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October 13, 2013

Comments

Alex

What amuses me most is that in a Marxist state I bet it's the stroppy queer black feminist poets who would be one of the first groups put against a wall and shot.
Whereas we just laugh at her. And probably subsidise her.

JoeBlow

It's either a fantastic wind up, or someone really is terminally stuck on stupid.....

peem birrell

>>Blacks can't be racist

But dey can be tribal
And genocidal

BenSix

I suspect that there is a little collection of satires on SJW thought. "Tamika Johnson" and "Chantal Johnson" were created within a week of each other, and immediately began to interact. The former claims to have degrees in “womens, african american, and literature studies”, while the latter trolls dimwitted interlocutors with pearls of wisdom like, in response to a user named "Egg Miliband", "y ur avatar a white egg? u know there r brown eggs 2. racist”. Either they are the stupidest cousins/sisters ever or they are someone having a laugh.

"NayNayThompson", meanwhile, created her account a month earlier and began to post tweets like "Brits have bad teeth/it's beyond belief/they even smell worse/than the queen mum's queefs" and "when I saw #twintowers I thought they talking bout #Jedward's combined private parts". Perhaps there exists a genocidal queer, black, intersectional feminist with a taste for jokes about Jedward's genitals and the Queen mother's sexual organs but it looks like a troll to me.

What is funny is that they are treated with such grave respect by real SJWers.

BenSix

Of the same genre, I suspect, is “Carly Jackson”, who created on account on the 14th of August and immediately hijacked the thread #solidarityisforwhitewomen with demands that Jezebel "hire more WoC for fair representation”. "Are they the KKK?” She was moved to ask. "Ms. Jackson" posted no less than 100 tweets on that first day on Twitter, most of them directed towards Jezebel and others including such gems as "we all talk about how we all "still listen" to Chris Brown but nobody wanna talk about 50 Shades of Grey”. That cannot be serious.

"Jackson", who often boasts about her “masters degree in Gender and Racial Studies”, later earned popular notoriety for claiming, after the acquittal of Michael Le Vell, that “the .000001% of false accusations R necessary as a teachable moment for White Males to learn about privilege and opression”, and that “the notion of "innocent until proven guilty" is a conservative, reactionary movement”.

She is, unsurprisingly, a big fan of "Chantal Johnson" and "NayNayCan'tStop". Either I underrate the insanity of some people or trolls are even more industrious than I had imagined.

Mr B

What amuses me most is that in a Marxist state I bet it's the stroppy queer black feminist poets who would be one of the first groups put against a wall and shot. It's almost enough of a reason to actually wish for a Marxist state.

Anna

White privilege bingo: telling POC you'd listen to them if they were 'nice and polite'

So if you call out a black leftist on her insane shit you're using "white privilege". Good to know.

David

That cannot be serious.

Heh. Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? It’s indistinguishable from what you’d find, say, here and here, or in my own archives. The Social Justice Warriors™ long ago crossed the parody horizon. And when I first started quoting Laurie Penny, several readers found it highly unlikely that she might be real.

Bart

"I been reading up on marx and he seems like he knows what's up. too bad he was a privileged white male"


The thing about using the ad hominem fallacy is you're supposed to use it to dismiss someone's argument based on who the person is. You're not supposed to agree with their point, then undermine it straight after.

Logical fallacies are already failed, illogical arguments. What you've done is failed at using a failed argument. And used an illogical argument in an illogical manner.

You literally fail at failing.


"Are you stupid? Read a sociology book."

Ah yes, sociology books. The universally agreed upon surefire cure for stupidity.


"Blacks can't be racist."

I think you'll find it's the frothing hatred of millions upon millions of people based solely on their skin tone, and openly advocating their genocide that's the bad thing. Wether you call it "racism" or "happyrainbowsunshineism" makes precious little difference. I guess sociology books don't make you smart enough to fathom this rather obvious point.

Patrick Brown

I'm trying to imagine any historical society where the privileged people were the ones who weren't allowed to answer back, and I'm coming up blank. Anyone else have any suggestions?

Worm

I call troll

David

I suspect the clue may lie in Ms NayNay Thompson’s avatar.

Henry

The "blacks can't be racist" meme is of course a corrosive lie - but it's hugely popular on the left. Partly because noone argues against it robustly enough. They're afraid to, half the time

There's more stuff like this brewing: all whites are racist, whether they realise it or not; blacks can't be racist; any criticism of a black person is latent racism... Perhaps the worst of it is the idea that non-whites and women need to be represented as hard-working, decent, and honest in television dramas and films - white (usually British) men get to be the endlessly evil, deceitful, emotionally weak and messed up people.

That this all started off in the name of 'fighting prejudice' is risible. The whole shebang now feeds on open and hateful prejudice.

brinster

If "you white people LITERALLY genocide us every day," how is it that there are so many black people still breathing? Surely there are some mass graveyards somewhere. There aren't? Somebody's engaging in some hyperbole, I believe. And...when was genocide converted to a verb? Must be a white construct.

