« homeschooling, covid and educamating our youth: who knows? | Main | Australia, Australia, Australia, we love you, Amen!: Palace correspondence about the Whitlam affair »

July 13, 2020

Comments

I'm guessing that the average age of the signers of the first letter and the second letter is about 20 years...

I'm guessing that the average age of the signers of the first letter and the second letter is about 20 years...

Noam Chomsky probably skews that up a bit.

Trump's thugs in Portland defeated by . . . Naked Athena!
https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2020/07/the-story-behind-the-surreal-photos-of-portland-protester-naked-athena.html

(View at your own risk. Although I doubt any of the folks here will find anything even vaguely offputting.)

They shot pepper balls at Naked Vagina's ... naked vagina..., umm .... feet?!

That is so Republican!

That's like, I don't know, Bill Bennett declaring, in full book of virtue virtue-signaling regalia, that we are NOT in a pandemic and then retiring to the slots with whatever he has left of his kid's college fund plastic cup full of $500 Citizen's United payoffs and bribes.

Did they go all Ted Yoho on Athena's AOC feet:

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/hoyer-says-gop-rep-yoho-should-be-sanctioned-over-profane-comments-about-aoc

This is why the Left should be armed at all times.

She's from the Bronx!

Kick Yoho in the balls, the little Florida cuck.

Given my time difference living in Japan from both the American and British, plus European, folks here, I'll be haplessly late for the party almost every time out.

One thing I see missing from all the talk about law enforcement reform is the problematic notion of the term "law enforcement" itself. I don't recall hearing this term when I was a kid, and I'm no authority - but I seem to start hearing this beginning in the late '70s, and then from the '80s a lot more. It seems premised on the assumption that most people either won't follow the law, or pay lip service to it while trying to work around it. It also has the effect - to me, as again I'm not speaking for others - of separating police from the communities they supposedly serve. So individuals, and entire communities if need be, must be brought to heel in the name of the law, intrusively if necessary.

How much do police actually understand the laws they're supposedly enforcing? And much do they understand how problematic some of their tactics are in the effort to go after those who break the law? How many of them have taken any basic law courses? How many of them have any understanding of how the law works, and where it constrains as much as it permits?

I have no doubt that there are police officers that do understand these things. But there are too many of the type that don't seem to understand these things, and some of them seem to be utterly clueless and don't care.

The immediate objection I see coming down the pike would be that a better grounding in the law, rather than simply knowing what is not illegal or what a cop can or can't get away with based on legal technicality, would constraint a lot of police work. But what if it changed the character of policing from pushing the law in people's faces to working with people in compliance with the law? This seems to be, at least in part, the basis of the Norwegian approach, and informs their incarceration system - yes, you lose your liberty if you're jailed, but we recognize that you still have the right to retain your dignity and that it is even an obligation for you to retain it if you hope to rejoin society with your liberty restored.

So as half-baked as it might seem - I would add to Russell's list upthread: No discernible difference between what the police should understand the law to mean and what communities should understand the law is to mean.

I wrote this yesterday, but forgot to post it, so they have to come after the comic stylings of Abbott and Costello. Sorry about that.

Portland is an unusual place. It seems to be the preferred venue for anarchist vs. white supremacist cage matches, going back decades.

Some other blogs and articles have discussed this in more detail, but I didn't keep track of them very well. I think LGM might have had a few (the core of the blog is from the NW or went to school there) and there was something in the NYTimes (which I'm now thinking of subscribing to, just as a flip off of Bari Weiss, but that is neither hear nor there), but this happening in Portland, the biggest city in Oregon by a huge margin, is not unsurprising.

I did my MA at U of Oregon, and so these observations are from someone who was juat passing thru, but the culture is quite different than any other place I'm familiar with. It has a bit of arrogance that I think comes from being in the Northwest, and the state itself has a long history of leave me alone-ism, which is why the libertarian streak is so strong, because it can unite elements of the left and the right. Legal marijuana, assisted suicide, a really strong (to the point of ridiculousness) ballot initiative system(in fact, the system is known as the Oregon system because Oregon enacted it in 1902, the history is quite eye-opening
https://sos.oregon.gov/blue-book/Pages/facts/history/state-oregon.aspx

no sales tax, first state to enact a direct primary, full women's suffrage in 1912.


In addition, Malheur refuge, in Oregon, was the center of the so-called Sagebrush rebellion
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupation_of_the_Malheur_National_Wildlife_Refuge

So with Oregon, you have a populated west coast strip that is really liberal and a huge relatively unpopulated area of Eastern Oregon that is home to a lot of really staunch right wing types.

So it is no surprise that Portland is ground zero for this antifa v. Proud Boy crap. Whether this is a harbinger of the future is probably anyone's guess, but for every reason I would say yes, I could think of one that would make me say maybe not.

And I'm looking forward to when McT recommends this book by Taibbi

here

If McT doesn't want to get it, he can read this excerpt

Of course, another part of Garner’s story is not universal. His troubles with the police were of a character almost exclusively familiar to black and Hispanic men. As a white man I was poorly equipped to even guess what he might have thought or felt about any of this, and I knew that any story I tried to tell about Garner would therefore be lacking in important ways. All I could do was try to describe the incredible breadth of the institutional response to his life and death.

The lengths we went to as a society to crush someone of such modest ambitions—Garner’s big dream was to someday sit down at work—were awesome to contemplate. What happened to Garner spoke to the increasing desperation of white America to avoid having to even see, much less speak to or live alongside, people like him.

Half a century after the civil rights movement, white Americans do not want to know this man. They don’t want him walking in their neighborhoods. They want him moved off the corner. Even white liberals seem to, deep down inside, if the policies they advocate and the individual choices they make are any indication.

The police are blamed for these deaths, and often rightly so, but the highly confrontational, physically threatening strategies cops such as Daniel Pantaleo employ draw their power from the tacit approval of upscale white voters. Whether they admit it or not, many voters would rather that Eric Garner be dead and removed from view somewhere than living and eating Cheetos on the stoop next door.

Garner kept running headfirst into invisible walls. Each time he collided with law enforcement, this unspoken bureaucratic imperative to make him disappear threw him back into an ever-smaller pen. Even allowing him a few feet of sidewalk space was ultimately too much. His world got smaller and smaller until finally even his last breath of air was taken away from him. He was finally deemed greedy for wanting even that much.

Garner’s real crime was being a conspicuous black man of slovenly appearance who just happened to spend his days standing on the street across from a string of new high-end condominium complexes. No white people I talked to would say it out loud, but Garner was just too visible for everyone’s tastes. His raw presence threatened property values. Plus he was an easy bust, and so became a regular target of police mandated to make busts like clockwork.

Garner himself for a long time happily went along with this absurd charade. He accepted his “community policing” arrests as a business cost and trudged to court and to jail on command for years. He didn’t begin to get truly wound up about his treatment by police until he felt the cops were breaking the unwritten rules of the game, busting him after hours as he did his laundry, vouchering his money over and over, and so on.

Then, on a day when he didn’t even commit a crime, as he was still huffing and puffing and leaning up against a wall after breaking up a neighborhood fight, Garner made the critical mistake of refusing for once to be dragged out of sight. In a way that was somewhat out of character, he decided suddenly that he’d had enough. He stood up for himself, not with violence but merely in the most literal sense, standing up straight and refusing to bend.

This tiny act of defiance triggered not just a preposterous display of force but the mother of all disproportionate bureaucratic responses. The latter encompassed an apparent thrown case by the district attorney’s office, months of grand jury sessions, multiple judges in multiple courts holding the line against inquiries, years of obstinate refusal by city officials to turn over records, a sweeping effort by police to target individuals on the block deemed responsible for the controversy, and countless other actions.

Garner’s death launched the political career of the prosecutor who failed to indict the policeman who killed him. It even contributed to a national backlash political movement that eventually coalesced around a presidential candidate, Donald Trump, whose “Make America Great Again” platform drew from an old well of white resentment.

Once elected, Trump named as attorney general a man, Jeff Sessions, Sessions, who made one of his first acts a decision to “pull back” on the federal civil rights investigations of corrupt local police departments. The gutting of federal authority to conduct civil rights cases rolled back decades of work by people such as James Meyerson, who sought to find a way to police the police. It also cut off what would have been one of the last possible avenues for justice in the Garner case.

Between the Bay Street tragedy and the onset of the Trump administration years later, America had essentially decided to start moving back in time, formally pushing back against the civil rights era. Garner’s death, and the great distances that were traveled to protect his killer, now stand as testaments to America’s pathological desire to avoid equal treatment under the law for its black population.

But Eric Garner isn’t a symbol. He was a flesh-and-blood person—interesting, imperfect, funny, ambitious, and alive—who just happened to stumble into the thresher of America’s reactionary racist insanity at exactly the wrong time. But his story—about how ethnic resentments can be manipulated politically to leave us vulnerable to the lawless violence of our own government—is not his alone. His bad luck has now become ours.

