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When Patriotism Becomes Intolerance

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Patriotism is defined as a deep love and devoted defense of one’s country.  The term is also referred to as national loyalty, allegiance, and public spirit.

In the United States, we even take this one step further, coining the term Americanism for the preference of the United States and all of its institutions.  As far as I can tell, this kind of specific patriotism is unique to America.  I, for one, have never heard anyone say Italianism, Canadianism, Australianism, Zimbabweism, or the like.

We typically define Americanism by sarcastically pointing out things that are un-American, such as tiny cars, homes without air-conditioning, television sets smaller than forty inches; the list goes on.  But what is the true, deep essence of Americanism?

If you were to ask random people on the street, most would probably say that America is about freedom, both bestowing it and celebrating it.  Many may also mention Christianity as the reigning moral compass.  Others would describe America as the land of opportunity and say that you have the right to be who you truly are in this country.  American pride is often seen as the driving force behind justice, equality, civil rights, and, above all, freedom.

However, throughout history citizens have done terrible things to each other in the name of American pride:

  • During the American Revolution, patriots tarred, feathered, and otherwise violently attacked and intimidated Tories who chose to remain loyal to Britain, even though they were fighting the spread of tyranny.
  • When the Ku Klux Klan reformed less than one hundred years ago, its members flogged and lynched countless innocents while adhering to the organization’s new, simple slogan of “100 percent Americanism.”
  • In the 1950s, Senator Joe McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings sparked the far-reaching Communist witch hunt, which resulted in thousands of people being blacklisted and losing their jobs and homes.  Hundreds of filmmakers, writers, and actors were erased from history books, while businesses across the country went under because of suspected, and often imagined, subversive activity.
  • During the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, hate groups brutally assaulted and even lynched nonviolent activists who were trying to expose unjust Jim Crow laws.
  • In the days following the September 11th terrorist attacks, hate crimes against Muslims across the country increased and included vandalism, arson, assault, harassment, shootings, and even murder.

Many of these events may seem to have taken place too long ago to still be relevant, but their legacies remain.  Remnants of the Ku Klux Klan live on in the doctrines of other white supremacist groups, the Civil Rights movement took place within my parents’ lifetimes, and just last year protesters opposed Park 51, a multi-faith community center close to ground zero in New York City because it included a Muslim mosque.  Clearly, these feelings haven’t disappeared completely in the nearly two and a half centuries since the end of the Revolutionary War.

Pride in your country is a great thing, but when patriotism manifests in the form of hate crimes or riots, we tend to forget about freedom.  We fail to remember that when a gay person is assaulted, his or her attacker is denying his or her right to self-expression.  When a mosque is bombed, its inhabitants are denied their right to the free exercise of religion.  When we live in a country known for advocating freedom but deny the full extent of it to our own citizens inside our own borders, we become hypocrites. As it turns out, intolerance is one of the most un-American activities in practice.

In the United States, we seem to subscribe to the idea of freedom with an asterisk.  We celebrate civil rights, but qualify them with silent and invisible clauses.  For example:

  • You are free to believe whatever you want; as long as I believe it, too.  
  • You can say whatever you like; as long as I was already thinking it.  
  • You can give me new ideas; as long as they are extensions of ideals I already had. 
  • You can be the person you want to be; as long as it is the person I want you to be.

This fine print style of freedom is not freedom at all.  It’s pigeonholing and it doesn’t work.  As Americans, we cannot offer the freedoms of speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition and then attack someone for using them in a way some may deem un-American.  The First Amendment is not the summer camp talking-stick of Constitutional law; it does not exist only for the person holding it at the time.

We live in a society that is increasingly reliant on the development of new ideas and connections on a larger scale.  The internet and social media put us in contact with the entire world with just a few clicks, the economy has become more global, and many cultures are meeting each other head on.  If we cannot accept each other within America’s fifty states, we cannot hope to succeed in the world as a whole.

The diverse demographic groups across the United States make this country’s culture a rich one, and the fact that there are so many dynamic viewpoints only serves to further enhance our lives.  However, we must be able to allow the free exchange of ideas and the free celebration of individuality without the fear of abusive retaliation.  When patriotism becomes intolerance, everyone loses.

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About Amanda Stonebarger

  • Very nice piece of work, Amanda.

    As one of them durn furriners living in America, and having travelled a fair bit, I can tell you that there are such things as Canadianism, Italianism etc, even if they aren’t known by those names. People the world over live their lives confident in the knowledge that theirs is the greatest nation ever to grace the Earth. They are usually aware that people living elsewhere might not agree, but beyond a vague sense of pity for the unfortunate non-Frenchman or non-Japanese or whatever, they don’t much care.

    The difference with American patriots is that not only do they believe that theirs is the greatest country on Earth, they expect everybody else to agree that it is too – and can get very confused and upset when they don’t.

  • Amanda Stonebarger

    Thank you! I really appreciate your perspective, and I think you make a really good point about the expectations of American patriotism.

  • Baronius

    from “A Narrower Atlantic”, Prospect Magazine 2009:

    Yes, Americans are patriotic and nationalistic, but according to the World Values Survey, undertaken between 1999 and 2001, not more than some Europeans. Unsurprisingly, Germans are least proud of their nation, and rather unexpectedly, the Portuguese—not the Americans—are most, with the Irish tied for second place. Granted, Americans are more likely to think that their country is better than most others. But more Portuguese, Danes and Spaniards feel that the world would be improved if other people were like them, and a larger fraction of Americans admit that there are aspects of their country that shame them than do the Germans, Austrians, Spanish, French, Danes and Finns.

  • Although, Baronius, one significant thing to note about that survey is that it was conducted before 9/11. Has anything similar been undertaken since, I wonder?

  • zingzing

    it is interesting though, isn’t it doc? i wonder if europeans think americans think more highly of themselves than they actually do. people outside of america have just as many false impressions of america as people in america have of those outside of america.

    and american history since 9/11 has been a big old mixture of good and bad. i’d bet both irrational patriotism and somewhat rational shame have risen in america. and what with so many thinking this country is on the wrong path is so many different ways… i wonder if things wouldn’t be even more off from your final paragraph in #1.

    silly ferner.

  • Tocqueville didn’t. He nailed it down as good as any American man/woman of letters.

  • And then, there was Montaigne, sharp-eyed with respect to his own culture and without, equally critical of the human condition.

    But it does take detachment.

  • And Voltaire, and …

  • Dan

    “If we cannot accept each other within America’s fifty states, we cannot hope to succeed in the world as a whole.”

    Amanda has no awareness of her hyperintolerance for traditional white american principles and values.

    Such an alien perspective from my own.

    If I were to express the view that the whole point of white American civilization extending it’s goodness to failed third world inhabitants around the globe was based on the notion that diverse peoples would learn and master values like individuality, capitalism, and meritocracy.

    Since that idea hasn’t seemed to pan out, and group rights are all the rage, and Constitutional rights are skirted to eternally address fictionalized “historical wrongs”…

    Would it be a reasonable viewpoint, all “rich” and “dynamic” and everything to suggest that earlier traditional Americans were wrong to assign rigid orthodoxy to the original egalitarian theory. (before it was discarded in favor of the “diversity is strength” creepy mantra to cover for the failure)

  • Baronius

    You hear a lot of stories about Americans abroad who are embarrassed about their home land. I’ve never met a foreigner in the US who speaks ill about his native country (outside of people from Africa or the USSR who escaped some terrible conditions).

    I think that a lot of it, on the American side, is the intensity of our political divide. At any given time there’s 40%+ of our electorate who’s ashamed of our president.

  • Since that idea hasn’t seemed to pan out…

    Gee, I wonder why.

    I think it might have just a teensy-weensy bit to do with the fact that “white American civilization” decided unilaterally to “extend its goodness” around the world on the basis that their societies had “failed”, without bothering to consult these “failed” peoples on the question of whether this was actually true.

  • You hear a lot of stories about Americans abroad who are embarrassed about their home land.

    As someone from abroad who’s travelled a lot with Americans, I have to say that’s unusual.

    There are American travellers – particularly young ones – who make a point of sewing Canadian flags on their backpacks, but this is to deter unwanted attention because of the negative image Americans abroad have (and because most Europeans can’t distinguish between American and Canadian accents).

    This negative image is sometimes political, and sometimes to do with the unfortunate habit American tourists tend to have of loudly complaining about the amenities and services on offer in the country they’re visiting and boasting about how much better things are back home.

    It isn’t entirely a caricature. My own wife used to do it when I first met her, at which time she was such a traveller. She doesn’t any more.

  • The emigre community in Paris, the lost generation, was critical.

    In fact, the loss of the American Dream theme goes back to F. Scott Fitzgerald (Great Gatsby, The Last Tycoon) if not sooner.

  • Wonder what Hemingway would think of present-day America? He’d probably shoot himself in the head not once, not twice, but three times.

    But Hemingway was a communist, un-American, and certainly no liberal.

    Oh, well!

  • Zingzing

    Roger, I don’t think you can say “liberal” in the 1920s and equate it with today’s liberal, be that good or bad. Hemingway, in the end, was different from Fitzgerald and I don’t know what they would have to say to each other.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    You have no idea how many times I’ve seen my fellow sailors overseas spread the same kind of “America’s the best of everything” crap…but the sad thing is that most of them probably wouldn’t have been half so bad if they didn’t feel the uber-patriotic peer pressure i.e. Thou Shalt Always Sing the Praises of America because inside every non-American is an American yearning to breathe free, or something like that.

  • Clavos

    You have an authoritative source for that “Hemingway was a Communist” statement, Roger?
    He was known to have supported the anti-Franco rebels, but I never heard that he was an actual Communist, he was supporting the anti-Franco forces because they were anti-Franco.

  • Arch Conservative

    “If we cannot accept each other within America’s fifty states, we cannot hope to succeed in the world as a whole.”

    “Amanda has no awareness of her hyperintolerance for traditional white american principles and values.”

    Well duh….she doesn’t even know that there are fifty-seven states.

  • jamminsue

    Arch, Fifty seven? Last time I looked at the flag, there were 50 stars.

  • zingzing

    jamminsue, archie refers to obama’s reference to the amount of territories the us holds, including the states. archie just thinks we’re all too dumb to figure it out.

    he’s been telling the same joke for over three years now and he still thinks it’s funny…

  • @15

    That label was just thrown in to complete the string. But these people weren’t happy puppies and found the air of Paris more refreshing and intellectually stimulating.

    If you want a more recent example, take Norman Mailer. And I’ll always choose the wisdom of a novelist over any of BC luminaries, myself included.

  • @17

    tongue in cheek, Clavos, just as “un-American” and “no liberal” were used. Why? To accentuate how true-blue Americans would be apt to call him.

    (But we know, of course, that communists played no small part in the anti-Franco revolt.)

  • Didn’t, BTW, US support Franco?

  • hyperintolerance for traditional white american principles and values

    This comment stupefied me. No one else seems to have been very shocked by it. We should consider the source, I guess.

    But appending “white” to “traditional American values” is just so…wrong in so many ways. To name two, Native Americans, and blacks brought here as slaves, have as much claim on history as white folks, if less power. But even outside that context, why “white american principles and values”?

    Great article, Amanda.

  • Exactly, why “white”?

    But that was Arch’s “clever” way of debunking the main thrust of the article.

    After all, he’s a Tea Partier to the very core, bemoaning the loss of status on the part of the poor, downtrodden whites.

    One wonders whether Ron Paul would agree.

  • It wasn’t Arch, it was Dan.

  • Zingzing

    And that explains that.

  • Got me wonder for a while. Arch, the white supremacist?

  • 80smetalman

    I have been on both sides of the patriotic fence. I went from a fanatical patriot growing up to a very angry America hater in my mid twenties. What made me go those extremes was the intolerance I suffered from people once I got out of the marines. Now I am one of those who feels he is patriotic because I am not afraid to say when the US gets it wrong just as I would say when they got it right.
    I live in Britain now and the British complain constantly about the country but it doesn’t mean that they are ashamed of it. Far from it, most British love their country and feel it’s their God given right to complain about it. I guess what I am saying here is that you can love your country but not love some of the things it does.

  • Amanda Stonebarger

    Handyguy and Roger, I was also bothered by the reference to my alleged “hyperintolerance for traditional white american principles and values” because I didn’t (and don’t) equate patriotism or Americanism with whiteness. Like you said, there are groups that have just as much, or more, claim to being American.

    If I do have hyperintolerance, it is for narrow-mindedness. America stands for a lot of great things–freedom, individuality, the American dream, etc.–but in practice, sometimes these principles get skewed into something completely different. I cannot jump on a bandwagon that is basically saying, “You are different than I am, therefore I am better and you have less rights.”

    Patriotism shouldn’t be used to validate violent, virulent hatred, no matter the country or the “dissenting” view. I speak as an American because I see these things happening around me, and I feel this is an especially hypocritical use of patriotism in a country that tries to expound freedom from every pore.

  • Amanda Stonebarger

    And I agree with you, 80smetalman–you can love your country without loving every single minute detail about it.

  • What do you think of OWS, Amanda?

    It’s going on in London as well.

  • Metalman makes a great point. We Brits kvetch about our country all the time (taking the weather as the invariable starting point and expanding from there) but it’s because we care about it and want it to be great. For all its failings we know that, truth be told, there are very few places in the world that are as good to live in.

  • Sorry, Amanda, took somebody else’s remark for yours.

    My question still stands.

  • Clavos

    But even outside that context, why “white american principles and values”?

    Because most of America’s “values” have little to offer to non-whites?

  • From across the pond, here’s a novel approach to national identity that Dan would no doubt approve of.

  • Amanda Stonebarger

    I support Occupy Wall Street and think it’s great that the movement is becoming more global. What about you?

  • Amanda Stonebarger

    Haha, love the video!

  • @37

    Good for you.
    Here’s the link to my recent.

  • @35

    True Clavos speaking.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    80smetalman and Amanda, #’s 29 and 30 –

    I agree wholeheartedly. I can sympathize almost word-for-word with 80smetalman’s experience. I did my 20 years in the Navy and went from being someone who draped himself in the flag to someone who wouldn’t blink an eye at someone burning the flag – after all, America was never supposed to be about a piece of cloth, but about an idea.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “Because most of America’s “values” have little to offer to non-whites?”

    how so? and how are you defining “values,” other than putting the word in scare quotes and obviously meaning something different…

    i ask this without knowing if i agree with you or not, because you haven’t managed to convey much of your idea in your response.

    i agree that america’s relationship with minorities has been troubled. but… i think a lot of our values cross racial lines. i don’t know. i can’t really think of a “value” that’s in any real way “american” to the point of exclusivity. i dunno.

  • Is it his conservatism that makes Clavos say that?

  • zingzing

    nah, it’s his cynicism.

  • But for a conservative, he’s saying an outrageous thing.

    Aren’t you puzzled at all?

  • Jonathan Kellis

    “In the days following the September 11th terrorist attacks, hate crimes against Muslims across the country increased and included vandalism, arson, assault, harassment, shootings, and even murder.”

