It happens not infrequently that I’ll casually pop over to a progressive site, to read an article and express an opinion, and suddenly find myself in an Alt Right hornet’s nest in the comment thread. Now, the progressive sites I prefer to haunt, which tend to be a little more on the bookish side (and the mighty apex of which is POPAGANDA) seem to attract a more furtive, and possibly aspirational, brand of Alt Righter (some of whom appear to sometimes believe they are of The Left). Still, it’s never long before these guys reveal themselves and they snap into Alt Right Talking Points Zombie Mode. All you need to do, as I did, is deploy the word “privilege” and the spittle-flecking Alt Right Talking Points Zombie Mode shower commences. Not that I’m claiming these guys are as Existentially irritating as the much-better-educated, just as delusional (and possibly more dangerous) CLINTONITES of 2016 (shudder). Still. It’s all relative, right?
[sidebar: this weird ALT RIGHT/ PSEUDO-LEFTY confusion comes in the wake of my recent outrage at seeing Linh Dinh, a raving Racist… who happens to be a poet from Vietnam… still embraced by credulous Leftiberals as a cuddly little lump of creative race-hatred]
Have a look at the copied/pasted thread below. Please note how the Alt Right stragglers I engage with tie themselves in fanciful rhetorical knots to avoid admitting the plain truth of my mild observation that as underprivileged as most “whites” genuinely are in America today, there is still, of course, a kind of “white”-in-relation-to-“black” privilege at work in the country. Well, clearly, I don’t expect anyone to be able to do anything about it but how nuts do you have to be to deny that this differential exists? What’s the mechanism there? Do some “white” guys need to rule at absolutely everything, including victimhood? I’m learning that ALT Right Snewflikes are as comically triggered by the term “white privilege” as SJW Snewflikes were triggered by Trump’s inauguration. Does that mean that America is comprised of roughly 48% of one kind of lunatic and 48% of another kind of lunatic and 4% undetermined….?
(Somewhere in that 4% I find the bulk of my readers, as you know.)
The guy who takes my jokey “boutique” analogy and runs with it, in comment #2, as though what does, or doesn’t, happen in boutiques is actually the point, is some kind of Alt Right savant. It took me twice as long to read his comments as it normally takes… his fits and starts of quasi-logic are like dumpster fire road blocks… the not-quite-all-there-ness was strong. Rarely have I seen a weirder jumble of neatly-arranged non sequiturs in support of a self-contradiction. Does that make him, and his ilk, potentially even more dangerous, on the street, yet less effective, politically, than the BillaryCons? I suspect some near-paradox like that is probably the best way to see them. They only become a worry when they have a leader… but who is their leader? Jordan Peterson? Joe Rogan? David Duke? Eric Weinstein? Graham Hancock? Ted Nugent… ?
February 11, 2019
If my “white” friend dresses up in a nice suit and wanders around a pricey boutique for twenty minutes, fingering stuff but not buying, he will very probably not run into difficulties. If I dress up in the same suit and do the same thing in the same boutique, I will very probably run into difficulties.
Well, it’s not a huge difference… (unless you’re me)… but there is a difference. The wiggle-room that working class liberal “whites,” and the Alt Right, grant themselves on this topic is purely semantic: isn’t it obvious that the term “privilege” covers a sliding scale? I wasn’t granted full (hypothetical) legal rights/protections as an American citizen (and human being), in the USA, until 1964, when I was five. At the age of four I was somewhat sub-human, I guess. Maybe if we use the formulation “negative privilege” people won’t be so touchy about it…?