Bizarrely enough, this is the guy who then writes this.

Take the Smithsonian story. The museum became the latest institution to attempt to combat racism by pledging itself to “antiracism,” a quack sub-theology that in a self-clowning trick straight out of Catch-22 seeks to raise awareness about ignorant race stereotypes by reviving and amplifying them.

Funny, I feel like if I had held these two thoughts in my head, it would have been like matter and anti-matter, but I guess McT is made of sterner stuff than me.

I'm guessing he's come up with a way to define "antiracism" in a way that distinguishes it from "fighting (or opposing) racism". I can see this would not be intellectually beyond him. But on my earlier point about conflict of interest, he might well claim that antiracists are not always antisexists, although I observe that antisexists are pretty much always antiracists. He may always have had more acceptable views on race than gender, of course, but it seems to me he is a journalist observing and analysing the zeitgeist, and seeing what he can get away with, stoking (professionally lucrative) controversy while avoiding more personal opprobrium.

My theory (and it is just a theory) is that when his book about Garner came out, it was initially praised, and then he got hit with questions about his misogynystic behavior (and the stories have him as sort of a second wheel to Mark Ames, more enabler rather than enabled) His initial reaction was to apologize and say that his first book was satire, which then had him run into a buzzsaw because the book was pitched as non-fiction. And it was coming out in an era of #metoo, so his petard was hoisted. (Sapient's WP link points to all this)

Since he didn't want to just get a job at a Cinnabon in Omaha, this had him turn on the left, which involves taking his faux Hunter S. Thompson shtick to hammer at whatever hypocrisies he can gin up, much to the delight of McT and others. This is not to say there aren't hypocrisies, but for someone who sounded the alarm about Trump, this seems like an ur-hypocrisy.

Again, that's just my take, informed only by watching some (not all!) of the articles and discussion go by. If that's similar to what went down, it's unfortunate, I thought the book about Eric Garner was quite good at putting a person where we really only had a cipher and it would be nice for George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Vanessa Guillen and a host of others to be written about by a sympathetic chronicler. Taibibi himself said that he had to give up all the "linguistic cartwheels or jokes or any of the other circus tricks I learned to use" to tell the story, so must have some self-awareness of what he's doing. Which has got to be the most pathetic thing of all.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/17/books/review/i-cant-breathe-matt-taibbi-eric-garner.html

Debbie Dingell should be listened to:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/07/debbie-dingell-doesnt-believe-polls/614428/

Add in active voter suppression and harassment at the polling places by recruited radical republican operatives and theft of the voting franchise, and so-called "Homeland" "Security" doesn't have enough anonymous jack-booted thugs to put out the raging bonfire we are going to make of stinking conservative movement America if this corrupt, murderous republican crew wins again.

We're f*cking done with these filth.

I recommend this, because it's shorter and more immediately relevant: https://taibbi.substack.com/p/where-did-policing-go-wrong

A cursory review of the anti-Taibbi comments deal with his time in Russia, not the substance of his comments on current idiocies on the prog left in the name of anti-racism. The reason for this is that there is no viable, substantive response. Either one thinks in cliches and soundbites, repeating the same mantras over and over or one actually looks at and analyzes what is going on.

Taibbi's piece on policing is a good case-in-point from the opposite side of things. Reflexive law-and-order types almost never do a deep dive into why they might want to re-calibrate. Not a wholesale, idiotic burn-it-all-down, but an honest re-calibration.

What I would expect from reflexive law-and-order types is the same kind of intellectually vacuous responses to substantive criticisms the prog left trots out. Or, again like their counterparts on the left, they either ignore what doesn't fit the narrative or dismiss it altogether.

The new vocabulary the prog left is attempting to mandate is perfect for avoiding substantive debate.

BP's blanket denunciation of the Harper's letter is a case in point. The farther one goes on the spectrum, the more stifling opposing debate seems like a good idea. BP, here is a challenge: find a paragraph in the Harper's letter that is facially or substantively problematic, quote it and explain your view with reason and logic. Or, just admit you don't like dissent, particularly when some on the left dissent from current, prog left dogma and practices.

GFTNC often assays to infer the psychology behind others' thoughts and views. I invite her to explicate the prog left's underlying psychology of its not-so-distant love affairs with Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd. If leaving your date to drown while you flee isn't a bit of misogyny, I don't know what is. Maybe someone can square this circle for me. Please help me understand the high moral ground so many here seek to occupy with your own party's recent past.

Again, somewhat repeating myself, if anyone here ever wants to try to figure out why so many really aren't down with the prog left, try getting out some, with an open mind.

Which has got to be the most pathetic thing of all.

Yes, the last thing we want someone to do is look back at past mistakes, reassess, reform and try to do better going forward. That's just awful. Unless we are talking about Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy or Robert Byrd. Or plenty of others. Shorter LJ: you're not a truly reformed sinner unless you join my church.

GFTNC often assays to infer the psychology behind others' thoughts and views. I invite her to explicate the prog left's underlying psychology of its not-so-distant love affairs with Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd. If leaving your date to drown while you flee isn't a bit of misogyny, I don't know what is.

This is a perfect example of the phenomenon I mentioned of McKinney attributing attitudes to "us" which "we" don't have.

I despised Ted Kennedy, and made it clear that if I was put in the position, I would refuse to shake his hand in a professional context which might have harmed me. I was agnostic about Bill Clinton (although impressed by his brilliance as a campaigner), but ended up believing Paula Jones, and thought Juanita Broadrrick's allegation convincing.

I had no idea who Robert Byrd was until I read your comment, but looked him up.

Byrd later called joining the KKK "the greatest mistake I ever made."[22] In 1997, he told an interviewer he would encourage young people to become involved in politics but also warned, "Be sure you avoid the Ku Klux Klan. Don't get that albatross around your neck. Once you've made that mistake, you inhibit your operations in the political arena."[23] In his last autobiography, Byrd explained that he was a KKK member because he "was sorely afflicted with tunnel vision—a jejune and immature outlook—seeing only what I wanted to see because I thought the Klan could provide an outlet for my talents and ambitions."[24] Byrd also said in 2005, "I know now I was wrong. Intolerance had no place in America. I apologized a thousand times ... and I don't mind apologizing over and over again. I can't erase what happened."[12]

My attitude on reading the Wikipedia entry is this. I am aware that racists (even overt, activist racists) can reform, and I praise and appreciate those who do. It is ambiguous to me from this whether that was the case with Byrd, or whether his "conversion" was cynical and motivated by professional ambitions.

McKinney, as so often you are arguing with people who aren't here. Get a grip for God's sake.

Oh, I see that McKinney was talking about the "prog left", not just me. But since he always seems to invoke us as representatives of the same (as I quoted earlier), I stand by my response.

Namely:

They are just as sure about their views as everyone here is about their own. They view the Prog Left as incoherent, authoritarian nuts who, among other things, have lost their collective minds in the aftermath of the Floyd George killing.
.....

Matt Taibbi, once again, lays out the reasons why I--and others--can no more lie in your bed than I can in Trump's

Goddamit, I was so pissed off that I was unclear. I should have said:

I despised Ted Kennedy, and made it clear (in a professional context where it might have harmed me) that if I was put in the position, I would refuse to shake his hand.

So, we should vote for Donald Trump because of Bill Clinton's, Ted Kennedy's, and Robert Byrd's crimes?

McTX, please invite your pro-Trump friends to comment here so we can argue with the real item, rather than your coy, evenhanded, well-meaning middle, untouched by hypocrisy.

You wrote here some time ago that you could vote for Biden.

Have your friends now convinced you not to, and to vote for some pointless third party candidate, which will be a de facto throwaway vote for Donald Trump, much as it will maintain your individual honor?

I don't have to be fully down with the prog left to prefer a ham sandwich.

Be a hypocrite like we are and vote for the ham sandwich because the ham sandwich IS the binary choice over the rank, authoritarian, big government, murderous evil of the Trump conservative movement.

Should you vote for Biden, I, and I expect no one else here will either, will not throw it in your face that a vote for Biden is a vote in favor of blowjobs and sexual harrassment in the Oval Office, the drowning manslaughter of Mary Joe Kopechne, Robert Byrd's racist KKK past, and Antifa criminal mayhem, although in Byrd's case, you have held the opinion that Byrd's generation's racism was a product of his time and place and should not be judged too harshly in arrears, which I don't agree with much, but never mind.

My take is that McKinney comes here oozing condescension and dismissiveness to criticize us (or the prog left, which we are all part of according to him) for being condescending to and dismissive of ... Trump supporters? I'm not always sure. Well, whatever. We're hypocritical jerks in a way that is unique to the prog left, and we best demonstrate that by not biting his hooks when he decides we should.

