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June 19, 2015

Comments

This was the discussion that Russell wanted to have, albeit he wanted a one-sided discussion.

Bullshit.

If you have something to say, say it. Don't tell me what I think.

I did say it. Brett brought up a flip-side argument right out of the box. Here's your reply:


(Brett): While we're on the topic [Brett interjects the knock out game]

(Russell): The topic is the conservative response to the Charleston shootings [rejecting Brett's introduction of another topic].

It looks pretty clear to me that you wanted to focus on the issue you defined: conservatives who couldn't or wouldn't acknowledge Roof's racism. I base this on your response to Brett. Tell me what I got wrong. Moreover, I don't think it's bad faith to require folks to stay on topic, even if I think it limits the discussion.

This--racism in general, what it means, its effect, the remedy, etc--is a difficult topic. It is not an impossible one.

Yes, I shut Brett off, because Brett likes to jack threads and make them about whatever topic tickles his fancy.

Frankly, I didn't see the relevance of the "knockout game" to the topic at hand, and didn't feel like being Brett's freaking monkey, so I shut that particular topic of conversation off.

To the point you raised - whether liberal rhetoric makes racism something that conservatives would just prefer to avoid, so they don't have to listen to themselves called racist yet again - I note this in my original post:

Are they overly sensitive to being somehow associated with Roof and his ideology, so they want to steer the conversation in some other direction?

Right?

The fact that liberals and lefties are prone to calling conservatives racist at any provocation is a point well worth discussing, and is *germane to the topic*.

Frankly, IMO it is a complaint that has some merit.

The "knockout game", and in particular the "knockout game" when pulled from Brett's butt, does not.

In my opinion.

If you want to discuss how liberal rhetoric makes race an unpalatable topic for conservatives to discuss, I'm all ears. It's actually the kind of thing that I was hoping the thread would lead to.

Liberal leadership on racism would sound like:

what about that is different from what liberal leaders have said ?

granted, not every L.L. will have hit every point in what you wrote. but i'm 99% sure you could cobble together statements from a few L.L.s that would cover it all.

What are you getting at? There are bad people (Osama Bin Laden) who need to be brought to justice. Does that make the people who volunteer to do so no different than Roof? If that is not what you are saying, then who are these 'bad people' and who is volunteering to kill them?

McTX, please refrain from being simultaneously mealy-mouthed and sanctimonious. We are not talking about wanting to "bring people we deem bad to justice". We're talking about wanting to kill people we deem bad. Period, full stop. You yourself have said at great length that you viewed the atomic bombings of Japan to be necessary if not outright good, and I doubt even you would go so far as to try to conflate their killing with "bringing them to justice", nor be so brash as to argue all our victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bad people. Was the Enola Gay's crew "severely disordered"? Truman? Please, do tell. Am I "severely disordered" for not only having voluntarily enlisted in the Army in a time of war - with zero delusions that I'd be unlikely to deploy - but for having actually volunteered for deployment? Does my avowed (indeed, sworn) willingness to kill indefinite numbers of people on the mere say-so of the painfully and obviously fallible people I worked for show grave derangement on my part? Am I only spared an accusation of derangement because I view such killing as bad? Am I deranged again because I think that it's almost certainly not actually necessary? Were my peers who did not have those qualms, and indeed who wanted to get their boots on the ground and "bad people" in their crosshairs "severely deranged"?

Again, we're not talking about wanting to "bring to justice", and no amount of bad-faith equivocating can change that. We are talking about wanting to kill. We are talking about wanting certain people dead, and being not only willing to pull the trigger, but to do so gladly, and relish both the thought and memory, and to think that having done so would make/made you a better person. Are our servicemembers who think thusly (because they think their targets are "bad people" who deserve to die) "severely deranged"? Because there are a lot of troops who think like that, you know. Be clear, and don't equivocate. It's all right to think that a desire to kill people is a sign of mental illness, but if you do you'd best have a damned good explanation for why a desire to kill people the killer has judged by whatever criteria to be "bad" is "deranged", but a desire to have others kill people that one has judged "bad" on one's behalf is not. Otherwise, it sounds an awful damned lot like you're saying we're sane and moral for making other people deranged IOT keep our hands and consciences clean; i.e., that a desire to want people dead is laudable and normal so long as we're not willing to do the dirty work ourselves, even if we are causally responsible for the killings occurring... but an actual willingness to "do what needs done" is a sign of derangement. Or, again, are you going to equivocate and walk back your blanket statement that an individual possessed of a willingness to kill some number of people they judge to merit killing is deranged?

Disclosure: I have never done military service but alternative civilian service as a conscientious objector*. So take my views on soldiers as a private non-professional opinion.

I think it is OK and not a sign of a mental disorder to join the military, if it seems to one to be something that has to be done and may involve killing people.
Once the killing turns from a regrettable but unavoidable part to something actually desired I get severe toothache (as we say over here) and one should at least consider 'mental disorder' as playing a part in this. Once the killing becomes the main 'attraction', this should imo count as a true disqualifier and draw significant suspicion of a mental disorder. From the military's point of view that would of course be problematic since it is difficult enough to get a 'normal' person to kill, in particular to kill people he has no personal grudge against on order. The US military has even actively considered targeting sociopaths for recruitment, i.e. people that lack any killing impediment.Iirc that got only dropped because those guys would be as likely to shoot their superiors as the enemy. It's a dilemma already discussed by Platon 2400 years ago btw.
Soldiers need to disable certain inbuilt safeguards of the normal brain to be able to do the active part of the job without losing control in the process, so they would actually need a more stable personality than the average human being. But unfortunately usually the 'easier' path is chosen by targeting those that already lack some of those safeguards resulting in the well-known bad effects in almost every war on record.

*that's not the same as principled pacifist. In know some rather militant guys that would never touch a gun themselves but profess ideologies that would end in rather long butcher bills when applied in reality and not accidental ones. I myself can phantasize about having mass murder and atrocities** committed and that is one reason for me to keep away from things that lead in that direction.

**like bathing Rummy in mustard gas, slowly boiling Cheney in oil, waterboarding Bybee and Yoo to hell and breaking every joint in the bodies of some other guys from the same club (oh yes, and slow starvation for numerous GOPsters and a few selected Dems).You get the general idea.

The fact that liberals and lefties are prone to calling conservatives racist at any provocation is a point well worth discussing, and is *germane to the topic*.

Frankly, IMO it is a complaint that has some merit.

Ok, taking a step back, I'll take a forlorn stab at this topic. I've had too many frank discussions with lefties who did not call me racist, but I know what you are saying. The phenomena is that too many activists and pundits--not the rank and file--on the left use charges of racism to end discussion (similar in vein to calling pro-choicers baby killers). And, quite frankly, they do so with more success than should be allowed. Some on the right push back, but until the left polices itself in this regard (there IS some movement), it will be a problem.

You can take it as a given that what I impute to the left has its analogue on the right.

Now, most of the lefties I interact with are over 50. From what I can see on campuses across the country, the younger lefties don't tolerate folks like me at all. We are beyond the pale. If this persists, we have a whole other set of problems.

So, my first quibble is that there a plenty on the left who would have a discussion, but they are not the ones in control of the microphones.

This is a very rough, truncated version of a conservative's analytical platform on race. A lot of conservatives see little evidence of visible racism (because, in their neighborhood, there is nothing there for them to see). At the same time and for many years, they've seen--and tend to obsess on--affirmative action, tons of money spent on welfare and other social spending, extraordinary crime rates in the African American community, widespread breakdown of the African American family and liberal audiences receptive to the racial grievance practiced by Jackson, Sharpton and others. They see but tend to over-emphasize substantial progress that is not acknowledged, or acknowledged mostly in passing. Being human and doing what humans do, they project their own experience and opportunities on to others, e.g. "I didn't get all that stuff and I came out fine."

As a result, they form a superficial and often wrong set of ideas about African Americans (and others), often confusing cause for effect, and making any number of other mistakes of reason and logic. All of which makes many conservatives unable to verbalize thoughts on racism without sounding stupid or demeaning or condescending or all three and others as well. Opportunists on the left flip gaffes into racism at light speed. Prudent conservatives have learned that talking about racism only gets them in trouble.

That's one part of the problem.

Another part is a subset of the greater problem: neither side ever concedes a point, or part of a point, because if they did the other side would treat it as wholesale surrender.

Imagine a conservative candidate for president saying something like, "There is still prejudice in this country. Mostly against black people. It is a fraction of what it once was but it still affects lives. But I'm here to tell you that I don't have a program in mind to address racism because I don't think an effective anti-racism program, other than what people of good will are already doing which is trying to overcome their lesser inclinations, exists. The problem of racism will be solved on the individual level, one person at at time. The solution, and it is not perfect by any means, is the passage of time. In the meantime, my administration will zealously enforce the laws against discrimination. That's the best we can do."

He/she would be villified on the left and, in fairly short order, anyone subscribing to that view would be ipso facto racist, end of story. Which would tend to limit debate going forward.

Put differently, there is no upside and tons of downside to talking about racism from the right.

My personal view is that the same quarter on the left that defaults to calling dissenters racists or sexists or whatevers does so because they have no interest in and actively seek to cut off all debate.

A third issue is the right's narrative on race, which is pretty much that the problem's been fixed so what's all the fuss about? Agile rightists can acknowledge episodic, one-off examples of racism and come off looking pretty good. Others, more hemmed in by the cumulative effects drinking only one brand of Cool Aid, are forced to find some other cause even when racism stares them in the face.

From my very small seat, most of the problems* have been fixed to the extent they are fixable without the cure being worse than the disease and the issues are structural: a huge gap in social, familial and economic skills, almost all of which flow from widespread uneducated women raising multiple children doomed to repeat the cycle. This is widespread in the African American community but outcomes from single family homes where the almost-always female parent is without education or job skills transcends race.

This is not something smart conservative (or liberal) politicians bring up publicly. They whisper it, or hint at it, privately.

Some 10-15% of conservatives (and independents and Democrats) think African Americans are inferior. I'm not sure that number will ever change much.

I've spent a lot of time on this and have proofed it several times. There are a lot of incomplete thoughts in this comment. I am painting with a very broad brush and leaving out a lot of detail and context. Please keep that in mind as you fire back.