People of this ilk can easily renounce their citizenship and pick an African country in which to settle. Sudan is nice this time of year...if you're a Muslim. Somalia has no government, which would be in keeping with their beliefs. Rwanda would have been nice twenty odd years ago, where the rivers ran red with the blood of the slaughtered.

These ignorant humans are, in part, the reason I now own two handguns, and have a concealed carry permit.

As an aside, carrying a concealed weapon has a surprising calming effect. You know you're never going to use it unless your life, or a life of another is threatened, and trivialities are reduced to just that: trivialities.

David

So if you call out a black leftist on her insane shit you’re using “white privilege”. Good to know.

Apparently, those are the rules. And as we learned recently, it’s also a rule that if you should be mugged in a part of town where lots of black people happen to live, you mustn’t ever call the police. That would also be proof of your “ignorant racism” and “white privilege.”

Satirising such things is a difficult job. How do you outdo such people? Where’s the threshold?

Rafi

when I first started quoting Laurie Penny, several readers found it highly unlikely that she might be real.

The jury's still out on that one.

Furor Teutonicus

Third illustration.

Hitler... you mean that...ähhhh WHITE.... MALE???

We can not ALL be bad then, hey?

David

The jury’s still out on that one.

I think it was Julia who first suggested that Ms Penny must be an imposter designed to discredit the thousands of people who make much the same, in fact eerily similar, noises. All of whom are obviously radical individuals and an intolerable threat to The Phallo-Capitalist Hegemon™ that the rest of us worship. And when there are people claiming to be “badly triggered by white skin” or being outraged loudly and at length by “racist hair,” it’s all a little confusing.

Rich Rostrom

"I been reading up on marx"

What are the odds this semi-literate Yahoo actually plowed through the turgid prose of Capital, as opposed to skimming Marxism for Dummies?

Callum

Just discovered the rest of the series. Check your tip jar, Mr Thompson.

Sam

You see, Ms Johnson is a Person Of Colour™, an exotic shaman, and so we must listen deferentially to her bluster and screeching. Her melanin makes her wise.

I don't think Laurie Penny can hear what she's saying.

sackcloth and ashes

'I call troll'

It could be. I do sense piss-take on this one, just to show how hypocritical and how fucking gullible that moron Penny can be.

David

Callum,

Check your tip jar, Mr Thompson.

Much appreciated. Likewise all who’ve chipped in to keep this barge afloat.


Sam,

I don’t think Laurie Penny can hear what she’s saying.

Well, you can understand her reluctance. But it’s a pretty standard conceit (or pretence) among devotees of identity politics. You’re expected to defer to the self-designated victim regardless of what they say or how ludicrous it may be. Which can make things a little surreal when two competing victim groups collide. Even fellow lefties can be berated on this basis. If you don’t have the relevant genitals or pigment or exotic hang-ups, or whatever the credentials of victimhood happen to be, you’d better shut the hell up and nod as expected.

Karen M

You see, Ms Johnson is a Person Of Colour™, an exotic shaman, and so we must listen deferentially to her bluster and screeching. Her melanin makes her wise.

As a Person Of Colour™ I always like to be treated like a china doll from outer space.

David

As a Person Of Colour™ I always like to be treated like a china doll from outer space.

I may have to borrow that one.

Karen M

I may have to borrow that one.

Stop stealing my black culture, David.

dcardno

China doll, Karen M?

A blatant theft of thousands of years of oriental culture. Not to mention appropriation of the alien voice.

David

I think we should all denounce ourselves immediately and head for the correction booth. Before things get any worse.

Richard Powell

I like Ms Penny's deferential tone in a later tweet: "... I fuck up a lot. But trying." It's almost as if she were seeking validation. Which is amusing, as she's almost certainly been suckered. And even if she hasn't, she's provided us with a further illustration of Poe's law.

sackcloth and ashes

'I like Ms Penny's deferential tone in a later tweet: "... I fuck up a lot. But trying."'

I agree with her. She fucks up every time. And she is trying.

WTP

If "you white people LITERALLY genocide us every day," how is it that there are so many black people still breathing? Surely there are some mass graveyards somewhere.

Easy there, brinster. Literally does not literally mean literally. You can look it up.

http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2013/08/literally_definition_dictionary_wrong_english_languageyour_head_explode.html

dicentra

I just got into a multi-person tiff at Twitter.

I don't know how to post the URL so that y'all can see my interactions @dicentra33, but man, I'm about to jam a fork in my eye.

What I learned:

Using the term “gubmint” is a racist wink to my White friends.

Saying “blacks” instead of “black people” is racist and insensitive.

Observing that if I’d gotten pregnant at 16, dropped out of school, and gone on welfare, I’d be poor too, is bigoted.

Insisting that bigots don’t favor some blacks over others is racist (my point being that bigotry was so strong it kept all blacks down equally, but if so many have succeeded on their own, it means that bigotry isn’t strong enough to keep ANY blacks down. Sorry, black people.)