Meanwhile, when we get into more detailed policy discussions, McKinney more often than not isn't all that far apart from the general consensus among the people commenting here. It's mostly the tribal labels that make it seem as though we're terribly at odds.

These generalized discussions about the left and the right are tiresome and unproductive.

I have no problem with agreeing with Taibbi about both Eric Garner and what he says in MkT’s link and also with what he says about the ideology of “anti racism”, which is a mixture of legitimate anti racism and ideas that sound like something a Southern slaveowner would endorse. Below is a long quote from last Sunday’s NYT article on DiAngelo. The ideas expressed are the same as the ones Taibbi criticizes at the Smithsonian. It’s postmodern crap and the left is actually split on this and on the Harper’s letter. (Chomsky was mocking postmodernism back in the 90’s, back when the first panic about PC culture popped up.). I had no objection to the contents of the letter— I thought, like most people who follow the Palestinian issue, that it was ridiculous to see Bari Weiss and Cary Nelson signing it. Hypocrites.

I don’t have a problem with the observation that people in different cultures see the world differently. But what is said blow goes a little beyond that.

Here is the NYT Sunday Magazine quote

———————

Running slightly beneath or openly on the surface of DiAngelo’s and Singleton’s teaching is a set of related ideas about the essence and elements of white culture. For DiAngelo, the elements include the “ideology of individualism,” which insists that meritocracy is mostly real, that hard work and talent will be justly rewarded. White culture, for her, is all about habits of oppressive thought that are taken for granted and rarely perceived, let alone questioned. One “unnamed logic of Whiteness,” she wrote with her frequent co-author, the education professor Ozlem Sensoy, in a 2017 paper published in The Harvard Educational Review, “is the presumed neutrality of White European Enlightenment epistemology.” The paper is an attempt to persuade universities that if they want to diversify their faculties, they should put less weight on conventional hiring criteria. The modern university, it says, “with its ‘experts’ and its privileging of particular forms of knowledge over others (e.g., written over oral, history over memory, rationalism over wisdom)” has “validated and elevated positivistic, White Eurocentric knowledge over non-White, Indigenous and non-European knowledges.” Such academic prose isn’t the language of DiAngelo’s workshops or book, but the idea of a society rigged at its intellectual core underpins her lessons.

Singleton, who holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford, and who did stints in advertising and college admissions before founding what’s now known as Courageous Conversation in 1992, talks about white culture in similar ways. There is the myth of meritocracy. And valuing “written communication over other forms,” he told me, is “a hallmark of whiteness,” which leads to the denigration of Black children in school. Another “hallmark” is “scientific, linear thinking. Cause and effect.” He said, “There’s this whole group of people who are named the scientists. That’s where you get into this whole idea that if it’s not codified in scientific thought that it can’t be valid.” He spoke about how the ancient Egyptians had “ideas about how humanity works that never had that scientific-hypothesis construction” and so aren’t recognized. “This is a good way of dismissing people. And this,” he continued, shifting forward thousands of years, “is one of the challenges in the diversity-equity-inclusion space; folks keep asking for data. How do you quantify, in a way that is scientific — numbers and that kind of thing — what people feel when they’re feeling marginalized?” For Singleton, society’s primary intellectual values are bound up with this marginalization. In Hartford, Moore directed us to a page in our training booklets: a list of white values. Along with “ ‘The King’s English’ rules,” “objective, rational, linear thinking” and “quantitative emphasis,” there was “work before play,” “plan for future” and “adherence to rigid time schedules.” Moore expounded that white culture is obsessed with “mechanical time” — clock time — and punishes students for lateness. This, he said, is but one example of how whiteness undercuts Black kids. “The problems come when we say this way of being is the way to be.” In school and on into the working world, he lectured, tremendous harm is done by the pervasive rule that Black children and adults must “bend to whiteness, in substance, style and format.”

Well, McKinney *does* hail from the Ungovernable Tribal Regions of Outer Dumbfuckistan, so you have to expect a degree of brain-worm infection.

McKinney,

From the Harper's letter: "We are already paying the price in greater risk aversion among writers, artists, and journalists who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus, or even lack sufficient zeal in agreement."

The Harper's letter is a classic example of "bothsiderism". It is really weak tea. The quote above was presented without any specific examples or factual evidence.

Please explain, substantively, why one should take such an "argument" seriously?

For further edification, you might try reading some criticism of the letter found here and here.

Having digested those, I give you a similar choice you presented to me: Provide a substantive response or admit you are an authoritarian fascist. LOL!*

*Admit it. You did stop beating your wife, right?

intellectually vacuous responses to substantive criticisms

Look, if we want to discuss substance, then let's discuss substance.

What I take away from the various Taibbi pieces cited throughout this thread is that he's capable of doing solid, thoughtful, critical reporting.

Which is not what was contained in the piece you cited way upthread.

It's very popular at the moment - probably always - to engage in "conversation" by cataloging all the ways in which your counter-party is a clownish ass. The appeal for the reader is that it confirms their sense of being a superior kind of person. The appeal for the writer is that it the easiest thing in the world to do, because everyone is to some degree a clownish ass.

In a word, it's lazy.

Trust me when I say that I am only too aware of the foibles of the SJW world. I am likewise aware of the foibles of the wingnut world, and I am likewise aware of the foibles of the pox-on-both-their-houses-I'm-above-it-all world.

Guess what? We're all assholes on this bus.

You quite often bring substantive, thoughtful comments here. And, you quite often bring comments whose point seems to be to rub all our noses in what clownish hypocritical dopes we all are.

The first is welcome, the second, less so.

We all know that the left is prone to clownish hypocritical idiocy. We accept that as part of our common humanity and do our best to move on.

We're also prone to playing the same point-and-laugh game, spending countless electrons cataloging the idiocies of the right.

Guilty of the same sin as Taibbi, and yourself.

So if we want to talk substance, let's talk substance, and leave the point and laugh crap aside.

Thanks for the Taibbi piece on policing, I thought it was very good, at least at first read.

Shorter LJ: you're not a truly reformed sinner unless you join my church.

You stumbled on Taibibi in his fuck the left mode and you had not the faintest idea who he was or what he wrote before. Poor prep counselor. It would be nice if you had the stones to admit that you had no idea who he was, he was just a handy cudgel.

But you won't, cause admitting that might, you know, foster some actual discussion. And you can't, cause you are a lawyer. So admitting that will happen, as they say in Thailand, when the 7-11 closes...

(side observation: Robert Byrd? You know he's been dead for a decade? It's really embarassing when you channel Granpa Simpson)

So even shorter LJ, go stir shit somewhere else.

AOC and these clowns. Per McKinney they are exactly the same!

Um. No.

Meanwhile, when we get into more detailed policy discussions, McKinney more often than not isn't all that far apart from the general consensus among the people commenting here. It's mostly the tribal labels that make it seem as though we're terribly at odds.

I think hsh is right here. It really seems that the function we fulfil for McKinney is like one of those pillows certain idiotic therapists get their patients to shout their frustrations and resentments at instead of the genuine recipients. Here I go "assay(ing) [I thought this was what you did to gold] to infer the psychology behind others' thoughts and views", but it seems to me that during the Trump presidency McKinney has used us like one of those pillows more and more. In my assaying role I say: it has to be tough to realise that by making an equivalence between Trump, and that international criminal mastermind HRC (ex secretary of state, ex senator), and the damage either of them might do to America, you and others like you damaged your country internally and externally in ways that will take generations to repair, if it can ever be done. It must be tough. But it's no fun being the pillow either.

On a more conciliatory (but also sincere) note, wrs.

Let the record show that my expert witness has identified both motes and beams as pernicious forms of cellulose eye-threat, to be shunned by anyone truly serious about their vision health, so I question...

Too damn subtle, nous! Who are these two visually challenged sides to whom you implicitly refer, or are you (unusually for you) indulging in a bit of bothsideserism?

Donald, thanks for the quote, that article is behind the paywall and though it says I can read it for free, I can't seem to get to it. But honestly, I'm not seeing what is so wrong with the observations in the excerpt you quote.

I much earlier posted a link, I think from an Indian writer, about how the West mocked Asian approaches to corona and how it just proved to be ethnocentrism rather than some sort of superior knowledge. This seems like an example of precisely the points that are being made in your excerpt, except it isn't a subject as protean as racism, it's looking at how, in another realms, a Eurocentric approach has basically screwed the world over. This is also the thrust of the Mishra article you recommended (In fact, his book makes this point even more explicitly, and draws a line from the Enlightenment to the revolutionary rhetoric of ISIS. Don't get much more postmodern than that). So now, I'm wondering why you think this is all "postmodern crap"? From the excerpt

Another “hallmark” is “scientific, linear thinking. Cause and effect.” He said, “There’s this whole group of people who are named the scientists. That’s where you get into this whole idea that if it’s not codified in scientific thought that it can’t be valid.”