- ponderer PERMALINK
February 11, 2019
Is browsing at a boutique, privilege? [editor’s note: his opening gambit is a non sequitur so absurd that it almost worked in making me fall off my spinning office chair instead of responding] What is your friend is Hispanic but looks “white”? What are these difficulties and what fault does your white friend have in them? It probably wasn’t just you in 1964, it was probably poor whites, latinos, native americans, and assorted others. [editor’s note: our interlocutor here doesn’t appear to know what the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was and its particular importance to the descendants of Slaves]
There is nothing about this life that is fair [rendering any and all discussions of law, ethics, social justice and general human rights pointless, I suppose], you can’t choose the situations you are born into or the period you are born into. In some areas there are places where white people don’t go, not without knowing someone from there. You might not have any trouble there, or you might depending on your dress and mannerisms. The opposite is true of course and could be the case in hispanic or other communities. I know of white area’s that aren’t safe for whites [This would make a great documentary], if you aren’t with a local or look like one, you’re rolling the dice [Clearly, it behooves one to adapt to local fashions in such cases]. That said, being treated fairly regardless of tribal identity is not a privilege, its basic human right that everyone should respect. Some call that manners or decency. If you treat is as a privilege you do yourself a disservice [Wait… what? Sometimes I get involved in these heated longform discussions and discover, in the end, that I’ve been arguing with a teenager… this might be one of those times].
If I go into that boutique [I was wondering how long he was going to stay off piste from the actual topic, which is boutiques] and record the whole thing and get into “difficulties” and you go, who’s video is going viral? Is that privilege? [Yes: it’s called Viral Privilege… but I’m going to hold my editorial tongue for a bit… there’s so much good material here that if I comment on all of it, this post will be 100 pages long] By your own reasoning your actually privileged for being born when you where in the country you were and the time you were. Is your privilege compared to whites, greater or less than compared to Somalis compared to you? You’re privileged for being in the good years for the working class, we could go all day with the “privilege” you have that others don’t. Some of it on age, some on skin color, some family, community and so on. That’s before we get into me in blue jeans and an old t-shirt in the same boutique. The point isn’t who’s feelings get hurt, its recognizing tribal whistling and the resulting cascade of us versus them. If it cuts 40% of the population off from supporting your position, is it still worth it? So far D’s and R’s have been answering yes. They would rather fail in their comfort zone than win out of it.
February 12, 2019
“Is browsing at a boutique, privilege?” (et al)
The sound of multiple over-the-head swooshings was heard. Perhaps a migration of cuckoos.
February 12, 2019
Dismissal is a standard response when one has been told they are privileged. You might even say they were crazy or other Ad hominem attacks. Hopefully you will reflect on your response and understand it is exactly the same as those laid out in different comments here about those with less “negative privilege”, that you criticized for being “touchy” about it. If you understand, and you seem to now, that some words can be used as a tool to inflame and divide, you’ll be better prepared when someone who claims to be in your tribe uses them to cut you off from what you deserve.
February 12, 2019
“Is your privilege compared to whites, greater or less than compared to Somalis compared to you? You’re privileged for being in the good years for the working class, we could go all day with the “privilege” you have that others don’t.”
Which is all quite clearly covered by my “sliding scale” aside… had you actually read my comment before reacting to it. We can ignore the gist of what you write, and re-write, upthread, as being self-evident to (and already expressed multiple times by) nearly everyone commenting in this thread. I’m only interested, in the name of accuracy, in addressing the neurotic inability of some (among those of us who rightly target the “Us vs Them” approach as counter-productive) to admit that being born “white” in America, for the vast majority of the country’s citizens, is more of an advantage than being born “black”. Admitting this blatant truth does not automatically entail using it to explain everything about any “black” or “white” person’s life… but to deny is it to indulge in a very weird kind of sophistry; such sophistry now qualifies, in fact, as another minor branch of (drum roll) “white” privilege.
Some Germans have a similar problem with facing certain aspects of the German 1930s and 1940s. “What does that have to do with me?” Answer: not much at all… until you make a fuss about it. No: you’re not responsible. Are you involved? Yes: by default. No biggie. It’s best to accept it and move on, no?
PS The scare quotes are my comment on the pseudo-scientific taxonomies of Race.