Learned helplessness is not a problem among the poor.

Marriage and abstinence don’t protect against poverty.

Social mobility is extremely low in the U.S. and getting lower.

“Class” doesn’t have to be rigid to be class. Just because nobody is required to defer to anyone and that you are free to improve your lot doesn’t mean that classism doesn’t exist in the U.S.

I think that “the 70% of working poor who have a HS degree or higher are ‘functionally illiterate’”

I lack the basic education in SO many things. If only I’d educate myself, I wouldn’t be all blinkered by this fantasy world wherein the work ethic actually means something.

I may have to burn my account with fire.

Never again.

dicentra

The "blacks can't be racist" meme is of course a corrosive lie - but it's hugely popular on the left.

The whole grievance schtick removes moral agency from the individual and locates it with the group.

Ergo, my guilt or innocence in this world is determined by the group I belong to (but did not elect to join), not by what I might or might not do.

If blacks can't be racist, then all vitriol against non-blacks is permitted and cannot, by definition, be wrong.

It's vile, crippling, and is one of the primary reasons racial animus is getting worse instead of better, despite tangible improvements to the contrary.

dicentra

It's almost as if she were seeking validation.

Not almost: exactly. Visible self-flagellation is the coin of the realm. It makes them feel morally superior to the rest of us knuckledraggers.

brinster

Holy shirt WTP. I literally didn't know that.

ChicagoRefugee

Well dicentra (you've got a new follower, btw), what I learned today on twitter was that YES, Obamaphone/EBT users deserve better food and nicer phones than taxpayers, because "institusional [sic] racism," yo.

Thus confirming my long-held belief that revenge, rather than equality, is the real goal.

HeadDesk, indeed.

David

dicentra,

Observing that if I’d gotten pregnant at 16, dropped out of school, and gone on welfare, I’d be poor too, is bigoted.

Heh. The Twitter marathon was exhausting. Though I was impressed by just how quickly the inevitable accusations of racism were deployed. Like smoke bombs.

What fascinates me is how tenaciously some people will cling to their victimhood, even the most vicarious or question-begging victimhood, as if it were a defining attribute. For some, it’s an essential precondition of conversation, and almost all conversational tangents can, and probably will, be steered back to it, however tortuously. And so the other person is expected to atone indefinitely for their “privilege” and alleged group sin, and they must continually defer. And reluctance to defer is considered enemy action.

Taken at face value, victimhood seems an odd thing to want to identify with so intensely and for so long, especially when one’s circumstances don’t match the rhetoric. As a default round-the-clock setting, I’d have thought that kind of identification would be tedious and disabling. And of course dishonest. But I suppose the appeal, or part of it, is that playing the role of victim, even an absurdly bogus one, allows a person to be as angry and scolding as they like, for as long as they like, to whomever they like. It’s a pretext for hostility. And this license for animosity is to some extent shielded from scrutiny, as questioning a person’s claim of victimhood can be construed as impolite, bigoted, oppressive, etc. Apparently, one mustn’t “invalidate” a person’s theatre of being wronged, even if – especially if – the theatre is just that.

Steve 2

Adolf Hipster was into literally genociding people every day before it was cool.

Steve 2

Is Laurie Penny a fictional comedy character by noted jokeslinger Leigh Francis?

Let's examine the evidence:

* Funny sounding name, eg Keith Lemon or Avid Merrion? Check.

* Grotesquely caricatured personality like his Craig David or Scary Spice impressions? Check.

* Lack of self awareness played for laughs? Check and mate.

dicentra

Heh. The Twitter marathon was exhausting. Though I was impressed by just how quickly the inevitable accusations of racism were deployed. Like smoke bombs.

You plowed through that?

Wow. Thanks. Also, my apologies.

I've engaged left-of-center folks before on Twitter just to engage in a civil conversation for however long it lasts. My goal isn't to change their minds on the subject at hand but to demonstrate that their imagined enemies on the right aren't the irrational, evil ignoramuses that they've been taught we are. East coasters have usually never MET anyone on the right, and they never question their assumptions, because if the denizens of NYC believe it, it has to be true.

So if I can engage politely and logically, and then end it with a cheery-o, I figure that's victory enough.

This is the first time I've had such intense, a priori animosity directed at me by so many people. Their implied interlocutor (who they imagined I was) was such a vile being that it actually hurt. I usually don't react to insults and flames, but this was too intense to bear. I had to cry it out for a bit before moving on.

As a follow-up, a different EBT glitch — this time the spending limits disappeared, so instead of denying all charges they accepted all charges — resulted in the WalMart shelves being cleared within minutes, as word spread that the EBT card had become "all you can stuff in a cart."

http://www.ksla.com/story/23679489/walmart-shelves-in-springhill-mansfield-cleared-in-ebt-glitch

All those grandmothers, disabled vets, and starving children sure can move when they want to, eh?

dicentra

Social mobility is extremely low in the U.S. and getting lower.