*The single exception being our criminal justice system, which is worse than most conservatives will admit and not nearly as awful as many liberal contend. It is the one area where skin color matters to a noticeable degree.

Once the killing turns from a regrettable but unavoidable part to something actually desired I get severe toothache (as we say over here) and one should at least consider 'mental disorder' as playing a part in this. Once the killing becomes the main 'attraction', this should imo count as a true disqualifier and draw significant suspicion of a mental disorder.

This. Nicely put.

We're talking about wanting to kill people we deem bad. Period, full stop. You yourself have said at great length that you viewed the atomic bombings of Japan to be necessary if not outright good, and I doubt even you would go so far as to try to conflate their killing with "bringing them to justice"

Ok, you are still confusing me. Are you saying that volunteering for the Marines after Pearl Harbor is morally equivalent to deciding blacks are ruining the country and killing some random number in church in order to start a race?


Yes, I shut Brett off, because Brett likes to jack threads and make them about whatever topic tickles his fancy.

Just to make one thing clear here, It may sound like Russell made the decision to give Brett the boot, (because he's the only one among the front pagers with enough stamina to keep this thread going and he's not the kind of person to try and deflect responsibility) but it was a considered decision by all the front pagers. And that decision was because
-Brett thread jacks all the time
-His participation drives out other people who just don't want to deal with him

He was warned numerous times, but he kept doing it and all of us finally got sick of it. That this happened on a thread about race has nothing to do with race, it has to do with the way Brett participated here.

I should also add that when I wrote to Brett offlist to tell him, he said not to bother unbanning him, the thread was 'imbecilic' and he bid us to enjoy our 'echo chamber'.

FWIW

McKinney, I agree with almost all of what you have said. The exceptions being two.

First, both left and right have people with megaphones ranting about race. And, as a result, their politicians tend to say similar things -- going with what they are hearing loudest. But how many regular people, on each side, actually buy that ranting? My sense is that, while it is a minority of both, it is a rather larger minority on the right. Being a conservative myself, I really really wish that were not the case. But from what I can see, it is.

Second, I'm a bit dubious of the assertion that "10-15% of conservatives (and independents and Democrats) think African Americans are inferior. I'm not sure that number will ever change much." I think that is much too pessimistic. Certainly it will never reach zero. But I think our experience over the last few decades shows that it can come down further than that.

Partly that is because some of the worst bigots, on both sides, will eventually die off. But more because we have seen that individual people can change. C.f. the guy who argued vigorously, a couple of decades ago, for keeping the Confederate battle flag flying over the South Carolina state house. And this week has spoken out in favor of removing it from the state house grounds altogether. People can, and do, change.

Granted, the easiest changes are behind us; those most able to change on the subject of race have already done so. But I'm not ready to give up on anywhere near 10% of the population. After all, you could have gotten almost equal levels of belief that Asians were inferior not all that long ago. And today, that belief remains in maybe 1% of the population, probably substantially less.

McTx: Imagine a conservative candidate for president saying something like, "There is still prejudice in this country. Mostly against black people. It is a fraction of what it once was but it still affects lives. But I'm here to tell you that I don't have a program in mind to address racism because I don't think an effective anti-racism program, other than what people of good will are already doing which is trying to overcome their lesser inclinations, exists. The problem of racism will be solved on the individual level, one person at at time. The solution, and it is not perfect by any means, is the passage of time. In the meantime, my administration will zealously enforce the laws against discrimination. That's the best we can do."

That, to my mind, would be an honest and admirable position, worthy of support. Guess I'm not lefty enough or something.

My bet is that any politician on the right that announced a position like that would be termed a "RINO" and primaried, but I would be very, VERY glad to be wrong.

The best way to avoid being called a racist? Don't be racist. Don't pal around with racists. Don't cover for them, don't dogwhistle to them. I'm absolutely sure that many on the left are operating at DEFCON5 'launch on warning' for racism, much like the NRA does for anything that even HINTS as tightening gun laws. But the Southern Strategy is still going strong, while gun laws have been monotonically loosened over the past 20-odd years. So not quite symmetric situations.

McK, thanks for your thoughtful, thorough, and generally excellent reply.

I don't have time right now to respond, but will do so as soon as I can. I have a few thoughts, and even if I didn't your comments deserve as close to an equally thoughtful reply as I can muster.

Many thanks.

But I'm not ready to give up on anywhere near 10% of the population.

I thought 10-15% was pretty optimistic.

My bet is that any politician on the right that announced a position like that would be termed a "RINO" and primaried, but I would be very, VERY glad to be wrong.

I think not, but we're debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. No one is going to say that on either side. Imagine H Clinton saying that.

McK, thanks for your thoughtful, thorough, and generally excellent reply.

Happy to oblige. This is a relatively slow week for me, after a very, very crazy year (six trials in 12 months--that is a lot in my business), so I'll be part of the conversation for the next couple of days.

The phenomena is that too many activists and pundits--not the rank and file--on the left use charges of racism to end discussion (similar in vein to calling pro-choicers baby killers).

definitely.

You acknowledge that the criminal justice system is an area where 'skin color matters to a noticable degree'. Why is it hard to say 'the US criminal justice system is racist'? Especially when you have stories like this

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/04/racial-disparities-criminal-justice_n_4045144.html

And, if this is the case, how can it not have a knock-on effect all the way up? Yes, "outcomes from single family homes where the almost-always female parent is without education or job skills transcends race." (pointing to the pernicious effects of sexism, right?) but if you have an incarceration rate of 60% AA males (as they do in the NY prison system), isn't the impact going to be disparately on the African American community?

I'm not in the US, so I can only speak about what I see from over here, and as a rule, I'm not too interested in what politicians say, but it seems to me that the problem is not some sort of hair trigger on accusations of racism, it's an inability to see that it is baked into the structure of US society.

good for Gov Haley

Ok, you are still confusing me. Are you saying that volunteering for the Marines after Pearl Harbor is morally equivalent to deciding blacks are ruining the country and killing some random number in church in order to start a race?

No, McK. In fact, I'm saying something entirely orthogonal to that. You jumped into a crossfire of nitpicking between myself and wj. wj made the assertion that wanting and being willing to kill people is something our society deems to be a sign of a disordered mind. I dispute that point because, well, it's not. Our society absolutely does not view a desire and willingness to kill people one thinks are in need of killing to be a sign of dubious mental health; they view it as pretty damned normal. Now, they may rapidly start having other ideas upon seeing what happens to a non-trivial portion of the individuals who go forth and do what society deemed necessary. But that's something akin to buyer's remorse; we absolutely do not view the desire or even willingness to kill people by itself as being an indicator of a deranged mind. wj's statement that I was disputing was that everyone agrees sane people don't go out and kill large numbers of other people. The caveat of "except maybe war" was added. However, the caveat changes nothing, really. It's just saying "sane people don't go out and kill people unless it's been deemed necessary to do so". And that's a useless statement bordering on tautology.

Look, I'm not willing to concede Roof was deranged simply on the basis that he went on a shooting spree. That's the main point I was getting at, and the line of reasoning that I was objecting to from wj. It's question-begging. The point is that we as a culture absolutely do not have a problem with calling killing sprees sane so long as we judge them to be righteous and needful. Which makes the assertion I objected to not only tautological, but also a red herring. If we have a segment of citizens who question the legitimacy of the government, and do not agree with the majority of the body-politic as to what constitutes an existential threat, there is absolutely no reason to expect them to judge it to be unthinkable or beyond the pale to kill fellow citizens who they feel are a threat to their way of life and/or their country/family/race/whatever simply because the gov't does not sanction their killing. Our society is quite quick to deem summary execution justified if it's means towards a noble end. So when someone who doesn't view the gov't as authoritative engages in illegal killing we cannot seriously use that alone as an indicator of insanity unless we really are willing, as I effusively and digressively argued, to e.g. likewise deem all who volunteer to kill in socially-sanctioned manners such as war to be insane.

tl;dr: If Roof is "seriously deranged", the proof of that is that he has psychological and/or psycho-chemical imbalances, not that he engaged in mass murder; arguing otherwise reduces the insanity of mass-murderers to a tautology.

Yes, cleek...kudos for Gov. Haley. It's a good (if only symbolic) step.

Now to see if she suffers for it, politically.

Lots of people will kill for ideology or for a set of beliefs about how a society ought to be and it is only considered deranged if the belief system is unpopular or not officially sanctioned.

Sometimes killing for a set of beliefs about society is popular and officially sanctioned at one point in time and later is viewed as a sort of national psychosis. I'm thinking of Nazis.

Sometimes people who really are deranged will latch onto a set of beliefs and incorporate it into their derangement. I think that describes the guy who shot Gabby Griffords.

But killing in the context of a set of beliefs doesn't by itself mean that the killer is deranged.

And, yes, good for Governor Haley.

McKinney,

Nice post @ 5:32 above. Clearly, it is difficult to have a reasoned discussion when there is essential disagreement as to what is, or even if there is--a problem.

Pre-civil war, there was also vitriolic disagreement about "race", but everybody pretty much knew what was at stake. Either slavery would survive, necessitating its expansion into the new territories to maintain the political balancing act, or the institution would be abolished.

We live with the aftermath. Certainly one can laud our upward mobility and our individualistic ethos of self striving, keeping your nose clean, getting an education, etc., etc.

But black america continues to lag. The statistics are dismal.

So it comes down to this, do we continue to do more or less nothing ("we've done what we can, now it's up to you") or are there public policies that can be adopted that would work to ameliorate this?...and yes, frankly, it may come down to "who gets what", because in the end that is what politics is all about.

And that is what makes it so intractable.

As a group, the white community has robbed, raped, and repeatedly denied the black community means to accumulate wealth (again, via public policies) or simply stolen what little they managed to grasp for 400 years.

To me, this bald fact is what is driving the outcomes we witness.

It is the failure to widely recognize this fact that gives rise to throwing out the "r" word. Nearly all (white) individuals do not see themselves as racists, but they benefit in many ways from a racist system.

It is difficult to change a system one person at a time. It is the systemic nature of the problem that drives, Coates, for one, to despair.

