John Holbo, a philosophy professor at the University of Singapore, alleged he had predicted A&E would cave, because money. Apparently not worthy of mention was the fact that A&E's ignominious collapse came with unseemly haste, and without even a hint of an apology, or even a nod in the general direction of one.
Were I truly devious, I might hypothesize that the whole episode was engineered as part of a vast liberal media conspiracy to keep the GOP boxed as a regional ethnic party.
Seriously: even NRO went for a HuffPo-style ‘stand with Phil’ slideshow. (You can click it after reading Steyn’s column on “The Age of Intolerance”.) Man, there’s no way GOP outreach proceeds by convincing lots of undecideds this sort of ‘the only intolerance is intolerance of intolerance!’ double-talk is the bright future of freedom.
Up until now, I have largely stayed out of the progressive fever swamps. However, several things caused me to abandon caution: a lot of time in hotels, the conviction that progressives and GLAAD had tried to perpetrate a character assassination, and this:
[#25] Get more misty eyed about how, while you decry the GOP, the firing of the Duck Dynasty Patriarch for saying that he never saw a black person mistreated in Jim Crow Louisiana, and that that black people were “happy” before civil rights–so much so that they were a-singing in the fields as they worked, and they weren’t singing the blues …
To which I responded:
[#27] Oh, for pete’s sake. Here is what he 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.
It is obvious to anyone without an axe to grind that he never saw blacks being treated any differently than he was, and that they had a nobility that welfare and entitlements destroyed.
Now you may disagree with his assessment of the Great Society et al; although it is worth keeping in mind he is echoing Patrick Moynihan, among others. But you have absolutely no basis upon which to disagree with the factual elements of what he said; to do so amounts to, on precisely zero evidence, calling him a liar.
Which ignited a 527 comment thread. Did I mention I spend a lot of time in hotels?
My position: Calling someone a racist, or a liar, and especially both without cause is very nasty. He said nothing racist; rather, his point is about welfare, not blacks. Progressives are not in a position to contradict his first hand experience, so calling him a racist (or liar, or idiot) on that account is baseless. Doing so, despite that, is clear evidence of the progressive totalitarian reflex: those who disagree aren't even entitled to their own experiences, and the goal is to first demonize, then delegitimize the speaker. As to charges of homophobia, GLAAD is setting itself up as the arbiter of rightthink and rightreligion, and is demanding Robertson bow to them.
Their position: You are defending someone against being called a racist; therefore, you are a racist. It doesn't matter that he said nothing about Jim Crow, therefore Robertson is okay with it, therefore racist. John Holbo, a philosophy professor and author of the post, decides his inference powers are sufficient to determine Robertson's racist meaning, even if there are no racist words, or evident intent. Anyone who defends him is an idiot. And lynchings. And obviously widespread abuse of blacks, therefore Robertson is a racist, idiot, and liar.
I found several things amazing … no … appalling about the thread. Not the amazingly antagonistic tenor — that's internet 101 — but rather the way that nearly all the commenters proved my argument for me: that progressives are inherently totalitarian, and are immune to anything contradicting their progressiveness.
They immediately insisted that Robertson was lying about seeing black sharecroppers mistreated. Yet when I noted that The Immortal Life of Hentrietta Lacks which included a lengthy description of her life growing up poor in the 1920s south, neglected to mention any mistreatment, then so much the worse for the book. One of the very few to seriously consider my point, Mao Cheng Ji, even went so far as to read histories of black sharecroppers, and noticed the same thing.
So much the worse for those histories, then, because nothing may contradict the progressive narrative.
Nor could the fact that the Robertson family adopted a half black child.
But ignoring reality isn't enough to exhaust the progressive mind, so they invented some by vandalizing (#312, 321) and eliding (#345, like our own Harry Eagar did here) Robertson's words.
By the end of the thing, they had gone the full progressive monty: demanding he not be allowed to preach his false religion, and insisting it is OK to prevent incorrect speech, so as to avoid spreading thoughtcrime. And a philosophy professor to the very end thought his inferences to be the gold standard of reality.
The eeriness of the whole thing is being able to see how when progressives get power, murder is never very far behind.
The irony of the whole thing is delicious. Progressives attacked Robertson because they hate his kind.