I looked up some stuff on that (hard to find a non-leftwing source) and discovered that the reason that social mobility has slowed down is that the poor no longer emphasize education as a ticket out of poverty.

The idea that doing well in school or getting a job is "acting white" is prevalent in many poor neighborhoods, the old "crabs in a crate" bit where any aspiring escapee is dragged back into the crate by the rest.

The Latino immigrants are not big on education, either. Their culture just doesn't include Tiger Moms and "don't shame the family." They're not strict disciplinarians because they're generally very tender-hearted, which is a virtue in some cases and a liability in others.

David

This is the first time I’ve had such intense, a priori animosity directed at me by so many people.

I’m surprised. If you see what I mean. I think your patience in an argument may be part of it, your willingness to engage the other position and see if it stands up to some shaking about. From what I’ve seen you can be civil and tenacious, and I can imagine how that might bother a certain kind of person. We evil people are supposed to shrink away from the glow of progressive virtue, or threaten to scald puppies or something.

D

One thing that gets me is the idea that America is racist against people who are dark-skinned. My neighborhood has a bunch of families from India. These folks have skin that's as dark or darker than your average black American. And yet a) I've never really heard of anyone having much hatred for Indian people, b) they seem to be very successful on average (probably more so than the average white person, since they factor into the Asian stats), and c) I don't think anyone ever considers their dark skin to give them shamanic wisdom, least of all themselves.

It seems to me that if the theory is that white Americans are racist against people who look significantly different than themselves, especially against those with dark skin, then the fact that you have two groups with similar ranges of dark pigment but from totally different backgrounds and cultures is an excellent experiment to test the thesis. Presumably, if white people are as racist as supposed, and as powerful as supposed, then they would oppress both groups equally -- it's hard to imagine a person who violently hates black people but is totally fine with dark-skinned foreigners (or recent immigrants) with an accent, unless there's some sort of specifically anti-black strain of racists who are cool with Asians and people from other assorted countries. I've never really heard anyone suggest that this is the case; typically the evil racists who keep blacks down are also blamed for hating foreigners and illegal immigrants, often with far different skin tone.

So we have group A, which often includes people who speak little or no English, who come to America with little money, and have dark skin. They generally outperform whites, figure in crimes far less than whites, and white people generally ignore them or even look on them a little favorably. Then you have group B, native to America from many generations back, able to speak English, with lots of government subsidies to help them, and with dark skin. They significantly underperform whites, figure in crime far more than whites, and white people generally seem to have a bit of a nervous, uncomfortable, and somewhat negative view of them.

To me this says a lot more about groups A and B than it says about American whites. They come across as fairly neutral, if you look at the matter objectively.

dicentra

Recent migrants from Africa perform better than their slave-descended cousins, too. We now have more voluntary migrants from Africa than were dragged over in slave ships.

Which makes the question of reparations extremely problematic: do people get paid according to the percentage of slave ancestry they can prove? What could possibly go wrong with that?

I've got some messed-up people in my extended family who are fairly bigoted. Trust me: the essence of racial bigotry is "they're all alike," so at best they might pick out one or two "good blacks" with demonstrable virtues but continue to condemn the rest.

They also have no problem being hostile towards dark Africans but not dark Indians. It really isn't the color of the skin that gets them, it's "those people," however you care to identify them. If all humans were the same color, they'd find some other marker to decide who was worthy of respect and who wasn't.

Bigotry is about damaged people trying to find some cheap self-esteem at someone's else's expense. ("At least I'm not one of THEM.")

A similar dynamic applies to those who score cheap grace by Not Being A Knuckle-Dragger.

Well dicentra (you've got a new follower, btw)

Thanks, bro. I need all the support I can get.

D

They also have no problem being hostile towards dark Africans but not dark Indians.

It seems to me that if the issue is certain people being bigoted against certain other people, then we're not really in "whites oppressing non-whites" territory anymore. I'm not aware of any reason to believe that whites are more likely to be bigoted against another group than other people are.

The likes of Ms. Penny and her ilk assume that whites oppress non-whites, and therefore that non-whites should always be listened to and have special wisdom or what have you, due to their unique status as victims of whites. But if the issue is that some people are bigoted against some other people, then it becomes an awful lot more complicated. We certainly see plenty of prominent black people saying obviously bigoted things about whites. At that point there's really no reason to view this as any better or worse than whites saying bigoted things about blacks, and it just becomes a matter of some people being jerks. There's really no call for special payments or intentional discrimination as a result of some people being jerks.

dicentra

When you're running for mayor against the incumbent, you point out how awful life is under the incumbent so that people will desire a change — you.

The Left hates free-market capitalism for a variety of reasons, but mostly because they're not in charge of it. Ergo, if you want to be in charge of the economy, you have to demonize the current system.

One of my Twitter interlocutors informed me that free-market capitalism is "based on genocide" and colonialism, because conquests and massacres and oppression.

So I speculated whether America would have been just as prosperous if pre-Columbian America were uninhabited. The answer, of course, is yes, which means that violence and conquest aren't the "basis" of free-market capitalism, given that when you remove a base, you remove what's built upon it.