But to important matters: I have played there twice, and it is so different from what one usually encounters, that is is like playing on the moon. The sheer scale and rolling nature of the fairways and greens is disorienting. This is not helped by not knowing where the greens end and the fairways begin. And boy is that ground hard....no lushness at all. Every lie is tight. The courses look ragged at the British Open, too. It's the grass, man! That's the way it was designed.

Thank you for your thoughts.

But killing in the context of a set of beliefs doesn't by itself mean that the killer is deranged.

An interesting question. But consider, do we not, via rigorous military training, enable soldiers to get temporarily "deranged" in order to willingly enter into battle?

Were those climbing the trenches in 1916 facing a lethal hail of machine gun bullets not "deranged" in some sense? And were not those firing the machine guns similarly deranged?

War is organized madness.

I don't agree with some of what McT says, but this isn't "my" issue, and by that I mean I think there are others here who could present the liberal view of America and racism much better than I could. But in particular, I don't agree with this--

"ew people face an obstacle-free life. Racism is a fact, but it is not an excuse nor is it insurmountable. Millions of Americans, despite or regardless of skin color, have realized the American dream. What happened today or fifty years ago or 200 years ago is no excuse for any American to ignore the opportunity this country offers, from free education to freedom itself."

I realize some blacks would agree with this-before his own personal life tripped him up, I suspect Bill Cosby might have said things along these lines or anyway that was my impression. (I'm not gloating over Cosby's fall and don't think his sins mean that his political stance is thereby discredited--it depressed me, actually, that someone I'd always liked turned out to be a creep.) But I lean more towards the Coates view.

Hey McK -

Thanks again for your thoughtful comments here. Some thoughts of my own.

Agreed that the criminal justice system is skewed against blacks, and maybe minorities in general. Differences in how police interact with blacks, differences in sentencing, to start.

The war on drugs implementation in particular IMO targets blacks and other minorities disproportionately to the actual criminal activity, and the sentencing regimes in that area are, again IMO, insane.

All of that contributes to things like the concentration of black populations in poor and poorly-served areas, and also contributes to single-parent family structures.

I also think that American blacks suffer from many generations of not being able to build family wealth, which in turn is very much a result of public (government) and private (retail banking and real estate especially) policies, many of which endured well beyond the civil rights era.

I also think American blacks are regularly subject to stupid, garden-variety insults along the lines of being followed around in stores, having white people be visibly afraid of them in public places, being stopped by cops while driving, and not being able to hail cabs, etc etc etc. I think those things really happen, and really happen without any cause other than the folks in question being black in places where black people aren't expected to be.

Long story short, I think the experience of being black in the US is not like being white in the US, and a lot of it is not caused by black folks.

Some is. A lot, I think, is not.

I raise all these points simply to balance or perhaps counter the position that the source of the problem, and the real place to find the solution, is in family structure and self-discipline. It seems to me that that point of view is factually correct as far as it goes, but also kind of begs the question.

I do recognize that there is a limit to what can be addressed by public programs, of whatever kind.

In the end, I think black people are going to have to make things happen for themselves, because anything they get from the public sector or charitable sources is just going to be held against them.

Schools, stores, banks and credit unions, industrial concerns, all of it, black or minority owned and operated. Build wealth and build community institutions over time. Not in the weird Black Muslim separatist sense, but just for the purpose of building accomplishment, and ownership, and financial stability security and wealth.

Blacks have actually done all this, multiple times, so there's nothing new about all of this. They've also had it destroyed, multiple times, so there's that. But I don't see another way forward.

In any case, I can understand why anything remotely related to race is a hot potato for conservatives. Some of that they have, I think, brought on themselves, but not all.

There needs to be room for candor, which means there needs to be some kind of space where defensiveness can be put aside, which means there needs to be some space where folks can speak without immediately being judged.

if paragraph four seems like a non-sequitur, it's because it should follow, rather precede, paragraph five.

d'oh.

it's been that kind of day.

Well, "deranged" isn't a clinical term. I was using it to mean "has an actual mental illness". So, just because a person kills in he belief that they are acting in accordance with some ideology, or cause, does not mean the person is mentally ill in a way that a psychologist or psychiatrist would recognize.

I raise all these points simply to balance or perhaps counter the position that the source of the problem, and the real place to find the solution, is in family structure and self-discipline.

Carts & horses: 1.) The disintegration of the family structure cause the deplorable social outcomes we routinely observe; solutions: Moral exhortation, criticism of "black culture", and charity or 2.) The social disintegration is due to the systemic denial of opportunity to the black race inhibiting, most importantly, wealth accumulation and the ability to pass that wealth to subsequent generations; solutions: Systemic ones....Anti-discrimination laws; reverse 'preferential treatment'; reparations.

One can see how readily these may be seen to conflict, but in a society that was honest about racial disparities-they absolutely are not.

my 4 cents.

But I'm not ready to give up on anywhere near 10% of the population.

I thought 10-15% was pretty optimistic.

For sometime in the next 10-20 years, yes it would be optimistic. I agree. But 40 or 50 years from now (which I would take to be included in "always")? I think we can do better than that.

Consider another deeply engranged prejudice: that against homosexuality. 30-40 years ago, you could still get jailed in a lot of states, just for having homosexual sex. Now, an ever-increasing number of states let homosexuals marry each other. Yes, there is still a lot of prejudice out there. But the extent of the change in views is simply enormous. And, from what I am reading, it is even larger amongst the next generation -- where even very conservative school-age kids can't understand why their elders are getting so worked up about it.

Maybe I am being unduely optimistic. But I sure wouldn't bet the ranch on it in the long run.

With respect to whether going out and killing a bunch of people is crazy. I would note that the military has spent a lot of time and effort devising programs which will take new recruits and make them willing to do so. They can be trained that way. But if many of them came that way, much of that training would be unnecessary.

That's why I tossed in the caveat about war. It isn't that sane people don't kill others. It's that getting otherwise sane people to do so in job lots takes a lot of focused training.

The 10-15% number seems to be a bit of a constant as far as 'traditional prejudices' go. The rule of thumb seems to be 1 in 7 (for Germany for example that's the antisemites or the believers in witchcraft). So, it seems to me that reducing the prejudices further is more or less futile. The goal should be their suppression in deeds. If society makes it clear that it will not tolerate prejudice-based actions or attempts to exploit the prejudices (while acknowledging that the prejudices themselves are immune to change) that seems to me to the best achievable outcome.
As far as racism goes, the US still fall significantly short of that (while e.g. Germany has a growing problem with nativism, so we are no angels either).

The one thing I'd note with that is that the military wants recruits who can reliably go out and kill repeatedly, and if they break mentally the military will have to pick up the pieces. A lone private citizen who comes to the conclusion that some killing needs done does not perforce think about sustainability, and may just assume it'll be easy, only to crack up in short order. Being able to go out and conduct one mass shooting doesn't show disorder, and even multiple shootings may show discipline instead of disorder.

The point being that it's fairly unhelpful to hold out conclusions like "mass murderer => insane, because only someone insane could conduct mass murder", even if it feels reassuring to "know" that there's something fundamentally different about someone who would do such a thing. Beyond that trap, it can encourage obfuscation of motives, as in the case at hand. I've certainly seen more than a few people on social media pouncing onto nice, comfortable, familiar, straightforward demonization of mental health issues to avoid having to grapple with complex causes. Another reason it's unhelpful is it's "identifying" "disorder" entirely by noting effects after the fact, and not even attempting to look at causes; it's a sufficiently shallow observation as to be of essentially no value predictively speaking to say we can recognize a deranged individual who's a risk of conducting a shooting by observing who conducts shootings. Finally, it's cleaving very closely to the idea that mental disorders are strictly a matter of deviating from a norm, and that's problematic for a whole host of reasons.

Concerning homosexuality I think the key word is tolerance. I doubt that the number of people considering gay sex icky is going down but more and more people now have come to "I may find it disgusting but it does not concern me personally, so why should I care?", and that's enough for a society to function.
I would include myself there (with a higher tolerance for lesbian prawn* but that's quite common I hear).

*misspelled to fool the filter

"From the left, racism, sexism and militarism are what define America, past, present and future."

That's typical Fox News BS.

Yes, there are some lefties who think that way. Unlike what has happened on the right, there aren't that many of them, they don't dominate the left, they aren't the major force amongst Dems in the House or Senate.

Yes, racism and sexism are clearly a part of our past and present, and if General/President Eisenhower could name militarism as a problem for us it's a little hard to argue with that.

The lefties in my circle get a little wacky about GMOs and fluoridated water but not one of them thinks your trifecta *define* the country, although they agree they are serious problems that need fixing. That's also my experience of the majority of lefties on ObWi. And every one of them just wants to see those problems disappear from our future so we, and the rest of the world, can enjoy the good things about the USA.

That statement is a good old straw man, invented, I suspect, so you can draw parallels that don't exist so you don't have to confront how seriously off it is that so many people on your side don't think those things are problems at all.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-charleston-shooting-1434669812

That statement is a good old straw man

Actually, I'd say that racism is definitely one of the critical lenses for thinking about US history and identity.

Sexism less so, if only because it's not particular to the US.

Militarism less so, if only because we came to it later than some others. But certainly for the last 100+ years, yes, militarism.

I'd add corporatism.

So, without wishing to dispute your own experience, I would also say that McK's characterization applies fairly well to at least some lefties.

I'm probably among the "some lefties" you refer to.

I really like this line, and I think it sums up a lot of what needs to be done to improve discourse in this country:

There needs to be room for candor, which means there needs to be some kind of space where defensiveness can be put aside, which means there needs to be some space where folks can speak without immediately being judged.

To me, that's right out of the 'there's no bad ideas in brainstorming' handbook. If people aren't free to be publicly wrong, they don't speak. Their bad ideas don't get challenged and overturned, and their good ideas don't get disseminated.

I think this clicks into the point that McK made (and I think someone else, as well, but its a long thread and I can't find the posts I'm thinking of) about narrative. Racism isn't part of the 'conservative narrative' which can make it uncomfortable to speak about it. I don't mean in the sense they feel guilty about their views, just that it is incredibly challenging to communicate complex views succinctly and with clarity. Like all things, practice makes perfect. Effectively conveying complex topics takes time and iteration.