February 12, 2019
“Dismissal is a standard response when one has been told they are privileged.”
My standard response to sophistry is what I offer here, friend. It is yours to take or leave as you please. The next time I’m confronted by an underprivileged Somalian, I’ll remind her that she’s more privileged than a Palestinian, who will have to be reminded by a one-armed disinherited juggler in Liberia how well-born he truly is… as long as we all politely decline to mention those who are higher on the ladder than all of us. That’s just post-racial etiquette, obviously.
February 12, 2019
I don’t recall anyone saying that if we are being so general to include tens of millions of people that there is an advantage to being “Black” over “White” nor arguing that Whites were less privileged in absolute terms [editor’s note: this is where he thoroughly contradicts his own position, burying the confession in a tortuously passive construction]. Of course, the advantage goes to the largest tribal group for starters [well now that you’ve conceded that, why are we still arguing?]. Likewise, if you define your sliding scale on minutia you can engage in your own sophistry, as least as far as your one armed Liberian is concerned [Alt Right sense of humor: none… unless that juggling-Liberian joke of mine just wasn’t funny. But it was, wasn’t it? Slightly?]. It does you no good though. You get to feel “right” for the expense of some hand-waving decrying the injustice of the world (like most of the points here, also covered previously) but what else do you get out of it besides alienating potential allies? [You mean the Truth is counter-productive to the Unified Serfy Revolution that the Alt Righters fantasize leading against “The Jews”?] I have had some truly privileged acquaintances, of the type you don’t seem to feel worthy of discussing, i.e. rich [Oh dear. Fancy. I wonder if this boast is as True as the one down-thread in which he claims to come from a “mixed” family?]. I’ve never found it worthwhile to harp on their status, they can’t help it for one, they didn’t actually do the screwing of the lower classes to get it, and I don’t have the neurotic need to make them feel inferior enough to sabotage either good relationships or my own interests.[Why is that Alt Righters always pretend to know (hard-working) rich people they can display equanimity about in not blaming them for being rich?]
I’m sorry you feel the need to be worse off [oh you fucking read my mind there and it hurts], but I don’t think skin color has anything to do with the important issues we face or the interests of our own development. Maybe its because I’m from a mixed race family [still laughing at this one], or my egalitarian upbringing. I’m not sure. I don’t experience it in my life and I don’t want to live in that world anyway. I don’t take responsibility for the actions of others, only myself. I’m not going to wallow in self hate for reasons out of my control and won’t be a part of insisting on different standards for other people. As Ian has pointed out that is unethical. If you insist on continuing a self destructive path [How did he find out about my crack suppository fetish?] that’s your business.
You are entirely wrong about Germany btw. [Uh oh: if there’s one thing the casually uneducated Alt Righter feels HE is a natural expert regarding, it’s Germany] People died fighting Hitlers rise to power, people always die fighting Fascist (while US interests financed them). WW II only happened, and Hitler existed, because an elite group held Germans responsible for the sins of their forefathers just to make them suffer. Punishing children for the actions of their parents or the accidents of circumstance rarely turns into a winning longterm strategy. Holding the next generation of Germans accountable for their grandparents, even to the smallest extent, is blatantly unfair, unethical and short sighted to boot. [This guy has managed to improvise not only a wildly imaginary history/ circumstance/personality for me, but also a slew of never-typed comments, to oppose, from me, as well… all derived from my initial remark that “white” privilege, as diminished as it is, is still, you know, a bit of a thing; it’s as though he thinks I called for Reverse Lynchings (um: deliberately provocative joke, btw); is the Alt Right comprised largely of unusually driven Fantasists? Or is this actually a case of adult ADHD, wrapped in a nationalist flag?]
February 12, 2019
“Maybe its because I’m from a mixed race family, or my egalitarian upbringing.”
Welcome to the club. And what’s your argument again…? Or do you simply enjoy arguing?