Furthermore, it is impossible to find another era in another nation with another economic system that has been free of plundering and murder, so his logic is tantamount to identifying sunspots or starlight as the basis for free-market capitalism.

Not to mention that the American tribes engaged in plenty of self-organized, free-market trade before the Europeans ever got there — clay pots for woven baskets, buffalo hides for blankets, fish for venison.

Had the native population not been devastated by the Black Plague and Smallpox, they might well have driven the Europeans off the continent before they got much of a foothold. And they wouldn't have done it kindly.

The accelerating hand-wringing and self-flagellation over racism is a way to convince people that the current economic system is about as immoral as it can be, and so it must be REPLACED by the hand-wringers, they of the exquisite sensibilities.

Which is why pointing out any degree of logical failure in their hysteria is entirely beside the point and utterly futile and why it's going to get worse before it gets better.

David

dicentra,

When faced with non-rational, bad faith positions, it’s very unlikely you’ll have much effect with argument and evidence. Nor will you be thanked for trying. Like Madeleine Schwartz and her witless enthusiasm for the fatherless “anti-family,” it isn’t about coherence, facts and correlations. (Schwartz doesn’t mention any and I doubt that’s an accident.) It’s basically a posture, a display of credentials. Like many of her peers, Ms Schwartz wants to be thought of as radical and subversive, albeit by conforming to the assumptions and attitudinising of her immediate peers.

In situations like that, the best you can hope for is that other people may be following your exchange and may notice some of the rhetorical manoeuvres being employed. The hyperbole, the scolding and the aforementioned smoke bombs. It’s all but impossible to have much effect on a position held in bad faith. But sometimes you can show others what bad faith looks like.

It’s often amazed me how some people manage not to register their own colossal bad faith. For instance, this display of unattractive feeling is supposed to be driven by a desire for “social justice” and yet it looks remarkably like irrational, fact-free malice. Likewise, this. And this. And of course this vivid little gem. As logical positions they don’t stand much scrutiny. They are, though, comprehensible as unpleasant personalities looking for an excuse.

Patrick Brown

I don't know you can say they're arguing in bad faith. The odd NayNay apart, they seem totally sincere, but they're so convinced of their own self-evident rightness that they can't accept or imagine sincere disagreement. I stand for what's good and right, so the only possible way you could disagree with me is if you're evil, and I can't make any concession to evil, I can only oppose and suppress it. Not a lot of nuance or self-awareness, but not necessarily bad faith.

You get some of the same on the American right - the only conceivable reason you might support state-provided healthcare is if you're Hitler.

David

Patrick,

I don’t know you can say they’re arguing in bad faith… they’re so convinced of their own self-evident rightness that they can’t accept or imagine sincere disagreement.

Well yes, some people are just delusional. Such that wishing misery and harm on random strangers is aired in print as somehow virtuous and uncontroversial. But is it simply delusion when, say, in the video linked above, the mob of Occupiers hold captive a disabled woman in a wheelchair? Isn’t there a flickering of calculation when they’re challenged by the cameraman? For several minutes the Occupiers show obvious satisfaction at the woman’s predicament – she can’t leave and they have power over her. It’s so wonderfully threatening. And when the cameraman tries to talk to them they suddenly start hiding their faces and try to drown out his questions. Which suggests a little doubt as to their own righteousness, as if at least some of them realise their pretence of heroism isn’t quite cutting it. Safely hidden from eye-contact and verbal challenge, they still carry on of course. As heroes do.

[ Added: ]

And likewise there’s this little moment. Idiot Hat Guy and his friends plan to obstruct a lawful business and “disallow” staff from entering or leaving their own place of work. (His intended victims can apparently still “practice their free will” provided they don’t actually try to earn a living or try to get home.) Idiot Hat Guy feels he’s “completely within his legal right” to do this. He says this while hinting that, should reinforcements arrive, things may get physical. But when faced with the cameraman’s suggestion that Idiot Hat Guy and his comrades are being bullies and forcing their will on others, IHG gets upset. He doesn’t like being confronted with what he’s actually doing, stated plainly. And so our champion of the people denies what’s happening (which doesn’t convince, given his previous boasting), then indulges in some rhetorical evasion. And when that sounds unconvincing he tries to change the subject by pretending that he’s the one whose freedoms are being “violated.”

It all looks a bit passive-aggressive, don’t you think?

dicentra

so convinced of their own self-evident rightness that they can't accept or imagine sincere disagreement.

In my book, that IS bad faith. People who hold strong opinions on any subject have the responsibility to contemplate the other perspectives and understand the internal logic, even if they find that logic to be reprehensible or deeply flawed.

Hell, I can even understand where the Nazis were coming from, or at least why people found Nazism appealing. UTOPIA! FINALLY! They were dead wrong, but they had a coherent reason for it.

If I were to imagine that "all atheists reject God because they have evil hearts," I would be engaging in some serious self-congratulation, not to mention vicious inaccuracy.