Anyway, I originally didn't post on this thread because I've been busy, but also because I anticipated it being more heat than light. I've been proved wrong, however, and I just wanted to say I'm very impressed with what this thread has become.

it is incredibly challenging to communicate complex views succinctly and with clarity.

Amen.

Thanks everyone for hanging in, I agree that the thread ended up in a pretty good place.

I wasn't sure it would happen, and I wasn't sure I should even try to post anything on the topic. Sometimes you gotta take a chance. I'm glad it worked out.

I doubt that the number of people considering gay sex icky is going down but more and more people now have come to "I may find it disgusting but it does not concern me personally, so why should I care?"

Hartmut, I can really relate to that, because that is pretty much where my mind is. I know it's a matter of being a product of the culture I was raised in, but the skin crawling feeling remains. (And the second part of what you wrote is why I am in favor of gay marriage . . . and have been since the late 1980s actually.)

As with a lot of things, the critical issue is really tolerance of differences. You don't have to embrace, or even like, those differences -- no matter what they are. But you do have to be OK with other people doing so, so long as they likewise do not insist on you adopting them.

There needs to be room for candor

i agree.

but most political discussion is scalp-collecting and gotcha!. there's too much at stake to let the other side get an inch. (yes, i play that game far too much, personally)

Why is it hard to say 'the US criminal justice system is racist'?

Because it grossly overstates the case. Do you think the criminal justice systems in DC, Atlanta, Detroit or San Francisco are racist? Houston? Dallas?

The more accurate statements are (1) racist individuals can blend very effectively on the enforcement side of law enforcement because of the over-representation of young black males in the criminal population and (2) the over-representation of young black males in the criminal population produces over-representation in those apprehended and convicted.

The trend, for at least the last thirty years, in urban law enforcement (in large cities, less so suburbs, ergo McKinney, a suburb of Dallas) has been community outreach and participation. Individual racists can and do hide among better officers and prosecutors. Systemic racism would be called out, one would have to believe, by the number of minorities one sees in places like Houston and Dallas at all levels of the process.

Young black males commit way more crime than any other demographic. Table 43 (FBI Crime Stats by Race) shows black committing half of homicides and more than half of armed robberies. The RNC didn't make those numbers up and they hold steady year in and year out. Overall, blacks account for about a third of all crime in the US. The underlying cause(s) are not a matter of consensus and delving into this topic is uncomfortable. Dismissals from bigots "that's what blacks do" or from leftish ideologues "racism, full stop" won't change the numbers or address the issue.

As a group, the white community has robbed, raped, and repeatedly denied the black community means to accumulate wealth (again, via public policies) or simply stolen what little they managed to grasp for 400 years.

Coates makes this statement, or one very much like it, a lot. Russell makes a similar statement above. I get the "raped" part if you are talking about slavery. I am totally missing the 'public policies' that rob or deny blacks the means to accumulate wealth.

I would like specifics.

The war on drugs implementation in particular IMO targets blacks and other minorities disproportionately to the actual criminal activity, and the sentencing regimes in that area are, again IMO, insane.

I agree with the sentencing part, I have a qualified concern with the targeting part. Referring back to crime statistics, the parts of town that need the most police protection are the parts of town with the highest crime rate. That will include the parts of town in which blacks are concentrated. A by-product of higher police activity is a higher arrest rate for lesser crimes. You could and probably would find the same amount of pot on most college campuses, but you won't find the rest of the crime and therefore police presence is reduced.

There needs to be room for candor, which means there needs to be some kind of space where defensiveness can be put aside, which means there needs to be some space where folks can speak without immediately being judged.

I agree but that's not going to happen. And, it's not going to happen because the talking heads on the left aren't going to let it happen. We are having this discussion because I've been at ObWi a long time and have enough standing to be able to say things that someone commenting here for the first time might not be given the benefit of the doubt. Conservatives with political aspirations, or who want to stay employed, are not going to speak candidly for fear of a twitter campaign or public branding. It is a form of cowardice, in one sense, but it is also a sound survival instinct.

We can make, and I would likely agree with, a long list of issues on the right that need fixing. Particularly peripheral issues like open carry and the Confederate battle flag (I am adamantly opposed to open carry and the battle flag, regardless of what the waver says he/she intends, sends only one message to blacks). Gay marriage on a more immediate and significant level. If I was making a list of issues of leftish deficiencies, it would be the growing intolerance for conflicting or dissenting ideas.

Carts & horses: 1.) The disintegration of the family structure cause the deplorable social outcomes we routinely observe; solutions: Moral exhortation, criticism of "black culture", and charity or 2.) The social disintegration is due to the systemic denial of opportunity to the black race inhibiting, most importantly, wealth accumulation and the ability to pass that wealth to subsequent generations; solutions: Systemic ones....Anti-discrimination laws; reverse 'preferential treatment'; reparations.

BP, if it were 2, then there never would have been a black family structure in the first place.

The arc of black history in America is roughly (1) slavery, (2) quasi-emancipation, (3) Jim Crow, (4) post WWII transition, (5) Civil Rights Era and (6) post Civil Rights Era.

At what point in this arc do we see the black family begin to disintegrate?

In order to have disintegration, you first have to have formation. When did black families become stable? When did they begin to disintegrate?

To what policies do you attribute the disintegration of the black family? And when were these adopted?

I submit the stats show that the disintegration phenomena is congruent with the Civil Rights Era and the attendant War on Poverty.

We can discuss cause and effect later. The point I'm trying to make is that both sides are going to have to re-examine their own talking points. Whatever we are doing today isn't working. The answer may be 'more cowbell' or it may be something completely different. Achieving anything even remotely approaching a consensus means first getting to the when, what and why.

Moral exhortation, criticism of "black culture", and charity

This merits a separate comment. With respect, it misses the point. A child who drops out of school and who never acquires a marketable skill will, in nearly every instance, never be more than a reliable unskilled or semi-skilled worker. These are fine entry level positions. I worked my share of them and more back in the day, but it is not a good plan for a successful life.

Regardless of how you choose to characterize the solution, unless a child is raised to apply him/herself in school, to understand the importance of hard work and is taught and understands that it is that child's responsibility as an adult to be self-supporting, regardless of race, the child is doomed.

I am pretty sure that message is not getting home in the subset of children raised by uneducated, unskilled mothers.

It isn't race. White people with no assets are still without assets.

A huge part of my success in life was having two parents who both went to college. So, good grades and college were base level givens in our home. As it happened, neither my mom nor my dad were particularly ambitious or entrepreneurial. As it happened, an uncle I was close to was ahead of his time. He did well in life and was a great example to me and my sister. Our kids are doing well, in large part because of the examples set by my wife and me.

This is my fundamental point: kids with no example to live up to, to show them how to get from here to there, have a very rough row to hoe. That is the cycle that needs to be addressed.

I'd like to see the federal policy that turns a generation of children without a chance into a viable members of society building off of the same single parent paradigm we now have.

"So - my question: why is it so apparently difficult for conservative spokespeople - people holding elected office, people running for elected office, conservative media organs like Fox - to acknowledge the racial motivation behind the shooting?"

They profit from it. Their whole political scheme is based on the fact that they can cry 'N*gger! N*gger' and f*ck over the majority of people in the USA.

In addition some of them are gleefully racist for fun. For example, on this very blog we've seen a guy - call him Drat Dingmost - who looks at a young black teen brutally murdered by a man out 'n*gger hunting', and defend it.

In a way that's worse, because it's done for sheer pleasure, like the story of a weasel getting into a henhouse and killing all of the chickens in a horrible frenzy.

This is my fundamental point: kids with no example to live up to, to show them how to get from here to there, have a very rough row to hoe. That is the cycle that needs to be addressed.

There is truth in this. However, it needs to be said that a good example is not enough. If you have two hard-working parents who can't make ends meet for whatever reason, and as a result you have children living in conditions where they're malnourished and unable to properly rest and study, good grades and all that follow from that are not a likely outcome for them. Even just having a good breakfast on the day of a test has a dramatic and statistically significant affect on outcomes. Poverty is a big deal, and good examples aren't enough to break its cycle; poor children are systematically at a disadvantage compared to those in higher socio-economic classes, and will be far more likely to have poor children of their own. It applies to members of all races, but it's cumulative and cyclic, and as much or more of it starts with financial stability as culture and values.

I'm not seeing the difference between 'racist' and 'where skin color matters to a noticeable degree'.

At any rate
DC
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/study-cites-racial-disparities-in-dc-arrests/2013/07/11/02a46260-ea18-11e2-8f22-de4bd2a2bd39_story.html

Atlanta
http://www.assatashakur.org/forum/atlanta-ga/28159-georgia-no-2-percentage-prison-inmates.html
Georgia's Legislature in the 1990s imposed more mandatory sentences and reduced eligibility for parole, requiring longer prison stays for many inmates before they could be considered for parole.

"For some groups, the incarceration numbers are especially startling," the report said. "While one in 30 men between the ages of 20 and 34 is behind bars, for black males in that age group the figure is one in nine."

San Francisco
http://www.cjcj.org/uploads/cjcj/documents/race_and_incarceration_in_san_francisco-two_years_later.pdf
and
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/S-F-jail-inmates-56-black-4744799.php

Dallas (well, Texas)
http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/05-02_rep_txraceimprisonment_ac-rd.pdf
There are more African American men of all ages in prison in Texas (66,300) than in the Texas higher education system (40,800)
http://www.dallasobserver.com/news/texas-puts-a-lot-of-people-in-jail-for-weed-especially-black-and-probably-brown-people-7123563

Is there any reason for that selection of cities? I can make some guesses, but I'd prefer to ask.

Again, I'm seeing this from the outside, but I'm perplexed how one cannot identify the system as racist. I'm sure there are people who are within the system who are trying to do their best, and maybe there is not possibility of changing the system so that it is no longer racist, but that doesn't nullify the observation.

I'd love to comment on the other points, but this is probably long enough and I'm sure that russell and BP will be able to do a better job than me. But sincere thanks for continuing to discuss this.

I would like specifics.

see Coates. he's written about it extensively.

