Way back in the day, 13 years of days, to be brutally honest, the Post Judd Alliance took refuge at The Daily Duck and Thought Mesh. Then the crowd consisted of David Cohen, AOG, Brit, Duck, Oroborous, Peter, Harry, Ali Choudhury; erp joined not too long after.
Since then, Oroborous and AOG just up and vanished. Ali stopped stopping by, but he pops up in Facebook regularly (in Spain this week, BTW). And like Howard, we lost Duck. Brit finally got fed up with Harry's bilious hatred that he left us, never to return.
Now Harry has stomped off, in his typical spittle-flecked and truth impaired style. In putting this post together, I had been looking at some of the longer threads over the last half dozen years. It has been a very long time, indeed, since he made an enlightening or substantive comment. So, on the one hand, his going doesn't seem much of a loss. Despite that, though, his presence here did give the rest of us exposure to progressive thinking.
During my forays into progressive blogs, I was astonished to discover that Harry isn't alone in his thinking, but rather that he is emblematic of progressives: riddled with hatred and factually challenged.
Per Harry: I quit Good [sic] Guys because of your [my] and erp's racism and fascism.
Leaving aside whether his statement has any factual basis, this raises a couple issues. First is the incontinent spewing of racist/fascist/misogynist/Islamophobe/homophobe (to avoid tedious typing, I will refer to such accusations using this ugly portmanteau acronym: RAFAMIHO) et al in response to any statement that departs from progressive pieties.
Unfortunately, that goes beyond merely amounting to "Shut up, the progressive explained." Remember Damore, the Google engineer? Progressive hatred cost him his job. When challenged, progressives had absolutely no idea what the Damore actually said, yet were perfectly happy to trash the guy.
More recently, a Boise State University professor wrote an opinion piece about the goals of radical feminists. In response, the school's Director of Student Diversity and Inclusion, Francisco Salinas wrote a litany of accusations unburdened by a single quote, and which would surely have cost the professor his job if he didn't already have tenure.
A couple quotes:
[Professor Yenor's] piece is easy enough to dismiss on logical grounds …" (which Salinas never actually bothers to attempt)
Not every person who agrees with Yenor’s piece is likely to become an espoused Neo-Nazi, but likely every Neo-Nazi would agree with the substance of Yenor’s piece.
In other words, shut up, the Director explained. Using words and fact free assertions that could have come straight from Harry's keyboard.
Which is what made Harry's presence here useful. Progressives, it seems, are astonishingly self-similar. So having one around provided an opportunity to attempt to understand progressive thinking. Unfortunately, I don't think that is possible, because there doesn't seem to be much actual thinking going on. No thinking person would recognize Prof Yenor's writing in Salinas's characterization of it, anymore than an objective observer would find anything even remotely racist or fascist in what erp or I have ever wrote.
Not that easily observable facts are any deterrent to what is, to the extent it is untrue, a vicious insult. Nor will Salinas, or Harry, wonder whether the incontinent spewing of RAFAMIHO renders their own characters suspect.
The other issue is this: what constitutes saying something RAFAMIHO?
Further down that Restating the Obvious thread I linked to above, Clovis said:
I don't think Erp is racist, but only because I met her in person. My interactions online with her in past, many times, gave me the impression of someone with racial prejudices on the other side.
I don't remember having similar impression about you in terms of race, but you are demonstrably prejudiced against Muslims.
Aside from the rather obvious problem that it is a nearly futile exercise to attempt an empty charge, what does it mean to be "… demonstrably prejudiced against Muslims"?
Sometimes, the answer is obvious. A statement such as "… Muslims in general and Arab Muslims in particular are incapable of popular self-government." clearly fits the bill for being not only anti-Muslim, but racist on top of it. Never mind being drenched in irony.
But Clovis takes the concept further: observations about Islam that lead to negative judgments about some muslims prove that I have a blinding prejudice that makes me attribute to an individual the properties of the collective.
Even if did such a thing, the conclusion doesn't follow.
No one would bat an eye if I suggested that, on observing a group of people walking down the street wearing Nazi regalia that I could reach some likely very accurate judgments about each member of that group. Similarly, if I see obviously pious muslims, I reach the very likely accurate conclusion that they believe in the divinity and inerrancy of the Quran, and, therefore, have beliefs that are antagonistic towards the individualistic, Enlightenment derived, beliefs I hold. Or, conversely, their seeing me wearing Levis and having dinner with a much younger woman who is not my wife or daughter (but happens to be my co-pilot on this trip) means they can safely conclude I hold beliefs deeply incongruous with their own.
The charge that someone is anti-Muslim (or, looked at the other way, anti-post Christian) is practically vacuous, in that it completely voids the capability to draw any conclusions with regard to certain groups, while simultaneously allowing such conclusions about other groups. That is post-modernism run amuck and self contradicting at the same time.
The same argument can be made against nearly all invocations of RAFAMIHO. They are nearly always wrong. Damore made an evidence based argument that Google's employment policies were doomed to expensive failure. That doesn't make him a misogynist, any more than noting that men are overwhelmingly responsible for violent crime makes me a misandrist.
If his evidence is fairly chosen and accurate, that makes him correct. If it isn't either or both, that makes him wrong, and better evidence will make that clear. The conclusions I draw about some Muslims based upon the evidence as I understand it provided by Islam doesn't mean I harbor some profound character flaw. To the degree my understanding reflects Islam's objective reality, my conclusions are correct. To the extent my understanding doesn't, then improved understanding should change my conclusions.
Only when I refuse that opportunity does it become possible to throw down the RAFAMIHO.
Remember, to call someone a RAFAMIHO is to charge that person with a grave moral defect. Doing so with all the incontinence of a goose having just consumed bad oysters, whether it is Harry or Keith Olbermann, on any of a nearly endless parade of examples from the left is to put oneself in the same league with those who denounced their neighbors to the KGB.
Recently, Peter said "I'm intrigued by the role ubiquitous social media is playing in the current American political distemper and its destabilizing influences on political dialogue."
Social media may well be contributing to American distemper, but not nearly so much as the vile accusations that emanate primarily from the left, and that almost never earn the disdain they so richly deserve.
Perhaps if progressives like Harry, Keith Olbermann, Francisco Salinas and ad infinitum started hating less, and thinking more, our political fever would go down.
Yeah, like that is going to happen.