    Are you serious? You got to be ignorant to believe this! Americans are exemplary in their behavior in this respect. What standard are you judging America by in your condemnation?

  • Zingzing

    “But for a conservative, he’s saying an outrageous thing.”

    It’s just bitter old clavos. Don’t give him more than he’s worth. On a good day, he’ll acknowledge he’s just being clavos. It was meaningless chatter and even.he doesn’t know what it means, apparently.

  • 80smetalman

    First, I like to thank Glenn and Dr Dreadful for their answers as they are spot on. Also Glenn, it is always good to know that I am not alone in my experiences and just in case anyone is thinking about it. The reason I live in Britain has nothing to do with America. My reason is more basic and involves a British woman.
    Let me sidetrack for a moment but it’s a great example of how Americans can be skewed in their patriotism. The World Cup, many Americans don’t support the national side because “It’s not our game” or even un- American. However, if the US should do the unthinkable and actually win the World Cup, I wonder how many Americans would start boasting about the US beating the world at its own game.

  • Clavos

    even he doesn’t know what it means, apparently…


    How so?

    I rarely (if ever) write something the meaning of which I don’t “know.”

    Your (and others’) consternation is more rooted in your pigeonholing than anything else.

    Think about it.

  • Was I pigeonholing you, Clavos?

    I believe I was doing the very opposite.

    Just for the record.

  • Clavos

    No, I don’t think you were pigeonholing, Roger.

  • Zingzing

    Go on, then, clavos… What do you mean then?

  • Zingzing

    And are you not cynical? That’s the only hole of yours i shoved a pigeon in. I thought it fit.

  • What I find ironic about this whole thing, a liberal of, say, forty years ago would have said exactly what Clavos had said, and saying that would raise no eyebrows from any of his or her colleagues. Fast-forward to the present, it takes a Clavos type of conservative to say the very same thing to the total dismay of modern-day liberals.

    I wasn’t aware we’ve progressed all that much in the last forty years or so, but then again, I’m always liable to be wrong.

  • zingzing

    yep, you would be wrong. you read simplicity into what is a complex issue. you take part of what i say and ignore the other half for no good reason. not good form, roger. it makes you miss the point.

    i don’t disagree with clavos about the fact that minorities get a raw deal in certain areas of american life. but i don’t think it’s got much to do with american values, or whatever clavos is trying to say. american values should support minorities, in theory. it’s in practice that the promise of american values gets a bit muddled. it’s in practice that values get lost and reality reveals itself to be harsh. that’s not the fault of the values.

  • zingzing

    but it was a nice try, roger, to say something silly and misleading. i applaud you. crass shit, though. it’s hard to miss the point that widely. i hope you see that.

  • zing, once I begin to see you have valid points to make, I’ll start taking you seriously. Until then, I’ll be missing your “points” by design, and the only kind of response you’re gonna get from me is sheer sarcasm (or “crass shit” as you prefer to call it).

  • zingzing

    right, roger. it’s not “sarcasm,” it’s the inability to be honest. your “design” is nothing but consistent misreading, and it doesn’t illuminate anything except that you can’t respond to what someone actually says. i don’t know why you think it reflects well upon you. but it doesn’t.

  • whatever makes you comfortable, zing.

  • And BTW, I’ve long stopped worrying about what what people think whether something reflect well upon me or not.

    Just so you know …

  • Clavos

    …it’s in practice that the promise of american values gets a bit muddled…

    “A bit muddled” is quite an understatement, but that, along with the idea that I no longer see America as having “values” (everything seems to take on the characteristics of a power grab when the politicians [all of ’em] are in charge), is what I meant.

  • Dan

    “Because most of America’s “values” have little to offer to non-whites?”–Clavos

    It’s true. Traditional “white” american values like individualism, and self reliance do not appeal to non whites who are used to being privileged and dependent.

  • That is so despicable, so untrue/unprovable, so gratuitous, so full of bile.

  • Dan

    nothing angers more than truth.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Or worthless racists.

  • @62

    That wasn’t Clavos’ meaning, Dan.

    You do know that!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    When I read Dan’s comment #62, I am reminded so well of the racists I grew up with, who I once thought knew what was really going on in the world.

    Then I joined the Navy, saw the world, grew up (note the sequence), and found out how stupidly and maliciously wrong were those racists I had once counted as my friends, who I still count as my family.

    I live in Kitsap County, Washington. Thanks to the Navy, there’s a truly sizable minority population in Kitsap County.

    Time and time and time again, I see people (mostly men, but sometimes women) standing at the street corners asking for money. Out of the hundreds I’ve seen in Kitsap County, only ONE has been black, and NONE have been Hispanic or Asian. All but one have been white. I’ve seen Hispanics on the street corners, true – but without exception they’ve all been selling fruit, instead of simply asking for handouts like my fellow whites have.

    And then I read how down in Alabama since the anti-WWB (Walking-While-Brown) law was recently passed, the unemployed whites are largely refusing to do the jobs out in the hot sun that the Hispanics were doing quite well at, because the jobs were simply too physically demanding.

    I wasn’t surprised. I saw the same thing in the Mississippi Delta in my youth – all the blacks were in the fields chopping cotton in the hot Delta sun, but the most demanding jobs the whites did was to drive and maintain the John Deere tractors.

    BUT ALL THIS MUST BE FALSE! Why? Because DAN SAYS that nonwhites are used to being privileged and dependent!

  • zingzing

    clavos: “”A bit muddled” is quite an understatement, but that, along with the idea that I no longer see America as having “values” (everything seems to take on the characteristics of a power grab when the politicians [all of ’em] are in charge), is what I meant.”

    well, that’s what i thought. i’m not as cynical as all that, but…

    “Your (and others’) consternation is more rooted in your pigeonholing than anything else.”

    you don’t think it’s cynical?

  • zingzing

    roger: “And BTW, I’ve long stopped worrying about what what people think whether something reflect well upon me or not.”

    well, you look functionally illiterate. you can read the words, but you can’t interpret them with any reliability. respond to what people say roger, not whatever you please. for the hundredth time… god, this is tiring.

  • Zing, I’ve told you time and again, I don’t want to take your words as how you mean them because to do so would be stooping down to your level of conversation. I refuse to argue at your level. There’s just no point.

    How many times do I have to repeat myself before it finally sinks in? And I don’t care what names you call me, exasperated as you may be, simply because I don’t put any value on your pronouncement.

    Can’t you get it, for chrissake?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Let me see if I’ve got this straight:

    Roger doesn’t respect zingzing at all, so when zingzing says something Roger makes up his own version of zingzing’s meaning and argues that instead. Roger does this because, again, he doesn’t value what zingzing has to say – at all.

    For an anarchist/radical (or for anyone, really), that’s an incredibly arrogant and demeaning tactic.

    Beyond that, the real question has to do with why Roger would attempt communication at all if he’s really only communicating with his projections.

  • zingzing

    god, you’re condescending. if that’s how you feel, why do you bother? just to prove how much of an asshole you can be?

    no, roger, i think you just think far too highly of yourself and judge others based on your arrogance, nothing more.

    you make up nonsense about how glenn and i are racist by pretending something was said that was NEVER SAID, then now you completely misunderstand something i wrote on this thread and then act like you did it on purpose. you just don’t understand what other people write, roger, and you make yourself look a fool. if you think misunderstanding people elevates the level of the conversation, you are sadly mistaken. it makes you look like a confused dick, that’s all.

  • zingzing

    obviously, 72 was for condescending, lying roger, not very nice jordan.

  • What’s up, Jordan, looking for an argument?

    Communication wasn’t with zing – it consisted of posing a question. And when I get a fool’s answer, I treat it accordingly.

    No projection at all. A fool’s answer deserves no better

    And yes, I am fucking arrogant and intolerant to boot, especially when it comes to stupidity. But I thought you would have know that by now.

  • Condescending, definitely. Why lying though?

    Do you mean to suggest I feign my contempt for you? But to say that, zing, it’s only to try to re-assure yourself that no one could possibly think you’re despicable. It’s simply unimaginable to you that some truly might, which is why you’re accusing me of lying.

    But as I said, zing, whatever makes you comfortable.

  • zingzing

    “Why lying though?”

    because you can’t just make up shit. i don’t know how you missed that. i direct you to the third paragraph of #72. read it. understand it, roger. know its meaning.

    “Do you mean to suggest I feign my contempt for you?”

    no! for fuck’s sake, why would you think that? it’s because you fucking made up some bullshit about glenn and i saying that illiteracy is a black thing. you fucking made that shit up and then you go and make up some more bullshit on this thread. you’re a liar. your “I don’t want to take your words as how you mean them” means you’re just making up shit. it’s lies. that’s why you’re a liar. get it?

    it’s not strange to me that you’ve never addressed the fact that you fucking lied about what glenn and i said to clavos, but that’s because you lie to yourself as well. you tell yourself that you did it for god knows what reason, but all you’ve done is falsely portray people as something they’re not.

    “It’s simply unimaginable to you that some truly might, which is why you’re accusing me of lying.”

    nope, it’s because you lie. and you make shit up. you liar. it’s simply unimaginable to you that you could do wrong by anyone, but you’ve done wrong.

    you’re either too dense or too arrogant to understand.

  • Jordan Richardson

    No, Roger, not a fight – just clarity. I’ve been wondering why this sort of thing happens so often with you in the middle of it and I think I’ve finally stumbled on it. This isn’t meant as a “dig” or an insult, by the way, and I’m not looking for a fight.

    I have a hunch that you suffer from some sort of personality disorder, probably along the lines of narcissism at a clinical level:

    “A pattern of traits and behaviours which signify infatuation and obsession with one’s self to the exclusion of all others and the egotistic and ruthless pursuit of one’s gratification, dominance and ambition.”

    The bolded portion is of particular importance because it speaks to exactly what you’re doing here with zingzing and have done with almost every other poster here.

    Even in your own descriptions, as the “Prompter” in your Animal Farm riff, you define yourself as above the fray and as somehow “advancing” the debate using your superior intellect. Others are mere annoyances or “fools,” whereas you are sublime.

    I think this goes beyond your political philosophy and to a crisis of personality itself, Roger. It’s not that zingzing is a “liberal” or Dave Nalle is a “conservative” or I’m an “Alien” at all. It’s a fundamental psychological approach, one that causes you demean and belittle (or mangle the words of) those you agree with as much as you demean and belittle those you disagree with.

    What happens on these pages, when it comes to you, is beyond simple political discussion. You need Blogcritics and the “fools” here because you need “narcissistic supply” and the feeling of superiority, however false it may be. Anyone else who loathed the bulk of people at a site such as this would’ve long moved on to more preferable terrain.

    For this reason, nobody will ever be able to communicate with you for long unless you happen to idolize them. Small periods exist where you’ve “gotten along” with zingzing or handyguy or even me, but those are quickly dashed when you need more “supply.”

    Of course, you’ll dismiss this and probably try to insult me because, let’s face it, that’s what narcissists do. But I really think you ought to consider my theory, however incomplete it may be.

    I also think, as a small aside, that you’ve chosen “anarchism” as your “cause” because it is perhaps at direct odds with your need to dominate, demean and abuse others. Perhaps hiding in the wilds of anarchistic thought enables you to conceal your true nature. I’m not sure.

  • Rhanks for the psychoanalysis, Jordan, and don’t you worry, I am not about to read your post. But if it makes things clearer for you, I suppose it served its purpose.

    Again, whatever makes you happy.

  • And BTW, Jordan, I’m not here “to get along.” What kind of stupid idea that would be.

    Of course I’m all for good honest communication if and when I can get it. But communication, Jordan, entails having a relationship of sorts. And insofar as the three of you are concerned, there has been none.

    Get it!

  • Jordan Richardson

    Yes, I get it.

  • I wasn’t being facetious, Jordan, I meant every word, and I do hope you understand.

    Communication is relational, first about people and secondarily about ideas. Sorry to say, this hasn’t been my experience in the instances I mentioned. I understand some people may have other priorities, but that’s their standard, not mine.

    So no, there has been no communication with Handy and zing, however hard at times I tried, none at all.

  • Zingzing

    “don’t you worry, I am not about to read your post.”

    Whatever makes you happy, Roger…

  • what was the point of your comment, zing?

  • Zingzing

    What was your point when you said it to me or Jordan? But if you’re really asking, and I really don’t think you are, but I’ll indulge, I think you won’t read jordan’s comment because you’re afraid it might be somewhat right. I don’t know that it is, but while you can certainly misread other people’s minds, you don’t seem too interested in other people doing the same. So you’re happier without it. Fair enough?

  • Let Jordan answer that if he wants to? But what was the point of your #82?

  • Dan

    “I live in Kitsap County, Washington. Thanks to the Navy, there’s a truly sizable minority population in Kitsap County.”—glenn

    According to the 2010 US Census, Kitsap County is 2.6% “black persons”, 6.2% “hispanic or latino origion”, and 82.6% “white persons”.

    Your lying would be more effective if you didn’t always grossly overshoot what normal, sane people see and experience in their everyday lives. Nobody really believes that the panhandlers you see are really “hundreds” to “one” white, even in a county that is over 82% white.

    panhandling isn’t even something I would associate with non white privilege and dependency. It’s more of a free enterprise pursuit. There is no state coercion. Panhandlers can be ignored.

  • In SF they’re predominantly white. Is it because African-Americans are more ingenious about making it, I don’t know.

  • Anyway, Jordan, do you basically agree with my concept?

  • Zingzing

    “Let Jordan answer that if he wants to?”

    Answer what?

    “But what was the point of your #82?”

    Jesus Christ, Roger. After # 84, why would you need to ask that?

  • It was your #82, not mine. Obviously you had a point to make or you wouldn’t have posted the comment. What was it?

    Jordan’s got nothing to do with it, it was you remark, not Jordan’s.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Roger, I agree with your concept on basic terms. I also agree that you have had the experiences you’ve had with respect to communicating with certain people here, but I think that you ought to consider your own priorities when it comes to why you return to the well.

    You’re doing this because it works for you. So why does it work for you? What is it about miscommunication, bluster and turmoil that meets your needs?

  • Jordan Richardson

    what normal, sane people see and experience in their everyday lives

    Dan, I don’t believe you’re at all acquainted with the “normal, sane” experience.

  • zingzing

    i have no idea what you’re talking about at this point. #84 should answer your question about #82. don’t know why you’re not getting that. maybe you’re not reading the numbers correctly. i dunno.

    and you asked “let jordan answer that if he wants to?” (although why that was a question is beyond me…) was that to my “fair enough?” if so, i don’t know why he’d be the one who needed to answer. if it was for the other question i asked, that being “What was your point when you said it to me or Jordan?,” that wasn’t a question for jordan either.

    so i don’t know what you’re referring to, but i’m at least trying to figure it out.

  • I don’t return to the well, Jordan, for the sake of communicating with people I never have, but since this a bulletin board, I am going to put my two cents’ worth in order to either stimulate thought or to raise a query about what I regard as an unsound idea. That’s not “returning to the well” but simply to register my own voice vis-a-vis other voices. If others don’t feel up to the challenge, that’s their business, but that’s where the communication breaks down.