IIRC, though, you dismissed everything he said, the last time this stuff came up. try to read past the headline.

but black 'culture' doesn't (can't) exist in isolation from the dominant (white) culture. to some degree, what black culture is depends on what white culture allows or forces it to be.

This is my fundamental point: kids with no example to live up to, to show them how to get from here to there, have a very rough row to hoe. That is the cycle that needs to be addressed.

we could start by addressing the radical disparities in stops, arrests, charges, prosecutions and sentence lengths. if we applied the white rules to black people, millions of young black would avoid jail.

or, we could apply the black rules to white people! that would probably put many millions of young white men in jail.

either way, it would even the playing field.

McKinney,

Thanks for the reply.

(1.) Many things to reply to, but let's start with this: BP, if it were 2, then there never would have been a black family structure in the first place.

To clarify, you aver that young black women having children out of wedlock is the "cause" of the disproportionate amount of poverty we observe when broken down by race. Correct me if this understanding is incorrect.

My position is you are reversing the causation.

As for systemic factors consider this: Whites used the government purse (public policy) for several decades after WWII to subsidize the great move to the suburbs. Blacks were not allowed to follow (the history of this is well known, cf "sundowner laws"). Whites took the jobs with them.

Perhaps this is why you see the "disintegration" in more recent decades. Coupled with a "drug war" waged primarily in black communities (yet another public policy), the results are simply catastrophic.

Lastly,

And, it's not going to happen because the talking heads on the left aren't going to let it happen.

Generally speaking my blood pressure goes up quite a bit when I read shit like this, but I'll let it go since you are so obviously engaging, and you are a fellow golfer.

More to follow.

Again, I'm seeing this from the outside, but I'm perplexed how one cannot identify the system as racist. I'm sure there are people who are within the system who are trying to do their best, and maybe there is not possibility of changing the system so that it is no longer racist, but that doesn't nullify the observation.

If blacks commit a disproportionate number of crime, they will be arrested and convicted disproportionately. That isn't racism, that's law enforcement. Outcome does not equal intent.

Racism is when whites, committing the same crime as blacks, are treated preferentially based on being white.

Or, when blacks are given longer sentences for the same crime as whites.

Or other similar 'apples to apples' comparisons.

Overall arrest or incarceration rates don't tell us much because the underlying crime stats will play a dominant role in conviction rates. That blacks are arrested more for relatively lesser crimes is driven to a significant but as yet unmeasured degree by the fact that black neighborhoods are over-policed due to the high crime incidence.

You'd have to have comparable figures, e.g. white youths charged with pot possession getting X treatment and blacks charged with same crime in the same jurisdiction getting Y treatment, to have evidence of racism. Racism as opposed to a racially disparate outcome.

I would like specifics.

It's somewhat beyond the scope of a blog comment to lay out all of the specifics, but very briefly the period I'm referring to in my comment, in particular, are housing and lending policies and practices in the mid-20th C.

If you are interested in details, I actually do recommend Coates' work. Whatever you think of his stance or writing style, he has done serious homework on the topic, and IMO he presents the information without distorting the facts.

Similar phenomena can be shown for pretty much any period of US history. I can offer you cases from my own family's personal history from the early 20th C in the context of sharecropping, if you like.

There are also many cases of black communities building a solid middle class, and having that destroyed through race riots and, basically, acts of terroristic violence.

So, no shortage history or documentation on that front.

You could and probably would find the same amount of pot on most college campuses, but you won't find the rest of the crime and therefore police presence is reduced.

You would find quite a lot of the crime. And not just on college campuses, I know people who had very enterprising and successful careers as drug traffickers well into adulthood. They served a more upscale market, so, violence was not really a factor.

Drugs + wealth, cops seem less vigorous in enforcement, and jail seldom seems to be the outcome.

Drugs + poverty, different story.

That's my take on it, FWIW.

I submit the stats show that the disintegration phenomena is congruent with the Civil Rights Era and the attendant War on Poverty.

IMO this is a very fair criticism. Too many aspects to unpack in a single blog comment, but nonetheless a quite valid point.

This is my fundamental point: kids with no example to live up to, to show them how to get from here to there, have a very rough row to hoe. That is the cycle that needs to be addressed.

Also a very good point.

IMVVHO your emphasis on two-parent households, specifically, overstates the degree to which that is a requirement for success. But positive, consistent parenting, from whatever source or collection of sources, is almost always a critical ingredient for success in life.

You are correct, there is no federal program that will make that happen. Not just for poor people, or black people, but for anyone.

Crappy parenting and dysfunctional families are not exclusive to poor folks, or blacks. They are widespread.

Crappy parenting and family dysfunction plus poverty, plus the additional hurdles that black and minority people have to leap to achieve the same ends (which truly do exist), leads to a downward spiral.

All of this is not necessarily to disagree with your points, as much as it is to expand them or perhaps bring out another aspect to them.

Ultimately, people will only achieve what they themselves put their minds and effort toward. Nobody can make that happen, for anyone, and nobody can guarantee success.

It's a question, I think, of how steep of a hill is placed before people.

Hills can be leveled to some degree, but not eliminated. But, it behooves us all to at least recognize that they exist.

Thanks again for your comments here, they are appreciated.

You'd have to have comparable figures

i've given you this set of links before. here it is again.

stops: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/02/us/justice-department-report-to-fault-police-in-ferguson.html

stops: http://www.newstimes.com/local/article/Report-Some-police-departments-may-skew-6183721.php

stops and searches: http://time.com/3482859/boston-police-racial-bias-aclu/

arrests: https://www.aclu.org/news/new-aclu-report-finds-overwhelming-racial-bias-marijuana-arrests

arrests: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/11/18/ferguson-black-arrest-rates/19043207/

arrests: http://www.msn.com/en-nz/health/other/investigation-uncovers-racial-bias-in-tampa-bike-arrests/vp-AAbpgkO

prosecutions: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/09/nyregion/09race.html

jury selection: http://www.eji.org/raceandpoverty/juryselection

sentencing: https://www.law.upenn.edu/live/news/2170-new-study-by-professor-david-s-abrams-confirms

etc: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/juvenile/bench/race.html

McKinney,

I would like specifics.

Read this, for example. Many more references available on request, and I would be happy to do so.

Have a good one.

Sorry, I have an "also, too"....

I agree but that's not going to happen.

Well, it's not going to happen everywhere, all the time. Not the same as "never".

And, it's not going to happen because the talking heads on the left aren't going to let it happen.

(rolls eyes) :)

We are having this discussion because I've been at ObWi a long time and have enough standing to be able to say things that someone commenting here for the first time might not be given the benefit of the doubt.

Yes, that's quite right.

And, I get to write a post about WTF is up with the conservative commentariat without getting laughed off the blog (so far) for similar reasons.

The reason we all hang out here, I think, is because it is, sometimes, *possible* to speak candidly, and listen to other people speak candidly, and once in a while that happens without an excess of judgement.

Probably as good as it gets, but I'll take it.

Sorry, I have an "also, too"....

I agree but that's not going to happen.

Well, it's not going to happen everywhere, all the time. Not the same as "never".

And, it's not going to happen because the talking heads on the left aren't going to let it happen.

(rolls eyes) :)

We are having this discussion because I've been at ObWi a long time and have enough standing to be able to say things that someone commenting here for the first time might not be given the benefit of the doubt.

Yes, that's quite right.

And, I get to write a post about WTF is up with the conservative commentariat without getting laughed off the blog (so far) for similar reasons.

The reason we all hang out here, I think, is because it is, sometimes, *possible* to speak candidly, and listen to other people speak candidly, and once in a while that happens without an excess of judgement.

Probably as good as it gets, but I'll take it.

to some degree, what black culture is depends on what white culture allows or forces it to be.

It may be helpful to remember that there isn't one "black culture".

Not one white culture, not one black culture.

We're America, we contain multitudes.

When people talk about "black culture" in the context of discussing disparate outcomes in the criminal justice system, they're mostly talking about a specific subset of urban culture.

Most black people don't live in that culture.

You'd have to have comparable figures, e.g. white youths charged with pot possession getting X treatment and blacks charged with same crime in the same jurisdiction getting Y treatment, to have evidence of racism

Such evidence is not at all hard to find.

Coupled with a "drug war" waged primarily in black communities (yet another public policy)

The damage done by the drug war feeds into the cultural problem of single parenting, pretty much for the reasons noted: high incarceration rate of fathers implies solo mothers.

Ending the war on drugs, imho, would be the largest, most direct step we could take as a nation to address structural racism.

IIRC, though, you dismissed everything he said, the last time this stuff came up. try to read past the headline.

I did and I do disagree and I did then and I did again read his article. Refer back to my arc of history: many of the problems we see today, along with many of the advances, begin with the dismantlement of Jim Crow and all that that entailed. Coates transposes a time when few of us were alive to the present, glossing over 5 decades of extraordinary change. So, his methodology is flawed, and his proposal--reparations--is truly flawed. One brief example: payments by West Germany in the immediate post WWII era is not comparable to paying blacks today for slavery or for anything else. Not to mention that imposing such a payment would be hugely divisive.

To clarify, you aver that young black women having children out of wedlock is the "cause" of the disproportionate amount of poverty we observe when broken down by race. Correct me if this understanding is incorrect

Poverty perpetuates poverty is what I am saying. And single parent homes, headed by uneducated, unskilled and therefore poverty-stricken families are self-perpetuating.

Cleek, I looked at a couple of your links. I just don't have the time to look at all of them.

I would like to make a couple of points that illustrate my thinking.

The U Penn study found disparities in sentencing between blacks and whites for the same crime. However, the tracking method was to look at individual judge's sentencing practices. What the study found was that some judges sentence more harshly than others. I note this in general in one of my earlies comments--peopel with racist leaning hide well in the CJ system. But, it's the people, not the system per se.

A more nuanced article had to do with seeming racial dis-proportionality in Manhattan. Yes, there were clearly racial disparities, but then this:

"But race was not the sole factor, the study’s authors said. A number of legal considerations were found to be more important in predicting a defendant’s fate, among them the seriousness of the charge and the defendant’s arrest record."

The U Penn study--something I noted before reading about the Manhattan study, did not control for previous convictions. It is pretty standard to give a heavier sentence to a repeat offender than it is to a first time offender.

