Have you ever been cleaning your house, sweeping the floor or vacuuming the carpet, and after hours of work, you put away your vacuum, hang up your broom, and chillax with a beer…
…and then you see it. A crumb that somehow missed the dustpan. A dust bunny the vacuum failed to suck up. A smudge on the baseboards that you just did not see until you put everything away.
What do you do?
Well, if you’re OCD about these things, as I can be sometimes, perhaps you break out all of your cleaning gear again, and go to town on the smudge, hit the floors one more time, and go through the whole process all over. Or maybe you just get up, and physically pick up the speck, or rub the smudge on the baseboard with your shirt. I’ve done that, too.
You return to your now-lukewarm beer. You got the speck this time. No more smudges. It’s time to relax after a job well done. And then you see it. Another speck of dirt… You sigh. But you’re not getting up again. No way.
This sort of thing applies to almost every corner of life. If you’re a car guy (as I also am), the small scratches and paint chips you accumulate on your daily driver can drive you nuts.
Social Justice operates like this.
If we imagine the various ills of racism, sexism, homophobia, and the myriad of other -isms and -phobias decried by the Progressives as a messy room, we can see how ending Jim Crow, passing the 19th amendment, and passing the Civil Rights Act might be seen as cleaning that room.
And the specks of dirt left in the room after we’ve cracked open that beer are the microaggressions, the privileges, and the various imperfections in the ‘level playing field’ that feature prominently in political discourse.
In many ways, I think the political Right has made a mistake in trying to say these privileges, microaggressions, and other such things do not exist. Instead, I wonder if the better approach is to point out that the carpet will never be entirely free of dirt particles. Your baseboards will never be perfect. You can break out the cleaning gear again and again, and only succeeded in rubbing the paint off the baseboards in your obsession to have perfect cleanliness.
Oftentimes there are relatively obvious things that can be done to address very blatant inequalities. Certainly, eliminating government-enforced segregation was a big one. And perhaps police reform is urgently needed in a lot of places. But after a while, you reach diminishing returns in the quest for perfection. How has affirmative action worked out?
Adam Corolla gave the example of how he wanted to become an LA firefighter, and had to wait years – in the process giving up on this desire – because he was white, and continually shuffled to the bottom of the stack. Somebody rubbed the paint off the baseboards. Even if being white is probably still a net gain in some situations, it is also a net negative in others. Imagine being the white kid trying out for the basketball team.
Intersectional privileges, in Social Justice parlance, are essentially infinite in nature anyway. That is to say each person will have a personal collection of advantages and disadvantages based on various attributes. What is gained by privilege A is lost by privilege B, and so on. I recall a debate on Twitter back in the Gamergate days, where an SJW ranted on about blue-eyed privilege. Theoretically, sure, maybe having blue eyes statistically means a 1% more likely chance of some good thing happening. But my brown eyes have never bothered me. And it is difficult to see what my brother’s blue eyes really bought him in life.
These privileges are specks of dirt on the carpet. And in some cases, a good pass with the vacuum will eliminate the worst and most visible effects – especially when those privileges are mandated by a hostile government.
But the SJWs do not know when to stop, crack open a beer, and just live with it. They keep scrubbing until the paint is gone. They keep vacuuming until the carpet is torn up. Knuckles bloody, beer expired, and angry, they just keep going.
A white woman in a kimono must be cancelled.
The Golden Girls with that mud mask stuff on is blackface, get rid of it.
To hell with Aunt Jemima syrup.
Tear down the emancipation monument.
All because there’s a speck somewhere.
When called out on this behavior, they point to the speck of dirt and say “see! Look! Racism still exists!”
Yes, it does. You’re never going to get rid of it all. Start from the assumption that humanity is a flawed creature, that individuals are full of biases you will never rid them of entirely, and that some in-group preference is unavoidable. Start from the assumption that every human has advantages and disadvantages in life, and you will not be able to level them all. There will always be a smudge or a speck.
At a certain point, crack open your beer and chill, damnit.
A different way of looking at it is defining what clean means to you. Does a clean country mean that no incidents of racism will occur? No. Does it mean there will be no monuments that offend anyone? No. Does a clean country mean every demographic permutation or ‘group privilege’ situation will be equally represented in everything? No.
Also, given that there are nearly an infinite number of potential overlapping privileges, what makes this particular speck you’re focusing on so much more important than the others?
Feminists gloss over atrociously bad male suicide rates and workplace deaths. Why is #metoo so much more important than men killing themselves, or dying in workplace accidents? It’s not so much that I want to obsess over the “men kill themselves” speck of dirt on the carpet. Rather, why is THIS speck so much more worthy of obsession than THAT speck. It’s subjective and emotionally driven. White privilege is a problem when it confers advantages over some other demographic group. But when the white kid is picked last for the basketball team, or Adam Carolla can’t even get an interview for the firefighter job he wanted, nobody cares about Non-white privilege.
Even if we conceded that, net-net, White privilege outweighed Non-white privilege (and I’m not so sure it does – SJWs tend to focus on the advantages of one and the disadvantages of the other with little balancing in the reverse direction), is the return on investment really worth it?
How much is complete fairness worth?
In Harrison Bergeron, it was worth bringing all of society down to the lowest common denominator. Is that what we want?
And let’s assume we finally figure out this one privilege in the infinite Social Justice Pantheon of privileges. Great! Only a near-infinite number more to go. What’s next? Height privilege? Blue-eye privilege?
Or maybe it’s male privilege, which is one I really find laughable. Progressives often focus on higher overall pay for men. Or the fact that women are often valued for their looks. The second one his kind of hilarious, because in many ways being valued for appearance is an advantage if you’re an even modestly attractive woman. This is a card most men can never play. It’s not in their privilege deck at all.
I ran a poll on Twitter – and let’s be clear, Twitter polls are for fun only, don’t take this as serious business – and 91.5% of folks rated “hot girl privilege” as higher than male, white, and straight privileges. Again, very biased sample set.
But if we ran that same poll out in the world and got real statistical data out of it, can anyone imagine hot girl privilege losing? I can’t. Can you?
Of course, like the others, there are disadvantages too, even there. A hot girl probably has to deal with a lot more creepers and internet stalkers than some random dude-bro.
The main point I’m trying to make here, is that SJWs and Progressives tend to be very arbitrary when it comes to selecting which privileges to be worried about, and furthermore, they tend to be very arbitrary when describing them, selecting only the disadvantages of one and the advantages of the other with little thought to a balanced comparison.
And they can never stop cleaning. There is never a point where something is good enough. The house is never clean. Nobody can ever relax, crack open a beer, and chill. Social anxiety must continue forever. Never stop cleaning. No peace.