We all worship at the temple of science, but if I were to replace scientists with economists, I'm think that there is a whole lot of truth there.

And even if we limit it to 'science', haven't we just seen this happen? Rather than take some sensible precautions, every step against corona had to be rigorously justified. Masks? Ha, aren't those Asians funny thinking that a little gauze mask is going to stop a pandemic?

You might say this is too broad a brush, New Zealand is doing quite well, thank you, and they surely must be an example of the white culture that is being dismissed out of hand. But NZ is the outlier (and leavened by an indigenous culture and a left of center government) and the rest of the individualistic cultures that pride themselves on the thinking identified in the excerpt seem to be not doing so well.

imho, but the whole postmodern project proves itself correct every day in a range of problems that are connected to racism only thru the fact that racism is another symptom of it. It's not only that different cultures see things in different ways, it is that one particular way of viewing things, when allowed to crowd out all the others, causes a lot of the problems we face. Whether it's Matt Taibibi ignoring what he wrote about Eric Garner, Bari Weiss standing shoulder to shoulder with Noam Chomsky and Andrew Sullivan, or Trump explaining that antifa has taken over Portland, these are all flowerings of a white culture that basically can't shut up for a minute and let someone else talk.

This doesn't mean that the left is always correct, nor does it mean that you throw out everything. But it does mean taking seriously what post modernism is trying to tell us.

"We are already paying the price in greater risk aversion among writers, artists, and journalists who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus, or even lack sufficient zeal in agreement."

FFS. this is true everywhere, always, for everyone, forever and ever since the beginning of fncking history. people should quit pretending to be aghast at fundamental human behavior.

or, they could point to the point in history when everybody tolerated everybody else's opinions without question, without condescension, and nobody ever said "wait a minute, that's bullshit!"

GftNC: In my assaying role I say: it has to be tough to realise that by making an equivalence between Trump, and that international criminal mastermind HRC (ex secretary of state, ex senator), and the damage either of them might do to America, you and others like you damaged your country internally and externally in ways that will take generations to repair, if it can ever be done. It must be tough.

Yep.

It seems, to me, ironic that a group of professional thinkers and writers would publish a letter in a prominent magazine, complaining about how they aren't being heard.

Organizations have points of view. Sometimes they make room for other points of view, sometimes they don't.

Do we see, for example, Krugman on Fox? No, we don't. Do we see Chomsky in the WSJ? No, we don't, except maybe in the crossword.

Everybody isn't going to be welcome everywhere.

I'll also say that post-modernism mostly goes over my head, but the idea that there are other ways of understanding and engaging with the world besides scientific method and linear thinking and written communication seems, to me, so obvious as to barely need mentioning.

Which is "better" can't be answered without first asking "better for what?".

How any of that aligns with race, whatever the hell race is, is unclear to me. But the fact of its existence is not.

LJ—

If one were having a discussion about how people in different cultures see the world I would have no objection to someone saying that this group or that doesn’t see time schedules as that important. Religious people ( I am one) don’t think that “ liberal, scientific thinking captures all of reality. And rule by technocrats can be very very bad. And if anyone wants to bash economists, I am right there with them. Cancel Milton Friedman.

But the people quoted there were making sweeping statements about white people and Black people. It was IMO, idiotic. And actually racist. I would have no problem imagining a white nationalist agreeing with most of those claims.

John McWhorter (sp?) who is a black linguist had a very harsh review of DiAngelo’s book at the Atlantic a few days ago. He said she has good intentions but her book is racist.

I generally like Taibbi. I don’t feel obligated to defend every single thing he writes, but I agree with most of it, Lately , just in the past few weeks, I think he is too involved with the Harper’s letter issue and fighting leftist cancel culture. These days, while I mostly identify with the far left, it seems to have fragmented into a thousand pieces. People I usually like are snapping at each other. No big deal, I guess. On the Letter, I think there is a leftcancel culture, and a liberal one, and a Never Trump one and a Trump one and so on, But I agree to some extent with Taibbi that there is a problem on the left. Is it the biggest problem in the universe? If you are Rod Dreher, yes. Is it virtually nonexistent, as some lefties I normally like would say.? No. It is somewhere in- between.

My problem with the Letter is that it would be better to go through a bunch of detailed examples of bad behavior and I think there are some on every part of the political spectrum so that people could discuss specific cases. IMO, the far left overreacted by claiming there is no issue on the left. It made more sense to endorse the letter and then point out that some of its signatories are total hypocrites. Complicating that is that even someone like Bari Weiss ( who I think is horrible) might possibly have been mistreated at the NYT, though some people there say she was the bully. They might all be right.

You know, FWIW it seems awfully obvious to me that someone like, for example, J K Rowling, was not saying that she isn't being heard (in fact some people have rather wittily christened her She Who Cannot Be Cancelled), she was saying that the phenomenon the letter was addressing was making many other people liable either to punishment, or self-censorship.

MCWhorter—

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/07/dehumanizing-condescension-white-fragility/614146/

Btw, if someone wants to say that Trump’s incompetence and fascism ( fortunately the former helps fight against the latter) is a much bigger issue than leftist cancel culture, I agree. So that’s all I am going to say. Back to lurking.

It seems, to me, ironic that a group of professional thinkers and writers would publish a letter in a prominent magazine, complaining about how they aren't being heard.

My impression is that their complaint was more about the plight of people who, unlike themselves, don't have their FU money and prominence. People who are not heard because they self-censor fearing the mob will come for them. It's one thing to criticize people and their points of view. It's entirely another to campaign for them to lose their jobs and otherwise have their lives upended and destroyed.

Organizations have points of view. Sometimes they make room for other points of view, sometimes they don't.

Not to mention that people don't have to consider a given organization's point of view if they choose not to. I don't watch One America News. Am I silencing them? For me, yes. For anyone else, no. But if enough people decide not to watch, it won't be a financially viable outlet. Is that censorship? Of course not. It's life.

On the other hand, I can disagree with and condemn the behavior of people who, for example, participate in twitter mobs and screw up some random person's life over some everyday offense that just happens to go viral. But I don't really know what anyone is supposed to do about that. Even if you shut down twitter (which isn't happening), something else will take its place. That cat's out of the bag.

That's really the difference between today and the pre-Internet era. It's much easier for something that would otherwise be an interpersonal incident go out to millions of people, some of whom might decide to threaten and harass you on line, which might lead to someone or some number of people threatening or harassing you in person. But it's not something that's exclusively or mostly a thing on the left or right. It's also something that a very, very small percentage of people participate in, regardless of political persuasion, and something that a very, very small percentage of people will ever be subjected to. It just get lots of attention when it happens.

It's a weird f**king world. More speech is censorship. More sources of "information" make people less well informed. People complain on social media about people complaining on social media (and do so with no sense of irony).

Is it a case of technology outpacing culture? If so, can culture ever catch up? Or is it just how people are, but with new ways of being that way? I don't know, but I'll find someone to blame, dammit!

In Hartford, Moore directed us to a page in our training booklets: a list of white values. Along with “ ‘The King’s English’ rules,” “objective, rational, linear thinking” and “quantitative emphasis,” there was “work before play,” “plan for future” and “adherence to rigid time schedules.” Moore expounded that white culture is obsessed with “mechanical time” — clock time — and punishes students for lateness. This, he said, is but one example of how whiteness undercuts Black kids. “The problems come when we say this way of being is the way to be.” In school and on into the working world, he lectured, tremendous harm is done by the pervasive rule that Black children and adults must “bend to whiteness, in substance, style and format.

This is the best example of why I believe that the very essence of the Black complaint is that society, outside their neighborhood, has rules to follow to be successful. These rules are applied equally, in no way disadvantaging anyone by race except that Black people, according to this, don't want to be held accountable for things as simple as being on time.

I watched the guy who founded BET on CNBC one day and he laughingly noted that "we", meaning black people, don't save for the future, we like to spend our money. The "rules" here are the very things that allow the accumulation of wealth, achieving financial success. If these are anathema to being Black then there is little to do to help Black people have any chance of upward mobility.

I am actually not capable of believing that these are the examples any one gives seriously of how Blacks are disadvantaged.

I can assure you when I moved from Texas to Massachusetts I was required to lose the accent to be successful. If that's what bending to the Kings English means.

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2020/07/18/expect-trump-to-use-dhs-stormtroopers-to-stop-people-from-voting-and-plan-accordingly/

If that's what bending to the Kings English means.

It's King's English, Marty. Jeez...

the black people i know don't seem to have trouble with clocks.

And not (Rep.) Steve King for that matter.
Btw, is there a difference between the King's and the Queen's English?

I am also not aware that Rabelais (quite successful guy he) was black despite his known disrelish for clocks (his first rule for the ideal monastery was 'no clocks').

