Thursday, May 24, 2018

Drum: Liberals Shouldn't Be Defending MS-13 Just Because Trump Doesn't Like Them

   I'm well aware that it's not everyone on the left...just almost everyone who's [many people who are] visible on the left.
   Drum writes:
This kind of stuff does nothing but waste our own time, make other people think we’re nuts, and give Trump terrific ammunition to use against us. How about if we dial down the political lens on every last thing and just agree that MS-13 is a bunch of very bad folks? They are, you know.
   He's right...but, honestly, it's this kind of stuff that's alienating me from the left. None of these reasons for not defending MS-13 is to the point. The important thing is: doing things like defending MS-13 makes liberalism/progressivism crazy. I don't mean it drives them crazy. I mean it constitutes their craziness. The left has largely flipped its shit. Yes, there's some truth in the claim that it's really just the vocal vanguard of the left that's flipped its shit... However, if rank-and-file left-of-center types weren't putting up with it, the vanguard wouldn't be doing it. Niceties aside: a fair bit of the left has so flipped its shit that it prefers MS-13 to Trump.
   And have I ever mentioned how I f*cking hate counterproductivity arguments??? What matters is that the left has flipped its shit. It matters waaaay less that this helps Trump, wastes time, etc. And stop worrying about how it makes you look crazy; worry about how it makes you be crazy.
   Again I assert: 
   [1] You can oppose the excesses of the right without going to equal and opposite crazy extremes
   [2]  Trump is awful; there's no need to make shit up about him.
   That latter point is really about the tedious "dog whistle" argument. Argumentum canis sibilis is last-ditch, unfalsifiable ad hoc hypothesis the left invokes when it wants to bitch about someone on the right, but they haven't actually said anything wrong. First it was: Trump says all illegal immigrants are animals!!!!!!!!!!!!1111 What nonsense. Trump's views are pretty well-known. He's not exactly known for keeping his cards close to his vest. He in no way believes that all illegals are "animals." He might very well have a low opinion of them. And he might very well be a racist who believes racist things about Hispanics. Or he might not. But you have to be blinded by partisanship to think that he thinks--or that he said--that all illegal immigrants are animals. He certainly didn't say it--and the odds that he believes it are very, very low.
   [Oops...didn't finish the thought:
Though some are still insisting that Trump said something he didn't say, others give up on that...but then fall back to the "dog whistle" argument: he didn't say the bad thing...but he suggested it. And it was a super-secret racist signal to the ravening hoards of the racist right.
   It's not that such things never happen. It's, rather, that they happen a whole lot less than progressives insist they do. The left seems to have become addicted to a kind of pseudoscientific conspiracy theory about all the phenomena it hates. Objective evidence indicates that racism is a lot less prevalent than they think.'s "systemic" or "structural." The bias is implicit! The messages are "dog whistles!"
   Racism is bad. (Why does that have to be said?) It's good to watch out for it. But it's not good to make it up. Racism has become like Satan to the left--it's everywhere...but undetectably so. At some point you need to at least consider the hypothesis that what you can't actually find actually isn't there.]
   Anyway. Though Drum is largely right, he's also importantly wrong.


Blogger Pete Mack said...

Um. Yes. And no. Mostly no. *I* hadn't seen any defence of MS13 until the single Twitter post that Drum links. And yes: Trump's right: you'd better learn to use statistics before posting inane things like that. (In particular: you can argue that they are not a major threat because they are a small group* in this country. But you can't argue that they aren't murderous because they aren't responsible for a significant fraction of the ~20000 murders committed annually in the US. In fact the MS13 murder rate is roughly 50x the background murder rate. Yeah. That's murderous.)

And then I noticed that the comment rate is ~60% of the retweet rate, and realized: yeah, this is a demonstrably bad tweet, *and its readers recognize it as such*. Sure enough a significant fraction of the comments are snarky dismissals

* about 10000. It is indeed a small group, and it's less murderous than ISIS. But it's not a whole lot smaller than ISIS. So: a real problem. But a long way from existential, and certainly deserving of less Presidential notice.

1:44 AM  

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