Most of the articles I've seen deal with the superficiality of dis-proportionality. The underlying reasons may be race-neutral or not. Picking them apart and getting at the objective facts is the hard part.

Generally speaking my blood pressure goes up quite a bit when I read shit like this, but I'll let it go since you are so obviously engaging, and you are a fellow golfer.

I am compelled to agree: I am engaging.

Bobby, public discourse these days consists of shouting matches. Discussing black crime statistics is considered prima facie evidence of racism. Ditto mentioning the problematic nature of poverty stricken-single family parenting. This is an issue for the talking heads on the left. Not the rank and file. If a Republican candidate were to say what I've said here, he or she would be done.

More generally, a couple of closing thoughts and then I have to go back to stiff arming frivolous law suits.

1. I've enjoyed this chat immensely and appreciate the kind reception. More than I can put into words. I'd like to have drinks with everyone here. I am slammed, pretty much, these days. So I can't engage further.

2. Money and reparations. Roughly 40 years ago, U of Chicago Law School (I think I have the right place) did a detailed, longitudinal study of people who received lump sum cash settlements or awards in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. The study showed that within 2 years, virtually every compensated claimant was flat broke if not bankrupt, regardless of the size of the award.

I'm in that business. Since 2012, I am strictly on the defense, so my clients are writing the checks. Previously, I was 80/20 defense/plaintiff. This is my 35th year in practice. My personal observations and those of my very broad range of colleagues, along with U of Chicago Law School, agree: whether its a settlement, life insurance payment, inheritance, gift or what have you, money, particularly in a lump sum, almost never stays with whoever gets it.

People have an undying belief in their ability to prudently manage money, particularly relatively large amounts of it. The capacity to just put it back and leave it alone is rare, particularly for people under 50.

You might think you are helping someone by giving them money. There are mountains of anecdotal evidence and at least one study that show otherwise.

Coates and other proponents of reparations have a very heavy burden of proof. Not the least of which is to establish that wealth, once transferred, would remain in place and do the kind of good they think it would.

It may be helpful to remember that there isn't one "black culture".

An important point. We focus so much on the urban "culture" and not so much on, for example, that found in the delta region of Louisiana.

They do have this is common: A remarkable conflation of race and poverty.

Coates transposes a time when few of us were alive to the present, glossing over 5 decades of extraordinary change.

the point of his talking about stuff from the 50s and 60s is to point out that the effects of those old racist policies are still with us. those polices created the hollowed-out cities.

and he points out that some things did not change. and he gives contemporary examples to illustrate.

peopel with racist leaning hide well in the CJ system. But, it's the people, not the system per se.

to the extent that any system can't mitigate the negative racial effects of racists who operate within it, the system is flawed. it needs filters or monitors.

and, if the CJ system allows racists to generate racially-biased results then it is failing to do its job. i'm sure you've seen that Liberty & Scales image before - she's blindfolded for a reason. but we're allowing people to take off the blindfold.

Not to mention that imposing such a payment would be hugely divisive.

On this we can agree. Such a policy could well be flawed, a point of debate. That we need some kind of policy(s) along these lines is something I hold to deeply, and that, I feel, is where we start to part company.

I, too, need to get back to work stiffarming greedy and/or clueless subcontractors and mendacious owners.

Cleek: Last para of your 12:53 is right on the money. Well said.

I, too, need to get back to work stiffarming greedy and/or clueless subcontractors and mendacious owners.

Couldn't resist. BP, is your operation local or national? If the latter, there is a fair to good chance I've been your rather distant attorney.

"More generally, a couple of closing thoughts and then I have to go back to stiff arming frivolous law suits."

"I, too, need to get back to work stiffarming greedy and/or clueless subcontractors and mendacious owners."

See, that's candor.

I'm wondering which is the more candid and which is the more calculating -- the initial reactions of SOME prominent conservatives to the Charleston murders, or their revised reactions after handlers had a chance to define "candor" for them?

You might think you are helping someone by giving them money.

I'll take these wise words into account the next time Boeing comes to the Washington State legislature asking for a $billion+ tax break.

(re your query: Small local public works GC)

Time to sneak off and hit a bucket.

Good day to all....

Sekaijin: "One other possibility for conservative denial might - underscore, might - be what wonkie suggests. "

They don't know somewhere down deep inside - most of these people have been selling this very heavily, for power and profit. They've had to do it not 100% openly, but it was like a speakeasy during Prohibition - everybody knew about it.

Brett: "...the anti-gun movement has these scripts ready to go, just waiting for a mass shooting."

There is no right-wing ideas whatsoever which are not 100% Freudian projection.

At this point the reaction of the right to mass shootings is so smooth and well rehearsed that SEAL teams likely study it for pointer.

Case in point:

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/122124/nikki-haley-not-hero-shes-just-doing-damage-control-gop

When was Nikki Haley's most candid moment:

A. When she said a couple of years ago her hands were tied by the legislation mandating the flying of the Confederate flag above the SC Capitol, but did not call for removing it then, when she also said when her Democratic opponent called for the removal of the flag during his campaign against her: "

'During a gubernatorial debate last year, Haley demurred when her Democratic rival Sen. Vincent Sheheen said the flag had to go, saying she had never heard any company CEO complain about it." '

B. When she said on her Facebook page: "Michael, Rena, Nalin and I are praying for the victims and families touched by tonight's senseless tragedy at Emanuel AME Church. While we do not yet know all of the details, we do know that we'll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another. Please join us in lifting up the victims and their families with our love and prayers."

Especially the words: "we do know that we will never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another."

We don't know?

Also, this statement when finally calling for the removal of the flag: 'Haley argued that many South Carolinians see the Confederate flag as a way to respect their ancestors, but argued Dylann Roof, who was charged with murdering nine people in a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, last week, "has a sick and twisted view of the flag."'

May I speak with candor? Dylann Roof's view and display of that flag was in fact the candid view. I have no doubt that too many Americans view the flag as a way to respect their ancestors, just as I have no doubt that German neo-Nazis view the swastika as a symbol of respect for some ancestor's view or that generations from now there will be ISIL offspring who view the ISIL flag as a symbol of respect for their ISIL warrior/terrorist ancestors, but all of those flags mean ONE thing. just as guns are manufactured for ONE purpose. (OK, you can convert them into cigarette lighters)

Let's put this way. John Wilkes Booth was motivated to shoot Abraham Lincoln in the head as the ultimate defense of that rag.

C. When she called a few hours ago for the removal of the Confederate flag from the Capitol?

If C is her most candid statement of the three, fine she's absolutely right.

If not, then "candor" is in fact not what we're looking for.

We're looking for insincerity in the service of virtue and the true good, which I'll happily accept with a candid, but sly chuckle.

If Santorum's statement quoted way up thread is candid. and I'm quite sure it is, given his history -- not even mentioning racial motives -- then conservatives are NOT seeking candor from me -- as in "Shut yer gob, Santorum!", as if I'm stifling some further suppressed candor from the man.

They are seeking political correctness from me.

Confederate flags are selling on Amazon and elsewhere like slaves just before the Emancipation Proclamation.

And this curious fact:

"That doesn’t mean Confederate flags will disappear. Many are made in China, where there’s likely to be no pressure on manufacturers to suspend production. (If a 3-by-5 flag of any variety costs less than $15, it’s a good bet it’s not Made in the USA.) There's no law against selling the flags and it seems unlikely there ever will be. And small business, whether a physical or online storefront, typically face less boycott-style pressure than big national chains like Walmart. Just ask for your Confederate flag discreetly."

China, you say? I wonder about the conflicted views of white, southern Republican conservatives who buy their flags from one of their (what percentage of them? Guess.) many enemies, China.

Or am I overestimating their judgement and intelligence?

Did I hurt anyone's feelings, like a lurker from Redstate?

This is the candor thread.

There are a lot of beautiful things about southern culture. My old man was from the South, I've spent a fair amount of time there, I loved going there to see family and generally hang out.

I wish folks who embrace the memory of the Confederacy would just pick some other aspect of southern history and culture to celebrate.

Flannery O'Connor. The Swampers. Traditional Appalachian culture, which is a really deep and rich tradition. Gullah culture, likewise. Shape note singing. The roots of blues and jazz.

All from the American south, all really wonderful things. And, I'm sure I've left about 1,000 things out.

Isn't all of that a better thing to celebrate than the CSA?

Absolutely.

They could hoist the cover of "The Moviegoer" by Walker Percy up a pole above every State Capitol and I'd be good to go.

How about bumper stickers and license plates with recipes for mint juleps emblazoned on them.

Brett: "Seriously, if in your fantasy world, you'd managed to keep an adult who was able to get drugs from getting a gun, what would have kept him from just driving into the church parking lot after mass, and running people over?"

Go fuck yourself.

Frak, there's even a place in the deep South said to have seceded from the Confederacy (the Free State of Jones). Even if they really just killed any government agents who went near them, they'd still be a better model to celebrate.

(I did not know there was a movie planned on the subject until I'd finished writing the above.)

As an aside, which is probably fine since we seem to have wandered into aside-land, even though my sibs and I grew up in NY, my sister has lived in NH for a little over 50 years now.

Sometime in the 70's NH elected a governor who was a Tea Partier before it was the cool thing to do. While in office, he had the state license plate changed from "Scenic New Hampshire" to "Live Free Or Die".

He backed it up by trying to have MA staties arrested for taking down the license numbers of MA drivers who scooted across the border buy their booze tax-free. He took the state of Maine to the SCOTUS for arresting a NH guy who was lobstering off of Portsmouth.

The whole thing seemed, to me and also to my sister and her born in NH then-husband, to be a wacky and perhaps somewhat hubristic posture from a state that, at that time, may have had had more cows than people.

His legacy lives on.

Barry, Brett's gone.

Not to the happy hunting ground, just off of ObWi.

Just so you know.

Also, even though I've been guilty of posting the very words you have uttered just above, we try not to go there.

Thanks!

peopel with racist leaning hide well in the CJ system. But, it's the people, not the system per se.