But also, that privileges, microaggressions, and other Social Justice talking points do exist in some fashion. Saying they do not gives SJWs leverage in the argument. The speck of dirt on the carpet is real. It’s there.
It’s just that I’m not getting up from the couch second time over one speck of dirt. Oftentimes, it is not anywhere near as important or dramatic as they claim. I’m not going scrub the baseboards until the paint peels off for a tiny smudge. The ROI isn’t there.
I’ll keep a clean house, mind you. But we’re never going to have perfection. And eventually, people just need to stop, live with it, and get on with their lives.
Dear readers, is it just me or does 2016 already feel like a long time ago? I don’t know about you, but I miss the days when Woke Democrat mobs only came after people who posted nationalist memes and ethnic humor on Twitter. Today, you can be cancelled for almost anything – or at least the attempt can be made by nominal Republicans angry that a pizza chain dared to thank a random person on Twitter in 2012. As long as, that is, said random person became an official in the Trump administration 8 years later.
Domino’s Pizza probably should employ more clairvoyant Woke employees.
The Great Awokening means you should be able to accurately predict mob opinion. Failure means Cancellation.
As statues come down across the country – to include Thomas Jefferson – well, it seems like we’ve entered an orgy of monumental destruction. Strippers start twerking and masturbating in public as some kind of protest. And we continue to watch rioters burn down fast food restaurants because, naturally, it is important to target Wendy’s and McDonald’s when discussing police brutality. And while race may be at the center of this issue, it is by no means black and white. Watch as a black man waving an American flag is attacked and his flag destroyed by Antifas chanting that America is a colonialist, fascist state. Said antifas – a good many white – chant that he’s a race traitor, of course.
Cancel culture now includes those who do not directly support #BlackLivesMatter, even if they agree that George Floyd’s death was wrong and police reform is urgently needed. If you don’t believe in the core principles of Social Justice – the current central premise of its most prominent faction being, of course, that if you are white you are guilty – then it is time for you to be cancelled.
The Great Awokening doesn’t care about the cause, only your virtue-signaled submission.
There are so many more incidents I’ve seen lately – and I’m sure my readers have seen still more. This includes people in my personal life, many of which have stated that if you are not protesting with BlackLivesMatter, then you’re a Fascist, and you need to be cancelled. Or, perhaps, you should be reeducated in camps, as Bill Palmer explains:
If you’re right-of-center, well, you should clean toilets or something, or be sent to reeducation camp for ‘rehabilitation’. These views are mainstream on the political Left. Or at least they are among mainstream Leftists I know in my personal life, and see on social media. Leftists who still want to have a peaceful dialogue with Rightists appear to be an endangered species.
The other day, I saw a tweet from a group of armed Texans ensuring the Alamo was protected. A great many Rightists praised them, and while I agree that it was a good thing, I disagree that this means anything in the long run. Eventually Texas will go Leftist. In a decade. Two, maybe. I don’t have a good handle on any kind of timeline, but it will. And then the Antifas will burn it down. Do you think activists have forgotten that Texas was a slave-owning society that took land from Mexico? That’s how they’re going to see it.
You might save the Alamo today. You won’t tomorrow. They will come, one day.
The Great Awokening holds nothing off limits.
Some folks agreed with Confederate statues coming down because some were erected by legitimate segregationists for political purposes. That, and the Civil War meant that Southern leaders and military men were, in effect, traitors. That second one is a position I generally disagree with – I think that, despite the bad motivations behind Southern secession, there’s a lot more nuance to men like Lee, who were in a position to either betray their home state, or the Federal government. But whatever. I get the arguments.
I also told everyone that the mob would not stop with the Confederates. Columbus statues are coming down. Thomas Jefferson too. You may say “well, Columbus did a lot of terrible things.” Sure. You may say “Thomas Jefferson carried on illicit relationships with his slaves.” Also true! Welcome to the wide world of humans are imperfect jerks. Are we honoring them for the bad things they did, or the good things?
Even if you agree with those… what about George Washington, who slowly came to despise slavery, and provided for the freedom of his slaves? What about the statues of prominent abolitionists that have been vandalized because they were white? What about Winston Churchill’s statue in Britain, that was covered with graffiti? Did they deserve it? Well, I’m sure they’ve all done something bad. And in Churchill’s case, fighting actual, real-life Nazis is not worth setting aside his mistakes. You cannot be honored unless you are perfect, it seems.
Are we making the argument that we should have no monuments of people, because the woke crowd will find something wrong or unwoke with every one of them?
The Great Awokening tolerates no monuments to the past.
Watching media talking heads and prominent Democrats (and Quisling-like Republicans like Rick Wilson) celebrating the protests and excusing its spread of COVID-19 while simultaneously condemning Trump rallies for spreading COVID-19 is a hilarious exercise in doublethink. It reminds me of the constant back-and-forth reporting about the utility of wearing a mask. If you wore a mask, you were depriving doctors of them, who of course needed them – even though they didn’t work – and, of course, it wouldn’t work for you. Then all of a sudden if you went anywhere without wearing a mask, you clearly wanted old people to die.
As Zero HP Lovecraft said on Twitter: “The irony of millions of people chanting ‘I can’t breathe’ as they huddle together and expectorate a respiratory virus at each other is a gift from Gnon.”
The Great Awokening has no central truths. Everything is fluid.
If someone with a cell phone captures you on video during a heated political argument, prepare to lose your business… then watch as your spouse is also fired from his job. Say nothing and submit, and hope the Wokists pass over your home on their way to more prominent targets. Woke Capitalism means that almost every major company (except, paradoxically, Domino’s Pizza?) will fire you if the mob asks them to. And you cannot predict with decent accuracy what might trigger that mob, or cause them to notice you. Even the insufficiently-Leftist J.K. Rowling stands at the edge of the Woke precipice. If you’re black, your skin color does not protect you from the mob. If you’re a Leftist, your previous utility to the cause does not protect you. The mob has no rules, except that it demands submission to its tribe.
The Great Awokening might as well call itself Submission. Wait… isn’t there already a religion that calls itself that?
My friends, we are witnessing in real-time the birth of a new religion, and I feel rather like the Symmachi, or Julian the Apostate as Christianity spread like a great wave across the Mediterranean Sea, at last conquering the Roman Empire that, once upon a time, tried so hard to suppress it. Only where Christianity offered forgiveness and eternal life, Wokism brings only eternal guilt and damnation. Only temporary respite may ever be gained from it. Today’s loyal Antifa soldier will be tomorrow’s mob target.