    Contrary to what you may believe, I do believe in reaching a common ground, always have, but it has got to be a two way street. So no, I’m not looking for any kind of turmoil or disruption, those are not my needs, but I’m simply being realistic to realize that with some people communication isn’t possible (for me at least) Which, again, is no reason for me not to raise a query. The fact that it’s received by some with hostility or resentment is a problem I can’t be concerned about.

    I’ve had some decent exchanges with you, and then some breakdowns. Same with Cindy. Never with troll or Anarcissie. So it’s not exactly the case that I look for turmoil or disruption, although, granted, posing queries is my way. If some people can’t handle it, too bad, but I am not going to abandon my style for anybody’s sake. But since they can’t handle it and raise a stink instead, engaging them further makes no point.

  • Forget it, zing, talking to you is like talking to a machine.

    For all intents and purposes, you do come across as a plant whose express purpose is to disrupt this site.

    Yep, that’s the image, either a plant or a machine. I’ll bear that in mind.

  • Zingzing

    I have no idea why you react the way you do, Roger. Clearly, one of us is not quite sane. Since I can’t trust myself nor you, we’ll just have to leave it for others to decide for themselves. You really don’t get the relationship between #82 and #84? I’m lost, I guess…

    –either a plant or a machine.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Roger, you frequent this particular website for a reason. Blogcritics’ politics section features generally the same round of people, with rare new blood, and has for years. It’s not exactly a hotbed of fresh opinion and discussion. There are plenty of other places to go (and actual message/bulletin boards, too) if your aim is to simply put your two cents in. Most people frequent this site, I think, because of the community it features. Even those you think of as pests come here for a reason.

    Furthermore, your insistence on having certain replies (like from me over at my OWS article or from others when they don’t answer you soon enough) betrays a certain attachment to the pixels that, again, goes beyond your stated desire to merely drop a dime in the discussion board of life.

    I agree with regard to what common ground requires, but I still maintain my opinion as to your role in interfering with effective communication. There’s a reason that so many of us have reached similar conclusions – and it’s not because we dislike you.

    You constantly state that you’re not concerned about how your words are taken or about what others think of you, but I don’t really think that’s true. Again, there are plenty of other places online (tens of thousands of sites) that you can simply drop your opinion into.

    Your “style” isn’t “posing queries” at all; it’s misrepresentation. It comes off as a combination of insincerity, dishonesty and needless provocation. Even Cindy got sick of it.

    If you were merely posing queries to dig at some fragment of truth, you would not meet the resistance and ire that you do. It’s because you restate the opinions of others in your own terms that this happens all the time. On top of that, you claim to not care and not want to bother. It doesn’t add up.

    You should value yourself more than this, Roger. You have something to offer and can, if you want to, impart your wisdom and experience to this community. And, in turn, perhaps you can benefit from our experiences and our clumsy wisdom.

    Just a consideration or several. Have a good one.

  • Roger seems to be seriously damaged in some way I can’t even begin to fathom. Trying to communicate with him is like using one of those computer programmes that attempt to mimic human conversation.

    Nine times out of ten they misunderstand and respond inappropriately and the tenth time they make very little sense at all.

    This remark “And yes, I am fucking arrogant and intolerant to boot, especially when it comes to stupidity. But I thought you would have know that by now” is a classic.

    I presume he is talking about himself as stupid, which is all that we can conclude by the way he responds to remarks addressed to him.

    Roger, I don’t know why you are so difficult to communicate with but the Nowosielski experience is really becoming a bore.

    I’m tempted to start considering your apparently wilful and deliberate misunderstanding of people as trolling and if, after further due consideration, I do reach that conclusion, I will take action in my role as comments editor to prevent it.

    I really hope it won’t come to that and you will have the wisdom to consider what I and others have said and change your approach. This advice won’t be repeated though…

  • Thank you both for your professional advice. It occurred to both of you of course, it’s being offered unsolicited. I know, I know, you have my well-being in mind, especially Jordan, offering a fatherly advice, haha. Rose’s comment is tolerable since he is after all, one of the comments editors and acting in his “official capacity,” one could say.

    As for you, Jordan, I tried my damnedest more than once to keep you separate from the fanatical troika (see Cannon’s remarks on the latest Jacobine article) which has effectively, hijacked BC’s political site. I tried to credit you at times with some integrity, but I see my efforts have been in vain. I’m done with you, you’re not worth the effort.

    As a postscript to Mr. Rose, so now we’re changing the standards of the comments policy to include “trolling” instead of personal attacks — where “trolling” simply means “being hard to communicate with.” Very ingenious.

    Don’t you worry, Mr. Rose. I’ll stay within so-called bounds as you define them until I decide otherwise. Just out of curiosity, though, do you regard yourself a good communicator? How would you characterize your responses to people you disagree or have disagreed with — Ruvy, Irene Athena, Cindy, troll, any Christian writer in fact, even Dave Nalle at times — other than just plain bashing? Never mind me, I don’t fucking count.

    I’m quite aware this comment may suffer severe editing if not complete deletion, so as to leave you and Jordan as having the final say. That’s always been your style, Mr. Rose, because you are immune to any kind of criticism. Your objectivity and fairness are not be questioned, let alone challenged. It’s always been so and always will be.

    Whatever, I’ve had my say.

  • troll

    …forewarned is forearmed

  • I’m making my move. Will let you know when finalized.

  • Clavos

    Most of the liberals here have shown their contempt and dislike for Dan more than once on these threads; the vitriol that has been flung at him on this thread is quite typical.

    But, say what you will, his # 86 is a definitive, factual refutation of Glenn’s assertion as to the population distribution in his home county.

    I mention this because it was (predictably) ignored, and I think it bears repeating for that reason alone.

    The truth will out.

  • On the UNM’s latest, I hear ACLU is trying to cut a deal with the administration (although they say the University is within its rights.

  • Roger, arguably it goes without saying but, what the heck, I’ll say it anyway.

    Your #99 is largely just more of the egocentric blather you are unfortunately now almost permanently associated with.

    As with almost everything, your perception of the comments policy is faulty. The following is the third sentence: “In addition, we reserve the right to edit/delete comments that are some combination of pointlessly vulgar, vile, cruel, without redeeming qualities, and an embarrassment to the site”.

    If you persist in misunderstanding (at best) or deliberately misrepresenting (at worst) people’s remarks I am pretty sure one or other part of that sentence alone will cover it and therefore authorise me to edit or remove your jibber jabber.

    I actually do regard myself as a pretty good, although almost assuredly imperfect, communicator. I have a lot of empathy with a wide range of people, including many with whom I profoundly disagree, and always do my best to understand what they mean to convey.

    I also ask questions when I don’t understand and try really hard not to project my perceptions onto other people’s self expression.

    I am, or at the very least try to be, an honest, open – hopefully intelligent – and at times rather passionate participant in the comments space.

    Taking the commenters you name one by one:- I used to get on well with Ruvy, indeed he once asked me to write for my own online magazine which is modeled on BC (I declined, but did offer to empower him and show him how he could set up his own, which rather oddly enraged him) but over time he became ruder and more aggressive until he reached the point of no return and was banned; Irene Athena makes a lot of sense much of the time, particularly with many of her recent political remarks, but like most faithists is prone to babbling incoherently and dogmatically at times; Cindy used to be one of the best commenters on here, she was and hopefully will again be sharp, perceptive, communicative and refreshingly free of dogma and rancour, which I hope to see more of in the future; troll has a sharp mind that I respect a lot, although I must say that in recent months he seems to have become somewhat partisan and occasionally hostile in some way I can’t quite put my finger on; I don’t respect any writing that springs from the monotheist well for the simple reason that I don’t think there is any evidence at all for the existence of said so called deity; indeed, I consider such views as superstitious and immature and think the world would be a far better place if Christianity, Judaism and Islam were given the same amount of serious consideration and respect as Astrology; as to Mr Nalle, he has often enraged me; indeed, my very first comment on BC was in response to some nonsense he posted and I basically said something along the lines of wanting to jump on a plane to the USA, hunt him down and kick his head in, which very nearly got me banned from the site.

    It is probably not a little ironic that it is thanks to him that I didn’t get banned and within just a very short space of time after that was invited to become the first ever Blogcritics Comments Editor.

    Since then we have crossed swords many times; I can’t speak for him but I have learned and grown from the process of engaging with him.

    I can’t see any reason to edit or delete your #99 but please do give some very serious consideration to my prior remarks as I really don’t want to have to be pushed into taking editorial action.

    I don’t follow the relationship between having the final say and being immune to criticism, nor do I for one moment accept that the latter point is accurate. I question my own objectivity and fairness on an almost daily basis and am certainly open to having it examined by anyone who cares to.

  • There is no point arguing the differences in our perception. You’ve had your say and I had mine.

    As I already indicated in my last comment, I definitely intend to give serious consideration to your forewarning since you are, after all, one of the comments editors. I therefore see no reason why you should be repeating yourself.

    As far as I’m concerned, there is nothing more to discuss.

  • We aren’t arguing our differences in perception. I am correcting your faulty one and informing you of mine. If you genuinely think there is nothing more to discuss, I trust you won’t respond to this comment…

  • Baronius

    I hate to pile on, but I think I said these exact same things to Roger back when he and I used to dance. I remember trying to explain some very basic things to him, things that I or someone else had posted that he didn’t seem to understand. I was exasperated to learn that he was purposely misunderstanding things in order to be provocative.

    I still wonder, though, if sometimes Roger really does misunderstand comments and replies inexplicably, then covers it with brashness or the claim that he misunderstood it on purpose.

    I also think as a general rule that it’s good to post with a pen name. You can get so limited by a persona you create on a site that it’s helpful to be able to drop it and move on to another site with another name.

  • Baronius, not really sure why it is “good to post with a pen name”, although I did when first I rolled up at BC, but it was more for fun than self-preservation. I stand by anything I have posted online, at least in context of when I wrote it.

    I’ve never felt limited by my online persona, possibly because I have always felt ready, willing and able to relinquish any position I hold if the evidence requires it of me. Must be my inner scientist!

  • Clavos

    And the beat goes on.


  • I understood it perfectly well in the first place that you were “correcting me.”

    Since you also know what I think of your opinions and judgment, isn’t it about time to put this thing whole thing to rest?

  • I have no idea, Baronius, whether you’re extending me the benefit of the doubt, but in case you do, in however small measure, I do thank you.

    No question we had our usual share of run-ins, but I believe our pixel-to-pixel relationship has eventually leveled off to approximate a civil discourse more or less (though there still are a great many things about which we disagree).

    Of course I was being provocative (the only way to stimulate thinking, no to mention part of my philosophical training), my only mistake having been to continue in this mode with people who, how well should have known, were never going to be receptive. I was on a fool’s errand and kept on pressing regardless.

    I suppose you’re more inclined to give me the benefit of the doubt by virtue of your own intellectual training and since you never felt threatened. Your responses, as best I recall, were never defensive in nature because, however we disagreed, you always were capable of backing up your point of view; and although we’ve never had a chance to resolve some of our differences, it was a beginning. Joseph Cotto, by the way, belongs to the same category of persons, and so does Mark Eden (aka “troll”) and Cannonshop. And it’s got nothing to do with whether we agree or not.

    But that’s in the past. I’ll be moving to another site shorty, once I publish one more article, which will provide me with the opportunity to notify some of my readers of a change of venue. I sincerely hope that once the situation gets finalized, you will visit now and then,

  • Then I refer you to the second part of the last sentence of #106…

  • So you have the last word?

    Fine, it’s done!

  • The ludicrous “Roger Is Impossible to Get Along With” soap opera has indeed distracted us from answering Dan.

    But Clavos, just because Dan correctly disputed one bit of Glenn’s post, can we really agree with someone whose central theme is “protecting” “white culture”?

    The racialist and, yes, racist hatred implicit even in his use of the term is plenty disturbing. Do you not agree?

    I would think you would call him on it. He has earned plenty of contempt, but not just from “liberals.”

    And Baronius is also conspicuously silent.

  • #77, Jordan:
    I have a hunch that you suffer from some sort of personality disorder, probably along the lines of narcissism at a clinical level

    I would suggest that large quantities of bourbon may also be a factor.

  • Clavos


    Racism in any form is indeed abhorrent to me, and this aspect of my personal weltanschauung has been stated repeatedly in these threads by me; it is common knowledge to most of the denizens of our little swamp. For this reason, I felt no need to simply repeat what I have stated multiple times previously.

    However, because you seem to think my silence on the topic in this instance is some sort of endorsement of racism, I will acquiesce and state that I don’t agree with Dan’s assessment of “non-whites” as stated by him upthread.

    I am, however, of the opinion that those characteristics are prevalent among most of those occupying the lowest rung on the economic ladder, regardless of race, and, according to Census Bureau data, there are far more whites than non-whites in that category. They ARE chronically dependent on government largess and have been rendered so by the (perhaps) good intentions of bleeding heart liberals serving in the government under the Democratic banner.

  • Baronius

    Handy – Since you asked, comment #9 didn’t look interesting, so I didn’t read it. I mean, “traditional white America” is a historical fact, but I can’t imagine a comment that begins with that is going to go anywhere interesting.

    Then Glenn got involved, and I definitely wasn’t going to read that.

    One of the great opportunities in an open conversation like we have at BC is that we can help other people to polish their arguments. Not the way Roger does: I’m talking about pointed questions or pointing out errors, not senseless provocation. But why bother doing that when someone espouses the view that whites are superior? It isn’t like there’s some philosophical gem within that chunk of rock. The idea is stupid, and nearly everyone who reads it will realize it. So what’s to be gained? It isn’t like an analysis would expose some weakness in the position that was otherwise unnoticable. It’s garbage.

    On the internet, silence doesn’t imply consent. It implies that there are more interesting conversations (or cat videos) elsewhere.

  • Baronius

    Heh. I hadn’t refreshed before I posted that last one. I see that Clavos used the same line as me, about silence and consent. But it’s true: if you spend your time denouncing every error online, you’re not going to be doing anything else.

  • Fine, thanks. But the commenter in question has drawn from that particular racialist well a number of times, and that’s the primary reason he finds hostility among liberals here.

    Yes, there are no doubt people for whom dependency on government largess has been a negative influence, and numerically if not proportionately more of them are white than non-white.

    But sometimes conservatives pretend that people are happily prospering on welfare and food stamps. That’s a fantasy. It’s a miserable hand-to-mouth existence, not to be wished on anyone. Certainly that is the case now, post-welfare reform and during and after the Great Recession.

  • Baronius

    I don’t think anyone’s *happy* happy on government aid. Dependence stinks.

    “sometimes conservatives pretend that people are happily prospering on welfare and food stamps”

    And sometimes liberals pretend that the success of a society is measured by how many people are on welfare and food stamps, not how many people are able to get off welfare and food stamps. Neither party communicates well.

  • Clavos

    It’s a miserable hand-to-mouth existence…

    But much less miserable than the plight of their counterparts in many other countries of the world. In fact, they are usually better off than the working class of most of Latin America.

  • Clavos

    …And Africa, as well as substantial portions of Asia.