John Thullen's 1:37 pm link is the cancel culture I'm worried about at the moment.

I admire a lot of the writers who signed the Harper's letter, and think that they are speaking out on behalf of lesser known folks who may have felt intimidated. It's something to keep our eye on when we have the luxury of living in a democratic country where the people aren't dying in droves from a plague.

Compare and contrast for "subtancivity" (King's English version): McKinney or this.

I rest my case.

This is the best example....

Where is this quoted from, Marty?

i>you have held the opinion that Byrd's generation's racism was a product of his time and place and should not be judged too harshly in arrears, which I don't agree with much, but never mind.

No, I have not. He was a Klanner. I'm well aware of my own family history and the Klan was always viewed as the worst of the white South. My fore-bearers may not have been particularly enlightened by modern standards--but if we got into the detail of it, they were pretty forward thinking for their times. So, no.

My take is that McKinney comes here oozing condescension and dismissiveness to criticize us (or the prog left, which we are all part of according to him) for being condescending to and dismissive of ... Trump supporters?

I ooze, do I? Damn. Actually, go back to my original comment, which was in response to your question of how come they think that way? I'm pointing out, yet again, it may not be Trump attracting people, it may be the BS that I linked to repelling people who are looking. That so many here either push back on the notion that it is BS or try to minimize or what have you is precisely why the prog left brand does not sell well.

Also, let me point out that however pointed my remarks often are, they are nothing compared to the usual tone and tenor the majority her apply to conservatives/Republicans/Trumpsters. That folks here get angry over my modest sallies is just bizarre to me.

The Harper's letter is a classic example of "bothsiderism". It is really weak tea. The quote above was presented without any specific examples or factual evidence.

Please explain, substantively, why one should take such an "argument" seriously?

For further edification, you might try reading some criticism of the letter found here and here.

First, claiming "whataboutism" is itself not really a substantive address. The fact that a considerable number of people signed on to a letter decrying the illiberality of the prog left is at least some evidence that what I and others find problematic does, in fact, exist.

But you make my point on why the prog left isn't catching on: many here, as I've said, deny their own or their fellow travelers' illiberality, or minimize it, and when they do, they look like Trump on Twitter--saying stuff that everyone who isn't in the choir listens to and says, "they can't be serious, can they?"

I read your first link. It was a well-written--using linear, euro-centric logic and doing homage to the concept of cause and effect--piece that inferentially concedes the very illiberality I'm calling out and tries to make it palatable. It's too long--and I am still a full time lawyer--for me to try to do a line by line take down on it, but I did look at it.

So if we want to talk substance, let's talk substance, and leave the point and laugh crap aside.

Fair enough; however, the initial Taibbi link illustrates a real thing for the prog left. I'm not just pointing out hypocrisy--which I am happy to do whenever and wherever I find it--I'm pointing out a widespread, ubiquitous practice of thought policing by lefty front-liners, whatever you want to call them. Running someone off a job because that person's opinions make others feel "unsafe", for crying out loud. This is now a thing. Not a universal thing, but a thing that we all see and read about every day.

It really seems that the function we fulfil for McKinney is like one of those pillows certain idiotic therapists get their patients to shout their frustrations and resentments at instead of the genuine recipients. Here I go "assay(ing) [I thought this was what you did to gold] to infer the psychology behind others' thoughts and views", but it seems to me that during the Trump presidency McKinney has used us like one of those pillows more and more.

Maybe I'm misusing "assay". Fair point. That said, no, you're not my frustration pillow, if that's what you mean. I've heard of the same thing. Very little frustrates me these days. What does is usually stupid lawyer tricks that I've seen a million times or filling out forms. I hate filling out forms.

No, I come here and have been coming here for a long time to do three things: discuss whatever topic I find interesting that someone has raised; start a conversation on a matter of inconsistency or double standard; or just to hang out, particularly back in the day when there was a lot more fun, non-political stuff.

Five years ago, when I was slamming the campus cancel culture, the general theme was "hey, it's just crazy, over-wrought college kids." I thought that was a lame and incorrect analysis then and today I'm proved right.

It seems, to me, ironic that a group of professional thinkers and writers would publish a letter in a prominent magazine, complaining about how they aren't being heard.

That isn't what they are saying, at all. They are pointing out, inter alia, that people who don't toe the politically correct line line risk losing their positions. The risk is that the non-conforming opinion writer offends the majority of other opinion writers who then demand that the non-conformer be fired. This is a major concern to those of us with traditional liberal leanings. I no longer read the NYT because I know the only thing I'm getting is what writers think they can sneak by their censors. I'm also not sending my money to assholes who threaten someone's livelihood over failing to meet political expectations.

Also, it is absolutely true that the NYT can print or not print anyone it chooses. Making that argument totally sidesteps the issue. The issue is that institutions are now evaluating their employees based on their politics, compelling non-conformists to self-edit, self-censor, hide, remain silent, etc. It is a textbook example of the majority using its weight to suppress a minority. It is disgusting and indefensible.

I'll also say that post-modernism mostly goes over my head, but the idea that there are other ways of understanding and engaging with the world besides scientific method and linear thinking and written communication seems, to me, so obvious as to barely need mentioning.

Post modernism goes over most people's heads because it means whatever someone wants it to mean at any given time and place. The unkind take on it, i.e. my take on it, is that it is unbridled BS masking as intellectual substance but in fact writes its own rules of how it can be judged. If a postmodernist asserts that biological sex is a social construct, he/she can defend that premise by simply dismissing factual, historical, social and scientific evidence to the contrary as oppressive, western linear thinking that fails to take into considerations the life experiences of (fill in the blank). Again, it's gobbledygook that most people just shake their heads at. Very few postmodernists that I'm aware of actually work. They are in academia where, other than writing and lecturing, they don't do much. Ask them how a soy bean goes from a fifty pound bag to a constituent part of a particular medicine and they are clueless. They, for the most part, know and do nothing of value. They do not create jobs, invent useful products, processes or services. They are the perfect parasite. I hope I'm not leaving anything out here. But they are absolutely resolute that they have the answers. Hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, 5000 (one can debate this) years of written communication and only in last century of so have these elect few been able to discern the meaning, or lack of meaning, or whatever, of life. Amazing that it took so long and only these special, special people get it.

I'd say this is about right, wouldn't you?

"Yes, I'd agree. However, this would all go away if those prog SJW's would just STFU."

-attributed to an anonymous attorney in Houston

BP:Compare and contrast for "subtancivity" (King's English version): McKinney or this.

I rest my case.

You lose. From your link, focus on the bolded part, and then go reread Donald's comment above.

Abstract appeals to “free speech” and “liberal values” obscure the fact that what’s being debated is not anyone’s right to speech, but rather their right to air that speech in specific platforms like the New York Times without fear of social backlash. Yet virtually everyone agrees that certain speakers — neo-Nazis, for example — do not deserve a column in the paper of record.

Nobody gives a rat's ass about their opinions resulting in "social backlash". That's a lie. It's another reason why Z Beauchamp and other prog lib's are in bad faith. "Social backlash" is not "getting fired for upsetting the snowflakes."

Donald's objectivity and balance is a very welcome addition to the discussion.

bobbyp, Donalds 9:59

Marty took that quote from my quote upthread. It came from here

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/15/magazine/white-fragility-robin-diangelo.html

Btw, that issue also has a great piece about how the evidence for Iraq WMD’s was mostly nonexistent, but cobbled together anyway to get the case they wanted to make. If people want to talk about deeply cynical collaboration, you can find all the examples you ever want by looking at the history of US foreign policy.

King's
King's
King's
Kings
King's

Just practicing

4 out of 5
Which is better than my average on typos

The issue is that institutions are now evaluating their employees based on their politics, compelling non-conformists to self-edit, self-censor, hide, remain silent, etc.

Look, if this is actually what the issue is, I have to say I'm just not gonna get upset about it. Because "institutions" have been doing this since the dawn of time.

If you want to talk about specific examples, that's all good.

But "institutions" have been policing the public speech and behavior of people associated with them for, like, ever. On the left, on the right, in the middle.

The list of examples is endless. Perhaps address the ones that you object to, specifically. It would make the topic easier to discuss in a useful way.

The claim here seems to be "nobody should be subject to any consequences for anything they do or say". Which I doubt is what you intend.

the very essence of the Black complaint is that society, outside their neighborhood, has rules to follow to be successful.

That's an interesting observation, but I'm pretty confident that it's not the "very essence of the Black complaint".

Gosh, only 150 years** to decide that officially honoring traitors is not appropriate.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/house-to-vote-on-removing-confederate-statues-from-the-capitol-and-replacing-bust-of-segregationist-chief-justice/2020/07/22/72873a50-cba0-11ea-b0e3-d55bda07d66a_story.html

** Putting the "slow" in slow progress.

Look, if this is actually what the issue is, I have to say I'm just not gonna get upset about it. Because "institutions" have been doing this since the dawn of time.