If I want to imagine that I'm on the side of the angels, don't I have to scrupulously avoid demonic behavior? Don't I have to self-examine regularly to check for bad faith? Don't I have to stop doing or saying this or that after I recognize that it's bad behavior, a violation of the principles I ostensibly uphold? Shouldn't I make sure that my evaluation of a person or group is based on what they actually do or say, rather than stereotype?

I realize that people can labor for a long time under a cloud of ignorance about their beliefs and behaviors, but in an age where geographic isolation means exactly nothing, when the Panopticon affords us the ability to see other people's explanations about themselves, don't I need to drop whatever preconceptions I have and deal with what they say they are? What kind of person prefers ignorance over knowledge or misconceptions over truth?

If that makes me a rare specimen, then how did I get this way? I had an ordinary upbringing in an ordinary town, went to ordinary public schools, did ordinary kid things. What's everyone else's excuse?

David

dicentra,

If I were to imagine that “all atheists reject God because they have evil hearts,” I would be engaging in some serious self-congratulation, not to mention vicious inaccuracy.

Which is why the wheelchair video is so telling. A sufficiently young or credulous person might well have some vehement opinions about socialism and the “99%”, and might believe his chanting and placard waving is virtuous and not at all self-flattering. He might even imagine his politics as being the politics of a hero. But even then, even given all that, surely it would be obvious that trapping a random disabled woman and taunting her isn’t exactly the action of a decent person, a moral person, let alone a hero?

[ Added: ]

And of course the wheelchair incident wasn’t at all unusual. The same “occupation” – of a conservative conference at the Washington Convention Centre in November 2011 - offered plenty of scope for those who delight in exerting power over others. Videos of the event show conference attendees trying to drive home, only to find Occupiers screaming abuse and refusing to let them leave, by climbing on their vehicles, blocking fire escapes and putting bewildered toddlers in their way.

Behind the mindless chants of “we are the 99%,” the actual, more honest message was difficult to miss. The occupants of the vehicles, including scared children, were left in little doubt that the mob surrounding them and hammering on their windscreens could do them harm at the slightest provocation. The point was to alarm and terrorise. Simply owning an expensive car was considered a form of incitement, and the drivers of such vehicles were singled out for particular harassment and threats. And the people being trapped and intimidated weren’t statusful politicians or CEOs; they were just ordinary members of the public whose politics were deemed insufficiently leftwing and thus in need of punishment. Similar incidents defined the psychology and dynamic of many other “occupations.”

And while these things were happening and the videos were being uploaded to YouTube, often by the culprits in self-congratulation, their cheerleaders at the Guardian and Independent were telling us how righteous and “uplifting” it all was. Dozens of them, including Laurie Penny, Priyamvada Gopal, Nina Power, David Graeber and Alexander Vasudevan, all of whom have been featured on this blog. That so many supposedly reputable voices of the left, including several academics, should profess such empathy with the mob dynamic - in which personal responsibility can be dispersed and obscured, thereby allowing scope for some physical emphasis - is, I think, telling too.

Hal

Given . . .

When faced with non-rational, bad faith positions, it’s very unlikely you’ll have much effect with argument and evidence. Nor will you be thanked for trying.

and

I don’t know you can say they’re arguing in bad faith… they’re so convinced of their own self-evident rightness that they can’t accept or imagine sincere disagreement.

Well yes, some people are just delusional.

. . . one can indeed only then vaguely note what delusional excuse is given at the moment, and instead more particularly focus on what the individual actually does. And when the only thing the individual does is to spout gibberish, that tells too.

As far as faith vs practice and definitely vs religion, given that faith and religion get confused, what I’ve noticed is that faith remains the often fictional story you hope you can convince others of, where practice is the action you do that demonstrates results to others. And religion, btw, also remains personal experience or knowledge that You may have encountered, but where you also acknowledge that someone else may not have your history, where therefore that someone else has absolutely no obligation to share in your experience just because it’s the most (insert commentary and cheerleading).

--- http://thecuria.com/science-and-religion.html is that last paragraph a bit more expanded . . . .

Hal

. . . instead more particularly focus on what the individual actually does. And when the only thing the individual does is to spout gibberish, that tells too.

And, what David wrote.

Joan

And the people being trapped and intimidated weren’t statusful politicians or CEOs; they were just ordinary members of the public whose politics were deemed insufficiently leftwing and thus in need of punishment... That so many supposedly reputable voices of the left, including several academics, should profess such empathy with the mob dynamic - in which personal responsibility can be dispersed and obscured, thereby allowing scope for some physical emphasis - is, I think, telling too.

That needed repeating.

Patrick Brown

Not in any sense defending them. Most of history's greatest monsters probably sincerely believed they were doing the right thing, and the people that got hurt either deserved it or the ends justified the means. Sincerity does not make you right, any more than claiming victimhood does.

