Search This Blog

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Meet The New McCarthyism, Same as the Old McCarthyism

Ace of Spades HQ tackles the confluence of Duck Dynasty, Justine Sacco, and Bob Newhart (here and here) far better than I ever could, but I can’t avoid the temptation to pile on, particularly since there is perhaps an otherwise unmentioned irony here.

Progressives are channeling Joe McCarthy. They are demanding the economic defenestration of anyone who dares commit the thoughtcrime of uttering anything, in any manner, that runs counter to Progressive orthodoxy.

Phil Robertson, of Duck Dynasty fame (full disclosure: I have never seen the show, and until the cries for his summary sacking spread across Progressives’ lips like wildfire in a gasoline soaked forest, I hadn’t even heard of it.) became a target for the New McCarthyism for explaining his religious beliefs about homosexuality, then compounded his thoughtcrime by making some “rascist” comments.

The scare quotes are there for a reason. Despite being a firm believer in free speech, if I was the Head Dude What’s in Charge, I’d be sorely tempted to ban passive voice, on pain of being banished from the intarwebz. Right behind that, I’d prohibit the use of terms like racist, sexist, homophobic, et al to anyone without a license to use them. Getting the license would be easy: simply demonstrate the ability to use the words correctly, with the understanding that the license will be revoked at the first offense.

Our own Harry Eagar demonstrates the point. In his Nutty rightwing remark of the year, he insists “Robertson is a flatout racist and a liar both.” based upon this this horrible, no good, very bad statement:

I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field.... They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.

(Note: Eagar saw fit only to quote the last sentence in his post. Dowd would be proud.)

He is on board with all right thinking Progressives. That means none of them understand the word “racist” well enough to get a license. There is not a syllable in that quote that remotely fits the definition, and there is no way to toss out the libelous “liar” accusation. But that is what progressives do when it comes to The Narrative, even though it requires epic point missing.

What point, you might ask? Although perhaps not, because it is so obvious that only a card carrying progressive could miss it: entitlements and welfare robbed blacks of their nobility.

Clearly that is a matter of opinion; who knows, it might be even be an opinion that doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny. But it is a point that’s been made before, and was also subject to charges of racism from a long list of people who should have had their licenses revoked.

Justine Sacco got sacked for this tweet: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” (Full disclosure: not only have I never tweeted, I don’t even have a twitter account. Even fuller disclosure: I can’t see any way in which the world would be worse off if Twitter found itself in an alternate universe tomorrow.)

The New McCarthyists demanded her W-2 head for, well, what exactly? A joke in bad taste, perhaps. Seems a bit extreme, though, and if equitably applies would put Bill Maher in fear of unemployment with every other sentence coming out the front of his head.

Well, then, racism, of course. Except, and keep this in mind, those of you who hope to get that coveted license, there is nothing racist in that tweet. The AIDS infection rate among whites in Africa is a vanishingly small compared to blacks. So it can’t be racism, because it is a fact. Just as, if I suddenly lost my head and start tweeting I was to say this: “Going to San Francisco New Years Eve. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m not a poofter!” is homophobic.

Certainly, that begs accusations of tastelessness. But the New McCarthyites can’t possibly stop at a chiding; rather, they demand her firing because she committed what can only be called an offense against Proper Thought, because it certainly isn’t an offense against reality.

And Bob Newhart got the GLAAD treatment. Funny, in the sense that it isn’t at all funny, how an organization so relentlessly demanding of tolerance is so incapable of showing it.

It is time to call progressives on their hideous undermining of free speech in the punishment of thoughtcrime. I’m not talking about the relatively narrow confines of the Constitution, but rather the civic virtue that while people’s opinions are always open to contest, people shouldn’t be punished for uttering them.

By demanding, and getting, Duck Dynasty’s suspension, progressives have shown that a religiously derived personal viewpoint on homosexuality is a punishable crime. They have shown that utterances involving race deserve the sack, regardless of how factual they might be. (Lord help anyone who uses the thoughtcrime term “colored people”. That is blatantly racist, only “people of color” will do.) And people should be shamed into not appearing in front of religious organizations that work to promote their point of view, completely unlike GLAAD, which … wait. What? Oh.

Anyone who thinks the New Mcarthyism isn’t the same as the Old McCarthyism clearly isn’t paying attention. Except that its reincarnation is possibly worse. Before it was just Congress, now any lynch mob will do.

[/rant]

139 comments:

Bret said...

Apparently, I don't know the definition of racism either. Sacco's tweet wasn't racist? It implies that whites are biologically less susceptible to the AIDS infection (and therefore superior in at least this one respect). Are they?

Hey Skipper wrote: "Before it was just Congress, now any lynch mob will do."

Ah well, that's a rather important distinction in my book. The constitutional right of free speech is only that the government cannot punish protected speech, so Congress doing it is a problem. If GLAAD wishes to put money and effort into commercially punishing those they disagree with, that's well within their right of free speech. And your speech criticizing them is also protected speech.

Besides, they're gonna replace Duck Dynasty with a new reality show about the White House called "Duck Responsibility." :-)

Hey Skipper wrote: "...progressives have shown that a religiously derived personal viewpoint on homosexuality is a punishable crime..."

I didn't see where someone claimed a crime was committed. Did someone claim that? Are criminal actions being brought against Robertson?

Hey Skipper said...

Bret, in response to Sacco's tweet, somewhere I saw a cite noting to prevalence of AIDS among black Africans compared to white Africans. There was about two orders magnitude difference.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find it before I ran out of patience plowing through all the US CDC links saying how African Americans suffer AIDS far more than any other group.

Sacco's post said nothing about causes, or inferiority. Extrapolating from what she said gets right into thoughtcrime.

Ah well, that's a rather important distinction in my book.

The constitutional right to free speech is the foundation for a civil culture that doesn't punish unpopular opinions. If progressives poison that civil culture, as they do with campus speech codes, and metaphorical lynchings that have seriously damaged people's economic prospects then I'm afraid your valid distinction is left not making much of a practical difference.

Okay, perhaps I used "crime" too thoughtlessly. But Sacco lost her job over a tweet. In what court would that tweet have been punishable with such a huge fine?

So, your are right, not a crime. But that didn't stop her from being expensively punished.

Hey Skipper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bret said...

Hey Skipper,

Please explain to me what the "I'm white" part of Sacco's tweet means to you. I'm unable to come up with a non-racist interpretation, but perhaps that's just my lack of imagination. The statistics about AIDS infection rates among Africans is irrelevant in my opinion. Is a white American going to Africa any less likely to be infected than a black American going to Africa? Is so, why? Because a black American might have sex with black Africans and a white American wouldn't? First, that's racist at some level (i.e. it's beneath a white to have sex with a black). Second, tell that to Obama's mom - I wonder what she'd say. :-)

BTW, I don't really have a problem with ethnic, racist, and sexist jokes. I think they have their place. Twitter is probably not a great place for them, however.

I guess I'm having trouble being outraged about outrage over outrageous remarks. As long as it's not government action, I don't have a problem with it. If you want a spot in the public eye, then you'd do well not to piss the public off. I think that's pretty simple.

Annoying Old Guy said...

I'm going to agree with Skipper on Sacco (who, as I understand it, may well consider herself to be a South African, not an American). Bret, I'm not sure how your opinion on the racial disparities in AIDS infection rates in Africa determines Sacco's. If her lame joke were superficial (quite a reasonable presumption, I think), then she may well be playing on that fact. Let's also note that Sacco wasn't trying to be "in the public eye", she was just tweeting to a very small (for twitter) set of associates.

Overall, while I agree with Bret's basic point that free speech includes what GLAAD is doing here, I think he's much to harsh on Sacco.

Bret said...

I don't know. Lots and lots of people lose jobs while doing nothing wrong at all. Sacco losing hers for cause doesn't seem like extreme punishment. I'm sure she'll get another one pretty quickly.

Well, I guess I wouldn't qualify for one of Hey Skipper's licenses to use the word racist. Fortunately for me, I don't need one. I still don't get the point of the tweet if it's not racist, even after reading commentary hither and thither about the web trying to explain it. So maybe the tweet was merely incoherent?

Hey Skipper said...

[Bret:] Please explain to me what the "I'm white" part of Sacco's tweet means to you. I'm unable to come up with a non-racist interpretation ...

It means that she belongs to an ethnic group that, for whatever reason(s) has a minuscule AIDS infection rate compared to unnamed other ethnic groups. That is an undeniable fact. Had she added reasons to that tweet, then you might have grounds to charge racism, but until then the only thing you are left with is, perhaps, advice that she needs to be a lot funnier before trying to pull off tasteless jokes.

But that is looking at it superficially. One of the things that tweet should do, besides arouse baseless accusations of racism is why being white means she doesn’t have to worry. Or, from the flip side of the coin, why does being black mean you have to worry a hundred times more than a white. As soon as the racism card is thrown, every chance of wondering about a deeper meaning to the tweet (whether she intended it or not) is gone.

Hey Skipper said...

I guess I'm having trouble being outraged about outrage over outrageous remarks. As long as it's not government action ...

If every comment that involves race is called racism, then not only does it remove all meaning from the concept, it also becomes nothing more than endlessly crying wolf.

And false outrage shares a feature with all tyrannies — capriciousness. Some kinds of people are nearly immune from outrage (cf Bill Maher), others not nearly so much. False outrage transforms statements that were never intended to piss the public off, and for which there is no rational basis for offense, end up property of lynch mobs.

I don’t know why gov’t/non-gov’t is a distinction upon which we can decide if consequences are problematic. The consequences are what they are: a self appointed and unaccountable lynch mob deprived a woman of her job by charging her with something they cannot justify.

The sum of these false outrages must have a chilling effect on the free expression of ideas. I think that is easily bad enough, no matter whether the government is involved. After all, the goal of outrage is to delegitimize both speakers and opinions. Think of all the times that criticism of Obama has been labelled as racist.

And the same applies to the Robertson kerfuffle: outrage’s goal was to exile him and his point of view from civil discourse. To me, that is just as pernicious the government doing it. Had the professionally outraged written a rebuttal letter to Esquire, then they could have mounted a reasoned challenge to his opinion. But they didn’t; instead, they went for censorship.

Well, I guess I wouldn't qualify for one of Hey Skipper's licenses to use the word racist.

Here is how to qualify. Racism is a form of groupism, which attributes to the individual putative characteristics of the group to which that individual is linked.

Harry’s diatribes against “gun nuts” are a perfect example. Some gun owners do nutty things with guns, therefore, every gun owner is a gun nut.

The problem is hiding in plain sight: groupism always (which means “as often as I can think of at the moment) involves a false syllogism, and gets away with it by hiding one of the premises.

Harry, on gun nuts, implies, but does not state, the minor premise: Some gun owners do nutty things with guns. Every gun owner owns a gun. Therefore, all gun owners are gun nuts.

IMHO, every statement that can rightly be charged as groupist has to take the form of a syllogism. If the statement doesn’t then it isn’t. Sacco’s twitter wasn’t even close to syllogism. It was missing both minor premise and a conclusion.

The same is true about Robertson’s now infamous quote about blacks while he was growing up. He could be factually wrong due to being insufficiently observant, or it is even possible that he is lying about his experiences in order to make a larger point (welfare is bad). But since his statement was not a syllogism, it could not have been groupist, and, therefore, not racist.

Therefore, the way to earn and keep a license to use groupist terms is to never falsely accuse someone saying something groupist when they aren’t.

It is, after all, a serious charge that really should have penalties attending false accusation.

erp said...

II guess I'm having trouble being outraged about outrage over outrageous remarks. As long as it's not government action, I don't have a problem with it.

Totally agree. I don't care what anyone says (or does for that matter as long as it isn't violent or criminal). The problem is that the government has gotten into everything and can force its will on entities it regulates, etc.

This is truly scary.

Bret said...

So Duck Dynasty will continue, now with probably 10 times as many eyeballs (since not all that many people had heard of Duck Dynasty before this brouhaha). GLAAD has been knocked down a peg or two with even Andrew Sullivan calling Phil's suspension "preposterous."

Looks like free speech is doing okay after all.

Bret said...

Hey Skipper: "If every comment that involves race is called racism, then not only does it remove all meaning from the concept, it also becomes nothing more than endlessly crying wolf."

We're way, way beyond that point.

I heard the following conversation outside the grocery store:

College Student 1: "Damn. I forgot to get the beer!"

College Student 2: "You racist."

Racism no longer seems to have any meaning at all, as far as I can tell.

Hey Skipper said...

GLAAD has been knocked down a peg or two with even Andrew Sullivan calling Phil's suspension "preposterous."

I read Sullivan's article. In it he says he cites the objectionable quote:

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong … Sin becomes fine. Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men … “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right … “

To which Sullivan says:

This is a fascinating glimpse into the fundamentalist mind. You’ll notice that, for the fundamentalist, all sin – when it comes down to it - starts with sex. This sexual obsession, as the Pope has rightly diagnosed it, is a mark of neurotic fundamentalism in Islam and Judaism as well as Christianity. And if all sin is rooted in sex, then the homosexual becomes the most depraved and evil individual in the cosmos. So you get this classic statement about sin: “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there.”

This emphasis is absolutely not orthodox Christianity. There is nothing primary about sexual sin as such in Christian doctrine. It sure can be powerfully sinful – but it’s not where sin starts. And to posit gay people as the true source of all moral corruption is to use eliminationist rhetoric and demonizing logic to soften up a small minority of people for exclusion, marginalization and, at some point, violence.


What is it with progressives and "eliminationist rhetoric"?

And I think it takes an extremely literal reading of what Robertson said to conclude he meant homosexuality is the nexus of sin, or that sinfulness resides in the act, as opposed to causing the act. I'll bet there is a worthwhile distinction there Sullivan is ignoring.

I don't think sex, whether hetero- or homo- sexual has an inherent moral component.

But it is hard to look at the AIDS epidemic and wonder whether that isn't some pretty outstanding evidence for the moral superiority of monogamy.

Peter said...

The constitutional right to free speech is the foundation for a civil culture that doesn't punish unpopular opinions.

Compared to whom? I think that is a very hard case to make historically. It seems to me American history is rife with people trying to punish unpopular opinions, and loudly.

I don't think sex, whether hetero- or homo- sexual has an inherent moral component

No offense, Skipper, but if I had to choose a sentence to illustrate why we moderns are all slowly going mad, that might be it. It's hard to think of a more destructive, emotionally-hazardous, life-changing--for-good-or-bad force for many of us than sex. Just ask any cop or shrink or family lawyer or social worker or even doctor. Do the "dedicated" parents you celebrate order their lives as if that were true?

This brings to mind one of David Cohen's (where did he go?) all-time great lines on a thread where we were arguing whether the modern West was decadent.--"If we're not, who is?"

erp said...

More on the lefty mindset.

Conversation in the local library: Female patron was looking for a book written by one of the "Ducks." Library print edition was out, but it was available on tape. Patron didn't want a tape, wanted to read what that expletive deleted moron @&$#(%&) said -- didn't want to hear it read. Other patrons agreed with her appraisal of the Ducks. Another patron said all Americans have the right to speak their minds.

The now hysterical woman screams well he should have kept his %*^$#({)(^%$ mouth shut anyway.

I opined that everyone should keep their mouths shut if they can't converse without turning the air blue.

Complete meltdown.

I smiled and returned to my chores.

Peter said...

Heh. erp, I think you've put your finger on the difference between modern and old-fashioned conservatives. Both value free speech, but the old-fashioned ones like a stern librarian on hand yelling "Shush" when things start to get out of hand.

erp said...

You're right Peter, but in my day, librarians wouldn't "yell" if they were on fire.

Hey Skipper said...

[HS:] The constitutional right to free speech is the foundation for a civil culture that doesn't punish unpopular opinions.

[Peter:] Compared to whom? I think that is a very hard case to make historically. It seems to me American history is rife with people trying to punish unpopular opinions, and loudly.


Ummm. Errrr. Okay, I said too much. What I really should have said is that the civil concept of free speech greatly extends the more narrow first amendment, and that the two are at least somewhat inseparable.

[HS:] I don't think sex, whether hetero- or homo- sexual has an inherent moral component

[Peter:] No offense, Skipper, but if I had to choose a sentence to illustrate why we moderns are all slowly going mad ...


I completely agree. Didn't I suggest that monogamy is a virtue and that its absence leads to disaster?

That's why I think it isn't the act, it is the context. And that the vast majority of contexts are wrong.


Peter said...

Hmm. Christians say having sex outside of marriage is immoral and sinful. Skipper says it has nothing whatsoever to do with morality but having sex with any of the three and a half billion women you aren't married to is wrong because of the contexts. Okaaayyy!

Peter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annoying Old Guy said...

Peter;

While not explicitly agreeing with Skipper, does context not matter? Two scenarios -

A) I ask a woman, "let's have sex". She says "yes" and we do.

B) I point a gun at a woman's head and say, "let's have sex". She says "yes" and we do.

Same physical act in different contexts - is there a moral difference? If so, what is the source of that difference? Is it the sexual act, or something else?

Bret said...

Monogamy and sex only within marriage are two different things.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Isn't the latter simply the codified social form of the former? It's like saying electrical resistance and ohms are two different things. True but a bit disingenuous.

erp said...

Monogamy means one at a time, while marriage means one for all time or 'till death do you part.

Seem like a pretty corny sentiment in today's world.

Happy New Year to all.

Bret said...

aog,

What erp said.

Also, I think there are a few other things to contemplate.

There's the legal aspect of marriage. In some sense, it's just a contract which can be broken per certain laws and encoded rules. In another sense, it's a set of legal privileges (for example, sometimes tax advantages, social security benefits, etc.) that accrue to the married couple. None of these apply to the simply monogamous but unmarried (which is why gays think gay marriage is so important).

There's the "spiritual" aspect of marriage. In other words, married under the eyes of god. This certainly doesn't apply to the simply monogamous.

There's the practical aspect of marriage. Generally this means moving in with the spouse and planning a long-term future, possibly with children. This may or may not apply to the simply monogamous.

Lastly, there are "open" marriages, where the couple is not monogamous but still hold to many or all of the other aspects of being married.

So it's rather the difference between impedance and resistance - also two related but different things.

Annoying Old Guy said...

I see your point, but that's what I meant by "codified social form". Monogamy is the fundamental reality, marriage is a social / legal doctrine that attempts to regularize monogamy. Erp's point about serial monogamy seems a stronger one.

erp said...

This is why I don't get why gays want to get "married." Marriage was invented when men figured out that if they sequestered their women, they could be reasonably sure the kids were theirs. It worked for women too because they and their children were protected at a time when they were most vulnerable. The complicated legal stuff about health care and pensions came later.

Civil union contracts can cover all of that without the ridiculous trappings of weddings right down to two guys in tuxedos or two girls in bridal gowns standing in front of an altar.

It's nuts, but doesn't bother me if that's what they want to do, let them go for it.

What I don't like is adopting children into these unions. If it's a relative whose parents were killed or some other kind of the calamity like that, it would be fine with me if a gay person adopted the child, but adopting a baby, "The Modern Family" style, doesn't work for me. Orphan babies need a mother and a father and there plenty of them just pining for a chance to adopt an infant.

Peter said...

Same physical act in different contexts - is there a moral difference?

Of course there is. There are black lies and white lies too, but does that therefore suggest truthfulness isn't really a moral issue? I confess to being a little fatigued arguing with materialists who insist the words "moral" and "morality" imply a strict legal constucturalism, as if we were arguing about the tax code. Ditto for 19th century Victorian "Daughter do not darken our door again" reactions and sanctions. The words suggest some behaviours are instrinsically right and wrong, not that they can be reduced to all-purpose formulae recognizable everywhere, anytime. And let's not forget the Ten Commandments didn't come with sentencing guidelines.

God save me from a seniority where I stumble around like an Old Testament prophet growling jealously about the sin and license surrounding me. But I simply don't understand how Skipper's secular conservatism grounded in notions of general social utility and "objective" harm can have much meaning for a young horny couple who have convinced themselves their biological urge to rut is spiritual fulfillment or high poetry. Just as I have argued here before that people aren't going to arrange their personal finances to benefit the national economy, so it is naive to think their intimate, passionate lives will answer to a collective Darwinian survival imperative or the siren call of American exceptionalism. Unless you want to argue such is biologically determined from the get-go, in which case why are there so many divorce, emotional illness and broken, poor family cases out there, and what exactly are we arguing about? What do we have to say to the young besides take precautions and try not to get trapped too soon? Why are we starting to see posts and comments from Howard and others here that seem to suggest libertarianism might need to be built upon a decidedly un-individualistic religious (i.e. 19th century Protestant) animus to avoid societal anomie?

I confess, too, to finding Skipper's grounding of monogamy and parental responsibility in duty and self-denial dry and unpromising as an inspiration to the next generation. "Son, family and children will rob you of your health, sleep, money and peace of mind and there is no guarantee you will be happy, but it's the way real men behave". It makes me think of my father's generation who answered every moral question from us spoiled, frisky Boomers by reminding us they fought the war and we should just toughen up and put our shoulders to the grindstone. My, but we conservatives are fun, aren't we? At least the religious get to go to church and sing rousing spirituals and ecstatic hosannahs as payback.

One last, slightly mischievous, point. I find this argument about how sex isn't really a moral issue comes almost always from men. Except for in-your-face young female libertines (many of whom eventually self-destruct), women tend to be much more ambivalent and mistrusting, for many good reasons. Men imagine they are indulging in moral philosophy, but the shrink in me detects the eternal male pursuit of the dream of consequence-free sex. It probably began back when we were all hunters and gatherers. It didn't work for us then, and it's not working out terribly well for us now. :-)

Annoying Old Guy said...

Peter;

I think you misunderstand. For example, "truthfulness" is purely context. Absent that, any statement is just flatus voci.

To me, it is the fact that humans can put (non-moralistic) physical acts in to context that creates morality and makes humans moral agents. Animals don't have moral agency, even though they can perform physical acts similar or identical to humans, because they can't create or understand the context. It is this layer, imposed by human consciousness, on top of physical reality, that enables morality.

I don't see morality as a strict legal constructuralism, but I do see it as non-immanent in the physical world. I also don't see that as contradictory to Judeo-Christian theology, as in that system as well the material world contains no morality, which comes from quite a difference source.

Your other comments are what I meant by the "last mile problem" earlier - even if one can logically and atheistically create a functional morality, how can obedience to that abstract order be inculcated in the members of society? That's a serious problem. It's why I'm raising my children as Lutheran and not atheist.

erp said...

aog, I sympathize with your concern about raising children with morale values, but do they know that you, in fact, don't subscribe to the theology they are being taught?

They're quite young yet (I think), but eventually they'll question whether it was "strictly kosher" of you to do that and I am glad that I was able to bring up my kids to be morale people (who are bringing up their kids the same way) without religion.

Of course if their mother is a believer, then you are quite right to support her wishes.

Hey Skipper said...

[Peter:] But I simply don't understand how Skipper's secular conservatism grounded in notions of general social utility and "objective" harm can have much meaning for a young horny couple who have convinced themselves their biological urge to rut is spiritual fulfillment or high poetry.

Perhaps because I didn't say that.

Back in the halcyon day, I don't think threats about what God was going to say on judgment day about horny young couples' sexual decisions made a tinkers' darn bit of difference.

Unlike material consequences, which mattered. For women, getting pregnant outside marriage meant social ostracism; for men, it could well mean marrying the woman at the point of a shotgun more or less metaphorical.

Which is why I say it is all about context. The sex within a marriage will not have the same nasty fallout as the same sex act outside a marriage.

Several days ago, the NYT ran an article about a pill that can prevent AIDS.

Unfortunately, gay men won't take it.

Promiscuous unprotected gay sex causes 25,000 HIV infections a year. If taken daily, this pill effectively eliminates the possibility of getting HIV.

The downside is it cost $1,000 -- but not to worry, because everyone else will pick up the bill for gay men's ongoing reluctance to either become monogamous, or take the most basic precautions. (I remember Limbaugh becoming a target of the new McCarthyism over the Fluke kerfuffle. He was right in that regard, and he would be in this one.)

Reality is proving that context matters, just as when others engage in volitional activity and expect me to pay for it, I get to have an opinion on the morality of that activity.

By the time God gets to make His opinion known, it is too late.

Peter said...

Skipper, you do so love your Hairy Thunderer, don't you? What would you do without Him to set up all your strawman arguments and give you the perfect foil for that rigorous evidence-based rationalism of yours?

A decade of fruitful blogging has taught me that, if you are going to argue with a materialist, you must accept he/she will always find a materialist explanation for anything and everything, and he/she will cling to it like epoxy. No matter how inadequate it is to explain human behaviour, no matter how little it resonates with everyday life, no matter how little he/she thinks the explanation explains his/her own path through this vale of tears, he/she will defiantly insist it explains everything. Full stop. Q.E.D. Next problem?

OK, let's stick with sex. Stop and think. You have argued at one and the same time that infidelity is wrong and monogamy is a virtue. Fine, we all know that very few relationships can survive infidelity despite the blandishments over several generations of trendy liberal social scientists and lifestyle gurus. Now you seem to be saying that it all comes down to a fear of preganacy. Granted that fear was a powerful impetus in the past, but have you not noticed that technology has drastically reduced that risk? Are you saying that infidelity would or should be no big thing if there were failsafe protections against pregnancy and disease, which there are in many, many cases? If a woman close to you found her spouse was dallying and was coming apart at the emotional seams as a result, would you point out that she should have no worries because he took all precautions and advise her to just keep on truckin'? Or maybe suggest to her a little naughty, exciting payback was the answer? Is that the message fathers should be delivering to their daughters and sons? Have you checked the mental health statistics for young women recently? Are you saying the dark side of the incredibly powerful force of human sexuality can be reduced to the risk of an unwanted pregnancy? In the age of sex-ed, government funded birth control and freely available abortion?

Look, as much as you would like to reduce all references to religion and belief to humourless ignorant fundamentalists warning of hellfire, that is not what the argument is about. The problem starts with the nexus of tension between parents and their teen children. Both recognize a incontrovertible conundrum about human nature, which is that it is often more fun to be bad than to be good. Can we not agree the responsible parent is charged with trying to explain why one should be good nevertheless?

This can be done in several ways. There is the hammer of parental policing ("Because I say so") or divine policing (You'll go to Hell"), but c'mon, this is the 21st century. You can dangle the promise of material reward in front of them, but in an age of Hollywood and sports celebrities sinning for profit, you'll have a lot of competition and, besides, there is something sterile and hollow about a young person who orders his life to maximize his equity in middle age. It's the responsibility of parents and all adults to help them see that the outward-looking life is worth more than the inward-looking one. In most cases, that will be achieved through dedication to family, but there are plenty of other routes one can take. Why do we respect lives dedicated to the care of others so much more than self-indulgent libertine lives? I can't answer that precisely, but I know it is true and all I am saying is it makes no sense in your random, meaningless universe.

One last thing re: gay sex and drugs. Skipper, many minds greater than yours and mine have wrestled unsuccessfully with the challenge of pinning down exactly what morality is and isn't. But can't we at least agree that the definition of immorality is NOT anything that reduces our bank balances?

Hey Skipper said...

[Peter:] A decade of fruitful blogging has taught me that, if you are going to argue with a materialist, you must accept he/she will always find a materialist explanation for anything and everything, and he/she will cling to it like epoxy ...

I'm practically at a loss at how I can explain to you that we are in nearly violent agreement.

So I'll try one more time. Many religious strictures, and in particular those that remain prominent in Christianity are not random. For those who fervently believe in God, say Phil Robertson, God imposed those strictures for a reason: he is commanding us not to do things, because these things in particular are so bad we need to be especially warned.

My position is that, presuming that such a God exists, God is right. But since God is right, those things are so obviously harmful even if it turns out God doesn't exist.

You have convinced me that the Dawkins / Hitchens/ Harris (and mine at one time) blunderbuss approach to religion is, at the very least, not constructive. That even if they are right, there is nothing worthwhile to be gained by convincing every one of that fact.

At the same time, the self evident harm likely to attend sex in any form outside a very restrictive context, means it isn't necessary to refer to God to justify asserting that certain kinds of conduct are wrong.

GLAAD went nuts over Robertson's "homophobic" statements, although they differ in no significant particular from the Pope's position.

And then the NYT, in the link above, proves Robertson's point.

And mine. I don't need to believe in God to agree with God, and God doesn't need to exists to make some things materially wrong.

Clovis e Adri said...

H. Skipper,

----
I'm practically at a loss at how I can explain to you that we are in nearly violent agreement.
----

Sorry Skipper, but as far as I can tell, you and Peter are talking completely different subjects.

You keep interpreting him in terms of how moral or not is the behavior being discussed, and if God is needed to make it immoral .

But that's not quite his point. He is touching on how individuals will make sense of it all from their personal point of view.

You can look to the AIDS epidemics and try to take the lesson that it shows the "self evident harm likely to attend sex in any form outside a very restrictive context". Now good luck on convincing even yourself that it is sufficient reason to refuse that wonderful blond smiling to you when you take your Heavy Machine to Sweden. In the age of condoms at every corner, what is going to make you ignore that beautiful sight?

Or concerning children, are you really having success on convincing yours that they should refuse abundant and easy sex in life for the sake of... what? Good Behavior (TM)?

Do not read me wrong, I really do not want to criticize your parental choices of education in any way. It is your justifications for life choices that I am focusing here, and I must tell you, they are pretty hard to read - as far as I can tell, you decided that whatever is the standard culture you grew up with, that is the right one. No justification needed. If that's OK for you, great, but good luck on inspiring the next ones (including you children) with that.


Hey Skipper said...

Clovis:

Welcome back, and I hope you enjoyed your holidays.

Peter and I have been trading comments for probably a decade now.

In the past, I was a vociferous critic of religion. Peter, along with getting much older and a little less unwise, has changed my mind.

Not in the sense that I believe there is any objectively true basis to any religion, but that religion can be subjectively true; that is, if everyone followed the core teachings of Christianity with regard to sex, we would all be much better off.

As it happens, I have not chosen the standard of today's culture as the bar for my kids. Rather, I have repeatedly told my son that women's minds are bound to deep time, and that should a woman decide to sleep with him, I must expect that somewhere in her head she is thinking "father of my children".

And that there is only two ways to deal with that without indicting his own character: don't get intimate with any woman he wouldn't marry, or don't get intimate with any woman who isn't already his wife.

That bar is scarcely any different than what Christianity sets for us.

Peter said...

Goodness me, have I unleashed a monster? For years I've been told by secular materialists that morality is just a social construct and the word should only be limited to cases of actual harm--the blood and bruises theory of morality. Suddenly, Skipper, apparently under my tutelage, has decided that, while religion is still utter tosh objectively speaking, it can be "subjectively true". As a consequence, he is now in touch with his inner Cotton Mather and demands the word do double overtime, encompassing gays who won't take pills and, who knows, maybe failing to pay traffic tickets or littering in parks. Plus he now teaches his son to see scheming Jezebels in every cute classmate who gives him shy glances.

Steady on, Skipper, time to revisit the dictionary and settle what the word does and does not mean. I'm worried you're going to be trying to put all your neighbours in stocks if we don't arrange an intervention.

Bret said...

LOL

erp said...

Peter, not that Skipper needs an interpreter, but I think he's only giving his opinion and telling what he does with his kids.

Unlike lefties, he's not advocating legislation or EO's that mandate that the rest of us believe and behave as he dictates.

erp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clovis e Adri said...

H. Skipper,


Thanks for the welcome - in fact I am still at holidays, it is our Summer here now.

I am at a beautiful Brazilian beach, watching the sea and feeling the fresh breeze after a warm day, while reading that even Florida is cold up there for you guys. I guess it makes not much of a difference for you at Alaska, Skipper, but anyway, I hope I've elicited a little bit of envy so far.

Back to the topic:

----
[On intimacy with women] That bar is scarcely any different than what Christianity sets for us.
----
I ask myself, Skipper, did your son ever asked you why? Why should he (or anyone else) abide by the notion that intimacy outside marriage is wrong?

And I really have no idea what you mean by separating "objective truth" and "subjective truth". It is worth to remark, though, that a Christian may disagree that their bar is the same one you use.

For them (or at least some of them), this is foremost about a change of heart, not a checklist on acceptable good behavior. That distinction is important, for the checklist approach sounds really Pharisaic.

Maybe we do not need to agree with him, but that guy Paul went so far to say that "If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised,“Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”"

Which is one way to ask, if there is no higher meaning for it all, why are you spoiling the fun to your son and why - other than chain of command - should he listen?

Annoying Old Guy said...

I think what Skipper means by "subjective truth" is that something that is not objectively true (does not have a homomorphism to objective reality) but none the less results in successful strategies for dealing with reality. For a materialist, that's the ultimate judgement - is it useful.

Why should he (or anyone else) abide by the notion that intimacy outside marriage is wrong?

Because it is a sub-optimal strategy in terms of personal health and happiness.

why are you spoiling the fun to your son

Skipper (and I) do not believe we are doing that. We believe, instead, that we are enhancing our children's overall enjoyment of life. Let me quote Skipper -

if everyone followed the core teachings of Christianity with regard to sex, we would all be much better off

Your questions presume this to be a false statement.

Hey Skipper said...

I think what Skipper means by "subjective truth" ...

Exactly.

The personal revelation is that undermining Christianity is mean spirited where it isn't positively harmful.

By not relying upon God as the raison d'ĂȘtre for strictly limiting the proper context for physical intimacy, I don't have to worry about the Santa Claus problem. If the primary reason for not doing something is because God says so, then what are you left with should your kids lose that belief, particularly when that is very likely to happen at the stage in life where they most need to keep those restrictions in mind?

Yet it is impossible to ignore the fact that by giving up on God as authority, I am also foregoing the reinforcement religious community provides.

That's why I say Peter won. I just wish he wouldn't be so mean about it.

Peter said...

Mean? I'm just razzing you because your declaratory method of arguing is just so razzable. Talk about a Thunderer!

I have no problem with those who make religion a part of their lives in the face of doubt, even persistent doubt. That goes with the turf. But conscious, upfront, confident unbelief? Ah well, the Lord works in mysterious ways. Interesting that you two hypocritical heathens have figured out what "the core teachings of Christianity on sex" are. Please, do share the good news.

But I do not agree with you and AOG that materialists place ulimate value on usefulness, although they often claim to. Look at the way chiropractic and alternative medicines are received? There are many, many people out there who find astrology useful and they drive you guys nuts. Materialists are just as ideologically hidebound as everyone else and also very divided over what usefulness means.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Peter, if you want the good news, just attend church regularly like I do. Perhaps the local one is weird, but they don't seem to consider those teachings a secret. Do you want me to smuggle out some video?

P.S. For those who were wondering, SWIPIAW is a believing and practicing Lutheran and, having had Skipper's personal revelation much earlier :-) I have never objected to her raising our children in that belief system. I'm just not as confident in my atheism as Peter seems to think...

erp said...

I envy her.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
[AOG quoting Skipper] if everyone followed the core teachings of Christianity with regard to sex, we would all be much better off

[AOG] Your questions presume this to be a false statement.
---

No, I did not presume it to be false, only presumed it to be not self-evident - hence my questions of "why".


Furthermore, I am not citing Bible's quotes in order to look like a preacher shouting in a square. If you are talking about Christianity, better go to the source: its standard teaching *disagrees* with Skipper. Paul is pretty much saying that to follow all those rules without a higher meaning associated to them is a fool's errand.

As I've said before, we may well disagree with him, but then it is up to you to explain why you are no fool, for he has a point.


Annoying Old Guy said...

I did not presume it to be false, only presumed it to be not self-evident - hence my questions of "why"

First, I didn't say you did, I said your questions did, in the "when did you stop beating your wife?" vein.

Second, if that's the statement you found questionable, you should have asked why he believes that particular claim, a claim no one here has described as "self-evident".

As for Paul's quote, I have no doubt he would consider me a fool. Therefore ...?

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG & Skipper,


Ok, I will resume what I understood from your positions until now:

Father: Hey, son, I tell you, do you see all those fools believing in Santa Claus?

Son: Yeah, father, I see them.

Father: So that's what you gonna do. You behave just like them, and even sing a Christmas carol once in a while too. But don' t you be fool to take any of that for real. You just do as they do as long as you can.

Son: Ok Father, I understand, but why should I do that?

Father: Oh, dear, it is obvious.

Son: But... obvious how?

Father: Hey, don't ask too much. I can only tell you it may give you a good bank account in future, don't you think that's reason enough?

Son: Ok, great! So if I behave good like that, can I get the new Xbox?


Sorry guys, but that is really what I could get from you so far.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

No, you've completely misunderstood our positions.

As far as I can tell, Skipper is raising his kids atheist. My kid are being raised as Lutherans. In neither case do we say "here is a fake belief system you should follow".

Further, neither of us would call actual believers "fools". We don't say "act like those other people", we say "here are moral precepts which, if you follow them, will be of benefit to you, your family, and your society". We do this because we believe this is true, that our children will have happy, healthier, more rewarding lives if they live according to those precepts. We do not see it at all as "spoiling their fun".

Hey Skipper said...

Previously guilty:

One of the problems with belonging to a faction that’s convinced it’s on the winning side of intellectual history is that it becomes easy to persuade oneself that one’s own worldview has no weak points whatsoever, no internal contradictions or ragged edges, no cracks through which a critic’s wedge could end up driven. This kind of overconfidence has been displayed, at various points in the human story, by everyone from millenarians to Marxists, inquisitors to eugenicists. But right now its vices are often found in a certain type of atheistic polemicist, and in a style of anti-religious argument that’s characterized by a peculiar, almost-willed ignorance of why reasonable people might doubt the scientific-materialist worldview.

Hey Skipper said...

[AOG:] As far as I can tell, Skipper is raising his kids atheist.

Not explicitly. I raised them without religion, and along the way tried to them the religious worldview, and why blithely presuming it to be wrong amounts to arriving at conclusions absent arguments. TOSWIPIAW and I seriously how to approach this when the critters were little. Ultimately, we decided we couldn't profess something we ourselves didn't believe. It was a close call, though.

Ultimately, I appealed to their self interest, with the stipulation there is nothing special about them that allows them some primacy over anyone else.

That amounts to a materialist argument that if you want to behave in such a way as to most likely lead to your own happiness, and the rest of the world doesn't care to elevate yours over theirs, then a lot of religiously sourced restrictions on conduct make sense even outside the religious justifications.

Others, the arbitrary ones, like not eating pork, don't fare so well.

Harry Eagar said...

I agree that the public outcry against Sacco was petty, crude, probably political and a ridiculous overreaction to a (stupid) private joke.

She still deserved to get fired for being (it appears) a PR klutz in a PR job. If she had been, say, a tractor salesman, I would think the firing unjustifiable.

Well, welcome to the wonderful world of at-will employment where you can be fired for any reason or no reason or for a transparently bad reason and you are expected to suck it up and enjoy it.

Hey Skipper said...

... a ridiculous overreaction to a (stupid) private joke.

She still deserved to get fired for being (it appears) a PR klutz in a PR job.


What does a private joke have to do with Public Relations?

The real problem here is progressive's totalitarian reflex: Robertson and Sacco were convicted of wrongthought.

Who gives a damn if a woman lost her job because of it. Eggs & omelettes, right?

Clovis e Adri said...

H. Skipper,

---
What does a private joke have to do with Public Relations?
---

I think Eagar mistook the word private here.

She was not drinking coffee with a few friends at home. She published it in tweet, for God's sake. If that's considered private by now I will go run naked in my neigborhood.

So I think Harry's point is justified: a PR should know better.

Harry Eagar said...

Well, a tweet can be picked up and multiplied, but initially it goes to a list which is private. Perhaps I mistook what she did. I thought she was addressing her personal group, and it got out of hand.

Just as, with the dozens if not hundreds of racist TP emails, all were initially addressed to a private group (everybody in the TP).

I, as a member of the public, would not usually see either kind of remark. But then they get out and private behavior is subject to public scrutiny.

A PR person should have 1) been more circumspect; 2) considered the possibility her remark would escape and embarrass her employer.

The TP racists should also consider the effect publicity for their private views will have on outsiders, but so few of them do. I interpret this as their complete racism, so that the concept of non-racist talk does never occur to them.

And they always say, it was just a joke. The kind of joke they don't like when directed at them.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Um, no, a tweet goes to all of ones followers by default. Anyone can become a follower, and moreover it also (by default) goes on a publicly available list (which you can get to by visiting the home twitter page of the user). So, unless specifically marked otherwise, tweets are public, in distinct contrast to email lists.

Hey Skipper said...

Just as, with the dozens if not hundreds of racist TP emails ...

Links, please.

Harry Eagar said...

'Links, please.'

Been there, done that, but you have refused to look. There are aggregator sites (LGF is one) that have been pointing to them every week or so for years now, which adds up to hundreds.

Hey Skipper said...

Bollocks.

Link to your links that I have refused to look at, then.

Your track record on the use of the words "racist" and "racism" is so bad that I automatically assume the opposite of whatever you are trying to say with those two words.

So, please, by all means, link me wrong.

erp said...

Shouting racist is all they got.

Hey Skipper said...

erp:

Well, except for "war on women" and "homophobe".

erp said...

... how could I have forgotten our criminal distain for the other downtrodden, the illegal immigrants, the potheads, the transgendereds ...

Harry Eagar said...

Oh, my.

http://wonkette.com/538936/ohio-politician-is-10000th-local-republican-officeholder-to-email-racist-joke-wins-big-prize#more-538936

Hey Skipper said...

Ok, there's one, perhaps.

If we are to resort to the dictionary definition of racism, it doesn't qualify.

A couple months ago I visited my cousin, who is a 5th grade teacher in a challenged part of Pensacola. Based upon what she told me, Mr. Carlton's attempt at satire is much closer to the truth than satire should be. In Los Angeles, a straight-A student from a largely black high school epically failed introductory classes at Berkeley.

If you want to call racist any statement that is likely to cause resentment among members of a racial group (a far higher bar than causing resentment among progressives), then, yes, Mr. Carlton emailed racist statements.

But if you leave it that, then you are taking a woodpeckers view of the forest.

And you are also marking certain groups out of bounds, while leaving others in play. The statements progressives make about groups who disagree with them are indeed hateful, disgusting things.

But since progressives say them, and all things that progressives say are OK because progressives say them, then I'm sure progressive hatred is good, and conservative satire is bad.

Harry Eagar said...

OTOH, Obama was president of Harvard Law Review.

My older daughter, white, National Merit Scholar, valedictorian (if they hadn't given extra credit to the home ec students allowing them to finish with 4.8 GPAs) went, at my misguided urging, to a top flight small liberal arts college and was startled to find herself struggling at first to make Cs.

Turned out that the products of (nearly) lily-white high schools can flounder in a novel regime. (At a big university, where she had wanted to go in the first place, she did very well.)

But that is just for context. The email was not factual, nor was it satirical in any but a racist sense.

It was, in some senses, milder than the usual fare we have seen so often (not 10,000 times but probably 2,000, and if we haven't got there yet we will soon enough) from the GOP and especially the T P/GOP. Photoshopped pictures of the Obama family as monkeys are more usual.

You are swinging way below your natural weight, Skipper. Reread what you just wrote; it is the same thing as the racist in Indiana -- you don't see anything racist in it, just humor. You don't have to be a leftist to find what he copied out repulsive; and, of course, the point I have made over and over is that nobody sends email blasts if he doesn't think all the recipients will share his viewpoint.

I don't think you want to stay in that room.

Clovis e Adri said...


I have heard my share of complaining from supposedly good students along the lines of "But Professor, I've always got grades over 8 in School, I can not understand how I am not getting even 5 here". I've heard it from students of every spectrum (poor or rich, white or black).

IMHO, it is in good part a problem of changing educational trends in newer generations. In other words, parents, hence schools, have been getting easier and easier on their children over time.

I would like to see Mr. Carlton grandsons in person to see if they are the kind of children who get 94% right in a (non-cuddling) test.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] The email was not factual, nor was it satirical in any but a racist sense.

I prefer to use words according to their dictionary meaning, not to satisfy the sensitivity de jure. (Which is the problem with the Robertson kerfuffle — kidnapping the language so that people are only allowed whatever meaning progressives allow.)

To be perfectly clear, a statement is racist if it conveys a belief that a particular race is superior to another; a person is racist if they hold that belief.

Go to what Mr. Carlton emailed. Does anything fit that definition?

Now go to reality. What Carlton satirized exists, in spades. Heck, a recent superintendent of the Detroit Public School System was illiterate. Black students at these schools are years behind. Yes, white students from the best schools can flounder, but they typically don't because an essay for an introductory writing class is unintelligible. I'm betting your daughter didn't get Cs because she couldn't construct a complete sentence. I have no doubt that Keshawn Cambell is easily bright and motivated enough to have succeeded at Berkeley. But if he was the top grad in his HS class, and can't manage the basics, even with extensive tutoring, then that paints both a very nasty picture of the LA school system and the progressive conviction that it is more important to get blacks into elite schools rather than the right schools.

(Personal anecdote. Back in the day, when I was a flying training squadron commander, I had to make the elimination decision on two African Americans. Eliminating students wasn't at all unusual, but the reason was: despite being college graduates, they couldn't read well enough to keep up with academics. In every other regard, they were outstanding young officers. Still haunts me; not because of my decision — there wasn't any alternative — but rather that these guys had been let down every step of the way, until further letting down was impossible. Because I personally interviewed every washout, I had, and took the chance to tell them that.)

Anyway, you are right, strictly speaking I don't see anything racist in it. Offensive, yes. But who should be taking offense, and why?

That is an honest question, BTW.

I didn't find it at all funny, but rather plenty offensive. On the first reading. On the second though, clearly the target isn't blacks, but rather progressive policies that have created this disaster. You may well disagree with him on that, but that doesn't change the fact that the target of his satire isn't blacks.

Which makes me wonder how you can be so certain he is a racist, or precisely what the viewpoint is that he is sharing, or whether you are shooting the messenger.

It also makes me wonder how Wonkette can get so exercised about this, yet have nothing to say about the excrescences that routinely spewing from Marcotte.

Photoshopped pictures of the Obama family as monkeys are more usual.

Clearly nasty stuff. But, oddly, progressives are okay with this. And this.

Discuss.

Hey Skipper said...

Clovis:

[Clovis:] I have heard my share of complaining from supposedly good students …

Wow, does that ever sound familiar. My mom was an English professor, and she said exactly the same thing. She also complained that introductory courses that had existed to set a bar over time had to teach more and more of what high schools should have been teaching.

My kids went to schools whose students were largely middle or upper middle class. Lots of intact families. Many, probably most, mothers were not the primary income earners. If my kids, and their friends, experiences are anything to go by, at least some schools produce students who are academically prepared for college.

As for what kind of grandchildren Mr. Carlton has, would it make a difference if they got 70% instead of 94%? Indeed, if that is the grades they are getting, doesn't that rather reinforce his satire?

Hey Skipper said...

BTW, forgot this recent item about Keshawn Campbell and Berkeley.

It has a lot of interesting details the LA Times story either missed, or glossed over.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Skipper;

Clearly

Photoshopping Obama as a monkey - evil, racist Tea Party hater!

Photoshopping Bush as a monkey - clever, insightful political commentary.

That's "racism" in America, it's about the R vs. D, not skin color.

Bret said...

To offer a different opinion, I found Mr. Carleton's humor both racist and funny. Perhaps I'm a racist. Perhaps that not such a bad thing.

Peter said...

That is the sin--finding it funny. You could express similar critiques about the reality of affirmative action and bent grading standards in public schools in academic prose, particlarly if you focussed on the damage to minorities, and no one would bat an eye. But you must be solemn about it. Extra credit for hand-wringing and references to the legacy of slavery. In fairness, that kind of humour is often offensive when dispensed far and wide online or through e-mails. But that has more to do with civility in public discourse than racism.

The reaction to the left to this kind of stuff reminds me of elderly Victorian spinsters having fits of the vapours over jokes about sex. However, they often do the very same in near-scatological terms with religion and the religious and think it's an absolute hoot.

erp said...

It's the worst kind of racism when the expectation among lefties is that black kids can't measure up, so standards must be lowered to accommodate their lesser abilities.

This is arrant nonsense. Recent arrivals from Haiti, the West Indies and Africa have no trouble academically and/or socially. Enhanced melanin doesn't have anything to do with mental acuity.

Democrats need to keep homegrown blacks in custodial care in order to remain in power.

That's what these ridiculous accusations are all about.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,


---
As for what kind of grandchildren Mr. Carlton has, would it make a difference if they got 70% instead of 94%? Indeed, if that is the grades they are getting, doesn't that rather reinforce his satire?
---

You missed my point: if the main problem is a culture of parents/school cuddling the children, instead of teaching them, his grandchildren may well be doing no better than Eboneesha Hernandez.

It may well be that the problem gets worse in public schools where affirmative action vices sums up with cuddling culture.


I am sure my woes when giving sophomore's courses are very much like your mother's. The trend has been a long one. Of course there are still good schools and parents with better senses, but where they used to be the rule, now they tend to be the minority.

Harry Eagar said...

Yet millions of black Americans are doing well, often very well, in the work force. Walk into most settings and open your eyes. Then, if you are old enough, imagine that same setting 40 years ago.

Something has changed.

Interesting idea that Carleton was lampooning progressive ideas. Possible, but if so why did he describe his motive as humor?

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] You missed my point: if the main problem is a culture of parents/school cuddling the children, instead of teaching them, his grandchildren may well be doing no better than Eboneesha Hernandez.

Apologies, I did miss your point. But I disagree that his grandchildren are at all likely to be doing no better than the Eboneeshas of the US.

Previously I mentioned my cousin teaches 5th grade in a poor, majority black, Pensacola, FL, school. Virtually none of the kids in her class read at grade level; most are already years behind. That is tragically different than elsewhere.

Progressive pedagogy has produced education results that would be a series of hilarious cautionary tales except for the fact actual children are victims. And the consequences have been far worse among African Americans. As a group, they haven't had the advantages others have had in teaching their kids regardless of whatever the latest educational fad might be.

It may well be that the problem gets worse in public schools where affirmative action vices sums up with cuddling culture.

In terms of education, affirmative action doesn't really kick in until after high school, where its effect is to get certain minorities into more elite schools than they would otherwise qualify for. Because of the inevitable mismatches, this just adds insult to injury.

The tragedy goes even deeper than is already apparent. Schools like the ones my cousin teaches at can't hold back the students who aren't keeping up, because the numbers would be huge, yet "progressing" subsequent grades only means they get further behind. It is a perfect example of being stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea.

[Harry:] Interesting idea that Carleton was lampooning progressive ideas. Possible, but if so why did he describe his motive as humor?

Hmmm. I thought lampooning often involved, if only in the attempt, humor.

Never mind that, though. I am still waiting for you to explain how Carlton's email was racist. Because if you can't, and so far I have seen no evidence that you can, then you are proving once again how much easier it is to promiscuously sling that slander than justify it.

Harry Eagar said...

Yesterday, Ali Choudhury linked to this story:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/367903/white-ghetto-kevin-d-williamson

Insightful except for missing the crab-in-the-bucket phenomenon.

He doesn't seem to see lefty educational theories as a cause.

Skipper, you have a narrow definition of racism. Mine is more comprehensive.

That's why a picture of a black president as a monkey is racist and a picture of a white president as a monkey is not.

There is a long cultural history of slurring black Americans as one-step-up-from-monekeys/no-better-than-monkeys; while there is not a like theme applied to the sons of members of Skull&Bones.


Hey Skipper said...

He doesn't seem to see lefty educational theories as a cause.

Which means what? That therefore lefty educational theories aren't harmful?

I did note this:

“The draw,” the monthly welfare checks that supplement dependents’ earnings in the black-market Pepsi economy, is poison. It’s a potent enough poison to catch the attention even of such people as those who write for the New York Times. Nicholas Kristof, visiting nearby Jackson, Ky., last year, was shocked by parents who were taking their children out of literacy classes because the possibility of improved academic performance would threaten $700-a-month Social Security disability benefits, which increasingly are paid out for nebulous afflictions such as loosely defined learning disorders. “This is painful for a liberal to admit,” Kristof wrote, “but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency.”

Hmmm. Reminds me of something someone got called a racist by progressives for saying.

(Excellent article, BTW.)

Skipper, you have a narrow definition of racism. Mine is more comprehensive.

Mine is barely a paraphrasing of what is in New Oxford American dictionary.

The problem with your, more comprehensive, definition is that nobody knows it but you.

You said above that you accuse only those people who do or say racist things of being racists.

What, precisely, did Robertson, or Carlton, do that entitled them to your expansive definition?

That's why a picture of a black president as a monkey is racist and a picture of a white president as a monkey is not.

Actually, I get that. Those images of Bush were extremely nasty, which progressives are quite good at, but they don't occupy the same moral wasteland as similar images of Obama.

If Carlton, or Robertson, or Richwine had done anything even remotely like that, I would agree they are racists.

But they didn't, yet you feel entitled to tar them with that brush nonetheless, and without explanation.

Harry Eagar said...

Robetson defended Jim Crow, which is good enough to get him into my compass of racism.

Interesting that the state of the Cumberland before the dead hand of liberalism intervened was that it was the poorest, most ignorant, most violent part of America. It's hard to make a living in them hollers.

The observation can be extended. For all our history, the South has been the region most closely devoted to TP notions of governance.

How's that workin' out?

Annoying Old Guy said...

the South has been the region most closely devoted to TP notions of governance.

Um, no. Huey Long, for instance, was not at all similar to Tea Party governance. I would say the West was much closer, particularly the Rocky Mountain states.

Although, one might include Texas in that. Seems to be working out fine these days. California used to be, but since it's abandoned that vision of governance, it's turning in to a failed state.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

Tell me, do you believe old western movies capture well the Libertarian mood? Would you like our societies to be more like that nowadays?

Harry Eagar said...

Let's see: Long 4 years in 1 state, TP theories, 225 years in 12 states. That seems like a thoughtful comparison.

It's true there was a progessive moment in the South but it didn't last long and dissolved into naked racism. It arose, though, because of the complete failure of localism.

(RtO some time ago noted the absolute failure of local governance to deal with yellow fever, which was kind of a block to economic development. The national government came in a eliminated fever in a couple of years.)

Not everybody thinks Texas is such a shining light, since it continues to rank low in almost every measure of social well-being.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

That's an extremely vague question. Consider just the difference between Roy Rogers, John Wayne, and Clint Eastwood westerns.

Mr. Eagar;

For someone whose comments are generally completely dependent on anecdotes, your objection to Huey Long as an example is quite disingenuous. As for the "225 years, 12 states" you're just assuming your conclusion, as that's precisely the point in contention.

I would say the modern south is much more of a libertarian / Tea Party orientation, and it seems to be working out quite well, especially compared to "progressive" states like Illinois, California, and New York.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] Robertson defended Jim Crow, which is good enough to get him into my compass of racism.

Bollocks. (I address this bogus charge in Behind Enemy Lines.

Your willingness to make stuff up isn't a good reason to think Robertson a racist.

The observation can be extended. For all our history, the South has been the region most closely devoted to TP notions of governance.

How's that workin' out?


So horrible very bad not good that there is a huge reverse migration of African Americans from the north back to the south.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

My fault, let me rephrase it: are there Western movies you think better reflect the Libertarian mood you would like to see nowadays?

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

None that come to mind.

Harry Eagar said...

'As for the "225 years, 12 states" you're just assuming your conclusion, as that's precisely the point in contention.'

Somebody is contending the South has not been the epicenter of localism, low taxes, low government expenditure, doctrinaire federalism?

Lead me to this strange beast!

Annoying Old Guy said...

The essence of the Tea Party political view is less intrusive government, of which the things you mention are only a part. Jim Crow laws are, for example, the kind of intrusive government that is anathema to Tea Party politics. The rise of Huey Long is another example. Post Civil-War, the South may have agitated for localism / federalism, but that is certainly not what happened. It is only the last 3 or 4 decades that we see Tea Party like politics become significant in the South as, as noted in previous links, that is working out quite well.

Harry Eagar said...

If Jim Crow politics is anathema to TP politics (you sure could have fooled me), then you cannot elevate the western states, because (although everybody likes to forget it) they had there own version aimed at the Chinese. In some ways, even worse.

And then there was the pervasive, violent antiworker legislation in the West.

Annoying Old Guy said...

If you're going by that standard, what part of the USA isn't disqualified? Does such disqualification apply only to specific political views, as you seem to imply? Should we discuss President Wilson and his views on this subject and "progressive" politics?

Harry Eagar said...

I'd be happy to discuss Wilson. I regard him as our worst president, as his progressive initiatives do not nearly counterbalance his antiprogressive ones and his warmongering.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Then I saw Wilson discredits the "progressive" political view, the same way you've used on the South and the West.

erp said...

aog, I wasn't going to bother repeating the same old, same old, but Harry's discrediting Robertson's memories and calling me a liar for relating my own memories of a roughly similar time period in our history -- a thousand literal miles and a million figurative miles apart -- makes me furious.

Only lefty racists like Harry equate criticism of the nannyism-for-profit going full steam now as hatred for those whose skin color is off his standard of whiteness.

It's disgusting.

There are relatively few real black African-Americans in this country. The idiots who coined that term are, no doubt, graduates of our union-controlled public schools, because, of course, Africa, is a very large continent made up of many and varied countries and, not surprisingly, its inhabitants also vary greatly in appearance as well as skin tone, so the term is meaningless.

Anecdotal yes, but charming nonetheless, we have a new young South African doctor in town. His skin is as dark as any I've ever seen, yet he chose to live in this rural Florida hotbed of racism. By the way he has a thriving practice made up mostly of retired white people and reports being happy here -- with living by the sea a major plus.

Aside to Harry: Pellagra and other scourges, now mostly only bad memories in the western world, were color blind. Your concern is touching, so I don't understand why you aren't railing against the many black socialist dictators in countries where real black Africans live who didn't use the money we racist, capitalist U.S. taxpayers sent to them to eliminate these diseases instead of sending the money to their retirement accounts in white Swiss banks.

Harry Eagar said...

LeRoi Jones died last week. His memories of being black in your area were different from yours. He was turned out of the public library for having dark skin.

I think I will accept the testimony of black people about how they were treated over testimonies of people who were not in such a good a position to know.

Harry Eagar said...

If you read the article, you will learn that pellagra was not color blind.

erp said...

Mr. Jones wouldn't have been turned out of the public library where I spent a good deal of my school days. That's the one just off the corner of Grand Avenue and Queens Blvd in Queens NYC, nor any of the many other libraries where I spent a lot of time, including the big one in Manhattan on the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue (you know, the one with the lions and the big wide staircase which frequently appears in films) -- for having dark skin.


However, in those days no hint of rowdiness was permitted. Perhaps Mr. Brown misunderstood why he was turned out ... or knew darn well, but finds it politically expedient these many years later to add to the false narrative.

Re: Article on pellagra.

I don't need to read up on things about which I am already well informed. Remember I went to school before your union pals took them over.

Harry Eagar said...

Actually, you are not well-informed about pellagra, since the detailed research was not performed until recently. But it is expectable (by now) to see that you won't look at evidence.

Also expectable that you would denigrate the boy Jones based on his skin color. Do you read your own posts?

Believe me, they reveal more than you imagine.

erp said...

Denigrating the boy because of his skin color? Hardly. I said unruly behavior, found in adolescent boys worldwide, was not tolerated. His skin color was not a factor in any library I ever entered, so I postulated a more probable cause for his expulsion. I certainly witnessed plenty of boys being led out the library door for violating decorum. Naturally us girls, being adorable lady-like little creatures were never unruly, so didn't suffer the same fate.

Are you saying that prior to "recently" pellagra was not color blind, but preferred to infect those with dark skin, but has been found to have changed its M.O. to be more "inclusive" in recent years? If you are finding links like that, perhaps I better start reading them. I love stories about alternate universes.

What on earth must it be like to live inside a head so full of hate and invective?

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] Maybe he didn't understand Jim Crow when he was 17. Very believable. But to say, 50 years later, that everything was better then is nonsense. He's either a jackass or a racist, defending in 2014 the conditions in Monroe County in 1960.


In Monroe County, tenants were not close, much less equal, socially, economically, legally or politically to black rural proletarians.



Most likely he's a jackass and a racist.


Except that he was close socially, economically and legally to black rural proletarians, an therefore did understand how life was for black sharecroppers. He didn't say everything was better then, and he wasn't defending conditions in Monroe County, he was attacking welfare. In every regard, every sentence you have said about the man is, except punctuation, completely wrong.

So how are you doing with that whole jackass and racist smear?

A while back you asked if [I] thought that black sharecroppers (or their present-day equivalents) are better off now or worse.

Please re-read the paragraph about pellagra and get back to me.


From the very first para in your pellagra link: However, [yellow fever, malaria, hookworm, and pellagra] had largely disappeared from the region by 1950. It appears you are less well informed about pellagra than you believe.

Man, it is like progressives are all reading the same playbook. At CT Robertson was an idiot or a liar because of lynchings, 99% of which happened before he was born. According to you, Robertson is an idiot or a liar because he didn't consider a disease that had disappeared before he was born.

Aside from mangling what I asked, in what way is pellagra relevant here?

Harry Eagar said...

'Except that he was close socially, economically and legally to black rural proletarians'

Really? Legally? When they got to be 21, they all got to vote?

It was, Robertson lets us know, only those outside agitators who taught the happy darkies to resent not having the basic rights of other citizens. He sounds exactly like Ross Barnett.

Harry Eagar said...

'in what way is pellagra relevant here'

Right, because conditions in 1950 were exactly like conditions in 1920. Sharecroppers black and white had no reason to sing the blues.

Who was singin' dem ol' blues anyways?

Harry Eagar said...

Racism? What? Where?

Oh. Here: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/01/21/michigan-gop-official-herd-all-the-indians-to-detroit-build-a-fence-and-throw-in-corn/

Hey Skipper said...

Except that he was close socially, economically and legally to black rural proletarians'

Really? Legally? When they got to be 21, they all got to vote?


In what world does close = exactly?

It was, Robertson lets us know, only those outside agitators who taught the happy darkies to resent not having the basic rights of other citizens.

I've asked you before, and I hate repeating myself, but when you attribute something to someone, then quote directly.

Since you won't, because you can't, then that statement is a disgusting lie, just like all your allegations against Robertson have been.

Stop it. Now. Baseless defamation is disgusting.

Hey Skipper said...

Oh. Here: is a racist statement from the GOP"


OK, that's one. From 30 years ago.

Surely you have more, something closer to contemporary than pellagra was to Robertson.

Harry Eagar said...

30 years ago? Did you look at the date?
It was last week.

'Outside agitators spoiled our happy darkies' is a fair summary of Robertson's talk, which was a slightly cleaned up version of the same racist arguments that were being made at the time he was allegedly chopping cotton with his neighbors.

As I said earlier, that he believed what he saw to be representative would not have been exceptional at the time but to continue claiming it was requires ignoring -- well, everything.

Odd to see you slough off voting so cavalierly since the sacred right to vote has been such a slogan of the rightwing of late.

One of the things that derived from the Voting Rights Act was the extinction of the all-white sheriff departments in the South and the experiences of a liquored up honkie and a liquored up black kid 50 years ago were not often 'close.'

Hey Skipper said...

Outside agitators spoiled our happy darkies' is a fair summary of Robertson's talk ...

Bollocks. Nonsense. In this entire thread, and two others like it, you have yet to provide one shred of evidence for your position.

Your summary isn't fair. It is nothing more than defamation made up from whole cloth.

As I said earlier, that he believed what he saw to be representative would not have been exceptional at the time but to continue claiming it was requires ignoring -- well, everything.

Repeating it makes it no more believable. What does require a great deal of ignoring is how you and other thoughtcrimers have to resort to sheer fantasy to get to your disgusting conclusions.

On the other hand, should you be able to provide some evidence that what he observed was not typical of sharecroppers at the time, then you might, just might, have something resembling a valid point.

But you won't because, as has been the unbroken pattern here, you can't.

Odd to see you slough off voting so cavalierly since the sacred right to vote has been such a slogan of the rightwing of late.

For Pete's sake, what the hell does it take to stop you from mangling my words?

Harry Eagar said...

Neither you nor Robertson seems concerned about the inability of Robertson's black neighbors to vote.

I suspect the neighbors would have thought it was a big thing.

Hey Skipper said...

So let me get this straight: a big determinant of happiness between white and black sharecroppers is the ability, or lack thereof, to vote.

Oh, wait, I forgot. Progressive insinuation = fact.

And then your insinuated fact morphs into my cavalierly sloughing off the right to vote, despite not my having said nothing on the subject.

You are starting to remind me of OJ.

That isn't a compliment.

Harry Eagar said...

Well, yes, I think self-government and the attendant personal responsibility and dignity that comes along with the franchise DOES contribute strongly to happiness.

This is not mere surmise. I heard it from people who didn't have the franchise and wanted it.

You have now spent a good many posts trying to establish that Robertson's black neighbors had little to gripe about -- Robertson goes further, for him, nothing.

Since everybody -- you, Robertson, me, everybody -- knows about the voting problem, I think it is fair to conclude you and Robertson consider it no big deal. (Did Robertson understand the voting problem when he was about 16 years old? I would not be surprised if he did not. Part of the meme was then -- still is, with him -- that the darkies were contented with their place until them outsiders came in and made them uppity.)

erp said...

Harry, I've read with interest every comment here and I didn't read anything remotely suggesting that the coloreds or whites for that matter were happy, content or anything like it.

What was said, is they were better off then than they are now after your side spent several trillion dollars to "help" them by putting them in custodial care.

Voting? I don't buy your version. Were there abuses? I'm sure there were. There are abuses now with voter fraud. Do you care about that? Obama wouldn't be in the White House without it.

People I've talked to here among the rural blacks my age tell it different.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] Well, yes, I think self-government and the attendant personal responsibility and dignity that comes along with the franchise DOES contribute strongly to happiness.

This is not mere surmise. I heard it from people who didn't have the franchise and wanted it.


You are right, that isn't mere surmise, it is pure surmise. You heard from people that they wanted the franchise — and no doubt they did — but did they tell you that their personal lives were bereft of happiness because they didn't?

I'm betting not.

I am dead certain that, in claiming this as some universal truth, you even more than usually wrong. Why? Because I have been poor, and I have been without the vote (the state of Idaho disenfranchised me while I was stationed overseas). My happiness, which doesn't particularly derive from material considerations remained the same, regardless.

Besides, unless you are going whole hog on thoughtcrime, your belief that the franchise is important to happiness does not levy a requirement on Robertson's beliefs. And even if he is wrong, that doesn't make him a racist.

You have now spent a good many posts trying to establish that Robertson's black neighbors had little to gripe about -- Robertson goes further, for him, nothing.

Wrong again. What I have spent done is spend a good many posts fruitlessly trying to stop you torturing words to death and beyond. As I have done so often before, to no avail, I will do again. Please provide me the quote where I said neither Robertson or his black neighbors had little to gripe about.

You can't, because it isn't there.

It is not my fault that you cannot fathom, or refuse to recognize, that there is a dimension to happiness that extends beyond material goods. I am not twice as happy as someone who has half what I do, and I know people with twice as much as I do aren't twice as happy as I am. I know people with the same material benefits in life who are miserable. I know that the kids of broken marriages going to the same school as my kids are less happy, and envy my children for their family. How do I know that? Because they told me, without my asking.

I know I'm going out on a limb here, but I'll bet intact families are far more important to happiness than being able to vote. Having the franchise is important for material reasons, but the material isn't the spiritual. Robertson is speaking about the spiritual, the kinds of things that make for strong families and communities. Unfortunately, trying to explain that to progressives is akin to explaining logarithms to my dog.

Since everybody -- you, Robertson, me, everybody -- knows about the voting problem, I think it is fair to conclude you and Robertson consider it no big deal.

Man, you progressives must read from a script.

I know I am repeating myself here, but I'm going to do it anyway. Only this time I'm going to type very, very slowly.

To Robertson, and me, and a great many others, true happiness derives from things far more fundamental than mere material considerations. Robertson was saying that despite Jim Crow, blacks were in many ways better off under Jim Crow than they are now, and welfare policies are largely responsible.

Since we saw the back of Jim Crow, the black family has come almost completely unglued. Violent crime is rampant among blacks. Many black children now go to violence ridden schools. Many blacks live with generational unemployment.

I guess the fact that I think those things have an importance all their own means I think voting rights are unimportant. Oh, wait, that makes absolutely no sense.

You have spent absolutely no posts discussing the point. Instead, you have slain pixels in their innocent millions by avoiding it in favor of irrelevant fact, inferences, and, in this case, gross category errors.

So no, it isn't fair. It is self-justified bollocks.

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] Harry, I've read with interest every comment here and I didn't read anything remotely suggesting that the coloreds or whites for that matter were happy, content or anything like it.

I disagree. I think Robertson's clear meaning was that the welfare state, by creating dependency and practically destroying the black family, has robbed blacks of many of the pre-requisites for happiness that they possessed even under Jim Crow.

IOW, while blacks are undoubtedly materially better off now, in many regards, other, very critical, considerations have gotten worse.

As a factual matter, Robertson might be wrong.

That doesn't make him a racist, but it does rather make progressives into complete fools for thinking so.

erp said...

Skipper, My comment was about what we here said, not what Robertson said which stands on its own merits. Other than getting handouts for self destructive behavior, how are welfare recipients better off?

Hey Skipper said...

As it happens, I agree with Robertson.

Oddly, progressives can accuse Robertson of being a liar and idiot and racist because reasons for focusing on other than material elements of happiness.

But when progressives are in their "materialism is bad" mode, then poor and happy darkies are right, and we are wrong.

Perhaps one of the reasons why people in Ethiopia appear to be happier than we are is that they have less to lose by letting other people into their lives. The more wealth we possess, the more isolated we become. We must defend it, and ourselves, against the intrusions of other people.

Oddly, when a progressive says exactly what Roberson said, it is peachy keen.

Where "oddly" is a proxy for a great many unflattering words.

Also, I use "darkies" advisedly. I think it a perfectly disgusting term that finds it almost exclusively used by progressives inserting thoughtcrime into others' heads. In this case, it is on point.

Hey Skipper said...

Other than getting handouts for self destructive behavior, how are welfare recipients better off?

I believe, wrt African Americans, the contemporary zeitgeist is almost infinitely preferable to that prevailing 50 years ago.

The fallacy is in linking things that have no inherent relationship. The rapid revelation that African Americans are fully fledged humans yields no conclusions with respect to social policies.

That is a progressive fallacy, not yours, btw.

To put it another way, we collectively took off our blinders. Then comes the obvious question: Now what?

It should be obvious from the broad spectrum of possible Now Whats that what we did was triggered, but not determined, by shedding our blinders.

Intellectual honesty demands taking into account the consequences of the chosen Now What. Progressives chose the path that led first to dependency, then disfunction, then full throated disaster.

But since progressives, by definition, are never wrong, then pointing that out = racist!

I hang my head in shame, because my command of English is insufficient to express my disdain.

erp said...

Skipper, I share your shame in not being able to fully articulate how much the destruction of our country hurts not only us, but the entire world which now has nowhere on earth to look to as a shinning beacon of liberty and freedom.

I understand the Won, will now take a magic wand in hand and do his (well his handlers') will by fiat.

Mazel tov.

Where are the writers of those stirring songs of the 60's who took on the establishment and turned our country on its head?

They are badly needed now to overthrow the establishment they made that make the earlier one look like babes at play.

Harry Eagar said...

Very strange. I say the franchise is important and 1) I am accused of materialism by 2) people who in other contexts are quick to refer back to the constitutional crisis of the 1770s and '80s.

Hey Skipper said...

Harry, no one said the franchise was unimportant.

You cooked up that all on your own, by imposing it upon other qualities of life for which the franchise is by far from the most important consideration.

In order for your assertion to be at all relevant, as opposed to yet more goal post shifting, you would have to be able to demonstrate that happiness did, and does not, exist where people do not have the right to vote in contested elections.

You won't because you can't. Which rather renders every comment you have made in this regard a waste of pixels.



Harry Eagar said...

That's what we were marching for. That's my evidence.

Hey Skipper said...

Evidence of what?

Harry Eagar said...

That the franchise was important to the happiness of people who did not have it.

The SCLC was not based on economics but on human rights. Notoriously, it was only in the short period before he was killed that Dr. King began to argue that economic betterment was as fundamental as human rights.

Hey Skipper said...

That the franchise was important to the happiness of people who did not have it.

Nonsense. Although typical enough for a progressive, who sees all human existence through the lens of politics.

I'll repeat what I said above: In order for your assertion to be at all relevant, as opposed to yet more goal post shifting, you would have to be able to demonstrate that happiness did, and does not, exist where people do not have the right to vote in contested elections.

Well?

Harry Eagar said...

Well, what?

People risked their lives to reassert their franchise? I take it to mean they valued it.

Are you telling me they didn't?

Hey Skipper said...

Harry:

I can't believe you asked that question. There has been an inerrant pattern with your comments on this thread and in Behind Enemy Lines. Whenever you are challenged on something you said, you move the goalposts somewhere else entirely.

Here is what you said:

Well, yes, I think self-government and the attendant personal responsibility and dignity that comes along with the franchise DOES contribute strongly to happiness.

and

... the franchise was important to the happiness of people who did not have it.

by way of insinuating Robertson had to be wrong about his (not your) neighbors' happiness because of their inability to vote.

Which, when challenged with the inherent absurdity of that assertion, you magically morph into

People risked their lives to reassert their franchise? I take it to mean they valued it.

Which no one contested in the first place.

You started by insinuating Robertson (and I) didn't care about blacks voting because it was essential to their happiness, and end up insinuating I don't think it was important.

The former is absurd on its face (hence the "Well?"), and the latter is irrelevant to discussing your morally pernicious claims about Robertson's racism. The gap between the two is unbridgeable by anything less than full fledged invention.


In this thread, and Behind Enemy lines, you have been refuted every step of the way, and responded to every challenge with evasion, irrelevance, elision, misquotation, fabrication, and a steadfast refusal to consider whether you might, just might, be wrong.

That, which was endlessly demonstrated at Crooked Timber, and now here, is impossible for the Progressive in high dudgeon.

In microcosm, it shows how the claim to certain knowledge opens the door to tragedy.

History is replete with example where denunciations and certainty end.

Harry Eagar said...

'Which no one contested in the first place.'

Dang, you could have fooled me, since I recall your saying that the white and black farmers were legally 'close' and Robertson that they were equal.

Not how I read the history.

Hey Skipper said...

Dang, you could have fooled me, since I recall your saying that the white and black farmers were legally 'close' and Robertson that they were equal.

Why don't you supplement your recollection with what I, or Robertson, actually said?

Because your recollection sucks.

Harry Eagar said...

O, yes, I remember it well. I said the white and black farmers were not equal socially or legally, and you responded that they were close.

And I asked if you thought they all had an equal chance of voting when they reached 21.

I don't think you ever answered that one directly.

Hey Skipper said...

How about doing us all a favor and using that fancy cut and paste thing to put the exact words on the screen, because I'm pretty sure you didn't say what you say you said, and I'm darn certain my response wasn't what you say it was.

And I'm also pretty certain you never typed anything like " I asked if you thought they all had an equal chance of voting when they reached 21."

I could be wrong, of course.

But the best way to prove that is to bring facts to the table, not your imaginations.

Harry Eagar said...

OK, that took the Find function less then 2 seconds:

'Except that he was close socially, economically and legally to black rural proletarians'

Really? Legally? When they got to be 21, they all got to vote?

Hey Skipper said...

Harry, we have already established that, contrary to your glaring category mistake, that happiness and the right to vote are scarcely related.

Now we have an opportunity that "close" != exactly.

And if the right to vote is the biggest thing you can come up with, in this regard close is near as darnnit to exactly.

(As well, I shouldn't have to note this yet again, but you ability to jam meaning Robertson never intended into his own words is par for the progressive course.)

Harry Eagar said...

I did not say close = equal.

I said Robertson said equal and Skipper said close.

I did not think you meant to devalue civic rights (although Robertson did) but merely spoke too quickly.

But if you don't think it's very important, perhaps I was incorrect.

Hey Skipper said...

I said Robertson said equal and Skipper said close.

Reality says otherwise, which must be why you never refer to what people actually said:

I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.

Harry, the totalitarian is strong in you. Robertson wasn't talking about civil rights; his point was something else entirely.

Yet, because you are a progressive, and progressives are always right, then what Robertson said was about civil rights even though it wasn't.

Yes, obviously civil rights are important. So is widespread air conditioning. But he wasn't talking about either.

What he was talking about is what you progressives can't stand to confront: progressive ideas, implemented, led to the breakdown of the African-American family, huge increases in drug abuse, violence, and schools perhaps even worse now than then.

Instead, you, in the mold of progressives everywhere, have devoted a great deal of time painting him as a racist by invoking things he didn't say, and things that don't apply, and denying him his own experience.

Congratulations.

Harry Eagar said...

A little something from the other side about life in Monroe County:

'With the White teachers, it was obvious that some of them were maskingtheir true feelings. I did not like the “nigger jokes.” One White teacher wason duty with me, she decided to share this nigger joke, and I walked awayand turned my back to her. I think she told the principal and we weren’t puttogether anymore. In the latter years after retirement, I have seen her; sheruns up and puts her arms around me.'

http://www.scribd.com/doc/41088013/The-Indigenous-Black-People-of-MONROE-LOUISIANA-And-the-Surrounding-Cities-Towns-and-Villages

Hey Skipper said...

Your point?

Harry Eagar said...

Her point, I think, not mine.

It appears that, seen from the black side of the community, things were not so satisfactory as Robertson says.

Hey Skipper said...

It appears that, seen from the black side of the community, things were not so satisfactory as Robertson says.

You might have a point if that is what Robertson said.

But it isn't.

So what's your point?

Harry Eagar said...

OK. More satisfactory.

Until the outside agitators made 'em all uppity.

You can see how uppity the teacher got after integration from the selection I quoted.

For sure they would never have done that before the soul-destroying move to civic rights and economic oppportunity.

Hey Skipper said...

Harry:

How is it that you, and allot her progressives, are so bound and determined to dodge his glaringly obvious point: progressive policies, by cultivating dependency, made many things worse for African Americans.

Instead, you (and they) refute his own experience, bring up stampeding irrelevancies en route to trumpeting a baseless, and scurrilous insult.

If you ever wonder why non-progressives find progressives so morally suspect, this is a good place to find some clues.

Except I doubt progressives wonder at all, because progressives know that everyone who disagrees is either evil or stupid.

Harry Eagar said...

You imagine African-Americans were not dependent before?

I suggest you read just the introduction to Margaret Humphreys' 'Malaria.' The part about window screens and sharecroppers. I just started it last night, but RtO already noticed her book on yellow fever.

I deny that Great Society programs did make blacks dependent -- that is erp's and Robertson's fantasy. But whether it did or not, it is an historical falsehood to imagine that they were not dependent earlier.

Hey Skipper said...

I deny that Great Society programs did make blacks dependent -- that is erp's and Robertson's fantasy.

Progressive arrogance on parade -- you have only to state the obvious is a fantasy, and a fantasy it becomes.

But whether it did or not, it is an historical falsehood to imagine that they were not dependent earlier.

Dependent on what?

I also can't help but note that, with this comment, you have contradicted yourself. At the top, you called Robertson a racist, an idiot, and a jackass.

Since then, you have beclowned yourself in your empty flailings to justify your defamations.

Now you finally are seeing some light: what he said is merely (in your arrogant view) factually wrong.

It isn't, of course, and it is noteworthy that nearly a couple hundred comments in and you still haven't uttered a syllable about Robertson's point.