Am I overstating my position? No, I don’t think so. Watch as the Woke participate in the washing of the feet. Watch as they chain themselves together to apologize for things they have never done. And notice, still, that their position at the bottom of the progressive stack – as the eternally damned – is never changed. You may submit, and gain temporary respite from the mob. But sooner or later, racist, you will be judged guilty again. You are privileged. All white people are racist. All men are sexist. All cisgenders are transphobes, and so on. The SocJus claim is that systemic and unconscious bias can never be fully eradicated. By being Woke, you become aware of your sin, but you are never forgiven for it, nor is there any redemption from it.
This unique twist on Original Sin – without the possibility of salvation – marks this belief system as something new, a sort of Post-Christian heresy, shorn of God, torn from the divine – a not-religion that somehow fulfills the same emotional purpose of a religion. A faith that requires no faith, only constant self-loathing. This not-faith gains new adherents by twisting out-of-context Bible quotes and spouting them at people who can summon no moral defense that does not awaken the wrath of the mob. “God is love!” Yeah, God is also the guy who thought the Canaanites sacrificing children to Moloch made them worthy of destruction at the hands of the Israelites.
Again, Zero HP Lovecraft captures it succinctly: “As with any religion, the faith with no name has its different theological schools, which even fight with each other. The major schools are queerism, feminism, and blackism, the latter of which is an ecumenism in which white people worship black people.”
In the current political climate, blackism is the leading denomination of Wokism.
In the Great Awokening, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism has finally found a new god to replace the one they hate so much: a Lovecraftian horror created from the collective virtue signalling of the mob.
In the Great Awokening, Trump is the equivalent of Lucifer. Because, as Satanists heading to the Antifa rallies have explained: Lucifer was the good guy of that particular story. Clearly. He was fighting against the oppressive colonialism of God. But in any case, the Orange Man is now the stand-in, the eternal enemy. Orwell’s Emmanuel Goldstein given real flesh. Someday, they shall distribute the crimethink, the golden book of Trump, containing within it every heresy, every blasphemy uttered by the ancient politician. Itself the only monument to the old world permitted by the Woke.
The ghost of Rick Wilson will smile with pride.
Unless you’ve been living under a very impressive rock – like a bad Brendan Fraser movie about people stuck in a bunker for decades – you know about this George Lloyd business. I’ve seen the video. If you haven’t, you should do so. It is pretty incriminating for the officers involved. I’ve never been much of a thin blue line kind of guy, but I definitely check out here. I know two very good friends who have been screwed over by exceptionally bad police overreach. Francis, over at Bastion of Liberty, surely knows one of them – he is a friend we have in common.
Police petty tyranny has been growing worse in recent years, and we add to that a certain tendency of some urban police departments to engage in soldier-LARPing behavior, well the problem only gets worse. Add to that the condition of various inner-city black communities, the current political climate of race-baiting social justice activism, and the fact that COVID-19 lockdowns have surely driven people mad with boredom and lack of social contact, and you have a perfect storm for this rioting behavior.
It’s hard to blame it on any one thing, save that the poor behavior of the officers in question surely struck a match and stuck it firmly in a powder keg of epic proportions. Personally, I am exhausted of this repeating cycle, which has been a thing since at least the early 90s and the Rodney King riots. Questionable police behavior (sometimes not really so bad, and other times absolutely inexcusably idiotic) leads to racial animus, which results in barbaric looting behavior. We’re all spiraling toward a singularity of stupid, the gravity pulling us deep into a descending orbit, too strong for any of us to escape.
Political rhetoric has become absolutely poisonous. Sure, it was bad in 2016, but this year it grows worse, and I grow weary of it. Every discussion even coming anywhere near a political point is liable to turn into a land mine. Friendships are breaking. Families are cracking. America is burning and creaking at the seams. I don’t know how much longer this dysfunctional system is going to continue to limp along. We may be witnessing its slow death. Or maybe we’ll bounce back again, and our country will be undone at some unspecified point in the future. It’s hard to say.
With the election approaching, I think it’s only going to get worse.
Sadly, I think underneath all the nuclear-level rhetoric, the unleashed ids, the emotional appeals and post-hoc rationalization, both sides of the American political spectrum are clutching a piece of the truth. I’m not sure how many people want to hear that, but I’ve become convinced that it is true. I posted the following summary on Twitter earlier:
- In general, policing has gone very bad in many ways.
- Black communities in most major cities suck.
- At least some of the suck is self-inflicted.
- I despair of any of that changing in the near future.
- We’ll be here again. And again
- Racial profiling is almost certainly a thing.
- It is not without some rational basis.
- Both facts poison interactions between cops and blacks.
- White liberal race-baiting doesn’t help.
- Neither does ‘thin blue line’ garbage.
- No political faction wants to tell the whole truth because it will piss off constituents who don’t want to hear it.
- Both major factions possess at least some components of the truth.
- I feel like some character in Battlestar Galactica. “All of this has happened before.”
The black communities in most major cities are littered with problems. Violence, crime rates, economic depression – you name it. Rightists are right about that. Leftists want to blame white racism, but that doesn’t hold up to investigation. Surely, even if Leftists believe racism to still be bad even they must acknowledge that it is far less bad than, say, the Jim Crow era. Why do these problems continue? Why do we see so little progress? I was rereading Larry Elder’s Ten Things You Can’t Say in America today after a debate with a Leftist on this subject, and it struck me how little had changed since then on matters of race, saving that acrimony continues to worsen. The same issues from 20 years ago are little changed today. What gives?
Police officers know this as well as anyone. Let’s be real, they certainly do racially profile (the Left is right about this); stereotypes about violent crime have a basis in fact, and cops know it. And, from the other direction, blacks certainly are inclined to see cops as the enemy, the attitude leaks into police interactions all the time. Combine those two factors, and the chances of an interaction going bad increase dramatically. And when that happens, prepare for protests that, likewise escalate in severity. Riots, looting, mob interactions – all intermingling with the still-peaceful (but emotional and crazy) main element – while the cops either stay on the sidelines as Rome burns, or escalate the situation even more themselves.
In some ways, it almost doesn’t matter that this particular policing incident really was bad. If it had been a legitimate death, it still had the potential to flare up into what we have today. We are at the point that any police interaction with the black community has the potential of blowing up into a national orgy of combined protest-riots. This one is the worst I’ve seen in my lifetime. There is a protest scheduled down the street from where I live tomorrow – it is likely they won’t bother my neighborhood (it is known that a lot of military folks live around here), but even the potential is strange to me. There were burnings and lootings all over Tampa Bay, especially in the University Mall/Temple Terrace area.
Tampa is not exactly a city known for rioting behavior. I cannot imagine how bad it must be in other major cities.