Henry

The accelerating hand-wringing and self-flagellation over racism is a way to convince people that the current economic system is about as immoral as it can be

I don't know if it's intended that way by everyone who does it. Mostly these are people trying to figure out what to say so they'll fit in.

In an online discussion recently I noticed that a white man craftily changed the subject so as to could make another point about white guilt throughout history. He wasn't arguing a point, he was seeing if he could righteously score points against himself.

It's a weirdly self-destructive reflex response. Life is complicated, so rather than think about it, people grasp at a posture they can take, basically: "This is a difficult argument, but I know I'll get approval if I say X".

And there's a group smiling and nodding agreement - or clicking the blasted "like" button on Facebook, or the audience of idiots clapping on "Any Questions". They don't know any better, it's just group dynamics - the blind leading the blind.

Hal

Life is complicated, so rather than think about it, people grasp at a posture they can take, basically: "This is a difficult argument, but I know I'll get approval if I say X".

Except that life isn’t that complicated, where I’d say there is a noted tendency of idiots to prefer to be idiots because the particular faith states that everyone will go along with the idiocy all the time or is to be screamed at for practicing heresy.

Two questions that come to mind:

A) Consider one or all of three situations: 1. I exist in some near pre-industrial culture where my faith says that when I worship John Frum, then I will have shiny things and then everyone will admire me, 2. I exist in the Congo where my faith says that when I worship the owning and wearing of any costume piece with the John Frum label, then I will have shiny things and then everyone will admire me. 3. I exist in quite a few places as well as the Congo where my faith says that when I worship the owning and wearing of any costume piece with the John Frum label, then I will have shiny things and then everyone will admire me. Situation 2 is the sappeurs of the Congo, and 3 is any and all of the preppys/yuppys/hipsters/chavs/sloane rangers/whatever of several countries, where 2 and 3 have always been easily identified as merely being later but otherwise identical forms of Situation 1, that of the mere cargo cult.---Yes, the later cargo cults generate millions and billions of currency in profit, but mere cargo cult is mere cargo cult.

When the exact same sort of faith doesn’t involve things with labels which one possesses, but involves blindly proclaiming whatever bullshit comes along that someone is to be impressed by, is that also a cargo cult, or would that be a cargo culture, or is there another term? If there is another term, I’m not coming up with it . . . .

B) We note that random but documented bullshit is being desperately and emphatically proclaimed, and my reaction is that of waitaminnit, haven’t I written about that general form of faith already m’self? So, as a reality check, is it me or are we here noting and commenting on the weak and deluded that http://thecuria.com/powerful-weak-deluded.html describes?

. . . . and Oh, Hell Yes, I’d like to have a solution for the slingers of BS, but so far the only example I’m coming up with is that of Gautama, paraphrasing; Even though there are millions who are and will be blind and deaf regarding my documented achievement and success, I will still go preach because there are still some who will listen . . . . ---At least with the practice of the Buddhadharma the basic bottom line remains that each practitioner must confirm the practice personally, or otherwise will be doing mere faith . . .

dicentra

Most of history's greatest monsters probably sincerely believed they were doing the right thing, and the people that got hurt either deserved it or the ends justified the means.

Some of their acolytes might have thought that way, but the ringleaders and their lieutenants absolutely did not.

Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Che — all of them were psychopaths/sociopaths (whatever your definition), which means that they were psychologically incapable of wanting to do the right thing, not even to the slightest degree.

"Trying to do the right thing" presupposes an external ethical standard that you're trying to live up to: justice, kindness, compassion, nobility. You might be motivated by a nagging conscience when you see unfairness or cruelty.

Psychopaths have no conscience, however, just insatiable desires. Some researchers have theorized that their brains don't react properly to seratonin, so they continually seek out thrills (including murdering people just to see how it feels) to fill the Big Empty. Others have brain damage right behind the eyes, where the conscience is thought to reside. Psychopaths have no fear instincts: dangle them over a cliff with one hand and they'll never break a sweat.

The prime motivator for people like Hitler is the head-rush that comes with grandiosity, power, conquest, adulation, power, domination, and power. Everything they do is calcuated toward obtaining that head-rush: delusions of Messianic purpose, sweeping away your opponents with superior firepower (and hearing the lament of their women), addressing a delirious crowd from the balcony for hours on end, being the headline on every newspaper in the world for years and years.

Any utopian ideology that they concoct is designed to get people to support their ambitions. It's to establish themselves as Saviors of the World, perfectors of humanity, God Made Flesh. They believe it insofar as it provides the head-rush, but they are incabable of genuinely operating on principle (principle being outside themselves, and they're too narcissistic to perceive externalities). That's why they can preach all day long about a classless society while at the same time making sure that some pigs are more equal than others. The true object is to dominate; the rhetoric is merely a tool toward that end.

Mass murder is not merely a means to an end but an end in itself. Having the power of life and death over THAT many people makes you a veritable god, and how awesome is that? Don't doubt for a minute that Hitler and his goons enjoyed what they were doing, and that the enjoyment was the POINT.

