperbolic.

  90. 91
    AJD says:

    also, the right is sometimes too far to really hurt? imagine i say something moderate on immigration, to a right and left wing guy, and:

    the right wing guy says “you are an unamerican communist, you are red and a traitor and you don’t deserve to be here.”

    the left wing guy says “you are acting like a racist and supporting white supremacy”

    the right wing example is so silly that it does not even really register to me as a conversation, i would not call it uncivil maybe but would instead call it crazy, but the left wing person is non-ridiculous enough so that it registers as a conversation and also therefore shows up as a very insulting one.

    In other words, Lurker23, it seems to me that what you’re saying pretty much explicitly is that the right wing is more uncivil, but you nevertheless perceive the left wing as more uncivil just because the right wing is more extreme.

    Do you not see how this is in effect a double standard, whereby the left wing is judged more harshly for behavior that is less bad?

  91. 92
    Zunf2 says:

    Take climate change, for example. That’s an issue where the Republican party is simply, flat-out wrong …

    Well, the Republicans I know are not as hysterical about it, they question (not deny, question) the extent to which it is caused by people (instead of a natural long-term cycle, for instance), and they note that some of the previous dire preductions have not come true. They note that there have been instances of “climate scientists” falsifying studies (Google it if you are not aware of it). Sometimes massively. They note that despite the claim of the left that 97% of climate scientists are completely on-board with the man-made theory and the dire predictions, that may not be completely true (neither the percentage nor the dire claims).

    I personally do not know a single right-leaning person who simply denies that there is any change in the climate at all. That’s a lot different than questioning things. I am sure there are nutcase right-wingers somewhere, however, just like there are nutcase left-wingers.

    Here’s something to think about: I assume that you have no background in science, certainly not in climate change, so how are you so sure that dire catastrophes are going to happen with regard to climate change? That is the typical case of a left-wing person. And they are very, very sure of themselves. And some take it to an extreme degree – no questioning is tolerated or you are a DENIER who will reap the violence that DENIERS have sown. Their DENIAL is violence in and of itself, so it deserves a truly violent response. And questioning is DENIAL.

    To me, that is like a Bible-thumper being very, very sure of himself that all the stuff he says is true, because it can be found in the Bible. Neglecting to see, of course, that even if the Bible is infallible (and that’s quite an if), it is also just his interpretation of things he’s reading.

    Frankly, the right-wingers I see take it with humor because they don’t know if it’s right or not. Watch the Greg Gutfeld show or things like that.

  92. 93
    Zunf2 says:

    Lot sof people on the right are as hysterical about immigration as left-wingers are about climate change.

    But people on the right think that a mass influx of people with different cultures is going to radically change the identity and nature of the United States. They may well be right.

    It’s easy for the left to slam this as “not wanting brown people” and to call all republicans racist, but it has to do with the culture that is coming in, not simply the color of their skin. Republicans don’t have much against black people with the beliefs and culture of Thomas Sowell, for instance.

    Would you personally rather live in a European-type society or under Shariah law? I would rather live in a European society. Would you rather live in the economic system of the United States or in the economic atmosphere of Venezuela? Would you rather live in the culture of Honduras or the culture of the United States? Funny how people who want Venezuela or Honduras don’t move there.

    Left-wingers seem to deny that a mass influx of people is going to have a significant effect on the culture of the country they are coming to.

  93. 94
    desipis says:

    AJD (quoting lurker23):

    the right wing example is so silly that it does not even really register to me as a conversation, i would not call it uncivil maybe but would instead call it crazy, but the left wing person is non-ridiculous enough so that it registers as a conversation and also therefore shows up as a very insulting one.

    In other words, Lurker23, it seems to me that what you’re saying pretty much explicitly is that the right wing is more uncivil, but you nevertheless perceive the left wing as more uncivil just because the right wing is more extreme.

    The difference isn’t that one is more uncivil in substance, but merely in appearance. The left has had a generation of academics to develop rationalisations to its crazy and indoctrinate a generation of students with its dogma, such that it’s crazy take on the illusion of legitimacy. If one were to take the definitional stretching of the term “racism”, a term that has gone from a fundamental belief about racial inferiority to the act of simply wearing certain Halloween costumes, and apply it to “communism” then the result would be a term that applies to any form of government welfare spending. At the end of the day both terms are being used as a way to cudgel one’s opponents using the pre-established biases of one’s allies rather than engage in any discussion of substance.