And we’re not even halfway through 2020 yet. The election looms over us, while the COVID-19 pandemic continues (and may be exacerbated by the riots – we don’t know yet), and political rhetoric has reached levels that make 2016 look like a picnic in the park. We may solve the police overreach issue – though I really doubt it, now – but the broader issue about any police interaction with the black community potentially triggering national riots remains no matter what might be done about that. I think we’re well beyond the ability to solve this in any constructive manner.
I’d like to be wrong. I’d like for someone to pour some water on this fire, to rein in police overreach, to deal with qualified immunity, poor recruiting, travesties like civil asset forfeiture, etc… I’d also like to take us back from 5 minutes until midnight on the racial rioting clock. But I doubt either will happen anytime soon.
Like I said, I feel like it’s an episode of Battlestar Galactica, and I’m reciting the catchphrase. All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again. Again. Again. Again…
Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum.
Saint Augustine tells us (along with Gandhi, many years later) to love the sinner, and hate the sin. Conceptually, it’s easy enough to grasp. Practically, it’s not always an easy task. Drive down the freeway during peak traffic hours and tell me how many folks drive you crazy with poor driving antics. Certainly road rage wouldn’t be so prevalent if most folks managed to live by this rule. However, making the attempt to live this way is worthy even if we cannot always live up to it.
Social Justice orthodoxy demands that we hate the sinner for the sin. Paula Deen famously used the word “nigger” after being held up at gun point, and admitted that she may have said it in other contexts at some point or another in her life. This stain is considered permanent in some sense. Once you use the word, you are forever guilty, as if the offense were like committing a felony. Your record cannot ever be expunged. Forgiveness is impossible. You will be hated forever. You are an unperson, erased like a man in a Stalin-era photograph.
A good friend of mine some folks may know as ClarkHat sent me this link: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2019/08/my-joe-rogan-experience/594802/
Fascinatingly, the author of the piece does not appear to have a problem with Joe Rogan himself, per se. Indeed, his opinion of Joe is high enough that most of the piece is about the author’s attempt to live likewise, and Joe’s ability to relate to the common American man. Rather, he takes issue with the fact that Joe Rogan would dare to talk with sinners, with the unpersoned. The money quote:
Joe likes Jack. He likes Milo Yiannopoulos. He likes Alex Jones. He wants you to know that he doesn’t agree with much of what they say, but he also wants you to know that off camera they’re the nicest guys. If we all have fatal flaws, this is Joe’s: his insistence on seeing value in people even when he shouldn’t, even when they’ve forfeited any right to it, even when the harm outweighs the good. It comes from a generous place, but it amounts to careless cruelty. He just won’t write people off, and then he compounds the sin by throwing them a lifeline at the moment when they least deserve it.
Once a man is unpersoned, the shunning is supposed to continue forever. You must hate the sinner, and if you do not, this itself is a form of sin. It is, in the author’s own words, Joe’s fatal flaw. Talking to the sinner is forbidden. Forgiveness of the sinner is forbidden. It does not matter if the sin was three years ago, or thirty years ago. It does not matter if the sin was a casually insensitive joke, or a Virginia governor donning blackface in a yearbook. Although we might suspect that Governor Northam may have been given some level of a temporary pass for his Democratic party allegiance. Political expediency may delay your final unpersoning, for a time. Then again, it may not. Courts of public opinion are fickle, prone to whimsy, and as cruel as any schoolyard bully. There is a reason the justice system is not put to popular vote, after all.
His invitation to Jones was indefensible, and his defense was even worse. I had assumed going in that Rogan would explain himself at the top, similar to what he’d done after booting the Jack Dorsey interview. But he didn’t. He went the other way. He promised a “fun” interview with Jones, as if it was a joyful, long-awaited reunion rather than offensive for even existing, and he assured his listeners that “you’re gonna love it.”
Even before Jones sat down, Rogan seemed unpierced by the genuine anguish that Jones had caused the parents of murdered first graders. I won’t quote anything Alex Jones said on the podcast, so just picture a walrus with a persecution complex, or a talking pile of gravel. They got the Sandy Hook stuff out of the way first—Jones evaded responsibility, Joe grumbled about the media—and then they got into what Jones was really there to talk about: aliens, suicidal grasshoppers, Chinese robot workers, that kind of thing. My breaking point was at the 21-minute mark, when Jones apologized for “ranting” and Rogan replied, “It’s okay—I want you to rant.”
Alex Jones is presumed by the author to have caused genuine anguish to the parents of Sandy Hook shooting victims. First, it bears mentioning that this claim is extremely dubious. If somebody doesn’t wish to listen to Alex Jones, he doesn’t have to. I’m not exactly in the Alex Jones fan club, and I generally avoid listening to him. Similarly, if Joe’s interview of Alex Jones starts to cause somebody distress for whatever reason, well, you can watch something else.
Similarly, the author notes that “Jones evaded responsibility.” What does this even mean? Alex Jones was not responsible for the shooting. There are many things one might conceivably pin on Alex Jones, to include those scam supplements sold under the InfoWars brand. But Sandy Hook – and the feelings of the victims and their families – isn’t one of them. To the author, however, it does not matter. Alex Jones is a sinner. He should therefore be unpersoned, and anyone who even talks to the unperson is himself guilty of a sin.
Perhaps a sin worthy of unpersoning as well.
I’m glad, though, that the men of America have Joe Rogan to motivate and inspire and educate them in limitless ways, including how to recognize a moron. Whatever gets the job done. It might unsettle some of us that we must rely on his fans to separate the good stuff from the bad, but that’s the hard work of being a responsible adult in the modern era—knowing what you should consume and what you shouldn’t. We all need to decide for ourselves, but trust me on this one: You can skip the mushroom coffee.
In the end, the author comes around – perhaps reluctantly – to the view I took above. For this I give him some credit, for I get the general impression from his writing that this view was difficult for him. He likes Joe at some level, but he is conflicted about his status as a sinner. But he does explain that you are responsible for the content you choose to consume. Joe Rogan’s time to be unpersoned has not yet come, at least in the author’s view. For now, perhaps, the court of public opinion has not ruled against him.
But once the you are deemed have offended the sensibilities of popular culture sufficiently, well, your time will come. There is no appeal, no forgiveness, no coming back from your unpersoning. Once a sinner, always a sinner. Once a sinner, never a real person again. You just become another caricature, a guy in a Hitler mustache, a cartoon villain, upon whom anything may be blamed, up to and including school shootings you had nothing to do with.
Hate the sinner, regardless of the sin: the new mantra of mob justice.
So I’m mostly back from my self-imposed ascetic period. I needed some time to clear my head, and politics certainly has a way of muddying the religious waters. But I feel that I can safely return to my long-winded screeds and overly-involved fisks. And my friends, we have a whopper today. In fact, this is not just a fisk, it is a comparison of two viewpoints, one interesting and one a well-spun lie. Before we get into it, I have this observation for you:
One of the more penetrating questions to a liberal is “when is my duty satisfied?” It lacks the grounding necessary to recognize a success condition. It embraces its own form of original sin, but lacks the redemption method.