  • Zingzing

    “And sometimes liberals pretend that the success of a society is measured by how many people are on welfare and food stamps, not how many people are able to get off welfare and food stamps.”

    I don’t think you’d ever see a liberal put it like that. Yes, a robust social safety net is indeed a good thing: can you imagine America with the abject poverty we see in some other nations? But that safety net is not the end of it. And I think you know that. If that’s what you think of liberals attitude towards welfare, something has been miscommunicated on both ends.

  • Zingzing

    Roger, I for one don’t want you to leave the site. You can and do make valuable contributions. But your inability to read certain writers around here and respond in a constructive manner has become intolerable to me. I’d rather you stop doing that and stick around.

  • The safety net is the bare minimum required of a decent society. But as zing says, it’s not the end goal, it’s a step.

    Instead, try:
    Everyone who wants to work should have a job. That’s more like a goal.

  • #124: I second that, although people can and should continue to respond to each other. It need not devolve into bitter feuding, though.

  • I third #124

  • @ 124

    You must be crazy, zing. Jordan diagnoses me with a psychological disorder, the comments editor concurs, coming close to calling me stupid and empty, and you still think I’m going to stay in this environment? I don’t hold any personal animosity towards you or anyone, things just get said in the heat of the moment and then they escalate.

    And I disagree with you, zing, that the purpose of my “misreadings” wasn’t constructive, sorry you feel that way. If I would supplant one meaning for another, it was only for the purpose of elevating the discussion and moving it forward. In fact, I am disappointed that a person of your intelligence and education would always refuse to take my queries in that spirit. Meanings are supposed to be negotiated, my man, that’s what intelligent people and people in the academia do. That’s the only way of moving from point A to point B instead of remaining stagnated at the same old level. It’s only that way that new boundaries are forged and you’re on the cutting edge of thought. Think of Socratic dialogues on the nature of justice. It’s in the posing of questions and fumbling with the answers that any progress is made. There is no other way.

    I don’t have any fucking stake in the positions I presently hold other than that they’re represent the state-of-art (for me). In fact, I always welcome all sorts of challenge, for only through challenge and how I deal with the challenge, that my thought can possibly progress. I’m really sorry you took it all wrong. From you at least (and Jordan too), I had hoped for the better, which frustration no doubt made its way into some of my responses.

    In any case, it’s water under the bridge. I just received an offer from another blogsite, and will keep you posted in case you decide to keep in touch now and then.

    I’ll make the info available once I publish my last BC article.

  • zingzing

    “If I would supplant one meaning for another, it was only for the purpose of elevating the discussion and moving it forward.”

    unfortunately, it just seemed to make the conversation come to a grinding halt. such is what happens when you call someone a racist by misquoting them and completely changing the context of what was said.

    and then we’d yell at each other and you’d call me stupid and jordan would call you insane and i’d say you’re illiterate, etc, etc. not very productive.

    “…the comments editor concurs, coming close to calling me stupid and empty, and you still think I’m going to stay in this environment?”

    dude, you call me stupid and empty every day of the week. shrug it off.

    “I’m really sorry you took it all wrong.”

    if i did, then you weren’t expressing yourself fully. maybe if you’d say something like “i can see what you are saying, but imagine if…” it wouldn’t just come out of the blue. acknowledge reality before flying off into fancy, i guess. i’m pretty sure socratic dialogues held little resemblance to our conversations, and i’m pretty sure that that’s not totally my fault. you must be doing it somewhat wrong. because ain’t nothing getting done.

  • Well, we’re not going to rehash it now. No doubt I should have exercised a great deal more patience and tact. After all, your were not in my classroom, though perhaps I treated you as though you understood and accepted the dynamics of the situation (haha); naturally, you resented my having appointed myself so.

  • Baronius

    See, Handy and Zing, I don’t think that many conservatives believe that people in the safety net enjoy it. Just like I don’t think many liberals think that it’s good to see people in the safety net. If both sides could stop caricaturing the other, or stop quoting the weirdest statements made by members of the other, we could get somewhere.

    Do some people manipulate the welfare system? Of course. Are most people in the welfare system miserable? Sure. It’s like being in a dead-end relationship that would take some effort to get out of, but it’s so draining that you just stay in it.

    Charles Murray said that the best welfare system would be one that was easy to get into and easy to get out of. For everyone but the seriously infirmed, it should be a way station, not a destination. That idea might be a good starting point for future discussions. Saying that conservatives pretend that people are happy on welfare, well, that’s not a starting point for anything but partisanship.

  • I don’t know, I think Dan has some blind spots, but no more than Glenn Contrarian used to have before some navy buddies turned him around.

    *looks into crystal ball and envisions a future Dan as a…hmmm…not a Glenn Contrarian exactly…but maybe…maybe a …a libertarian Glenn Contrarian. POIFECT!!!

    I’m going to get straight to work, going all Socratic with Dan like the inimitable Roger Nowosielski used to do with/for/to (pick the preposition that matches your perspective) many of us.

    Convincing someone to

  • …change his mind about race is a LOT easier than getting him to change his mind about partisanship.

    Who will change whom? Will Baronius change handyguy, or will I change Dan? Will anyone change?

  • Thanks, Irene, but all I really aimed at is getting ’em to think.

    Then the change would come, but for that I couldn’t claim credit.

  • First off Dan, do you think that a big part of the problem with the welfare system is its generational nature? In that “Are you my mother?” picture book, the new little hatchling (was that what it was) was imprinting on, and imitating, everything in sight, like Mike the Backhoe, and a happy Little Engine That Could…

    …and it’s the same with little kids who are born into families where no one has had any opportunity and/or incentive to work for generations, only their models are the more like Mike the Backhoe that couldn’t afford to put Gas in His Tank, and the Little Engine that Couldn’t.

    The relationship toward work that parents model for their kids is pretty significant, right?

    This is a question I guess, not just for Dan, but for everyone.

    What do we do to break that generational spell? Any idears? (I have some, but I’ve made enough noise on this thread already, and besides, it wouldn’t be Socratic for me to tell them just yet. Maybe you’ll think of some that I didn’t think of. Or have a civil conversation with someone whose idea you disagree with, and maybe together come up with a better idea.)

  • You’re welcome Roger. And thanks for getting Christopher Rose to say all those nice things about me on the previous page, of which I am going to figure out how to get a screen-shot before I go.

  • One more thing, Dan.

    Please Google the poem, “Ain’t I a Woman?” by Sojourner Truth, and write a few sentences about it for all of us. I disagree with quite a lot of what you say, but I think that in reading your remarks on it, it might be discovered that there’s more common ground with you and a civil human being than a lot of us are giving you credit for.

  • *compulsive edit* …that in [our] reading of your remarks…

  • Thanks for small favors. Do you really think I enjoyed it?

    About you is literally incorrect, but I get your extended meaning: you identify. In which case, it makes it only half as bad. Come to think of it, now I will gladly bear the cross (no sacrilege intended) for you.

    You would do well in Plato’s Academy or on the streets of Athens debating with Socrates.

  • @137

    Odd you say that. A few days ago, in the course of 60 some comments with Zedd on the Protest thread, I suggested she look up bell hooks, a radical feminist Afro-American.

    That’s a title of one her books.

  • And BTW, make sure to read my final BC article, three or four days from now, I project. This one you’ll be liable to like the most.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I’m done with you, you’re not worth the effort.

    See, it’s when you say garbage like this that I don’t buy what you say about communication. This type of commentary, which you divert to constantly, is what serves to lay the groundwork from what I suspected in my admittedly theoretical “diagnosis.”

    For me, and for zingzing and others, you are for whatever reason “worth the effort.” Why else would we continue to subject ourselves to your constant misreading, mischaracterizations and insults? Why, when I could (and should) be doing a number of other things, do I continue to try to figure you out?

    Because communication is relational, Roger, and because this site is a community, even if there are those in the community that I would rather have nothing to do with and rather not ever have come across. You, for whatever reason (maybe it’s a past history of relative goodwill and friendliness), are not one of them. I suspect zingzing feels the same. If he did not – and if I did not – we wouldn’t keep doing the same silly dance. Simple as that.

    Communicating is not a contest or a matter of supplanting meaning (or, as you seem to think, “negotiating meaning”). It is an exchange of ideas. When you don’t allow us to exchange our own ideas (you superimpose your own meaning, instead), communication inevitably fails. That’s not how one “moves things along;” that’s how one stalls a conversation dead in its tracks.

    The exchange of ideas that lies at the core of good communication must be broadened, not reinterpreted through your mangled lens of mischaracterization, disdain and indifference (your words).

    So do you really want “better,” as you say, or were you just using this site and its commenters until “something better” came along?

    You already alluded to some sort of “offer” from another blogsite (as though that precludes one from carrying on in the comments space – I write for several other blogsites, including my own), so I suspect your “moving on” has a lot to do with why you settled here to begin with.

    As zingzing has stated and Christopher has echoed, your contributions are valuable and, believe it or not, wanted on some level. Again, I wouldn’t bother with saying any of this if that weren’t true.

    On the flip side, given your continued rejection of communication and the posters that have frequented this site along with you for years, perhaps your departure is the best thing you can offer.

    All the best.

  • Thanks you, Jordan, but then again, your last lengthy comment wasn’t exactly communication in the sense we discussed and agreed upon. For whatever reason, it served you better than me, which is the very opposite of what communication ought to be.

    I’m far from saying I’m Mr. Clean, for I too had said things to you I oughtn’t to which I now regret, but I don’t believe I ever traced whatever faults I found with you to any psychological or medical condition. Neither have I done anything of the sort with zing, Glenn or Handy, for once you do that, you’ve reached the point of no return.

  • BTW, I’ll still comment here now and then, so yes, I’ll be around.

  • Jordan Richardson

    In what way wasn’t my comment “communication,” Roger? I was communicating my opinion. It doesn’t matter who you think it “serves” better. Again, communication is not a contest or something to be scored. It’s an exchange of ideas. I offered mine, you subsequently offer yours. Rinse, wash, repeat.

    I don’t know that you have any sort of condition. It’s a theory, one that arrived to me after you discounted everything else yourself.

    You have stated rather plainly that you believe most of us to be “morons” or some other such variable. You have stated plainly that you’re only here until you can “get to California.” You have stated plainly that you’re superior, both in and out of jest. You have stated plainly that you believe we’re not worth talking to, yet you persist in doing so day after day after day. You have stated plainly that you misread and misinterpret others so that you can “elevate” the meaning yourself.

    And so on.

    This “diagnosis” of mine wasn’t meant to be hurtful, although I understand that it can seem that way. I truly believe, if I’m taking you at your word, that there may be something wrong with you on a deeper level. So consistent is your behaviour and your defence of it that it leaves me wondering what other possibilities there could be. Are you just an asshole? Some might say so, but I give you more credit than that.

    I think you truly believe that what you do is helpful and productive. I think you truly believe that the reason what you do doesn’t work out is because the “morons” are beneath you. This, to me, lines up with my theory.

    Again, as harsh as it sounds at the outset, I think what I’ve said is far more sympathetic to you than most of the things you’ve offered toward others (Glenn being an “obstacle to democracy,” zingzing being any number of things from “pathetic” to “stupid” to a racist).

  • Jordan, communication does not equate to mere expression of what you think. It is supposed to build bridges, not destroy them. Do you always say to your significant others what comes to your mind even if you’re utterly convinced of your insight? Don’t you bite your tongue if you have to in order to give the relationship a chance? Why should online communications be any different?

    I well realized I said many ugly things on this comments space, but I never called Glenn, zing, you, or Handy a racist. Darn, I never even called Dan a racist. But even if I have used that term once or twice with respect to anybody, it’s part of the exhortative function of (moral) language and the intention is to bring a person to their senses, even at the risk of shaming them. Of course, words like stupid or moron aren’t OK because they only demean rather than help, and if and when I say them, it’s only in exasperation, and they signify all relationships are broken. But do come up with instances I said those things to zing, handy or glenn while we were still talking. “An obstacle to democracy,” yes, I stand by it — not only because it reflects what I really think but the purpose is to shake a person up, to make them think when all other means have been tried but all in vein. An unwitting obstacle, however, that part was always made clear.

    But what do you suppose I should do with your diagnosis of my condition. Take a pill, visit a shrink? Just asking.

    I realize I may come across to you as top-heavy and know-it-all, but my twenty some years of graduate studies, the feedback I got from some of the best minds in the twentieth century in philosophy and social sciences, did rub off. I am very confident of my thinking prowess and my intellectual integrity, more confident than most, I’m not going to hide it, but narcissism, being delusional, whatever … come on! Believe it or not, I also have the requisite kind of humility because without humility I would never have reached the intellectual plateau that I have, for truth be told, you only learn from others, and for that, you got to be willing.

    I never regarded you, zing, handy or glenn as in any way my inferior (just as Socrates didn’t consider the slave boy inferior when he was teaching him geometry) although I’m certain I would come across that way (which resulted in open hostility), only in need of a little push and shove. And I was administering that push and shove. As I said, I should have been more tactful all along, but my training comes from gradual schools where this procedure is commonplace and found most productive.

    You have to stir people to thinking, challenge them, I’m certain you know that, Jordan. In retrospect, no doubt I overplayed my part.

    Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    We’ll talk later.

  • #131: I’ll take Baronius’s word that he doesn’t think people are living free ‘n’ easy on welfare.

    But do you remember Reagan’s “welfare queens” caricature and how it resonated with working class whites?

    And the Tea Party was first named that after a CNBC reporter angrily blasted the government proposal to help some people with their mortgages and prevent foreclosures: in other words, “You’re gonna take my tax money and help those freeloading morons who got in over their head?”

    And a considerable part of the anger over health reform was “You’re gonna take my tax money and pay for some lazy poor guy’s insurance?”

    My answer in both cases would be:
    It’s better for everybody. It’s not good for such a large chunk of the housing market to be paralyzed by foreclosures or excess debt. It’s not good for society for so many people to remain uninsured.

  • Amanda must be overjoyed that no wants to talk about her article because everyone is too busy working on their relationship issues.

  • Ain’t life a bitch!

  • Jordan Richardson

    communication does not equate to mere expression of what you think

    No, I called it an exchange of ideas. There’s nothing slight or insignificant about that at all. Right away you’re starting from a wrong interpretation of my stance.

    Do you always say to your significant others what comes to your mind even if you’re utterly convinced of your insight?

    For starters, I’m not “utterly convinced” of much. Again, this is why the exchange of ideas is so vital. You can’t just redesign someone’s insight and hope to proceed without running into some serious trouble.

    If I was talking to my wife and she offered me her insight on a matter, I can’t simply reimagine it to meet my purposes and hope to get anywhere. I can’t purposely misinterpret her and expect to “advance” the boundaries of the conversation in any reasonable way. Doing such a thing only guarantees that the conversation will grind to a screeching halt.

    it’s part of the exhortative function of (moral) language and the intention is to bring a person to their senses, even at the risk of shaming them

    But you’re starting, yet again, on faulty ground. You’re starting from a point of purposeful misinterpretation. If I called my wife a racist in hopes of “bringing her to her senses,” you can rest assured that any subsequent conversation would be viewed through that ugly lens. And, because the conversation now subsequently runs through said ugly filter, you can rest assured that the conversation will go absolutely nowhere.