My first two comments in this thread were not aimed at you; the second comment was an empirical rebuttal to the strange tendency among (“egalitarian”?) Americans to deny the existence of “white”-relative-to-“black” privilege; a tendency manifestly absurd on its face yet there you have it. Popular as ever.
My Life is fantastic (esp. since I was smart enough to leave the USA thirty years ago); that has nothing to do with the question of the manifest existence of “white”-relative-to-“black” privilege.
You talk about “unity,” but you seem to want this unity on your own terms, stipulating implicitly that all us Serfs can come together as long as nobody is rude enough to mention the society-distorting existence of “white” privilege. Sorry: no can do. You can keep your delusions, wherever they spring from. I’ll post a link to evidence of MY mixed family if you post one to yours.
“You are entirely wrong about Germany btw.”
You like to argue from the “heart,” I see… light on facts but full of conviction. I speak/ read German and have lived here thirty years. The “I’m sick of that holocaust stuff” meme is not rare around here though, still, this city is better for me than any American city I’ve ever lived in (welcome to complexity). I’m curious as to where you think your authority (on matters about which you know little or nothing) comes from?
February 12, 2019
“WW II only happened, and Hitler existed, because an elite group held Germans responsible for the sins of their forefathers just to make them suffer. Punishing children for the actions of their parents or the accidents of circumstance rarely turns into a winning longterm strategy. Holding the next generation of Germans accountable for their grandparents, even to the smallest extent, is blatantly unfair, unethical and short sighted to boot.”
Aha. NOW I see where you’re coming from.
A) Had you read my comment carefully (dream on, right?) you’d see I very carefully qualified my comment about German Denialism: no, that particular spike in history is *not* the “fault” of anyone born after a certain year. But that doesn’t mean that a modern citizen of any State is entirely free of the ramifications of the national narrative preceding that citizen’s birth.
B) Your Hitler apologia is straight out of the Alt Right playbook.
“Mixed” family, eh? You mean you’ve got a few Poles skulking in the woodpile?
February 12, 2019
So I’ll ignore the boring parts and personal attacks, this isn’t dkos (brings back the memories). [What follows is a patchy reiteration of our interlocutor’s late-night Television viewing habits]
If you live in Germany you may have heard about the Night of the Long Knives. Also, a little known fact about the Holocaust, apparently, is that some of those Jews were in fact German. Movies have been made about the attempts on Hitlers life. Also, books. It doesn’t hurt to know a few Germans who’s family members witnessed ww ii first hand. As you know its possible to opine about a place you don’t live. It’s also possible to read historical accounts of things that have happened (by real writers) [Ouch! Been cruising The Imperialist, I see] and to learn from that.
Thanks for the racist comment though, and the irony of living in Germany while decrying its “national narrative”. [editor’s note: Are “Poles” a race? Answer: to Germans they are!]
February 12, 2019
It’s amazing how many Alt Right talking points you can extract from *any* comment by misreading it.
“Also, a little known fact about the Holocaust, apparently, is that some of those Jews were in fact German.”
“Movies have been made about the attempts on Hitlers life. Also, books.”
Sure. Your point being…?
“As you know its possible to opine about a place you don’t live.”
It’s also possible to pick a faulty, ill-informed POV and stick doggedly to it despite mountains of contradictory data. Because: Internet.
Once every three or four weeks I find myself dogshit-stepping into some comment thread kerfuffle with a delusional Alt Righter (many of you guys tend to hide your stripes, initially) and the experience is not only reliably unedifying but also eerily like arguing with exactly the same character, every time it happens! Clinically fascinating on one level but also an utter waste of pixels. Passionately clueless and Reality-contradicting rhetoric is the privilege you seem to be making the most of. Go for it.
February 12, 2019
The problem with “white privilege” is most of what the term is used to describe isn’t privilege at all, but simply treatment that would extended to everyone in a fair society. That the discussion centers around “checking privilege” is telling, the goal is not to improve treatment of minorities, but rather to reduce the recipients of this undeserved “privilege” to the same level.
