Crooked Timber, an echo chamber of progressive self regard, had a post on the story.
Having not learned from my previous forays into the fever swamp that is fundamentalist progressivism, I waded in.
Small government conservative = racist hater.
That’s pretty much what virtually all the comments on this thread boil down to.
Paul Ryan says something that is, in effect, identical to things Pres. Obama and Bill Cosby have said. How is that racist?
Arguing confiscatory taxation is a bad idea isn’t racist. Believing that Great Society programs have created a culture of dependency isn’t racist; indeed, it can’t be. Viewing affirmative action programs as likely to harm their beneficiaries and inherently racist isn’t racist. Concluding that the ACA has made a dysfunctional system worse, and was sold only by grotesque lies isn’t racist. (And using Lee Atwater to tar these arguments makes no more sense than dismissing progressivism because Pres. Wilson was a thoroughgoing racist who thought eugenics a good idea, or FDR put Japanese-Americans in concentration camps.)
The result is the Liberal Gulag. After all, it is so much easier to dump out another barrel of Racist Hater™ than countering an actual argument.
Here is the rejoinder from Philosophy professor John Holbo:
As to your objection that “Small government conservative = racist hater” is not a conceptual truth: this is true. Nevertheless, the sociology is disturbing. From Chait’s article:
And the truth is almost too brutal to be acknowledged. A few months ago, three University of Rochester political scientists—Avidit Acharya, Matthew Blackwell, and Maya Sen—published an astonishing study. They discovered that a strong link exists between the proportion of slaves residing in a southern county in 1860 and the racial conservatism (and voting habits) of its white residents today. The more slave-intensive a southern county was 150 years ago, the more conservative and Republican its contemporary white residents. The authors tested their findings against every plausible control factor—for instance, whether the results could be explained simply by population density—but the correlation held. Higher levels of slave ownership in 1860 made white Southerners more opposed to affirmative action, score higher on the anti-black-affect scale, and more hostile to Democrats.”
That is, in case you haven't noticed it, not the brutal truth itself, but rather its executive summary.
Keep in mind, this Chait article got a lot of attention. It was, after all, a very long cover story for a major magazine. Further keep in mind the audience.
Do you know what none of those smug, arrogant, progressives did, including Chait?
Read the actual actual report.
How do I know they didn't read it? Because I did, far enough to discover what progressive political scientists call data (from page 11 in the "study"):
That is to data as a dog's breakfast is to haute cuisine.
Hence my response to Professor Holbo:
Did you look at the study at all, or are you satisfied with a quote from the abstract?
Go to page , and look at the three graphs depicting proportion slave in 1860 vice proportion Democrat, approving affirmative action, and racial resentment. You should notice that the portion approving of AA isn’t high anywhere. The center of the distribution in areas without slaves is only 20%, and the variation in racial resentment between low and high slave proportion counties is small — the slope of that line isn’t zero, but it isn’t much more than that. […] One standard deviation in slave proportion yielded a 0.11 point increase in racial resentment; 2.7 percent decrease in support for affirmative action, and a 3.1 percent decrease in among those who identify as Democrats.
The [upper left graph] shows a steep decline in registered Democrats in areas with high slave proportions in 1860. Fine, let’s take it as read that is due to racially derived resentment of Democrat policies.
Now explain this [(an electoral map of the 2012 Presidential election by county)].
You uncritically accepted the conclusions of a study because they confirmed your pre-existing bigotry. No matter that in two dimensions the change potentially due to racist feelings is small, and in the other it has no explanatory power whatsoever.
I have no doubt that the legacy of slavery still has knock-on effects in racial attitudes, but using this study as a tar brush to smear as racist disagreement with progressive policies makes the error of placing far more weight on the conclusions of this study than they can possibly bear.
But by all means, go ahead and do so. I’m sure you will be just as willing to make a cause and effect relationship based on the overwhelming statistical data correlating AFDC to the breakdown of the African American family.
(Brackets where I have fixed typos or other minor errors.)
You complain that I haven’t studied one thing that Chait cited. It’s true, I haven’t. But I have read a great deal, studied many other studies – historical and sociological and so forth. (Read that Lind article linked, upthread. That’s a good article.) So the question is not: is this study valid.
In other words, one of progressivism's pillars: fake, but true:
Chait completely uncritically accepted that study. All the readers of his article here, including you, did the same. What should get your attention is the degree to which that study failed to confirm your expectation. When a study clearly conducted to confirm a pre-existing conclusion almost completely fails to do so, perhaps it is the conclusion itself that needs revisiting.
In what way is Lind’s article good?
His thesis is that hysteria, aggression and gerrymandering are white southerner’s last hope to maintaining political control.
Here is the evidence he presented for his thesis: gerrymandering. Well, of course! That has never happened anywhere ever before for any reason, therefore racists! (The maps he links to are no help. The pattern of the first can be closely approximated by average house size, percentage of black owned business, divorce rate, and, average humidity. The second relies upon a virtually meaningless US census distinction.)
As for his assertions, he presents no evidence whatsoever, unless an article written by a Northerner 93 years ago counts.
Why have I drug you through this fetid swamp of progfluffery?
Because it provides insight into the workings of the progressive mind. In order to maintain their own sanctified self image, they must first demonize, then ostracize, anything that might cause cognitive dissonance.
Before suggesting I am, once again, using a large gun and a small barrel to go fish hunting, this is no isolated example of progressives swallowing whole that which flatters.
Neil deGrasse Tyson has a road show, where he panders to those Who Just Absolutely Love Science. In them, he trots out quotes to demonstrate the innumeracy and ignorance of selected targets: headline writers, congress critters, and Bush 43.
I'm sure it comes as no surprise that the audiences lapped it all up.
There's a problem, though. (Actually two; I'll get to the second in a bit.)
Near as anyone can tell, none of Tyson's quotes exist in this time-space continuum. Now, as far as headlines or congresscritters go, the targets are so generic as to scarcely matter. (In the former, Tyson's inability to distinguish mean from median seems something of an own goal, and fair warning to those who should become more familiar with the concept of "the pot calling the kettle black".)
Not so with what Tyson attributed to Bush 43:
According to Tyson, in the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Bush uttered the phrase, “Our God is the God who named the stars.” According to Tyson, the president made that claim as a way of segregating radical Islam from religions like Christianity or Judaism. Here’s Tyson (link goes to video clip).
From the clip:
TYSON: Here’s what happens. George Bush, within a week of [the 9/11 terrorist attacks] gave us a speech attempting to distinguish we from they. And who are they? These were sort of the Muslim fundamentalists. And he wants to distinguish we from they. And how does he do it?
He says, “Our God” — of course it’s actually the same God, but that’s a detail, let’s hold that minor fact aside for the moment. Allah of the Muslims is the same God as the God of the Old Testament. So, but let’s hold that aside. He says, “Our God is the God” — he’s loosely quoting Genesis, biblical Genesis — “Our God is the God who named the stars.”
This is nasty stuff. It is one thing to slime some not-too-specific group with some intellectual shortcoming that is easily common enough, if not particularly important. It is altogether something else to be repeatedly and specifically defamatory. At least to most of us; not so much, progressives.
Back to The Federalist article:
Neil deGrasse Tyson’s story has three central claims: 1) Bush uttered that precise phrase, 2) in the days immediately after 9/11, 3) in order to distance American religion from that practiced by radical Muslims.
As you have probably already guessed, every single claim is false. Every one! Then there’s Tyson’s aside that Bush’s quote was a “loose quote” of the book of Genesis. Yep, that’s false, too. Add embarrassing biblical illiteracy to Tyson’s list of accomplishments on his CV.
Here is the rest of the problem: just as many in Tyson's audience sussed his fabulisms* as Crooked Timberists cottoned on to that
Unsurprisingly, and typical for the breed, Tyson's apology was late, and grudging to the point of non-existence.
And we haven't even gotten to Star Wars yet. I sense your dismay, verging on irritation, at this segue: what, in heaven's name, could a galaxy both long ago and far way have to do with any of this?
That you ask this question is a sure sign you underestimate the progressive mind. The opening seconds of the trailer for the next installment in the Star Wars franchise features a black imperial storm trooper. Which, in turn, led to hundreds of racist comments directed at the actor, John Boyega. Unfortunately,
The issue of Boyega’s skin color has been such a heated topic of debate online that none of the news outlets who ran stories about fan racism directed at Boyega could cite a single example of it happening. Not on Twitter. Not in an Op-ed, not on movie fan sites.
The progressive world view is, to me, anyway, an unending mystery. Self styled as the reality based community, progressives display a childlike faith in, and blindness to, their own bigotries, combined with a shameless facility for making stuff up. And when it comes to vacuous, rote, demonization, they certainly have a case to answer. It's almost, or perhaps completely, as if the only things left in their intellectual armoire are tar brushes and slime buckets.
Of course, it is entirely possible, even probable, that I am as blind to anti-progressives', and my own, transgressions: that we are just as prone to unquestioned assertions and invention for the sake of the narrative, reality or decency be damned.
So, if any of the thousands of progressives in our devoted reading audience could set me straight, I'd appreciate it.
Or anyone else, for that matter. Unfortunately, my memory, self-awareness, and google skills aren't up to the task.
* Not a word, but it should be