Think carefully on this. Leftists generally like to, for example, push taxes higher. What rate of taxation is enough, after which they must better allocate the funds instead of asking for more? With respect to racial grievances, how many affirmative action programs, how much money, how much tireless media spin is necessary before we can say that we have satisfied the duty they ask of us? What level of involvement in Social Justice programs is enough that, when satisfied, the person can proudly state that he is not racist/sexist/whatever?
If you cheat and look in the back of the book, so to speak, you will find that the answer is nothing. Nothing will satisfy them. Nothing is ever enough. Unlike Christianity, the original sin of Liberalism can never be expunged. There is no redemption, racist.
Don’t believe me? Let’s fisk some of this.
The New York Times bestselling author of White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism sat down with Teaching Tolerance to discuss why working against one’s own fragility is a necessary part of white anti-racist work—and why good intentions don’t matter.
And later in the article she expands on this:
I think intentions are irrelevant. It’s nice to know you had good intentions, but the impact of what you did was harmful. And we need to let go of our intentions and attend to the impact, to focus on that.
Intentions don’t matter. That’s a good place to start, and by itself explains a great deal about Progressive political thought. In a criminal case, intentions do matter. If you intend to kill someone, that is murder, and it is worse than killing someone by accident, which may be manslaughter or negligent homicide, or some other thing. Or, if the other person intended to harm you, your killing him in turn may be justified. Intentions surely do matter. What happens in the physical world also matters, of course, but to say good intentions don’t matter is already a lie.
Well, when I coined [white fragility], the fragility part was meant to capture how little it takes to upset white people racially. For a lot of white people, the mere suggestion that being white has meaning will cause great umbrage. Certainly generalizing about white people will. Right now, me saying “white people,” as if our race had meaning, and as if I could know anything about somebody just because they’re white, will cause a lot of white people to erupt in defensiveness. And I think of it as a kind of weaponized defensiveness. Weaponized tears. Weaponized hurt feelings. And in that way, I think white fragility actually functions as a kind of white racial bullying.
Fascinatingly enough, the author tells us that white fragility is actually a form of Weaponized Empathy, in so many words. It’s interesting to note this because this is a very clear form of projection. I’ve delved a lot into Weaponized Empathy as a concept here at The Declination. I am certainly one of the originators of the term. And so it is quite fascinating to see the author of this book, and the responses in this article, using a very similar phrasing. If a white person is defensive he is, by her own words, a kind of racial bully. The tears are offensive weapons. The hurt feelings are offensive weapons. But let’s explore a little more here.
We white people make it so difficult for people of color to talk to us about our inevitable—but often unaware—racist patterns and assumptions that, most of the time, they don’t. People of color working and living in primarily white environments take home way more daily indignities and slights and microaggressions than they bother talking to us about because their experience consistently is that it’s not going to go well. In fact, they’re going to risk more punishment, not less. They’re going to now have to take care of the white person’s upset feelings. They’re going to be seen as a troublemaker. The white person is going to withdraw, defend, explain, insist it had to have been a misunderstanding.
If you make an accusation, the accused gets to have his own say in the matter. Justice is not one person making an accusation, and everyone else immediately agreeing with him and not giving the accused an opportunity to defend himself. If I make an accusation, I expect the accused to defend himself. This applies even when I know he’s in the wrong! The author implies that a person defending himself, explaining his actions, and suggesting whatever happened was a misunderstanding is not engaging in acceptable behavior. Only admission of guilt is acceptable. But let’s continue.
There’s a question that’s never failed me in this work to uncover how racism keeps reproducing itself despite all of the evidence we like to give for why it couldn’t be us. And that question isn’t, “Is this true or is this false: Was the person’s intention good or not?” We’re never going to be able to come to an agreement on intentions. You cannot prove somebody’s intentions. They might not even know their intentions. And if they weren’t good, they’re probably not going to admit that. The question I ask is, “How does this function?” The impact of the action is what is relevant.
There is an interesting omission here. Do you see it? We don’t know a person’s intentions with certainty, that is true, though this has not stopped legal proceedings from finding evidence for a motive, and for ruling on such cases. However, note that the defender’s testimony is dismissed as irrelevant because intentions cannot be proven, but thus far in the article, we have not once made similar questions of the accuser’s motives! This is extremely important, because the demand for racist activity far outstrips the supply. This is why we have seen so many hate crime hoaxes of late, including the very public Jussie Smollett affair, but also lesser “crimes” like the Mizzou poop swastika, the receipt with vague racist crap scribbled on it, and others.
A person who claims to be a victim of such an affair is, like the receipt faker, often doing it for social media attention. Posts of sympathy are many. A person makes the evening news, and maybe boosts his failing career. The media eats these affairs up! It’s crack cocaine to a journalist, and people know this. But the author of this piece doesn’t even mention the possibility of a false accusation, and hammers homes a focus on the accused.
Foundationally [we] have to change our idea of what it means to be racist. As long as you define a racist as an individual who intentionally is mean, based on race, you’re going to feel defensive. When I say you’ve been shaped by a racist system—that it is inevitable that you have racist biases and patterns and investments—you’re going to feel offended by that. You will hear it as a comment on your moral character. You’re going to feel offended by that if you don’t change how you’re interpreting what I just said. And I would actually agree with anyone who felt offended when I say, “It is inevitable that you are racist,” if their definition of a racist is someone who means harm.
Note the first sentence. We need to change our idea (the definition) of what the word means. Here we see Progressive thought laid bare: we change the definition of a word or concept. The author is not just admitting that they do this, she is demanding that we be complicit in this change. Note the dictionary definition:
Racism: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.
Note the word “directed” used here. This implies intent, especially when combined with “based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.” So to be a racist, you must believe in the superiority of your own race, and direct some form of antagonism or discrimination intentionally toward a person of another race. The author is telling us to change this definition so that her entire book makes sense, because otherwise it’s a form of meaningless nonsense. For her position to be internally coherent we must change the meaning of our own language. She’s telling you this, straight up!
Change how you understand what it means to be racist, and then act on that understanding. Because if you change your understanding, but you don’t do anything different, then you’re colluding.
And now comes the threat. Change the definition, or you’re a traitor/colluder/heretic/whatever. Distilled to its most simplistic form, obey me, or I will call you a mean name. Now many Rightists will scoff and laugh at this. Don’t. Leftists use this tactic because it works on at least some people. Here’s the real weaponization. Obey, or I will apply social peer pressure to you, racist.