  94. 95
    Kate says:

    LoL @63 If you look at the Hidden Tribes survey, you see that your tribe of progressive activists seems to be very sensitive to guilt over historical misdeeds by America. There are various ways in which this may lead to a bias to believe in exaggerated levels of racism/sexism/etc. For example, one may be very wary of not believing people who claim to be victimized in a way that (somewhat) matches historical misdeeds. Believing in a certain narrative can also become a subcultural imperative, a marker of tribal allegiance and conformity to the group. Also, aside from bias, this guilt may also result in a different idea of fairness: undoing past injustice rather than merely providing equal opportunity going forward.

    Zunfa @86 They are utterly foreign creatures who only utter conspiracy theories. They are never right and never can be right as a foreign species. They are worthy of tremendous amounts of hate and should be driven to the edges of town. They are worthy of no respect; only members of your tribe are worthy of any respect or make any sense.

    Conservatives are my native “tribe”. I know you’re relatively new here, and don’t know my history. But I was raised conservative, Catholic. I went to Catholic school in Jr. High and High school. All my grandparents were working class Catholics (men, who worked their way up into management were Republicans; women who were either factory workers or teachers, pro-union Democrats – every married couple in my family went to the polls every November to cancel their partner’s vote out because they knew no one else was going to do it.) A lot of my cousins and high school Facebook friends are pro-Trump. I still love them.
    Both my parents were raised working class. But my father was an over-achiever – law school, investment banking – quite successful in 80’s finance. So, I really grew up upper middle class. He was (probably still is) a Reagan Republican. My mom, I think has never voted for a Republican in her life.
    Today, I’m a middle-aged, white woman with a useless PhD. and a decidedly working-class job, married to a very successful white man. Statistically speaking, I ought to be a conservative. I ought to be a Republican.
    I can not begin to count the times over the past thirty years when someone has called me out for saying something racist, homophobic, ableist…. etc. It’s embarrassing. But still, I consider those call-outs gifts. They have made me a better person. See, I entered all those conversations, as I try to enter every conversation, open to the possibility that I might be the one who is wrong. Still, thirty years of discussion and debate; reading and research have led me to become more progressive and less conservative with each passing year. I can’t, given all that I know, believe that Trump might be right. This is not based on “tribalism” or “prejudice” – it is based on three decades of reading, research, thought and learning. So, I will admit, the average internet commenter isn’t likely to change my mind. But this is not because my mind is closed. It is because they are exceedingly unlikely to come up with an argument that I have never seen, considered, researched and upon mature consideration, discarded in the past.
    Most conservatives who I have known or read have principles and beliefs firmly grounded in religious dogma. If one accepts the presuppositions of their religious beliefs, all their positions make sense. But, that is a very big IF – especially in a society with freedom of religion, where political decisions are not supposed to be based in religious faith. And, this is why so many conservatives need to argue in bad faith. The roots of their beliefs are religious convictions. But, if they acknowledge that, it is difficult to win in a society that is supposed to have a government that is religiously neutral.

  95. 96
    Ampersand says:

    If one were to take the definitional stretching of the term “racism”, a term that has gone from a fundamental belief about racial inferiority to the act of simply wearing certain Halloween costumes…

    In the 1940s, Will Eisner was receiving mail complaining (correctly) that the way he drew a Black character in his comics was racist. I bring up this example because I knew Eisner and have done a lot of research about this, but his experience was certainly not unique. Long before any of us were born, “racist” was a term used to criticize pop culture.

    Criticism of blackface for being racist goes back many decades. Amos n’ Andy was criticized for being racist in Black newspapers at least as early as 1930, and probably earlier. So criticizing white people for dressing up as or pretending to be POC isn’t new, either.

  96. 97
    Ampersand says:

    Zunf2, you’re like someone saying “look, I’m not denying that the Earth is round. I’m just asking questions. Like, could it be round and flat at the same time, like a dinner plate? Could it be a convex shape rather than a full globe? And why do liberals call me ignorant just because I’m asking these totally reasonable questions?”

    That you’re saying these things in a calm tone, doesn’t mean you’re not flat-out wrong.