Don't want to pile on after the fact, but it was someone (bobby p?) who noted that there was a problematic confluence of class and race. Certainly, McT, you'd agree that the CJ system is biased towards those with money. I tend to think of the CJ system as being comprised of both policing, judgement, and imprisonment, but I'm guessing (and tell me if I am wrong), you are looking at the CJ system as primarily the middle and the two endpoints aren't really counted. So, to tackle that middle portion, what about this.

http://balkin.blogspot.jp/2015/06/davis-v-ayala-race-and-criminal-justice.html

Now, this is only one example, but it seems the the process of preemptory challenges is part of the problem, which is that US society has some serious racial issues and the CJ system is simply a reflection of that. You acknowledge that it is 'worse than conservatives think, but not as bad as liberals argue', but when it is the backstop to problems in society at large, any problems in this system are going to have a disproportionate effect on society. And these problems are exacerbated by class and money, so to argue that the CJ system is "one area where skin color matters to a noticeable degree" is, imho, to say the system is racist.

That the CJ system is tied to the endpoints is underlined in Kennedy's concurrence of the opinion Balkin discusses Davis v Ayala

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/06/kalief-browder-justice-kennedy-solitary-confinement/396320/

But Kennedy’s concurrence also seemed to be directed toward the American legal community, whose disengagement from prison issues he has previously lamented. “In law school, I never heard about corrections,” he told a congressional hearing on March 23, two weeks after the Davis oral arguments. “Lawyers are fascinated with the guilt/innocence adjudication process. Once [it] is over, we have no interest in corrections. Doctors and psychiatrists know more about the corrections system than we do.”

So, to return to your quote, it's the people not the system, my response is the people are the system. I've been waiting for someone to maybe bring up Obama's podcast interview where he used the n- word

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/23/us/obama-racism-marc-maron-podcast.html?_r=0

Obama's point seems to have been totally lost on the WH press corps
http://time.com/3930623/barack-obama-n-word-wtf-podcast/

and I'm curious how others view this. Perhaps it is time to crack open another thread?

"Flannery O'Connor"

William Faulkner. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Mark Twain.

I could go on, and so could Russell.

Sorry I have been out of things, lately. Busy weekend, followed by vomiting, fever and other sundry unpleasantries.

We are well rid of Brett, but not for reasons he imagines.

"He imagines" is probably part and parcel of our entire conflict with Brett, come to think of it.

I think White flight after the Civil Rights movement did more to economically hurt Black urban & rural communities than any single poor mothers. It's incredible how the un-racist conservatives blame so many problems on Black women. It's like a pathology with those "I'm not a racist! How dare you accuse me!" conservatives.

White flight hurt the educational systems, hollowed out the tax base, etc.

Then add outsourcing of manufacturing jobs, leaving service jobs like "drug dealer" and "prostitute".

Just changing attitudes isn't quite enough.

Bobby, public discourse these days consists of shouting matches

Don't let this bother you. It could be that it has always been thus. Shouting has pretty much been the norm in my political experience (late 1960's - present).

We should all get a bit nervous when major political decisions are made accompanied by the sound of silence.

Conservatives hate hearing it, but the obsession with gazing at the sexual lives of women of color and finding the root of poverty there, is racist.

The sexual lives and un-traditional family formations of the middle-classes and wealthy white families seem to produce some rather impressive and, arguably, fruitful taxpayers.

I noticed this one day, as I lay reading yet another article on Black female sexual lives by conservatives as my wife watches, yet another “Real Housewives” and the latest on TMZ.

Snarki is onto something that may turn out to be important. This clearly was terrorism. Providing material support to terrorists is illegal and for Muslims we have defined material support very broadly. I think the SPLC should give these facts some serious consideration.

Has anybody ever noticed how ludicrous the notion is that there are hordes of liberals lurking who just want to take away people's guns because they hate guns? Political points! Freedom!

Guys, if your pals weren't regularly shooting people with them, there are very few liberals who would give a rat's ass about anyone's guns. You don't like liberal solutions to that problem, why don't you take it upon yourselves to solve the problem some other way?

the obsession with gazing at the sexual lives of women of color and finding the root of poverty there, is racist

Explain, please, because I have no idea what you're referring to.

Possibly I have been slacking in my conservative duties.

"Partly that is because some of the worst bigots, on both sides, will eventually die off."

Harder to take comfort in that assertion just after a 21-year-old shoots nine people in a church.

Lurking hitherto on this thread, because I had nothing much to say, certainly nothing better than someone else had already said. A couple of (mostly retrospective) comments.

First, congratulations to Russell for posting this and for others, especially McKT, for rising to the occasion. (And in a very tiny way to myself and others who thought that banning Brett might just lead to an improvement in the quality of discussion.)

Second, on TN Coates - I think his tactic of nailing his major screed to the mast of "reparations" was an interesting choice, not necessarily a wise one. It got him a lot more views, I suspect, than an otherwise equally learned article on how white (mostly Northern) society screwed the blacks about half a century ago would have done. There's some impressive research there, well-documented, and thought-provoking. BUT I am among those (millions?) who think "reparations" - as we customarily conceive the term - is an absolute non-starter, certainly in terms of realistic politics but also in terms of an operationalized ideal: who gets paid what from what funds is, I suspect, insurmountable.

TNC knows this (I believe) and in his text actually backs away from the full implications of his theme, quite rightly. As I read him, what he's really saying is: "Reparations - or if not reparations, SOMETHING - must be done," with the emphasis on the "something" that we all need to figure out. But too many of us balk at the "R" words (Reparations and, implicitly, Racism) and don't proceed even to trying to figure out the something.

Maybe this was TNC's calculated gamble, and maybe on balance it paid off, but I'm not convinced. I do believe he's told us some very important facts, previously unknown to me (and I lived through those years, and am even a historian, albeit not of contemporary America) about the systematic role of white society in keeping African-Americans down. That's white society as a whole - I'm pointing no fingers at individuals. It's "structural racism," and does not require conscious antipathy toward blacks even from all those who built it, much less those who took part in it without ever considering its roots or its consequences. This, I suspect, is where some of the debate (and silence) about "racism" gets most foggy - those who genuinely think that "I don't personally hate African-Americans" exonerates them completely from racism, as against those who recognize at some level that they benefit from an uneven playing field and calling it what it is.

All the rhetoric in the world about "America is the land of opportunity" and "You can make it if you try" should not blind us to this reality, and we should be trying to Figure Out the Something, even assuming that is not "Reparations."

Here endeth today's sermon.

doretta, it's often the grandparents infecting their grandchildren. Over here in Germany it's similar with Nazism/antisemitism. Parents who grew up in opposition to the shameful behaviour of their own parents in the 3rd Reich find their own children developing Nazi sympathies and often find that it's the older generation that feeds them the posion. Not necessarily granny deliberately trying to indoctrinate the kids (although that happens too) but more often by diffusion (kid: "Granny seems not to like Jews (whatever Jews are) and I love my granny, so these 'Jews' must indeed be bad people or someone so lovable as my granny would not always speak so ill of them").

Isn't all of that a better thing to celebrate than the CSA?

none of those things are rebellion.

i'd say that's what the rebel flag mostly represents to people all across the US - esp to young people. it's a big FU to the government, or to society. they aren't thinking about it's real meaning. and the actual reason for the Civil War is rarely discussed. we call it the "rebel flag", and that says nothing of what that rebellion was seeking to achieve.

it's like those Guy Fawkes masks. kids think they're a cool way to be a anarchist. but Guy Fawkes wasn't an anarchist; he was a religious terrorist trying to get his favorite monarch onto the throne.

and... Che shirts.

the rebel flag has become a symbol, in popular culture, of something quite different than what it originally represented.

unfortunately, there aren't many symbols of rebellion that don't come with a lot of baggage. because rebellion is a messy business.

Speaking of rebellion, this:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/why-vladimir-putin-wants-texas-194600233.html

Here's the piece cited in the article:

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/06/vladimir-putin-texas-secession-119288.html?hp=t4_r#.VYqfgUaEkeN

Why hasn't this been reported in the conservative lamestream media?

When Sarah Death Palin takes her rabble-rousing to Texas, can she still sight Putin's head looming?

Would Walter Duranty, like Strom Thurmond, move to the Republican Party because he likes the traitors they hang with and humor along?


unfortunately, there aren't many symbols of rebellion that don't come with a lot of baggage. because rebellion is a messy business.

cleek has been saying a lot of good things recently. That is one of them.

doretta:

Providing material support to terrorists is illegal and for Muslims we have defined material support very broadly.

It has been defined very broadly, and that's a bad thing. For example: http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/07/21/us-terrorism-prosecutions-often-illusion

That should be a call to rein in the definition of 'terrorism' and 'material support' as applied to Muslims, not apply the overly broad definitions to new areas. The US has done more damage to itself (erosion of civil liberties, foreign wars of aggression, wasted government resources on security theater, etc etc) by fighting 'terrorism' than terrorists have ever done, or ever will do.

that Liberty & Scales image

opps. that should be Justice & Scales. Liberty is her younger sister.

i'd say that's what the rebel flag mostly represents to people all across the US - esp to young people. it's a big FU to the government, or to society. they aren't thinking about it's real meaning. and the actual reason for the Civil War is rarely discussed. we call it the "rebel flag", and that says nothing of what that rebellion was seeking to achieve.

I agree that the Confederate battle flag needs to go as an official symbol of state of local government. This is an opinion, not a declaration that the feds ought to compel the act. It is up to South Carolina or Georgia or whoever to decide whether to quit giving blacks the finger or not. Not the feds and not me.

This still leaves grey areas. The University of Mississippi, i.e. Ole Miss, is the Rebels. They use the CSA battle flag. It's a tradition, not a political statement. I'd cut them some slack. A grandfather clause, if you will.

Another grey area is Civil War re-enactors. Seems like a waste of a weekend to me, but for some reason these folks like to dress up and re-do Civil War battles. I have a minor historical interest in the Civil War, and I enjoy reading about the battles, the leaders, and grunts, on both sides. The southern leadership was all about slavery. Not so much the grunts. Back then, loyalty to one's state was huge. We can't relate to it today. The sacrifice and courage--in a forlorn and horrific cause--of the confederate troops was impressive. Their descendants, in part inspired by that legacy, did this country great service in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and even today. A lot of decent people with a sense of history respect the stand, if not the cause, the southern troops made. Do they tend to gloss over some of the bad stuff? Some do a lot, others to some extent. Others probably fully understand what the South stood for as its national goal but still marvel at the effort those with virtually no skin in the game contributed. I'm mind reading here, if that isn't completely obvious.