    Conversely, if we view your words through the filter that you’re trying to “incite,” some clarity begins to emerge. Unfortunately, you kind of slaughter the continuity when you start talking about how you don’t care.

    When you utilize language to incite, then, the risks, nine times out of 10, will inevitably outweigh your hoped-for rewards. The reason is that you underestimate the basic humanity of those you’re trying to “bring to their senses.”

    In terms of what you should do, I would hope that you’d consider how your behaviour comes across rather than simply defending it. There’s nothing I can say that’s the least bit clinical, so my “diagnosis” is always going to be anecdotal at best – just like your exhortations. That’s all we’ve got.

    You should be confident, Roger, because you are very intelligent. The narcissism comes, in my view, with how you relate to others. You don’t usually afford most of us the courtesy of our own thoughts, instead superimposing your own version on top of our words and arguing from that standpoint.

    I wouldn’t even argue that you ought to be humble, in fact. I think humility is overrated.

    I realize and respect your motives to stir people into thinking, Roger. The trouble comes when you make the basic error that they are not thinking prior to your prodding. It’s similar to Cindy’s error that others have not considered her POV or thought about matters as carefully as she has. It’s hard to take such errors as anything other than pure arrogance.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Good post, handyguy (147). The “poor are lazy” meme has been floating around for quite some time, perhaps even forever. It’s been a political football for those conservatives who want to cut social safety nets and reduce programs.

    The mythology is even in Canadian discourse, so it doesn’t know national lines.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dan –

    I notice you left out the percentage of Asians in the population, didn’t you? FYI, you might find that (again, thanks to the Navy) the Asians comprise nearly as high a percentage (or maybe even a higher percentage) of the population than the Hispanics. And you left out the percentage of Native Americans, too, even though a significant portion of Kitsap County is taken up by a reservation.

    But in ANY case, out of the all the homeless and/or street-corner beggars I see each and EVERY day I drive around in Kitsap County, only ONE have I ever seen was not white…and that does NOT even begin to fit in with the statistical distribution of the population.

    And like I pointed out, this fits right in with what’s going on in Alabama RIGHT NOW since the farmers can’t find people to pick the crops since the “anti-Walking-While-Brown” law was passed, and it fits right in with what I saw while growing up in the Delta.

    And WHY is this? In the immigrant community (which includes illegal immigrants too), you’ll find that any immigrant and any child of an immigrant knows that (1) if one doesn’t work, one doesn’t eat, and (2) if one doesn’t have a job, one doesn’t sit around waiting for just the right kind of job to fall into one’s lap, but to go out there and make one’s own job i.e. start a small business.

    ON TOP OF ALL THAT, there’s a lot of pressure within the Asian and Latino communities to maintain peer pressure on each other. Why? Because they KNOW that what one does reflects upon the rest of the community. Is this true 100% of the time? Of course not. But it’s certainly true a majority of the time, particularly among the Asians.

    I do so wish I could bring you to a third-world nation and give you an education on the effects of racism and the effect of not having a social safety net…for there’s something you’d soon learn – RESPECT for those who have it a lot harder than you, and you’d UNLEARN the racist crap you’ve been fed (and have been feeding others) all these years.

  • Those who disabuse themselves of the “they just don’t want to pay taxes” meme might actually find common ground with people who object to the government-regulation induced piggishness of insurance companies, a certain kind of doctor, and pharmaceutical industry. Health costs went sky-high, for EVERYONE, including the poor, when the government hauled out the trough for the elitist swine, by requiring that almost all businesses buy health insurance for their employees.

    Stop being so neo-liberal one-percentish with your pseudo-compassionate commentary!

  • (I bear no ill will toward any neo-liberal pseudo-compassionate one perenter elitist in particular. It was a comment intended to fall on whose ears it may.)

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  • A safety net for people who deserve it I heartily approve of.

    There’s another kind of net deserved by the neo-liberal pseudo-compassionate one perenter elitist who actually PROMOTE GENERATIONAL POVERTY AND STATE-AID DEPENDENCE to keep the gravy train choo-choo-chooing along.

  • Libertarian talking points, unsupported by data. In the post-welfare reform era, and especially during a major economic downturn, ‘generational poverty’ becomes a meaningless political sound bite. Thank you, Dr. Paul.

  • Jordan, I’m not going to defend myself. First, I don’t think I have to. Secondly, all I tried to do is explain.

    You may laugh at this, bot most people are philosophically unsophisticated. So was I until … So I don’t buy what you say about people constantly trying to figure out where they’re at and consider their positions. That’s utter baloney and you know it. Although the difference may be, you merely suspect that, but I can tell the telltales by the way they act, think, say or respond. It’s all in the language.

    Again, I’m not demeaning anyone here, this has never been my intention, however misunderstood. But I do tell you that. Whenever I was in the presence of my elders (and wisest, I hasten to add), I was always all ears. So no, fucking humility is not overrated as you say. Quite the contrary, it’s the key. In fact, if you want to talk about arrogance, you’re looking in the wrong direction. It’s precisely the kind of arrogance that comes with ignorance — and we’re all ignorant to a point — which is the most deadly and fatal, ignorance which refuses to step outside itself because it feeds on itself. This is what you ought to be concerned about and fight your battles, not against me simply because I’m not as nice as everybody would like me to be.

    I don’t mean it as any kind of disrespect, only telling you where I stand. I have already owned up to my being over-the-top, as it were, but I’m never going to apologize to anyone for my intentions.

    The world is fucked up and it consists of fucked up people. And people like Handy, Zing or Glenn are doing nothing to help the fucking situation. All they’re concerned about is validating their own ideas and viewpoints. Fuck that! I have no respect for that and never will. It sophomoric, asinine and self-indulgent. I try to cure them of it because they could be valuable assets, and I agree on stepped on many toes. Most people don’t like and they respond with hostility when you point their faults, nothing new and I was ready for that, don’t ever think I was not. But I would be derelict of my duty as a participant on this site to simply keep my mouth shot in the interest of getting along. I have a strong voice, strong convictions, and I’m going to have my say whether others like it or not. And no, I’m not indulging myself when I do it, I do it because I must.

    You know the expression from the sixties, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Well, that’s exactly how I feel about this site’s self-appointed liberals who, for all intents and purposes, have hijacked this site to the point that any contrary opinion or criticism is called “foul,” don’t hurt me, please, you’re misinterpreting what I say, whereas the bottom line is, it’s a fucking religion to them, take it away from them and they’ll be in no man’s land. Sorry, I have no compassion to such obstinance.

    We had better postpone these exchanges till my last piece of out. I trust you’ll have a better feel as to where I’m coming from.

  • Find them jobs, then. You think they grow on trees? I’ve been looking for one for 3 years!

  • Roger, you just took our opinions and pissed all over them. Don’t you see how contemptuous that is? Don’t you understand why we might object to the excessive rhetoric? I’m a pretty smart guy, my opinions are not regurgitations, they are based on real thought and feelings.

    We can disagree without being disagreeable. Theoretically.

    PS 157 was for Irene.

  • And 159 was for Irene too.

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  • Handy, it has always been my intent to get you pissed. (No other way to get at the moment of truth!) But why do you feel compelled to use the pronoun “our”? I know, the herd instinct, but can’t you see, you surely must see, that’s no small part of the problem. It is the problem.

    By so doing, you’re invalidating the very claim which forms the meat of your comment, which is to say that all your opinions are yours and based on [your] thoughts and feelings (and not anybody else’s).

    Let’s be consistent for chrissake if we’re ever to reach an agreement on anything.

  • zingzing

    roger: “The world is fucked up and it consists of fucked up people. And people like Handy, Zing or Glenn are doing nothing to help the fucking situation. All they’re concerned about is validating their own ideas and viewpoints.”

    maybe we just think differently from you and have our own ideas about the solutions to the fucked up situation. you don’t know what i’m concerned with. you do realize that your “burn it to the ground” philosophy is not a solution, right? it’s just a different set of problems. that someone might disagree with your idea really shouldn’t surprise you. if anyone is bunkering their “ideas and viewpoints,” it appears to be you. it’s all “i’m right and you’re wrong because you don’t believe exactly as i do” bullshit.

    “this site’s self-appointed liberals who, for all intents and purposes, have hijacked this site to the point that any contrary opinion or criticism is called “foul,” don’t hurt me, please, you’re misinterpreting what I say, whereas the bottom line is, it’s a fucking religion to them, take it away from them and they’ll be in no man’s land.”

    could easily turn most of that around on yourself. but no one’s misinterpreting you, at least not on purpose and with malicious intent. you’re quite free to have another opinion. but you’re also being stupid if you think that you can just claim other people have said things they have not and they’ll be cool with it, “philosophical sophistication” be damned.

    and you’re getting a bit frothy now, roger.

    “I’m not as nice as everybody would like me to be.”

    nope. barely even decent these last few days. you recently compared your “style” to something you learned in graduate school. well, in graduate school, you had to have the conviction to say it someone’s face. the way you talk around here, i doubt you’d have lips by the end of any given day if you had the balls to say it in the presence of whomever you were talking to. keep it in mind. this isn’t graduate school, and you’re acting like you’re in kindergarten.

    a “philosopher” of your age should have learned a little bit of restraint by now, right?

  • zingzing

    roger: “But why do you feel compelled to use the pronoun “our”?”

    because you’ve done it to multiple people roger, and multiple people would agree with handy, and he knows it. that’s why. because multiple people have expressed exasperation with you over this thing you do. that’s why.

    have you not noticed? it’s been the same complaint for more than a year now, over and over and over again. yet you don’t get it. to some degree, you’re doing it right now. you’re taking the consensus of several people on this thread, which is undoubtedly what handy is referring to, and turning it into a “herd mentality.” you’re stretching his word to fit some narrative that’s only happening in your head, and assigning so much meaning to that one word that’s not necessarily, or even really there.

    just, please, get it! understand! fuggin cut it out…

  • Crimea River*, Handyguy, re: #157

    “…you just took our opinions and pissed all over them.”

    *”Cry Me a River”

  • zingzing

    irene, do you know what handy is referring to? or is your nose so full of shit you can’t smell it?

  • #157 + #160 = #166.
    re: #159. I know you’re out of work, and I know frustrating and wearisome (as well as self-esteem-reducing and depressing if you should ever lose perspective and see that many capable people are in the same boat.)

    Get them jobs? Yes of course. And we have the elitist pigs to thank for taking yours, and those in generational poverty AWAY! I’m not on the opposite side of you in every single case, handyguy. Please stop talking to me as if I am.

    Goodnight. I have a Big Rock Candy Mountain to deconstruct.

  • Wasn’t #163 addressed to Handy? But there you jump again into the fray, and why? What kind of identification with others is it that make you do so? Have I insulted Handy that you feel you must come in his defense? Can’t Handy speak for himself for some reason? Of course I haven’t insulted Handy, just posed a question to Handy, not to you. So where does this fucking compulsion comes from? It’s certainly not the case that you’re just protecting the helpless and the innocents, the victims. That I could understand and definitely applaud.

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • Your #167 came through while I was writing #168. Yes, I did know what handy was referring to. I don’t want to know what you were referring to in #167 though.

  • #170 was to zing, who has really hurt my feelings and I don’t even know what I did…*snaps out of it*…OK, I’m *so* over that now. Goodnight. 🙂

  • I think the moral of this thread is “Don’t Drink and Post.”

    Enough said. Now everybody go to bed.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Jordan, I’m not going to defend myself.

    I’m not asking you to defend yourself, Roger.

    I don’t buy what you say about people constantly trying to figure out where they’re at and consider their positions.

    This comes down to the basic cynicism you appear to hold with respect to your fellow human beings. You don’t observe other people and consider them a thoughtful bunch; you greet most people with contempt.

    In some respects, you may be right. But in this arena, a website filled with regulars that clearly work to figure out their positions on an almost daily basis, your contempt is misplaced. We are presumably here attempting to discuss the issues because we care, because we approach things differently. Most people, Roger, don’t frequent websites and do this sort of thing, so I don’t think you’re dealing with “most people” when you speak to the regulars here.

    I’m not demeaning anyone here

    No, Roger, you constantly demean people. In #169, you said “You’re nothing but a kvetch, a fucking old lady…”

    This sentiment has been expressed by you on a nearly daily basis. How you explain it is as big a puzzle as how Cindy tolerates your continued misogynistic insults and mean-spirited remarks, especially considering how quickly she is to dismiss others for far lesser “transgressions.” But that’s an aside…

    The world is fucked up and it consists of fucked up people. And people like Handy, Zing or Glenn are doing nothing to help the fucking situation

    How would you know that? And furthermore, what are you doing to help the “fucking situation” by misrepresenting people on a blogsite?

    I know, I know: you’re “provoking” the “morons.” How you think that’s at all helpful in the grand scheme of things is a mystery to me. And if you truly believe what you say about communication, you ought to be ashamed of yourself considering your “tactics.”

    You aren’t here to “help” anyone. You’ve admitted as much. I think that you’re here for “narcissistic supply,” as I mentioned before. You’re here to feed your ego, to meet your needs of superiority. A little humility would help, but as I said it’s overrated – you need much more than that.

    Now here’s where you start getting weird:

    I have a strong voice, strong convictions, and I’m going to have my say whether others like it or not.

    But earlier…

    I don’t have any fucking stake in the positions I presently hold other…

    Now here’s the thing: you have a strong voice, Roger, but your convictions exist for the purposes of, in your words, “state of art.”

    This is a flowery way of stating that you argue for the sake of it, for exercise. So when you bark at certain regulars for “doing nothing,” you ought to consider your own approach a little more carefully. You yourself admit to a rather hollow sense of actual conviction, one of art rather than purpose. How, then, can you critique others when you stand on such grounds?

    As to the “liberals” you think have run the site aground, that’s hardly true. And nobody “cries foul” over disagreement, either.

    The problem is a continued misrepresentation of views – something you admit to doing on purpose. You admit it!

    You talk about having no compassion for “obstinacy,” but this seems hardly fair. You, in your purposeful misreading of others’ comments, create the mythology of the “religious” affliction yourself. It’s your straw man/woman, Roger, and you’re criticizing the “liberals” based on what you think they’re saying. You have admitted to “negotiating meaning,” but it’s no negotiation – it’s a dictatorship.

    I guess I look forward to the whole “all will be revealed” sentiment of your “final” article here, but I don’t hold out much hope for it. I think the problem lies with a delusion, not with a lack of humility or the presence of arrogance.

    Again, maybe I’m giving you too much credit. I know that I’m giving you too much time.

  • Zingzing

    Irene: “#170 was to zing, who has really hurt my feelings and I don’t even know what I did…”

    I’m just getting a bit frothy, I guess. I found it a bit of a cheap shot, that’s all. My apologies. Regretted it at soon as it went out, but this whole thread has all of us up to our ears in shit, so it’s not just you. It’s me as well.