February 13, 2019
“That the discussion centers around “checking privilege” is telling”
Where in this thread is that happening? I’d be quite happy to see a few Alt Righters acknowledge “white” privilege at all; also, Alt Right reading skills could be leveled up a bit… that would be nice.
My needs are modest.
February 13, 2019
“The problem with “white privilege” is most of what the term is used to describe isn’t privilege at all, but simply treatment that would extended to everyone in a fair society.”
Which is what the complaint about “white” privilege is all about: an unfair society. If the “treatment that would extended to everyone in a fair society” is only extended to a portion of that society, the beneficiaries of said treatment can be said to be privileged (in that way). The hypotheticals-signalling “would” in your sentence points to the fact that said “treatment” does *not* extend to everyone and, therefore, society is *not* fair. How you can confirm that the disparity exists, therefore, yet attempt to refute it, on the other hand, *in the same sentence* , is the kind of cognitive dissonance social scientists (and MK Ultra enthusiasts) get giddy over.**
Which reminds me of arguing with Scientologists, Papists, Zionists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, so-called Black Israelites, Flat Earthers and Michael Jackson fanatics: the human capacity to come up with preposterous work-arounds for Reality is infinite. If only that energy could be harnessed to *improve* Reality instead of negating it.
All i did was suggest that you are more privileged than you think and you lost it [Still cleaning blood and vomit off my monitor]. Next I’m a Nazi sympathizer [Well you kinda said it wasn’t Hitler’s fault] (who thinks all people should be treated fairly?). My original point, that privilege is a horrible choice of words that only undermines the left, stands [YOU! Over there! Put the Thesaurus down!]. I actually feel a little bad to manipulate you into a response even I was shocked by. Your problem is that you continue to see fairness as a function of race when in fact, its about a lot of things [Yes, I clearly believe that as I have repeatedly stated it in every combination of words possible]. Race may hold you back in one way, but your alcoholic father in another [Can dead guys be booze hounds?]. People who feel treated unfairly don’t like to be told their privileged for any reason. It shuts off their valid grievance. Also, when you condemn a group of people you always run the risk of performing your own injustice. So in the US, your neighbor you find out is German and write NAZI on their front door might actually be one of the people who fled the Holocaust and lost all their family [I seriously hate it when I do that] . Don’t let ignorance get in the way of success. Remember, the common thread of all those internet arguments is, wait for it, you. [This is going on a t-shirt: YOU]
Exactly. If you try to raise all boats, the worst you’ll meet is malign indifference [Our oxymoron of the day] . If you try to lower them, you’ll have to fight forever. [Boats, schmoats. Can we go back to boutiques?]
“I actually feel a little bad to manipulate you into a response even I was shocked by.”
I would love to be pointed to the shocking bits, Pondy, you little mastermind, you. I suspect they’re tucked away in the parallel anti-universe in which I advocate lowering Rostale’s boats. I must say I admire how self-contained you and Rostale are: you don’t even need enemies to oppose or opposition to overcome because you’re quite good at making it all up! Hat’s off to the Alt Right imagination, gentlemen. And thank you for the demonstration! Highly instructive (and I mean that). This will make for an interesting post on my site.
Since you asked to be pointed to the shocking bits, “Your Hitler apologia is straight out of the Alt Right playbook. “Mixed” family, eh? You mean you’ve got a few Poles skulking in the woodpile? ”
For the internet that’s not shocking, but for this site which is heavily populated with intelligent left leaning individuals it is. I was afraid that a regular was going to accuse me of creating a Pseudonym under steven augustine just to prove my point about “privilege”, until i noticed your blog.