In fact, white people measure the value of our schools and neighborhoods by the absence of people of color.
I know exactly what a “good” school is, and I know what we’re talking about. We all know what we’re talking about when we say “good school” versus “bad school.” We use race to measure those things. And now, you take the product of that conditioning, that segregation, that narrow story, and you put that teacher in a position to socialize everyone’s children—and that is a critical piece of [the] school-to-prison pipeline.
The first portion of this bit is actually correct, to at least some degree. Let’s be more specific, however. She uses the term “people of color”, but this doesn’t really work. There are few people bothered by the presence of, say, some Japanese kids or something. Is anybody really worrying about Chinese kids, or Cuban kids? It’s not “people of color” folks worry about (and note that said Japanese, Cuban, and Chinese kids are just as worried as the white kids, if not much more so). It’s much more specific than that. It’s mostly blacks that people worry about. That is the elephant in the room here, that has both Conservatives and Liberals tied up in politically-correct tongue twisters like “people of color” and such, because they can obfuscate the truth behind the idea that people are running in fear from Chinatown or something.
Why is that? Racism? Jim Crow? Or is it rational behavior?
The statistics on black crime are staggeringly bad. And here I am using a source, The Prison Policy Initiative, that is not friendly to my political views (intentionally). People of all races – blacks included – know this. They see first-hand, in many cases, how bad majority-black schools really are. Has the author ever been to Detroit? Washington DC (outside the nice parts)? There is a wealthy black family in my neighborhood. I was told, in polite language, that they left the ghetto they grew up in for good reason. Deep down, blacks know this is true. This is after spending in Detroit schools was elevated to near the highest spending per student in the country. The supposed-racists threw a lot of money at this problem. I suppose they are still guilty, though, right?
Either the statistics are true, and blacks commit crimes at a much higher per-capita rate than any other ethnicity in America, or a lot of people are being falsely convicted. As in most of them. The latter is not very likely. Now, argue all you want on why these things are true. But do not spin this as a “people of color” thing when it clearly isn’t. It is much more specific than that. Tell me, how many of you – even Liberals who found their way here to drop me some hate mail – want to live in a majority-black neighborhood in Detroit?
I don’t call myself a white ally. I’m involved in anti-racist work, but I don’t call myself an anti-racist white. And that’s because that is for people of color to decide, whether in any given moment I’m behaving in anti-racist ways. And notice that that keeps me accountable. It’s for them to determine if in any given moment—it’s not a fixed location—I haven’t made it or arrived. …
Again she tells us that only the accuser’s perspective matters. This is a recipe for complete submission.
Read the rest if you like. But now let’s compare to another piece, this one recommended by Fr. Brendon Laroche. The title is instructive: Liberalism Is Failing Because It Rejected Orthodox Christianity. This piece is a reflection on a book The Lost History of Liberalism. Full disclosure, I have not read this book, I have only read the rebuttal. But that in itself is interesting enough. Let’s begin.
A similar sense of gloom hovers over Helena Rosenblatt’s recent book, The Lost History of Liberalism. Rosenblatt presents her work as a history of those who have called themselves liberal through the centuries. More accurately described, however, it is her attempt to redefine liberalism’s founding in order to rescue it from the worrisome future toward which it seems to be headed. Liberalism was founded on commitments to duty, patriotism, self-sacrifice, and the other virtues that guide humanity’s use of freedom, she notes. But contemporary liberals are trading their birthright for an untenable pottage of rights talk and anarchic freedom that lacks solid grounding.
Rosenblatt foresees disaster at the end of that path, and her book is a call from within the liberal tradition to turn back. That alone is worth a cheer.
Indeed, I do welcome liberals who are willing to point out the flaws in liberalism to talk. There are flaws in conservatism, Libertarianism, and other Right-ish beliefs. I will readily admit them. Indeed, a friend of mine who is more Rightist than I am (he absolutely knows who he is) has frequently pointed out where I and others become too tribal in Rightist thinking. Certainly, it has irritated me on occasion, but he is correct to do this. That is Proverbs 27:17 at work. Also, Tom Kratman has frequently challenged my foundations as well, something I do appreciate quite sincerely. And so I do understand that it takes a certain measure to critique your own belief systems at this level. Let’s continue.
Rosenblatt’s central claim, however, is that the word “liberalism” has a strong historical connection to moral virtue. Although virtue has fallen into obscurity in contemporary liberalism, Rosenblatt argues that it needs to be recovered because it is essential to the liberal project.
I am not so certain of this. The idea of the Classical Liberal is a more Rightish thing. But again, I haven’t read her book, so I would need to see the claim in more specificity, and certainly the terms have been muddied and poorly-defined for some time, now. Nonetheless there is some kind of truth to this in the more modern sense. Liberals today are quite obsessed with signalling moral virtue. So it is possible their thought-lineage originates from a place where the moral virtue was more than just a mere signalling of tribal membership and a sort of assumed humility contest. Perhaps over time, the real moral virtue was replaced with the false one. It’s plausible, at least.
There follows a lot of exposition and rebuttals of Rosenblatt’s claim, which I will skip over for purposes of this post, but do give it a read. It is important.
Continental liberals believed that republican self-rule required the people to be educated in moral and civic virtue. In fact, at least in the early years, they seem to have agreed on little else. For many years, liberalism in France and Germany was a grab bag of political projects and policies. Still, these liberals always shared a commitment to republican forms of government founded on a civic virtue inculcated in the populace. They distrusted or even opposed pure democracy as little more than mob rule (although they recognized, especially thanks to Tocqueville, the inevitability of democracy’s rise). Only virtuous citizens, they reasoned, could navigate between the extremes of reactionary royalism and radical democratic revolution. A combination of democratic institutions with the more aristocratic emphasis on virtue would ennoble democracy and prevent the return of the exhausted ancien régime.
But how are citizens to be fitted with the virtue that republican government requires? This question brings us to the second important contribution of this book, and its most curious feature. Liberals concluded that the answer to this question was religion—Christianity, to be specific. Not the Christianity of the Catholic Church, which liberals regarded as the problem; and not the Christianity of orthodox Protestants, either: they, too, had often sided against democratic forces during the French Revolution. Early liberals needed a new theology for the new man at the dawn of a new age.
Here it is worth pausing to note what happened. Titanic figures in liberalism’s history, such as Benjamin Constant, explicitly asserted that liberal forms of government would stand or fall on the success of religion’s moralizing force. For liberalism, religion became good because of its usefulness for politics and not because of its truth. Liberalism instrumentalized religion, subverting it to “higher” political purposes.