  • Jordan Richardson

    this whole thread has all of us up to our ears in shit

    Agreed. Time for me to bow out. Roger, I’ll talk to you further about this when your article goes up.

    Until then, cheers.

  • OK Comments Editor, I made a double comment in #155 and #156, but if you delete one of them, it’s going to make all the up-thread referencing in the last dozen or so comments very hard to follow. ( Which may not be any great loss.)

    Well Xing, it dawns on me that you might have been angry with me because I wasn’t fighting with Roger right now. I am not saying anything about your quarrel with him, because it’s really none of my business. When, however, handyguy dismissed my ideas with a breezy “Ron Paul talking points” I chose to remind handyguy that he was talking to me the way Roger sometimes talks to him.

    Apart from that, I don’t want to get involved in this. Not to be sexist, but this is all beginning to sound like “a testosterone thang” to me. Fight Club stuff.

  • Zingzing

    To 169: roger, if i’m not allowed to comment on your comments to others, why was it ok for you to comment on my words to clavos, wherein you turned my words into a racist screed only you could imagine?

    “But there you jump again into the fray, and why? What kind of identification with others is it that make you do so? Have I insulted Handy that you feel you must come in his defense?”

    Why? Because I felt like it. I sympathize with handy in this. That’s the identification with others you refer to. Do you know what sympathy is? I’m sure he can defend himself. But what’s stopping me from addressing your nonsense? Certainly not you questioning my desire to.

    And what’s a “global revolution twit”?

  • Zing minus a few comments: it’s ok. I wrote my penultimate comment before I read your apology. All is well.

  • Zingzing

    All well and good Irene. Meant no specific disrespect. Also thought the “shit” line was pretty funny. But I don’t think it’s a testosterone thing… Just something that’s been building up for a while. It bubbles, but then it bursts for a bit and then it bubbles again. Roger pisses me off sometimes (and I guess I do him as well). But I know he can’t resist the last word, so orderly disorder will resume.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Oh goodness no, this isn’t a “testosterone thing” at all. If it were, we’d all simply be barking at each other instead of trying to understand each other and facilitate a better way forward.

    It would be so much easier if we’d just punch each other repeatedly in the face.

  • Not as funny as the twit line, though. Dang, what could even come close?

    And both you and Jordan are right about the testosterone thing, I guess. What is the predominant hormone when people are talking through difficult and divisive issues rationally and respectfully? Whatever it is, it’s a good hormone.

    And maybe it’s something that transcends physiology completely. But that’s food for ANOTHER argument, some other time…

    …OK good night for real now.

  • Clavos


  • I second Clavos’s “Oy,” and raise him a “Vey!”

    But I do feel obligated to point out to Roger [if he’s still reading this] that I said “our” because he lumped several of us together [zing, Glenn, myself] and informed us that our opinions were “the fucking problem.”

    In a freewheeling online forum, we can certainly disagree, but a wide-ranging blast like that, so unjustified and so wrongheaded, had to be responded to.

    [And I didn’t say I was pissed at Roger; I said Roger had taken our opinions and collectively pissed on them. Quite a different scenario.]

  • Baronius

    Since we’ve already gone well beyond the point that I consider personal attacks, there’s no point in me not putting in my two cents. I always figured that Roger suffered from narcissistic personality disorder too. The exact same diagnosis. I see the way he needs to dominate women online, and combine that with statements he’s made about prior relationships and his moodiness, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find his name in the paper after a mulitple murder. I’m really not saying that to be mean, Roger, but you should know that people who correspond with you are reaching the same conclusions.

  • Baronius

    Handy and Jordan – As I said, there are some people who manipulate the system. No one denies that. That’s what Reagan was talking about with the “welfare queen”. The interesting thing to me was that the godfather of the anti-welfare movement, Charles Murray, was less interested in waste, fraud, and abuse than in making the system easy to enter and exit.

    As for Santelli, I don’t remember him saying that the people receiving the bailouts were happy or lazy. I think he said that they don’t deserve them, and that they were dumb for getting in over their heads. If you want to change the subject to those points, feel free. Those were the main thrusts of his outburst, as I recall.

    I wouldn’t use the term “lazy” to describe people who are on assistance for a long period of time, but in the cases where no disability exists, I would say that welfare can be dehumanizing and drain a person’s will. (I wouldn’t say that a person suffering from depression is lazy, either, although the conditions may look the same.) Lastly, there is the matter of the effective tax rate for a person on welfare: that first $1000 results in a loss of maybe $2000 of aid, making the effective tax rate 200%. And that’s something that no one’s talking about. If we want to talk about tax rates and incentives, we should be looking at the crippling costs of getting off welfare.

  • But of course, dear Baronius.

    Haven’t it occurred to you that I am among the one percent? You should get out more often and you might run across some others like me.

    But a disorder … bah, it’s just a consequence of the Bell curve.

  • You say you’re not pissed at me, Handy, Fine, I’ll accept that, but I’d rather that you were. You ought to be. I’ll tell you, though, why I lump all three of you together.

    It’s not just your views, though that’s more than reason enough. It’s your damn personality traits to boot. I have no idea who each of you are in person and, believe me, I don’t want to find out, but online …

    All three of you, zing, Jordan and you, are mourning, groaning kvetches, sniveling weasels, and intolerable crybabies. It’s just sickening to see grownup men behave so. One of you would be tolerable, but all three … (Notice I haven’t said anything about Glenn.)

    So my strategy is simple. Since I’m dealing with a three-headed hydra monster, than God for small favors, I figure I may as well strike at all three and be done with it.

  • zingzing

    roger: “All three of you, zing, Jordan and you, are mourning, groaning kvetches, sniveling weasels, and intolerable crybabies. It’s just sickening to see grownup men behave so.”

    nah, all three of us just disagree with you on some issues, and you can’t have that. so you moan about it. get over it.

  • zingzing

    if i were an anarchist, i’d feel a bit worried if i became intolerant of other people’s ideas or approach to life or what have you.

  • #187: another mystifying piece of fantasy fiction.

    Also, I owe Irene a reply: you may not always take a view opposing mine, but you do a remarkable imitation of exactly that. Which is fine anyway. But in trying to write brief, pungent, clever turns of phrase, you do sometimes write sound bites. And since you are indeed an ideologue, a true believer in Dr. Paul’s brand of Christian libertarianism, “talking points” are the result. This is not the worst crime for an opinion writer, but I’d be interested in the ways you differ from Ron Paul

  • (Thanks for asking, handyguy. For general clarification, I didn’t write #187.)

    #190: I’d make discussion of “ending the Drug War” higher on the priority list (but not much higher) than discussion of “ending the War on Terror.” We in the US have been subjected to so much propaganda about the imminent domestic threat posed by terrorists. Even though the “big stings” so often turn out to be nothing but the profitable fruit of entrapment, fear, an overwhelmingly powerful emotion, tends to trump reason. It’s difficult for people to get their minds around the misery wrought on the peoples living in far-away dessert sands by US militarism. They might as well be on a different planet.

    I’m not saying it’s not important to do this, but awareness of the misery we’re bringing to Mexicans caught in the crossfire of the WoD seems to be a logical STEPPING STONE to sympathy for people affected by our imperialism and our “Wars on Whatever” worldwide. Some US citizens on the border have been burned (property trashed, local hospitals overwhelmed) by illegal immigrants, but this at least puts the issue of what’s going on in Mexico “top of mind.” When they’re encouraged to look past their anger and see the connection between ghastly drug-war related violence and people fleeing across the border for their lives, they will have at the very least, selfish motivation for attacking the problem at its root – – by legalizing drugs (what’s that you say about my being a typical Christian?) just like Portugal has done successfully, and ending the Drug War.

    Handyguy, I prefer to discuss ideas, not internet personalities. I rarely respond in kind to catty barbs about my character, intelligence, sense of humor, writing skills or faith; those remarks simply don’t bother me enough (unless they’re made by someone who has just taken offense at something I said with no intent to offend–then I’ll try to mend things by clarifying.) Even in the cases where a remark really wounds me, why waste my time and everyone else’s time, including yours, defending myself?

  • Sound-bite-a-lized 🙂 that’d be: Yeah, I do!

  • @191

    You mean you wouldn’t be caught with your pants down (so to speak) to write such a piece of trash as #187

  • I beg your pardon, Roger. Handyguy’s #190 might have given someone the impression that handyguy thought that I’d written #187. I’m quite sure he didn’t, but I’m a details person, I guess.

  • BTW, nice logical progression of ideas in @190, Irene. That would be the rational way to proceed concerning those (unfortunately still the bulk) who aren’t sentient enough to realize that all human life is of equal value.

    As to the remainder of your comment, “the boy just can’t help it.” It’s in the blood.

  • I was just joshing.

  • I suspected you were, Roger, but wasn’t sure. The thing about people online, is, I know that a lot of them (us) have been through, and are going through, some pretty hard knocks, and the “mental channel” that might have NORMALLY been dedicated to appreciating (or even being aware of) ironic humor might be at the moment, firing synapses about the futility of life, or the presence of hemorrhoids. You never know why someone is acting a bit touchy.

    Well gotta go see what Glenn said about my pointing out that there was a sleazy “we’ll look the other way, Saudis, while you have your way with Bahrain, just vote yes on the Libya no-fly zone” comment.

    Then, I have to go.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Handy –

    I’ll have you know, sir, that while (according to Roger) you and zing and I all have the same “disease” – liberalism – you are NOT part of that august group to which zing and I belong…because we (and NOT you) were declared (again, by Roger) to be “the greatest threat to democracy”!

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go back to being the Typhoid Mary of liberalism while I and my partner-in-crimes-against-humanity zing plot our schemes to destroy democracy across the face of the planet!

    And however much you want to join zing and myself in our anti-democracy crusade, you canNOT do so until you are officially declared (by Roger) to ALSO be the greatest threat against democracy. Until then, I scornfully look down my bulbous nose at you while I lovingly pet the fat white Persian cat I took from Blofeld’s cold, dead fingers and order my minions to continue their research on sharks with friggin’ laser beams attached to their heads!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Irene –

    See comment #39 on this thread.

  • OK, seen it, Glenn. CR the CE, thanks for honoring my request about the double post back in the 150’s. Ciao for now.

  • #191: Yes I confusingly put inside the same comment a response to Roger and a response to Irene. I do know the difference between them.

    Irene, your response could still fit wholly within Dr. Paul’s platform. Again, not a crime. I didn’t intend that as a slam, just an observation.

    And I don’t disagree with you on counterterrorism or drugs…I just tend to take a more “this is the gradual way things are likely to proceed in the real world” approach rather than what I would call your purism, absolutism, do-it-right-now-or-you’re-evil-ism.

    Roger thinks I get all my ideas from some orifice of Barack Obama. But my own set of beliefs are really my own. They do coincide with many of the ideas and concerns of other progressive Dems: Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Ezra Klein, zingzing.

    I don’t think I or any of them are threats to democracy [and I think anyone who types that with a straight face is either delusional or just playing word games].

    In truth, we sincerely want to save democracy from the predations of right wing Republitards, who seem determined to despoil it. And we will succeed.

    [And I certainly don’t see OWS or its allies as my enemies. Far from it.]

  • tro ll

    my take…for the record when Rog introduced his critique of liberalism months ago he first phrased it as: ‘folks like Glenn are the greatest threat to true democracy’ — rather different imo than:’Glenn is the greatest threat to democracy’ though some fail to see this as meaningful distinction as Jordan and I discussed at the time iirc and Rog did get around to joining in w/ personalizing his position pretty quickly

    from there the discussion took a pointless (but for its great obfuscation and distortions of real and practical issues) vindictive turn w/ few trying to determine what Rog might have meant by ‘true democracy’ or showing any interest possible core truths in the opinion or in self-criticism

    now the issue is a sour joke addressed w/ stupid shit like Glenn’s #198

    way to misdirect and kill a potentially valuable discussion

    as for narcissistic personality diagnoses — I long ago determined that venereal warts are the only possible explanation for the behavior a a prominent commenter on this thread…but I’ve had the decency to keep this to myself

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    yes, my #198 IS “stupid sh*t” – it was never meant to be anything otherwise, just like your crack about venereal warts. As far as I’ve been able to tell, intelligent, courteous, and forthright discourse has had zero effect in helping Roger to see himself objectively, and most of what I’ve gotten in return are rather ill-thought-out insults from Roger. Occasionally he’ll apologize and then within the day or even the hour he’ll do the same thing all over again, so…

    …I now repeat his insults against me in the silliest way I can think of, rubbing his nose in it, as it were. If by doing so I can help Roger to see how, um, puerile such insults are, perhaps he’ll actually start looking at himself in the mirror with something other than crap-tinted glasses.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to being the greatest threat to democracy!

  • Jordan Richardson

    Oh come on, Glenn. You’re not the greatest threat to democracy; people like you are the greatest threats to democracy.

    It’s a crucial distinction, after all…

    And troll, the discussion descended into “stupid shit” long before Glenn’s comment. Of course, I don’t expect you to do much more than defend your pal – even as he rears back and addresses three of us as “mourning, groaning kvetches, sniveling weasels, and intolerable crybabies” while engaging on his arrogant, idiotic Farewell Tour.

    You’ll probably invent some nonsense about his words requiring yet another “distinction” or some other such drivel, all the while coyly suggesting that one of us (but you’re not telling us who because you’re “polite”) has “venereal warts.”

    As for my “diagnosis, which I stand by more fully with each passing comment from the Prompter, I consider it a hell of a lot more sympathetic than merely discarding Roger as a drunken asshole getting his kicks on a website. And, believe me, it’s a hell of a lot more sympathetic than his consistent reliance on misogynistic (paraphrasing: “act like a man,” “you’re worse than a woman on the rag,” “you’re an old lady,” etc.) and bitter insults when he “goes too far.”

  • Handyguy, I was already struggling with the Christian Right’s agenda and methods before I ever considered Ron Paul’s platform. When I did encounter it, it meshed with what I’d already come to believe during a three-year period of searching.

    Since you shared your list of influences with me, handyguy, I’ll share mine with you, just in case you (or anybody else!) is interested. Some of the people who have influenced me have come to this point in their journey after prayer and searching the Scriptures. Others, coming from a purely secular point of view, have also made an impression: F.A. Hayek, Lew Rockwell, Justin Raimondo and many of the other contributors to antiwar.com.

    Christians whose political views differ from mine are no less spiritual, that’s not what I think. The process and journey of “being made like Him” follows a different course for each of us. I’m still on my way, and they’re still on theirs.

    Anyway, here comes a partial list: Os Guiness (particularly “Unspeakable: Facing up to the Challenge of Evil” and his Evangelical Manifesto: A Declaration of Evangelical Identity and Public Commitment. “The Jesus I Never Knew” by Philip Yancey. The peacemaking work of Salim J. Munayer, from the Musalaha organization, among Palestinians and Jews in Israel and its occupied territories. “Light Force: A Stirring Account of the Church Caught in the Middle East CrossFire” by “Brother Andrew.” Greg Boyd, author of “Myth of a Christian Nation,” and featured in a documentary about troubling church-state connections in “God’s Warriors”. Will Grigg from Idaho! The example of Corrie ten Boom and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in the Resistance in Nazi Germany and Holland, give me courage to speak out about the danger of linking Christianity to patriotism.

  • Keep on coming, boys. Keep on piling up.

    Aren’t we all so touchy and so injured by Roger’s past misdeeds.

    I think you should all form a church. But wait, you’re already a part of one — the Church of Liberalism where whining is the liturgy and “dump on Roger” the weekly sermon.

    Proud of ya, boys.

  • troll

    gee — you misrepresented/misread/trivialized my comment…imagine that

    as for the venereal warts — strictly a joke son

  • Don’t waste your time trying to make my case, Mark. I don’t need a defense. There are more important things on the burner than getting involved in these personal squabbles. I don’t care what they say about me.

  • I wish I had worthier enemies, though, it’d add to my stature.

  • Bowser

    Roger, I have your princess.

  • @176 Irene

    “When, however, handyguy dismissed my ideas with a breezy “Ron Paul talking points” I chose to remind handyguy that he was talking to me the way Roger sometimes talks to him.”

    Incorrect perception, Irene. It’s Handy that is more in the habit of being dismissive whenever I try to introduce hm to some of the more radical ideas — this one is too shrill, that one’s too idealistic, this will never work … so on and so forth. I’m not dismissive of his liberalism because I’ve been there, only trying to get from under that straitjacket.

    Besides, “talking points” is not really a part of my vocabulary and can’t really recall having used the phrase if at all. Besides, it’s part of the Republican-Democrat paradigm, a language game I’ve long ceased playing because there’s nothing at stake.

    Just so you know.

  • PS I put the wrong title down for Philip Yancey (although TJINK is very good.) It’s Soul Survivor: How Thirteen Unlikely Mentors Helped my Faith Survive the Church.

  • @210

    Princess Peach, I presume.

  • Got it (211), Roger. But I was demonstrating handyguy’s perception and claim about your manner of his speaking with you, with my perception of the way handyguy speaks to me.

    I think we’ve got it sorted now, though, and hopefully you can do the same with others here you used to be friends with.

  • (I meant “comparing” not “demonstrating.”)

  • Dang. Let’s just try that whole thing again.

    But I was comparing handyguy’s perception and claim about your manner of speaking to him, with my perception of the way handyguy speaks to me.

    I think we’ve got it sorted now, though, and hopefully you can do the same with others here you used to be friends with.

  • BTW, Irene, you might want to listen to this podcast – an interview with Chris Hedges.

  • Not before they can overcome their sense of having been injured.

  • Bowser

    She burns in the fires of hell! Hell is located in another castle.

  • Zingzing

    Not before you cut the crap.

  • Roger, they told you they wanted you to stay: Zing made a motion, and somebody else, I forget who (Jordan?) seconded it, and Christopher Rose “thirded” it. I’d say they’ve overcome it. They made a motion to drop it and go to bed. Run with that. Nighty-night. (Hi troll, say hi to Cindy!)

  • I’ll still comment here now and then but will write for another site.

    Anyway, I want to become more engaged with activists, and here, there’s only Cindy and troll. Anarcissie, though I abducted her from another site, is still active there, on truthdig.com, and so there are some other people.

    I’m more attuned now to developing a network of like-minded, dedicated people who work for change. That’s where I want to be.

    Which isn’t to say it won’t be a pleasure talking to you, and some others, whenever the occasion arises.

  • troll

    I’m looking forward to commenting on your work over at newsvine…I am also contemplating how to structure ‘goal oriented’ open discussions there – eg could a diverse group gather online and create a consensus based ‘position paper’ on say a new measure of value in a ‘reasonable’ time frame?

  • Haven’t really spent that much time perusing that site. It’s MSNBC owned, and I’m not certain yet how many are drawn into the politics section.

    The discussions on truthdig are always lively (btw, Anarcissie and Shenonymous are still there), but the comments format is not well suited for easy navigation and conducive to discussion groups on focal points of interests.

    I started a motion for a change of the comments format, and a few people have seconded. If we get sufficient consensus, we might bring the proposal to the management.

    Truthdig would be ideal to write for, but I’m afraid you’d have to be an established writer, like Chris Hedges, for example. It is a kind of limitation because you’re subject-bound, in a way, by other writer’s material, but shall see.

    I’ll post some links on the Protest thread tomorrow, you might want to check them out.

    Hope you guys are well and active in New Mexico.

  • Jordan Richardson

    you misrepresented/misread/trivialized my comment…imagine that

    Oh brutal irony!

    strictly a joke son

    Noooo, really? I had no idea, you dirty little flirt.

    This whole thing sprang out of a clumsy desire to understand each other. Now that Roger’s gone and shit in the pot repeatedly, I feel like a pretty big idiot for giving him the benefit of the doubt.

    As for the “anarchists” and the unending search for a “like-minded, dedicated” community (to dominate), I hope you find one that lets you diminish the basic humanity of others as much as this place has served those ends.

  • An MSNBC site? You will actually trust your writing to a subsidiary of the Liberal MSM? Shocking.

  • I realize, Jordan, that in the course of some of our past exchanges, I may have hurt your feelings, (the same no doubt goes for Handy, zing and Glenn), for which I sincerely apologize to all four of you. That, however, was never my intention. I’m not a mean-spirited person as a rule (and I’m certain none of you are either), but we all know, humans as we are, that things get said in haste and in exasperation. It’s not really an excuse but part of the human foible.

    I assumed that in the intellectual environment in which the five of us have participated, all of us were somewhat exempt from normal human responses whenever the others’ feelings aren’t fully considered and take a back seat to whatever. I assumed that in such environment, pursuit of the truth to which we’re all committed might have lessened the impact of violating or bending some of the cardinal rules which surely hold for most of human interaction. Of course I was wrong not only in making that assumption but more importantly, for having triggered retaliatory behavior on your part, behavior you yourselves may not be all too proud of. This was my greatest failing, and I hope you’ll forgive me.

    As to your “now that Roger is gone,” expressed no doubt with a sense of relief, let’s not put the cart before the horse just yet. I’m still to publish another article here, and I surely intend to be a visitor now and then (unless of course Baronius has his way). All told, you’re a rather a good bunch of guys — works in progress, no less than I am — and I’m kind of addicted. It’s good to see people who are struggling with their views of themselves and the world, and I always want to part of that scene.

  • Nowadays, even liberals are changing, Handy.

  • Baronius

    You still don’t get it, Roger. I don’t have the power to banish you, and I don’t want it. You shouldn’t want to control people either. What I’d like is if you wouldn’t make comments that are so mean-spirited that you feel the need to apologize for them later. Remember, we judge our own credibility by our high points, but others judge our credibility by our low points. Have your comments given people a reason to believe that you’re not a mean-spirited narcissist?

  • Of course I know, Baronius, you don’t have such powers, so yes, I do get it. You did speak, however, in such terms as “beyond personal attack.”

    I disagree, moreover, that my comments were mean-spirited in intent, though no doubt, and for reasons I’ve already alluded to in the previous comment, they came to be viewed as such — yes, I understand that. The same goes for your alleged need on my part to control others: their perception but not my intent.

    Your comment as to how we judge ourselves vs. how others judge us is indeed well-taken and should be born in mind. I’m not a purist, however, nor naive enough to believe that snags in communication are but aberrations, an exception rather than the rule. Quite the contrary, inharmonious relationships are more frequent than harmonious; and even harmonious relations suffer from all kinds of breakdowns, miscommunications and detours. Apologies, forgives and forgets are still part of everyday life. Sure, what you suggest is the ideal way and we all should strive to reach such a state, but we’re not there yet. Perhaps you are.

    Consequently, I have no apology to make for having to apologize. It wasn’t the first time, nor the last.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Roger, I appreciate #227. You understand my reluctance to accept it wholesale, of course.

  • Sure I do. You don’t want to get burned.

  • Dan

    “…it might be discovered that there’s more common ground with you and a civil human being than a lot of us are giving you credit for.”—Irene

    Actually Irene, You’re a victim of misconception. I appreciate your offer of redemption, but I’m not in need.

    Not to make a big issue of it, but I’ve commented here longer than anyone who has contributed to this thread. I think I’ve been deleted twice, both questionable decisions. No, the incivility has never originated with me. It is the intolerance for truth and honestly considered–but forbidden– opinion that brings out the uglyness.

    I enjoy it though, It’s why I crashed this particular thread. Amanda’s smug, sanctimonious lecture about how “we must be able to allow the free exchange of ideas and the free celebration of individuality without the fear of abusive retaliation.” was too much irony for me to resist.

    Roger, I think you should stick around. Nothing that you’ve been accused of is unusual behavior for most of your accusers. It’s always been a “lord of the flies” atmosphere here. You fit in fine.

    Glenn. I googled for images of kitsap county panhandlers and turned up lots of non-whites in about 30 seconds. To be fair, there were many whites as well, just not anywhere near the 200+ to 1 ratio you claim.

    Baronious, you alluded to some of Charles Murray’s social policy prescriptions a couple of times. You do realize that his humanitarianist analysis is informed by his longtime race realist perspective don’t you?

  • I googled for images of kitsap county panhandlers and turned up lots of non-whites in about 30 seconds. To be fair, there were many whites as well, just not anywhere near the 200+ to 1 ratio you claim.

    Well, Dan, you and Glenn just seem to be throwing meaningless numbers around now, but I’m curious as to what search terms you used. I too just Googled “kitsap county panhandlers” and turned up only three images that were indubitably OF panhandlers IN Kitsap County, two of whom were white and one of whom appeared to be native American.

    There were plenty of other pictures featuring persons of every hue, but most of them had very little if anything to do with Kitsap County or panhandling, but were just pulled into the search results because of the terms used.

    Now what was the point of the argument again?

  • Dan

    Somehow, Glenn seems to think it relevant to claim that “out of hundreds” of people asking for money in his home county that “all but one have been white”. He also goes on to observe that “unemployed whites are largely refusing to do the jobs out in the hot sun that the Hispanics were doing quite well at, because the jobs were simply too physically demanding.”

    You should probably ask him for clarification, but it appears he is denigrating white people again, as is his custom.

    If you were able to turn up one non-white panhandler in Kitsap County, then you have seen the same sum total of non-white panhandlers as Glenn has in his entire time of living there.

  • Baronius

    Dan – “Race realism”. That seems like a loaded phrase, doesn’t it? I mean, it could mean anything, but I’m guessing it means something very specific in this case. What exactly you think is realistic about race, I don’t know. It might be worthwhile for you to spell it out.

    I’ll grant you that Murray doesn’t let accusations of racism scare him off. I’ve read some of his stuff. Since I haven’t read The Bell Curve, I can only say that he considered the racial element of it to be minor. I have read Sowell’s argument against Murray’s racial analysis, and it seems statistically sound, although not having read the original (and being dumb) I can’t be sure. The gist of Sowell’s argument is that every minority arriving in the US scores below the national average at first, but closes the gap after a few generations. The white/black gap is diminishing, and there’s no empirical reason to believe it won’t follow the same trend.

    I’ve recently been reading through (more like skipping through) Murray’s “Human Accomplishment”. The book points out that most of the great success in the arts and sciences have taken place in white European cultures. I don’t consider that observation racist. If that’s the position you’re taking, Dan, then we’re in agreement (although I think you’re using unnecessarily provocative language to do it). If you’re maintaining that the white race is superior to other races, we part company.

  • Baronius

    There have been times on other boards when people have wandered by and thrown a racial stink bomb into a conversation, but they always fail to back it up. Dan, I’m not going to cower and plug my ears because you said something naughty. If you think you’ve got some answer to the big questions about race, step up and deliver it. If not, that’s fine, but don’t expect me or anyone else to be impressed. An intellectually-grounded racism may be wrong, but a taunting, unsupported racism is just pathetic.

  • Dan

    Yes Baronious, “race realism” is a loaded phrase. Just as any free flowing discussion of race itself is “loaded”. This is how systems of oppressive dogma are maintained. By inculcating white people with a constant low level anxiety over having only “proper” racial thought, they can be made to sacrifice their group interests and be dispossessed of their culture, heritage, and birthright.

    You suggest that you don’t consider “racist” your observation that the great successes in arts and sciences is a white phenomenon, but many others do. Especially if they think your observation implies other races are less capable. “Racism” is also dependent on who you are. What is “racist” can depend on many variables. The lack of a straight forward, honest definition that can be applied universally is evidence of a false, coercive social construct.

    I think it’s safe to say that Charles Murrays self described “race realism” is the same as mine. I don’t intend to evangelize race realism to you. If you have a confidence of character, emotional maturity, and intellectual security, you can do as I have and seek the truth for your self.

    I wouldn’t want you to cower and cover your ears, but that would seem preferable to ascribing “stupidity” (comment #117) to something you remain willfully ignorant of.

    I’m not impressed by that.

  • Baronius

    As I said, I’m not cowed by the danger of endorsing something that’s factually correct but unfashionable. So please don’t pretend that’s what motivates me. The fact that some stupid anti-racists call everything they see “racism” doesn’t change for one moment the core question. So tell me, because I don’t think I’ve been coy about my views: what are yours? And please support them.

  • Dan

    So then, are you suggesting I’ve been “coy” about my views? Or is it just that you can’t find anything specific in what I’ve written here or previously that can be refuted or logically attributed to some presupposed irrational hatred, making it difficult for you to preen your virtue as a non-racist conservative?

    It doesn’t bother me whatsoever to explain race realism to the genuinely interested. After all, our side is the open and honest one. The anti-racists are about shutting down discussion.

    So don’t be coy, ask me specifically what you want to know.

  • Got to give you one thing, Dan. I do like the way you express yourself and don’t beat about the bush.

  • Zingzing

    Dan, baronius asked you what you meant by “race realism.”

    “The anti-racists are about shutting down discussion.”

    What does “anti-racist” mean?

  • Jordan Richardson


    Call me a proud anti-racist. Maybe the reason we anti-racists are “about shutting down discussion” is because we anti-racists see no logic or reason in racism or racial supremacy.

    I’ll discuss race with Dan if he doesn’t mind the fact that I’ll treat his views with the healthy contempt they deserve.

  • Jordan Richardson

    As for race realism, I’ve always been familiar with the term as expressing the belief that racial distinctions are important in determining notions like intellect and certain abilities or tendencies.

    For more, check out the National Policy Institute or the New Century Foundation.

    From the NPI’s unironically-titled “about” page:

    “White Americans have been led to believe that “diversity” and “multiculturalism” are sacred. We’re conditioned to be shy when it comes to standing up for our own beliefs. But doesn’t every race, ethnic subculture, and special interest – from left-handers to lesbians – have all sorts of organizations working for them? Isn’t it about time someone spoke for us? It’s not just the minority lobby who opposes our interests while advancing their own: even America’s white leaders – conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats – routinely push for policies that disadvantage their own people. Well, it is about time we had a voice in public policy – that’s why THE NATIONAL POLICY INSTITUTE (NPI) was formed. NPI promotes the American majority’s unique historical, cultural, and biological inheritance – and advances policies that, without prejudicing the legitimate rights of others, fearlessly defends our rights… our heritage.”

