Melvin Butterworth wrote:Are people lying or ill-informed when they point out the abortifacient properties of oral contraceptives? Not necessarily.
Again, I hope that we can agree that people should feel free to review the medical literature for themselves.
Melvin Butterworth wrote:Trump is just a narcissist accidentally placed by the contingencies of history into a job that doesn't fit him. The question is how to constitute the people who voted for him and support his "wins" even if they didn't want him for president (e.g., people who want a conservative court to protect 2A even if they don't like Trump). If we constitute the opposition as the enemy (even if they deserve it) or as fascist and racist (even if they deserve it), they will push back even harder. Getting dirty, getting mean, getting tough, doubling-down, flaunting calls for civility, etc., is all stuff out of the Trump play book. An ugly left is just going alienate a lot of people and push some to the right.
I wouldn't be so generous about these "contingencies". If we're interested in looking at those social forces, and the political rudders that steered them, which determined Trump's election, then the facade of "accident" ("whooops!") quickly dissolves. This is the "wild bear" conundrum that I reject, the treating of Trump and those who support and enable him as some kind of unavoidable natural phenomenon rather than a deliberate and directed expression of political will. It's precisely because "they deserve it" that it is necessary to point out the many ways in which Trump embodies and exploits the fascist and racist instincts of his base. A lot of the calls (from the moderate
right) tend to similarly wish to brush over these instincts, whether out of fear of them striking back when they're angry or out of a need to downplay the implications of their partisan proximity. Either way is unhelpful. Saying that we should ignore, or at least decline to openly discuss, not only these existing fascist and racist instincts but the methods with which these instincts are deliberately nurtured and provoked into organized propaganda is to tacitly condone such manipulation as fair game. Worse, is to say that "they may even deserve it", acknowledging the problem, and arguing that not only do we have this fascistically aroused and racially agitated portion of the population, but also that after decades of riling them up now we can't even trust their corporeal composure. Can we at least say that the right has fucked up by riling them up in the first place? Is that not nice?
But the core of your last line still has the assumption that, even at its most sanctimonious, the PC-left is somehow more "ugly" than the fascist/racist right, or that given the ultimatum between the two, "more people" would feel more comfortable siding with the Nazis.
Melvin Butterworth wrote:Dems are floundering because they've lost some conspicuous battles. They have died on the wrong hills/issues. And they have made use of tactics which draw them into the "strengths" of an authoritarian administration.
It's no longer very PC to use phrases like "tits on a hog", but, honestly, is there a better phrase for the current DNC?
Melvin Butterworth wrote:And how have our children been constituted? If Jonathan Haidt is right, we've constituted them, for decades, to be weak. We raised them with an assumed fragility which has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Now we have mental health problems among teens that is apparently at an all time high. ID politics is about victimage, blame, and points. You call a foul, flop on the field, and hope that a ref throws a flag and that an institutional authority or crowd rectifies the situation for you in loco parentis.
I'm not going to lay the blame at millennials here. It's an easy way to avoid all of those Boomers who are currently triggered about questioning their entitlement to a white America. Lotta flopping and flagging there.
Melvin Butterworth wrote:We're coding, at a cultural level, for incivility by emphasizing essential hierarchical moral differences between groups.
This sounds like the "tolerate the intolerance" shtick. Not counting the hyperbole or simplicity of the more foolish members of the campus left, liberals have not traditionally believed in "essential moral differences between groups", rather have championed civil rights for minorities on the very grounds of common morality, of not confusing physical and cultural differences with personal moral attributes. Such "content of character" issues like, say, authoritarianism and racism shouldn't be considered as the exclusive moral property of any particular group. These impulses are latent across all populations. So it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to say that liberals who rail against fascism and racism are "essentially" attacking these "groups". But, yes, on a moral hierarchy, I do believe that fascism and racism are more morally poor than inclusivity and tolerance, and note the irony that only the former is irretrievably founded on perpetuating the division.
Melvin Butterworth wrote:the further down the rabbit hole we go.
These last two points sum up pretty well two of the main issues in which this current strain of Trump support (both the alt-right propaganda and those who consume it) is doing lasting damage that has far more profound consequences to the health of the country and democracy. The "rabbit hole" is a good example, because I would be willing to bet that a fair share of "flat-earthers" are Trump supporters. Stricken with the dual ampules of narcissistic paranoia and functional illiteracy, these folks don't believe nothing except someone who claims to know everything. Trump himself represents a kind of counter-epistimological revolution, the "post-truth" president. Now, the libs have certainly flirted with crazy in the past, but I think it's significant that, say, the Truther movement never went as mainstream in liberal circles as Birtherism did in conservative circles. No liberal anchor on MSNBC has quoted Loose Change
, but the majority of FOX personalities, from Glenn Beck and Hannity down to the &Friends morning show, trafficked in Birtherism, for awhile on a daily basis. Beck, in many ways, was a powerful harbinger for the alt-right. He spewed so much bullshit on his prime-time show in 09-10, I think a lot of us have just thankfully put it all out of our minds. But he was setting the template for Trump by stoking a distrust in documented evidence in favor of a strangely satisfying feeling of suspicious persecution. Of all the kids on the left who have fallen under the toxic sway of RT America, there is simply no parallel for having FOX news (#1 cable show in ratings) nightly telling their audience that Obama is a secret Muslim imposter. This particular rabbit hole was deeply dug before Trump got there, but it gave him an extraordinary advantage.
Melvin Butterworth wrote:harm and corrupt democratic processes globally.
And likewise, as Trump telling his supporters, when he's fully expecting to lose, that the election is rigged against them. It seems to be the assumption that had Trump lost, then he would have launched an effort (perhaps from the chair of his Sinclair TV show) to denigrate the entire democratic process that would still be raging to this day. Hillary Clinton, in contrast, has said some very critical things about the electoral college, the fairness of news coverage, the ingrained persistence of the patriarchy, etc etc. But it's crucial to note that Clinton has not questioned the legitimacy of democracy ("It's all rigged, folks") or the legitimacy of the free press ("They're the enemy of the people") or reduced an entire gender down to a distinct essence ("Beautiful piece of ass").
I saw some of the Rosanne appearance on Joe Rogan this week, and she made a similar, and similarly bizarre, partisan equivalence. She talked a lot about her tweet, baselessly accusing Valerie Jarrett of having some kind of simian ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and the current Iranian regime (neither have been substantiated). OK, so we know that this is what got her fired, and although she still claims to not be a racist (because she's Jewish - ahahaha!) this kind of birtherism-adjacent theory of the secret Muslim agenda in the Obama White House is fundamentally racist in nature. More importantly, as I mentioned, it is wholly unsubstantiated
, meaning that there must be some kind of a motive for why she insists on believing this specific allegation on gut. All that aside....Rosanne then rails into Taylor Swift for her recent endorsement of the Democratic candidates in Tennessee, and wondered why it was OK for Swift to do "the same thing" as Rosanne without controversy. For Rosanne, tweeting a semi-racist meme about a secret Muslim conspiracy theory is "the same thing" as endorsing a candidate in an election. This is a perfect example of the kind of equivalence schizophrenia we see in the alt-right. Calling someone a racist becomes equal to....having black people arrested for mowing their lawns. Same diff. Just like Mike Cernovich feels that taking sarcastic pedophile jokes out of context is basically the same thing as, I dunno, getting charged for rape in college, for example.
This kind of degradation of truth and liberal democracy is more dangerous than the, admittedly sometimes overreaching, attempts among the PC left to make society a little more sensitive towards those who do not share the same social advantages. But there is something more malicious and insidious in the alt-right, something that very much sacrifices the ethical means for the ends of winning
and sweet snowflake tears (which are clearly not as respectable as incel tears). For the short term win, the damage being done to civil discourse, to rational dialogue, to the desired abdication of personal delusion, will require decades of restorative critical discipline, if we don't happen to collapse into a pool of solipsistic saity.