Those of us with an intact conscience and with the desire to act on principle have a hard time imagining that such inhuman people exist, but they do, QED. The WORST thing we can do is give them the benefit of the doubt, as Neville Chamberlain did with Hitler. "Surely he is a reasonable man! I'm a charming chap: I'll just persuade him to abandon his ends!"

And Hitler did what all megalomaniacal psychopaths do: out-charmed Mr. Peace in Our Time, lied to him so convincingly that God Himself would be fooled, and then at the first opportunity went ahead and did what he wanted all along.

Not everyone is interested in "doing the right thing." Once you understand that, the world makes a lot less sense than before. Yipee!

dicentra

Mostly these are people trying to figure out what to say so they'll fit in.

Yes, marking oneself as being in The Cool Tribe motivates multitudes to say or do whatever they have to. Others are terrified of being mocked, reviled, or Thought Racist.

The guy I was corresponding with, however, exuded the "stomping on your face forever" vibe.

Spiny Norman

the only conceivable reason you might support state-provided healthcare is if you're Hitler.

Well, Patrick, although I can't recall anyone using those precise words, what the "right" is complaining about is not "state-provided" at all (we already have that for the poor, it's called Medicaid; and for the aged, it's called Medicare). If you're forced to purchase a state-approved, overpriced and low benefit health insurance policy at the point of a gun, which is what the ACA (aka Obamacare) essentially is - yes, if you don't, and refuse to pay the fine for not doing so, Internal Revenue Service agents (tax collectors) will come to your house with guns and take you away - then the Hitler comparison is not exactly wild hyperbole.

David

Patrick,

Sincerity does not make you right, any more than claiming victimhood does.

Absolutely. But I hope my point is clearer now. Amid all the naïveté, narcissism and obstinate wrong-headedness, there was at least some awareness of the dissonance and contradiction. Not least the contradiction of professing one’s “social justice” credentials while abusing and coercing random members of the public. Or delighting in the scaring and violation of other people simply because it was assumed they weren’t leftwing enough - and then looking uncomfortable when that malign satisfaction was caught on camera and revealed for what it was. My dozen or so posts on Occupy and their media boosters give some of the more vivid examples of moral dishonesty and rationalised malice. As when Occupiers painted on their own fake injuries before attacking police officers and hoping to be photographed as victims and martyrs. As when Occupiers insisted they were “peaceful and non-violent” while stockpiling razor blades to slash the hands and faces of police officers, and while intimating that any attempt to reclaim the property they had seized would result in violence. Because that violence would just happen somehow.

And as when Bearded Hat Guy, another educated moron, insisted that the owners of a small restaurant across the street – who were known to him only as random symbols of the bourgeoisie - weren’t workers at all, but “dominators.” And so apparently they didn’t deserve whatever benefits have resulted from their labours, risk and investment. You see, being a cartoon Marxist and therefore terribly clever, he just knew this. Bearded Hat Guy wanted us to know that he, being a Marxist, isn’t into domination. He simply wants to, in his words, expropriate your property and control how you – and everyone else - may live. So he’s an angel, obviously. To watch these people speak, to hear their contorted, self-flattering rationalisations, is to watch bad faith in action. They’d found a pretext to act out their fantasies. And oh what fun they had. As a demonstration of leftist anti-bourgeois psychology given mob anonymity and the power to threaten, it was quite instructive.

Patrick Brown

dicentra:

Not everyone is interested in "doing the right thing."

Absolutely. I was never convinced by Tony Blair's professions of sincerity, for example, and David's examples of some of the occupiers' behaviour are certainly in bad faith. Some hypocrisy can be put down to self-deception, but there are limits. I think at least some and probably most of the ridiculous shit the Guardian publishes is click-bait - say something outrageous, get lots of hits and thereby ad revenue - at least as far as the publisher is concerned. Whether the columnist is sincere is another matter.

But some people are motivated by a sincerely-held hatred which they believe is justified, and they think that's "doing the right thing" in acting out that hatred in extreme ways. I think they're just as dangerous, maybe even more so, as people who adopt a political position to get what they want.

dicentra

But some people are motivated by a sincerely-held hatred which they believe is justified,

A clear example being those white men who lynched black men who "went after our women." In their minds, they were acting in self-defense. They believed that black men were primitive, oversexed, subhumans whose only possible intention toward their fair daughters and wives was degradation and rape.

It's one thing to accept that blacks shouldn't be slaves; it's quite another when the question of sex and reproduction and the mixing of blood lines arises. That's visceral territory for anyone, a line that you Just Don't Cross.

It didn't help that demagogues large and small hysteriated [sic; coinage] that the only thing black men fantasized about all the live-long day was violating white women. And once whites "knew" what was on the minds of black men, all it took was the slightest approving look to "justify" an immediate lynching to preempt the impending crime.

Why, that sounds ever so much like something else, doesn't it? One group "knows" what wicked intentions are roiling in the minds of another group, and so the slightest manifestation of that wickedness justifies any and all retaliation against the guilty soul.

Whoda thunk?

David

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