Here is where things get interesting. Note that at the end we are given the idea, by the author of the article, that Liberalism used religion in a cynical manner. Voltaire famously encapsulated this with his quotation: “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.” The full text of the verse it appears in is below:
If the heavens, stripped of his noble imprint,
Could ever cease to attest to his being,
If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.
Let the wise man announce him and kings fear him.
Kings, if you oppress me, if your eminencies disdain
The tears of the innocent that you cause to flow,
My avenger is in the heavens: learn to tremble.
Such, at least, is the fruit of a useful creed.
Such, at least, is the fruit of a useful creed. If we account him a Liberal – and I’m not sure that makes sense in a modern context, but let’s provisionally entertain the idea that Liberal thought-lineage descended from something like this for a moment – this would mean that Liberalism found Christianity useful, possibly irrespective of whether or not it was true. Why is that? And, more interestingly, why would modern Liberals abandon this notion and, quite frequently, scoff at the “stupid Sky Wizard believers” and their antiquated, and potentially racist notions?
I wonder – and this is personal speculation – if it isn’t because Christianity posits that God knows your heart. He knows if your charity is sincere, or if it is for personal status signalling. He knows your intentions. If the author of the White Fragility piece believed in a neutral arbiter who knew your heart, your true intentions, that would change things, wouldn’t it? If her intentions are bad, God knows! And if the accused racist had good intentions, He knows that too! The avenger in the heavens, as Voltaire phrased it, is ready to deliver his righteous fury.
Consider the possibility that belief in God restrained Liberals from doing too much “good” in the name of moral virtue, and shamed those who “sounded the trumpets before them” as in Matthew 6:2. A useful creed indeed!
Rosenblatt’s discernment of this remarkable turn may be the most valuable contribution of the book, yet she does not emphasize it. In fact, she discusses liberalism’s treatment of religion in bits and pieces, scattered throughout the text for the reader to assemble for herself. The upshot of these disconnected observations is that one of liberalism’s greatest successes was to domesticate Christianity, very cleverly, to make it safe for liberal politics. Instead of violently confronting Christian believers, or co-opting Christian figures (tactics that had been tried throughout history by Roman emperors, medieval kings, Enlightenment democrats, and countless others), liberalism colonized Christianity itself.
Bingo! I don’t know that modern Christianity’s essence would be all that recognizable to Christians a thousand years ago because of this colonization. Certainly many of the rituals and catechisms would be recognizable. In fact, as I study Catholicism I am surprised by how little has changed, in that respect. But step outside the trappings of the faith for a moment and look at it from a cultural perspective.
I read a piece many years ago which I tried very hard to find today, but failed. Nonetheless, perhaps a reader of mine may have more success. It was about a historian studying the Black Madonna in France. He discussed the Christianity that created it. How Christ as a baby was wise, but harsh. This wasn’t a happy child, this was the child with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Madonna was a hard woman, focused. Brave. The culture of the time was forged in dirt, grime, and war. Their Christianity was illiberal. The Madonna of later periods was soft, the baby Jesus more child-like (though never fully so). The resilience and hardness was lost. In the end, the historian, who had been contemplating conversion to Catholicism, decided he did not care much for the softer modern church, though he noted the older church might have won him over.
I don’t know how true it really is, as it was one man’s anecdote (though the style changes of the Madonna over time lends itself somewhat to his position) and in this portion I am rambling a bit. But again, it strikes me as plausible that the form of nascent Liberalism present during the Enlightenment did indeed colonize Christianity, and to some extent change its essence in some fashion.
But one group of liberals deliberately set out to remake Christianity from within by developing a radical, new theology, new interpretations of scripture, new publications, and new churches. They succeeded remarkably in gaining adherents. Instead of trying to convert people overnight from Catholicism or orthodox Protestantism to secular humanism and its “pure light of reason” (as French historian Edgar Quinet called it), political liberals used liberal Protestantism as a halfway point from which to pry Christians away from dogma.
Now I don’t know how much of this occurred in Voltaire’s time, but this is definitely true of modern Liberalism, which has overridden tradition and dogma in many churches, including some particularly noteworthy examples like openly gay bishops and pro-abortion views from some churches (here’s an example).
The novelty of the liberal approach was the way it changed the Church from within, via its theology. Today’s young Christians practice what sociologist Christian Smith has described as “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism,” a faith whose history stretches back to the French and German thinkers of the early liberal movement. They developed a new method to bring Christianity to heel and shore up liberal politics, simultaneously.
I’ve spoken on this matter before. Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is a very watered down descendant of Christianity, though not really a form of Christianity itself. Consider it as an intermediate stage between fedora-equipped “brights” and skin-suited churches like the mainline Episcopalians.
They retained the parts of Christianity that spurred people to improve themselves and inculcate civic virtues, but sheared off the strong doctrinal claims that divided society and relativized the state’s authority. They wanted a religion that fitted their practical, political aims. The German Johann Semler coined the term “liberal theology” in 1774 to describe a way of reading the Bible that persuaded him (and other scholars) that Christianity’s core was moral, not dogmatic.
Here is where this piece connects to the first fisk. You see, from dogma – and my instruction in Catholicism – I have clearly-outlined duties, and there are clearly-outlined consequences for failing in them. There is a success condition, and repentance, and forgiveness. Modern Liberalism lacks all of these mechanisms. The White Fragility author talks of microaggressions as if they were grave offenses. Why? Because she lacks a success condition. She must always find new and ever more granular expressions of racism, because she has no defined success condition, nor does she appear to desire one (consciously, anyway).
The accused are guilty, and they are always guilty, and they can never not be guilty. There is no forgiveness. Repentance doesn’t matter, because your intentions don’t matter. Her desired definition for racism is, in effect, Original Sin, except lacking all of the dogmatic success conditions upon which your sins can be forgiven, and you can be made whole. She wants to define the word racism this way. But you can find similar arguments on sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc…
There is no set of duties to absolve you of the guilt. The guilt is forever, and constant, and neither your intentions (which are dismissed as irrelevant) nor your actions (you’re still subconsciously racist) absolve you.
What was designed as a political-theological project to modernize religion and moderate democratic politics has proven to be exceedingly fragile. The liberal political settlement is rapidly fraying, and its theological component has collapsed.
One can easily sympathize with Rosenblatt’s anxiety over the future of the liberal project, which once seemed so promising. However, because she overlooks the most important implications of her work, she misdiagnoses the root cause of the failure of liberalism: its rejection of the kind of Christianity on which it depends. From its earliest days, some of its strongest proponents have recognized that liberalism on its own lacks the resources to form the kind of citizens it requires.
Voltaire was wise enough to understand that, whatever his belief system really was at its core, he still needed God at some level. Humanity still needed God. Nietzsche told us that God was dead, and by implication, that it was the Enlightenment that killed Him. For one, I believe God is still there, but even independent of that thought, the first wave of the Enlightenment did not try such a deed. That was for the successors in the Liberal tradition to attempt.