Ok, so you're good if a grocery bagger at Kroger gets fired for having Black Lives Matters bumper sticker? No problem there? What about a MAGA hat--grounds for termination?

If this doesn't bother you, then there is a lot more room between us than I ever would have thought.

"Social backlash" is not "getting fired for upsetting the snowflakes."

So. Rather than substantively engage you go right to charges of bad faith. Don't blink, McKinney, let me get that mote out.

Sheesh.

Oh...and by the way...please cite some examples of those who were fired for upsetting "snowflakes". I mean, that should be easy if this is indeed a problem of any degree of seriousness.

Actually, go back to my original comment, which was in response to your question of how come they think that way?

Not exactly. You posed it as as us prog libs wondering why they won't listen to us. That's not the point. And you have to first agree that Trump is a terrible choice as both a major-party candidate and a president for my question, which was simply about an example of politics going sideways, to even think it's a question that needed to be asked. Do you? If so, then we can discuss what longer-term conditions can lead to such an awful political outcome (or any number of other similarly awful political outcomes, be they real or hypothetical) in a quasi-democratic country.

I don't think you appreciated the context of my comment, which was part a long-ish on-going discussion about something Donald and/or nous and/or lj (I'm not even sure anymore) brought up.

You turned it into something about how Trumpers think we libs as crazy as we think they are, which must mean we're both crazy (and you're not, because you're not a Trumper or a lib).

Ok, so you're good if a grocery bagger at Kroger gets fired for having Black Lives Matters bumper sticker? No problem there? What about a MAGA hat--grounds for termination?

No, I'm not good with either example. Were we talking about a grocery bagger at Kroger who got fired for having a BLM bumper sticker? Or a MAGA hat?

Is that what the issue is?

To turn this around slightly, if the bagger wore a BLM t-shirt while bagging, and the manager spent the day fielding complaints about it, would you be OK with manager telling the employee to not wear that shirt to work anymore? Ditto the MAGA hat?

OK, or not? If so, why OK - it's preventing someone from expressing their point of view, right? If not, why not?

Here's the Harper's letter.

And it all sounds great. We should be tolerant of other points of view, we should welcome open and honest debate.

Fine with me.

They allude to some specific examples, but they don't dig into them at all to examine why, for instance, Bennett was fired at the NYT.

If we want to talk about this stuff, we need to talk about specific examples. Because sometimes people get fired because the "institution" is trying to intimidate them, and sometimes they get fired because they did something stupid or wrong.

And sometimes they get fired because the institution, for reasons of its own, just doesn't want to be associated with them, because of their public statements or actions. And sometimes that is perfectly legitimate.

So the spectre of Maoist cancel culture overreach haunting this discussion is that there is an Afrocentric professor who is taking a critical position on positivism and speaking about it publicly? And this spectre has somehow seized such control over the whole of the prog left, and through them the whole of the Democratic party. to make it impossible for conservatives who are disillusioned with Trump to either support Biden or to publicly oppose Trump?

I guess those Afrocentrists should just be quiet and not raise that controversial topic in public because it may turn people off and lead to tangible consequences.

We should report his ass on one of those campus watchdog databases. He's clearly ideologically driven and cannot be fair to white students.

Oh, and also, Cancel Culture is horrible and should be abolished somehow.

Ok, so you're good if a grocery bagger at Kroger gets fired for having Black Lives Matters bumper sticker? No problem there? What about a MAGA hat--grounds for termination?

You've succeeded in thread-jacking to "cancel culture", something that is an extremely small blip in our current social conflagration.
But if you're going to do that, please point to real situations, not hypotheticals. That Kroger employee is probably more likely to be worried about Covid.

Also, wrs at 3:11.

The issue is that institutions are now evaluating their employees based on their politics, compelling non-conformists to self-edit, self-censor, hide, remain silent, etc.

and this has never ever happened before.

what a time we live in!

Orwell must have been more than just prescient to see 70 years into the future.

And this spectre has somehow seized such control over the whole of the prog left, and through them the whole of the Democratic party.

somehow this is the first i've heard of it.

i need to attend more meetings.

to make it impossible for conservatives who are disillusioned with Trump to either support Biden or to publicly oppose Trump?

they were always going to have a reason. and it was always going to be manufactured for them.

Here's one example of a conflict between employers and employees over employees' political expressions while on the job.

"Whole Foods workers are suing the Amazon-owned supermarket, alleging the grocery chain punished them for openly supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
...
Whole Foods' dress code bars any slogans or logos that aren't company-related. But the suit maintains that Whole Foods did not enforce this policy until recently, when large numbers of employees started wearing masks or pins with a Black Lives Matter slogan."

Workers sue Whole Foods over right to wear Black Lives Matter masks

And you have to first agree that Trump is a terrible choice as both a major-party candidate and a president for my question, which was simply about an example of politics going sideways, to even think it's a question that needed to be asked. Do you? If so, then we can discuss what longer-term conditions can lead to such an awful political outcome (or any number of other similarly awful political outcomes, be they real or hypothetical) in a quasi-democratic country.

I have always agreed that Trump is awful. And I've always said that a part of his support, until recently, was not a fondness of him, but rather a strong rejection of the prog left. I stand by that. How did we get to this point? It's bipartisan. Neither party put up candidates that appeal outside the parties themselves. I'm not going to relitigate HRC, or do a comparative of her being the lesser of two evils, because back then, it was enough that DT was not well enough known and she was and it was not to her advantage.

Going forward, no one on the R side other than Romney is president material IMO, and if he wasn't around, I would say the lack of president material is universal. We are out of good candidates. In retrospect, I think Obama had what it takes, even if we part company on most policy issues. HRC too, in hindsight.

Upthread, Thullen made reference to Biden and how I might vote. It's still an open question, either Biden or a write-in. Not Trump.

If we want to talk about this stuff, we need to talk about specific examples. Because sometimes people get fired because the "institution" is trying to intimidate them, and sometimes they get fired because they did something stupid or wrong.

Do we? I disagree. Every American has the right to put a bumper sticker on a car and drive that car to work. Every single one. Whether once can bring their politics into the office is another question. But, if an employer is going to restrict political activity at work, it needs to be universal.

Insisting that we only look at specific cases and not obvious trends sidetracks addressing the larger picture by focusing on minutiae. We don't care that George Floyd was being arrested for violating the law or that he wasn't a saint or that he resisted arrest before laying down--none of that matters. So, we look at the larger picture, the larger wrong and we address it.

I cannot remember a time in my life where one's employees could lobby an employer to fire a fellow employee over a political or other opinion matter. This is not just business as usual.

Insisting that we only look at specific cases and not obvious trends sidetracks addressing the larger picture by focusing on minutiae.

No, it by god does not. It makes us address the concrete realities of specific cases, instead of vague generalities. Because virtually all of the cases that are under discussion have a number of sides to them, and need to be considered in terms of their specific, concrete realities.

Or, we can just call each other names and be done with it.

None of the cases that have everybody all worked up involve someone being fired for having a bumper sticker on their car. None.

Can you point to a single example of anyone being fired for having a bumper sticker on their car? Then why bring it up?

Let's talk about substance, not platitudes.

Do we? I disagree. Every American has the right to put a bumper sticker on a car and drive that car to work.

What cancel culture employer fired somebody for that?

Whole Foods' dress code bars any slogans or logos that aren't company-related. But the suit maintains that Whole Foods did not enforce this policy until recently, when large numbers of employees started wearing masks or pins with a Black Lives Matter slogan.

Is this left-wing cancel culture? Or is it a problem with a certain employment law situation?

The fact is, you came here complaining about progs, but you are unwilling to discuss a real case, and I wouldn't say that Amazon is a Prog. If you want to talk about Bennet, at the NYT, he didn't even read the Cotton article he allowed to be published. The current version of the Cotton article has an apology attached, explaining the editorial malfeasance that was committed. It's worth reading. You can provide a different example if you'd like.

Sorry, my 3:36 is addressed to McKinney. CharlesWT helpfully provided the Whole Foods example that's "cancel culture" by large corporations against BLM advocates.

Serious question from a non-lawyer: Can an employer reserve the right to take action without aggressively taking that action in every instance where they could have according to their policies? So, with regard to the BLM t-shirts at Whole Foods, if they could demonstrate that the wearing of those shirts was causing demonstrable problems for them as a company, does it matter that they let other instances of political displays that didn't cause them problems pass? (Obviously, they would have to truly demonstrate that and not simply use it as an excuse for selective enforcement, possibly as a way to discriminate unduly.)

I guess what I'm asking is, what obligation is a company under to strictly police and enforce their policies universally for the enforcement of those policies to be valid means of addressing specific problems caused by employees violating those same policies? Are they allowed to let stuff slide when no one really cares, but not let it slide when lots of people really do care?