Actually, I’m just responding because I would like point out there is a link @ your user name with a lot of content that I would never create to make what should be a self evident point [Editor’s note: did he just go to the trouble of confirming that he didn’t simulate the five years’ worth of content on my site in order to support a hypothetical sock puppet called “steven augustine” who might be mistaken for him?] . That saboteurs pretending to be leftists, use linguistic tricks and group think to prevent a fair society by alienating as many sub tribes as possible [I’ve only managed to alienate seven sub-tribes today and my quota is ten]. That was my original post regarding the term “privilege” way up above after all. Lest I be blamed for spreading FUD as a left “saboteur” myself just to score some sort of intellectual points I will no longer engage in your delusions.
1) “Your Hitler apologia is straight out of the Alt Right playbook.”
Hitler apologia isn’t an Alt Right thing?
2) “Mixed” family, eh? You mean you’ve got a few Poles skulking in the woodpile?”
Which bit is shocking? The P-word or “woodpile”? Or is “skulking” a no-no where you’re from?
[several innocuous comments followed… ]
I was meaning discussion in a society-wide sense, in that the reason the term white privilege was chosen is because privilege is a negative term, something to be taken away.
There is a disparity in society, but how do you reconcile that, by increasing the rights of the disadvantaged or by stripping away rights from those who currently enjoy them?
The influencers and elite of society are working to bring all working class people down to a level of second class citizenship, thus you see a pervasive effort to label things such as being able to go into a high class establishment without being treated as a potential criminal, to being treated with respect by your boss, of not having to worry about being abused by law enforcement as undeserved privileges rather than say, any serious effort to rein in the structure that renders law enforcement unaccountable or taking measures that will strengthen an employees position.
“There is a disparity in society, but how do you reconcile that, by increasing the rights of the disadvantaged or by stripping away rights from those who currently enjoy them?”
Not really a question, though, is it? Who would prefer the latter (sanely)? In most cases, the disparity under discussion is psycho-social, and down, essentially, to an attitude-shift, no? And the first step toward such an attitude shift would entail having those with an attitude that needs shifting… to face that fact.
How can they change if they don’t know they’re doing something (mildly or less mildly) harmful? Acknowledging the fact of “white” privilege is not about calculating reparations, culpability, magnitudes of evil or punitive redress. It’s just about highlighting a worldview which may be as unconscious a habit as biting ones nails… a small step, really. Not much to ask. I don’t really get the firestorms of resistance the term “white privilege” triggers… especially since I have gone to great pains, in this thread, to distance the term from SJW hyperbole.
I am not a disadvantaged person; I am clearly an ambitious and pro-active participant in “society” [In other words: I’m not whining, you stupid fucking Alt Right Twits]. But this biographical aside has absolutely zero bearing on the historical psycho-social artifact we call “white privilege”. I would welcome a trigger-free discussion of the concept. If you look carefully at all of my posts, you’ll see I press my case with humor and nuance and , above all, a sense of proportion. My first post, on the topic, was quite clear, I think.
“I would welcome a trigger-free discussion of the concept. ”
I think we all would, that’s why the conversation started, Billikin brought it up. It’s a touchy subject for the left, anything to do with guilt is, because well-intentioned caring people are wont to do that.
“How can they change if they don’t know they’re doing something (mildly or less mildly) harmful?”
What’s to change, you are laboring under the assumption that someone needs to change to stop doing harm. There is no harm being done by people who think race is of negligible importance or that it should be. Those aren’t the people you are worried about in your classy boutique. At least no more harm than you do to one armed Liberians. If we are being intellectually honest, I can’t say that white “privilege” or advantage is a factor in all successes. It may be in some which I’ve admitted (as if it has anything to do with me which it doesn’t). The downtrodden people I know who have little hope of advancement are in that position due to other factors. Alcoholism / drug addiction being probably the most abundant. Alcoholic parents, single moms, rotten economy, poor healthcare. Their skin colors run the full range, and all other factors being the same may offer some advantage. Having nurturing yellow,red, or brown parents is a world away from drug addicted white parents. It doesn’t even come close in the realms of suffering. I don’t like the term white privilege because it lessens the plight of some I know and care about. It also minimizes economic privilege which any study will tell you is the single most important factor in success. I also see it turn away people who otherwise have an interest in an egalitarian society. It keeps poor people from voting for Bernie Sanders, assuming they get the chance because the primary isn’t rigged. Whether you use it in hyperbole or not is immaterial. It’s used that way, and an effort to keep the poor, poor and the left contained.