    Note the scare quotes around “diversity” and the reference to “biological inheritance.”

  • My only objection to Dan has got to do with my utmost belief that whatever difference there may exist between humans, they’re purely circumstantial, not inherent. In that sense, therefore, his observations run counter to my uttermost convictions and the basis of my thinking. I’m not about to discard my beliefs on the strength of however convincing but circumstantial evidence.

    In short, my objection to Dan’s conception is strictly ideological and influenced not in the least by the climate of political correctness or any such nonsense. I call it nonsense because mature adults should be able to discuss any subject under the sun, regardless of social strictures. Besides, I know where I stand when it comes to other human beings. I have nothing to apologize for, no reason to be on the defensive.

    “Let everyone have their say” is my idea of an open society.

  • Baronius

    Jordan – The Wikipedia article includes the following:

    “By its nature, anti-racism tends to promote the view that racism in a particular society is both pernicious and socially pervasive, and that particular changes in political, economic, and/or social life are required to eliminate it.”

    I don’t believe that racism is pervasive, at least not serious racism. A lot of people probably have unexamined thoughts that are racist, and a few people are seriously, consciously racist, but there’s no strong racist movement within our culture.

    I think that anti-racism can be pernicious. It creates racism in a few different ways. For example, by forbidding it, it glamourizes it to some people. But more importantly, one generation’s anti-racism becomes the next generation’s racism. That’s one of the way that racism perpetuates itself. The anti-racism of South African blacks has turned into anti-white racism. In the US, the rebellion against stereotyping of blacks and Hispanics is turning into the stereotyping of Southerners and Arizonans. And when you get two countries like France and Germany next to each other, legitimate calls for justice lead to an endless cycle of wars.

    The problem with anti-racism is that it’s often motivated by, or becomes affiliated with, bullying. That’s the irony of it. That’s the reason it can be a breeding ground for resentment. Online, people feel justified shouting down racists, but it’s human nature to get lazy, and righteous anger usually devolves into just plain anger. Lumping all of one’s opponents together as racists allows you to ignore the merits of their arguments. It also breeds a generation which doesn’t flinch at the accusation – and that, again, can lead to racism.

  • Baronius

    Round Two – and I suppose this is an answer to Dan:

    What do I believe? That any statistical difference in IQ’s among races is dwarfed by the individual variation. (Charles Murray would agree.) That average IQ’s increase over time when a group is exposed to better education. (That was Thomas Sowell’s rebuttal that I mentioned earlier.) And in the big picture, individual and cultural differences account for nearly all – probably all – variation among racial accomplishments.

    I guess I’m a culturalist, if that’s a word, rather than a racist. You’ve got to be lying to yourself if you look at the dominant black culture and fail to see problems. Anti-racists may accuse you of racism for noticing it, and racists may attribute those problems to the black race, but the truth is that the culture of hip-hop, drug use, and illegitimacy is worse than the mainstream American culture.

    But since we’re not racists here, we can make some reasonable observations. First, that the “black” American culture pervades the inner cities across races. Second, that misogynistic rap music is just as popular among suburban white teenagers as among poor inner city residents of all races. Third, that that higher-income blacks who have fled the urban lifestyle have assimilated to mainstream “white” American culture thoroughly; and that recent immigrant blacks and Caribbean-ancestry blacks have bypassed the mainstream “black” American culture and found greater success.

    Fourth, that as amorphous a concept as “race” is, “culture” is even moreso. But if we want to start addressing the discrepancies that show up in our country when we look at race, we’ve got to figure out how to discuss culture.

  • Including hip-hop in that list of bad cultural influences is based, I think, on cultural ignorance [I resist the impulse to say ‘racism’]. The best hip-hop is some of the most creative and beautiful art being created right now. Kanye West is not demeaning the culture — he is enriching it.

    You sound not dissimilar to earlier generations decrying the cultural debasement of The Beatles, Elvis, [and of course the black artists who inspired them], Sinatra, jazz, and the waltz.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Baronius, fair points.

    From my perspective in Canada, Americans tend to have a race problem that they like to sweep under the rug. I’ve met many Americans that say that racism isn’t “pervasive” or that it’s not even a problem in their country anymore now that they’ve got a black president. They say these things with a straight face.

    The fact is that having such a long history of racism, and of RECENT racism like discrimination on behalf of the United States Department of Agriculture from 1981 to 1997, doesn’t simply “go away” in any serious sense.

    Racism against Arab-Americans has increased since 9/11, too, to the extent that Iranians and South Asians are often “lumped in with the rest.” Sikhs too, like Balbir Singh Sodhi who was shot five times by a white supremacist four days after 9/11, have been “confused for Arabs.”

    As far as racist organizations go, Obama’s presidency led to a swell in KKK membership. The national membership spread over over 170 chapters is estimated at around 5,000. Stormfront, the Internet’s “most popular hate site,” got 2,000 new members on the day Obama took office. It had so much activity that day that it temporarily went offline.

    There are countless other examples of hate groups, both organized and splintered, in operation today in the US and in Canada. Whether we’re talking about Idaho’s Aryan Nations or the New Black Panther Party out of Texas, racist groups are alive and well.

    Now, anything can be pernicious. I’m anti-racist in the same way that I’m anti-beating my wife or anti-child abuse; it provokes a reaction of disgust and of absolute horror in me. I don’t believe that by “forbidding” child abuse that you “glamorize” it and subsequently “make it more attractive.” I also don’t believe you can “forbid” racism or ugly thoughts in general. I wouldn’t dare try to censor people like Dan. I just can’t personally engage them without recoiling in disgust. I’m sure there are people who feel the same way about me.

    I don’t politicize my anti-abuse stances anymore than I politicize my anti-racism stances or anti-homophobic stances, Baronius. It’s not a matter of characterizing an opponent insomuch as it’s a matter of recoiling at a segment of human thought and/or activity that I find inherently repulsive. It has nothing to do with “political correctness” or any other such “scary” notion, either.

    Racism does perpetuate itself, just like abuse can perpetuate itself. Any bad behaviour can do so; anti-racism without compassion, love and consideration can do the same.

    the rebellion against stereotyping of blacks and Hispanics is turning into the stereotyping of Southerners and Arizonans

    Stereotypes have always existed and have always been problematic, though. Is that a symptom of anti-racism or human nature, Baronius?

    I wouldn’t think of lumping “my opponents” together as racists for no reason other than that they are my opponents. I disagree with the notion that it’s “racist” to be against Obama in some fashion; I think it’s silly. On the other hand, I don’t believe that you can gloss over the fact that racism played a role in how MANY Americans approach the president. It’s not all or nothing.

    I just wanted to talk about the drug use thing before I have to get going:

    This really depends on a number of factors, like education level and location. In this study of college students who reported drug use, “38.2% of White young adults 18 to 25 years of age in the U.S. reported any illicit drug use in the past year, followed by African-American (30.6%) and Hispanic (27.5%) young adults.” So drug use, at least in this sample, was higher among whites. Marijuana use, too, was higher among white college students in that particular study.

    Further down the study you’ll discover a comparison of “historically black” schools with “historically white” schools. There you’ll discover that the drug use at “historically black” schools was “significantly lower” than drug use at “significantly white” schools. The study was from 1995 in that case, I believe, and it concludes “Despite evidence for racial/ethnic differences in illicit drug use, there is limited information regarding racial/ethnic differences in drug abuse among college students.”

    Now in the “general population,” I guess you could say, it appears that blacks are more likely to use marijuana than white but whites are more likely to turn to illicit “non-medical prescription-type drugs.” American Indian or Alaska Native and persons of two or more races reported higher illicit drug use than both blacks and whites. The numbers get more interesting when you start narrowing down the metropolitan lines, but I’ve only got so much time so this is an admittedly cursory look.

    I’m sure there are other studies that have different conclusions. The point I think is worth getting at is whether the drug issues are race problems or economic problems.

  • My only objection to Dan has got to do with my utmost belief that whatever difference there may exist between humans, they’re purely circumstantial, not inherent.


  • Dan

    not sure what roger means by “circumstantial, not inherent”, but I’m guessing he’s talking about “heritability”, not “intrinsic”. That seems to be an issue with Baronious also although, he’s more concerned with differences in intelligence by race.

    Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray’s best known work, The Bell Curve, concerns intelligence as being the most important trait in determining social outcomes. As Baronious noted, the race differential in intelligence played a smaller role than was justified by the hysterical, slanderous backlash the comprehensive work received by the liberal media.

    So vicious was the attack on the authors, and so misleading were liberal descriptions of what scientific consensus was in the field of intelligence, that a group of 52 leading experts in the field and allied fields issued a public statement titled mainstream science on intelligence. some of the revealations were:

    “IQ is strongly related, probably more so than any other single measureable human trait, to many important educational, occupational, economic, and social outcomes”

    that’s probably uncontroversial.

    “Intelligence can be measured, and intelligence tests measure it well. They are among the most accurate (in technical terms, reliable and valid) of all psychological tests and assessments.”

    “Intelligence tests are not culturally biased…IQ scores predict equally accurately for all… regardless of race and social class.”

    A flat rejection of a favored excuse.

    “Individuals differ in intelligence due to differences in both their environments and genetic heritage. Heritability estimates range from 0.4 to 0.8 (on a scale from 0 to 1), most thereby indicating that genetics plays a bigger role than does environment in creating IQ differences among individuals.”

    Anyone who has ever researched “twin studies” of identical twins seperated at birth can attest to the startlingly huge genetic contribution to a whole range of behavioural traits.

    “There is no persuasive evidence that the IQ bell curves for different racial-ethnic groups are converging.”

    There still isn’t. Although there has been a lot of cheating exposed in liberal academia to make it appear so. Several hundred high school and middle school teachers in the state of Georgia most recently.

    If social outcomes are largely determined by intelligence, then it should be obvious that white racism is not much of a contributing factor to relatively negative outcomes of minorities.

    But in fairness, many other sociology experts have found through their research that white racism is very pervasive.

    Among them is noted Dutch psychologist, Diederik Stapel, of Tilburg University. The prolific researcher has published upward of 150 papers in various scientific journals. His latest “study published in Science this year claimed that white people became more likely to “stereotype and discriminate” against black people when they were in a messy environment, versus an organized one.”

    oh wait, it seems he’s been exposed falsifying data and making entire experiments up

    “In a statement posted Monday on Tilburg University’s Web site, Dr. Stapel apologized to his colleagues. “I have failed as a scientist and researcher,” it read, in part. “I feel ashamed for it and have great regret.”

    That’s OK Dr. Stapel, we know you meant well. No harm done to those racist white people.

  • Isn’t all Dan’s fancy pseudoscientfic babble a way to avoid saying explicitly that he doesn’t like non-whites very much because he considers them inferior? It would be simpler just to say that.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Isn’t all Dan’s fancy pseudoscientfic babble a way to avoid saying explicitly that he doesn’t like non-whites very much because he considers them inferior? It would be simpler just to say that.


  • Does Dan really think that?

    I wonder …

  • Baronius

    Handy and Jordan – Dan may feel that way, but that’s no reason to condemn his research as “pseudoscientific babble”. If it’s right, it’s right. From the little I’ve read about black/white convergence, it seems real to me. If it’s not, then making fun of it or insulting the person who mentions it doesn’t help anyone.

    Of course, we carry our own biases. When two people I admire (Sowell and Murray) disagree, it’s suspicious that I find the theory I’m more comfortable with to be more persuasive. Did I just turn to Sowell for a way out of my cognitive dissonance? Could be. But I’ve had methodological problems with Murray elsewhere, and never with Sowell.

    But, Jordan, aren’t you just as guilty of letting your desires cloud your judgement as Dan appears to be? Dan quotes one opposing scientist who was proven to be a fraud as if that disproves all opposition. Jordan, you say that you recoil in disgust at the discussion; how objective can you claim to be? It may be true that Dan’s views are disgusting. It may be true that Dan’s views are incorrect. I think that both are true. But don’t confuse the two.

  • If Dan’s views are disgusting, it would only be on account of any moral significance he may or may not attached to them. As far as I’m concerned, he hasn’t spoken to that issue, so any such judgment would be premature.

    The correct way out of this false dichotomy between empirical findings on the one hand (presuming they’re correct) and any moral implication(s) if any is simply to deny the validity of there being any moral implication or important connection in the first place — if only on principle, by way of reasserting one’s moral stance. And if the importance of the presumed connection is insisted upon, it tells us more about that person’s values than anything else.

    Just as “observing” your significant other ends up undermining the relationship and runs contrary to how we ought to behave with respect to them if we value the relationship, so is the case with allowing whatever empirical findings there may be to affect our relationship with people who are other than us: it runs counter to the very idea of morality.

    The dichotomy is false because it mixes two different language games, moral and “scientific.” Hence the confusion, a pseudo-problem that shouldn’t have arisen in the first place. (Wittgenstein)

    The fact-value dichotomy is another way of arguing to pretty much the same effect, but I consider Wittgenstein’s strategy more compelling. Besides, there are detractors from the fact-value dichotomy type of argument.

  • Dan’s many unpleasant visits to the comments section have included defending Andrew Breitbart’s and Rush Limbaugh’s nose-thumbing lies and distortions about race, about Acorn, about Shirley Sherrod, etc.

    [His stubbornness and refusal to engage on the subject of same sex marriage on one thread even managed to exasperate Clavos and Dave Nalle.]

    He has repeatedly evoked a deeply hostile and paranoid world view in which righteous religious white people are under attack by their intellectual and/or moral inferiors: people of color, gay people, non-religious people, people who don’t hate taxes.

    Part of his method is to accuse others of engaging in personal attacks on poor, poor him. I don’t know him personally and I am not attacking his person. But his beliefs, insofar as he expresses them on this site, are reprehensible and deeply unpleasant.

  • Baronius

    Jordan – I haven’t really replied to your comment #249. I agree with a lot of it, particularly the last part, in which you discuss how drug use across races is complicated. As I said, I think that culture is a more useful framework than race, even if it is difficult to define. (Then again, human beings are pretty complicated, so it’s not surprising that a simple paradigm like race would fail to explain things.) There are weird patterns when you look at drug abuse, particularly by drug. Marijuana is much bigger in the northern states; crystal meth is almost exclusively found west of the Mississippi. Race isn’t going to explain that. Laws might. Culture, though, is going to play a big role in any realistic explanation.

    As to the pervasiveness of racism in the US, you may want to listen to the many Americans who tell you it’s no longer significant. 5000 people is nothing. At this moment, 5000 left-handers in Chicago are writing Harry Potter fanfiction. The hint of racism is enough to sink a public figure’s career. Anti-racism is the safest stand to take in America.

    You made a comment that stereotyping is natural, though. And that’s a hang-up for me. Racism is just a kind of stereotyping. I think it’s a lot more permissible to be anti-Southerner or anti-Mormon than to be anti-black or anti-illegal-immigrant. If we want to be brave, we need to stand up against the kinds of bigotry that actually exist to some significant degree.