Bennett was fired at the NYT.

He was not fired. He resigned.

Fruit of a random Google walk.

Over the last two years, the number of dismissals on speech grounds has more than quadrupled (up 433%). There is a stark divide along partisan lines: while the terminations of conservative professors have doubled, the number of firings of liberals has boomed by no less than 950%. Of the 45 cases of faculty firings determined to be unambiguously related to speech, 26 of them occur in 2017 alone (compared to 6 in 2015), “the clear majority (19) being over liberal speech”. Even after adjusting the data by imposing a more strict, legalistic definition of political speech, the pattern remains extraordinary.

The article links back to this.

I make no claims for veracity, just throwing another pebble in the pond. The Niskanen piece seems interesting.

Lastly:

I cannot remember a time in my life where one's employees could lobby an employer to fire a fellow employee over a political or other opinion matter.

I think we're more or less of an age. Two words, or rather, a name:

Joe McCarthy

Bennet "resigned":

"In a brief interview, Mr. Sulzberger added: 'Both of us concluded that James would not be able to lead the team through the next leg of change that is required.'"

Maybe it made a difference in whatever package he got, but it doesn't sound like he was welcome to stay.

Are they allowed to let stuff slide when no one really cares, but not let it slide when lots of people really do care?

It probably depends on how much sliding they let happen. It seems to me, from the complaint, that the plaintiffs have a decent case based on the fact that Whole Foods/Amazon itself proclaimed support for Black Lives Matter, and employees have been okay wearing Pride paraphernalia. Interesting case.

How did we get to this point? It's bipartisan.

Since we have a system that pretty much devolves into a "bipartisan" arrangement, this statement is pretty much meaningless.

If it is an attempt to simply "spread the blame" (real leftist both parties are the same yadda yadda which see) it is manifestly incorrect.

Do we? I disagree. Every American has the right to put a bumper sticker on a car and drive that car to work.

Yes, they have that right. Employers also have the right to fire a worker for any reason whatsoever unless otherwise constrained by law or a union bargaining agreement (contract).

Kinda' brings a different prospective to that "right" does it not?

Haven't had time to do a detailed catch-up, but from my initial skim it looks as if McKinney has never again referred to Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton or Byrd, after my inconvenient response on behalf of The Progressive Left. It is only fair to say that this is a normal part of the McKinney MO when dealing with inconvenient responses which don't fit his prejudices.

However. Confirmation on "assay" - a small victory for the Queen's English. Much more dramatic - belated realisation that HRC had what it took to be president. Congratulations, McKinney. I am not being sarcastic, it speaks well of you that you can say this, which is more than many have been able to do. Of course it is sad and ironic that you had to see a Trump presidency in order to realise this, but even then you've done better than many of the people (conservatives, Republicans, Trumpsters) you say we are regularly so rude about. The honorable exceptions are the never-Trumpers like Frum et al; notwithstanding the general dislike here about their former political views, these are clearsighted, patriotic Americans who saw the danger, and bravely publicised it, and acted upon it. Alas, on the right, there were not enough of them.

Maybe it made a difference in whatever package he got, but it doesn't sound like he was welcome to stay.

LOL...well, perhaps so. But a mutual separation is different than a firing. Words have meanings. It's a King's English thing. :)

Thanks.

No, it by god does not. It makes us address the concrete realities of specific cases, instead of vague generalities. Because virtually all of the cases that are under discussion have a number of sides to them, and need to be considered in terms of their specific, concrete realities.

Or, we can just call each other names and be done with it.

Bennett's ousting is a good example of a lefty mob ganging up on someone, getting that person fired after making a groveling public apology, and then, after the fact, the new regime puts together an ex post facto rationale that would have the rest of us believe the Cotton editorial somehow sneaked onto the NYT editorial page without any editorial oversight. Sure, some typesetter just happened to hit the wrong button.

So, if you buy the insurgent party line, Bennett was justifiably terminated for allowing a wrong-headed editorial to appear in an editorial section that he says, not believably, that he never read. BFD--he was fired because his woke subordinates got so heated up over Cotton's editorial that they wanted blood--and someone in the future who would reliably toe the party line. And, they got it.

Bari Weiss fully documented her constructive termination at the NYT. Sullivan at the New Yorker fits the bill.

But fine, none of this is happening and all of the people who say it is happening are delusional. That doesn't work. Denying or minimizing or contextualizing a sea change in illiberality only resonates inside the prog zone. It does not travel. Demanding that critics prove their case when we read about new cases everyday is like DT demanding that someone show him the actual votes in CA. We know he lost in CA and we know what many on the prog left are doing to those who disagree.

Is this left-wing cancel culture? Or is it a problem with a certain employment law situation?

It's not left wing cancel culture, or even cancel culture, because you don't have the right to bring your politics to work. However, you do have the right to your bumper sticker, to your social media, etc.

When employers cross the line from regulating conduct at work vs in their employees' private lives and start firing people because other employees or whoever have a complaint about their political views, then we have a major problem and that major problem is actually here.

I used the 'at work' examples because that is the trend line. The poor guy driving to work in San Diego is an example.

So, a serious question for McK.

Let's say you have a junior associate who makes a very public name for himself as an advocate of white supremacy. Reasonably good lawyer, but all of a sudden, a visible figure, politically.

What the country needs is to kick out the Jews and send the blacks back to Africa. Build, not just a wall, but a wall with guards carrying machine guns, which will be used to eliminate the illegal immigrant problem post haste.

And your guy starts showing up on national media with this stuff.

Clients take note.

And, if you like, feel free to reverse the details. Your guy is a reasonably good lawyer, but all of a sudden is popping up on network news calling for, not just more taxes, but on seizing anyone's personal wealth in excess of a million bucks. Top marginal tax rate of 100% kicks in at $250K. Government seizes ownership of all publicly owned corps.

Invent your own nightmare, here. Be creative.

Your guy is a good lawyer, you can find no fault with his work product or professional deportment.

But he's a highly visible whack job, popping up on Fox or CNN or wherever on a weekly basis.

What do you do?

This isn't a gotcha, I'd like to know how you would address it.

and that major problem is actually here.

it's been here forever.

the only difference now is that we can all easily build collections of instances which support our existing points of view.

When employers cross the line from regulating conduct at work vs in their employees' private lives and start firing people because other employees or whoever have a complaint about their political views, then we have a major problem and that major problem is actually here.

Been here for a long time, buddy. The list of employees illegally fired for engaging in union organizing activity is legion. Where the fuck have you been?

I make no claims for veracity, just throwing another pebble in the pond. The Niskanen piece seems interesting.

Not vouching for Sachs' accuracy is a good move. I read the piece, googled a couple of his links and read the wiki page about him. I knew his name sounded familiar. If I ever link to a Victor Hansen Davis piece or someone similar as support for one of my positions, you have my permission to cancel me.

I think we're more or less of an age. Two words, or rather, a name:

Joe McCarthy

Technically, yes. And weren't those good times?

I cannot get worked up for this Cancel Culture paranoia because my professional life for the last 15 years has featured an endless cycle of the university evaluating my employment in part based on the results of student evaluations.

I have academic freedom to choose my readings. I have freedom of expression and every single conservative student I have ever had was 100% on-board with how important freedom of expression was on campus.

For the most part I have good student evaluations. No surprise, since I'm an older white dude and all the research into student evaluations say that being an older white dude generally provides an automatic boost.

But boy, you should have seen my ratings the quarters that I decide to teach a feminist science fiction text for one of the readings. Suddenly those ratings took a big hit and came down to the level of my women and minority and openly LGBTQ colleagues. And those were also the quarters where conservative male students complained to the department that I had graded them unfairly. And they went onto the campus sub-reddits to complain to their friends.

Same thing for a music class if it featured writings from Riot Grrrls or black punks. I can look at the averages for my ratings and tell by the overall score whether or not I taught something that ran afoul of the conservative students.

And I've had SJW, BLM, LGBTQ students in my class who have found things written in the texts I have assigned to be offensive, who have come to office hours to talk about those things.

I tell them the same thing I tell the conservative students who actually come to talk about the texts: if you disagree, write about it, but you have to do it fairly, from a critically aware standpoint that represents the other view accurately. You don't have to give up your bias, you just have to show good faith in understanding the things you oppose and be fair to them.

Somehow, that conversation never turns into a hit to my evals. Most of those students come back to see me in later quarters and talk about other subjects.

And I haven't faced anything like the struggle that my minority and LGBTQ colleagues have faced. Every one of them had been targeted in their evals any time they have dared to make their students read a feminist or gender studies text.

I've heard about how terrible all us indoctrinating college professors are from right wing talk radio and the RW blogosphere for longer than I have been a teacher. I've heard them encourage people to go after the Marxists and expose them and get them fired. And I've seen RW activists from out of state come to campus to intimidate and follow around colleagues after a student complained about them on Reddit/4chan.