If you want it in a low-brow way. My best friend is struggling with alcohol and drug addiction from years of child abuse. Whether you have a good time at your local boutique or not, I couldn’t care less. [Ah! Back to the boutique! We almost have closure… but wait…what’s that sulfurous, Alt Right Odor…?]
[And then: THE ALT RIGHT CHERRY ON TOP]
I would welcome a trigger-free discussion of the concept.
I call b.s.
The concept is itself a trigger, intended to be used in social interaction to humiliate and disable. Of course, its use infuriates the targets of this “analysis” — its use is a deliberate assault.
To assail “white privilege” may be a useful exercise in certain circumstances and work to improve the society and culture, but may be simply obnoxious in others. Pretending that it is not obnoxious when it is, because you sadistically enjoy the discomfort and confusion that it creates [editor’s note: even worse than shouting “fire” in a crowded cinema… questioning “white privilege” in a measured, often bemused, tone in a comment thread! I must be some kind of psycho], is just another form of trolling. Which is pretty much what has been happening in this thread
[Another truly self-contained Alt Right Fantasist: I was commenting… among others who were… you know… commenting… but my commenting was sadistic! I caused both discomfort and confusion, folks! I pity my victims, I really do…].
“To assail “white privilege” may be a useful exercise in certain circumstances and work to improve the society and culture, but may be simply obnoxious in others.”
I’ll try to work around your sensitivities. Do you have a note from your doctor?
SUREFIRE SCHEME FOR MAKING THE NUTTIEST 96% of AMERICA LOSE EVEN MORE OF ITS BINARY MIND: MENTION TO HALF THAT “WHITE PRIVILEGE IS A THING” WHILE MENTIONING TO THE OTHER HALF: “WHITE PRIVILEGE IS NOT QUITE AS POWERFUL AN EFFECT AS YOU BELIEVE IT IS”.
Boom, you fucking nutjobs.
**Even when I dismantled Rostale’s sentence for him, to reveal to him its actual meaning, he didn’t seem to Grok that I was showing to him a better self in mutiny against his Bad Faith bullshit.
ADDENDUM (Feb 15 2019)
A couple of days later, Ian Welsh wrote an essay which seems to have been triggered by the secondary “controversy” I started, in the first thread, by suggesting that although (for example) modern Germans are not responsible in any way for the events of the 1930s and 1940s, “… that doesn’t mean that a modern citizen of any State is entirely free of the ramifications of the national narrative preceding that citizen’s birth.” Which, of course, triggered the Reactionaries. Welsh’s essay is titled “When Are You Guilty for the Crimes of Your Group?” and it is solidly Left-Progressive in its measured assertion that “This isn’t hard. Don’t do evil. Don’t support evil. If you do or support evil, then you are stained by that evil.” Which is not what his (apparently overwhelmingly Fascist-Lite) audience came for; they only care about this (equally true) component of Welsh’s essay: “As for Israelis: it is not their fault they are Israelis. However if they support their government’s policies against Palestinians, well, they’re evil.” They like that bit and ignore the rest, like madmen buying a chicken sandwich for the parsley. Again: wtf are so many Alt Right commenters doing on a Progressive site?
I commented on Welsh’s essay philosophically:
February 14, 2019
“But first stop doing evil.”
It’s so clear… and unstable… a concept. To my shock, as I matured, I slowly came to understand that we (humans) are incredibly adept at saying/ believing/ doing almost anything, if it serves our purposes to do so, and feeling *justified* in it. The big dividing lines are not, in the end, between people on the spectrum of those who reject Evil versus those who embrace it but between competing definitions of Good and Evil. Apartheid-supporting Israelis firmly believe that they are *fighting* Evil… as alien as that belief is to you and me… just as settlers who killed Native Americans during the process of invading/ stealing Native territories firmly believed they were dealing with subhumans who didn’t deserve what God-Fearing Christians righteously coveted. It’s a mindfuck. Where is the Objective Support for the sense of “Good and Evil” that I assume, broadly, you and I share? The terrifying truth is that there is none. The whole “civilization” thing is precarious; by no means a given… a concept the Nazis demonstrated and that America, in its invaded territories, normalizes on more and more real estate every day.
Whoever is in charge of the megaphone of Mass Media shifts the Overton Window of “Good and Evil” . When I was a teen during the late ‘Nam years, soldiering, in the minds of the chattering classes of the liberal arts-loving bourgeoisie, was anathema; soldiering was Evil (and that was when the Draft was in effect). Decades later, the equivalent classes (and all classes) in America… even when soldiering is as banal a career-choice as working at McDonald’s… are all about “support our troops!” But the troops are doing Evil, no? And willingly so. And admired for it.
I mean, look no further than the irony of Google’s Orwellian motto.
Sane comment? Interesting? Articulate? Troll-y? Reasonable thing to leave on a Progressive site, yes?
Anyway, to make a long story short, soon enough, new Alt Right fuckery ensued (I addressed a comment to a sane, Lefty-seeming commenter, and the comment contained some analysis of German culture which the Hitler Apologists on the site didn’t care for and blah-blah-blah). My last comment in that thread (we’ll see if it stays up)… and on that site (yipes)… sums up my overview of this entire episode:
“I’m not that special. It’s just really, really obvious when people show up to the same site looking to do some trolling at the same time.”
You’re not “special” except to the extent that your faulty thought processes have you thinking that gnokgnoh and I are the same person, merely because neither of us is leaving Right Wing comments on a Progressive site.
Though: if a site maintained by a Progressive Essayist is flooded with Right Wing/ Alt Right visitors (who are so comfortable expressing their retrograde opinions thereabouts that they actually consider Progressive commentary to be “trolling”)… can it really be called a Progressive Site?
I feel for Welsh, who’s stuck on the horns of the dilemma of not being able to choose his audience (while needing the traffic), but, on the other hand: this is clearly the mechanism by which the Alt Right is pushing the “conversation” so far Down and Backward that the Left may not recover meaningful ground for decades. The Trojan Horse is usually anti-Israel discourse (discourse I agree with when it’s minus the Jew hating, btw: fuck Supremacists of Any Stripe)… sadly, that’s where the Left and Alt Right overlap and the sliding begins. I have an old “super-Lefty” friend who said, defending David Duke, “People change,” rewarding Duke the benefit of the doubt solely because of Duke’s vocal opposition to Israel! David Fucking Duke! That’s the clever mechanism. Duke is rotten from the bowels-up but he isn’t stupid.
And ah yes I love the crypto-Racist Alt Righters hereabouts who scream “that’s why we can’t have nice things!” when the taboo topic of “White Privilege” comes up… because, you see, we could all “unify” if only we’d let the Alt Right tell us what to think/ how to feel in a way that’s not offensive to our wannabe Alt Right overlords. And wouldn’t that be nice? Well, not for this GOC (guy of color). Yes, the Division-and-Conquest of the Serfs proceedeth apace, but appeasing the delicate sensibilities of MGTOWers and Race “Realists” and Hitler apologists will not fix anything but fragile Alt Right egos.
Amazing shit, really. And not a little foreboding. This mixture of Stupidity, Insanity and Utter Humorlessness is just going from strength to strength nowadays.
Will anything short of a direct meteorite strike save us?