The point here is that we can't rewrite history or declare certain hobbies and interests off limits because, inter alia, the southern leadership wanted to remain a slave owning country. Because, speaking of grey areas, there is more than a little historical evidence that Lincoln would have compromised on slavery to maintain the union. Even the halos have a bit of tarnish on them sometimes.

The consensus re pulling down the battle flag from state buildings makes the point adequately. We should take "yes" for an answer and move on.

We should take "yes" for an answer and move on.

that's fine with me.

governments need to stop honoring treason, racism and slavery. everybody else can do what they want.

I agree with McK on the flag issue--it shouldn't be flown on state buildings, but people's hobbies are another story. And as for the motives, I think I agree there as well. Many Southerners when I lived there were in denial about the ugliness of the Confederate cause and that includes some historians all the way up through the 1960's , including Shelby Foote--I loved his trilogy, but it is mainly from the old (white) perspective--brother fighting brother, heroism on both sides, nobility, sacrifice, etc... He mentions slavery, but it's off to the side. There is some truth to his Pov and I don't begrudge the talk about the heroism and sacrifice, but the bottom line is what Grant said, that it was on the southern side sacrifice on behalf of one of the worst causes in history. Foote once said the modern racists had hijacked the flag, but that is nonsense.

So I think many of the people who take pride in the heroism of their ancestors are in some denial about the sheer ugliness of the cause, but that may not be true of everyone. They may just find the history fascinating and may take pride in the heroism while despising the cause. People are sometimes complicated. I'm thinking of, for instance, the blogger Pat Lang who I sometimes read. (The banned commenter blackhawk also was a fan if I recall, but don't hold that against Lang). Lang is proud of his southern heritage and that would make me suspicious, but he seems to respect Middle Eastern cultures as well (that's why I read him) and military valor and people who stick to their traditions. He is, in a way, a conservative cultural relativist. I'm half joking. The point is that when he goes on about his pride in the south I may roll my eyes a bit, but I don't think it is coming from a racist pov in his case.

Also, while I favor taking down the flag, I'm a little uneasy about how once again Americans are focusing on a symbol and expressing our sense of self-righteousness this way. After all the flags are down we will still have the poverty and the income and wealth gaps to deal with (or ignore).

Russell: "With the singular exception of Lindsey Graham, people are not denying that Roof was racially motivated. I'm not claiming that they are denying that he was racially motivated."

There was a large chorus from the right at the start claiming that it was due to something else/didn't know/who could ever know/we must move on......

Thompson, I agree about the material support to terrorists issue, actually. My thought is that perhaps applying it even-handedly in this case would serve two purposes. One, to remind people terrorism is hardly limited to Muslims, and second, to get people to look at those laws and how we enforce them through a different lens.

A crass approach, I admit, and not the kind of thing I'd normally support but I'm just a bit cynical at the moment about how we apply our notions of justice.

TNC's discussion of Shelby Foote is quite interesting.

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/06/the-convenient-suspension-of-disbelief/240318/

and

http://www.theatlantic.com/personal/archive/2011/06/the-great-trauma-of-your-generation/240485/

Russell: "Yes, I shut Brett off, because Brett likes to jack threads and make them about whatever topic tickles his fancy."

Thank you very much, and thank you all of the front-pagers.

I've watched Brett be Brett since Hilzoy was a new front pager, and Moe Lane had not yet gone on to whatever cesspool that he went onto, and I've been amazed at what he's gotten away with.

From what I saw of the original front-pagers, the reason was that they were sympathetic to Brett. I believe that they used him to say what they wanted to dance around.

I couldn't understand why Hilzoy and those afterwards tolerated him.

The reenactor movement had at least one positive effect: US made movies about the Civil War can employ huge casts at a low price and one can be pretty sure that most of the technical details are correct. And they usually stay far closer to history than usual US efforts because, otherwise they would scare away half the potential audience.
Just compare the crap Hollywood puts out about other wars (or history in general) that occasionally even has to get recut for foreign distribution because e.g. the yellow monkeys do not appreciate their depiction or the guys with the stiff upper lips are not amused about their successes getting attributed to USians. I hear there are cuts of "The Dam Busters" that added American bombers and changed the name of the dog (originally the n-word). And then there was that American reporter in the US cut of the original Godzilla that also replaced all the references to the atomic bomb.
---
As for the flag, even if it got disappeared completely, a replacement would quickly be found. Over here Nazis used the WW1 naval ensign as a stand-in for the forbidden swastika flag for many years before that one got banned too (not sure what they use now but they will definitely find (or have found) something).

hf: "Frak, there's even a place in the deep South said to have seceded from the Confederacy (the Free State of Jones). Even if they really just killed any government agents who went near them, they'd still be a better model to celebrate."

From what I understand, the treatment by Confederates of those not wishing to be part of the Confederacy was brutal mass murder, pure and simple.

doretta, thompson, wrt "material support" (MSOT)

The "material support" prosecutions have really gone too far...now that the USSC has decided that money=speech, and in the prosecution of a guy in Boston for MSOT because he posted positive things about AQ speech=money=MSOT. Goodbye 1st Amendment.

I don't think it's 'crass' to understand that it takes a long, long, LONG time to get bad laws repealed, even if the support for them is tepid. But if applied to the rich/powerful/connected, then the repeal will be fast-tracked.

So, as a practical matter, MSOT prosecutions should go forward against Root's CCC buddies. I also think that torture isn't really going back in the box of "things NEVER to be done" unless Terry Nichols, of OK City bombing fame, is waterboarded to reveal his unindicted co-conspirators, and on down the line to roll up the whole gang of terrorists.

Yes, that makes me a bad person, but we all knew that already.

I agree about the material support to terrorists issue, actually. My thought is that perhaps applying it even-handedly in this case would serve two purposes.

It may very well serve those purposes. I think there is substantial risk that it may come at the cost of further normalizing that response level, which is something I can't support. I have no real objection to your goals, however.

not the kind of thing I'd normally support but I'm just a bit cynical at the moment about how we apply our notions of justice.

Cynicism is fair, and I'd agree 'justice' is unequal. To instil equality, we can either work expand unjust and unfair conditions, or work to remove injustice from disadvantaged groups (such as Muslims in your example).

The 2nd option is far harder, I'll grant you. It's still my preferred choice.

Hartmut:

As for the flag, even if it got disappeared completely, a replacement would quickly be found.

I think this is why restricting expression is never a good solution to stamping out ideas. There is always a new codeword or symbol that the subculture can adopt.

From what I understand, the treatment by Confederates of those not wishing to be part of the Confederacy was brutal mass murder, pure and simple.

Do you happen to have a source? Sam Houston didn't wish to be a part of the Confederacy and so he lost his job as Governor of Texas. He went back to Huntsville TX where he eventually died of natural causes. Houston was popular in Huntsville. As it happens my dad's family landed in Huntsville prior to Texas becoming a state. My great-great grandfather was a Presbyterian missionary and anti-slavery, so was his son, and both of them, along with a lot of other Huntsville residents, opposed secession. None of them were murdered, ostracized or anything else.

Young black males commit way more crime than any other demographic.

Sorry if I'm so late to the party that I'm reviving a digression. (Work, you know. Such a distraction from blog comments.)

I think a more relevant demographic comparison would be something like "young poor males." Or maybe "young poor urban males." Because I'm doubting that the crime rate amongst, for example, young upper middle class black males is any higher than amongst whites in the came class. Anybody got and data that would argue differently?

As for the drug war, it is incontrvertable that the different penalties for crack vs cocaine were deliberately set that way to target blacks. (And, IIRC, the original reason that marijuana was made illegal was that it was primarily associated with black musicians.)

Marijuana/cannabis was targeted not just in the US. In Germany the main driver was big pharma (ironically, the product they were pushing as replacement for that devil drug was the newly developed heroin. But hey, Freud promoted cocaine as an anti-addictive).
Maybe in the US it was two squirrels with one stone.

Slartibartfast,

“At what point in this arc do we see the black family begin to disintegrate?
In order to have disintegration, you first have to have formation. When did black families become stable? When did they begin to disintegrate?
To what policies do you attribute the disintegration of the black family? And when were these adopted?”

And…

“Regardless of how you choose to characterize the solution, unless a child is raised to apply him/herself in school, to understand the importance of hard work and is taught and understands that it is that child's responsibility as an adult to be self-supporting, regardless of race, the child is doomed.”

And…

“I'd like to see the federal policy that turns a generation of children without a chance into a viable members of society building off of the same single parent paradigm we now have.”


There were more, upstream, but this is code/an excuse to begin placing the sexual practices of people of color under a microscope. If people of color learn to have proper middle-class sexual lives they will eventually have successful middle-class families. More money/investments/handouts will not help!

We’ve seen this argument with Jewish and Roman Catholic immigrants. The women were viewed as sexual predators as well as the men. They’re huge families and oversexualized private lives were preventing them from becoming successful middle-class White people. And until they begin to have families that resemble WASPs, they would be regulated to American ghettos. Except, after WW2, the State/government started pumping massive amounts of money into programs, industrial policy, military industrial complex and many more goodies like that, and restricting most of these benefits to ALL WHITE people, regardless of “religion or creed”, by golly all those oversexed and self-destructive families started enjoying all those “middle-class values.”

Jewish and Roman Catholic immigrants, did not start “behaving” and then just by virtue of the power of bourgeois sexuality did they become “successful Americans.” It seems the opposite may have happened. I say “may” because I still don’t believe that self-disciplining sexuality makes someone successful in a capitalist economy. As a matter of fact, it seems many sexual predators do very well in our economy. It seems that many sexual adventurous individuals do very well in our economy. But the obsession with sexual practices does distract from the real issue. The redistribution of wealth/TAXES must never be discussed.

PS.

Sorry it took so long to answer, I thought I would have to time get into it, instead of being a lurker, but damn. Got me some job leads.

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