This was long before Cancel Culture became the rallying cry of the professional RW harumphers.

Y'all say it sucks.

Welcome to our world. It's always been here. You just never got a taste of it before.

Yes, they have that right. Employers also have the right to fire a worker for any reason whatsoever unless otherwise constrained by law or a union bargaining agreement (contract).

Yes, and you can legally break wind in an elevator, cheat on your spouse, tell a broad range of lies and do all kinds of other anti-social things that are wrong unless you are a post-modernist, and then it's all a construct and nothing matters anyway unless they tell it matters and then it matters until they tell you something else.

For the rest of us, a civil society recognizes boundaries and lines and limits. It's the social contract. When you're on the job, the employer can impose reasonable limits on extra-employment matters such as politics, religion, philosophy, etc. Where the fabric begins to fray is when employers become content-sensitive, e.g. firing a BLM t-shirt wearer but allowing a MAGA hat. Even if it's legal, it stinks.

We're moving way beyond that.

And I haven't faced anything like the struggle that my minority and LGBTQ colleagues have faced. Every one of them had been targeted in their evals any time they have dared to make their students read a feminist or gender studies text.

Ok, so what department are you teaching in and are these electives or degree requirements? If someone wants to study politically charged drivel from any quarter and signs up for the class, they get what they get. If it's a core requirement, I'm with the peeps who prefer not to be indoctrinated.

And, not to put too fine a point on it, you signed up for that and so did your colleagues.

Bennet said he didn't read the Cotton opinion. Maybe he was lying. This is the Times apology which now accompanies the opinion:

After publication, this essay met strong criticism from many readers (and many Times colleagues), prompting editors to review the piece and the editing process. Based on that review, we have concluded that the essay fell short of our standards and should not have been published.

The basic arguments advanced by Senator Cotton — however objectionable people may find them — represent a newsworthy part of the current debate. But given the life-and-death importance of the topic, the senator’s influential position and the gravity of the steps he advocates, the essay should have undergone the highest level of scrutiny. Instead, the editing process was rushed and flawed, and senior editors were not sufficiently involved. While Senator Cotton and his staff cooperated fully in our editing process, the Op-Ed should have been subject to further substantial revisions — as is frequently the case with such essays — or rejected.

For example, the published piece presents as facts assertions about the role of “cadres of left-wing radicals like antifa”; in fact, those allegations have not been substantiated and have been widely questioned. Editors should have sought further corroboration of those assertions, or removed them from the piece. The assertion that police officers “bore the brunt” of the violence is an overstatement that should have been challenged. The essay also includes a reference to a “constitutional duty” that was intended as a paraphrase; it should not have been rendered as a quotation.

Beyond those factual questions, the tone of the essay in places is needlessly harsh and falls short of the thoughtful approach that advances useful debate. Editors should have offered suggestions to address those problems. The headline — which was written by The Times, not Senator Cotton — was incendiary and should not have been used.

Finally, we failed to offer appropriate additional context — either in the text or the presentation — that could have helped readers place Senator Cotton’s views within a larger framework of debate.

The "apology" sets out some editorial standards that we expect of journalists who are not Fox News. It is very welcome.

I'm with the peeps who prefer not to be indoctrinated.

So, you do freelance cancellation, based on your own predispositions. So do I, which is why I didn't read the Taibbi piece.

"Cancel culture" is a crock.

Bennett's ousting is a good example of a lefty mob ganging up on someone

Apparently, Bennett made a number of editorial decisions during his tenure that were problematic for the NYT. The NYT was his boss, so "problematic for the NYT" becomes problematic for Bennett.

And to be honest, it's not clear to me that having a large number of people in the editorial and news staff of a newspaper saying they don't want to work for an editor is a bad reason to consider firing the editor.

So no, I'm not losing sleep over the resignation / firing of James Bennett. I have no bad feeling toward him, I have no opinion about him in any direction, on any topic, whatsoever.

He worked for the NYT, he made choices that created problems for the NYT, so they parted ways.

I'm not seeing points of view being suppressed here. Cotton is a freaking Senator, he gets air time anytime he opens his mouth. The NYT has actually been notable, for a "mainstream liberal newspaper", for the exposure they've given to conservative voices.

Andrew Sullivan has, as far as I can tell, no problem getting his point of view out into the public arena. Bari Weiss, same. Bret Stephens, same. None of these people are being silenced.

Some of the publications they used to work for don't want to employ them anymore. That may well be due to political perspective, because *all of those publications have a point of view*, and the authors in question might not be well aligned with their point of view.

I'm not sure what it is you want from the NYT, or the Atlantic, or the New Yorker. Or Fox News, or the Washington Examiner, for that matter. Publications generally have a point of view. They may provide an outlet for people who aren't aligned with their point of view, but then again, they might not.

They aren't obliged to do so.

So I'm not really getting the whole "cancel culture" thing out of these examples. Not from the left, not from the right.

There are people who are harmed by social media mob justice, but the James Bennetts of the world are not among them.

And, not to put too fine a point on it, you signed up for that and so did your colleagues.

LOL

So, if you're a professor, and you get "canceled", that's just the gig?

While McKinney composes his answer to russell's 4:28PM question, I'd like to ask us prog leftists the following:

Are you less inclined, indifferent, or more inclined to shop at Whole Foods if some workers there are wearing:
1) Masks with "BLM" on them?
2) MAGA hats?
3) US flag T-shirts?
4) Confederate flag T-shirts?
This question may be ill-posed, but I can easily imagine some "market research" questionnaire containing it. "Market research" commissioned by Whole Foods management, probably. In pursuit of profit, not political correctness.

I have no idea what the results would be if Whole Foods posed this question to a random sample of its customers, or the general public (potential customers); just curious how we prog leftists (as potential if not actual customers ourselves) would answer.

--TP

For the rest of us, a civil society recognizes boundaries and lines and limits

Thank you McKinney "now you know the rest of the story" Texas. This may come as a real shock, but you do not get to unilaterally determine what those boundaries are.

Shocking, no?

Are you less inclined, indifferent, or more inclined to shop at Whole Foods if some workers there are wearing

Indifferent.

I'm mostly inclined to shop at WF if I can't find what I want at the Stop and Shop across the street, because WF is $$$$$$$.

But for some things, they're really good, and I'll spend the extra dough. Plus, the cut flowers are nice.

What are the complaints with Bari Weiss? I thought she was just a nice Jewish lesbian.

Can't speak for any of you prog leftists, but like russell I would be indifferent to the messages on the employees' shirts. Unless it's on company-required shirts that all of them are wearing -- which is a whole different deal.

Tony,

I, for one, do not shop a Whole Foods for the following reasons:
1. Their presentation is nice, but their prices verge on gouging.
2. The CEO, John Mackey, is a libertarian fruitcake.
3. Most significantly, there is not a Whole Foods establishment near me.

Thanks.

I'm not sure what it is you want from the NYT..

He wants stultifying center-right to right conformity....the special sauce of conservative politics.

Look, the Times has been subjected to a lot of SJW and other "Left" pressure over the last few years to bring a wider array of voices to the editorial page than the Tom Friedman, David Brooks genre.

Frankly, the paper is better off for it.

You know, the more I think about it, the more I realise that when McKT said of me:

I invite her to explicate the prog left's underlying psychology of its not-so-distant love affairs with Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd.

and I went to the trouble of answering him, it is pretty damn uncivil of him to ignore my "explication". McKinney, you may think my answer, as opposed to being just inconvenient, was inadequate, and that I was too light on the underlying psychology of the (mythical so-called) love affair, but what the hell?

I'm still trying to figure out who in the "prog left" was in love with Robert Byrd.

Not saying it wasn't a thing, just that I was somehow unaware of it.

For CharlesWT, a taste of Bari Weiss, admittedly not curated to show her best side, if she has one. Which seems unlikely.

Other than that, doesn't anyone have a dictionary?

In my 1967 Webster's Seventh New Collegiate, the very first meaning for "assay" as a verb is "TRY, ATTEMPT." "To analyze (as an ore)" is meaning 2a.

Time passes, language changes. In my 1999 Random House Webster's College Dictionary, "to attempt; try; essay [how do you like that one? - ed.]" has been demoted to the 5th meaning for "assay" as a verb.

Online today, a number of sites say the "try" meaning is archaic.

Well, so am I, and so, apparently, is McKinney, who should learn to stand up for himself.

Still, if I were editing, I'd be asking McKinney what's wrong with writing "try" in the first place? Like I used to ask them at work: Why do we all now have to "utilize" things and "assist" people? Why can't we just "use" them and "help" them? Not pompous enough, I guess.

man, the right fell out of love with at-will employment in a hurry!

man, the right fell out of love with at-will employment in a hurry!

Makes me laugh! Thanks!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad