Monday, February 16, 2009

Wingnut of the week -- Scipio

[Updated below]

I have a new favorite wingnut, who is so good that I have to work up to him slowly. In the meantime, there's this guy, for whom the phrase "over-the-top" was coined:
Obama has effectively dismantled the entire constitutional basis of our republican government, opened up the economy to the socialization of health care, set the stage for a radical overthrow on the 2nd Amendment, laid the groundwork to re-institute the "Fairness Doctrine"™ to squelch dissent, moved the US Census into the White House to control the 2010 redistricting of political parties and so reduce the Republican Party into irrelevancy, tremendously expanded abortions overseas, put in place a cadre of anti-Semites to pressure Israel, moved to normalize relations with the terror regimes of Syria and Iran and began the gradual end of American law so as to replace it with international law emerging from the UN.

Obama accomplished all of this in two weeks.
Or his inaugural-day diatribe, when most of the country was feeling pretty good about itself:
The end of the Republic will be broadcast live today from Washington. Never have a people been able to witness in a mere few hours the end result of their decades of flippancy toward their own heritage. We have become as Esau. Liberty is too burdensome, too demanding, too hard to maintain, and so we have sold it for the mess of pottage promised by those apes in silk who rule over us.

Watch the mob gawk with hands outstretched as its new god draws near! Hear the teeming multitudes become as one as they cheer the coming of their messiah! See the media grovel and scrape as they perform their ablutions! We might even gape at the crass and vulgar idolatry of the thing.

Why, one would think that a Roman emperor was approaching!... We once produced a Lincoln. Now all we can offer up is a fey beast who revels in mendacity.

This creature adopts the outward trappings of Lincoln–”the train ride, the food, the Bible–but to those with eyes he looks like a boy child who puts on daddy'™s shoes and scampers about the house yelping, "œLook at me! Look at me!"

And that is exactly what hundreds of millions of gawpers will do this day. They will stare in reverent awe as that callow and grim thing climbs the podium and assumes the mantle once worn by Jefferson....

The Golden Age of our Republic is a distant memory, our Silver Age wasted upon a host of Asian land wars, Middle East phantasms and confiscatory taxation to fund myriad panes et circenses. Now we begin our Age of Iron, the very stuff from which are forged chains of slavery.
The level of froth this guy works himself into is quite amazing. And he's apparently a teacher of some sort. Scary to think that children are in the care of this guy, who is apparently only a hair's-breadth away from believing that Obama is the actual Antichrist.

Next week's wingnut combines this kind of seething hatred with a penchant for metaphysical speculation and punning that really defies description.

Update: well, on second look this guy looks more deranged and less entertaining than before:
Looking at them, there is not a one into whose guts I would not shove a sword if I could possibly get away with it.
In other words, he's an eliminationist, one of the horde of armchair killers that creates the atmosphere in which real violence takes place.

Reading these Christians who fantasize about mass-murder of their political opponents makes me dream about having a moment where I pull Jesus out like Woody Allen did with Marshall McLuhan so he can tell them "I heard what you are saying. You know nothing of my work."

25 comments:

Michael said...

There may be a few "Christians who fantasize about mass-murder of their political opponents," but about all they have done so far is to fantasize - in sharp contrast to Muslims, who actually commit mass murders of their political opponents.

If you want an example of 'an atmosphere in which real violence takes place' - I recently read that during the world-wide riots that broke out after a Danish newspaper published cartoons that Muslims thought unflattering to the prophet Mahomet, there were over 100 persons killed. This is not to mention 9/11, the Madrid and London bombings, the attack on the USS Cole, attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the grisly decapitation of Danny Pearl, countless suicide bombings throughout the middle east, etc.

Can you cite any comparable examples of mass murder committed by contemporary Christians? You are trumpeting a non-existent threat while turning a blind eye to one that is genuine - straining at a Christian gnat, properly speaking a no-see-um, and swallowing a very real Mahommedan camel.

TGGP said...

Bernie was saying "Screw them, they shouldn't be taken seriously". I don't see how that qualifies eliminationism.

I think this "creating an atmosphere" smells of baloney. I was similarly dismissive of the background behind Pim Fortuyn's killer. I might also add that Matthew Shepard's case was a rather typical case of drugged-out muggers that got blown out of proportion because said imbeciles had the oh-so-clever idea that giving a different motivation would help their defense.

mtraven said...

@Michael: thank you for once again missing the point of a post and going off on your own tangents. This post is about domestic politics, and how one side displays an extraordinary level of vituperation that is not found on the other side. Muslims are a negligible force in US domestic politics and have no relevance. If you want to make comparisons, find me a left-leaning mainstream commentator who advocates blowing up newspapers as Ann Coulter does, or any left-wing blogger who fantasizes about skewering conservatives with swords because they offend his sensibilities. There was plenty of hatred and anger aimed at Bush and his enablers, but I never saw it escalate into this kind of violent fantasy realm.

@TGGP: Nobody said that Goldberg's work is eliminationist per se. However, finding his shit in the scribbles of an actual mass-murderer might give him pause, along with the others of his ilk. I haven't read his book, just glanced at it in the bookstore -- it looked wretched, but not very extreme. But something about the tone clearly aligns it with a great many other works that are extreme, including the rantings that started this post off. There's an effort to paint "liberals" as a foreign element, an invasive class enemy, a fifth column of unreal unamericans. This tactic, which I don't think has any mirror on the left, is toxic to political discourse in general. The echoes of Nazi propaganda are very clear to me, and it leads unstable minds to find a political focus for their deranged hatreds and violent urges.

Michael said...

I haven't missed the point. The link you gave under the line 'creates the atmosphere in which real violence takes place' cites the same lunatic who shot up a liberal church in Knoxville, Tennessee that you were going on about quite some time ago as an illustrating the violent tendencies of the Christian Right. One incident does not make a trend! Disgruntled postal workers or weird high school kids have accounted for more fatalities. You just haven't figured out how to blame them on the Christians you hate.

Muslims may be a negligible force in domestic electoral politics, but this does not mean they have no relevance. Have you forgotten 9/11? That was certainly a 'domestic' event inasmuch at least as it killed some 3000 residents of the United States. What 9/11 showed was that Americans are no longer sheltered by two oceans and non-belligerent neighbors as we always used to be.

The Muslim man who shot up the El Al Airlines counter at the Los Angeles airport a few years ago reflected the same broad international current that produced 9/11, the Madrid and London bombings, and others that I have mentioned. His action was - unlike those of deranged postal workers, high school students, and the very occasional soi-disant Christian - part and parcel of a menacing trend about which you seem quite insouciant, even as you engage in vapourings about "Christians who fantasize about mass murder of their political opponents."

I am sure a survey of such blogs as Daily Kos and Democratic Underground could turn up left-wing spewings just as 'over the top' as those of the right-wing blogger you quoted. You have just paid no more attention to them than you have to Muslim violence. Like Lord Nelson, you have a blind eye and know when to use it. You just don't use yours with the good effect he did his.

mtraven said...

Since it's my point, please consider the possibility that I am in a better position to judge whether or not you have missed it.

I'm sure you could turn up some left-wing ranters and haters if you tried hard enough. Feel free to do so. Meanwhile, the right-wing variety may be found prominently displayed in every bookstore of the land. Perhaps my perception is biased, but the distribution of vitriol seems to me to be radically skewed to the right.

Michael said...

So it is enough for you to say I missed your point, and when pressed to say how, you refuse to explain? That's rather lame.

If you want a left-wing hater and ranter, I can suggest two almost without effort. Who could do much better than your President's erstwhile pastor, Jeremiah Wright? When he called upon God to damn America, presumably he did so in full knowledge of the Third Commandment. He was not using the Lord's name in vain, but in earnest - calling, with whatever sacerdotal authority the canons of his sect endow him, for the full-court, cities-of-the-plain, flaming-brimstone and columns-of-salt event. Of course he professes to be a Christian, but not quite the sort you had in mind.

Then there's your President's sometime associate Bill Ayers, who nostalgically reminisced:

"Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon. The sky was blue. The birds were singing. And the bastards were finally going to get what was coming to them."

In comments published in the New York Times, by some ominous coincidence, on Septemer 11, 2001, he said "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough."

The only distinction between the unreprentant Mr. Ayers and Timothy McVeigh is that McVeigh was a better explosives engineer, and the only reason Mr. Ayers didn't adorn the gibbet he deserved was that a combination of bungling law enforcement and lenient courts allowed him to remain - in his own words - "guilty as hell, free as a bird - what a country." Indeed!

Especially to the point is that these two extremists were, until quite recently, intimate counsellors of your President. None of the over-the-top commentators on the right to whom you refer has risen to such exalted levels in conservative political circles, nor is any of them likely so to do.

mtraven said...

So it is enough for you to say I missed your point, and when pressed to say how, you refuse to explain?
I already explained, and unlike some I don't take joy in endlessly repeating myself.

Your examples are poor. I am talking about contemporary politics; Bill Ayers' heydey was almost 40 years ago. I will freely acknowledge that a segment of the New Left entered into its own spiral of insane hatred in the early 70s; Ayers and the Weathermen were a part of that. The left as a whole has learned from those mistakes and moved on. Whether Ayers has learned anything or not is debtable, but he isn't blowing up things these days, and neither is anyone else.

As for Wright, I don't feel much like defending him because I don't know that much about him. But -- his demonization seems to be largely based on a five-second video clip that sounds bad taken out of context. (Here is the context(. In context, it is simply an excoriation of sinfulness from the pulpit, which you can find many more examples of from the right. As far as I know, Wright has not displayed the kind of out-of-control hatred that I'm talking about. You can find that sort of thing among some fringe black churches, groups, and leaders, such as Farrakahn, but they are not part of the left in any meaningful sense.

But you can find literal demonization of liberals coming from mainstream authors, cable shows, and talk radio. All of those people are tightly connected to the right-wing power networks. You cannot find anything similar on the left.

Scipio said...

Dear mtraven:

Might I apply for something more demanding than “Wingnut of the Week”? I am more than qualified to be “Wingnut of the Month.” I promise not to disappoint.

Michael said...

Mtraven, you don't have to repeat yourself. You might try responding to the points of my comment of 12:26PM, fourth from the top of the writebacks. That would be fresh, novel, and something you haven't yet condescended to attempt.

Mr. Ayers's heyday may have been more than 40 years ago. The Nazis' heyday was more than 60 years ago, yet you are still always finding characteristics 'reminiscent' of Nazism amongst the people you enjoy demonizing. In any event, what is worthy of note about Ayers is that he is on record quite recently as saying that he regrets not setting more bombs. The "social critic" Ted Kaczynski (the "Unsbomberr") who exemplified the same general hippy-dippy, 'green,' anti-capitalist frame of mind as Ayers does, set off bombs that have killed or injured people relatively recently.

As for Wright, apparently your President does not share your tender concerns for his being 'taken out of context' - Obama, as you may recall, repudiated Wright and resigned membership in his church. Your choices are either to believe that Obama did so sincerely (placing you at odds with him), or to believe that he secretly agrees with you but distanced himself from Wright in order to placate the mobile vulgus, in which case he is nothing more than the usual sort of hypocritical politician.

In any event, since you didn't like my earlier examples, here's another that suggests himself rather effortlessly - you!

I recall (and here I do repeat myself, because it bears repeating) that some time ago you had a picture of a guillotine on your home page. Does that not suggest your sympathy with the Jacobin Terror? Without more logical extension than you frequently employ in detecting the germ of Nazism in domestic political discourse, might one not infer that you favor decapitating people with whom you disagree? Considering all the vilification you have expressed against Christianity, and Catholicism in particular, one might indeed suppose, again without more logical extension than you often exhibit, that you would like to reprise the massacres of the Vendée. Does not that make you an 'eliminationist'?

The next time, before you to call someone a 'Nazi' or a 'bigot' or some other such epithet, look in the mirror first. Recognize that the man you see is morally no better than the object of your obloquy, and quite possibly worse.

mtraven said...

Mtraven, you don't have to repeat yourself. You might try responding to the points of my comment of 12:26PM, fourth from the top of the writebacks.

What, the Islam stuff? Not interested.

Mr. Ayers's heyday may have been more than 40 years ago. The Nazis' heyday was more than 60 years ago, yet you are still always finding characteristics 'reminiscent' of Nazism amongst the people you enjoy demonizing.

I hope you realize that that makes no sense whatsoever. If there were people on the left today whose actions were reminiscent of the Weathermen, then you analogy might apply, but the point is -- there aren't.

In any event, what is worthy of note about Ayers is that he is on record quite recently as saying that he regrets not setting more bombs.

That is not, in fact, what he said.

The "social critic" Ted Kaczynski (the "Unsbomberr") who exemplified the same general hippy-dippy, 'green,' anti-capitalist frame of mind as Ayers does, set off bombs that have killed or injured people relatively recently.

Kaczynski was a lone nut, not part of any political movement, and his famous manifesto was largely an attack on the left, ie: "Leftists tend to hate anything that has an image of being strong, good and successful. They hate America, they hate Western civilization, they hate white males, they hate rationality." Sounds like your garden-variety right-wing internet crank to me. Once again, you obviously have no idea what you are talking about.

As for Wright, apparently your President does not share your tender concerns for his being 'taken out of context' - Obama, as you may recall, repudiated Wright and resigned membership in his church. Your choices are either to believe that Obama did so sincerely (placing you at odds with him), or to believe that he secretly agrees with you but distanced himself from Wright in order to placate the mobile vulgus, in which case he is nothing more than the usual sort of hypocritical politician.

Um, what? Obama is a politician and I don't expect him to act unlike one. You must have me confused with someone naive. Wright's merit or lack thereof is independent of how much distance Obama wants to maintain from him.

In any event, since you didn't like my earlier examples, here's another that suggests himself rather effortlessly - you!

I recall (and here I do repeat myself, because it bears repeating) that some time ago you had a picture of a guillotine on your home page. Does that not suggest your sympathy with the Jacobin Terror? Without more logical extension than you frequently employ in detecting the germ of Nazism in domestic political discourse, might one not infer that you favor decapitating people with whom you disagree?


You can infer all you like, but I am only responsible for the things I actually say.

The guillotine was meant to be a commentary on the financial crisis. I'm not going to try explaining it here, but I decided it was in poor taste and not really reflective of my views, so it's gone. If you want to keep clubbing me over the head with it, feel free.

Considering all the vilification you have expressed against Christianity, and Catholicism in particular, one might indeed suppose, again without more logical extension than you often exhibit, that you would like to reprise the massacres of the Vendée. Does not that make you an 'eliminationist'?

No. Next stupid question?

The next time, before you to call someone a 'Nazi' or a 'bigot' or some other such epithet, look in the mirror first. Recognize that the man you see is morally no better than the object of your obloquy, and quite possibly worse.

Since you are 'quoting' those 'terms', perhaps you can produce examples of where I have called someone a Nazi or a bigot, and we can see if it was undeserved. And we can also examine the question of my relative moral superiority. The only use of the term 'bigot' on this blog was by you, but I suppose I might have used a synonym. Oh wait, I did use the term myself once -- to describe Jesse Helms. I don't feel too bad about that.

Michael said...

To turn a phrase, you may not be interested in Muslims, but Muslims are interested in you - both as a citizen of the United States and as a Jew.

I find it strange that fairly recently you expended a fair amount of space arguing with a fellow who defended holocaust-deniers, yet you are 'not interested' that the president of Iran is a holocaust-denier, and also appears to think that Hitler didn't do the job of it he should have done. What is more, he has nuclear weapons.

But you would rather fantasize about the Christian threat! You say that Kaczynski was a 'lone nut' despite the many similarities of his beliefs to the environmental left (notwitstanding the few lines you quoted that were critical of some leftists). On the other hand, the man that shot up the church in Knoxville is not a lone nut, but part of a vast underground of potentially violent Christians - even though his is an exceedingly rare example, and more people have been killed by disgruntled postal employees or deranged high-schoolers. Your double standard is showing. So is your ugly sectarian bias. Deny it though you will, your words show you are a hater of Christianity and Christians.

As for calling people Nazis, I do not have the facility to search your site, so can't say what you have done here. I remember clearly, though, that when you were nattering in the UR comment section about the moral equivalence of common criminals to honorable soldiers and honest businessmen, and suggesting that we ought to 'empathize' with murderous thugs, I responded that it was not necessary to empathize with vermin, just to eradicate them from one's house. You shot back that such an attitude was reminiscient of Nazism - ignoring the vast difference between incarcerating or executing violent felons on one hand, and on the other, sending innocent persons to gas chambers just because of their ethnicity. Leftists never cease to complain of "McCarthyism" but seem to practice guilt by association quite freely.

You don't read very carefully. I didn't infer anything. Rather I noted that applying the same standards of inference that you do to the expressions of one right-wing blogger, one might infer that your guillotine picture signified a wish to massacre your enemies. If you think that's silly, then I agree. It is, however, no sillier than your inferences.

Personally I don't think you would kill anyone - you lack the intestinal fortitude. Defamation of character and intent is more your style. You have demonstrated that repeatedly.

mtraven said...

I was wondering how I managed to have the last word in the comments for several days running. I thought maybe you had been in a car accident or something.

To turn a phrase, you may not be interested in Muslims, but Muslims are interested in you - both as a citizen of the United States and as a Jew.

I am not interested them in the context of this discussion.

But you would rather fantasize about the Christian threat!

This post is about the right-wing threat, which is very real. Talk show hosts on Fox -- a nationwide mainstream TV network -- are pushing their viewers towards violent insurrection. This seems very dangerous to me, especially at a time of severe economic crisis.

You say that Kaczynski was a 'lone nut' despite the many similarities of his beliefs to the environmental left (notwitstanding the few lines you quoted that were critical of some leftists).

Damn, you just won't let reality get in the way of your worldview, will you? Large chunks of his manifesto are devoted to attacking the left, in a style that is pure Ayn Rand/right-wingnut. I linked to it, see for yourself. I don't know what you mean by the "environmental left", but living alone in a cabin and decrying industrialization is about as far from leftism as its possible to be. What do you think Marx or Lenin would have thought of that path of action? Or Proudhon or Kropotkin, for that matter? If the left is about anything it's about acknowledging the deeply social nature of human existence.

Still waiting for a decent example of a current actual leftwinger who spouts the kind of violent rhetoric found on the right. So far, you've come up with duds. I bet I could find some coming from fringe types if I scoured the dark corners of the net -- but the right-wing calls for violence may be found on Fox News, on high-powered talk radio shows, and in every bookstore in the land.

As for calling people Nazis, I do not have the facility to search your site...

There's a search box right at the top. Also, here's a free lesson in the advanced use of Google.

I remember clearly, though, that when you were nattering in the UR comment section about the moral equivalence of common criminals to honorable soldiers and honest businessmen, and suggesting that we ought to 'empathize' with murderous thugs, I responded that it was not necessary to empathize with vermin, just to eradicate them from one's house. You shot back that such an attitude was reminiscient of Nazism....

Since I know how to use Google, I can find out exactly what you said:
"It is not necessary for me to feel empathy for the perpetrators of gang violence, any more than I feel empathy for nematodes or rodents."
and what I said:
"Such rhetoric is redolent of Nazism."

Which is is still true. Note that I did not say you are a Nazi, or are even morally culpable for deploying such rheteroic. In fact, I made that explict in followup comments, but I we know you are not one to let go of a point no matter how many times it is refuted.

In fact, that discussion is quite relevant to this one. What makes Nazi rhetoric distinctive is its effective dehumanization of a class of human beings by the use of animal and disease metaphors. That particular flourish can be easily found in today's virulent right, such as Scipio, who loves to deploy call liberals "vermin" and refers to Obama as "beast" and "creature". Such usages are not unknown on the left, historically: certainly the Bolsheviks dehumanized the Kulaks and other perceived enemies. But I do not detect anything like that in the contemporary domestic left, whereas it's all over the right.

I am very interested in the operation of empathy and its opposite, especially its deployment in political conflict.

Personally I don't think you would kill anyone - you lack the intestinal fortitude.

Implying, I suppose, if my intestines were stronger I'd be rounding up enemies of the revolution and having them shot. Could be! And if I had wheels, I'd be a bus.

Defamation of character and intent is more your style. You have demonstrated that repeatedly.

Examples please. Or I will frame the above statement as a classic case of conservative projection of their vices onto others.

Michael said...

Your comparison of my remarks about violent criminals with 'Nazi rhetoric" is a perfect example of defamation of character or intent.

The context of the comment had nothing to do with Nazism. All states, of whatever ideological stripe, have historically punished violent criminals. It is only in our own debased age, when the lumpenproletariat have become a major constituency for one political party, that we are urged to 'empathize' with them. Yet you had to use the argumentum ad Hitleram.

'Intestinal fortitude' is just a politer way of saying 'guts' and you know perfectly well what that means. You have enough to insult and defame people with whom you disagree. I just doubt you have enough to drop the hammer on them. You leave that to the vermin you 'empathize' with and defend from the full vigor of the law.

There's a good case to be made - and MM has made it - that violent lower-class criminals constitute an effective terror force on the part of at least some elements of the political left. You might, for example, consider the Crown Heights riot and Al Sharpton's role in inciting it.

Can you give a recent example in which someone of prominence on the right equal to that of Sharpton on the left has been complicit in comparable violence?

mtraven said...

Your comparison of my remarks about violent criminals with 'Nazi rhetoric" is a perfect example of defamation of character or intent.
Nonsense. I said exactly what I meant, and meant exactly what I said.

You might, for example, consider the Crown Heights riot and Al Sharpton's role in inciting it...Can you give a recent example in which someone of prominence on the right equal to that of Sharpton on the left has been complicit in comparable violence?

Your examples are getting a bit better. I'm no fan of Sharpton, and he does have some blood on his hands.

Still, whatever his excesses, I don't see him as creating the kind of culture of paranoid violence found on the right. MM's theories about the black underclass strike me as frankly lunatic. As I said before, you can go back to the sixties and find something like that, but not today (and back then, while black militants may have been violent, their paranoia was justified since the government actually was trying to kill them).

As for his equals on the right, how about people like Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, and Glenn Beck, who call for violence against liberals on a regular basis? They have a much bigger audience than Sharpton. Then there's Helen Chenoweth, a 3-term congresswoman with strong ties to the militia movment. She defended Samuel Sherwood, chief of the United States Militia Association, who told followers: "Go up and look legislators in the face, because some day you may be forced to blow it off.", and she defended the militia movement immediately after Oklahoma City.

Michael said...

Young black males account for a vastly disproportionate amount of violent crime in this country. It is estimated that more than one-third of black males have 'experience' with the criminal justice system by the time they reach age 30. A great deal their crime is committed against black victims, but such black-on-white crime as is committed is more often than not charged with race hatred - a race hatred whipped up by Sharpton and others like him.

The left's response to black criminality is - inter alia - to suggest that statutory provisions denying convicted felons the right to vote are 'racist' because they disproportionately disenfranchise blacks! Clearly those who make this argument are eager to recruit black felons as a new and reliable voting bloc for Democrats and the left. On the other hand they care little about the felonies they have committed. These are tolerated - we are told we must 'empathize.' MM's point is not 'frankly lunatic,' but well borne out by such evidence.

Coulter, et al., are entertainers rather than serious spokesmen. Their rhetorical violence - unlike Sharpton's - has not translated into repeated mob violence. This is the case in large part because the audience they address is made up of law-abiding middle class folks with things such as employment and assets to lose.

As for the threat of the 'militia movement' - if you actually had ever met any people of this stripe (I have, as I am a shooter and gun collector) - you would realize that they are a bunch of Walter Mitty types, who primarily just gripe and fantasize. The only stimulus likely to stir them to any less sedate behavior would be an agent provocateur from the government.

We have had such experience before. A common joke in the South was that the Ku Klux Klan in the 'sixties and 'seventies would have failed if it were not for the number of FBI informants that joined it. Viola Liuzzo would probably not have been murdered were it not for the efforts of such a worthy.

Timothy McVeigh had some acquaintance with militias but was not himself member of any militia or a part of the movement. The Oklahoma City bombing cannot be laid at its feet. Indeed, the 'militia movement' by itself never accomplished much, for good or ill, at all.

By contrast, how many people have black gang-bangers murdered in the past twenty years?

mtraven said...

Oh god, back to obsessing about black crime. Somehow all conversations with you lead to this topic.

My theory is that conservativism works by having an Other, some all-purpose bogyeman around which all political and moral thought revolves. It used to be the Communists, now it's blacks and Muslims.

I also have to note that we have apparently switched sides on this. We started this interminable correspondence when I remarked on MM's blog that black gangs might usefully be viewed as rationally organized actors rather than (or in addition to) simply as evil. You found this offensive, probably because you didn't understand it, and have been giving me shit about it ever since. Now you are the one claiming that black gangs are political actors rather than mere criminals.

Coulter, et al., are entertainers rather than serious spokesmen.

Apparently you have been asleep for the last few days when Rush Limbaugh was made de facto leader of the Republican party. I can't think of a better icon to represent the conservative movement -- a bloated, drug-addicted gasbag suffused with self-satisfication and aggressive stupidity.

Their rhetorical violence - unlike Sharpton's - has not translated into repeated mob violence....

What's so special about mob violence? It only took 2 people to blow up the Murrah building.

Timothy McVeigh had some acquaintance with militias but was not himself member of any militia or a part of the movement. The Oklahoma City bombing cannot be laid at its feet. Indeed, the 'militia movement' by itself never accomplished much, for good or ill, at all.

And Al Sharpton never killed anyone with his own hands. McVeigh was throughly marinated in the culture of rightwing paranoia. To try to pretend otherwise is nothing but blatant and pathetic intellectual dishonesty.

Michael said...

You may not like to discuss black crime - but do you seriously deny the propositions I've advanced, namely 1) that young black males commit a vastly disproportionate amount of violent crime in our society, and 2) that the main response of the left to this has been to suggest that the customary deprivation of felons' voting rights should be abolished because it serves to disfranchise the black poor? There is plenty of evidence to support both points.

I didn't say that black gangs were self-consciously political actors, although black-on-white crimes are largely motivated by a sort of inchoate racial hatred and envy. It is the white left-wing elite which exploits them that is acting in a consciously political fashion.

If you propose a political program of robbing Peter to pay Paul, Paul will naturally be on your side, even if he does not understand the complete intentions and ramifications of your plan. This is of course the manner in which the left has sought, and in which it has received, the overwhelming support of the black underclass, with the cooperation of its self-appointed leaders like Sharpton and Wright.

The reason mob violence is significant is that it is very near mass insurrection. Isolated actors, however great the consequences of their acts, remain isolated. They lack followers. There is no likelihood of their becoming the nexus of a movement, and their dreams die a-borning. A character like McVeigh is to the body-politic an acute but short-lived illness. In contrast, Sharpton resembles a chronic low-grade infection that never is completely cured, but constantly poses the likelihood of flaring up into a more serious condition.

McVeigh may have been 'marinated' in right-wing paranoia - he apparently was a devotée of "The Turner Diaries." But Kaczynski apparently owned and heavily annotated a copy of Al Gore's "Earth in the Balance." Was he not equally 'marinated' in its environmental leftism? Of course he denounced old-style leftism of the sort that celebrated the heroic proletariat as it built smoke-spewing factories and dammed pristine rivers to produce hydroelectric power. But he absorbed with devoted attention everything the barefoot boy from the Hay-Adams Hotel put in his screed. What's sauce for McVeigh's goose has to be sauce for Kaczynski's gander - doesn't it?

mtraven said...

You may not like to discuss black crime - but do you seriously deny the propositions I've advanced...

I deny their relevance to this current discussion. If you want to bloviate about your obsessions, start your own blog.

... black-on-white crimes are largely motivated by a sort of inchoate racial hatred and envy.

And you know this how, exactly?

The reason mob violence is significant is that it is very near mass insurrection. Isolated actors, however great the consequences of their acts, remain isolated. They lack followers. There is no likelihood of their becoming the nexus of a movement, and their dreams die a-borning. A character like McVeigh is to the body-politic an acute but short-lived illness. In contrast, Sharpton resembles a chronic low-grade infection that never is completely cured, but constantly poses the likelihood of flaring up into a more serious condition.

But of course this is completely the opposite of the truth. McVeigh represents the eruption of a long-lived, widespread, and organized subculture of violent political paranoia. Whereas mob violence is a very rare occurence in the present-day US, and there is no organization behind it. I suppose there were some organized demonstrations against globalization back in the 90s, that included violence against property. That's about the closest thing I can think of.

But smashing up some Starbucks storefronts, regardless of your opinion of it, is not the same thing as the virulent demonization and dehumanization of entire classes of people that animates the paranoid right. The latter leads to mass murder, the former in general does not, although I suppose it's always possible for a political movement to turn in that direction.

McVeigh may have been 'marinated' in right-wing paranoia - he apparently was a devotée of "The Turner Diaries." But Kaczynski apparently owned and heavily annotated a copy of Al Gore's "Earth in the Balance." Was he not equally 'marinated' in its environmental leftism?

You are comparing "Earth in the Balance" to "The Turner Diaries"? Seriously? I will take that as a concession; if those are the respective contributions of the two sides of the spectrum to the culture of political violence, then that sort of proves my point, doesn't it?

Alright, this conversation has passed my boredom threshold, so consider this my last comment, unless there is actually something new to say.

Michael said...

We do not expect persons with IQs one standard deviation below the norm to have political philosophies. At best they have appetites and something resembling animal cunning. Such lumpen types can, however, be manipulated by demagogues who are a little cleverer. Finally, certain perverse members of the intelligentsia, who see in it a means to obtain power for themselves, 'empathize' with and apologize for all of this, putting the stamp of a 'movement' on it.

This is the alliance, of which I have spoken before, between the antinomian, who without perpetrating any violence himself, constructs the philosophical justification for the psychopath, who actually commits the criminal deeds.

The threat of mob violence is what underlies the stratagem, well known to black 'leaders,' of 'mau-mauing the flak catchers.' It has been going on for forty years, and if you are oblivious to it, you either aren't paying attention or just aren't very perceptive. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and others of their ilk have refined it to an art. It is a sort of political extortion, and it is commonplace because it has so often been rewarded.

Just as an example, I recall hearing, in the period before the last election, intimations that there might be race riots if Obama lost. No one suggested that white people would riot if McCain lost.

Indeed, no remotely comparable extortive practice is evident on the political right. A violent lunatic may crop up once in a while, but no conservative politician ever attempts to justify or excuse his action - much less does anyone on the right of a stature equivalent to Sharpton's or Jackson's on the left routinely suggest that if he doesn't get what he wants, he may not be able to control his followers and cannot be responsible for what they might do.

mtraven said...

Just as an example, I recall hearing, in the period before the last election, intimations that there might be race riots if Obama lost. No one suggested that white people would riot if McCain lost.
Intimations from who? From right-wing assholes, that's who. And blacks are supposed to held responsble for the fetid imaginations of racists?

As usual, your picture of the world is the exact opposite of the truth. There have been plenty of black candidates who hve lost elections; as far as I know no riots have resulted. The only post-election riot in recent memory was the white, Republican, Brooks Brothers Riot in Florida during the Bush/Gore contest.

Michael said...

I thought your penultimate outpouring was to have been your last. Hope springs eternal...

I do not recall reading the writings of any of the persons to whom you link. I very seldom even look at NR any more, since it has become captive to the neocon movement. I do not think I have ever looked at Glenn Reynolds before just now examining your link.

What I do remember were some 'man-in-the-street' interviews televised during the period before the elections, in which blacks interviewed expressed fears that the election might be 'stolen' from Obama (such suspicions were directed both against Mrs Clinton at the time of the primary and against McCain at that the general election) - and suggesting the possibility of unrest should this occur.

In any event, you seized only on this part of my comment, and so apparently do not deny the existence of abroader phenomenon of 'mau-mauing the flak catchers,' as often and successfully practised by Sharpton, Jackson, et al. At least in a previous post you acknowledged that Sharpton had 'blood on his hands' - is this now forgiven and forgotten? Anything for the cause, I suppose.

To come back to your dismissal as conservative "bogeymen" of concerns about Communists, Muslims, and black criminals:

Do you deny that, in the heyday of the Soviet Union, that Communism cruelly oppressed the people under its rule, and posed a serious threat to the rest of the world (nukes and all)?

Do you deny that today, Ahmadinejad (nukes and all), together with the terrorist activity he and other Muslim rulers support throughout the middle east and elsewhere, pose a serious threat to the civilised world - even after the 9/11/2001 attacks here, those in Madrid, London, Nairobi, etc.?

Do you deny that there is something seriously amiss within the black community when a third of black males have by age 30, as the phrase goes, had 'experience' with the criminal justice system?

Apparently you do. Instead you wish to concentrate on the threat posed by - Christianity! And then you complain about other people 'fantasizing'!

You still have failed to answer the challenge I posed in my very first post to this comment section, to cite any examples of mass murder committed by contemporary Christians comparable to those I mentioned that have been committed by Muslims.

Still swallowing that camel, aren't you? Will you take one hump or two?

mtraven said...

I thought your penultimate outpouring was to have been your last. Hope springs eternal...
If you don't want to read what I have to say there's a very easy way to achieve that.

What I said was that I was going to stop this thread unless I had something new to say (and that was relevant to the main topic). The point about riots seemed to pass that threshold, but please consider the rest of your post ignored.

I do not think I have ever looked at Glenn Reynolds before just now examining your link.
Well, good for you, but he's one of the most prominent political bloggers around.

Michael said...

And on the other hand, If you don't want to read what I have to say, there's a very easy way to accomplish that. I've half-way expected you at some point to show how much store you really set by free expression and block my comments. Of course, that would serve only to show those who bother to read your effusions what a hypocrite you were. Will you indulge your inner Yagoda? Time, I suppose, will tell.

Until then, any time you continue vapouring about the Christian threat, I will continue to call on you for some evidence that it actually exists outside your overheated imagination.

mtraven said...

I've half-way expected you at some point to show how much store you really set by free expression and block my comments. Of course, that would serve only to show those who bother to read your effusions what a hypocrite you were. Will you indulge your inner Yagoda?

Wonderful! In one thread, you've managed to condemn blacks for riots that never took place, and me for censorship that I haven't implemented. You'd be pretty good at prosecuting thoughtcrime yourself.

My boredom is kicking in and I'm going to outsource my end of this argument to Dave Neiwert, who has a book coming out on the subject.

Michael said...

Riots that didn't take place? Are you saying that the Crown Heights riot did not take place? Or that the threat of similar unrest is not commonly used by Sharpton, Jackson, et al., to extort what they want from whomever they want it?

As for 'thoughtcrime" - I am not very concerned with what people think. My main point with respect to your thought is that you have just as much hateful prejudice as the people you so often denounce. Only its objects (Christianity and those Christians who take it seriously) are different. Look in the mirror and realize the man you see is as much a hater as any of the people you hate.

What I am concerned with is what people do. I think it is justifiable to fear those who plot repeated attacks on America and its allies, like those of 9/11, Madrid, London, Nairobi, the USS Cole, etc. I think it is justifiable to fear those who commit criminal violence. It may be a byproduct of a complex and tortured history, but it is not an arbitrary injustice or accident of fate that about 50% of the inmates in my midwestern state's maximum security prison are black, even though blacks make up only about 5-6% of the state's total population. Those people were not incarcerated because of 'racism.' They are there because they are guilty of serious crimes.

Your fears, on the other hand, as expressed in your original post, are largely without substance. Even if you can point to some over-the-top expression, there is no action inspired by it comparable to what has been inspired by (say) Osama bin Laden or Al Sharpton.