And where they have succeeded, where they have stripped away the divine, removed dogma, and destroyed the success conditions upon our moral duties, they have left us with only an invented moral preening, a virtue signalling so bereft of meaning and utility it must openly rewrite our very own language to disguise its nature as futile nonsense. It features no redemption, no hope of success. Ray Bradbury warned us of the Autumn People, that they would “frenzy forth”, and now I take his meaning. They have no purpose but to signal their status, but in this they whip themselves into a frenzy. Cut those racist dreadlocks, white boy. You are guilty. We need no trial, no defense. Only the accusation ever mattered, and even there, the intent is meaningless.
One SJW explained that Elon Musk was a racist because he launched his car into space and didn’t spend the money on Flint’s water supply, as if it was his duty to attend to such matters, and not that of another, like say the duly elected government charged with the job. Why could she make such an absurd claim, and why would it stick with many Lefties? Because they have no success condition, no list of moral duties, nothing to benchmark anything against. Only accusations, which are proof of guilt, matter at all.
You, dear reader, did you donate all of your wealth to some Liberal political cause? No? You are guilty! All it takes is one accusation!
Sound your moral trumpets before you, for surely you are holier than thou, yes?
Ask a modern Liberal: “what duties must I fulfill, upon which I may be judged as having satisfied my moral responsibility?” Most will respond with vague platitudes. Save the world from Climate Change (I can’t do this, supposing their notion of what this means is even true), end racism (they told me this can categorically never happen), etc, etc… Their lack of dogma leads them to wander a twisted moral landscape with no compass, no grounding, until they are spouting absurdities about tri-gender gay 3 year olds, because somebody, somewhere, accused someone who was against it of unforgivable sin. Remember, only the accusation matters.
Liberalism disconnected with Christianity over time. And the more it did so, the more it lost that grounding. Almost none of it remains today. As such, we are all sinners – that is the one point which survived the ideological culling – but there is no redemption to be had. The guilt is forever, racist.
The misery of such an existence is hard to fathom. For the first time in a long time, I almost pity them.
Francis posted a series of links yesterday (give it at least a quick glance – the titles alone will give you the gist) and suggested that they were thematically unified. This theme is apparent to anyone with eyes to see, yet when I’ve challenged Leftists on events like these in the past, they always have a rationale for why what we all see is not true.
When Donald Trump exclaimed that his choice of fast food for the Clemson team was good American food, Paul Krugman replied with a snarky tweet saying that Burger King was owned by a Brazilian company. This received thousands of likes and retweets from Leftists who, presumably, felt that Krugman had just demonstrated how stupid Trump was.
Yet, Burger King is American food. There is nothing more American than the hamburger, especially in fast food form. When you track the ownership, Burger King’s parent company RGI is 51% owned by 3G Capital, an international investment company with two headquarters, one in Brazil, and the other in New York. Krugman thinks this somehow alters the character of the food. So, since this investment company operates partly out of Brazil, does Paul Krugman think Burger King counts as Brazilian food, then? Clearly not. It’s a lie designed to score points.
The rationalization of Krugman’s statement is a way to deny the fundamental truth. Leftists are experts at this tactic. They deny the fundamental characteristics of a thing, and embrace the ephemeral in an effort to bend political realities their way.
Trump was right, Krugman was being a pathetic stooge. A 3 year old could detect the difference.
Getting back to the list Francis provided for us, each is part of a greater whole: a sort of declaration “actually, what you see and hear isn’t true, you should believe what we say instead” espoused by the Left.
The home invader is an “unwanted house visitor.” Give me a break. This redefinition has to stop. It continues because we permit it to continue. “We” being people on the Right, often enough. We assume good motives, because we ourselves possess them, often enough. This is a mistake. The other day, I spoke of an example wherein a Leftist tried to equate the probability of political violence to that of a meteor that causes a mass extinction event.
This isn’t just being slippery with your definitions, it is being brazenly dishonest, or more charitably, incredibly idiotic.
Burger King Hamburgers aren’t American, Krugman claims, because Burger King is, through a couple levels of corporate layering, partly owned by a company that’s half-based out of another country? Lolwut?
You can’t make this stuff up.
Francis’s list encompasses some of the more ridiculous examples of this behavior, but understand this: Leftists are constantly doing this. Many times they are being more obtuse and less obvious about it. Still, it’s going on.
Michael Crichton’s Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect operates similarly. Pick a subject you are expert in (it could be anything), that you know from head-to-toe. Read news articles and watch television broadcasts about this subject. Note how utterly wrong and off-base the media is. Yet, knowing this, many still believe the media when they bloviate about something else.
A similar effect exists for this Leftist propensity of redefining things to suit their argument. And yet, the next time you encounter one, you treat him as if he’s sincere? Bad idea, folks.
I’m thinking maybe we could name this the Ocasio-Cortez Amnesia Effect. Same concept. Different group of dishonest Leftists.
If you debate Leftists, carefully examine their premises. Look at their definitions, what they consider to be the essence of a thing. Odds are, you’re going to find some redefinition going on. Once, a Leftist tried to tell me that the Confederacy was just as bad as the Third Reich, because both tried to genocide an entire race. This was news to me. Don’t sign me up for the Confederate race relations fan club, certainly. Yet they did not genocide blacks. Our intrepid Leftist began a long string of legal rambling, starting with some UN boilerplate, to suggest that genocide and slavery are really the same things.
Like Krugman, he was saying that Burger King is really a Brazilian restaurant.
This concept ties into Artificial Intelligence efforts, which have yet to deal with a very specific problem. Software may be written that is very dynamic, that can learn. You can show the software, for instance, 5,000 pictures of deciduous trees, and eventually it learns (to a reasonable level of accuracy) that which is probably a tree. But then you show it a coniferous tree, and it will not recognize it as also being a tree. Now you must show thousands of additional pictures, and tell it these are all trees. Yet, show a toddler who can barely talk a picture of one tree, and he can usually make the intellectual leap. He grasps quickly the essence of what tree is.
The AI lacks the ability to extrapolate the essence of a thing. It’s a serious challenge in software development. Leftists pretend to lack this ability in order to score points. They want you to show them 5,000 Burger King hamburgers before admitting that this is fundamentally an American food. So I am withdrawing even the charity of suggesting they are stupid. They aren’t. Toddlers can do this, and they can’t? Give me a break. They know full well what they are doing. They are pretending to the stupidity if called out on their lies.
Remember the Ocasio-Cortez Amnesia Effect. Really, I should have called it the Paul Krugman Burger Effect, but it doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it? Anyway, she does it too. They all do it.