Thursday, September 06, 2018

The Democrats' No Good, Ridiculous, Frivolous Day

All this is right.
   Both sides are crazy, both sides are uncivil...but it seems to show up at different levels. The right put an uncivil moron in the Oval Office. That's a pretty big score. But the incivility of the left afflicts the vocal, semi-to-fairly-to-very-educated class--the sorts of people inclined to go to confirmation hearings, protest on college campuses, tweet incessantly, and write articles for, sadly, the New York Times. There is no right-wing Antifa--that is, no active, violent quasi-militia that has as its telos the suppression of Constitutional rights, and which enjoys the quasi-approval of influential sectors of the right. Right-wing militias skulk around in the woods in Idaho playing Civil War 2.0. Antifa fills the streets of Berkeley and burns shit down if conservatives try to speak. If there were a right-wing Antifa, you'd know because the media would never, ever, ever talk or write bout anything else.

   OTOH, my inclination is always to blame a giant chunk of all this on...wait for it...Newt Gingrich. He basically deployed incivility as a weapon in the House, and it's propagated outward from there, to at least some extent. Or so it seems to me. I don't know whether there's any way to test such a claim.
   Then there's social media crazy, which the left basically owns. Use the wrong jargon, or say something ambiguous, and you could find yourself accused of the vilest things by a mob of rabid cultists. And, of course, the left is passionately attached to false accusations, hate-crime hoaxes, irrational interpretations of innocent infelicities, and so on.
   Though there's no real left-wing analog of white supremacists. (Actual white supremacists, I mean, of course. I'm not adopting the left's new tendency to call every racist a white supremacist, nor every racially sub-optimal utterance or belief "white supremacy." I'd guess that a fair number of people have at least some racist views--but there are almost no white supremacists.) So anyway, no real lefty analog of dudes with shaved heads and Nordic rune flags. Although, again, the left has its faction that gleefully looks forward to a white minority, and those who work fairly hard to convince non-whites that they really ought to hate whites... And, again: many of those are in the faculty... But, still: no runes. No runes is something, anyway.
   I don't think it pays much to get too hung up on which side is worse. Once you hit these levels of crazy bad, comparative judgments may lose much of their value, and tend just to be used as excuses to be insufficiently critical of your own side. I do continue to believe that the left is more dangerous, but I'm not at all sure of that. Mostly I think they're more dangerous because they're so firmly in the cultural driver's seat, so far as I can tell. But I haven't lived in real America for quite awhile, so I'm not sure about that either.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although, again, the left has its faction that gleefully looks forward to a white minority, and those who work fairly hard to convince non-whites that they really ought to hate whites... And, again: many of those are in the faculty... But, still: no runes. No runes is something, anyway.

Although they might have a completely anachronistic collection of african or native american primitive art. Which is kind of an obverse to the white nationalist rune obsession if you think about it.

I suppose the lefty tribal obsession is more delusive (I can be like this pure, primitive, war-mongering native) while the righty rune obsession is taboo (we need to bury our pagan, or now Christian, past).

I sort of have a theory that anytime you try to make a strong moral contrast between the extreme right and left, it will ultimately reduce to the difference in current stigma against holding extreme right wing views that unfortunately do not exist for left wing equivalents. And it even holds here!

9:27 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

It *is* weird that Nazism is like secular Satanism, while Communism--or even Stalinism or Maoism--isn't/aren't.

The difference, I think, is the Holocaust--and, maybe, to some extent, the fact that WWII was the titanic, apocalyptic struggle against evil. There's just no real analog of the footage of the murder camps.

Anyway...are extreme right-wing views stigmatized generally? What about extreme right-wing views that aren't racist/sexist?

'Here' *here* here? Like on this blog? Really?

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh no, you give things a fair shake, although I do think right wing views are definitely stigmatized (because racist/sexist has suffered extreme semantic bloat, so now immigration restriction is racist).

I'm not sure I buy the Holocaust distinction either. There's just too high a body count for the communists and other variants of extreme leftists (anticolonialists like Mugabe should really count). I think the determinative difference is that the right is actually very willing to uphold a stigma against extremism against its own side, while the left is completely unwilling to do the same. And that's probably why it was able to reach a critical mass of support to create a stigma in the first place. Otherwise it's just a partisan pissing contest.

For instance in the case of the Nazis, the nontrivial number of Americans who sympathized with Hitler/Nazism (like Henry Ford even, basically any noninterventionist circa 1930 would have been at least sanguine about him), quickly recanted after WWII and worked to stamp it out. It took decades for Lefties to even admit that Stalin was a problem against overwhelming damning evidence. If it's always a debate whether these things are bad, they just aren't stigma.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Well, those are interesting points alright.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

Sigh. If you want body counts, look at the various famines caused by British mercantilism, both in India and closer to home in Ireland. Blaming imhunity on "the other", be they communist or fascist, just doesn't work.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

How is that relevant to the question of differential treatment of the Nazis and the communists?

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to mention if someone proposed restoring the British viceroy in India, or any restoration of European colonialism, he would be met with a horror not seen with an appeal to Marxism. And again, the differences in raw human suffering caused by the two do not favor the Marxists.

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should point out that I don't really want Marxists to be stifled, I'd much rather them lose in an open competition of ideas, it's just really obvious that the intellectual marketplace isn't accurately weighing these things, which suggests somethings amiss (viz Leftists circling the wagons instead of taking responsibility for where they go wrong).

7:11 PM  

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