    Well, the Republicans I know are not as hysterical about it,

    I’m less concerned with the Republicans you know, than I am with the Republicans who are elected and who influence policy. And some of those – such as Donald Trump – have indeed said that climate change is a hoax. (Trump, after calling climate change a hoax over and over for years, walked it back a bit in one interview last month.)

    I am sure there are nutcase right-wingers somewhere, however, just like there are nutcase left-wingers.

    We don’t elect our “nutcases” to the White House.

    the extent to which it is caused by people (instead of a natural long-term cycle, for instance),

    Virtually all the evidence points to human activity as the cause of the recent increase in heat – which is increasing far faster than can be accounted for by natural cycles.

    Is there even a plausible theory as to how it would be possible for humans NOT to be causing an increase in global temperature? I mean, are you denying that humans are putting a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere and oceans? Or are you denying that increased CO2, just as a matter of physics, causes warming?

    …they note that some of the previous dire preductions have not come true. They note that there have been instances of “climate scientists” falsifying studies (Google it if you are not aware of it).

    If you have a specific example that you’d like me to address, then link to it. But I can’t reasonably be expected to respond to claims if you’re not willing to actually make the claims first.

    I don’t have a background in climate science. But I have friends with advanced degrees in related fields, and I’ve read a lot about the evidence written by experts. For me, the bottom line is that the predictions made decades ago by climate change models predicting warming as a result of CO2, have been correct (not to the very last decimal place (metaphorically speaking), but within the margin of error).

    I’ve also read a lot of writing by “skeptics,” and spent a lot of time checking out their claims (when they put forward falsifiable claims), and in every case their claims have been false.

    Finally, it’s clear that there is a great deal of consensus about the existence of human-caused climate change among experts. Now, it’s possible that nearly all experts could be mistaken; but that’s the less likely scenario by far.

    If over 90% of experts agree that there is a train headed our way, and if they have a lot of evidence showing that there is a train headed our way, and if the people claiming there’s no train headed our way have no plausible explanations for the way the tracks are shaking as if a train is approaching us…

    Then it makes sense to step off the train tracks. Saying “but maybe all the experts are wrong. It’s possible! We don’t know everything! Sometimes scientists are wrong!” is not a good reason to refuse to step off the tracks.

  97. 98
    Ampersand says:

    This is just a political cartoon, obviously, but I think this XKCD strip does a good job at visualizing the way earth’s temperature has varied historically.

  98. 99
    Sebastian H says:

    Very few people claim outright to be anti-science. The typical way of playing it is to claim that science is overly biased by political or corporate influence. The problem of course is that specific charge is sometimes true, but not nearly as often as detractors suggest. The right is currently going through an especially strong pseudo-skeptical moment regarding global warming. It’s fine to call them out on that. It is wrong to suggest there is anything particular to the conservative mindset about anti-science silliness. The anti vax movement was closely allied with the left until recently (it now is a plague on both sides).

    I think it is more typical that serious danger comes from overly trusting scientific figures. The eugenics movement was considered to be very grounded in science, as was scientific racism, fad diets, and all sorts of misused psychological studies.

    The problem is of balance.

  99. 100
    Ampersand says:

    I agree that the conservative mindset isn’t inherently anti-science; I’ve been told that climate change denial is pretty rare among conservative parties outside of English-speaking countries.

    The anti vax movement was closely allied with the left until recently (it now is a plague on both sides).

    No, it was never “closely allied” with the left, in a parallel way to how climate change denial is associated with the right.

    To prove me wrong, can you tell me which Democratic presidents took a public anti-vax position. Did Obama? Clinton? Carter?

    Did the Democrats in congress ever make being anti-vax a requirement for being a member of the related congressional committees?

    Was taking on anti-vax conditions positions ever something that all serious Democratic presidential primary candidates did?

    The answer to all these questions is no. The parallel you’re implying just isn’t a parallel, because the difference between the president of the US being an anti-science crank, versus Jenny McCarthy (if she’s even left?) being an anti-science crank, is too significant to reasonably ignore.

    Also, I’m not sure what period you mean by “recently,” but as far as I know anti-vax has been found in similar numbers on the right and left going back as far as the question has been surveyed. The idea that it was ever a primarily left thing is a combination of leaning really hard on some very dubious correlations (the assumption that if there are a lot of anti-vaxxers in a blue state, it’s safe to conclude that those anti-vaxxers are left-wing) and wishful thinking from “both sides are equally bad” centrists.

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